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Messages - NeoElle

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Current Law Students / Contracts UGH...
« on: October 03, 2007, 09:15:56 AM »
I apologize if there have been similar threads that I just failed to catch in my LDS google search. 

However, I was unable to uncover a consensus as to a good contracts supplement-particularly one that covers damages with some level of competence. 

We began our semester with damages which may very well be why I'm so confused at this point, simply because we don't have any present concept about what it takes to form a contract yet we're already assessing damages for one.  But anywho, I'm in need of a supplemental source.

Any recommendations overall?


Current Law Students / Re: Note-taking software
« on: April 07, 2007, 07:58:46 PM »
OneNote was in the software bundle I got with my laptop.

I saw that it has a pretty cool recording feature where you can record a portion of the lecture right as you're taking notes and put the recording right next to your text.  2 questions though:

How long can you actually record (up to full lecture?) and
2, how realistic is it that you're gonna be able to obtain a quality recording with your teeny tiny laptop microphone ?

I've read quite a bit about the epidemic and it seems to be most prevalent in Corporate Law for obvious reasons. The most happy attorneys seem to be public defenders and prosecutors. I personally want to become a prosecutor, but the $51K starting salary a year doesn't seem too exciting especially with the law school debt. I would be making more as a police officer (because they have a strong union) and most officers around here just have a high school education. That is simply ridiculous.

On the other hand doing something like family law can get emotionally charged because many times you have to see the kids suffer as a result of your work.

It would be neat if both happy and unhappy attorneys would post on here and give us their points of view.

My father is an assistant homicide prosecutor in a crime plagued city, and absolutely loves his job because he knows that he is helping to put violent criminals behind bars. My father suffers from depression, and his first couple of years after graduating, his depression became so bad that he didn't work for 3 years. Once he finally got help, his first job was with a law firm. He absolutely hated it. He then opened a private practice,   and hated it. He eventually became a prosecutor, and it changed his life for good. Once a couch ridden depressed young man, he is now a vibrant professional who, 25 years later, loves getting up every day for work. He just put a gang member behind bars and received a letter from the mother of her murdered 18 year old son raving about what a great job he did and how they now pray for him and my father every day. It brought him to tears just knowing that he was able to help this family obtain some closure. He doesn't make a lot of money, but makes more than the average professional, has great job security...and in fact he said that he doesn't plan on retiring until his early 70's!

My friends father is a prominent real estate attorney in the same town in Northern, NJ. He makes a shitload of money, and when my friend mentioned to him that she was considering going to law school, he advised her otherwise. He has specifically told her that he hates his job but makes too much money to back out of it now. He just couldn't give up his lifestyle for the sake of having a more satisfying career.

The reason I bring all of this up, is that I've learned from this that I'm not going to put that much pressure on making money or having some big prestigious firm job. I will probably seek employment with a mid sized firm upon graduation as a learning experience. However, I'm not going to let debt, "prestige", or the possibility of being wealthy keep me employed in a job I hate. I think too many lawyers are hellbent on making the big bucks, and compromise their happiness for the sake of wealth and prestige. And even some of the financially successful lawyers might be depressed because they're not doing as well as they thought they would. I think these things lead to the depression, divorce, alcoholism, etc...that is so prevalent in our profession

If I can find a job where I make good money and love what I do, great. However, if I hate the firm life, I'm either going to hang a shingle or do some type of government work. If it means I'm only making $50K starting out, and can only climb up to $75K or so as a plateau...then so be it. The way I look at it is, I'd rather make the minimum payments on my loans for 30 years and enjoy life, than be like my friend's dad...unable to escape the drudgery of his job because he's grown accustomed to living a lavish lifestyle.

Speaking of depressing jobs...While I'm only 25, most of my friends my age, or a little older are stuck in crappy, dead end business jobs. The few of my friends without graduate degrees that actually like what they're doing aren't making much more than $35K. The ones that make more than that either openly admit that they hate what they do, or try to sugar coat what they're doing. I think the way to tell whether someone really likes what they're doing when they tell you they've found a "great career" is whether or not they actually provide examples of what they like doing (specific clients they've met with, who they've helped) vs. giving you a job description that you'd likely find on a company's vacancy website. For example, my friend got a job doing IT work for a pharmaceutical company, who when I asked him about his job, gave me a BS line that "It's a real professional atmosphere where I'm integrating their business information systems and coming up with integrative technological solutions for corporate problems"...which I translate as "I wear a shirt and tie to work despite being an IT female dog for my company...and the highlight of my week is when the hot girl from sales calls me when her Microsoft Excel crashes or when she can't locate a file on her hard drive"


What an informative post!!  Thank you so much for sharing some tidbits about your personal/professional life.  The problem with the legal profession as I see it is that there are just so many hurdles and necessarily evils that we have to go through in order to get to the fulfilling... wake-up-to-greet-each morning stuff. 

