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Messages - Citylaw
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« on: April 08, 2015, 04:37:32 PM »
Please do not make a decision on where to attend law school based on U.S. Rankings.
Nobody cares about the rank difference between USD, Hastings, or Chapman.
Additionally, the rankings change drastically year by year. See this chart from 2009-2014 showing law school rankings. http://www.top-law-schools.com/rankings.html
Hastings for example was 39th 5 years ago and now they are in a multipe way tie for 54th. Nothing has changed at that school I have been in the SF legal market since 2009 and Hastings is a well respected school in San Francisco. People that make hiring decisions don't look at the U.S. News Rankings.
If you were talking Harvard or Yale then yes the rank makes a difference, but none of these schools are amazing.
I cannot stress enough how many bad decisions are made based on U.S. News rankings. Remember it is a for-profit unregulated magazine offering an opinion nothing more nothing less. According to U.S. News Alberqueue, New Mexico is the #1 place to live. See link http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009
. However, I imagine you are not going to move to Albuquerque because U.S. News says it is #1 . It would be crazy to make a life altering decision based on a magazine right?
Same thing applies to making the 3 year, $100,000 +, career altering decision don't let a magazine make this decision for you.
In conclusion if you want to be in L.A. attend law school in L.A. Again, Southwestern, Chapman, Loyola would be solid options.
If you ultimately want to end up in L.A. you will have more job opportunities if you attend law school in L.A. Your professors will be in L.A. you will get internships in L.A. there will be more alumni in L.A.
If you want to be in San Diego attend law school in San Diego.
Any ABA law school will provide you with a quality legal education, but none guarantee you a job. Rankings mean very little and simply apply common sense when choosing your school don't listen to magazines or even anonymous internet posters such as myself.
If you want to be a lawyer in L.A. my two cents is going to law school in L.A. You also preferably like to pay less for the same thing. Any of these schools will provide you with a J.D. and the opportunity to sit for the California Bar Exam you can pay $100,000 more at X school or $100,000 less to be in the same spot.
Of course if you were attending a school known nationwide this might be a different conversation, but Hastings, USD, Chapman, etc are fine schools, but nobody in L.A. is going to go out of their way to recruit a San Diego student there are already 7 or 8 law schools in L.A.
« on: April 08, 2015, 12:09:16 PM »
Enjoying your posts and bringing a bit of life to this forum. I used to use this routinely in 2007-2008 when there was constant traffic and came back about a year ago to see the constant SPAM not sure what happened.
« on: April 08, 2015, 12:07:19 PM »
Loki makes great points and in all honesty if your goal is to end up in Socal attend law school in Socal.
If your goal is to be in San Diego attend USD, Cal Western or Thomas Jefferson.
If your goal is to be in L.A. attend Loyola, Southwestern, Chapman, UCI etc.
I am an attorney in San Francisco and from L.A. I left L.A., because it is not my scene, but it sounds like it is where you want to be and more power to you. Hastings is a solid school, but it is in the heart of the Tenderloin and kind of a crazy place.
I tell any incoming law student to consider the following five factors in this order (1) location; (2) Cost; (3) Personal feelings about the school; (4) understanding the reality of legal education; (5) Last and least U.S. News rankings. This article does a great job summing it up. http://www.legalmatch.com/choose-the-right-law-school.html
Also, in regards to grant money be wary of scholarship conditions and be sure you have a full understanding of what they are.
I also want to second Loki's point regarding the MBA. I know when I was a 0L I thought it sounded cool to get an MBA as well, but I had no real direction on what I would be doing with it. In all honesty I think an MBA is kind of a waste unless as Loki says you have a specific goal in mind, but if your not a math person adding an extra year of school and $10,000's more in educational debt is probably not a good idea and should not be a major factor in what school you choose.
« on: April 07, 2015, 12:23:05 PM »
Solid post Loki and Boris. I honestly, think the best thing to do in law school is go in thinking you know nothing. Many people come into law school thinking they know X, Y and Z and are special because of X reason. Just come in with a clean slate, listen to the professors and don't make it complicated.
