Law School Discussion

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Messages - livinglegend

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201
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Too Many Good Choices
« on: February 24, 2013, 09:42:17 PM »
First off realize that anything you read on this board or others comes from anonymous internet posters who know nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you. Furthermore, as an anonymous internet poster you have no idea if I am the valedictorian of Harvard or some bum in a public library with a heroin needle in my arm. I can tell you that I am a law school graduate, who passed the bar, and works as an attorney, but you have no idea if that is true or not.

From my experience I can tell you when choosing a law school I think there are 5 things any OL should consider in this order. (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feelings about the School (4) Reality of Legal Education (5) and if those factors don't point you in the right direction use U.S. News as a tiebreaker, DO NOT make it your main priority when choosing a law school. Below is some analysis of why these factors matter.

LOCATION
Your school choices are all over the country Arizona, Houston, Georgia, etc remember that law school does not exist in a vacuum and you will be spending three years of the prime of your life in whatever city you attend law school in. Arizona is a desert it will be hot as hell everyday and you will leave in a college town. Florida the same humid as hell and Gainesville is a small college town. Houston is a fairly big city and your experience at these three schools will be entirely different.

Furthermore, whatever school you attend is where you will find an apartment, likely enter into a relationship, make friends, get internships etc. When you are done there is a high likelihood that is where you will remain after graduation. Florida law school does not have connections in Arizona and even if they did an Arizona firm is not going to fly out a recent grad from Florida for an interview and as a broke graduate or law student you will not have the money to fly out to Arizona for an interview and even if you did they are far more likely to hire from Arizona schools than someone from Florida. If you wanted to be in Florida and you were in Arizona the same would be true, just really understand LOCATION IS THE BIGGEST FACTOR WHEN CHOOSING YOUR SCHOOL SINCE THAT IS WHERE YOU WILL LIKELY BE SPENDING THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

COST
This is a secondary consideration and if you have scholarship money at some schools check the conditions. Often it will say something like you need to have a 3.0 to maintain your scholarship, but generally you need to be in the top 35% to have a 3.0 and in law school 100% of people think they will be in the top 35%, but you don't need to be a math major to see how that turns out.

There are also some schools, which offer in-state tuition I know Florida does and Arizona State might be another one that costs only 15,000 a year and if you think Arizona or Florida are places you could live then go for it.

PERSONAL FEELINGS ABOUT THE SCHOOL
Another thing to realize is that each school has a culture to it and whether you like that culture or not is up to you. When I was a OL and a law student participating in mock trial competitions I encountered numerous schools some I liked others I hated, but just because I liked or hated one school doesn't mean you will. I can almost guarantee you and I have numerous different views and you will like or dislike a certain school based on factors unique to you. Since the law school you choose is a life altering decision I highly recommend you visit the schools and see which school fits your style.

REALITY OF LEGAL EDUCATION
Another thing to understand is that legal education is exactly the same no matter what ABA school you attend. Your first year will consist of Torts, Criminal Law, Contracts, Property, and Civil Procedure. In these courses you will read Supreme Court cases in Torts you will learn proximate cause in the Palsgraff case, in Civil Procedure you will learn about notice in Pennoyer v. Neff and personal jurisdiction in International Shoe.  The Supreme Court does not write separate opinions for different schools and whether you are attending Wake Forest or Arizona State you will be learning the same exact thing.

U.S. News Ranking
To many OL's make life altering decisions based on this magazine, but remember that is all this is a for-profit, private, unregulated magazine, offering an opinion. U.S. News says New Mexico is the best place to live right and South Dakota will be the best place to live in 2032

http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-best-life/2012/08/07/here-are-the-best-places-to-livein-2032

Now I imagine you are not going to New Mexico based on what U.S. News thinks or start planning retirement in South Dakota. U.S. News has reasons for choosing these places, but I wouldn't make a life altering decision by moving to either of these places because U.S. News says so. U.S. News ranking of law school is no different they have their reasons for choosing schools and maybe if Harvard, Yale, or Stanford were on your list then consider it, but all these schools are fine and whatever their rank is means very little.

CONCLUSION:
Also as to Anti's point plenty of lawyers do start out making 40-60k, but this number goes up drastically in a few years with experience. There are also plenty of people who start out making 80-100k and whether you succeed as a lawyer is going to depend a lot more on you than whatever school you attend.

