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Messages - livinglegend

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: I want to be a...
« on: January 15, 2013, 10:31:44 PM »
Well first off realize that most people that spend time knocking things anonymously on the internet are really not worth listening to and realistically anything you read on boards such as this or others coming from anonymous internet posters myself included should be taken with a grain of salt. Michael Scott gives a good explanation of why that is true a little humor for you.

In regards to the specific situation if you want to be a prosecutor in New York I think CUNY is your best bet. They are one of the few schools that offer in-state tuition and as Jack mentioned the best thing you can do is get out of law school with minimal debt. CUNY is only about 10,000 per year or so and you don't have to worry about scholarship conditions.

There are also other factors to consider when choosing a law school and I have posted these factors in other threads in more detail, but my two cents is these are the factors you should consider (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feelings about the school (4) The reality of legal education & specialty programs. (5) U.S. News Rankings as a tie breaker these is something to consider, but don't let a for-profit, unregulated magazine, be the basis of a life altering decision. 

Another thing I think you should also realize many of the numbers produce from law schools are not very in depth and should not really be considered. Employed what does that really mean furthermore the reality is a reason for a lot of people not obtaining employment is not passing the bar, which many people even from Harvard don't do the first time around. As Jack mentioned Federal Clerkships will be damn near impossible to get, but to be a D.A. in some county somewhere if that is your goal and you pass the bar it can certainly happen.

Here are the reasons why the factors I mentioned above should be considered.

As others have stated and you seem to realize it is extremly important you go to law school in the area you want to live in after graduation. Law school is three years of your professional life and during that time you will likely make many friends, enter into a romantic relationship, get an apartment you like, and more importantly most of the internships etc you obtain will be in the area you attend law school.

This is extremly important and the best thing to do is get out with as little debt as possible. State schools offer that and I know CUNY in New York, Florida International in Miami, Univeristy of North Dakota, University of South Dakota, Wyoming, and a few others are less than 12k per year.

You may also get a huge scholarship from various other schools, but pay attention to the conditions on these often they will require you to obtain a 3.0 at the end of your first year and almost anyone that is offered a scholarship at an ABA school likely could get a 3.0 in college with minimal effort, but that is not the way law school works because of the curve. Generally speaking only 35% of the class can have a 3.0 at the end of first year and believe me 100% of people on the first day of law school are convinced they will be in the top 10% of the class, but as a finance major I imagine you can do the math and see what happens when 100% of people think they will be in the top 10%. If you lose that scholarship then you pay full price for years 2 and 3 which can be a lot I think Brooklyn for example if 40k or so per year so just be wary of any conditions on scholarships you recieve.

3) Personal Feelings about the school
I was accepted to numerous schools and visited them all prior to attending there were some I liked some I didn't and those were my personal feelings. You should visit all these schools and see the facilities, talk to professors, talk to the students, just get a sense of the place and see if it is a fit for you. This is very important because nobody knows what you like better than yourself. So make sure the school is a fit for you personally.

4) Reality of Legal Education & Speciality Programs
Every ABA law school teaches you the same exact thing first year is Torts, Civil Procedure, Property, Contracts, Criminal Law, and Constitutional Law. You will probably get use the Contracts book written by Eptsein a The Con Law Book written by Chemerinsky etc and in Torts you will read the Palsgraff Case, Civil Procedure Pennoyver v. Neff etc and what you learn will be the same.

You want to be in Public Interest and there are some schools that specailze in that, but realistically as a lawyer I still don't necessarily know what specializing in public interest means. They might have clinics etc, but to be a D.A. the best thing to do would be mock trial competitions so I might check out what schools are active in mock trial competitions, because that is some of the best stuff you can do in law school if you want to be a litigator.

5) U.S. News
So many 0L's take these way to seriously and don't realize it is a magazine offering an opinion nothing more. U.S. News also ranks Alberquue New Mexico as the best place to live, but you wouldn't move to New Mexico just because U.S. News says to. There may be numerous reasons for this ranking New Mexico might be a great place, but I am not going to make a life altering decision such as moving there because U.S. News said so. The same logic should apply when choosing a law school consider the rankings, but make it a minimal priority.

Knowing nothing about you other than a few paragraphs on the internet I think CUNY would be the best school, but I know nothing about you and I certainly couldn't say what is best for you and neither can any other anonymous internet poster. 

Also you are only in undergrad it sounds like your grades are good, but next is the LSAT before really considering any law schools I would take that test and see what your options are. You can think about different options all day and night, but until you have an LSAT score you don't really know what your options are.

What is it that the ABA has done wrong would be my question. There are only 200 ABA schools in a country of 300,000,000 people that doesn't seem to be excessive. Perhaps the cost of legal education is high, but there are numerous state schools that offer extremly low tuition. South Dakota, North Dakota, Florida International, CUNY, North Carolina Central, District of Columbia, West Virginia, University of Wyoming, University of Montana, to name a few all of which are under 12k a year with in-state residency.

