Law School Discussion

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Messages - Citylaw

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1
General Board / Re: How Serious Is My Situation?
« on: Today at 01:52:20 AM »
Yes you will still have a ton of options assuming you graduate and pass the bar. Obviously, it is better to have straight A's, but you could have a 4.0 GPA if you don't pass the bar your not a lawyer.

Additionally, a number of my classmates struggled first semester, but went on to do very well once they learned IRAC etc. However, eventually some students did fail out as well. A 1.4 GPA is not good, but you are not the first and you will not be the last person to get their ass kicked by the first semester of law school.

For the time being I would focus on improving academically and do not even worry about internships etc. Step 1 is improving once that is accomplished worry about the bigger picture.

If you want to PM me for more details feel free and good luck next semester.

2
Law School Applications / Re: 2.39 GPA 151 LSAT Should I even try?
« on: Yesterday at 12:47:29 AM »
There are a number of schools you could get into with those numbers. Here is a LSAC Link that allows you to plug in your GPA/LSAT and get a look at your options. https://officialguide.lsac.org/Release/UGPALSAT/UGPALSAT.aspx . I plugged in your numbers and there are about 15-20 schools that you have a 75% chance getting into.

A 151 LSAT is not that bad. It is not amazing either, but you score in the top 50% of test takers. When you are 145 or under is when there is little hope, but 150 or above you will have some options, but Harvard or Yale will not be on the list.

From your choices it looks like you want to be on the East Coast and one school that is an option with your numbers is UMASS-Dartmouth. These are two quality universities that just formed a law school and are seeking applicants, but overtime I imagine it will become a solid school. For your purposes it will get you a bar exam ticket.

Here is a great article about how to choose a law school.
http://www.legalmatch.com/choose-the-right-law-school.html

3
Well your first year and the majority of your law school education will cover more than criminal law.

Your first year at any ABA school will be Torts, Civil Procedure, Contracts, Property, and likely Criminal Law. You will also later take Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and Constitutional Law, which will deal with criminal law issues, and you will likely know some of the material from your experience as a police officer.

I imagine a career in criminal law would be good to pursue, but to pass the bar you will need to know all of it.

Good luck in your legal career and thank you for your service as an officer.

4
One of my law school classmates came from Canada and went back to practice there not sure the specifics of how she did it,  but it was done. However, laws are Country Specific becoming an expert in American Constitutional Law, will not do much good in Canada as it has a different constitution. Tand purposes it is unwise to study law in a Country you do not plan on studying in. Therefore, I think for all intents it is wise to attend law school in the Country you want to practice in and if there are states as in the U.S. in the state you want to practice in.




5
Non-Traditional Students / Re: Input on JD vs MBA for retiring veteran
« on: January 15, 2015, 11:54:45 AM »
To sum it up I think a J.D. is the better degree, because you cannot be a lawyer without a law degree, but you can be a businessman without an M.B.A.

There are also many schools that offer joint J.D./M.B.A. programs and most schools will give you a huge discount on the M.B.A. if you are in the J.D. program.

Also with your background and a 3.3. and assuming you get a 160+ on the LSAT there will be a number of law schools that would offer you substantial scholarship money and if that is the case use the G.I. Bill for the M.B.A.

Essentially, if you have an interest in both there is no reason to not pursue both there is a lot of overlap between them and you can typically finish a J.D./M.B.A in four years. However, if you have to choose one do the J.D., because you CANNOT be a lawyer without a law license, and to get a law license you need a J.D. (I know there are a few crazy exceptions to this, but they are unlikely to apply.) 

