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Messages - Citylaw

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Nice chart.

It is crazy how much legal education and any form of education has risen. The CBA schools can work for the right person as can ABA schools, but 60 to 160k to read some law books is crazy.

I am curious CBA schools have to pay a registration fee to the California Bar?

Law School Applications / Re: REJECTED, ETC. TODAY
« on: February 21, 2014, 12:49:29 AM »
Well written post I think Monterey College of Law can work for the right student, but as CA Law Dean says do not expect Cravath to come recruit you and offer you $160,000k out of law school. If law students have realistic expectations it can be a great career.

Where should I go next fall? / Re: South Florida law schools
« on: February 17, 2014, 08:30:35 PM »
I think the reality is that the law school you attend is given a lot more attention than it deserves. Miami is a fine school as is FIU and another ABA school. When I was in law school I was caught up in rankings, etc, but once I entered the real world I realized how trivial it all is. Obviously Harvard, Yale, Stanford etc will open doors, but I cannot imagine to many firms or agencies in Miami will simply a hand job to a someone from Miami instead of FIU.

The legal profession is a pretty much like anything else results matter. If you finish in the bottom of 25% of the class at Miami, have no internship experience, didn't participate in any activities, no professor relationships employers will not be knocking your door down. That same fact pattern goes for any law school.

If you finish in the top 10%, were a mock trial champion, law review, great relationships with professors, etc you will have a lot of doors open for you no matter what law school you attend.

However, even if you are top of the class etc you will have to open the doors and that means applying to jobs, dealing with some rejection etc. Very few firms or agencies simply say he went to X school hire him. Cravath and some of the major firms do that with Ivy League Gradus, but the Miami District Attorney will not say oh Miami Law School hire him/her.

I really think any student is better off getting out with as little debt as possible unless they are going to attend Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia or a school of that caliber that is nationally known. Otherwise don't pay $100,000 dollars more to attend the 47th opposed to the 74th best school nobody really cares.

Just some advice from an anonymous internet poster so take it for what it is worth.

Where should I go next fall? / Re: FIU VS FSU LAW
« on: February 17, 2014, 04:18:13 PM »
This forum is one of the best for realistic advice and I think a good piece of advice in anything is that those who know the least know it the loudest. That is exactly what happens on Top Law Schools, i.e. nobody ever gets a job, everything is horrible, blah blah.

Again, congrats on your decision and acceptances, but one final piece of advice I would encourage you to do is try to get a bit more scholarship money from FIU. Tell them your really leaning towards FSU based on the reputation etc in an effort to get a little more scholarship money. Your going to FIU one way or the other, but getting another 5k discount is worth an e-mail or two.

I did not do this when I was a 0L and it is something I regret. The reality is the law school wants you to attend, obviously don't be a male private part or anything, but just say your not sure on your decision, but some additional scholarship assistance would encourage you to attend.

Worse case scenario they say no and you attend FIU. Best case scenario they offer you another 5-10k. Congrats again on making your decision and good luck as you pursue your legal career.

Where should I go next fall? / Re: Unlv or Hawaii
« on: February 17, 2014, 04:13:16 PM »
I think both of these schools will open doors in their local market. Hawaii has no competition in Hawaii and UNLV has no competition in Las Vegas, but Vegas and Hawaii are very different places and it really depends on what you want.

Good luck

Law School Applications / Re: 3.1...LSAT??? What are my chances?
« on: February 17, 2014, 03:24:18 PM »
Great advice by everyone above and I just want to add to it. First of just to be realistic if you have a 3.1 GPA odds are you are not going to score in the top 10% of LSAT test takers, which is what you need to even have a chance at a top 25 school. Nothing personal, but just a 90% chance you will not finish in the top 10% of test takers, particularly if you did not excel in undergrad.

I had a 3.1 UGPA myself and did well enough on the LSAT to be accepted to several ABA schools with scholarships. However, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia were not on the list. Despite not attending those schools I graduated from law school and passed the bar exam. I am now a City Attorney and love my job.

