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Messages - PSUDSL08

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Job Search / Recent Grad Unsure As to Future Career Path
« on: June 29, 2008, 03:26:23 PM »
Wondering if there's any other grads who are uncertain as to what type of law they want to practice, and how to move forward.

My situation is as follows: I'm a recent grad with very good grades from a T2 school. I will be a judicial clerk (1 yr position) in the Court of Common Pleas in PA, for a judge who deals with civil, criminal, and orphans court cases. I felt that a clerkship is a perfect option for me at this point: it's a nice transition from law school back to the working world, the judge is awesome and is very enthusiastic about mentoring clerks, and I'll get to watch trials in a wide variety of legal areas.

However, after the clerkship ends, I'm not exactly sure what I want to do. I know I want to be a litigator of some sort, but I'm torn between government criminal trial work or chasing the money as a civil litigator. I am about 90% sure I would find a career as a prosecutor or US Attorney to be satisfying, and would like to become a judge someday if this option is available. The only downfall I see with pursuing a career in criminal litigation is the pay.

On the other hand, I worked as a summer associate for a small insurance defense firm last summer and absolutely hated it. I couldn't imagine myself waking up every day and putting in the long hours at a small firm for minimal pay and limited partnership opportunities. I could see myself doing plaintiff's side tort litigation, and would absolutely love to open my own private practice someday after getting a few years of litigation experience under my belt.

Considering my grades and connections in the small market city I want to work, I think I will have some decent options to pursue over the next year or two. I interview pretty well and have the credentials to qualify for a position with the DA's office and the US Atty's office through their honors program. Through her job, my girlfriend provided me with contact information for a handful of attorneys at large firms in the city. I plan on pursuing all of these opportunities in addition to targeting mid sized plaintiffs firms next fall.

I realize that my immediate future will be dictated by the job market and whether or not I can make a favorable impression with these employers to land an offer. And I am certain that I would be perfectly happy in a career as a lower paid government attorney. But part of me wonders whether I could find an equally satisfying career on the plaintiffs' side and make more money in the process. Does anyone have any advice on how to move forward? Thanks for your help..

Current Law Students / Re: Question to law students
« on: June 27, 2008, 09:06:58 PM »
"Nothing you can do is going to help much."

So my doom is unavoidable? I should just welcome it with open arms? :)

I've posted on a million or so of these threads but you have it right. It's like being being pushed into the deep end of a swimming pool if you've never swam before. You'll kick, move your arms, and eventually figure out how to keep your head out of the water. By the time you have a semester or two under your belt, you'll be swimming laps.

You're better off drinking beers, reading for leisure, or doing whatever else you enjoy doing before starting law school. My big suggestion is that if you have to do anything, help yourself out by making a list of errands and getting them done before the grind starts (oil change, car inspection, doctors/dentist appointments, setting up your calendar, and the like). Not sure if you're into exercising or not, but if you aren't now's a great time to get into a routine. Aside from the physical benefit, the mental benefit is huge...helps keep you sane and energizes you to knock out a few more hours of work once you're done with your daily routine.

Before starting law school, I began reading one of those "guide to law school books" and got about 20 pages in and stopped reading cause it freaked me out. Now after looking back on the whole process, I think the author was over-dramatizing the "horrors" of law school a bit. I'm not sure what your personality is like, but if you're a bit high strung, I probably wouldn't read any of them. After finishing the whole process, I'd kinda like to read them now to see if their depictions are accurate.

Transferring / Re: HELP!! (another should I transfer)
« on: June 27, 2008, 04:43:41 PM »
I am at Franklin Pierce Law Center (Tier 3) which is known nationally for their IP program (top 5).  My goal is to work in the southeast, which includes the DC area.

At FPLC I am in the top 10%, on law review, a legal skills TA, and I was awarded the 2008 Dean's Achievement Award.

My question is, should I stay at FPLC or go to GW and leave all of my accomplishments at FPLC behind (as well as the award money for the Award)?

