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Messages - PSUDSL08

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Current Law Students / Re: law school for late bloomers
« on: May 30, 2008, 08:38:57 PM »
Law school should not be a way out just because your current career is boring.  Practicing law itself is BORING.  It's not glamorous for the most part.  Instead, I think the attorneys who really get are satisfied with their jobs are those who either pursue a CAUSE they are interested in or are simply interested and passionate about the law and how it develops.

Many attorneys have neither, and there are those that just plod along (and probably would describe their job as you described yours), or those who actively hate it.

I agree. perhaps I should've worded that differently. practicing law appeals to me because I like the idea of helping others, or making a difference in someone's life. but, people do change. I've talked to people that were passionate about law when they first became lawyers but just like any other job it slowly started to wear them down. I guess it's all a state of mind.

I'm only 26, but I have to agree with Jacy here. Assuming that you have one or more children and need to take out a good chunk of financial aid to cover your expenses, I think this is a huge financial risk more than anything. If you really want to make a difference in someone's life, you could find one of several alternatives careers or possibly pursue a different graduate degree (grad school of public service, social work, etc) towards that end that is less strenuous and expensive (provided you work throughout school) than law school. It's never too late to pursue a career you truly want...but the older students I studied with had specific legal careers in mind: 33 year old chem PHD looking to do patent work, 31 year old looking to take over father's practice, 28 year old with state govt experience looking to become a lobbyist. Without a specific legal career in mind, you might very well be $50K or more in debt only to realize that practicing law, even as a prosecutor/PD/public interest lawyer isn't what you really want.

From an academic standpoint, the older students generally had better grades than those fresh out of college. They generally studied harder and were more focused considering they didn't treat school as merely an extension of undergrad. Also agree with the poster who said law school is a lot like high school. You'll have to deal with a good chunk of younger, arrogant primadonnas...but ultimately you won't be there to make friends but to obtain a professional degree and the career options that come with it.

Ultimately, it couldn't hurt to take the LSAT and see what type of options it will give you. You might very well earn a full or partial scholarship to a school in your area. I'd just be cautious about committing yourself to $500+ per month loan payments at age 39 on a general theory that a career as a lawyer will be more satisfying. Wish you the best of luck in your decision

Current Law Students / Re: B in Civ Pro and not real happy about it
« on: May 30, 2008, 07:54:04 PM »
I got my grades today.  A in Crim law, A- in Contracts, and a farkin B in Civ Pro.  3.55 GPA.  I know that's pretty good, but I'm pissed about Civ Pro since it was my first B in law school.  It is magnified by the fact that the professor is an arrogant arse who likes to brag about how he was a big shot who helped the oil companies rape the environment and how he helped Bush and his cronies stop the recount in 2000.  We're on a 3.2 curve, so a B is in the middle of the class.  I felt really good after the exam, so I was blown away when i saw the grade.  I'm just praying that it doesn't knock me out of the top 10% of the class.  Just needed to vent.

What really sucks are people who passively brag about their accomplishments by pointing out the one "blemish" on their academic transcript.

Current Law Students / Re: My law school screwed me!!!
« on: May 29, 2008, 02:16:55 PM »
I know you're retaking the courses and I hope you ace them and complete your degree. If you decide to make a noisy withdrawal, or even to make some noise after you finish school...aside from contacting the ABA, here's what I'd do.

1. Look up your school's practicing alumni and send out a mass email/letter discussing what happened to you. Since these alumni were not subject to the same rigid ex-post facto curriculum changes, it might be enough to get them fired up too. Many of them who were in your academic position who are now fine practicing attorneys might go to bat for you with the administration. If the administration gets the feel that the alumni are disgusted with what is going on, the threat of bad publicity and/or withdrawn alumni donations might be enough for them to make the new rules applicable only to students starting in 2009.

2. Find any type of academic complaint/grievance website, newsletter or whatever and tell them your story. You might just be saving someone like yourself 3 more years of expense and frustration.

I'm a vindictive SOB, so if I were you, I'd try to screw your school (or at least the current administration) over whether or not you end up graduating. I wish you the best of luck man..

Transferring / Re: Are Transfers Happy?
« on: April 26, 2008, 08:56:54 AM »
There are a few good reasons to transfer, which can serve to make one "happy."  First and most importantly, one can transfer to a much higher ranked school.  Second, one might desire a particular job market, where the transfer school places better than one's 1L school.  Third, there might be some personal reason (e.g., spouse/partner gets job, etc. in new city, family hardship, etc.).  [I had a couple of those reasons; T4 to T30 to V30.]

