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L.L.M. Board / Re: we should replace the JD with an LLM.
« on: June 10, 2014, 08:24:37 PM »

I think one of the best ideas I heard to change legal education is to allow students to sit for the bar after 2L and if they are able to obtain a license they can spend their third year as licensed attorneys and complete an apprenticeship program to complete 3L.

If a student is unable to pass the bar during 2L summer they can spend their third year taking a number of bar prep courses etc to prepare them for the second go around.

I realistically took a number of bar study courses during 3L that I probably did not need, but you tend to overprepare for the exam.

The current problem with the bar structure now is that students are basically thrown to the wolves after graduation and once they take the bar they have to wait four months before they find out if they pass or not. They are not enrolled in school and a sedentary four months ensues and many employers are not hiring graduates waiting for bar results it is not economical to do so, which leaves the student in limbo for several months and if they do not pass the first time around they are in limbo for over a year.

This alternative system would allow first time passers to not have the long wait period and be able to go straight work. For students with extra assistance they will not just fail the bar and have nowhere to turn instead they can be around faculty etc during 3L and work on their weak spots and pass after 3L and be able to go straight to the workforce.

General Board / Re: How many actually grew up WANTING to be lawyer?
« on: June 10, 2014, 06:19:50 PM »
I wanted to be an NBA basketball or professional basketball player in Europe, but after a below average college basketball career it was not a realistic option and I knew it wasn't realistic even in high school. I then wanted to be a police officer and was in the process of the backgrounds etc, which can take up to two years. I was working as a paralegal out of college and decided to take the LSAT expecting to do terribly. I did pretty well and was then offered a number of scholarships and I thought why not go to law school with a scholarship I did not have much to lose. In all honesty I really thought I would fail out, but my background for to be a police officer woudl be done by then and I would go back to that.

I ended up finishing in the top 10% of my class, which was a complete surprise to me and ended up loving law school and being a lawyer, but for the first 24 years of my life I thought there was no way I would ever be a lawyer, but it happened.

I think every story is unique and since law school does not require pre-req courses like med school it results in a lot more diverse backgrounds.

Excellent post by Maintain and he covered pretty much every point, but I want to add one important consideration scholarship conditions and a few follow up points.

Scholarship Conditions:
I see Chapman requires a 2.9, Southwestern a 2.7 etc. I imagine like many incoming 0L's you believe obtaining those GPA's will be a piece of cake. Law school however, is very different due to the strict curve and at many schools you need to finish in the top 35% just to have a 2.5 G.P.A it varies from school to school, but there is a strong chance you will not maintain the scholarship years two & three. This is nothing against you personally, but the reality is everyone in law school is smart, hard-working and motivated and 100% of students think they are going to be in the top of the class, but 50% of them will be finishing in the bottom half and 25% in the bottom 25%. This New York Times Article does a far better job explaining the situation than I can.

Personal Feelings about School:

It sounds like you have done the important process of visiting the campuses you are interested in and it seems like you are a person that does not enjoy downtown S.F or Downtown L.A you want a smaller environment, which is fine . Chapman provides much more of a college feel and you appear to have enjoyed your visit and that is very important. Each student has their own personal feelings about schools when I was visiting there were some I hated and others I loved, but you could have the opposite feeling. I liked Southwestern, because there was so much going on and Chapman felt isolated although the campus is beautiful. Nothing wrong with having your own preference this is a 3 year, $100,000 commitment so list to your gut. It sounds like Chapman left you with a good impression and the other schools did not. That says something about what YOU want and this is your life. Do not let anonymous internet poster like myself, a for profit magazine like U.S. News, or anyone else that knows nothing about you tell you what is best for you.

You mention talking to students etc at Chapman should be taken with a grain of salt, but I think those opinions should carry the most weight. Every posting on this board or other law school boards is  behind a computer screen and you have no way of gauging our credibility. I could be a crackhead in a public library there is no qualification for posting on the internet talking to students, professors, and walking around the campus is reality and can offer far more insight than the internet.

District Attorney Reality:
Maintain also makes a great point about D.A's there are very few positions and even if you get hired as D.A. the reality of it is a lot different than what is displayed on T.V. and many people end up not wanting the job. So as Maintain suggests keep an open mind, but if you really want to be D.A. if you graduate from an ABA school it can happen, but just be 100% sure that is what you want.

Choosing a School :
To answer your question I would negotiate with all of these schools for better scholarship terms more money and better conditions. Worse case scenario they will say no, but nothing bad will happen by asking.

This is also a pretty good article explaining factors to consider when choosing a law school.

Knowing nothing about you it seems like Chapman is a good fit for you. Do not make things more complicated than they need to be, but I do encourage you to negotiate for better scholarship conditions and money you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing so.

Good luck in your legal career.

General Board / Re: Academic Dismissal
« on: June 02, 2014, 10:59:00 PM »
Do they not allow you to take the second semester?

It seems like you should have a full year.

If you are in California I know one girl who was dismissed, but she was reinstated after passing the California Baby Bar.

