Law School Discussion

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Messages - Citylaw

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21
Great post Miami and if you want to live in Wisconsin I don't think there is a better school to attend than Wisconsin. It is the best school in the state and you don't have to worry about taking the bar exam, but if want to live in Oregon Wisconsin is far from the best option.

Willamette will open more doors in Oregon than Wisconsin will.

22
First and foremost realize that anyone posting on this board or others is nothing more than an anonymous internet poster that knows nothing about you or your situation and has likely never attended or even been on the campus of any school you might bring up. So take anything you read here or on other boards my post included with a major grain of salt.

Before I go into much analysis if you want to live in Oregon go to law school in Oregon, keep it simple. However, for a detailed analysis read below.

With that intro I think you are making a common mistake of caring about the rankings. This is something I did as 0L, but it it is not a good idea to let a for profit unregulated magazine be the basis of a life altering decision. U.S. News has ranked Albuquerque, New Mexico as the best place to live. http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/best-places-to-live . I imagine you are not going to move to New Mexico, because a Magazine said it was the best place to live.  Use the same logic when making a $100,000+, three year and career altering decision. You can use U.S. News as a tie breaker, but do not let it be the basis of your decision. If you were talking Harvard v. Lewis &Clark then maybe rankings matter, but both of these schools are perfectly fine and will provide you with a solid education as well any other ABA school.

One final point as to why rankings should not matter is that they change drastically year by year, based on nothing. The rankings are based on random people filling out scan trons there is no science behind it.  Here is a chart showing the rankings of the schools over the past 6 years. http://www.top-law-schools.com/rankings.html Lewis & Clark was 58th in 2012, but this year it is a 9 way tie for 94th. So the graduating class that enrolled in the 58th best school is now graduating from the 94th best.

Wisconsin was 28th best in 2012 and now it is 35th. They will change year by year by the time you graduate it is entirely possible that Lewis & Clark will be ranked higher than University of Wisconsin and I can guarantee you that nobody will care what either is ranked.

So with that tie raid about the rankings these are the following factors in order of importance,  I think any law student should consider when choosing a law school. However, I am a guy on the internet who has gone to law school and am a practicing attorney however I like anyone else on these anonymous internet boards could be a crackhead in a public library or the Dean of Harvard Law School. 

Here are the factors I think are important and if it makes sense to you then apply them to your situation, if you think it is crazy then more power to you.

Factors:
(1) Location
(2) Cost
(3) Personal Feelings about School
(4) The Reality of Legal Education
(5) Last and Least U.S. News Rankings.

Here is a good article summarizing these factors. http://www.legalmatch.com/choose-the-right-law-school.html and I will offer a brief analysis of each below.

(1) Location:
If you want to live in Oregon then go to law school in Oregon. Don't make it complicated, but below is a detailed analysis if you choose to read it.

Portland Oregon and Madison, Wisconsin are very different places and the City you attend law school is likely where you will end up. Friends, Family and a support group are important for law school as are your personal tastes in a City. Portland is a large urban and hippie City and Madison Wisconsin is a college town. If your into Vegan Diets and Bike Riding Oregon might be a better place for you and if your into College Football and a small community feel Madison. Although, law school is a difficult you are going to spend a minimum of three years of the prime of your life at the school you attend. If your goal is not to be in Portland or Wisconsin then don't attend either school.   Professors and your school will have alumni faculty connections near the school, you will get internships in the City your school is located in and you will be more prepared to take the state bar of the school you attend. One side note is that Wisconsin offers its graduates the degree privilege so you automatically pass the Wisconsin Bar if you graduate from Marquette or UW. No other school or state offers that, which is a huge pro particularly if you want to live in Wisconsin.

Not to mention Midwest Weather v. West Coast weather is very different and to sum it all up law school does not exist in a vacuum all the things happening on or around you during law school will drastically impact your life and where you want to live is a question only you can answer. I live in San Francisco and I love it, but plenty of reasonable people would hate living in a big City. I would hate living in a small town, but plenty of people do and U.S. News knows nothing about you or what you want so don't let it make the highly personal decision of what City to live in for you.



(2) Cost
Law School is expensive and although the rankings change year by year whatever you pay for law school does not change. $9,000 is great, but if you live in Oregon I imagine you are not a Wisconsin Resident and will have to pay out-of state tuition, which appears to be $40,000 per year http://law.wisc.edu/prospective/tuitionandcosts.html , but if the school says it is $9,000 then that is what is, but confirm that.

It looks like Lewis & Clark charges $40,00 as well, but you will have free rent, which is nice. http://www.lclark.edu/offices/account_services/settling_your_account/calculating_costs/costs/law/

Add up the total costs and see what is cheaper and use that as a factor, but get detailed statements from the schools don't just assume X amount is what you will pay.

