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Messages - procrastinator

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Why choose USC over UCLA?
« on: April 28, 2008, 06:30:40 PM »
As someone who has been debating the merits of going to one school over the other for the last few months I thought I'd chime in.

Putting aside the financial difference, I think there are plenty of reasons to choose SC over UCLA.

(1) Alumni connections, reading through vault surveys and talking to students, SC's alumni network seems to be much, much stronger then UCLA's. SC alumni are compared to a mafia around Los Angeles in that they watch out for their own. Whereas UCLA alumni seemed to be a bit more detached from their school.

(2) Smaller class size. This translates over to more personal attention from different services in the lawschool. It also makes it easier to get involved in clinics, courses, and other activities. While the faculty/student rate is similar, I know SC is planning on hiring a dozen faculty or so fairly soon to help lower that rate.

(3) Biglaw in LA. SC beats out UCLA in placement in the NLJ250. According to USNEWS their 25 and 75% for private practice salary are both 135K whereas UCLA's is 110 and 135K respectively.

(4) Competition - When one school talks up the collegial atmosphere and the other doesn't talk about it much, you know there is a difference. UCLA seems a lot more competitive from what I've gathered and it seems the students study more.

(5) Entertainment Law- While UCLA talks this up, it seems to me to be more a ploy to attract applicants. They just don't seem to back up their program with being able to place students in this area as much(although there are plenty in the industry from UCLA). Whereas SC doesn't brag about it, but seems able to place students in ent. firms and the studios. A lot of the major studios have 10+ USC Law grads working in their Legal department.

Getting back to the financial difference though, that seems to be evaporating. UCLA upped their tuition about 4K this year and from what I understand similar increases of 10-15% are planned for the next two years which would put it's tuition quite close to SCs.

UCLA does have an advantage in national prestige, national placement, nicer location, public interest and clerkships. So it really comes down to what you're looking for and fit.

I just want to respond to biglaw placement - those NLJ250 surveys are deceptive.  They are not a good measure of marketability due to the self-selecting nature of law student bodies.  I think Yale would place around #4, behind Columbia and Northwestern (not sure what the third one is) on such a survey.  Obviously, any major firm would love to hire Yale Law grads, but a large portion of Yale'sstudent body self-select for prestigious jobs in academia, government and clerkshipts.  Thus, the NLJ250 placement should not suggest that a Northwestern grad has a better chance of landing a biglaw job than a Yale grad (when all other factors are controlled).  I think a similar thing is going on with UCLA's NLJ250 placement and median salaries.  UCLA ranks #8 for federal clerkship placement (tied with NYU) and a rather large portion of our student body is public interest bound.  This says nothing about biglaw employers' desire to hire USC grads over UCLA grads or vice versa, but common trends and preferences among the two different student bodies.  UCLA students are just generally more public interest minded than USC students.  This would not be reflected in national surveys on biglaw placement.  Thus, these numbers do not accurately reflect an individual student's disperate chances of landing a biglaw job from USC or UCLA.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: UCLA $$$ v. Boalt $
« on: April 25, 2008, 02:30:38 PM »
Oh Boalt is an incredible school, don't get me wrong.  Like I said, I would have given anything to get in off that damn waitlist!  I've just noticed that the people who actually like (even love!) where they are seem to work harder and enjoy what they are doing.  I'm not saying that being at Boalt wouldn't open up a world of opportunities, of course it would.  I am saying that doing well (and when I say "well" I am not just referring to grades, but taking on leadership roles, networking with professors, getting involved in non-academic law-school related activities - making the most of your education) at UCLA can still get you far.  Yes there is a difference in prestige.  But that is not the only thing that should enter into someone's decision-making calculus.  Not when a degree from the lower-ranked school can still open plenty of doors, particularly in the OP's specified area of interest.  LA is the mecca for entertainment law and UCLAW is regarded as the best law school in LA.  I don't know that the difference between the two schools is enough to overcome personal well-being, academic achievement, connections, drive.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: UCLA $$$ v. Boalt $
« on: April 25, 2008, 12:29:51 PM »
Seriously, the people in here are well-meaning, but even a cursory look at certain threads shows that below-median at UCLA is problematic.  Below-median at Boalt will probably still get LA BigLaw, I think.

