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Messages - burghblast

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First, DON'T Listen to numbers whores (no offense).  My wife had a child during her 2nd year. It was tough and grades suffered, but she loves being a mother and attorney. Instead of lullibies, your daughter may be put to slumber by the readings of contract law at 3 am.  but other than that, they'll be fine.  As long as the school is on board, GO FOR IT!  Good luck.

Sorry, but having a child during 2L and having a child in the beginning of 1L is NOT the same.  The learning curve is as steep as it will ever be during the first few months, and many feel like its time to sink or swim.

Everyone will be happier and healthier if you deferred for a year.  (you never know that you'll carry to term, and for all that could happen, you could give birth a prematurely and miss the first week/month of classes, based on the fact that you said you're due in the beginning of classes in sept/oct area - then where would you be? -- and I'm not saying this to be a jerk or insensitive, but it happens; I was born 1.5 months premature, and my parents couldn't take me home for like 3 or 4 months).

I would imagine that a pregnancy is an acceptable reason to defer, just call up the admissions office and talk to them.  If you defer, your spot will be waiting for you next Fall, you won't have to apply again, and you can begin 1L without the worries and stress that come from being pregnant and giving birth.  Aside from the time you spend with your SO and child, your focus will be on climbing the learning curve.

Can't say I know what it's like to be pregnant, but I can say that I would much rather experience any heavy burden during 1L year than 2L year.  Stuff like interviewing, journals, moot court, and any other student organizations you want to get involved with really suck up a lot of time in your second year. 

Obviously, 3L year would be the most "convenient" for anything like this, but if people survive their 2L year pregnant, then you can definitely do it as a 1L.

One of the summer associates I worked with last year had just given birth before the summer started - so she was pregnant throughout her 2L year.  And it was her second child.  She was in her late 20's and went to a T1 school full time.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Current NU 2L taking questions
« on: February 04, 2007, 10:56:08 PM »
Hi again Burgh! Thanks again for answering all of our questions.

Thought of another one over the weekend. How hard/easy is it to get a firm job during the 1L summer for NU students? Thanks :)

I'm not sure what the exact numbers are, but I've heard it said that roughly 25% of the 1L class lands paying firm jobs.  Most of the people I know who got firms jobs as 1L's went back home to a small-market city to do so.  A very small minority landed firm jobs in Chicago, but for the most part 1L firm jobs seem easier to come by in a small market where you have preexisting ties.  I went back home to Pittsburgh last summer and really enjoyed it.  The fact that I enjoyed the firm experience so much really gave me a sense that I had picked the right new career. 

That said, there is significant opportunity cost to taking a firm job.  A nice alternative to working for a firm after your first year is doing research for a professor, or doing a judicial externship.  Both look outstanding on a resume, in a way that a firm job doesn't (not saying that either one is necessarily "better" - just different).  The biggest advantage of working for a firm after your first year is, of course, money.  I didn't realize this until well into my first year of law school, but firms that hire 1L's pay them the same amount as 2L summer associates - which is typically the same amount that first year associates make ($160K in NYC, $135K in Chicago, $125K in Pittsburgh, etc).  So if you work for 3 months (1/4 of the year) you'll pull in between $30-$40K, depending on the market you're in. 

But the advantages of staying in Chicago and doing something academic or judicial might exceed monetary considerations.  Consider the benefits to those who do not take firm jobs:

1) GPA boost - If you stay in Chicago for the summer, you can take a few class and/or research credits for an easy A or A's (typically no curve in small summer classes).  Classes are free over the summer.

2) Chance to form crucial relationships - If you're interested in clerking, the opportunity to form a close, personal relationship with a professor through research or with a judge through an externship is invaluable.

3) Social advantages - I felt like I had finally just made myself at home with all my new friends when the spring semester ended.  I didn't want to go to Pittsburgh - my first choice was to get a firm job in Chicago, but I did not get an offer.  It was a difficult decision for me to accept the Pittsburgh job, partly because I didn't want to say goodbye to all my new friends for 3 months.  The students who stayed in Chicago got the chance to form even closer relationships over the summer, and I definitely missed out on that by not being here.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Current NU 2L taking questions
« on: February 01, 2007, 10:21:32 AM »
Nope, although I was able to use my NU acceptance to squeeze a full ride (or close to it) out of UIUC.  And I don't have any regrets about turning it down to come here.

Just the acceptance itself?  Hmmm, I haven't thought of that to negotiate with UIUC. I was quite upset to find out I didn't get a full scholarship from them, I thought I had a good shot. 