Your first year will be extremely stressful and you will waste inordinate amounts of time on simple issues as every 0L does. I have kept my 1L property book, which is covered in pointless highlighter marks to remind to keep it simple, but that is really the hard part.
Go to class everyday, read the material assigned, and most importantly do practice questions. Everyone will remember the facts of the cases you read, but learning to write in IRAC and figuring out the Multiple Choice question tricks can only be done through practice. My first semester finals I knew every case backward and forward, which is good, but it is all about applying the law to the test.
I also highly recommend CALI Lessons, which are provided by every ABA school. I did those every night and listen to your professors don't get to wrapped up in various outside sources unless the professor loves the outside source. The professor writes the exam so pay attention to what they have to say.
« on: April 06, 2015, 05:40:03 PM »
Good to see you researched the issue and there is a 50% chance you will lose the scholarship and a 50% chance you will finish in the bottom half of the class. There is also a 50% chance you will finish in the top half of the class etc.
I think if you go into law school with realistic expectations it can work out, but it could also be a disaster, but anything worth doing in life comes with a risk. If being a lawyer is what you want go to law school , work your ass off and hope it works out. You may succeed you may fail, but when I started law school my friend gave me the below quote from Teddy Roosevelt, which I think is very inspiring and true. I take it to mean that anything worth doing is a risk.
The Man in the Arena Quote
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
« on: April 06, 2015, 04:38:57 PM »
I think attending SCU is the right choice and awesome they gave you more scholarship money, but the only thing to be concerned about is that you think it will be easy to maintain a 3.0. That is what every law student thinks.
Ask SCU what the curve is and how many people can maintain a 3.0 after 1L. It is a very easy question they will answer if you ask, but if you assume you will just a 3.0, because your friends etc say it will be easy that is where issues arise. Again, it is possible you will lose the scholarship, but you do everything you can to keep it.
However, I definitely think SCU or any Bay Area School is the right choice for your situation.
« on: April 06, 2015, 12:24:26 PM »
I want to counteract the statistics argument by Loki and point out why I think they are not a great factor to use in the life altering decision of where to attend law school. As Loki accurately points out the difference between NALP/ABA statistics and Law School Transparency Statistics differ greatly. That is because statistics can be manipulated.
Are the NALP/ABA stats 100% accurate? No, the schools have an incentive to "Juke the Stats" gotta love the Wire. Conversely, Law School Transparency an organization that essentially seek funding to point out how wrong the NALP/ABA stats are have incentive to Juke the Stats to prove their point. It is almost like Watching Fox News and MSNBC they will report the story, but in one story Obama is a hero in the other he is a Muslim Terrorist. For the most part you can apply common sense to get the real scoop on politics and the same is true when choosing a law school.
Golden Gate is a fine school as are all ABA schools, but it is certainly not Stanford or Harvard as I assume you already knew. If you finish in the bottom 25% of the class at Golden Gate, which there is a 25% chance will happen you may really struggle with the bar and finding employment. Again, as Loki points out law school is a risk.
There are hundreds of satisfied students from every law school each year and hundreds of dissatisfied ones. The reality is you finish in the bottom half of the class odds are you will struggle to start your legal career and there is a 50% chance you will be in the bottom 50%. If you finish in the top 10% at any school you odds are you will have a good chance at starting your legal career, but there is only a 10% chance you will be in the top 10%. Additionally, there is no way to know how you will do and going to law school may be the best decision of your life or the worst.
If we knew how things would turn out life would be pretty easy.
One way as everyone points out to minimize risk is reducing debt. However, without question be wary of scholarship conditions this New York Times Article does an outstanding job explaining the system. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/business/law-school-grants.html?_r=0
A 3.0 in law school is very difficult to get 1L all incoming law studnets particularly ones with numbers good enough to get law school scholarships assume a 3.0 will be a walk in the park, but it isn't. However, ask admissions officers the tough questions how many students keep the scholarships, what are the curves, etc. They will not lie if you ask them directly, but if you just assume everything will be ok and you don't ask they won't tell you either.
