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Messages - jack24

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Incoming 1Ls / Re: Time Saving Advice for Law Students
« on: August 21, 2012, 08:15:49 AM »
I will say law school and any educational experience is what you make of it. Many people at my school complained about 3L and the pointlessness of it, but I accomplished a lot during that year I participated in two mock trial competitions, took some great writing courses which lead to me having solid writing samples, had two great internships, and developed solid relationships with professors. If you sit in the back of the class and just want to get your degree then 3L is a waste of time, but it is the system and you might as well make use of it while your in the law school bubble.

Let me explain my third year of law school.   I only had 22 credits left, so I was able to work as many hours as I wanted and not violate the rules.
I wasn't an amazing student, but by 3L I had things figured out.

3L GPA was 3.8 on a 3.0 curve.
Law Review Editor (4 credits)
Moot Court (4 credits)
30 hours as student licensed intern (student practice rule)
Faculty research assistant (I helped a professor write a law review article for another school) (3 credits)
And I had 11 credits in class, split between two semesters.

Was that a waste?  Absolutely not.  I honed my skills during 3L, but I really didn't receive "instruction" in the same way I did as a 1L.  It's tough to swallow that heavy bill when you really aren't using the school resources in the same way.  I had a friend who managed to get 25 of is 90 credits from externships.  Yes, he paid $800 per credit to work for someone.

Also, while I understand that some people are uncomfortable with commercial outlines, I really think that, for most people, reading every case and taking vigorous notes after your first semester can be a massive waste of time.   I think analyzing citizens united by saying, "Hey, Corps are people dudes!"  is obviously deficient, but a full analysis of the entire case and dissent, and a study of the history of those justices and why they voted the way they did is not necessary or helpful to most attorneys.   There is a middle ground.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Time Saving Advice for Law Students
« on: August 20, 2012, 03:34:58 PM »
You won't get any argument out of me about the vast differences between law school, sitting for the bar and the actual practice of law. I guess I just fall more into the law school = legal education camp, rather than the law school = career training belief.

That's fine, but it sucks that a practitioners' group like the ABA and state bars would require three years of legal education unless those years were necessary.   I'm fine with 1L, and 2L really depends on what type of law you want to do, but 3L is a joke for pretty much everyone.  I did law review, moot court, and worked part time and I had a ton of time to mess around.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Time Saving Advice for Law Students
« on: August 20, 2012, 07:52:44 AM »
I would summarize the following points from the original poster...

1) Don't do the work that the professors and the legal education institution, whose expertise you're paying tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars for, feel you should to obtain a quality legal education. (THE SINGLE BIGGEST MISTAKE students make in law school is sinking thousands of hours reading and briefing cases in preparation for class)

Rob, I get your beef with working more than the rules allow, but this statement?  That's crazy.   You talk like those people who say commercial outlines are bad (a lot of those people were my professors.)

Almost nobody pays all that money for "expertise."  People pay that money to get a degree and a chance to sit for a bar exam.
I could go on and on about the subject of "quality legal education" especially how law school relates to bar prep and practicing law in the real world, but I'll save that for later.

I will provide one example: The erie doctrine.   Yeah, that stupid doctrine that almost nobody ever deals with.  Students all over the country spend hours and hours and hours on that crap, and it's useless for 99.9 percent of lawyers.  Most people would just have to learn it again, should the question pop up. 

Shoot, here are a couple more.  Miranda v. Arizona and Roe v. Wade.  Let's set aside the fact that Roe isn't really controlling anymore.  Roe and Miranda are huge cases of massive importance, but there little reason read every page of those cases.  Particularly Miranda.   Law professors are academics.  They desperately try to make their professional programs into research programs so they can feel more like Ph.Ds.  My 1L contracts professor spent an entire semester writing a law review article on the development of the law in the wild west. (I edited the piece of crap).    His contracts class was so full of legal history that we never really got into any examples of common contract problems.  Sure, he covered farrow cows, ambiguously named ships, and 19th century advertising offers, but he openly despised training students to become contract lawyers.  His statement (I'm paraphrasing) was, "I'm here to teach the law, not how to be a lawyer.  Everyone knows you have to learn on the job.  Law school's purpose is to teach you how to be a legal scholar, not a legal practitioner."

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Time Saving Advice for Law Students
« on: August 17, 2012, 02:18:45 PM »
This is credited.

Law School Admissions / Re: My chances
« on: August 15, 2012, 03:50:11 PM »
This may be a bit of a rant, but nonetheless.

The LSAT drives everything.  It's crap, but it's true.  Law School Rankings matter, because law school rankings play a significant factor in both the incoming class and the interest of employers.  Schools understand this, so they play the rankings game. 

Here is how the ranking is calculated:

As you can probably see, the ranking system is incestuous.   Employers hire from the school with the best students, the best students go to the school with the best employment prospects, and the schools that pump out the most prestigious lawyers get the best peer assessment. 
As rankings go up, students and employers are attracted to the school.  But its pretty clear that what everyone wants are the best students (not necessarily the best-trained students)  Because the scores are relatively tight between #25 and #75, every point matters, and admissions offices have little immediate incentive to bring in someone with a good career.  They'll use those "soft" factors as a tiebreaker, but they will almost always choose a 163/3.6 with a job at quiznos over a 158/3.1 with an impressive management career.