I think your next step is to take the LSAT as suggested and then you will know your options. It would be great if you came away with a 180 LSAT score, but it is unlikely that will happen. I expect you will get between 150-160, which is still a good score and with a 3.1 and 150-160 LSAT score you will have options.

However, simply graduating law school will not guarantee success and you will have to work for it. There are plenty of successful lawyers from every ABA school and plenty that never make it. The reality is whether you make it in the legal profession or not will have a lot more to do with you than the law school you attend.

As for top 25 schools does it make a difference? Sort of, obviously Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc will open doors that Gonzaga law school won't. However, once you get out of the ELITE schools it doesn't matter much and your personality, work ethic, and dedication will be what is necessary to succeed.

Affirmative Action / Re: Time to End Merit Scholarships
« on: February 17, 2014, 01:33:42 AM »
Paul Campos is a joke if he is so adamantly against legal education why does he collect checks from the University of Colorado Law School? The man is the classic example of someone without a clue ,he has absolutely no real world legal experience, and has been paid to be a professor his entire career. However, all he does is complain about how unfair legal education is. As a final point to prove his hypocrisy University of Colorado where he teaches is offering scholarships to URM students.

Paul Campos is a joke and a disgrace to the legal profession. If he didn't work for a law school I would have some respect for him, but you cannot criticize law schools for their high tuition rates and then be on the law schools payroll. 

Maybe one day Paul Campos will get out of his Ivory Tower and actually practice law, if he ever does that then he maybe he would be worth listening to. However, if he actually went into the real world he wouldn't dare put his name to half of this stuff as he would be berated by members of the legal profession.

Bottom line you cannot expect your criticisms of an institution to be taken seriously if you are on the payroll of the institution you are criticizing. Maybe one day Mr. Campos will grow a pair and go into the real world, but since he has never done it and been in his ivory tower for 20 years I find it very unlikely.

Acceptances / Re: Cornell or job?
« on: February 16, 2014, 08:05:23 PM »
My options are

Cornell Law School- I have 5k in debt from undergrad. I will be getting a external scholly for 30k a year. But other then that it'll be loan time. I don't have much interest in BigLaw especially long term as I would love to do criminal law or actually help people. But I also don't want to be scrapping by all my life with 120k+ debt following me. Quite frankly I now I will be probably be near the bottom of the class so BigLaw might not be an option either.

My other option is a 34k job with good benefits(federal) and potential to make 65k after 8-10 years.

Other factors are that I currently live with parents and would like to get out and be independent asap(psycho mommy). I don't like the prospect of 100k+ debt staring me down as major debt scares me. Nevertheless it is hard to say no to an ivy league JD.

An advice, tips, insights would be appreciated, thanks!

I think you really have to ask yourself are you excited about this job offer you have on the table? I was in a similar situation before I started law school. I was working for a psychologist while I was in college just to get by and he was a good guy and wanted to help me get a Psychiatry degree and eventually take over his practice. The money would have been pretty good, but I had no interest in being a Psychiatrist it was not a passion of mine or something I wanted to do long term. I wanted to be a lawyer, but it was hard to turn down a job offer with guaranteed money, but pursuing the law degree was the right path.

However, I did not have a family, wife, etc to worry about when going to law school and I don't know your circumstances. If your 30 with a family to support then taking the job might be necessary, but if your a recent college grad with no responsibilities and you want to be a lawyer pursue that path there will be plenty of other job offers for 34K on the table for a college graduate.

Also if your really excited about the job you have been offered it is something to consider. However, it is just some job in a cube looking at data there is no need to settle.

As the other posters mentioned if you have been accepted into Cornell and have no interest in Biglaw attend law school at CUNY, Hofstra, or something NY school with a full scholarship. If you have the GPA/LSAT for Cornell you can obtain full scholarships at number of ABA schools.