Please help, I have no idea what to do.

Don't know how much money you're getting at FPLC (half/full ride vs. a few grand a year), and what your desired career path is (big firm vs. DA's office), but I wouldn't worry one bit about leaving your accomplishments behind. I know a ton of transfer students who have transferred up and have better GPA's/ranks at their new school than their old one. Friend at my T4 was 4/180, and was worried about leaving behind automatic law review and rank to head to Michigan. She wrote on, and her grades at Michigan are comparable. I went from top-third at a T4 to top 11% at my T2. At the absolute worst, you'll be an average GW student with no law review which will give you more job opportunities in DC than you would have with top 10% at FPLC with all your accomplishments.

Current Law Students / Re: Another Restaurant Fight
« on: June 25, 2008, 04:38:42 PM »

Define 'ruckus'.  Because asking the waitress if there was a mistake isn't a ruckus.  The waitress escalated it to a manager, with whom Rick spoke.  This is also not a ruckus.
There was no hissyfit.  There was no ruckus.  Your 'hate' is self-created.  And deplorable. do you always think EVERYTHING EVERYONE says is 100% true and accurate?  There's 2 sides to every story, and you know only what "ricky" wrote about it.  It's very likely that how he remembers and reports the story isn't exactly accurate.

It's nice to see that assuming someone behaves reasonable is stupid and assuming people behave unreasonably is perfectly okay.
I don't think EVERYTHING people say is true and accurate, but I'm willing to give people the benefit of the doubt.  Apparently, that sort of thing is looked down on around here.  Instead, what appears to be a majority of LSD regulars seem to believe that we should be highly suspicious of an LSD members story and automatically beleive something else to be true without any information from the other parties.
For the record, the restaurant's waitress and manager did not behave too far outside of the norm.  Having run restaurants for about a decade and trained more manager than I can count with my hands and feet, I can tell you that this sounds like a pissy waitress and an untalented, undertrained manager.  This sort of thing happens all the time, every day, across the country.  Waitresses either know or don't know the proper way to deal with a complaint like this.  This one clearly did not, as she indicated that she was going to see what she could do and clearly ran straight to a manager to tell him that she wasn't dealing with it.  The manager then behaved as many young, inexperienced and undertrained managers do - he argued, proved to the customer how right he was, then in the end did what the customer wanted anyway (which, by the way, appears to be the only thing he did correctly).
That said, the proper procedure (or best practice) in this situation is to apologize for the miscommunication (the waitress not pointing out the upcharge), show the customer that the menu does state the charge, tell the customer that you will take it off the bill this time, thank the customer for the business, then train the waitress to inform her customers when an upcharge is necessary for a substitution.  That way the customer is happy, the waitress gets training, and you've earned repeat business.
I've had people yell at me over a few missing peas in a recipe where there was no peas.  Instead of making the customer feel stupid, I apologized, explained that our recipe was likely different than what they thought they were ordering, and comped his meal.  He came back frequently and we never had a problem again.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - as a former GM I WANT my customers to tell me if they feel any aspect of their meal was less than positive.  You cannot improve unless you hear what you do wrong.  Your customers are your best source for this.  While I have had people flip out over what appears to be no big deal, my staff, from busboy to me, were all very good at turning the situation around from a negative to a positive.  The way this was handled was wrong from start to finish.  Should Rick have read the menu more carefully to see if there was an upcharge?  Perhaps.  Am I willing to condemn him for it?  No.  The waitress could have prevented this situation by informing him when he ordered that there was an upcharge for substitutions.  When I was a waiter and someone ordered a well done steak, I would tell them that we can't guarantee that it will be good because well done, culinarily speaking, means overcooked.  If they wanted it well done, I'd still give it to them but try to warn them that it may be dry and take longer to cook.  That way, they couldn't complain that their meal took a long time to get to them or that it was dry.
Perhaps it's the optimist in me, but I prefer to hear someone's story and assume they are telling me the truth.  I'm sure Rick left small things out, but I can't believe that he would be the sort of person to lose it, yell about things, throw a fit, or be completely unreasonable.  And I wouldn't expect him to leave that part out if he had.
That's the thing about Rick - if you read enough of what he writes, you can get a sense about him.  Most of you haven't bothered to read anything he's written and have chosen to make snap judgments based on your own angry little perceptions.   Perhaps you feel that this is how attorney's behave, that they are judgmental pricks who decide the truth based on their perceptions instead of the facts presented.  Most professors find a way to politely remind these sort of people to consider only the facts, as presented, as being truthful and accurate and warn them not to interject their own beliefs, experience and values into the problem at hand.  Since so few of you have bothered to get to know anything about Rick, I find it a little disturbing that you feel that you are in a position to judge his behaviors based on what you think you know.
Keep on drinking the haterade.  It makes you all seem so smart and wise and in no way makes you appear stupid, shallow, or insipid.

