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Messages - jack24

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Current Law Students / Re: How freaking long .... ?
« on: February 19, 2013, 09:52:20 AM »
I like Living Legend's optimistic stance, but I think it's important for people to evaluate the risk.  I'm not trying to talk anyone out of law school, but I  believe a lot of people have common misconceptions about law school and the legal field. 

I have worked for several employers in the legal field.   My time working for a medium firm and my time working as a prosecutor were wildly different.  It is highly unlikely that someone who really loved working as a prosecutor will really love working as an associate at a mid sized firm.  It's possible, but the jobs are so very different.

It's great that you have experience around the legal field.  That will put you way ahead of your peers, but the idea that the average student will have a choice in where he ends up is baloney in this economy.  The legal field is almost as diverse as the economy as a whole.  Not only do different jobs cover different subject matter, but the also have widely differing procedural requirements.  Attorneys in the same legal sector sometimes have completely different lives.  I know one guy at a PI firm that never takes any case to trial.  He negotiates all day long.  I know another guy who works at a PI firm that litigates/arbitrates a lot.  He actually gets to write motions and present evidence.   I worked for one attorney who hated it when I did extensive research.  He just presented his theory of the case using the law from whatever brief he had lying around (or could get from a friend.)  I worked with another attorney who made me read all of every case and look of every citation.   I clerked for one bankruptcy firm where the attorneys only did client interviews and signed documents.  All of the other work was done by paralegals.   In my current job, the staff are monopolized by the partners, so I have to do everything, from copying and mailing documents to arguing appeals.

I know a CPA who wanted to do estates and trusts, but he ended up working as in house counsel for a little tech company.  He hates it.    By contrast, I knew a guy who always dreamed of becoming a prosecutor, and he did.  He loves it.   I worked with him for a while.  We were two of 207 applications for clerkship positions at a huge DAs office.  They hired 6 clerks, and ended up hiring 2 as attorneys after law school.   He was extremely fortunate, and I think he would have been genuinely miserable in a normal firm setting.  I talked to him about a case the other day and I remarked at how I needed to keep the hours down because the client was complaining about his bill.  He was disgusted that I might not spend the time I needed to spend on a case.

I guess my point is that the legal field is a huge game of dice.  I believe the gamble is acceptable if you can go to law school in a region you want to work in and graduate with very little debt.  But it's still a big gamble.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: I can't decide!
« on: February 19, 2013, 09:38:24 AM »
Ranking is important for maybe the T25.  After that it becomes completely irrelevant.

This is completely wrong.

Employers like the US news rankings because it helps them evaluate their potential hires.  They know how academically competitive each school's students are.   For example, in an earlier post I noted that the median LSAT at Appalachian is 148 while the median at UConn is 159.  That's a jump from around the 35th percentile up to the 75th percentile.   Going to a school ranked 50 can, in many cases, give you a much better shot at an interview than a T4 school. 

Also, the regional impact of the rankings is clear.  Maybe employers in Alabama don't care whether you went to Texas Southern or SMU, but employers in Texas sure as hell care.   If you are trying to work in Kansas City, a degree from University of Kansas is going to give you a substantial advantage over a degree from Washburn.

I'm not saying rank should be the most significant factor.  I think Location (in relation to the jobs you want) and expected debt are far more important.   But making a case that going somewhere like Florida Coastal is every bit as good as going to Florida, FSU or Miami is just stupid.

Transferring / Re: Admitted to Appalachian but I want to go to Uconn
« on: February 15, 2013, 03:55:12 PM »
To the OP.

About 75 percent of LSAT takers did better than you on the test.   The LSAT may not be an accurate indication of overall intelligence or potential success as an attorney, but it does do a good job of testing things like speed, reading comprehension, processing horsepower, patience, and analytical discipline (to some extent).   It is true that the US news rankings are bunk, but employers know that the applicant pool to a T4 school is not as academically accomplished, so hiring out of a school like Appalachian is a risky proposition.  The chance the applicant is going to be less intelligent than his peers and competitors is very high.

Now, the Median LSAT at Appalachian is 148, so you are comparable to their overall class.    It would be an amazing feat for you to get in the top 25%, but it can be done with some hard work, in my opinion.

The Median LSAT at Uconn is 159, which is in the 77th percentile.   That is a significant difference.  Even in these recent years, there's something like 24,000 test takers between a 145 and a 159.