I think the main reason why is that employers and schools are terrible at evaluating experience.  Resume's, recommendations, and references are so unreliable and almost always inflated.  Work ethic changes over time as well.  Virtually all of the decision makers go for the "hard" factors because they are easier to evaluate and they have an impact on rankings.

Law School Admissions / Re: My chances
« on: August 15, 2012, 02:07:52 PM »
In my narrow experience, nobody really cares about your work experience unless it is directly related to the job you are applying for.  A law school may be impressed by novel achievements or by specialized schooling.

UNLV could be a different story if you worked for a former student turned big-wig or something.

I really think there is a lot of delusion at both ends.  Yes, people still get jobs and not everyone is screwed.  There are chicken littles out there who are going crazy.  But things aren't easy, particularly for lower-ranked grads.

 I was a top 1/4 at a school just outside the top 50.  I was a law review editor and moot court member.  I had two fantastic internships, one of which produced a ton of 1st chair experience, and I was networking and job hunting from 1L Christmas until I passed the bar.  I got my first full-time attorney job two days before I was sworn in as an attorney (Five months after graduation), and most of my income is based on bonuses.

In my experience, the legal field is absolutely brutal right now, and the available jobs for new associates are absolute crap.  I hustled for years and basically worked for free for four employers while I studied for the bar.  Hundreds of emails, months of networking, at least 50 applications for open positions, calling in every favor I had.   At the end of all that, I had two associate offers, and one came when a managing partner liked me a lot during a paralegal interview.

One state court clerkship in a medium market (salary = less than 40k/year) attracted well over 100 licensed attorney applicants. 100!  The guy who got it was ranked in the top ten students at a school in the top 40.

Anyone at the bottom half of their class or in the bottom half of law schools faces an incredibly brutal, up-hill battle for jobs with horrible starting salaries.

My advice to those licensed attorneys still looking for a job is to write emails to every attorney you can find and offer to do their crap drafting work for 40 bucks an hour on a contract basis.  Also, apply for paralegal jobs and then just start picking up attorney work as it becomes available in your firm.  They will love this because they can pay you less than 20 bucks an hour and bill you out at a low rate, but still tell your clients you are an attorney.

Law School Admissions / Re: My chances
« on: August 15, 2012, 10:46:27 AM »
I was wait listed at UNLV with a 160/3.3 and a four year full-time career.  The firm I work for has an office in Vegas.

Boyd has a lot of financial backing and they are on the rise.

Vegas is an interesting market though.  The are so many little firms and attorney jobs pop up on craigslist all the time.  There are also a lot of good jobs in the Carson City area as well.  I think you have a decent chance at Boyd if you kill the LSAT.  If your score is under 163 or so, you will probably need to refocus on lower ranked schools.

Keep the Southern Cali schools and Gonzaga in mind.  It also might not be a bad idea to look into some crappy eastern schools like Washburn, Akron, etc.  They have low tuition, easy in-state rules, and they offer a lot of good scholarships.

As far as the type of legal work, I want to be involved in civil litigation.  I wouldn't mind the hours or the stress involved in litigation.

I'm a litigator and I can tell you that not all litigation is created equal.  It's impossible to know how successful you can be in the future, but statistically you face an uphill battle for lawyer jobs at firms with 5+ attorneys.  I'm not saying it's impossible for you to get back into law school and have a great career at a successful firm, but it is more likely you'll have to work in a smaller office or open your own shop, at least at first.

If you want to be a litigator at a firm with 5-25 attorneys, for example, you should focus on networking with attorneys at those firms.  They will give you the best information and advice, if they are being honest, and they can put in a good word for you when you graduate.  I would do this before you decide on your paralegal question.  A great paralegal at a medium+ firm has a very different job description than an attorney at a medium+ firm.  Those jobs require different personalities and skill sets. (Some skills overlap, naturally).  If the partners like your personality, they may consider hiring you in spite of some difficulties you've had, but your skill as a paralegal won't put you above attorney candidates with significant skills and a better academic record.
However, a great paralegal who subsequently becomes an attorney may have a lot of the skills and experience necessary to thrive at a very small firm or open his own firm.

I really think the best thing you can do at this point is find a role model and see if you can take them to lunch.  Hopefully this person will be the lawyer you want to be in ten years.  You can get advice on your situation and get an idea for who the decision makers are and what they will be looking for from you.

Addressing this post as an honest request for help and not a humorless hoax, you haven't provided enough information for any reasoned advice...

1) Why were you dismissed? If it was an academic dismissal for poor grades, have you identified the source of the trouble and come up with a solution? If it was a disciplinary dismissal that would impact potential bar admission, that's an even more significant concern.

2) Why do you want to go back to law school? Is there a more affordable alternative that meets your goals? How committed are you to a career in the legal field?

Good questions.
I'd also add  3) What type of legal work do you believe you'd like to do (What type of employer, what practice area, and what kind of day to day work)

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