Additionally, this is a great article that points some great points about how to choose a law school. http://www.legalmatch.com/choose-the-right-law-school.html


6
Where should I go next fall? / Re: A WARNING about Phoenix School of Law
« on: January 14, 2015, 07:31:59 PM »
Appropriate expectations is what I meant.   Again there are plenty of satisfied graduates from Tier 4 Schools and dissatisfied students from Tier 1 schools. Many people often assume going to law school means you will be paid substantial sums of money for getting a degree, but that is not the case and if you go to non-prestigious school you really better not have that expectation that anything will be handed to you, but I think the problem is that often at Tier 4 schools you have students with very unreal expectations, which leads to disappointment.




7
Where should I go next fall? / Re: A WARNING about Phoenix School of Law
« on: January 14, 2015, 12:12:59 PM »
Outstanding post Maintain and that is precisely at the end of the day unless you got into Harvard, Yale, or Stanford there is a school that probably rejected you.  Additionally, not everybody wants to go to Harvard, Yale, or Stanford even if they had the opportunity.

If you attend Phoneix Law School you are probably not going into BigLaw or going to be sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court and realistically neither is someone from ASU, but you can have a great legal career if you are a licensed attorney.

I agree the tuition is expensive, but it is realistically that amount at any law school that doesn't offer in-state tuition. If you can get into a school that offers in-state tuition do it as that can save substantial sums of money, but for various reasons people attend other schools and may not be a resident of a state with a school that offers in-state tuition.

Not everyone can have a 4.0 and 180 on their LSAT and there are plenty of people out there that need lawyers for basic legal services and do not need the Valedictorian from Harvard to help them with a child custody case, but they need someone.

Phoneix law school can be great for the right person, but as with anything you need to have appropriate expectations.

 

8
Thanks for the kind words.

I am not sure where you live now, but San Francisco is in actuality a very small city only 7 square miles and for all intents purposes pretty small geographically.

USF is about 1-2 miles away from Downtown San Fransico and parking is not bad for San Francisco in that area. However, that area is not near Bart or Caltrain or Muni Line. There are buses everywhere though and you can get around.

I think the University of San Francisco is one of the most beautiful places in San Francisco and it is only a few blocks from Golden Gate Park, which is awesome.

What I recommend you do is come to San Francisco and visit USF to see how you personally feel about it. You might also want to apply to Golden Gate and Santa Clara and visit those campuses as well. I know when I was choosing schools it was stressful, but when I visited and talked to professors, students, walked around the campus etc, I loved some and disliked others, but again that is totally subjective. Santa Clara for example gave me a bad vibe as did Hastings, but I loved USF and Golden Gate, but you might love Santa Clara and Hastings and hate USF and Golden Gate it is your 3 year $100,000 commitment so make sure it works for you.

As for the LSAT retake you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by retaking. If you nail it on the next try you can expand your options or other schools might offer you substantial scholarship money and my two cents is unless you are going to a "TOP" school, which would be Stanford or Berkeley in San Francisco get out as cheaply as possible.

9
First and foremost realize that anything you read on this board or others myself included comes from anonymous internet posters that know nothing about you, your situation, or goals and on the internet anyone can give themselves delusions of grandeur for all you know I could be the Dean of Harvard Law School or a crackhead in a public library. Therefore, take anything you read from anonymous internet posters with a major grain of salt.

With that intro I am familiar with USF, because I live right next to the campus and am a lawyer in San Francisco. Ymy litigation partner went there as did a number of other attorneys I deal with in court all the time. As with any law school in America from Harvard to Cooley there are great lawyers and terrible lawyers from every school. I have met some great attorneys from USF and some terrible ones at the end of the day whether you succeed in the legal profession has far more to do with the individual than the school they attended.

I think this is a great article explaining how to choose a law school. http://www.legalmatch.com/choose-the-right-law-school.html

With that intro I will go into a little bit about USF and the Bay Area Law Schools.  For all intents and purposes if you want to live in the Bay Area University of San Francisco is a fine school. The campus itself is beautiful and San Francisco is an amazing City. One of the realities of attending law school in a major city like San Francisco is that all the law schools in the area will often have the same professors. Outstanding lawyers often want to live in San Francisco, New York, L.A, etc and University of Nebraska could be ranked far higher than a Tier 4 in San Francisco, but the professor will often prefer to live in San Francisco opposed to Nebraska. However, there are plenty of talented lawyers that would prefer Nebraska over the Hustle and Bustle of a City, but that is the main point there are countless paths to choose and you need to evaluate what is best for YOU.