The WORST reason to transfer: An improved social life.  I'm assuming your post was sincere, which is why I have taken the time to respond. There are two reasons why transfers face social challenges:

1) You will be hard-pressed to find a transfer who says, "oh boy, the natives have been so friendly, and I've made many more friends than I did at my 1L school."  Think about it: Cliques are formed and friendships are forged during 1L because (i) nobody knows anyone at first and (ii) everyone is suddenly thrust into a new world in which they all share similar stress, anxiety and demands, which are largely unique to the law school experience.  When you show up at your new school, you won't have attended those awkward first social mixers or shared in the (pointless) stress of getting called on, writing a brief, and studying for the most important finals of your life.  Even people who started at the same school, but were in different sections, might not have met during 1L, and are thus less likely to be friends the remaining two years.

2) Aside from those obvious social challenges, there is the fact that some (not all, but enough to make a difference) natives will look down on you.  They're usually of two types: natives who did poorly 1L and are thus without jobs (or with crappy jobs) and natives who were either just barely rejected from a far better school or who chose that school because of its generous scholarship assistance (and who, despite having good job prospects, still need to direct their bitterness at somebody).  Both types of natives harbor the view that "transfers didn't have to compete with us 1L and thus get to start out 2L with a clean slate GPA, while enjoying our school's better rank, and are simply inferior." 

The "bitter native" view described above is, of course, nonsense.  For what it's worth: (i) Transfers, in general, were highly ranked at their former schools, and are thus at least as cabable as the bottom half at their new school.  (ii) Transfer LSAT numbers have no impact on U.S. News rankings.  (iii) Transfers, who pay full tuition, bring in considerable additional revenue to their new school (and anywhere outside the top 25 or so, this is needed to replace revenue lost by students transferring up).  (iv) Transfers face considerable challenges during OCI and certainly don't make things any harder for the marginal natives.  (v) If transfers are in fact so "inferior" to the natives, this should only help the natives for grading purposes.  (vi) Many (though not all) transfers are quite determined (hence their decision to transfer) to succeed, and for those who become successful, that only enhances the school's reputation and widens its alumni network. 

Note: Though transfers generally face a chilly social reception by the natives (whether for the understandable and harmless reasons described in #1, or for the irrational and cynical reasons described in #2), many transfers form very close friendships with their fellow transfers. 

Well thought out post, and may be accurate on some levels...but I haven't experienced any of the problems you've mentioned above. I think everything is dependent on where you transfer and how you conduct yourself socially upon transferring.

I started out at a T4, and had little to no social life there since I was hellbent on getting out before I started. I met a few very good friends, but from my experience...the general student population at my T4 was far more arrogant than the people are at my current T2. I feel like the people at my T4 had far more to "prove" than the people at my current school do.

The first couple of weeks were a little awkward, but my first move was to try and make friends with the other 10 or so transfer students. Since everyone is in the same boat (starting out at a new school without knowing anyone), the transfer students were very receptive to meeting eachother. Then as a couple of weeks progressed, I started talking with the other students who started off at the school and before you know it, was exchanging numbers with people and meeting them out at the bars. It did not take me very long to get adjusted and gain acceptance from my peers...and in the process, I've met people that are among some of my best friends.

And any time you transfer, you're automatically goign to be viewed as inferior because you lacked the grades/LSAT to get into the school in the first place. But if you show the same dedication at your new school as you did when you were looking at getting out of your old school, you'll be fine. My gpa/rank are significantly higher at my T2 than they were at my T4. Of my friends that are the "natives," I've outperformed almost all of them in the classroom despite going out nearly every weekend. Even if you transfer and are a below average student, does it really matter whether you're viewed as inferior? At the end of the day, you'll be getting the same diploma as the natives.

I don't believe that transferring for an improved quality of life, including an improved social life, is a bad reason to transfer. However, I would be wary about just up and moving to an entirely new city. The desire to a completely new city was the reason I attended my T4 to begin with, and it turned out to be a less than desirable situaiton. If you're going to transfer, go to a location where you could see yourself living for the distant future. At the very worst, if you transfer and have no social life at hte new school, your social situation will be the same at hte old school, except you'll have better professional opportunities.

