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Messages - aslaw505

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Acceptances, Denials, and Waitlists / Re: Penn State and Syracuse
« on: December 20, 2007, 05:00:29 PM »
I don't know much about the trial advocacy program unfortunately, except that we have a bunch of moot court teams and a number of in-house clinics where students get to represent clients as 3L's. Here's the blurb from the website, in case you haven't found it on your own:

Trial Advocacy
The 30-year-old, award-winning trial advocacy program at Penn State Dickinson is one of the most accomplished and thorough programs of its kind nationwide. It is led by Professor Gary Gildin, 1999 winner of the Jacobson Award for outstanding teaching in trial advocacy and Director of the Miller Center for Public Interest Advocacy.

Preparation for the lawyer's role as advocate begins in the first year of study. Students take courses that teach them the fundamental analytical tools that ground “thinking like a lawyer.” Some of these courses, including Civil Procedure and Lawyering Skills, also introduce students to concepts, rules and skills especially relevant to litigation. In addition, first-year students can elect to participate in an intraschool competition that gives them the opportunity to conduct a trial. Professional Responsibility, which is generally taken in the second year, offers students a window into ethical issues that may arise for all lawyers, including those serving as advocates. The upper-level course of Evidence, which is a co-requisite for Advocacy I, teaches fundamental evidentiary rules governing trials and their application. Other upper-level courses — such as Advanced Legal Research, Appellate Practice, Civil Liberties Litigation, Client Counseling, Federal Courts, Field Placement Clinics, In-House Clinics, International Litigation and Arbitration, Negotiation, Pennsylvania Criminal Law Practice, Pennsylvania Practice, Post-Conviction Process, Remedies, Writing and Editing for Lawyers, Writing Workshop and others — also have particular relevance in training legal advocates.

In the third year of study, Penn State Dickinson offers the centerpiece of its Trial Advocacy curriculum — dedicated training in fundamental pretrial and trial advocacy skills in Advocacy I and Advocacy II. Professor Gildin leads these courses and is assisted by a carefully-selected team of experienced lawyers and judges who serve as one-on-one evaluators and mentors. The courses capture the rigor, excitement and tension of real-life litigation. Students learn key elements of civil and criminal litigation, practice them in a logical progression, receive weekly feedback, and ultimately take a case from inception to trial. Students and faculty even gather in the courtrooms of the county courthouse for their small group section meetings. Advanced Pre-Trial Advocacy — taught by an experienced civil litigator — is also available to third-year students for a specific focus on the pre-trial phase that often dominates and concludes litigation.

In combination, these courses provide students with the skills they will need to walk into any courtroom upon graduation and responsibly represent clients involved in civil and criminal litigation. Upper-level students also may gain valuable experience through participation in the intraschool trial competition which can lead to representation of Penn State Dickinson in the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Gourley and National Trial competitions. Qualified students also may be chosen to represent Penn State Dickinson on other moot court teams.

Acceptances, Denials, and Waitlists / Re: Penn State and Syracuse
« on: December 19, 2007, 08:05:27 PM »
You must have had a pretty impressive application, because $20,000 a year is a very high scholarship amount for PSU (at least compared with what people got last year). Congrats!

I don't happen to know the average salary off the top of my head. I'm sure it's listed on US News or a similar rankings web site.

Acceptances, Denials, and Waitlists / Re: Penn State and Syracuse
« on: December 19, 2007, 07:24:06 PM »
So I just typed a very detailed reply to your post, and then something weird happened with my computer and it all disappeared...grrr...

DSL has a great mentor program. It's not limited to gov't or to PA, but there are a lot of mentors who happen to be in Harrisburg and who happen to work either in the judiciary or in state or gov't. I just got matched up with a judge in Harrisburg, actually - he's a great guy, very helpful. DSL also has a field placement program that includes a lot of gov't positions. I'll see if I can get you a list (it's on the website, but I think it's on the secured portion, so you probably can't access it). I plan to do a field placement next year. They're similar to internships you might do over the summer, but you get credit for them, and they're positions that are reserved for DSL students. I imagine they're a great way to make connections and get a foot in the door.

Aside from those programs (and I'm sure there are more that I don't know about), I think the greatest assets here are the alumni network and the Career Services Office. This area is really dominated by DSL alums, and they're very willing to help DSL students. The CSO is also quite helpful - they've got a lot of connections in state government and in the judiciary.

Again, I'm only a 1L, so I have limited experience with the legal job search. From what I've heard though, if you want to work in central PA, a JD from Dickinson will help A LOT.

Acceptances, Denials, and Waitlists / Re: Penn State and Syracuse
« on: December 19, 2007, 05:30:45 PM »
Yes, the scholarship is over 3 years - $18,000 per year.

I largely chose PSU because of the location. I was already living in South Central PA - my husband and I own a home here and we didn't want to move and make him give up his job. We will likely remain in this area after I'm done with law school. So my decision was largely based on personal reasons. That being said, I'm very happy with DSL. The school has a great sense of community. The faculty are impressive and very accessible. And despite what many people on here would have you believe, my fellow students are actually quite intelligent and hard-working.

It is very easy to take classes at the other campus (although as a 1L, you have to take all your classes at one place). We have a pretty sophisticated video-conferencing system, and prof's frequently travel from campus to campus (so even if you're in a videoconferenced course, you'll likely be taught in person for at least some of the class sessions). The campus "specialties" are largely based on location - for instance, it makes a lot of sense to study sports law at the PSU main campus, and Carlisle is generally a better option for people interested in gov't work because of its proximity to the state capital.

Acceptances, Denials, and Waitlists / Re: Penn State and Syracuse
« on: December 18, 2007, 04:06:06 PM »
I got to PSU-DSL in Carlisle. Just finished my first semester. Ask away.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: law school loans
« on: August 08, 2007, 10:54:21 AM »
I'm not an expert on this, but I don't think your credit really matters when it comes to Stafford loans, so that should help you a bit. You will most likely need a cosigner for alternative loans.

Maybe look at William and Mary

Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Re: cold feet
« on: July 31, 2007, 08:19:51 AM »
I think it's normal to get cold feet when you're giving up a current job. I haven't been out of school as long as you have, but I get nervous too - sometimes it just seems easier to stay where I am than to suffer through 3 years of intense schooling and incur more debt. You have to think about why you wanted to go to law school in the first place, though. I was actually thinking about writing a letter to myself about all the reasons I have for pursuing a legal education, and then reviewing it when times get tough and I begin to doubt myself this fall (because I'm sure that will happen at least once).

Oh, sure....I'll read it. I'll PM you with my e-mail address.

Law School Admissions / Re: Anything Wrong With This?
« on: July 25, 2007, 07:26:11 AM »
Just to play the devil's assistant director of admissions told me that they have rejected people before for not really challenging themselves. The example she gave was a native Spanish speaker who majored in Spanish. However, if you've done pretty well in your more difficult classes, a GPA boost probably wouldn't hurt (especially since it sounds like they'd be in addition to your regular course work). Be careful though - online classes have a reputation for being easy, but some are actually quite difficult - sometimes professors overcompensate for the online factor.

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