If you want to help people as a Public Defender, City Attorney, District Attorney, a landlord defense collaborative, whatever it may be there are plenty of opportunities in these positions and they will pay more than 34k and offer a lot more grown than 65k. Even with $100,000+ debt a legal education pays for itself if you stick with it, and if you can get out of law school debt free you can have a lot more opportunities.

From my initial impression as an anonymous poster reviewing your post knowing absolutely nothing about you or your situation. I have the impression your a recent college graduate and this is the first job offer you received, but if your have the intellect to be accepted into Cornell I don't think you should settle for a 34k a year job that will eventually pay 65k unless it is something your really passionate about.

I know if your graduating form 34k and 65k sound like a lot of money, but it isn't much and there will be plenty of job offers that guarantee a lot more than that particularly after 7 years of service. I also get the impression you want to attend law school, which is why you took the LSAT etc. You can attend Cornell and have a lot of options, but debt will be a factor or you can attend a number of law schools with a full scholarship and have numerous options without educational debt.

If I were you, which I am not I would attend a school in a City I want to live in with a full scholarship and pursue a legal career if being a lawyer is something you really want.

Good luck whatever you decide.

Where should I go next fall? / Re: FIU VS FSU LAW
« on: February 12, 2014, 01:05:40 AM »
Thanks for the insight Citylaw, it really put things into perspective. I guess the best way to decide which school to go to would be to visit each school and also look into which firms hire at each school. Although you claim that rankings do not matter, I have witnessed a few instances where a large firm would only interview FIU grads just to say that they "interviewed them" and have no intention of hiring them. I was just wondering if going to FSU law would increase my chances of getting hired at one of these firms because it is slightly more prestigious.

Miami has already added some great advice, but I wanted to respond to this post. It is important to realize a number of firms, agencies, etc simply interview on campus so the school can they had X amount of firms conduct OCI interviews for their brochures etc. Very few people from schools other than Harvard, Yale, etc get jobs through On Campus Interviews. This will happen at Florida State, Florida, FIU, Barry, Stetson, and every other law school in America.

The truth is some firm out there will love FIU Grads, another will like FSU, another will like Miami, maybe you played basketball in college and the interviewer also played, the possibilities are endless and the truth is none of the schools in Florida are so elite that you will be hired based solely the reputation of the degree.

Once your in the actual legal world very few people care about what law school you attend, when your in the law school bubble it appears to make a difference, but when you are dealing with real life situations nobody cares about what law school you went to or what grade you got in Contracts. To really put this into perspective I encourage you to visit a courthouse and watch lawyers in action. You will see good attorneys, bad attorneys, and mediocre ones and I can almost with 100% certainty you will not hear anything about what law school the attorneys or judge attended. However, you will see some lawyers appear utterly incompetent and others do an amazing job and when your in the real world results matter not the name of the school on your diploma.

Bottom line whatever prestige FSU has over FIU is likely to make any difference in your legal career. However, it sounds like you attended undergrad at FSU and you likely have a network of friends there and enjoyed your experience enough to apply to law school there. That is something to consider.

FIU you have free living and that is also a great option. Not having to worry about a student loan check coming in to pay rent, get groceries, etc during finals will allow you to focus.

In the end both of these schools will provide you with a quality legal education and get you a ticket to the bar exam. You have been accepted into two ABA schools, which means your are capable enough to pass a bar exam and become an attorney. Whether you succeed in the legal profession will have a lot more to do with your work ethic, attitude, and determination than the school you attend.

Again, good luck on your law school path it can be a very rewarding career.

Where should I go next fall? / Re: FIU VS FSU LAW
« on: February 11, 2014, 02:09:06 AM »
First and foremost realize anyone posting on this board is nothing more than an anonymous internet poster so take everything you read with a grain of salt my post included.

With that said I think any law student should consider the following five factors when choosing a law school in this order. (1) Location; (2) Cost; (3) Personal Feelings about the school; (4) Understanding the reality of legal education; and (5) LAST AND LEAST U.S. NEWS.