I would not make excuses in your Petition, but come up with ideas to prove that you are capable i.e. you are willing to take the baby bar exam, enroll in additional tutoring etc. Excuses do not go very far in the legal profession, but creative solutions do. Prove to them you are capable, smart and dedicated.

Good luck.

Black Law Student Discussion Board / Re: Possibilities
« on: June 02, 2014, 10:56:03 PM »
Exactly and I also think it has to do with realities. I work for a government agency in just outside of San Francisco and if when we see an out of state resume we think it is really worth the time and energy to interview and offer this person a job when they may have thoughts about actually moving.

I believe a lot of like to say they want to move across country etc, but when it becomes real people often get cold feet. In addition to that government budgets are tight and we are not going to pay for travel and lodging for someone from Michigan State and a Michigan State law student is unlikely to have $2,000 on them to fly into San Francisco and pay for a hotel for a few days.

Geography is just such an important factor in the real world, but in the law school bubble people get lost and I was guilty of it myself as 0L, but thankfully practicing lawyers explained it to be before I made a horrible decision.

General Board / Re: FSU in-state vs. Nova Southeastern scholarship
« on: June 02, 2014, 08:27:40 PM »
This is always a tough decision and I have posted on this board before that I believe any 0L should consider the following factors in this order when choosing a law school. (1) Location; (2) Cost; (3) Personal Feelings about the School; (4) Understanding the reality of legal education; (5) Last and least U.S. Rankings. Here is an article explaining these factors

In addition I will apply these factors to your decision, but remember to take any advice you receive from anonymous internet posters on this board or other my post included should be taken with a grain of salt.

1. Location:
From your post it is my understanding you live and work in Ft. Lauderdale and your fiance just got a job in Ft. Lauderale. Your family is in Fort Lauderale and you work at a law firm in Ft. Lauderale, which leads me to heavily favor you staying in Forth Lauderdale.

You have family, friends, a fiance and connections where you are so why move six hours away?

Many law students myself included back when I was a 0L forgot to use common sense and assume law school will be so difficult that they will not have time for anything. As a law student, however doesn't go anywhere you will want to socialize with friends, be with your fiance, have the support of your family, and be around a supportive environment. 

If you really want to move to Tallahasee and that is your ultimate goal then go to FSU, but it sounds like you think it might open a door to some government position. This does not sound like a good reasoning to turn your life upside down.

Your fiance is also an important consideration and in all honesty long-distance relationships are hard enough without the strain of law school and everyone I knew that started law school in a long-distance relationship either broke up or ended up transferring back to a school where their partner was. If you break up with your fiance during law school it will obviously impact your academic performance and again life happens in law school so based on the facts in your post I would lean heavily in favor of Nova.

2) Cost
Now the scholarships can be a little misleading finishing in the top 60% of the class is not as easy as it sounds. Everyone in law school is smart, hard-working and motivated and not one person believes there is any way they will not finish in the top 60% of the class, but 40% are wrong. This means there is a 40% chance you will lose your scholarship years 2 and 3. Here is a solid NY times article on the subject.

With that said you are in a great position to use your FSU acceptance to negotiate for more scholarship money and more favorable conditions. Tell Nova you are really torn between FSU and Nova and would like additional assistance and more favorable terms possibly simply good academic standing to maintain your scholarship. You have nothing to lose by asking for this and everything to gain and with your acceptance into FSU it is not unforeseeable that you could choose FSU providing you with excellent bargaining power. However, if you do not use this bargaining power the school will not do it for you.

Assuming nothing changes I do not think paying 50k more to move away from your friends, family, fiance and support network is a good idea.

3) Personal Feelings about the School:
This is a very important factor and perhaps FSU would win out on this one. Each school has a unique culture to it and whether that culture is a fit for you is a question only you can answer. When I was a 0L I visited a number of school some I hated others I loved, but those were personal opinions you may have hated the ones I loved and loved the ones I hated.

I strongly encourage you to visit both schools talk to professors, admins, students, walk around the campus, walk around the neighborhood etc and see how you feel about the school. On campus visits are an invaluable experience and can provide far more insight than an anonymous internet poster like myself. This is a 3 year, $100,000, career and life altering decision and for such a large decision taking the time to visit the school is a good idea.

4) Reality of Legal Education:

You will receive a quality education at FSU, Nova or any ABA law school. The reality is that for all intents and purposes you learn the same exact thing at any ABA school. Your first year will consist of Torts, Civ Pro, Property, Contractors and LRW. In these courses you will read supreme court cases and the supreme court does not write seperate opinions for different schools.

You will learn proximate cause by reading the Palsgraff case in Torts, Notice requirements in Pennoyer v. Neff in Civ Pro, contract remedies in Hadley v. Baxendale etc.

In addition the law does not change from school to school it is the same thing. After three years of law school whether you attend Nova or FSU you will enroll in a bar prep course likely BarBri or Kaplan and be packed into a room with hundreds of other law grads from across the Country all freaking out about the Bar Exam. After months of intense studying you will be in an auditorium and take the bar exam along with students from every law school in the Country and if you pass your a lawyer if you do not pass your not a lawyer. Any ABA school will provide you with the tools to pass the bar exam, but it will be up to you to execute it.