Also congrats on all your acceptances I wish you success as you embark on your legal career.

202
Transferring / Re: Admitted to Appalachian but I want to go to Uconn
« on: February 24, 2013, 04:41:04 PM »
To Blue yes most recent law graduates do not know how to file complaints or do anything complicated. However, I cannot think of any other profession that produces ready to go people right out of school. For example I am a City Attorney there are cops who have their first day, fire fighters, building inspectors, etc. Who have their first day out of whatever school/academy they came from and the cop on his first day out of the Police Academy does not know how to do a lot of things and they will not send the rookie cop in by himself to take down the biggest meth lab in town. Like every other profession it will take time for the cop to get good at his job and obtaining experience as a lawyer is no different.

I could go on would you want a doctor to perform their first real surgery on you? No, but every doctor has to go through that. Would you want the house your architect is designing to be their first home? No, but every architect has their first project. I could go on and on with examples and the bottom line is in any profession the person will have their first (experience) and probably not be very good when they start out. Even Lebron James was a rookie and didn't make the playoffs his first year, but look at him now.

Also to become a police officer is difficult, fire fighters, etc. I talk to the recruiting people in charge of those positions all the time they are inundated with resumes and applicants for one or two spots. My overall point is law is really no different than any other profession and it will be hard to start a career that is worthwhile in any profession. Therefore, if OP really wants to be a lawyer then he/she should go to law school there will be challenges and it is expensive, but if being a lawyer is what they want to do then they should go for it.

However, if you know of some profession where they are hiring like crazy, that pays exorbitant amounts of money, and isn't to stressful I am sure plenty of people on this board myself included would love to hear about it. Based on my experience that doesn't exist and whether OP goes to law school or pursues some other profession it will be difficult to start a career. 

It is true that if OP expects to transfer out of Appalachian that is not a good plan since they would need to be in the top 10-20% of the class to do so and there is an 80%-90% chance that will not happen. However, people find jobs right out of law school as 55% of your class did. From my experience in the legal profession finding a job has a lot more to do with the person than the name of the law school they went to. An employer particularly a law firm doesn't want a whiner or someone who says I can't do x or y.  To be a successful lawyer you have to overcome obstacles and basically get sh*t done. If you are going to spend time complaining about how hard it is to do x, y, z then you won't make much of a lawyer and probably shouldn't go into the profession.

So OP if you want to be a lawyer then go to law school. When you graduate and pass the bar do not expect anything to be handed to you it will take a lot of fighting and hard work to succeed as a lawyer, but if your up for that then enroll in law school. I wish you good luck in your legal career should you pursue that path.

203
Law School Applications / Re: Response time
« on: February 22, 2013, 04:48:57 PM »
A good place to check is lawschoolnumbers.com it is not 100 percent accurate, but at the very least you can see dates people were accepted for the past few years.

204
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Review my LOCI Thanks!
« on: February 20, 2013, 11:59:56 PM »
Looks good one other thing that is very helpful is scheduling visit and on the visit dress nice, by ready to answer questions, and just give a good impression. Treat it like a job interview and see what happens. There is no guarantee it will work and waitlists are an awkward position I was on one for a total of 8 months and they rejected me during my first week of law school officially. Pretty annoying, but I ended up loving the school I attended. I think your taking the right steps, but at some point there is only so much you can do.

205
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Where should I go?
« on: February 20, 2013, 11:06:49 PM »
As I stated before nobody knows better than you how you will handle moving away from home etc. Remember if you attend Syracuse you will be there for 3 years of your life. You will be stressed out as a 1L unable to make a quick trip home, you will not be able to just visit your friends, etc. Wherever you attend  law school will have a major impact on your experience and if you don't like Syracuse, NY I would highly recommend you do not attend law school there.

As for employment prospects none of these schools are going to result in employers tracking you down. They are all fine, but realistically I am sure the majority of lawyers in Syracuse, NY attended Syracuse Law School. The majority of lawyers in Harrisburg attended Widener, etc. I know Drexel is basically brand new, but again I am sure the majority of graduates are in Philadelphia. The reason for this is simple the professors live in these locations and have connections locally. A professor in Syracuse, NY is not going to Philadelphia Bar Association meetings to mingle with lawyers they are in Syracuse NY. Furthermore, employers in Harrisburg or Philadelphia are not going to send people to upstate New York to interview when they have law schools in their backyard. I could go on and on, but just apply common sense location matters above all else in this decision.

