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Messages - ElMismoPandejo

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I like to waste time on here while at work, I'm not sure if any of this is constructive.

There is pretty much one thing you can do with a law degree:  be a lawyer.  Try to find a job in business with a law degree, and for the most part they'll either want firm experience so you can help them as a lawyer, or wonder why you're a loser.

It is silly to measure whether a certain profession is "better" than another.  That's like trying to figure out if it is "superior" to sell one kind of widget or another.  All these professions have one goal:  make money.  Nothing else matters.  And for most new lawyers, there's hardly any money to be made.

And I don't care how much education you have, MBA, PhD, JD, whatever:  if someone will do it cheaper, even if they live in India, you won't get the job.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Oregon Law Schools
« on: October 14, 2007, 11:00:28 AM »
LegalLassie, with your numbers you can do a lot better than L&C.  If you don't get into a T14 I think a T1 school will give you a worthwhile scholarship.  No need to consider a poor-placing school in a tiny market overpopulated with overeducated people and with an even worse legal market than most other places.

If you're top 10% at L&C, you probably have a shot at Portland firms that pay a good salary (75K+).  You would need a job that pays that much unless you have a full ride.  So that's highly unlikely.

It's great that L&C is in a forest and will teach you "Animal Law" (so you can sue dogs and cats?)...that's really not going to help you make a living however.

There are so many people who come on here with questions like:  "I want to attend West Cornhole Law School, and even though it's ranked #82 and costs $40,000/year, it has a very pretty building and is ranked #1 in International Space Law, and #2 in Fluffy Kitten Law.  So will I be able to get biglaw in Florida and/or work overseas if I attend this school?"

You seem to think the exceptions are the rule.  Yes, there are people whose parents pay for LS; kids on scholarship; etc., etc.  The top 5-10% of your class is an exception.  But reality would not be so bleak if exceptions like this were common.  For the most part, people go to law school for an opportunity to get a better job than they otherwise could.

Average debt for law school students, TTT and otherwise, is high enough that it can't be paid off at 40K/year without severe hardship.  Many states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia for example) have very low in-state tuition, around 10K/year.  But if you add living expenses and interest to that, that still adds up to 70K+ after 3 years.  Add lost opportunity cost to that and that's a lot of money that will be very difficult for a TTT grad to recoup.

How can there be both a "surplus of lawyers" and "increasing demand for legal services"?  If these two things are correlated in the way you imply, they would not endure.  But supply and demand have moved farther from, not closer to equilibrium, and the gap seems to get bigger each year.

You say there must be some sort of new-fangled "in-demand" kind of law:  International law!  Science law!  And that's true, but it has absolutely no effect on 90% of TTT grads.  The kinds of clients that make specialties like this in increased demand are the kinds of clients who either use biglaw or boutiques staffed with former biglaw lawyers.  If you have an advanced science degree from a prestigious institution, you can still do IP work with your TTT degree, that's true.  But how many of your classmates fit this description?  Most "international law" is just a sub-field of biglaw corporate practice.  There may be some niches I'm not aware of, but, again, they would be unique exceptions.

There were more than 14 law schools a long time ago, too.  But there were much fewer than there are now; class sizes are much larger now; and the practice of law has undergone deep changes.  The profession is much more centralized in big firms, much less provincial, and there are exponentially more lawyers.  Also, in real terms, law school costs several times as much to attend now as it used to.  The results are too obvious to pretend not to see.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Give me a dose of reality
« on: October 13, 2007, 06:31:15 PM »
Are you an American citizen or not?  If not, your prospects get a lot better, because then you are an "international student" and they don't have to report your numbers to the ABA (and, therefore, to USNews).

Of course, in this context, the school will no longer care if you are URM, and will also not offer you any scholarship money.

As an international student, the school likes the fact that you won't affect their incoming student stats, but the school can also be hurt in other stats if you drop out or don't pass the bar.  So you will have to convince the school that despite your incompetence as an undergrad, you still have it together enough to graduate and pass the bar.  There are 2 ways to get a 2.5 undergrad: 1) stupid or 2) lazy.  (For the record, I did poorly because I was depressed and lazy.)  A good way to do this is to do well on the LSAT to prove you're not stupid.  An upward trend in grades, a good work record or some other kind of evidence is also necessary to prove you're not lazy.

Now if you aren't eligible to be considered an international student, you can only be admitted on the basis of what you have to offer with your numbers.  This means that unless you get a 178 or so Northwestern is out of the question (for reference, I think a 2.7/176 got accepted in an earlier cycle).  If you get around a 170 and up, you may have a shot at GW, Illinois, WUSTL and like places.  Texas used to not admit low GPA splitters but I think that changed last cycle; same goes for GW, although GW's new reputation for admitting splitters is more established.

Every year, more and more people take the LSAT; every year they are more educated about the LSAT's importance and are more prepared, thanks to improved prep materials; and there is a new ABA policy to take the best LSAT.  These three factors combine to push the LSAT scale, on average, down over time.  It is no longer prudent to assume that -10 will give you a 170.  If you want to have a shot at the schools you talk about, try to make sure you are getting -5 or less in practice.

