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Messages - PSUDSL08

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General Board / Re: Which School to Attend?
« on: March 31, 2008, 12:05:22 AM »

I attended Capital for a year before transferring to my T2 school. My GPA and class rank at my T2 are both higher than they were at Capital. If keeping a scholarship is your major concern, I wouldn't bank on the fact that it will be there after your first year. A good chunk of the students at CULS were very competitive, and I wouldn't assume (not that you are) that since your LSAT will be higher than most entering students, that this will translate to a similar class rank. I knew people in the 75th percentile for entering LSAT scores that dropped out and those in the bottom 25th percentile who were in the top 1/3 of the class.

Like someone predicted, the curve there was a if you have one "average" semester there, that could be enough for them to pull your scholarship. Then you're stuck in Columbus PAYING private tuition for a purely local degree that will not translate to a job in CA. If you have any questions about Capital itself, feel free to message me. Otherwise, my advice to you is to either (1) wait another year and apply to a wider variety of schools or (2) pick a school in a location where you can see yourself living for the distant future.

Transferring / Re: T4-Cornell
« on: August 01, 2007, 01:31:02 PM »
Wow, tough choice. Honestly, Carodoza is a nice school and everything and it's in the city. However, if I had achieved #1 in my class I would not want to give that up. I would be very tempted to, but in the end I woudln't.

The previous post made some really, really good points. You have to look at this via a long-term perspective. The fact of the matter is that ranks do not change a whole lot after first year. So, you have a real good possibility of graduating #1 in your class...that's huge. However, EVEN IF you lose the #1 slot, you will still be in the top 1% of your class, assuming you continue to do what you did this past year. Sure, you might be at a T4...and anyone who is outside the top 2-5% at your school should transfer (then again, no school would probably take anyone outside the top 2-5%).

To be able to put "Ranked #1 in class of XXX" on your resume is HUGE. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THAT! There's far too many people on this board who encourage people from T3 and T4 schools to transfer and give up their ridiculously high ranks in classes of more than 300+ students.

My advice: Stay where you are and try your best to maintain your #1 ranking.

Girl at my original T4 was ranked #4 in her class with just under a 3.9 transferred to Michigan where her class rank is similar and her GPA is higher. She wrote onto law review and will be tutoring 1L's in the fall. She had the same concern about giving up her class rank because she believed she had a legitimate shot to move to #1 at my T4 (and rightfully so).

Giving up your grades/rank is only an issue where you're not confident that you can achieve at a similar level at your new school. I'm inclined to think that with the OP's work ethic, that he will be able to achieve grades in the top 10% of his class even as a transfer student. He's much better off being in the top 10% at Cardozo than #1 at a T4.

"then again, no school would probably take anyone outside the top 2-5%"

I'm not sure what you mean by "no school" but I managed to transfer from a T4 to a T2 with a class rank within the top 30%.

Transferring / Re: NYU vs. top 20 school full ride
« on: August 01, 2007, 11:13:26 AM »
loans don't look so scary when you're making a $160,000 starting salary with all kinds of bonuses.  i'd much rather than the $160,000+ job with $100K in debt than start off at a medium firm with $80,000. 

So what if he figures out he doesn't want the biglaw job that starts at $160K per year. You're only looking at the best option for the OP without taking into account the fact (1) he doesn't necessarily want a biglaw job and (2) he doesn't necessarily want a career in law altogether.

And maybe the NYU waitlist students will be greatful, but I wonder how many of them have full rides to top 25 schools.

Transferring / Re: NYU vs. top 20 school full ride
« on: July 31, 2007, 10:39:33 AM »
When you go to a school like NYU, loans shouldn't be a huge problem.  You're virtually guaranteed to be making $160,000 a year if you choose biglaw and your loans can be taken care of rather easily.  If you go to a T20 even with scholarships you risk not doing too well and biglaw may not even be available to you.  If you're planning to do government work or public interest work then the scholarship may seem great but otherwise i'd recommend NYU.

ALso, if you ever plan to go into academics, your NYU JD will look much better than any T20 JD. 