There are quite a few law schools that charge far more in tuition, but nobody has a gun to a 0L's head requiring them to attend these schools. There are also plenty of jobs out there if one knows where to look for example the BYU Intercolegiate Job Bank has 1000's of job postings for recent grads and it is open to everyone username jobfind password fall2012 they change the password every few months, but if you e-mail them directly they gladly provide it for you.

I know numerous people who graduated from law school, passed the bar, and got jobs. I also know plenty of others who did not and for the most part it has a lot more to do with the individual than the school. One classic example is one guy got offered a job as a district attorney, but he failed his drug test is it is law school's fault that he was using drugs? To me that is the individual your law school does not control your personal life and if you want to be a D.A. and have a drug problem then it is up to you to fix it. A law school gets you a license to practice law what you do with that is up to you.

I don't think the ABA has as much control as you think you should probably be sending your message to the various state bars if all 50 states allow non-aba grads to take the bar exam then the ABA won't have much stay they are just what the state bars recognize as an accrediting agency.

As for the overall message I think there is a lot of good served by the traditional brick & mortal schools. Making friends in law school, having a centralized place for speakers, learning how to use traditional practice guides in real law libraries etc is often far superior to spending exorbiant amounts of money on Westlaw or Lexis. However, I am just some guy on the internet.

Transferring / Re: Transferring v. Reapplying
« on: January 11, 2013, 10:01:07 PM »
Yea KJW is right if I remember correctly you transferred from a school in the Midwest to the Bay Area which probably made a far bigger difference than any ranking. For example if you want to do IP law go to a school in the bay area that is where start-ups, major tech companies etc are located. Even if South Dakota has the best IP law program according to U.S. News few companies are going to bother interviewing someone in South Dakota when there are 7 ABA law schools in the bay area already.

Same goes for Entertainment law go to an ABA school in New York or L.A. and you can probably find a job somewhere in the entertainment industry as that is where entertainment law happens.

KJW is also write about the grades all law school exams are similar if you have mastered IRAC, Issue spotting, and analysis you will do well at any school. Here is President Obama's Con Law Exam from University of Chicago

Here is a law school exam from a Professor who teaches at a Tier 4, Tier 2, and Tier 1 law school in San Francisco all at the same time in San Francisco.

Here is his Tier 4 law school exam

Here is his Tier 1 law school exam,%20Peter/Constitutional%20Law%202/Keane,%20Peter%20-%20Constitutional%20Law%202%20-%202010%20Spring.pdf

They are both Con Law II exams dealing with Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion etc, Obama's deals with Equal Protection, Abortion, etc but they are all things you learn in Con Law at any ABA school whether it be University of Chicago or Cooley. If you understood the rules and how to IRAC at the Tier 1 or Tier 4 it would not make a difference. You would also be learning from the same exact professor, but somehow one school is quote on quote better and this may come as a surprise, but there are numerous duplicates like this at least in the Bay Area where the same professor teaches at Hastings, University of San Francisco, and Golden Gate. Yet somehow when your are reading the same textbook and learning from the same professor at Hastings it is somehow "better" than learning it at USF, because a magazine said so.

Western State College of Law / Re: oL at Western State
« on: January 11, 2013, 06:57:18 PM »
I know nothing about Western State never even visited the campus, but if you can't handle the pressure of a law school exam then your really going to struggle with the bar. I know attrition sounds bad, but having gone through the bar personally I can tell you 1L exams are an absolute cakewalk compared to the bar.

I don't imagine Western State requires people to get kicked out as that would make no sense if they think you are capable of passing the bar and you are paying them they will want you to succeed. However, if it does not appear you can handle 1L your much better of leaving then opposed to spending another two years of your life and 80,000 dollars to fail the bar. A J.D.without a license to practice law is really not that helpful in the real world.

I am not saying Western State is some pinnacle to legal education, but plenty of people attended Western State and are doing very well the head District Attorney of San Francisco is a Western State Grad, Head District Attorney of San Diego Western State Grad,

San Diego D.A. ( Bar Info)

San Francisco D.A>

I worked on a few cases in orange county and many of the city attorneys were Western State Grads and many were quite good. Bottom line is if you pass the bar from any school you are a lawyer it is extremly difficult to do though and realistically if you cannot handle 1L exams the bar is going to be literally impossible and your much better off getting out while your ahead.

Again I don't think Western State is some phenomenal school, but can get you a bar exam ticket and if you get a law license it is up to you to succeed with it. Sure going to Harvard will open more doors and attending Western State may close the door to becoming a Supreme Court Clerk, but not many people get those jobs anyways.

Just my two cents about the school having never been there, but I think that Western, Cooley, and many other schools get an unfair rap. If you think a law school exam is difficult when you are told exactly what the subject will be try balancing thirteen different ones for 3 days straight i.e. the California Bar Exam. Once you get into practice that isn't that tough either representing a client, getting objected to, being on time deadlines, etc is far more strenuous than the bar. The end of my rant  mercifully : ) and anyone that attends Western State good luck!