An important part of being a lawyer is issue spotting, the two main issues being (1) whether Rick handled himself appropriately in addressing the additional charge and (2) whether the restaurant, through its employees, handled the situation appropriately. You have argued issue #2 ad nauseum, and most rational people would agree that the manager did not handle himself properly, from a PR or business sense.

The issue that is of debate is whether or not Rick's handling of the situation was appropriate. The conclusions that people seem to be debating are: (1) whether Rick's description of the overall encounter was truly accurate (2) whether Rick should have even addressed the $2.50 charge to begin with (3) if it was appropriate to inquire about the $2.50 charge, at what point should Rick have cut off the encounter altogether. Some people have expressed that even if all the facts are accurate, $2.50 isn't worth even inquiring into. Given the context of the situation, I wouldn't even ask about the $2.50 if I was a single guy out to eat with a female friend for fear of looking like a cheap feminine hygiene product that no woman would want to date.

However, I tend to fall into the (3) camp...I think asking about the additional charge was appropriate, but I would have stopped the conversation once I became aware of the substitution as the reason for the charge. This would have been the point where the reasonable person would have paid the $2.50, and learned to cautious about substituting side orders without reading the menu in the future...thus eliminating the future awkward encounter and likely awkward silence between him and his friend while he waited for the waitress to return. But the minute he blurted out "I wouldn't have ordered the spud if I had known it would cost $2.50" and allowed the waitress to go "see what she could do" transformed the situation from one of information gathering to one where he was hellbent on having the $2.50 taken off the bill.

Current Law Students / Re: Another Restaurant Fight
« on: June 25, 2008, 02:53:54 PM »
After re-reading the initial post and some of the subsequent posts made here, I've realized that this whole issue is nothing more than an exercise in practicing common sense.

Rick attempts to justify his actions on the basis that (1) the food wasn't that good and (2) he wasn't really on a date, so it's ok to contest marginal bill increases. If I'm a single guy and I'm out to eat with a girl who I have no sexual interest in, the last thing I would want is for her to tell her friends about how I started an issue over $2.50 on a restaurant bill...regardless of how reasonable I thought I was in handling the situation. If he absolutely had to know why the fish sandwich was $2.50 more expensive, the situation should have come to an end when the server mentioned that a side order substitution was the likely reason. This would have put Rick on future notice of the following: (1) to check future menus for substitution costs and (2) that servers aren't going to volunteer this information. Rick allowed the server to go "see what she could do." Most people who aren't from the great depression era would have enough common sense to say "don't worry about it," learn from the situation, and move on. Even assuming Rick's interaction was as honest as he portrays it (Rick being completely respectful, the manager being completely accusatory), it should have never gotten to that point to begin with.