Again, if you ultimate goal is to in the Bay Area attend law school in the Bay Area. I would honestly talk to some of the professors that teach at multiple ABA schools in the Bay Area. They will give you the pros and cons of each school and there are pros and cons to each.
Good luck with your decision.
« on: April 03, 2015, 08:06:34 PM »
I was in a similar situation to you years ago. I was living in the Bay Area and wanted to stay in the Bay area, but I was accepted to "better" schools in areas I didn't want to live in. At the time University of Nebraska was ranked something like 60th I have come to realize how much it changes now and I was pretty set on attending University of Nebraska, because U.S. News said it was better and statistics etc said it was the better choice.
However, I spoke with several bay area attorneys my friends directed me to as I was really struggling with moving to Nebraska and they gave me this very simple advice. The best way to get a legal job in the Bay Area is to attend school in the Bay Area.
I did that and it was the best decision of my life. If you want to be in the Bay Area attend law school in the Bay Area. As a practicing attorney I know numerous attorneys from Berkeley, USF, Santa Clara, Hastings, Golden Gate, Davis and McGeorge all working at the same firm and even playing on the Bar Association of San Francisco Basketball League I mentioned.
Come down to Hastings Basketball Gym on Tuesday night and you will see a bunch of lawyers from every different school playing basketball together and the last thing that is ever discussed is our law school rank, employment prospects, etc.
I know many 0L's myself included years ago understandably over think and over analyze the school they attend. If your ultimate goal is to end up in the Bay Area don't attend law school in St. Louis. St. Louis and Case Western have very little influence in the Bay Area nobody ever thinks about those schools here not that they are bad, but why would an employer here want to play someone out from St. Louis or Case Western and talk to professors out there when there are numerous law schools in the Bay Area.
I also don't know if this is true of other cities, but the professors at Golden Gate, Hastings and USF are pretty much the same.
Jon Sylvester teaches Contracts at each school http://law.ggu.edu/faculty/bio/jon-sylvesterhttp://www.uchastings.edu/academics/faculty/facultybios/sylvester/index.php
Peter Keane teaches Con Law at each school https://www.uchastings.edu/academics/faculty/facultybios/keane/index.php http://law.ggu.edu/faculty/bio/peter-keane
I could honestly make a long list of professors that teach at each of these schools. Hastings, GGU and USF are in a 2 mile radius of eachother and Jon Sylvester is a genius he knows every rule of contracts and is taught to pay at each school. Promissory estoppel is the same at Hastings as it is at USF so why not get paid three times the amount for repeating yourself.
I honestly encourage you to talk to some of these professors that teach at each school. Most are very upfront and honest at happy to talk to a OL. Each school in the Bay Area has it's pros and cons, but any of them can open doors. The one thing I would highly advise against is attending school in St. Louis or Cleveland if your ultimate goal is to end up in the Bay Area.
Good luck whatever you decide.
« on: April 03, 2015, 04:18:54 PM »
Again, I think we are in agreement, but I give people more credit than you, whether that is right or wrong it doesn't really matter.
I will agree paying full sticker at Whittier or a number of schools may not be the best idea. However, there are a number of schools in the U.S. that offer cheap in-state tuition many in Florida and the South. Then I know CUNY is also about $12,000 per year. Additionally, many of these schools will offer substantial scholarship money, but as we have both pointed out those are fickle based on conditions and any incoming student should look at the conditions closely and get out as cheaply as possible.
I am not advocating go into Whittier paying full sticker and just thinking it will work out. In fact I strongly encourage anyone attending a non-elite school to work a year or two in the legal industry to see if it is something they enjoy. A J.D. from Harvard will open a ton of doors and a J.D. from Whittier will open a few and if you really enjoy the legal profession and not just what you see on T.V. it might be a great investment for you.
« on: April 03, 2015, 04:08:05 PM »
To go back a few there are several other Bay Area Schools to consider University of San Francisco, Golden Gate and in all honesty Davis and McGeorge are close enough that you could get internships in the Bay Area particularly North Bay i.e. Napa or Solano County.
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