Dude, enough with the rankings whoring.  Everyone I know who actively wanted biglaw from UCLA got it.  Some just had to work at it a little harder than others, but I definitely know below-median people who got "prestigious" firm jobs because their solid interview skills and desire to work hard ultimatetly came through.  This was particularly true for LA firms.  If you go to UCLA, you don't have an atrocious personality, you're reasonably smart (which is generally assumed of people here) and hard working, you'll get yourself a good job.

Look, I would have killed to score admission to Boalt when I applied to law school two years ago.  Had I gotten in, I would have gone there over UCLA in a heartbeat.  But that desire had nothing to do with prestige and disparities in job opportunities and everything to do with location and environment.  If you think you'll be happier at UCLAW, you'll probably do better academically, get more involved in student life and build your resume.  Yes, it's a slight drop in the rankings.  But it's not like you're choosing between Harvard and a 4th tier school.  I know folks who turned down Boalt to come to UCLA simply because they knew they'd be happier here.  They all have great jobs - the very jobs they set out to get when they started law school.  Wallace Stevens seems to be operating on internet-based hearsay and US News and World Report.  I actually go to UCLA and would have gone to Boalt had I been accepted.  Between the two, go to the one that will make you happier.  Those who chose UCLA based solely on that criteria do not regret their decision.  At least, those I know.  And there are more than a few.

PM me if you want more info.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: UCLA or NYU???
« on: April 17, 2008, 09:33:30 PM »
okay, so nyu places better in LA than even UCLA does?  really?  i'm not being bellicose, i just find it hard to believe that nyu has that much reach. 

Maybe I'm showing my New York biases a little bit, but I truly believe that the median NYU student will have far better opportunities, even in LA, than will the median UCLA student.  And we haven't even started talking about the clerkship gap.

Yeah, in fairness, OP did mention clerkships, and there is certainly a gap there.

I think that NYU students who want to work in L.A. may also benefit from the fact that they are a relatively rare commodity, while many or most UCLA students are looking to stay out here.

I don't think that means the OP should definitely go to NYU. Just my two cents.

Law School Ranking by Federal Appellate Court Clerkship Placement
The Federal Appellate Clerkship Blog ranks law schools by the total number and percentage of their graduates with 2008-09 circuit court clekrships.  The Top 10 law schools in both measures are:

Harvard (#1 in total number of graduates, #4 in percentage of graduates)
Yale (#2, #1)
Stanford (#3, #2)
Chicago (#4, #3)
Columbia (#5, #7)
Michigan (#6, #8)
Texas (#7, #12)
Georgetown (#8, #17)
NYU (#8. #13)
UCLA (#8, #8)

Northwestern (#11, #5)
Duke (#13, #6)
Penn (#13, #10)

Clearly trolling, but I thought this might add some perspective on the size of the "gap" where federal clerkships are concerned.

Current Law Students / Re: I Need Civ Pro Studying Advice Please
« on: November 04, 2007, 08:49:22 AM »

Current Law Students / Re: 1L - Favorite and Least favorite Class?
« on: September 24, 2007, 02:12:15 PM »
yes, in fact my prof reminds me a lot of kingsfield.

Law review, moot court, trial team, secondary journals... what's the most attractive for employment opportunities?  Is it possible to do more than one at the same time?

I know I don't have to worry about this for a good 6 months or so, but I'm just curious.

Current Law Students / Re: 1L - Favorite and Least favorite Class?
« on: September 23, 2007, 06:12:05 PM »
Contracts makes me want to shoot myself daily. I'm just hoping that it all comes together at the end like I keep on hearing.  Nonetheless, I spend the most time studying and agonizing over this class.

Every other class is great.  Exciting, even.

Current Law Students / Re: Lexis Nexis and West Law points
« on: September 23, 2007, 06:09:18 PM »
when do the points run out?  annually or after the student subscription ends?

if the points expire then lexis seems to be more useful on the simple fact that they're so easy to rack up, even though their prizes suck compared to west.

Current Law Students / Re: Merits of Canned Briefs
« on: September 23, 2007, 06:04:12 PM »
tag... i'm curious about it as well.  my guess is that the commercial stuff is great to supplement "real" prep, but not as a substitute.  but i'd like to hear what 2Ls and 3Ls think about this.

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