The reasons for the factors being listed in this order are analyzed below.

1) Location
Remember law school does not exist in a vacuum and you will be spending minimum of three years of the prime of your life in City you attend law school. Tallahassee and Miami are very different places so you have to ask yourself where do you want to be. Do you want the College Town atmosphere or the City life in Miami? Some people would prefer the college town others City life there is no wrong answer, but you certainly know what you want.

An additional factor to consider is that if you attend law school in Tallahassee it will be difficult to get internships in Miami while you are in law school or even interview for jobs in Miami.

From your post it also appears that you have family in Miami and if this is also something to think about. If you have a support network in Miami and not Tallahasse it can make your law school experience much more pleasant. Many people travel across the Country for law school and it can be a lonely experience. I had a number of friends outside law school and it was great to get outside of the law school world once in awhile.

Just really think about where you want to spend the next three years.

2) Cost
FIU already has low tuition as does FSU, but if you have no living expenses plus a $5,000 scholarship cutting down on debt is something to consider. You indicate you want to practice corporate law, but you really have no idea what you will be interested in doing until you get out of law school. If you have minimal debt you can explore a lot more options and getting out of law school with almost no debt as you would at FIU is something to seriously consider.

3 Personal Feelings About the School
You should also visit each school and see how you personally feel about each. When I was a 0L I visited a number of schools and later competed in a number of mock trial competitions at different schools. I have probably been to 30+ campuses and can tell you each one has a culture and feel to it.

I loved a lot of schools I visited, felt indifferent about a number of others, and despised a few. However, these were my subjective opinions you very well love what I hated and hate what I loved it is your life and nobody knows better than you what suits your needs.

Therefore, you should visit each school walk around the campuses and surrounding neighborhood, talk to professors, admins, students, and alumni and see the vibe you get. At some point you will start to get a gut feeling that you really like one over the other and listen to that feeling.

4) Reality of Legal Education
Although U.S. News "ranks" law schools there really is no difference in the quality of education. No matter what ABA law school you attend you will be learning the same thing. Your first year will consist of Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Property and Criminal Law. In these courses you will be reading Supreme Court cases and believe it or not the Supreme Court does not write separate opinions for each law school.

You will be reading Pennoyer v. Neff in Civ Pro whether you attend FIU or FSU, Palsgraff in Torts, etc. At the end of three years you will then have to take a bar exam and whether you attend FIU or FSU you will be paying for a bar prep course most likely BarBri or Kaplan. Then after months of studying you will crammed into a room with about a 1,000 or so law students from every law school in the Country taking a very high pressure test. If you pass the exam regardless of what school you went to you are a licensed attorney and if you do not pass the exam your not. 

Once you have a license to practice law what you do with it is up to you and the name on your diploma will have little to do with your success.

5) U.S. News Ranking
Remember U.S. News is nothing more than a for-profit unregulated magazine offering an opinion and it should not be the basis of a life altering decision.

As an example U.S. News ranks more than law schools. According to U.S. News Albuquerque, New Mexico is the #1 place to live. Citation here . I am sure Albuquerque is a great place, but I am not going to move there simply because U.S. News said it is the best place to live, and doing that would probably seem crazy to you.

However, many incoming law students make life altering decisions regarding where to attend law school based on this magazine, but remember it is nothing more than a magazine. Do not choose to attend FIU, FSU, or any other school based on ranking. Use it as a tiebraker and maybe if you were accepted to Yale or Harvard some thought should go into the prestige, but I imagine you knew Harvard and Yale were pretty good schools without U.S. News telling you. As to FIU v FSU I have no idea, which is ranked higher and I imagine most other practicing lawyers do not care or know about the difference in rank.

There is no right answer as to what the right law school is, but you should visit each school, evaluate the costs, and consider where you want to live for the next three years. If you cannot make a decision based on that evaluation then use the rankings as a tiebreaker, but do not let it me the main source of your decision.

Congrats on your acceptance and good luck in your legal career.

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