Here's how it went down.   After all was said and done in my admissions process, I had narrowed my choices to NU with no money or UIUC with $10K/year.  I emailed UIUC to let them know about my dilemma and I got a voicemail from the admissions guy saying that I should call him back to let him know "what it would take to get me to UIUC" (or something like that).  That kind of came as a shock, and before I called him back I thought about what it would really take.  I concluded that even if they offered me a full ride, it wouldn't be worth it to me.  Obviously, a lot of people would reach the opposite conclusion.  So I didn't even try to negotiate - I only called him back to let him know that after serious deliberation and introspection, I had decided that nothing could dissuade me from attending the school that had been my #1 or #2 choice from a list of 15 to begin with.

I was subsequently admitted off of the Michigan WL, but I was not able to leverage that for any money from NU.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Current NU 2L taking questions
« on: January 31, 2007, 09:05:43 PM »
OMG!  forgive me if I'm a little star-struck. You could say I'm a fan  :D 


Not only did I read all of your UT posts a year and a half ago, I just went through the whole NU/UM negotiations thread again Monday, wondering why you haven't posted in so long.  I think it, it happens :)

Did NU give you any $$ in the end?  While so far I'm convinced I'd rather take a full scholarhip at lower ranked school, I'm still dreaming about NU and UMich - both are a great fit for what I want to do (corporate law), I just can't afford them.

Nope, although I was able to use my NU acceptance to squeeze a full ride (or close to it) out of UIUC.  And I don't have any regrets about turning it down to come here.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Current NU 2L taking questions
« on: January 30, 2007, 10:58:48 PM »
Thanks for the info. I was surprised as well.

Just FYI, I got the bar passage rates off the California Bar website and it breaks down the numbers by both CA and out of state schools with 10+ testtakers., pages 9-10

Not trying to discourage anyone, because I still love NU and may go there -- just trying to get/understand all available info.

I thought this was going to be a weird sample size thing, but 23 out of 34 pass (or 11 out of 34 don't pass) is kinda surprising!

Hmm... Yale's not much better ... 25/33.

All I can say is that next to Chicago, NY, and DC, Cali is probably the most popular destination for NU students, and I have never heard a single person express the slightest concern about passing the bar. 

Take it for what it's worth.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Current NU 2L taking questions
« on: January 30, 2007, 10:06:59 PM »
Thanks for answering so many questions!

I received a scholarship and am definitely considering attending NU. That being said, I did some research and discovered that NU has a not-so-hot California bar passage rate (68% compared to Boalt/UPenn's 85, Columbia's 91%, and HLs 93%). I'm not positive I want to come back to California, but my family/friends are all here so I'd at least like the option, and the lower number compared to other schools is a little scary. Any insight as to why this is?

Generally, I'd say that bar passage rate should be the least of your concerns if you get into a school like NU.  Getting in means you're obviously smart enough to pass the bar, which requires nothing more than memorization.  Your law school grades will present a much, much more significant challenge.  And in general, the bar passage rates quoted for every top 20 school are in the neighborhood of 96%.  I'm puzzled about your observation on the "NU bar passage rate in Cali."  Where did you get that statistic?  I know that Cali, in general, has one of the lowest bar passage rates, but I thought that was because you don't need to go to law school to sit for the bar in Cali, so all the 'pro se' test takers bring the passage rate down.  I cannot imagine why NU students would do any worse on the Cali bar than on any other state's bar exam.

Cali is a relatively popular destination for NU students, and none of my friends have ever expressed any concern about passing the bar there.  I can't explain the statistic you're quoting, but my advice would be to not worry at all about passage rate statistics.  Nobody smart enough to graduate in the top 90% of their class (and yes I mean 90%, as opposed to 10%) at any law school should expect that much of a challenge from the bar exam in any state.  Horrible inconvenience and pain in the ass for 3 months?  Yes.  But significant challenge?  No. 

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Current NU 2L taking questions
« on: January 30, 2007, 09:59:29 PM »
Yea im sure ANY legal market for a NU grad is fine.  But i just wanted to get an idea of the conditions in general for those from other schools (like the University of Wisconsin....for obvious reasons  ;D).  Im from the east coast and know the DC/NY market much better than that of Chicago.  So i want to learn as much as possible about the market id most likely practice in if i were to matriculate at Wisc.

The schools with the most grads in Chicago seem to be NU and UoC, obviously, as well as Notre Dame and Michigan.  I've also heard that UIUC places very well here, but, strangely, I don't think I have ever met a UIUC attorney in all of my interviews (possibly one or two).  Also anecdotally, I have heard that Iowa places a lot of grads in Chicago.  But again, I can't say that I have ever met one myself, in my dozens and dozens and dozens of interviews over the past year. 

