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Messages - livinglegend

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171
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Suffolk Law
« on: March 13, 2013, 10:46:28 PM »
Jojo if you go to law school one think you will learn is you can manipulate statistics anyway you want. Lawschooltransparency wants to make law schools look worse and NALP & LSAC wants to make schools look good. You see drastically different numbers, but neither of them are very accurate. I cannot tell you how many times in court I have seen two experts on opposing sides say the exact opposite thing and the reality is you cannot get a solid stat on what your law school employment options will be it depends on countless factors.

I suppose if a real survey wanted to get done they would poll every single student at each law school, interview them, see what their class rank was, whether they passed the bar, do they have a criminal charge, did they pass their moral character check, how many internships did they have during law school, did they participate in extracurricular activiites, did they hold internships during law school, have they ever held a job or did they never work in undergrad or law school, did they have a personal trajedy which impacted their employment, after the bar exam did they decide to travel around the world for a year, the possibilities are quite literally endless, but if there was a survey that asked all those questions then you could have a real idea of the odds, but that would be an insane amount of work. You would need everyone to answer all those questions as well and just finding the contact information for everyone would be nearly impossible yet alone getting them to answer those detailed questions.

I will tell you these wherever you attend law school there is a 50% chance you will finish in the bottom half of the class. Nothing against you, but that is simply the reality if you are in the bottom half of the class it will be harder to get your first job. If you are in the top 10% it will be easier, but there is a 90% chance you won't be.  Now even if your grades aren't great in law school you can get internships, do mock trial, etc. However, you need to hustle to succeed in the legal profession and there is no guarantee of success it is hard work to be get a job as a lawyer and even harder to be a lawyer.  Even if you make it the pay for attorneys is nowhere near what T.V. makes it out to be. I do not make over 6 figures, but I absolutely love my job as an attorney. I could have made more different fields, but I am excited to go to work everyday it is fun, but if you are someone who really cares about money then law school may not be the best investment.

I am getting off track for original question and the answer to that is that if you want to find stats that show Suffolk is a good school you can and if you want to find stats that say Suffolk is a bad school you can. I imagine you watch the news see the disparity between Fox News and National Public Radio on the same issue Obama is a Mulsim Terrorist on Fox and a godsend that is dedicated to fixing the world on NPR. In reality I think he is alright he is not trying to destroy America single handedly nor is he going to fix every problem in America.

Suffolk is the same it is an ABA school that will provide you an education and get you a law license. How successful you are with that license or if you pass the bar to obtain depends a lot more on you than the school's reputation.

172
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Scored around 165 on first attempt
« on: March 13, 2013, 10:32:52 PM »
There is absolutely no way to know what your real score will be. Practice is not the real thing and I have met numerous people who got 170+ on their practice, but never ended up taking the exam or did a lot worse under real conditions. I sincerely hope you get a 180 that would be awesome, but all you really can do is study for the test take it and see what your score is.

You can speculate all day about you might get and I know when I was studying for it was exciting to speculate what my score might be, but you will get the score then know if you can get into law school or not. Then after your first day of law school your LSAT will mean absolutely nothing. Keep practicing and good luck I sincerely hope you get a 180.

173
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Suffolk Law
« on: March 13, 2013, 01:07:24 AM »
It is true some employers will look at the rankings, but some will care less. I have hired attorneys and interns I always just hire from my alma matter and I am sure plenty of employers do that. Others may want someone from a T4 school who they think will have a positive attitude. Plenty of others will want the Harvard grad the possibilities of what employers want are endless. At the end of the day employers are people with their own likes, dislikes, etc.

One time a guy applying for an internship at our office went to a CBA school, but he went to my undergrad so I interviewed him. He did a great job in the interview and we gave him an internship. My undergrad is not highly ranked or world renowned, but I picked him ahead of others because he went to my undergrad.

So again the possibilities just endless, but that is why it is so important to want to work in the location you attend law school in. I am sure there countless numbers of employed lawyers in Boston from Suffolk who would love to help someone from Suffolk out. Same goes for Western New England Law, Boston College, etc. However, there will not be many alumni from Santa Clara law school in Boston. Furthermore, nobody in Boston will know anything about Santa Clara law school they will just pass over it more than likely.

I realize there are some firms out there that have detailed hiring standards, but the vast majority of law firms, government agencies, etc just hire locally it is just so much easier especially because you will know the professors, admins, etc from the schools. If a professor from my Alma Matter calls me and says John Doe (3L) is a great kid and looking for help I will see what I can do. If some professor in Florida calls me to help out a (3L) I would not know who they were, not have any opinion of them, and likely would say I am just to busy to deal with it.