(3) Personal Feelings about School:

Each school has a culture to it and the neighborhood it is located in is where you will be spending at least three years of your life. You should also talk to professors, students, alumni and see how people feel about the school. Again, I live in San Francisco and Hastings Law School is a well respected school in the area, but it is in the heart of the dirtiest most crime ridden part of San Francisco and it is in an area I hate being in, but plenty of people love the school that is my subjective opinion.

Visit both schools and see what you think. If you have been to Wisconsin and don't want to see the school before you visit then certainly do not attend. If you are able to visit Wisconsin and love it then consider it, but if you think it is to expensive and time consuming to fly to Madison think of you will feel during law school when you are separated from everyone you know in Oregon.

(4) Reality of Legal Education:

At any ABA Law School you learn the same thing. You will read Supreme Court Cases and the Supreme Court does not write separate opinions for different schools nor does the law change if you attend the 84th or 148th best school. Abortion is legal, because of Roe v. Wade you can't go into a court and say I went to Harvard please prevent this woman from getting an abortion my school is ranked higher than opposing counsels.

Your first year will consist of Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure etc nobody where you go, but the one pro to Wisconsin is that you automatically pass the bar and don't have to take BarBri etc, but you will be in Wisconsin and not licensed in Oregon. If you want to be a lawyer in Oregon then Lewis & Clark will be far better at teaching you the minor nuances of Oregon Law.

(5) Rankings
I already gave the rant, but please do not move to Wisconsin because a magazine said it was the 35th best school. If you like want to use a tiebreaker then choose Wisconsin, but don't separate yourself from your friends, family, the place you want to live, to develop relationships in a state you don't want to be in, because a magazine said so.

Conclusion:
I am a guy on the internet and I could not possibly know what is best for you, but if you want to be in Oregon go to law school in Oregon.

Good luck and congrats on your acceptances.

23
General Board / Re: Stay or leave?
« on: June 04, 2015, 07:04:44 PM »
Those grads are fine and it probably puts you in the middle or even top half of the class. I imagine like most of your 1L classmates you though for sure you would be in the top 10% of the class, but like 90% of your classmates you are not in the top 10%.

It does not mean your legal career is doomed and plenty of people do very well with bad grades. I was in the top 10% of my graduating class and I am doing fine, but plenty of my classmates that graduated with B's and C's and even did not pass the bar the first time are making more money than I am.

So to sum it up it is not a disaster and honestly getting through your first year is a big accomplishment. If you hated law school and everything about it then don't keep pursue it, but I would tell you that if you had a 4.0 or 2.0, but it sounds like you are on the ADR team and overall enjoy law school.

As for career path like most 1L's around the country every single year you probably have no idea what the hell you are going to do or what you want to do. That is very common and expected. I would try to get an internship somewhere almost every Public Defender's Office anywhere is looking for interns and you could do that to get some experience or apply anywhere, you can find an unpaid internship somewhere I guarantee that and maybe even a paid internship for your 1L.

Your 2L you might also struggle to find a gig, but maybe you will get a great associate position who knows.

After 3L you will face the bar exam, which is "f'ing insane" and it doesn't matter whether you have a 4.0 or 2.0 awesome summer associate positions etc, you are either going to pass or not pass the first time, but even if you don't it is not the end of the world. Once you pass your a lawyer and you have a license to practice law for life. Your first legal job you will probably be underpaid and overworked, but that is pretty much the same in every position, but there is very high ceiling for someone with a license to practice law and your GPA, school, etc means nothing after a year or two. I am stressed about a big injunction hearing I have tomorrow and being very productive on here, but me telling the Judge or opposing counsel I got an A in Remedies or that I graduated with honors from law school will do much.

I also do not care where opposing counsel went to school or what their grades were and neither do our clients.  Opposing counsel does not care where I went to school or what my grades were either.

So to sum it up stay if you think you want to be lawyer and be happy that you got through the first year of law school is a big accomplishment. 

 

24
Transferring / Re: Just drop out instead
« on: June 04, 2015, 06:45:45 PM »
I think there is no replacement for a J.D. Although, people complaint they don't learn enough in law school, I actually think you learn a lot, but lawyers are not known for their optimism.

Although, law school cannot prepare you for every single thing or even 10% of the things you will encounter in practice it builds a solid foundation and a lot of what I learned in law school has been very helpful.

However, if your goal is only to get a license to practice law OP makes good points. If you are multimillionaire and really wanted to get a bar card you could find an attorney to fill out the paperwork to the California Bar and would be eager to teach you the law if paid.

 




25
There is so much talk about going to a "good school", but at the end of the day in the legal world at least in California it doesn't matter that much. You are at Tier 1 working for a solo PI attorney that cusses at you making $8.00 an hour would Tampa Cooley or Steston or any of the schools do much better than that?  The truth is that is not uncommon for tier 1 to tier 4 law students when you start out. You are struggling at this tier 1, but if you attended a school with a little less competitive students you might have a better GPA and more confidence.

I think everyone gave good advice, but don't get to wrapped up in the rankings etc this is why I always preach about finding the right school for you. The reality is once you graduate from a law school you take the bar, which is extremely difficult if you pass your a lawyer.  Your first job out of law school you will be overworked and underpaid, but as you put time in you will gain experience a reputation etc.