Groundhog is correct an upward curve is great, but in reality law schools look to the total numbers i.e. overall college GPA and LSAT. They are looking at thousands of applications and transcripts etc from personal experience I imagine when thousands of papers are on your desk and an overall number summarizes each one you still look straight to that number if you have a 4.0 and an LSAT score that is well over the numbers for X school, no criminal convictions, a resume not drawn in crayon, and a semi-coherent personal statement your in.

If on the other hand you have a 2.0 and 140 LSAT an outstanding resume and a touching personal statement your probably not getting in anywhere.

If your right on the cusp and I mean right on the cusp which I imagine 50 or so applications are every year they may take some real time to really analyze everything, but generally speaking it is all a numbers game.

Go to to see the reality of that. If you have done something exceptional i.e. Nobel Peace Prize, won the Heisman Trophy, were a Navy Seal, wrote a best-selling novel, or something along those lines the numbers may not play a big role, but 99.9% of people don't have anything that is something that will simply grab an admissions committees attention.

There are certainly pros & cons to attending a correspondence school.  First off law school is difficult and if your juggling extensive traveling with the study of law you may not do well. Also as I understand it every non-aba school requires you to take the first year law students exam already mentioned in this thread. I believe you get three chances to pass this and if you don't do it on the third try your out.  I went to an ABA school and do not know how easy or difficult this exam is, but I can tell you the California Bar Exam was extremely difficult I did pass it, but I studied 10 hours a day weekends included for 2 months straight to pass. 

What I would recommend you do is take the LSAT nothing to lose there if you do really well it is possible some of these correspodence schools will give you a significant scholarship, which could save you thousands of dollars.

Another thing to consider is that you live in Texas and although there is a lot of debate non-aba schools really only let you sit for the California Bar I know some exceptions exist, but if you plan on staying in Texas a J.D. without a Texas law license will not serve you that well.

If you really love to study law want to take a shot at it and are ok with spending a few thousand dollars knock yourself out. It may or may not work out and if your juggling a full-time job with extensive travel odds are against you not to say it can't work out, but it will be tough.

My personal belief is that if you want to be a lawyer you should go in 100% and go full-time I don't think part-time ends up working for the majority of people. Again, I know there are exceptions but just my two cents as an anonymous internet poster. If you are going to undertake something as rigourous as becoming a lawyer I think it is better to dedicate yourself to it. Generally speaking those that work and go part-time don't end up finishing, but this is not to say you cannot be the exception. Good luck whatever you decide.

I don't if it is very realistic to improve significantly as Niceone suggests it depends on what you do.  If it were easy to get a 170 or into Harvard many more people would do it. The LSAT can be learned and your score can be increased with crazy studying, but we could all have 6 pack Abs if everyone worked out for 2 hours a day and ate right still most people don't do that.

A 160 is pretty hard to get can it be done? Sure, but 80% of people who take the LSAT don't get it and those are usually college graduates motivated enough to take the LSAT it is a difficult test. I cannot tell you how many people say they get 160-170's on practice tests etc, but these people seem to always have an excuse for not taking the real test. It is hard and a lot of pressure it can be done, but if you really want to be a lawyer you can do with a 151 good luck.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Where should I go?
« on: January 11, 2013, 04:21:39 PM »
Well what you should do is go to each school's handbook here is the link for Widener's on page 85 of this you can see their curve and their mean grades range from 2.3 to 2.7 furthermore it is required that 10% of the class get a D+ in each class which seems pretty harsh to me. Widerner requires a 3.0 based on that it seems like you probably need to rank in the top 30% or so.

I tried to look for Duquesen's handbook, but couldn't find it in a 10 second google search I am sure it's there, but I don't feel like digging. You should go to every school you are interested look at the handbook then ask the admissions officers how many people keep their scholarship. They will tell you if you ask, but they are not going to go out of their way to explain things that will help them. Remember law school is a business and your a customer it is a semi-adversarial relationship in this negotation stage and get numbers don't be afraid to ask it is a 3 year 100,000 investment. If you were a buying house you would ask a lot of questions and do the same here.

Good luck to you!

Transferring / Re: Transferring v. Reapplying
« on: January 11, 2013, 03:57:07 PM »
Very good point Maintain I think a good option for anyone in the OP's position is to send out some transfer apps and then ask their current school for some scholarship money if they stay. The reality is transferring from a T3 like New York Law School to a T2 like Brooklyn Law School will not make much difference in your NY career prospects. There is already NYU, Colubmia, and Cornell in the area then Harvard & Yale a train ride away then plenty of people from University of Michigan, Stanford, Boalt, etc are eager to move to New York.  When compared to those schools there really is no difference between Brooklyn or NYLS. They are both fine schools i am sure, but the pedigree of Brooklyn is not going to open anymore doors realistically than NYLS. However, if you can get out of NYLS with 100,000 less debt then your better off getting out with less debt. If NYLS is not offering you any money then why not go to Brooklyn since you wouldn't even need to move cities and go to a Tier 2 instead it can't hurt.

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