I don't write this email to be mean or anything, but I think it's important for you to heed the advice of the posters above, and don't anticipate a successful transfer.   Go to Appalachian if you believe that's a good place to graduate from.   

But I'm a little jaded. My school was ranked around 50, I was a law review editor and a moot court member in the top 25% of my class.  I applied to over 50 jobs, contacted over 300 attorneys, and networked my ass off.  I got a job as a lawyer for $48,000 with over 100k in debt.  My job is incredibly boring.  My friends who graduated three years earlier than me with virtually identical resumes started out at firms for $120k/yr.   They got hired during on campus interviews.  My 2L and 3L years, there were less than four employers for OCI.

I graduated with about 55,000 other graduates, and there were over 100,000 applications for law school in my cycle.   Fortunately, LSAC estimates that maybe less than 40,000 will attend lawschool this fall.  Unfortunately, the industry is only scheduled to create 9000 new jobs a year, and only 12,000-15,000 attorneys are expected to retire.   Hopefully a lot more will retire in the 2020s.

So, according to the LSAT, you are at a huge disadvantage.  Appalachian is at a huge disadvantage.  And the job market sucks ass.   Only 55% of the graduates from my school had a full-time job at 9 months after graduation in 2011.

Current Law Students / Re: How freaking long .... ?
« on: February 15, 2013, 03:21:44 PM »
So all valid points -- of late I have given serious consideration as to where I would want to practice law - point well taken.  I thought I would give you guys an update.

Thomas Jefferson - Accepted/Scholarship
Florida A and M - Wait-list
U of Idaho - Wait-list
Texas Southern - Still Waiting
Florida Coastal - Still Waiting

What a wacky group of schools.  How did you settle on those?  Fee waivers?  Or did something attract you to the markets?   The University of Idaho is different than the others, in my opinion.  There's less competition in Idaho, but it's a small market.   I personally like Boise a lot, and I think Idaho gives you a good shot at that market.   The Idaho campus is gorgeous, especially in the summer (I played at a jazz festival there once).

Honestly, if you get rejected/wait listed to Florida Coastal, I would be blown away.  That place threw me a $10k scholarship offer and I didn't even apply through LSAC.  It took them like a week to get back to me.  I applied free online for fun, and they never got my transcripts or anything.  They just saw my LSAT score and threw money at me.   I don't know if the school has improved since then (2007-2008 cycle) but it was a degree mill in the past.

I hope you know what you want to do with your life, and I hope you have reasonable expectations.

I don't mean to discourage you from going to law school, but the truth is I went to a great law school and did very well, I fought my ass off to get a law firm job and now I pretty much hate it.  I make 60% of the money of the class of 2008, and I have more debt.   It's hard for me to not be a little cynical.

Law School Admissions / Re: Best work experience prior to law school
« on: February 11, 2013, 11:44:32 AM »
I'm not being snarky at all, but it may sound that way.

Why do you think Northwestern would be impressed by a paralegal position?   What is it about a job in that area that would make you a more attractive candidate?

Low-level jobs in the legal field may appeal to some employers, but I can't imagine law schools caring much.  They like unique job experience.  If you are trying to impress an admissions board, call a few schools and ask them what jobs they are impressed by.  I'd be blown away if anyone mentioned the word "paralegal," but I've been wrong before.

Personally, I think working as a paralegal is valuable experience for individuals going into certain types of law, but it's also negative for individuals going into other types of law.   

Current Law Students / Re: How do lawyers get clients?
« on: February 11, 2013, 11:41:03 AM »
I was just wondering ways that lawyers get clients if you ever marketed for a lawyer...

Thanks in advance

This really depends on the type of law you are marketing and the size of the city you are in.  For example, The best way to land long-term corporate type clients is through networking and relationships, in my opinion.   If you are marketing family law, bankruptcy, or personal injury (or something similar), you don't get a lot of return business so you need high volume.  You need to impress your clients enough that they refer their friends, and a lot of attorneys go for mass marketing in these areas, but giant billboards and radio ads can feel out of place in some markets.

If you make your question more specific, you might get better answers.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: I can't decide!
« on: February 08, 2013, 01:58:57 PM »

For example, I live in Los Angeles, and I can safely say that a degree from any one of the schools mentioned by the OP would be viewed as roughly equal by most LA firms. At the big LA firms (where rankings definitely matter) none of those schools would be considered prestigious enough to get the OP an interview based on pedigree alone.