I tend to be a risk averse person, so I think the best way to look at the situation is what would your situation be if you don't land or dislike BigLaw (worst case scenario), or decide you don't want to be in the legal profession altogether. Like you said, you're already considering an alternative career and you're not even done with school yet. Going to NYU will give you an advantage in seeking a Biglaw job, or if you want to head into teaching...but I feel as though it's forcing your hand into making a career choice based upon (1) paying off loans (2) the feeling that since you're going to a higher ranked school, that you need the "higher ranked job" to complement this move. I think that if you couple these things, you're adding another stressor to your life that is pretty much unnecessary.

Let's say you hate the biglaw atmosphere, and decide to go work for a mid sized firm, or choose to head into investment banking or international finance. You're looking at $100-120K in debt that would have been eliminated had you stayed put. That amounts to about $1K per month for 10 years. That's a lot of money to spend for what amounts to a marginally better opportunity. Think about what you can do with that money. If you invest half of that money you'd be paying in loans into IRA's, 401K,'ll have a nice nestegg for retirement instead of making some bank money.

You seem to have a great quality of life at your current school (strong law school, friends, etc) and don't have to pay a dime in tuition. With zero debt out of school, you can really pursue a strong legal or business career with no economic pressure. Aside from an initial biglaw job, I can't see the NYU degree bringing you that much of a benefit...and like another poster mentioned, if you're at a top 25 school, NYC firms are likely recruiting there anyway. Your credentials at your current school definitely put you in the mix for biglaw and teaching positions.

If you were on a full ride at a lower T2 and down, I'd say make the move. But I think tackling debt, putting pressure on yourself to pursue a V30 job, moving back home, leaving a top 25 school and friends that you love isn't really worth it. Finish out at your school, enjoy the experience, and have the peace of mind to know that you are not bound to any job or profession once you graduate. Best of luck to you.

Transferring / Re: How to transfer???
« on: July 30, 2007, 08:22:40 AM »
I am going to be a 1L this year at a school ranked 37th and in a not-so-great neighborhood, safety-wise. I want to keep my options open for transferring to a higher-ranking school in the bay area so maybe Berkeley or Stanford. I am wondering if anyone knows the following: 1) if I should re-take the LSAT to get a score higher than 161 (my previous score) in order to transfer, and 2) any tips on how to transfer apart from the usual study hard, do well, etc. Thanks!!

There's a million or so of these threads already but I'll bite

1. Except for a select few schools, you don't need to retake the LSAT. It's a complete waste of time...which would be better spent studying instead of doing LSAT prep work. Stanford might look at LSAT's, but I'm inclined to guess that it wont matter much if you're doing really well.

2. Aside from the doing well thing, I'd say begin to get your transfer LOR's, personal statement etc going in March, and get your apps out early. Not that it will be a huge help, but at the very least, shows your interest.


Pennsylvania State / Re: living in Carlisle
« on: July 18, 2007, 12:38:29 PM »
OP...any reason you're not considering the UP campus?

Transferring / Re: Can't decide....stay at Tier 4 or go to T14?
« on: July 18, 2007, 08:57:27 AM »
Ok..maybe it's dumb...but here's my situation...
1L at Tier 4, top 1-2%, Law Review, scholarship, biglaw possible but only within local area.

In at Michigan (obviously T10), Law Review unlikely, no scholarship (so at least $40k more per year), regional and national, etc. etc.

Not sure where I want to practice yet, but aware if I stay at Tier 4 I will have no other choice but local.  Everyone (attorneys, family, friends) tell me Michigan, no question, and that I'm an idiot for agonizing over it. 

But yet I'm still conflicted.  Is it worth the debt? Any advice?

My friend from my old T4 school was in the exact same boat: ranked 3/160, Law Review, no scholarship, and liked the locality with which this T4 had the most pull. She kept reiterating that she liked the city and was "afraid to give up her GPA and law review status." I told her she was f-ing crazy and needed to go to Michigan. Needless to say, she's at Michigan, has a BETTER GPA than she did at my old school, wrote onto law review, and will be tutoring 1L's this fall. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that UM's OCI is ridiculous...where employers actually compete with eachother to plan interview times that fit with the candidate's schedule, and not the other way around. Moral of the story: go to UM and don't look back.

What is so complicated about the law? You have lawyers in the United Kingdom who are lawyers on an undergraduate degree. You are not talking rocket science and the law is no more complicated than any other discipline. What is taught in U. S. law schools could be easily taught in a 4-year undergraduate program. Your credentials tell me that you donít have much faith in yourself since you have to hide behind academic credentials.