Loki does make a good point about in-state tuition and I know there are three schools in Florida that offer in-state tuition and I assuming Florida International University is not the school you are attending as it is not Tier 1, but since it offers in-state tuition on top of an awesome location in Miami it might be a good option.

If your not set on Florida there a number of other schools out there. I know for my California school a few people got dismissed after 1L, but they had the option to take the Baby Bar Exam and if they passed that they could be readmitted. Perhaps you could propose taking the Baby Bar Exam to your current school. It is California's exam, but from my understanding it is really just the MBE subjects and I think if you pass that you can show a commitment to your school or another school that you have what it takes.






26
I agree with Loki here I mean if you want to complain it is to hard then why have it all.

We never say I am going to get a brain surgery, but hopefully that surgeon did not have to work to hard to conduct surgery. Or oh I hope the lessen the Pilot Training requirements when you hop on 747.

Attorneys play an important role and having some licensing requirement is important. Although, the California Bar is hard it is certainly not impossible and thousands of people pass it every year. I don't think it needs to be made any easier or any harder, it is a difficult exam and Chemerinsky is writing the article to make his BarBri in hopes of making a positive change to his BarBri and law school stats.

Again, Chemerinsky is awesome and I loved listening to him, but the difficulty of the exam is not an issue.  The timing of bar exams could be changed to allow students easier access to the marketplace instead of having to sit on the shelf for 7 months, but it is sufficinently difficult in my opinion and honestly far easier for students now who have immediate access to the internet. Back in the old days to look up a word you had to pick up a black's dictionary etc now you just google it.

27
Yep the card does not matter and I have actually never had a client ask to see it, but I keep it in my wallet, because it makes me feel good about myself : ) , but other than that as Loki says it is a piece of plastic and I have been asked to show it to a client, or Judge. I guess in Federal Court you can go into the attorney line and skip the security check at least in the Eastern District of California and I am sure there are other counties and or districts that have the same privilege for someone with a bar card.


28
I have read it and he doesn't make bad points, but the reality is if you were an Oregon attorney that wanted to get licensed in California you do not need to even take the full California Bar Exam you need to only take the Attorney Exam. This exam does not require you to do the MBE and you only have two days of essay so it is significantly easier.

Also, many states have reciprocity etc. Plenty of states do the Uniform Bar Exam, which is fine, but I think California having a slightly harder exam considering it is the most marketable state to be licensed in makes sense.

As for the 50% statistic cited in the article I believe California is one of the most if not the most liberal about allowing people to take the exam. We allow unaccredited law school graduates to take the exam and if they can pass the bar more power to them. New York does not allow non-aba grads to sit and you have to go through the rigors and expense of an ABA program and if that requirement is there then fine minimize the bar exam standards, but we allow people to get a J.D. and sit for the bar far more freely than other states, but our exam is very difficult. If these grads that did not go the traditional route, but can pass a more exhaustive bar exam then great let them practice.

At the end of the day this proposal is very self-serving to Chemerinsky who is a BarBri instructor and a California Law School Dean. Of course he wants the exam to suddenly get easier so he looks great when the percentages all skyrocket, but he would never include that part in his article.

Don't get me wrong I love Chemerinsky and more power to him for advocating for his students, but I don't think it is a good idea to change the exam.

29
Pre-Law in high school / Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
« on: June 01, 2015, 04:44:10 PM »
Well the question is also who is a good person.

An attorney (Lincoln) Supporting the abolition of slavery 150 years ago was looked upon by many as so evil that thousands of people died.

The definition of "good" people changes all the time and part of being a lawyer is advocating for a side.

At this moment in time defending the Police is controversial, because there is a lot of media saying otherwise, but the months after 9/11 if you represetend the cops you were a good idea.


30
It is a valid point once you have the license why make it is easier for more competition, but I am not that big of an a-hole and I think if I was able to pass the current exam then it is certainly possible.  I am not Einstein and there are a number of people less competent than me out there that  passed the bar exam so it can be done, but it is hard and it is supposed to be.

I would also argue it is far easier than it was people before 2000 who did not have internet access to get quick answers and had to handwritte, etc.

I don't think the exam structure is wrong. One change I would advocate for is not making law students wait four months to get bar results.

You know why the employment rate for grads 9 months after graduation is so low? Because  you cannot possibly be a licensed attorney until 7 months after graduation and the results come out Thanksgiving and from Thanksgiving to Christmas is not exactly a hiring frenzy in the legal market and so you can't even really look for a licensed attorney job until 9 months after graduation.

I have heard reasonable arguments that students could take the bar exam after 2L and the 3rd year could be a much more practical experience for those that pass and those that do not pass the first time around could use the third year to go into a law school bar-exam program.

That aspect could certainly be changed, but the difficulty of the exam is fair in my anonymous internet poster opinion. 




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