I do understand your point, but even in LA, Alabama would have a distinct advantage in name recognition and ranking over several of the other schools OP mentioned.    A top 30 school with the best football program in the Nation may not land you a job by itself, but some employers will recognize that the average student at Alabama has a significantly higher LSAT and GPA than many of the students at those other schools.

I know this because I went to a big sports school and moved out of state after law school.   My school isn't ranked that high, but everyone thinks I went to a "great school".

Really, the OP should be trying to network with potential employers he would be interested in, and asking them which school he should choose.

I just pulled up the Gibson Dunn website and did a random sampling of 10 lawyers who work in LA.  Their JDs were earned at the following Universities

Boalt (Berkeley)

They have
0 attorneys from Drexel
1 from Alabama (Works in NY)
1 From Richmond (Works in NY)
2 From Maryland (They work in DC)
1 from Temple (works in NY)

So four out of those five schools have the *potential* of getting you into a huge law firm.

By contrast, 
They have 16 lawyers from the University of Texas
6 from Southern Methodist
36 from the University of Virginia
5 From Vanderbilt
5 From Emory

As opposed to
1 From Texas Tech
2 from the University of Houston
1 From Richmond
0 From the University of Tennessee
0 in any other school in Georgia other than Emory.

If Biglaw or Midlaw is your goal, it's stupid not to consider ranking.   Should it be considered above location or cost?  No.  But many employers do care about it.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: License Lawyers Without JDs?
« on: February 08, 2013, 09:49:43 AM »

While at least the above-method replaces the formal education portion with practical experience, I think the idea of simply abandoning the last year is a horrible idea. I think the opportunities and experiences you have during law school, many of them unavailable to 1L's, really give a depth of understanding to the materials. Internships, clinics, externships, etc... all help to give context to the actual practice of law, all within the safety of the academic world. Skipping that last year really takes away a lot of that contextual development...

Rob, are you a law school graduate?   "Safety of the academic world."  What?    I have a buddy who did 22 credits of "externships."   All he had to do was submit monthly reports about what he was doing and get the employers to sign a one page document verifying that he was working for them.  There was no safety.   It was just a good way for the law school to charge this kid a ton of money while providing essentially nothing.

Now I agree that the third year *can* be valuable, but it really doesn't have to be.  It is incredibly easy to learn little to nothing your 3L year.   For every kid who participates in law review, clinics, on-the-job-training and takes difficult and practical classes, there are two kids who take a bunch of fluff classes like "american juris prudence" "american legal history" or a variety of other subjects that are not on the bar and will not relate to their eventual job.     If you *can* get through your third year without improving,  why can't you just do an apprenticeship for free and then take the bar instead?

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: I can't decide!
« on: February 08, 2013, 09:37:29 AM »
Living Legend:

I've read your posts about this several times, and you don't address the real question:  Do employers care about the rankings?

That's the question.  If employers do care, then all your argument about the best place to live is completely bogus.  I agree that location and debt load are the two primary considerations every candidate should make, but that doesn't mean you should disregard rankings.  If you want to work in New Mexico, it's probably better to go to UNM than anywhere other than the top few schools in the country.  BUT, if you don't get into new mexico, it's probably better to go to the University of Arizona than to Cooley or Florida Coastal. But it depends on the firm.

You make a good point, but you need to finish it.  Here's an example.
This guy is considering Alabama.  Let's assume he wants to work in Alabama.  I just googled "Birmingham law firms"  and clicked on this one. 

They appear to have 12 attorneys.

They have JD's from the following:  (Obviously, this particular firm doesn't care about ranking)

Cumberland School of Law of Samford University (Rank 142)
University of Virginia (Rank 7)
University of Alabama (Rank 29)
Cumberland  (Rank 142)
Birmingham (State Accredidation only. Unranked.  Night School)
Birmingham  (State Accredidation only. Unranked.  Night School)
Birmingham  (State Accredidation only. Unranked.  Night School)
University of Alabama  (Rank 29)
Cumberland (Rank 142)
Cumberland (Rank 142)
Birmingham (State Accredidation only. Unranked.  Night School)

So I believe you are correct that the US news rankings should not be the biggest factor in a law school choice, but don't dismiss it completely.  This firm above is an example of a firm that doesn't care about rankings, but I know that there are a TON of firms in my city that will hire from two local schools or a top 14 before even considering any other graduates.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: I can't decide!
« on: February 07, 2013, 04:13:54 PM »
What degrees do you have?   Are you sure you can sit for the patent bar?

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