Bottom line is people in the legal profession and employers are people. Use your common sense and insight to think about how human beings work and you will get a lot of answers as to what law school to choose. I know as a City Attorney I have never looked at the U.S. News rankings when shifting through 100+ resumes.

I first look at their address to see if they live in the Bay Area. If they don't I pretty much toss it I don't want to deal with flying someone in or having that conversation about will you pay my costs etc. Furthermore, I work for the government I want to help local people out they are ones paying taxes, which fund my salary so we look local.

Bottom line use common sense not the U.S. News rankings.

As for people that fail the bar most simply take it again. It sucks, but almost everyone I know who failed the first time passed the second time. If you never pass then it sucks and you cannot be hired as an attorney. However, you can possibly apply for the F.B.I, to be a cop, or some other law enforcement profession. However, the reality is without a law license there isn't a lot you can do with a J.D. The bar exam is an extremely high pressure test and your entire career rides on it. You can retake, but you only get to do it twice a year and you do NOT want to fail it. It is very scary to deal with and one of the major obstacles of the legal profession if that scares you to much then don't go to law school that obstacle will be there.

174
Denver / Re: Any Advice about possibly Choosing DU??
« on: March 13, 2013, 12:54:01 AM »
Who is telling you rankings are that important? Out of pure curiosity if it is anonymous people on the internet they are not to listened to this goes for my posts as well. Michael Scott does a good job of explaining why that is true http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvZBg7qLzU8 a little humor for you, but very true.

Sure do the rankings mean something of course they have some value, but honestly I never heard of Washington & Lee, but apparently is ranked in the top 25, but I have never heard of it. I know 0 attorneys from there, 0 professors, etc. Not that it is a bad school it is just in Virginia I am in San Francisco. I always try to hire people from my alma matter as I know the professors there, the staff, etc.  That is true of all schools.

So if you want to live in Denver a substantial amount of alumni will have attended Denver and generally try to hire people from Denver where they know professors etc.  Washington & Lee I am sure is a great school, but I would never in a million years spend money to fly someone out for an interview cross country even from Harvard. We hire locally unless of course a potential applicant wants to fly out cross country for an interview and pay for a hotel at their own cost, but I couldn't have done that as OL. On top of that I would be reluctant to offer someone in Virginia a job in San Francisco to many things could practically go wrong in the hiring process. They will need to move cross country, there will be delays likely, maybe they will get homesick, etc, etc. I would much rather just hire someone as an intern locally and see how they do get them comfortable in the office then hire them.

That is exactly what we are doing with the intern who went to Washington and Lee her first year. I am sure she could have had the same options in Virginia, but she wanted to live in San Francisco and she does.

On top of that as I mentioned where you attend law school is likely where you will spend the rest of your life. I went to law school in the Bay Area, I got internships in the bay area, my girlfriend who I was dating prior to law school and stuck with me all through law school got a great job in the bay area, I got an apartment I liked in the Bay Area, and the only people who would interview me after graduation were located in the Bay Area. I did get one job offer in Bethel, Alaska other than that everything was local.

With Denver that is what will happen and it sounds like you think Denver is a great place to live. If that is what you believe then move to Denver you will leave there for three years and setup a life there during law school. Realistically you may move onto a different career in a few years out of law school, but you will probably still be in Denver so in my opinion having gone through law school is that Quality of Life should take precedent above everything else.

However, it does depend on what you want if you want to work in BigLaw, which almost no attorneys ever do then go to the more prestigious school and from Washington & Lee I would say there is a 10% chance you will get a BigLaw job and a 1% chance you will get a big law job from Denver. However, almost no lawyers work in biglaw and unless that is something you are interested going to law school in an area you want to live in is the best choice as you will eventually find a job doing something in that location.


175
Denver / Re: Any Advice about possibly Choosing DU??
« on: March 11, 2013, 11:27:42 PM »
First off realize whether you attend law school and where you attend it is a life altering decisions and anything you read from anonymous internet posters on this board or others should be taken with a major grain of salt my post included.

With that disclaimer I will give you some insight about choosing a law school. I think any OL should consider these factors in this order. (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feelings about the School (4) Reality of Legal Education (5) U.S. News (last NOT first)

I will analyze these factors below.