In the Bay area for example there are 6 ABA schools. (1) Stanford; (2) Berkeley; (3) Hastings; (4) Santa Clara; (5) USF  (6) Golden Gate.

The same professors teach at these schools because the law is the same. A professor can spend an hour teaching contracts at Golden Gate hop on Bart teach at Hastings then take the N line down to USF and teach four hours in one day while collecting three paychecks and many do.

One example is Peter Keane who was an excellent Criminal Defense Lawyer in San Francisco.  He now teaches both Constitutional Law, Trial Advocacy and Criminal Procedure at Golden Gate, Hastings, USF, and has lectured at all the bay area schools. Below are his profiles for both Hastings and Golden Gate.

 http://www.uchastings.edu/academics/faculty/facultybios/keane/index.php
http://law.ggu.edu/faculty/bio/peter-keane

So whether you attend Hastings or Golden Gate next year you will read the same Con Law Book likely written by Chemerinsky and Peter Keane will teach it to you in San Francisco.

Jon Sylvester is another contracts expert in the Bay Area who teaches everywhere. You will read the Contracts book written by Epstein and likely take 1L contracts from Jon Sylvester.

http://law.ggu.edu/law/faculty/bio/jon-sylvester
http://www.uchastings.edu/academics/faculty/facultybios/sylvester/index.php

I could go on and on with examples of this, but the important thing to realize is that at any ABA law school you will learn the same thing. U.S. News is nothing more than a magazine offering an opinion and back when I was applying to law schools University of San Francisco was ranked in the top 70 schools and I guess now it is not, but in a few years it will probably go back up again.

This is par for the course of law school rankings as U.S. News is nothing more than a magazine offering an opinion. U.S. News ranks more than law schools and listed Albuquerque New Mexico as the number one place to live. http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009 (I imagine you are not considering applying to New Mexico Law School, because U.S. News  ranked it the #1 place to live as it would be crazy to make a life altering decision such as where to live based on a magazine's opinion.

However, for some reason incoming law students make life altering decisions based on U.S. News. U.S. News is not doing anything wrong by publishing it's opinion and it us up to people to apply common sense when choosing a law school.

Conclusion:
There will never be right answer as to what school to choose. I was accepted to 20 different schools and I always think what if I would have chosen X? I will never know and even know I really enjoy by job, but I had other offers again what if I had chosen? Again, I can't know and one of the most important thing for a lawyer to be is decisive and the sooner you come to realize that there is no right answer and nobody really knows what they are doing the further you will go.

Good luck in your pursuit of a legal education and if you have any specific questions about USF or San Francisco you can personal message me or just keep sharing on this board.






10
General Board / Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« on: January 06, 2015, 08:03:05 PM »
Congrats on your first semester grades! The release of those is a very stressful time and it getting a 3.0 is not bad at all. As Maintain States most 1L's assume they will get a 4.0 and 100% of them are certain they will be in the top 10% of the class and there is no way they wouldn't in the top 25% and it would absolutely impossible for them to be in the bottom half of the class. However, you don't need to be a math major to see how that math works out.

Any ABA Law Schools is compromised of very smart, motivated and hard working people and many students are shocked when 1L grades come out and they see C's for the first time. At the end of the day your grades mean very little and whether you pass the bar or not is what counts, but nobody has ever been hurt by having a solid law school GPA.

To sum it up a 3.0 is a great start and you are likely in the top 35% of your class with that so congrats and keep pushing through law school. If you have additional questions about the process this site has several insightful posters that offer excellent advice.

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