Also remember that if you go to Georgetown or Texas, you must be in the top half to get a decent job upon graduation; at GW, Illinois and the others, it's closer to 25-33%.  Keep this in mind when deciding if law school is worth the money.

Right now, you make far more than most grads of first tier law schools can dream of making.  And your hours are probably better too.  If I were you, I'd look down at us law applicants with pity and thank God you're not one of us.

The T2 student above has some very serious delusions of his/her own.

First, the job outlook for TTT grads is much worse today than it ever was, and it gets worse every year.  There is a finite demand for insurance defense, collections and DUI lawyers.  There are more and more new TTT grads pumped into the market each year.  It just doesn't add up.  Just because of pure supply and demand, some--if not most--TTT students will live in poverty, be forced to leave the law, or both.  The giant surplus of lawyers is reflected in all kinds of trends, like the fact that public defender jobs are much more selective now than they have ever been, or the fact that insurance companies pay less and less every year for legal services.  How will you start in "small law" and "go from there" when small-time law billing is in a race to the bottom?  You either have some very discrete skills that you are already building, or your future is bleak.  There are hardly any "future prospects."

Second, regardless of what you think about doc review, the simple economics of outsourcing indicates that doc review will eventually dry up.  This exacerbates the above problem.  So even if you choose not to be a doc reviewer, the shrinking doc review market will directly affect you.

Third, you say "nothing in life is easy" and that poor lawyers who have robbed themselves of the most productive years of their lives should "stop complaining."  I think anyone who is destitute and broken, whether or not as a result of their own folly, can be expected to complain.  You go to a TTT, and if you have meaningful debt, you are soon going to get a new appreciation for how tough things really are.  Getting your law school loans paid off requires neither up-from-the-bootstraps "ruggedness" nor the cleverness to avoid "delusions"--it requires getting past the gatekeepers who control whether or not you can get into biglaw.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Fordham vs W&M, W&L, etc
« on: October 13, 2007, 10:34:02 AM »
It would be most helpful to know your numbers first.

Yes, law is "all about the money."  And since you can't get into a T14, you have to keep costs down.  If you can take a year off and become a VA resident, W&M becomes the best deal of these three by far.  I have no idea if it's easier or harder than that to get VA residency, but check it out.

Assuming you have to pay full price (and out of state in W&M's case) I wouldn't go to any of these schools.  Of the three, W&L is the best and will give you the most opportunities, but you will likely have great trouble paying off the debt if you don't get a scholarship.  NYC biglaw firms probably go just as deep at W&L as they do at Fordham; the fact that Fordham vastly outplaces its peers in NYC is a factor of self-selection, not cutoff.

In response to the poster above, paying full price at Fordham is foolish; paying full price at Brooklyn is just plain suicidal.

It's a supply and demand thing.  Indians are all a lot smarter than us Americans, and they're also willing to do crappy jobs for less.  The economy finds a way to make sure they get the work and we don't.  End of story.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if document review is a thing of the past in 3 years.  And this will mean less need to bill out real associates to do doc review at high rates when the big firms can just bill out the Indian at $300/hour and pay the Indian $6.  And this will mean less demand for biglaw associates, higher % cutoffs at TTTs, even FEWER jobs for TTTs.  There are other safety valves TTTs have now too, like family law practice.  Well just think about what would happen if all the disillusioned losers doing doc review were forced into even less lucrative family law practice.  Legal services would be about as expensive as getting a haircut, folks.

This "profession" is going nowhere.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Ole Miss
« on: October 12, 2007, 06:57:37 PM »
Two things about Ole Miss:

1)  As far as local law schools go, it is excellent.  Very well respected throughout the state and in-state tuition is cheap.  Beautiful campus, hot women, lots of local prestige.

2)  To take advantage of any of the above, you should be from Mississippi, or at the very least a white Southerner.  It also helps to have been in a fraternity for the connections.  Otherwise you'll stick out like a sore thumb and you won't get jobs in MS.  I know this is harsh but it's the truth.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Oregon Law Schools
« on: October 12, 2007, 06:54:09 PM »
The best school for big firms in Portland is Michigan.  For some reason a lot of Michigan students end up at the big Portland firms every year.

As far as run-of-the-mill law jobs, there really aren't many in Portland or really anywhere in the PNW.  The market there is terrible.  Your best bet is to go to the University of Washington, but even there only the top 30% or so make decent money when they graduate.

None of the Oregon schools are very good, and in-state tuition at the U of O is expensive.  As far as reputation goes, it probably is something like L&C>>UofO>>>>>Willamette.

No.  How "hard" a school is to get into depends on how badly it wants to have a higher ranking.  Regardless of geography, a higher ranking is always in a school's best interest.  Schools that move up in the ranking will be those that buy students with better numbers and refuse students with lower numbers, hence, "difficulty" of getting in.

Ranking has a much clearer correlation with "difficulty to get in" than any other factor.

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