We have law school, then we have the necessary firm life (to pay loans and get enough of a nest egg to do what we really want to do).  Of course this is grossly oversimplified because this chunk alone will probably take 5-10 years depending on how much/quickly you can make enough to be satisfied with. 

We all foolishly/naievely write these sunny personal statements vying for seats in an incoming law school class about how we want to go out and put criminals behind bars and make a difference... but when do we realistically- between financial commitments and prestige whoring get the chance?   

Here's a clip from regarding "Poor Careers for 2006"

Poor careers for 2006
By Marty Nemko
Posted 1/5/06
Attorney. If starting over, 75 percent of lawyers would choose to do something else. A similar percentage would advise their children not to become lawyers. The work is often contentious, and there's pressure to be unethical. And despite the drama portrayed on TV, real lawyers spend much of their time on painstakingly detailed research. In addition, those fat-salaried law jobs go to only the top few percent of an already high-powered lot.

Many people go to law school hoping to do so-called public-interest law. (In fact, much work not officially labeled as such does serve the public interest.) What they don't teach in law school is that the competition for those jobs is intense. I know one graduate of a Top Three law school, for instance, who also edited a law journal. She applied for a low-paying job at the National Abortion Rights Action League and, despite interviewing very well, didn't get the job.

Hey Texasranger.  I find your comments gel very much with common sense notions of what it takes to be fulfilled in life.  My take is that if our respective job(s) utilize our knowledge and expertise in such a way that it helps someone out of a dark, hopeless situation- we feel like we're making a difference.  And unfortunately the higher we climb up the firm life corporate ladder, the more out of touch and unsure we become with the reality of how/if we're making a "difference." 

What's so sad is that money completely discourages those of us that could be phenomenal public servants but just can't due to huge financial commitments associated with family, loans etc. 

I was watching Chief Justice John Roberts answer a question posed to him while lecturing at Northwestern University Law School earlier this year and found his comments on this issue interesting.   

Question posed:  How do you respond to criticism that judges are getting paid too much money? 

Chief Justice Roberts Answer (paraphrased):  However much it sounds like they will be making, they will in fact be making far less than what they could- working in public service.  The very reason we are having trouble recruiting and maintaining talented/dedicated individuals for the federal bench is because they simply cannot afford to keep up with their past/present financial obligations when they make 2-3x more with their current employer.     

Current Law Students / Re: casearc program vs. ohio state
« on: March 31, 2007, 09:44:14 PM »
There seems to be a consensus that ohio state is a better law school than case western.  Why is this? I am trying to decide b/w the two schools. Even if osu is the better school would i be better off going to case ie: greater chance to make law review?

I know there was a controversy regarding the casarc program, does anyone know what it was about?

Are you joking me?  Go to OSU!  Look at my post history (BOTH HERE AND ON THE PRE-LAW BOARD) and you'll see why I chose it.  Plus hello, if you want to talk rankings look who just jumped 8 spots and Case is what 53rd?? I realize that anything outside the T14 sometimes gets lumped together but c'mon 20+spots and you're seriously considering that much of a lower ranked school?!       

jrut, I am mesmerized by your prose.        


What..?!   :D

I'm sure if you wrote something similar T. Durden, I would say the same to you.  And hopefully you won't vomit on me.   :o

Current Law Students / Re: How much debt does everyone have?
« on: March 24, 2007, 01:03:34 PM »
Seriously. I wouldn't go to law school with that much debt. Where'd you get your MBA? Why not just get a job? MBAs can get paid just as much, often more than JDs. Do you really want to become a lawyer that bad, or are you just trying to avoid real life? If so, you could do a PhD instead. They are much cheaper and they take longer!!!

Well I can certainly understand you or anyone's reluctance to enter another field with so much debt.  Blame it on my early shopping addiction, but I have no debt remorse.  Whether planned or unplanned, things simply happen that steer people in different directions.  This is essentially what happened to me. 

At any rate, if I was going to be enrolling in a T4 then absolutely no, it would make 0 sense to do what I'm doing.  But as it stands, I'm going to a top law school that has a good number of BIGLAW connections.  Therefore, I don't find it particularly unrealistic to think that I'll be out of debt with relative brevity.