 If you were debating between Stanford and Widener then maybe location could take a back seat, but even then I would encourage you to think about it, but these are all mediocre schools. Nothing wrong with them they will give a license to practice law and it will be up to you to succeed as a lawyer. So many 0L's and law students think the name of their school means so much, but realistically being a lawyer is much more art than science. You will need to persuade people and get a result. There are numerous ways to get the result you want and if you are good at getting sh** done you will be a good lawyer no matter what school you attend. The name of the school on your diploma won't really make that big of a difference.

If you don't believe me then go into a courthouse and watch some hearings. You have a constitutional right to do so and watch the attorneys go. Some will be amazing, others ok, while others will be terrible. You will never hear a law school name be mentioned in court either there will be millions of dollars on the line, someone possibly going to prison, or some serious sh** going down. Some lawyers will persuade you and others you will think are idiots that is it.

One other thing really look at the scholarship offers and conditions as I suggested before. I also encourage you to negotiate for more money or better scholarship conditions.  Even if you don't get anything you have nothing to lose the law schools want you to enroll and you are in a everything to gain nothing to lose situation. It will also be a good exercise in negotiating and seeing your ability to get sh** done, which is the skill you will need to be a lawyer.

Alright enough out of me, but being someone who has never met you and knows nothing about you other than a few posts on the internet if you want to take my advice on a life altering decision I would rule Syracuse out, but I am some guy on the internet so take my advice or anyone else on this board or others with a grain of salt.

206
Statistics are not people so you are right they cannot lie, but they can be highly inaccurate. However, 50% of the time statistics are right every time :) . Lets take law school statistics for these schools and see how two different reports on the same school for the same year show entirely different results. 

Hofstra's LSAC reports indicates their 2012 class had  a 94% employment rate that is a statistic http://www.lsac.org/lsacresources/publications/2012og/aba2295.pdf

Law School Transparency says 75% are employed http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=hofstra&show=chars

Which one is right? Both of these sites have agendas and it is not surprising the numbers slide in their favor. If you actually become a lawyer and litigate a case you will see two "experts" say the exact opposite thing using statistics.

With that said I am a fan of law school transparency and shedding some reality, but as I stated above their report is not Gospel. Furthermore, finding a job is very personal to the individual I can tell you there were some people that were complete morons at my school who I would not trust to feed my cat and certainly would never want to be my lawyer.  One guy just didn't show up for interviews he would get and if he did show up he wouldn't bring in a resume or dress for the job. If you went to Harvard and conducted yourself in that manner your not getting hired.

I could continue discussing it, but the bottom line is if you go to law school, graduate, and pass the bar you are a lawyer. What you do with your license to practice law and how successful you are depends a lot more on yourself than any school name printed on your diploma



207
Where should I go next fall? / Re: I can't decide!
« on: February 20, 2013, 10:24:24 PM »
Could not agree more the rankings hold some weight, but if someone wants to live in New York then go to law school in New York. Attending BYU even if it is a top 50 something school is not going to do you any favors getting a job in New York. You would honestly be better off attending New York Law School, Brooklyn, or another mid level school if you wanted to be in New York.

The same applies nationwide it is really quite simple go to law school in the location you want to live. Somehow 0L's make it so much more complicated than that and make life altering decisions based on a magazine.

208
Law School Applications / Re: What are your thoughts?
« on: February 18, 2013, 11:35:32 PM »
Happy to help what schools are you considering? I am a lawyer in California and am pretty familiar with most schools in the area if you want any specific information regarding individual law schools feel free to personal message me or post here again. Good luck in your legal career.

209
I will have to rebut Anit's statement and remember law school transparency is not exactly gospel. Furthermore, it only reports attorney salaries right after graduation and although it is true most lawyers start out making 40-60k,  after a few years of experience this number jumps significantly.

As for the 50% chance of working as a lawyer there are number of reasons for these numbers. One being not everyone reports all their info to their school when I graduated, passed the bar, and was working I simply never filled out the survey. I should have filled it out and meant to do it, but I didn't. There is no penalty for not submitting your paperwork it is completely voluntary and I think I like many people I didn't feel like spending my free time filing out an employment survey. 