Location
Realize law school does not exist in a vaccuum and the City you attend law school in will have a tremendous impact on your law school experience as well as your legal career.

For example I am a lawyer now and I have an intern who went to Washington and Lee for her first year, but she is from the Bay Area and wanted to work in the Bay Area. She made the decision to go to Washington and Lee based solely on rankings, but after 1L she was homesick and had made no connections in the Bay Area where she wanted to work. She then transferred down to University of San Francisco a mid-level school and got an internship in our office, which she could not have if she attended Washington and Lee. She wanted to be a City Attorney in the Bay area and in all likelihood assuming funding is there we will hire her if she passes the bar.

She has her family, her friends, etc at the lower ranked school, but she will get the job she wanted based on location not the name of her school.

On top of that 3 years is a long time wherever you attend school you are going to get an apartment, make friends, possibly enter a romantic relationship and essentially build a life in the City you attend law school in. If you like Denver want to work in Denver then go to law school in Denver it is that easy.

2 Cost
Cost is something to consider as well and if you have a scholarship at Denver then that is great. Particularly if you can live with your parents or at the very least stop by your parents house for some free dinners, laundry, etc.  I am not sure if you are from Denver I am just assuming you are.

On top of that graduating with 0 debt is awesome, BUT beware of the scholarship conditions. Often there will be some condition of maintaining a 3.0 or something, which is very difficult to do in law school. I am sure in UG you got a 3.0 with ease, but law school is very different. There is a curve and generally only 35% of students can have a 3.0. 100% of 1L's are convinced they will be in the top 35% of the class, but you don't need to be a math major to see 65% will be disappointed. So if there are conditions be ready to lose the scholarship it is always a possibility, but you can negotiate for better terms.

3. Personal Feelings About School
Each school has a culture to it and make sure it fits your style. When I was OL I visited numerous schools and while in law school I participated in multiple mock trial competitions. Each school had a culture to it and there were some I liked and others I didn't, but that is my personal opinion. For example I loved Notre Dame University I am a huge Sports Fan, I like College Towns, I am Catholic, etc. Loved the culture there, but you might be Mormon and love BYU, just on and on. The only person that can determine whether YOU will like a school is yourself. So I highly recommend visiting the schools talking to professors, admins, current students, etc.

If you visit Washington & Lee and hate the campus it will be a long three years.

4. Reality of Legal Education
This may come as a surprise, but the education at every ABA school is the same. Your first year will consist of Torts, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Property, and Contracts. You might get Con Law & Crim Pro in Year 1 or Year 2 or some slight mixture of those courses, but you will take all of them. In these courses you will read Supreme Court Cases and the Supreme Court does not write separate opinions for different law schools. Instead whether you are at Denver or Washington & Lee you will read Palsgraff in Torts to learn proximate cause, You will read Pennoyer v. Neff in Civil Procedure to learn notice, You will read the hairy hand case in Contracts, so on and so forth.

So wherever you attend you will learn the same thing, which is why location and personal feelings about the school are so important.

5. Rankings
This is very important to realize and U.S. News is nothing more than a for profit magazine offering an opinion. They are more than welcome to offer an opinion, but they are not regulated by anyone and the formula used to rank schools make little to no sense. Furthermore, U.S. News ranks more than law schools for example they say Albuquerque, New Mexico is the best place to live. (link http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009 )

South Dakota is one of the top 10 places to retire in 2032 http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-best-life/2012/08/07/here-are-the-best-places-to-livein-2032 .

Are you going to move to New Mexico right now because a magazine said so? I hope not. Or are you going to start looking into property because U.S. News says it is the best place to retire in 2032? I hope not. They have reasons for the rankings, but making a life altering decision based on what a magazine says doesn't make a lot of sense. If had no desire to live in New Mexico I imagine this link did not push it to the top of your list. Therefore, use the same logic for law school. It is something to consider, but DO NOT make it the main basis of your decision.

The intern we have lost a year of life with her family, friends, and now pays full tuition for USF. She could have had a full scholarship and started working for our office her 1L summer. She choose rankings above her common  sense and regrets it. It is certainly correctable her life is by no means ruined she is a great kid, but her situation is a classic example of why making a life altering decision based on a magazine is a bad idea.

CONCLUSION:
Neither I or anyone else can tell you the right decision. If you had a crystal ball to know how it would turn out it would be easy. Maybe W & L will be an awesome experience for you and Denver will be awful, but all you can do is really look into the situation and get information from people with direct experience with the school. However, I strongly encourage you to not make a life altering decision based solely on what some unregulated for-profit magazine thinks.

