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Topics - jamiejamie

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General Board / Gearing up for the bar exam
« on: May 10, 2008, 02:30:58 AM »
I just finished my last of 4 exams in my final semester of law school. For some reason, it was especially tough for me (sometimes painful) to really study hard and prepare for them. That said, I tried hard and I'm sure I did fine.

But after a short number of days of relaxation, TV, bars, the beach and that kind of stuff, it's already time for bar review class. I honestly don't know if I can gear up for it right now. I popped in a property PMBR CD yesterday and the guy was talking about fee tail, fee simple with a condition subsequent, executory interest, and a whole host of things that I vaguely remember, but could care less about right now.

Does anyone else dread getting back into a serious, focused mode for 2+ months, so soon after finishing law school? How are you guys gearing yourselves up (or how did you if you already took the bar)?

2
I'm trying to decide between Lewis and Clark and USD, and I've found that epinions.com has reviews of law schools. Has anyone checked these out? What do you guys make of the horrible USD review below ???

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USD - the "default" law school; very provincial
Oct 02 '03

Pros
Very safe campus.

Cons
Lack of diversity. Insular perspective. No recognition outside Southern California. Difficult to get a job.

The Bottom Line
Unless you want to stay local in San Diego - don't go to USD. Going to USF or Loyola Los Angeles would provide more job prospects. Location, location, location.

 
Full Review
The best thing about USD is the weather in San Diego. Then the nice landscaping. Then the parking. Then the safety.

People who go to USD go there for 2 reasons:
1) they didn't get into a UC School
2) they have grown up in San Diego, gone to undergrad at USD/UCSD/SDSU and want to remain in San Diego.

JOB PROSPECTS:
Go to USD if you want to remain in San Diego. Even then, if you are not in the top 5-10%, you will likely not get a job. The San Diego legal community is TINY. While USD may tout that it is the "best" law school in San Diego, it quickly loses any name recognition outside of San Diego. In addition, many of the law firms in San Diego would rather have a candidates from top tier schools than USD.

REPUTATION:
In San Diego, USD has a decent reputation. (it's better than the other two local law schools, which are tier 4 schools - Cal Western and Thomas Jefferson). But the rest of California views USD as a "lazy" school. The rest of the country hasn't even heard of USD. USD only has a local footprint; hence, national firms don't look keenly towards USD students. When top law firms they hire USD students, it is only for their local San Diego office.

STUDENT BODY:
Very ethnically undiverse, although the school would like to believe that it's diverse. In fact, the cover of the law school's brochure/booklet features a black female student and an indian student. Funny, since I am a 2L and have never had a class with any black student, male or female. In a class of 85, there were 5 Asians, 1 latino, no blacks, and the rest white.

Very undiverse in terms of social demographics. Everyone drives a pretty nice car and comes from upper-middle class families.

Very "localized" student body. Ie, everyone seems to be from southern California, so there is not a whole lot of learning to be done from classmates because unlike a top school, you don't get people from all across the nation who have different experiences. Not a lot of people with intersting backgrounds. very hum-drum, suburban type of students. No international students. And hence, no core classes on comparative law.

Given the lack of diversity in terms of age/ethnicity/demographics/experiences, the student body is very bland. Lack of diveristy lends itself to a very "narrow" perspective in the classroom.

TUITION:
The school is expensive, $28K tuition per year. I think the school allocates too much money to gardening. The campus is always looking pretty. Not a day goes by where I don't see at least 3-4 Mexican gardeners tending to the flowers/grass/plants.

RECRUITING/CAREER SERVICES:
The career services workers are nice. However, they don't have many connections in the community. I haven't come across one USD student who spoke highly of career services. In fact, almost all students, when honest with you, will tell you that career services stinks.

This Fall 2003 recruiting, about 40 employers (both private firms and government)recruited for summer jobs. That's not a whole lot. Again, increase your job opportunities by transfering out after your first year.

ATTITUDE OF the SCHOOL:
USD's biggest weakness is that it seems to believe it is in the leagues of the Tier 1 schools. Thus, it doesn't really focus on helping its students. I know students who transfered from Cal Western to USD, who noted that Cal Western was much more attentive to its students. I guess when you acknowledge that it's a Tier 4 school like Cal Western, you do everything you can to help the students get jobs. But USD seems very blase about it all.

It believes it is more diverse than it is. (see above about the cover of the law school brochure). Or it wants to project the image that it's more diverse than it is.

In fact, the administration is thinking of eliminating the ranking system, a la Boalt and NYU. - - Please! There is a reason why Boalt and NYU can do away with individual class ranks - employers know that you have to be at the top to get into those schools. USD is mediocre at best. It needs to recognize that it is still TRYING to establish a better reputation instead of acting snobby like it already is Tier 1.

PROFESSORS:
Most of my 1L professors went to top tier schools, as many law professors do. I think the problem with USD professors it that they themselves have a chip on their shoulder for not being at a "name brand" school. They recognize that the students are nowhere near the caliber of students they went to school with, yet they just live with it since hey, USD gives them a paycheck.

Recommended
No
 

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Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / CA bar passage rates
« on: April 21, 2005, 03:32:20 PM »
I never realized how many unaccredited, accredited but not ABA approved, and correspondence law schools there are (at least in CA). Below is a link to the CA bar passage rates for July 2004:

http://www.calbar.ca.gov/calbar/pdfs/admissions/GBX/JULY2004STATS.pdf#search='general%20statistics%20report%20july%202004%20california%20bar'

It appears that some schools have almost no one passing the bar exam! Imagine if a prospective student asked the admissions staff at the University of Northern California, Lorenzo Patino School of Law about the bar passage rates, and they had to tell them that 0 of 20 first time takers passed the last exam, but on a positive note 2 of 18 repeat takers were successful!  :-\

4
That's what they told me regarding people whose files are still on hold. Everyone will be notified by 4/15 (plus or minus a day or two). Chances at this point?

5
How important in the decision making process was your gut instinct of a school once you visited, basically whether it felt like the place for you? (vs. using rankings, prestige, etc.)

Has anyone been on the fence, then visited two or more schools and known for sure after just your short visits that one of them felt right?

I'm about to visit USD and Lewis and Clark, and as of right now, I'm still not sure where I'd like to go.

6
I'm considering both schools, USD and Lewis and Clark. It's so much cheaper to live in Portland AND they're giving me $7,500 to go there.

I realize that where I want to live and eventually practice are huge factors, but that aside, are these schools in the same league, or is USD considered a much better school? Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

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