On the other hand, the manager was faced with two situations: (1) prove the point that the $2.50 charge was noted in the menu, make the extra $1 or so in profit, and potentially lose two customers or (2) take the $2.50 off the bill without making an appearance and instruct the wait staff to inform customers about substitution charges as a substitution is requested. To me, an extra buck or so in profits is not worth losing substantial future profits.

Current Law Students / Re: Another Restaurant Fight
« on: June 21, 2008, 11:28:29 AM »
First off, you asked whether you "Could substitute the potato for fries" not whether "you could substitute the potato for fries at the same cost." However, the manager's response to the situation was wrong. When he said "it's right there" I would have shot back with "well, you won't have to worry about me misreading the menu anymore because I won't be giving you anymore business."

I agree with pretty much everything said here regarding maintaining your scholarship. Also, it's difficult to provide you with sound advice without knowing more about your situation. It would be helpful to know the following: (1) how much of a scholarship are you receiving (2) would you be able to live at home and commute or will you have to find an apartment (3) assuming you got into higher ranked schools w/o a scholarship, what's the tuition at your other options?

According to LSAC's site, Seton Hall's tuition is $38,040 per year and they estimate that you'll have to take out another $17,345 if you're renting or $10K if you're living at home. So you're looking at anywhere from $55K+ without the scholarship if renting, $48K+ per year if living at home. Even assuming you're on a half ride there (a pretty significant scholarship), are able to maintain that scholarship there, you're looking at $90K if you live at home and $110K if you have to rent...and that's before you take into account any summer bar loan or scholarship loss. That's not cheap despite the fact that you would be cutting out significant costs.

On the other hand, Rutgers Newark is $21K per year for in-state residents without a scholarship, and if you do well enough, you might be able to bargain your way into a scholarship after you finish your first year.

Current Law Students / Re: How to hang diplomas in office?
« on: June 13, 2008, 11:26:46 AM »
At summer camp, I once received the end of the summer award of "most likely to become a lawyer" since I was such an argumentative little SOB by age 9. I think hanging this one up could cut both ways. On one hand, it demonstrates a lifetime dedication to being an a-hole. On the other, it shows early dedication to a career path at such a young age. As a third alternative, it means I'm a moron for following the career suggestion of a camp counselor working for peanuts while smoking joints and watching us play kickball all day

Current Law Students / Re: Is It Unethical...
« on: June 13, 2008, 11:18:49 AM »
There's unethical and then there's stuff that could get you kicked out of school and in Honor Court.

This is one of the things that could land you in front of whatever Honor Council you have.  At most schools, law review isn't really considered an extracurricular and if you do something "unethical" with the law review competition it's often the same as doing something "unethical" on an exam.

Girl at my law school got caught plagiarizing a law review article and is kicked out for the next 2 years. She was a soon to be 3L.

I'm taking NY and NJ...

Does anyone have the feeling that the actual bar exam won't be as hard as Barbri's practice MBE and essay questions?

I remember studying for the MPRE through Barbri's lecture, review book, and practice questions and thinking "there is no way I'm going to pass this thing." When I took the MPRE in Aug 07, it seemed so much easier than the practice questions and, like most people I know, I ended up scoring well above every state's minimum passing score. Perhaps the bar exam will prove to be a similar experience...

I've heard from people that Barbri is a big "psych-out" of sorts, and that PMBR is more "realistic" with their expectations in regards to student workload. I felt the same way about the MPRE as well. I kinda half studied the material for the MPRE and scored a 100. While I was taking the Barbri practice tests for the MPRE, I was getting just enough questions correct for a passing score.

At this point, I'm extremely discouraged with my performance on practice essays and multiple choice quesitons. I'm probably averaging about a 10/18 on the individual MBE sets for pretty much every topic (better in evidence, worse in torts), and have scored a 2.6/6 and a 10.5/20 for my NJ and PA graded essays, well below the passing mark. People who have taken the bar keep telling me that you hit a point where everything just "clicks"...unfortunately I haven't hit that point yet. Maybe I should stop dicking around on this site.

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