176
There are numerous options and I won't sugarcoat starting out as a solo practioner is difficult, but what in life isn't.

However, if you go to law school it is intense! You will not be able to juggle all these different businesses as a 1L you will need to put the brakes on those businesses or find someone to run it for you.

If you want to be a solo CUNY is one of the best options out there. It is CHEAP one of the few schools to offer in-state tuition and if you qualify for that you have options.

As for respect that is something you do get as a lawyer. You know a lot of things and people will seek your advice it is one of the things that employment statistics don't show, but one of the things I truly love about being an attorney.

Nobody can say what the right choice is, but first step is to get an LSAT score and see if law school is even an option. If you end up with a 142 then the options out.

177
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Suffolk Law
« on: March 11, 2013, 10:50:11 PM »
Maintain gives some great analysis U.S. rankings as a whole are not very important in the real world and specialty rankings are even less important. Remember that U.S. News is nothing more than a for profit magazine offering an opinion. They are entitled to their opinion, but I will never understand why OL's make life altering decisions based upon it.  U.S. News ranks more than law schools Albuquerque, New Mexico is the best place to live. http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009 (there is the link.

South Dakota is in the top 10 of best places to retire in 2032 http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-best-life/2012/08/07/here-are-the-best-places-to-livein-2032. I imagine you are nobody with common sense is going to move to Alberqueue based soley on what U.S. News say or start retiring in 2032 soley because U.S. News says so. They have reasons for their ranking, but to many OL's blindly look at this magazine and make life altering decisions based on it, which is a terrible idea.

The reality of law school is that whether an individual succeeds or not is far more up to them than the name on their degree. I went to a mediocre school at best then passed the bar and got a job as an attorney, which I love. The name of my law school never comes up in court, when I am in meetings, etc it is up to me to get stuff done. That is the job of an attorney and ABA school will get you a law license. It is an uphill battle to start a career in any profession and law is no different.

As for lawschooltransparency and their stats I am all for their mission, but you have to realize the statistics are not that accurate and they have an agenda. For example when I graduated, passed the bar, and was employed as a lawyer I never felt out my school's survey because I just didn't get around to it. So I was listed as an unreported and by LST's logic means I was unemployed, which was not the case I was just lazy as many people are. I imagine if your undergrad wrote asked you to fill out a survey giving all your personal information etc you might not fill it out either because you were busy or just didn't feel like sharing that info. That is assuming you maintained the appropriate contact information with the school.

On top of that it takes a long time to find a job as an attorney. One thing to realize in California for example is that you graduate in May, but you get bar results in November this means you cannot possibly find a job as a licensed attorney until 6 months after graduation.  Realistically most people do not hire during November or December either so you really cannot start looking for a job until January, which is 8 months after graduation. That is assuming you pass the first time and even schools like UCLA had 60 people fail the first time so those people cannot find jobs as attorneys period.

The bottom line is LST's mission is great, but the numbers are flawed. On top of that it does not account for the numerous personal situations that people encounter. For example in my class one guy's dad died during the bar exam he had to postpone until the February bar to get his estate in order etc. He found a job, but not until May of the next year when he passed the February bar. Another example is one guy I know passed the bar and got offered a job as a D.A., but he smoked pot and failed his drug test. Another girl was just exorbitantly rich and was never going to work period and another person just went to law school and had no intention of taking the bar. Those are just a few examples and LST does not account for those factors.

The bottom line is if you get licensed as a lawyer you CAN find a job as a lawyer, but it is hard. It was not easy for me I probably sent out 400+ resumes and got 4-5 interviews 3 rejections there and 2 job offers when I got bar results. It sucked to find a job, but I did it and almost everyone of my law school friend's did. This can occur at Suffolk, Western New England, Harvard, whatever it may be.

So bottom line if you really want to be a lawyer then Suffolk can work, but law school is nowhere near as glamorous or lucrative as T.V. makes it out to be. I personally love my job as an attorney, but I am not making a ton of money. Law school is not a great financial investment there are much lucrative paths to take, but if you really want to be a lawyer then it can be a great gig.

178
Well first thing to realize is that when making a life altering decision as to whether or not to attend law school do not take advice from anonymous internet posters on this board or others myself included to seriously. Furthermore, websites on the internet have little credibility as well. I think Michael Scott from the Office does a good job of explaining why this is true (a little humor  :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFBDn5PiL00

With that said I will you I went to law school passed the bar and love my job. I did not go to a top law school and got a 157 on the LSAT, but your LSAT score has no indication on whether you will enjoy being a lawyer.