On top of that there are a number of people who do not pass the bar, which often has a lot more to do with the individual than anything related to the school. If you don't pass the bar you can't work as a lawyer and even schools like Harvard do not have 100% bar passage rates. Even further still there a number of people who won't get hired because of their personality or other issues. For example I knew a guy in law school who got hired as a D.A, but he failed his drug test. The guy had a cocaine problem, which not the school's fault he. The guy graduated, passed the bar, but had a substance abuse problem. He couldn't get a job because of his personal cocaine problem and it was noting related to the school. Further still there are number of people who go to law school and simply don't want to be lawyers. Some people are extremely wealth and just want the intellectual challenge or want to go into business etc.

Bottom line is these employment numbers should be considered, but  you have realize there are far from full-proof. I went to a mediocre school and was offered a job right the day after getting bar results. This was not that long ago and I know plenty of people that also got jobs. However, I can tell you I was stressed out for 3 years about finding a job during law school and  in California you wait 4 months for bar results so after graduation I went 3 months of studying for the bar and another 4 months of waiting for results before I could work. Not to mention you get your results the week of Thanksgiving and realistically most employers do not hire around the Holiday season and the majority of my classmates did not get jobs until January. This was more than 9 months after graduation, but you can see why this 9 month number is flawed, because almost jobs depend on bar results, which you don't have until 7-8 months after graduation. Once you receive those results it will generally take a month or two to find a job.

I could go on and on, but the reality is many people do find legal jobs, but like any profession finding a job is difficult & stressful. If you really want to be a lawyer then go to law school, but realize it is not a guarantee of success, but the numbers you see from a lot of these places have a major agenda and are very skewed. I would highly recommend going to these different schools and contacting recent alumni. Many alumni are happy to talk about their experiences and you can gauge the credibility of the individuals yourself.

Good luck on your legal career should you choose that path.

210
I will have to rebut Anit's statement and remember law school transparency is not exactly gospel. Furthermore, it only reports attorney salaries right after graduation and although it is true most lawyers start out making 40-60k,  after a few years of experience this number jumps significantly.

As for the 50% chance of working as a lawyer there are number of reasons for these numbers. One being not everyone reports all their info to their school when I graduated, passed the bar, and was working I simply never filled out the survey. I should have filled it out and meant to do it, but I didn't. There is no penalty for not submitting your paperwork it is completely voluntary and I think I like many people I didn't feel like spending my free time filing out an employment survey.

On top of that there are a number of people who do not pass the bar, which often has a lot more to do with the individual than anything related to the school. If you don't pass the bar you can't work as a lawyer and even schools like Harvard do not have 100% bar passage rates. Even further still there a number of people who won't get hired because of their personality or other issues. For example I knew a guy in law school who got hired as a D.A, but he failed his drug test. The guy had a cocaine problem, which not the school's fault he. The guy graduated, passed the bar, but had a substance abuse problem. He couldn't get a job because of his personal cocaine problem and it was noting related to the school. Further still there are number of people who go to law school and simply don't want to be lawyers. Some people are extremely wealth and just want the intellectual challenge or want to go into business etc.

Bottom line is these employment numbers should be considered, but  you have realize there are far from full-proof. I went to a mediocre school and was offered a job right the day after getting bar results. This was not that long ago and I know plenty of people that also got jobs. However, I can tell you I was stressed out for 3 years about finding a job during law school and  in California you wait 4 months for bar results so after graduation I went 3 months of studying for the bar and another 4 months of waiting for results before I could work. Not to mention you get your results the week of Thanksgiving and realistically most employers do not hire around the Holiday season and the majority of my classmates did not get jobs until January. This was more than 9 months after graduation, but you can see why this 9 month number is flawed, because almost jobs depend on bar results, which you don't have until 7-8 months after graduation. Once you receive those results it will generally take a month or two to find a job.

I could go on and on, but the reality is many people do find legal jobs, but like any profession finding a job is difficult & stressful. If you really want to be a lawyer then go to law school, but realize it is not a guarantee of success, but the numbers you see from a lot of these places have a major agenda and are very skewed. I would highly recommend going to these different schools and contacting recent alumni. Many alumni are happy to talk about their experiences and you can gauge the credibility of the individuals yourself.

Good luck on your legal career should you choose that path.

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