So to answer your question specifically, I would not doubt that Chicago is one of - if not *the* - major destination for Wisconsin grads.  I've just never stumbled across any myself, and I have not heard much about their presence in this town, as I have heard and observed with the above noted schools.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Current NU 2L taking questions
« on: January 30, 2007, 11:51:47 AM »
Thanks for answering my earlier question about the social aspects of NU. And I have another question for you.

You seem to love it there. I was wondering what you didn't like about the school or what you would change if you could.

So far, law school has been the best 1.5 years of my life.  I frequently say that my only regret is not doing it a year or two sooner, since I am 29 now. 

I have to admit, my feelings would most likely be similar if I had gone to any other "top" law school.  They all attract similar people, and provide a quality education.  NU's biggest selling point, for me, was the city of Chicago.  I had lived in a small rural college town for the previous 8 years, and was desperate to get into a metropolitan environment.  Chicago is definitely that.

One thing I don't like about NU, which I previously alluded to, is the cloudiness of the grading system - especially in first year classes.  I see the point in not publishing GPA stats or class rank - it certainly creates a more collegial environment.  The stereotypical cutthroat atmosphere you hear about in law school horror stories does not exist here.  But the grading is so vague and ambiguous that you frequently have no idea where you stand in a specific class, which I would like to know.  With the flexibility of the first year curve, a B+ could mean you finished anywhere in the 30-70th percentiles (or something like that... I'm pulling these numbers off the top of my head, based on something I wrote about it for the school paper over a year ago).  And you don't even get your exams back, so you have no idea what it was that the professor liked or didn't like about your writing.  The system practically encourages arbitrariness.  So the two things I would change are:

1) Publicly posting each grade in every class.  Not with names, but just a list of all grades given out, so that students know if a professor was stingy or generous within the flexible confines of the mandatory curve, and have a more precise idea of what their own grade means. 

2) Requiring all professors to return all graded exams with at least minimal comments and feedback. 

Now these are probably gripes with law school in general, not NU in specific.  But it's really all I can think of.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Current NU 2L taking questions
« on: January 30, 2007, 11:02:45 AM »
Do most 1L's live in Streeterville?  Do they find other NULS roommates or is it everyone for himself? 

Almost all 1L's live in Streeterville or Gold Coast.  A few live slightly further north in Lakeview or Wrigleyville, off the red line.*  I was one of the only 1L's I knew with a roommate, and I met mine on Craigslist.  I think this gets to something I mentioned earlier about the level of wealth and privilege here - most students at NU come from wealthy families and/or are on scholarship (not that it's a bad thing - nobody here is openly pretentious about it).  So it's not a big deal for most NU students to pay over $1000/month to live by themselves in a studio or 1BR apartment near the school.  I'm definitely in the bottom 20% "income bracket" at NU, and I couldn't afford to live by myself first year so I went out and found a roommate on my own.  There is a group called StudentSpace that the school will hook you up with to help in the apartment hunt, but when I looked at them 2 years ago, they pretty much exclusively catered to the Streeterville/Gold Coast areas, which were too expensive for me.  Also, they didn't offer much in the way of roommate matching because, as I said, most NU students do not want or need to live with a roommate first year.

I ended up living in Wicker Park, about 2-3 miles west of school, which was only doable because I have a car.  By bus or train it's at least a 45 minute commute to school, and I wouldn't recommend  it for anyone without a car.  It's a nice neighborhood near the blue line with free and relatively easy street parking.  I also got a great apartment, a great deal on rent, and the best roommate I've ever had.  Of course it was a big risk - moving to a new city and in with a total stranger I had only met once before for a total of 15 minutes.  It could have turned out much worse, but my roommate ended up being a great guy, and I'm glad I had him to depend on when I first moved here.  It was very helpful to have someone to answer the 35 daily questions you have when you find yourself in a new city - where to grocery shop, get your hair cut, dry clean your clothes, etc.  And it was also nice to be able to extricate myself from the school environment for a few hours at the end of each day, to kind of unplug and recharge. 

On the other hand, there are many advantages to living close to school.  I already alluded to the vast majority of students who do so, and I think proximity to your classmates is the biggest advantage.  It's like living in the dorms in college - you're plugged into your 250 new best friends much more directly than you would be as a commuter.  Even if you commute, like I did, you'll still have no trouble meeting people and making friends.  But living in the same building as, or within 2 blocks of, most of them lends itself to an added level of ease and familiarity. 

* CAUTION - The Chicago Transit Authority recently announced a huge construction plan that will affect the red and brown lines for the next few years, perhaps doubling commute times from the north.  So it may no longer be viable to commute to school from Lakeview or Wrigleyville on the red line.  I'm not sure about the details, but it's something to be aware of.

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