From your post it sounds like you are going to law school, because you think no other options exist. I will tell you that is a bad idea starting any career is difficult right now you have a B.A. in History it will be difficult to find a job, but you can find one. When you graduate from law school the same thing occurs people don't actively recruit you it is hard to start a career as a lawyer, businessman, history professor, etc. There is no route to a golden ticket so do not attend law school simply because you do not know what else to do. You will simply pay 100,000+ and spend three years of your life to be back in this same situation you are now having to look for a job, which sucks no matter what field you are in.

With that said if you want to be a lawyer and are capable of pulling a 170+ on the LSAT you can get a great scholarship at numerous schools.  I know plenty of lawyers myself included who are very happy and plenty that are absolutely miserable and whether you will enjoy it is a highly personal decision.

What I would recommend in your situation is to try and find a job at a law office. Be a paralegal or legal assistant for a year.  If your busy running the family business see if you can volunteer at a legal-aid clinic or possibly work part-time for a lawyer.  There is always work in a law office that can be done and you can talk to lawyers and see what the profession is about. I will tell you it is nowhere near as glamorous or lucrative as T.V. makes it out to be, but it can be a very rewarding career if you know what you are getting into.

Conclusion

In my anonymous internet poster opinion I recommend taking the LSAT seeing what score you get. Until you have an official score you cannot get into any law school. Once you have the LSAT score you don't need to enroll in law school right away and you can work for a law office or legal clinic and try it out. If you love it and want to pursue a legal career you have the LSAT score and can proceed. If you find being a lawyer is not for you then you are not obligated to enroll you will be out $100 for the LSAT fee and you will have saved yourself 3 years and 100,000 + dollars.

However, DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT go to law school simply because you do not know what else to do. No matter what profession you are in finding your first job is really difficult and starting as a lawyer is no different. Good luck.


179
I think there are many OL's and I always encourage anyone on this board or others to not take what they read from anonymous internet posters like ourselves seriously as we can write anything we want.

With that said I think plenty of people are happy with law school and plenty are miserable. I believe Maintain hit the nail on the head when he said that law students have unrealistic expectations. First if your goal is to work in Big Law then go to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, or bust and even then there is no guarantee it will happen. I will say that I went to a mediocre law school, but had realistic expectations. I got a large scholarship to keep my debt low, worked in government positions during law school, and got a job as a City Attorney after passing the bar. I love my job as a lawyer, but I am not ever going to be driving a Ferrari or own a beach house in Malibu. I do get to bust crack houses, be in the paper, and do exciting stuff that I enjoy and I am very glad to have attended law school, but I was realistic with my expectations.

OP also makes a great point that everyone in law school is smart and do not count on being in the top 10% of your class. 100% of people cannot be in the top 10%, but I know everyone on my first day of law school thought they would be in the top 10%, but you don't need to be math major to see how that works out. I think you can apply the same logic to big law only about 5% of lawyers work in Big Law as OP does and therefore if as a OL it is your job to work in big law there is a 95% chance it won't happen. However, if you really want to be a lawyer and have some cause you believe in that law school can be a great career, but one thing law is NOT is an easy way to get rich. If money is your main goal law school is not a good choice.

180
Law School Applications / Re: Law school projections?
« on: March 10, 2013, 12:12:09 AM »
To the OP I highly recommend taking the LSAT and getting an official score before considering law schools. I cannot tell you how many people I know who get 170 on their practice LSAT's, but somehow the test never gets taken. Whatever you do on the practice doesn't really mean anything I hope you get a 170 hell a 180, but the odds of that happening are low.

Take the LSAT get a score and see what your options realistically are. Right now you are putting the cart in front of the horse so take the LSAT get a score and know what your options are. Good luck on the LSAT.

As for your work experience that means very little it doesn't hurt, but law school admissions is a numbers game first and foremost. Maybe if you had done something like been a professional athlete, a Navy Seal, or something else that would get you in the headlines it might matter, but almost every OL has worked in a law firm in some capacity. It doesn't hurt obviously, but Stanford is not going to go oh my goodness look at this applicant 4 years at a law firm we have to let him in. There are thousands upon thousands of applicants it sounds like you are doing the right things, but your numbers will be what gets you into law school.

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