Law School Admissions / Re: Business cards: yay or nay?
« on: April 25, 2008, 05:58:28 PM »
If things have gone well up until the point where the party has asked you for your information, their opinion of you isn't going to change because you don't have a card with that information readily available.

So you hope.

Do you honestly believe 99% of prospective employers/contacts are going to look down upon a student for not carrying a business card?

If you're put in the rare, yet unfortunate bind of being asked for a business card, you can simply offer them your cellphone number (which can be inputted into their cell phone in seconds) or mention that you will include your contact information in the follow up email you're going to send anyway.
Riiiiight. Someone asks for your card and you tell them, "Cards are for douchebags. Just punch my digits into your celly!" Great plan.

That's fine. More for me and Pink Cosmo.

I should have clarified this statement by saying that if the person you're speaking with pulls out his phone and asks for your name/number, that it is appropriate to have them punch in your name/number.

It's odd to see how defensive and unnecessarily obstinate some anti card enthusiasts are. Is it pangs of, "DAMN I wish I had thought of that!"? Or general unpleasantness/social retardation?

It's not odd to see law students unnecessarily patting themselves on the back on a discussion forum for coming up with ideas that they think are novel. If handing out business cards works for you, thats great. Not handing out business cards has worked just fine for me as well.

Also, I never said that handing out a business card couldn't be an asset if the situation properly calls for it. It might help you to look more "professional" but IMO, (1) not having a business card is not going to set you back on any serious level (2) you can distinguish yourself from others, including on a professional level, on other grounds and (3) unless you're specifically asked "do you have a card" you're going to run the risk of looking douchy in the eyes of anti-card enthusiasts...which I would imagine are far greater in number than the pro-card crowd.

Some things to consider...

1. The scholarships at lower ranked schools are generally tougher to maintain. Not sure what the GPA cutoff for your scholarship is but assuming it's a 3.0 and the curve at Thomas Jefferson is a 2.7, you'll have to finish in the top 33-40% of your class just to keep the scholarship. This isn't to say that you won't be able to do that, but you don't know exactly how things will work out until you get there.

2. Where would you rather live, San Diego or Boston? Your first job will almost definitely be in one of these two places. Also, while I'm not familiar with the job market out in San Diego...if you go to NESL, you'll be competing against Harvard, BC, BU, Northeastern, and Suffolk grads for jobs. 

Law School Admissions / Re: Business cards: yay or nay?
« on: April 25, 2008, 09:17:57 AM »
Whether it's a school related networking function or an outside event, I don't see how the benefits of having a card are going to outweigh the potential negative reflections of prospective employers.

If you meet someone that you've hit it off with and they're truly an important resource for you, then you should be the one that goes out of your way to contact them. If you're put in the rare, yet unfortunate bind of being asked for a business card, you can simply offer them your cellphone number (which can be inputted into their cell phone in seconds) or mention that you will include your contact information in the follow up email you're going to send anyway. If things have gone well up until the point where the party has asked you for your information, their opinion of you isn't going to change because you don't have a card with that information readily available. And since you're going to be following up with them on your conversation anyway, the other party isn't going to need your contact information until they respond to you. And if you're worried that they're going to forget who you are, they're not going to fish through their wallets for one of the thousand or so business cards they receive on a monthly basis (from actual professionals and not students) and miraculously recall who you are. If you've made a good impression with them, they're going to remember events and specific conversations and recall who you are by noting the "My name is Bob Smith, and we discussed X, Y, and Z at the (insert event here)" sentence of your email/phone call.

On the other hand, handing out a business card (even a generic one with only contact information) sends the following messages: (1) I'm so arrogant that I made a business card even though it's not commonplace amongst law students (2) Implicitly suggests that the lawyer/judge/insert relevant person should contact the student, and not the other way around and (3) At the end of the conversation, reaffirms the idea that "hey the only reason I talked to you was to land a job." And if this poll is indicative of how the general legal population feels, for every person who views your business card as a sign of professionalism, there are going to be two others who view it as the ultimate sign of douchebaggery.

Current Law Students / Re: reputation
« on: April 17, 2008, 07:31:13 AM »
I started off positive and then said I liked law school and didn't think it was that hard and that I liked my classmates and all of a sudden I was at about -20. 

I also think students at the T3/T4 are trigger-happy with the negative reputation score whenever anyone states the truism that their job prospects are not as good.    And if you can't go to an anonymous message board to get opinions on what people REALLY think, then where can you go?   I think that makes me more antagonistic on message boards than in real life. 