First year associates have no time to spend their money anyway =p   

Comparing learning the law to science is a pretty poor analogy.  The rules may change, but the law, as a body, is very much the same.  It's not like technological advances can really make a huge difference as it can in medicine and science.

AFter all, law school is about learning how to think and analyze in a certain way, it's not about learning a solid set of rules (like how the nervous system works in med school).

I wasn't comparing anything specific but attempting to compare the way we are trained. Yes, as attorneys our brains will become the most effective tool in our arsenal.  But, do we still think the exact same about the same rules of law as we did in the 1800's?  Of course not.  So why not update?

I personally (keeping the common law in mind of course as the basis of our legal system) would focus more on present day law, and a little less on the build-up of old, overruled law which is in-itself largely responsible for the law school experience becoming a major exercise in hiding the ball.  If you really want to argue here you could say doing this would simultaneously abolish the rigor-filled frustration and endless second-guessing that law school is so prestigiously known for.  But in all honesty, so what? Isn't this the very thing that's depressing us in the first place? 

We've all taken the LSAT, and know we deserve to be at the school we're at.  I think once we've proven that we have the credentials to get in (assuming there is a degree of difficulty/scrutiny in the admissions process of your particular LS) the rest shouldn't be too much of a mystery. 

Current Law Students / Re: Three Years of Hell To Become The Devil
« on: March 23, 2007, 08:33:13 PM »
Legal Depression

Probably because it's the beginning of my first year, and I'm not really 'assimilated' into the culture of law yet, I'm being struck by a few observations. The foremost of these is that, at least by all appearances, lawyers may be a generally wealthy group, and may, on average, be smarter than their peers, but they do not seem to be a happy lot.

With the single exception of The Civ Pro Blogger, I don't know of a single practicing young lawyer (not in pro bono work or with some burning issue driving them) who would consider themselves mostly happy with their work, surely not enough to wax lyrical about it. It's a matter of legend (though I could probably provide blog references if I weren't up to my eyeballs) that people working at Big New York Law Firms are depressed and overstressed corporate drones. One young female lawyer who serves as a role model for me has, I've found out, decided to take a retreat to a Buddhist monastery this summer to get away from it all. (So that's why there weren't many emails.) On a slightly more academic level, one of the better pieces in Looking Back on Law's Century discusses in great detail the low level of job satisfaction endemic in the profession.

This doesn't bother me too greatly on a personal level: I have my own reasons for going to law school and becoming a lawyer, and whatever the problems, it serves my needs. But it does make me wonder why a lot of very intelligent people have managed to develop a system that makes them, at the same time, almost unjustifiably wealthy and yet certainly not proportionately happy.

While I'm learning about Civ Pro, Torts, Contracts, and Criminal Law, I also want to spend some time wondering about why we've set up the profession this way, and what can be done to change it. So far as I can tell, for all the pro bono craziness that goes on in this place, it might not be a new Kuntsler or Cardozo who's needed. Perhaps, and it's just a thought, the greatest public good might be done by a new Hammurabi or Solon, particularly with a bent towards making the practice of law more humane not just for society as a whole, but for the profession itself.

If anyone has any suggestions for places to look for more information on this topic, it would be appreciated.

Update: One of my fellow 1Ls was discussing the 'morale' at the law school with me the other day. I was reminded of a P. J. O'Rourke saying that I can't quote directly, but it's from Give War a Chance. Roughly, he said, "Asking about morale is talking about how well things are going when they're not really going well at all. No one asks about the morale of a good drunken orgy or a summer picnic."

Thanks go out to anyone who can provide me with the proper quote.

While I'm learning about Civ Pro, Torts, Contracts, and Criminal Law, I also want to spend some time wondering about why we've set up the profession this way, and what can be done to change it.

The legal profession has got to be the only professional profession today, where the way in which lawyers are trained has not budged or evolved since the 1800s.  Can you imagine if this were actually the case with Doctors or Scientists?  The dark ages would be everpresent and we would not be here- long ago consumed by some freakishly mutant disease.  Or, just the common flu come to think of it.  Change for the legal profession in my opinion, is long overdue.

As an aside, it took me 5 minutes to read your post cantina.  Your avatar perpetually drew my attention away from your actual words.   :D     

Current Law Students / Re: Note-taking software
« on: March 23, 2007, 11:12:13 AM »
I use OneNote as well, and like it a lot. Microsoft has a free 30 day trial, so google it, download it, and play around with it.

Hm, how useful is One Note for those w/out Tablet PC's?

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