(5) U.S. News Rankings:
Remember that U.S. News is nothing more than a for-profit unregulated magazine offering an opinion, which ranks everything. According to U.S. News Albuquerque, New Mexico is the best place to live. . I imagine your not planning on moving to New Mexico based on a magazine article, but many law students think making a life altering decision based on what a magazine ranks X school is a good idea. Unless you were talking about Harvard, Yale, Stanford all schools you do not need U.S. News to tell you are good schools it is not a good idea.

Knowing nothing about you other than your post I would strongly encourage you to attend Nova. The primary reason is the location it sounds like you have an excellent network there and no particular desire to live in Tallahassee. If your ultimate goal is to live in Tallahassee then I would vote for FSU, but I get the impression that you think FSU having a higher ranking is the real reason you are thinking about moving 6 hours away from your friends, family, fiance and paying $50,000 more in tuition. In my experience this rarely turns out well, but it is your life.

If I were you I would use the FSU admission to my advantage and negotiate for more money with Nova and better scholarship conditions.

Good luck whatever you decide I know it is a very tough decision, but remember to use common sense when making your decision and in your legal career. Many law students and lawyers over complicate matters, which leads to bad results. Do not let a bunch of numbers and stats distract you from what is right for you. Whether you succeed in the legal profession has a lot more to do with you as an individual than the name of the school on your diploma.

Black Law Student Discussion Board / Re: Possibilities
« on: June 02, 2014, 07:54:21 PM »
That is a great summary and it really is unfortunate how many people fail to use common sense when choosing a law school. When your in 0L or law school bubble it seems so important, but the reality is real lawyers are not paying attention to the rankings they have staffing needs etc. The majority of firms can only afford to recruit locally the San Diego D.A.'s Office is going to do OCI at the San Diego Law Schools and maybe L.A. ones. There is no way they are going to do OCI at Iowa, Kansas, or Idaho even if those schools are far higher ranked than Thomas Jefferson and Cal Western.

Black Law Student Discussion Board / Re: Possibilities
« on: June 01, 2014, 12:12:08 PM »
Exactly it is not even necessarily the top 14 there are just some schools that are recognized nationally as elite schools. If Harvard was ranked dead last by U.S. News it would still open more doors than Cooley if it was ranked #1.

I did not need U.S. News to tell me Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Columbia are top notch schools.

Black Law Student Discussion Board / Re: Possibilities
« on: May 31, 2014, 07:06:37 PM »

Also, as has been mentioned, rankings beyond the top 14 schools do not matter. I had a friend break a lease and move to another state to go from the #62 law school to be at the #52 law school.  Ironically, the graduates from her old class at the #62 ranked school wound up with jobs while she graduated with no job offers.  Moral of the story, rankings outside of the nationally recognized top 14 schools really do not matter. 

It is crazy how many students make that mistake I almost did the same thing, which would have resulted in giving up $80,000 in scholarship money. Thankfully, people talked some sense into me more importantly I imagine the #52 school your friend transferred to is now ranked #62 and the school they transferred from is #52.

For any potential law student reading this board I just want everyone to use common sense when making the life altering decision of where to attend law school and not make a life altering decision based on a magazine. Harvard is a good school and would be well regarded if U.S. News ranked them dead last.

To take Burning Sands example there is no #52 or #62 ranked school this year, but 3 school tied for 51 and 3 schools tied for 61.

Schools Ranked 61st in 2014  and past five year rankings.
61*   56*   58*   61*   72*   65*    Temple U (PA)    -
61*   68*   89*   84*   86*   94*    U of Arkansas-Fayetteville    -
61*   76*   69*   77*   60*   71*    U Miami (FL

Schools Ranked 51st in 2014 and past five year rankings
51*   54*   51*   56*   64*   65*    Baylor U (TX)    -
51*   64*   76*   60   72*   65*    Pennsylvania State U    -
51*   53   58*   67*   86*   77*    U Richmond (VA)

I guarantee you Miami Grad will have an easier time finding employment than a Baylor Grad in Miami despite being ranked 10 schools lower.

You can also see how drastically rankings change from year to year. The class that entered Richmond in 2010 was attending the 86th best law school then graduated from the 51st.

If someone enrolled at Miami n 2010 they enrolled in the 60th best school when they graduated in 2013 it was 76th then a year later it was back to 61.

I guarantee nothing significant changed at any of these schools and it is just terrible to see people make life altering decisions based on this magazine. U.S. News is not at fault for this they are a magazine offering an opinion, but people need to be smarter.

Law School Applications / Re: Just Getting Started
« on: May 29, 2014, 11:34:50 PM »
At the OP be aware the legal profession is full of negativity and really whenever anyone tries to achieve anything it is often met with negativity, speculation or doubt.

The purpose of the post is to tell you a thick skin is necessary in the legal profession, but if you have that it can be a very rewarding career. Good luck in your educational pursuit.

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