In fairness, when people rattle off their "job prospect truism" on every thread imaginable, including ones where a student is just asking for advice about which T3/T4 to gets old real fast. This truism might be justified if the thread specifically asks "what are my biglaw prospects coming out of a T4"...but otherwise, people don't need to be reminded they're not at Harvard and probably aren't going to make $150K coming straight out of school. This "truism" doesn't come off as advice but as a passive (and in many cases active) way to put others down to make yourself feel even better about attending a T1/T2 school (not saying this applies directly to you peaches, but to everyone who acts the part).

Current Law Students / What I learned the last three years...
« on: April 15, 2008, 04:52:12 PM »
I'll expand on this topic by stating what I've learned the last three years at two schools:

1. I wasn't surprised to learn that a good chunk of my fellow classmates are arrogant. Many people haven't discovered that there's a fine line between projecting confidence and coming off as an arrogant feminine hygiene product. But what I was surprised to learn is that a good number of them lack social skills and common sense. It is the minority of law students that possess the reasonable intelligence, humility (without sacrificing confidence), and interpersonal skills necessary to thrive in this profession. IMO, the true "elite student" is the one possessing all three of these traits...not the guy/gal ranked #1 who never left the library or the guy/gal who was editor of the law review who talks above people and is unbearable to drink a beer with.

2. With the exception of law review and moot court, most student groups at my school were pointless. I mean, is what you're doing that important if the only reason people attend your meetings are for the free Papa John's pizzas or Subway sandwiches? Unless you've done something spectacular within your organization (founded a student group, raised money for charities, etc), at the very most it seems like the time you spent involved in these clubs gives you two minutes worth of "BS" time during an interview. I don't think most employers care about why you joined "Phi Delta Phi" or how much involvement you had with the Barrister's Ball decorating committee.

If you have a true interest in these organizations/activities, then go for it...but don't just do things because you think they'll look great on a resume. If you have an extra 15-20 hours a week to burn, you're far better off doing part-time paid/volunteer work for a firm/solo practitioner/govt agency in the area than throwing mixers in the law school lobby.

3. At the very most, 5 semesters of law school is all that anyone needs before they're ready to take the bar and enter the workforce. In reality, 4 semesters is probably enough, but that 5th semester allows you to take a couple of extra bar tested courses. The 6th semester is nothing more than a way for schools to take more money out of your pocket. Can anyone tell I've developed full blown senioritis yet?

4. As a 1L, 30 minutes of class time was often necessary to cover certain cases. As a 3L, you're left wondering why some cases take the same amount of time to cover when they could be adequately explained in 5 min or less. Although on the bright side, if you've read the material and it's straightforward, many professors seem to care less about your  attendance in class when you're a skip away


Again, I just want to get a law degree, I have always wanted to do it, and maybe practice law in the future but not necessarily after I graduate (why is that so incomprehensible?). Money to spent for LS to me is not an issue, and no I will not take any loans. Not all people have the same views or objectives about LS or about life (assuming that all people who to school for the same reasons is very narrow minded in my opinion), for example my cousin graduated from med school but he does not work as a doctor, he runs his father's company and loves it. I have already set my mind on starting this fall and the only question that I had was whether or not I could take the BAR a few years after LS.

You also have more time to read when you're not in law school. 

Maybe this is a crazy solution, but... if you want to live abroad, and you don't care about practicing law, but you want a legal degree...
Why not go to law school abroad?  Being a student in a foreign country is fun and it would probably be more intellectually fulfilling than being a low-level worker. 

Like peaches said, you could have saved yourself from this "advice" if you had spent 5 min on the internet. The strict answer to your question is yes, but people here have tried to give you sound advice about your future. Unless you have an in with the family business, you're essentially going to be a 28-30 year old (assuming you're 23 now) entry-level hire competing against younger people who know what they want to do and where they want to live. And unless you're gaining some meaningful work experience over in Europe, you're going to have a hard time convincing non-legal employers that you didn't just waste 6 years of your life. While it's true that, "not all people have the same views or objectives about LS or about life"...there are going to be far more interviewers in the "this is some finicky rich kid who isn't worth the time and expense of training" camp than there will be in the "this guy is richer for the experience" camp.

And for what it's worth, at my old school we had a 40 year old urologist who came to law school for the educational experience...he was gone after less than one semester, and right before the semester's final legal writing paper was due. The "educational experience" rationale wore off on me as soon as our legal writing memos started piling up.

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