I never said the law was overwhelmingly complicated. I just said that the law is more complicated now than in the 1800's where the OP inferred that if Abe Lincoln could learn the law himself back then, that it's just as easy now. I agree that it can be done in a 4 year undergraduate program. The issue is do we want kids fresh out of high school trying to handle the rigors of law school? The dropout rates would be significantly higher for a multitude of reasons: (1) 18 yr old kids really don't know what they want to do usually takes a couple years of undergrad and even an entry level job before you know what career path you want to take. (2) maturity - can they handle studying on most weekends when their friends are out partying all the time, etc. (3) Risk/reward: provided you don't completely screw up, you can earn a college degree with a minimal amount of work. Are parents really going to encourage their teenagers to take out loans and go to law school when they could very well drop out or fail out, leaving them in the hole with no degree? The system may be costly and inefficient for some, but I don't see a reason to change it.

And aside from mentioning the fact that I transferred up, I mentioned nothing about my academic credentials. Please tell me how I'm "hiding" behind my academic credentials and how I don't have faith in myself..

General Board / Re: Where does the bottom 50% end up?
« on: March 28, 2007, 07:47:45 PM »

why is it that so many bottom half T4 grads stay in school? False hope? Lack of candid advice after their first year of school?

All of those things, plus the American attitude that only losers quit something.

Agreed. Can't tell you how many people at my former T4 with top third grades and limited to no scholarships stayed put at the school for the sake of not wanting to move away from friends and the false belief that any JD is a good one

If having the JD hurts you in obtaining non-legal jobs b/c companies may be worried that you're going to bail for the first available job...I don't understand how this is possible for a strong interviewer who honestly and openly tells a potential employer that he/she is not interested in the law and finished the degree because they had already invested enough time and money into the degree to back out.
Can you truely honestly say that? I don't recall any people in my law school class who truly weren't interested in being lawyers. Law school had the opposite effect on me. Doing nothing but law school every day for three years really makes you gung ho about wanting to go out there and be a lawyer.

This also creates a whole bunch of negative inferences. Why did this candidate decide to do something and then change his mind? This guy will probably work here for a few months and then change his mind again and decide this also isn't what he wants to do.

While it's not likely for most, I wouldn't say that it's too farfetched for someone (especially an individual who has their parents covering the cost of the education) out of undergrad with no "real world" experience to have rushed into going to law school, finish their first year and decide to stick it out, obtain a 2L job and decide they would hate practicing law (or some other trigger causing them not to want to practice), and come down to a decision whether or not it would be worth it to quit after 1.5-2 years for one more year of entry level experience rather than finish the degree and see what "doors" it opens.

Yes the negative inference of "Why did this guy 'waste' so much time in law school" I'm sure crosses the mind of many employers looking at people with JD's who don't want to practice law. But I think when you mention an employer is saying "why did this person do something and change his mind", you're not taking into account when this person changed their mind. If I'm interviewing for a job in a corporation/govt, I'm going to focus on the fact that I made the decision not to practice law after working a 1L/2L internship/clerkship, yet decided not to quit something I had already invested so much time and money into...spin it around like the reason you completed your degree was because you set a goal for yourself.

Whatever the case, if you're trying to get a job doing X, there are a lot of other people also trying to get a job doing X, and most of the other candidates were probably doing something during the last three years which demonstrates their interest in X while you were spending the last three years preparing for an entirely different career. Nope, it's really hard to spin this as a plus

I'm 4 years removed from undergrad and attended a university (take a wild guess) with one of the top business schools in the nation. All of my friends that I know who attended the business school finished with above a 3.0 GPA...only reason I'm bringing this up is to demonstrate that there are no slackers amongst the bunch. I can tell you that with the exception of a few of my friends in specialized industries, namely business logistics, I can't tell you too many of my friends who (a) like/love their jobs (b) have progressed to management positions (c) have jobs that are so complex and time consuming that it would take a significant amount of time to learn the intricacies their positions. From my experience, other than mere seniority, the majority of people in their mid twenties working at companies haven't evolved to positions of power within the company that couldn't be reached or eclipsed by the right motivated person...enter law student

Now, I could see where the red flag would be lifted for a journalism major with a JD who all of a sudden decides he wants to enter the business world. However, for the case of an accounting major with a JD, who wants to go work for Ernst & Young...I think your argument has less pull

Yes, doing nothing at all for three years is worse than going to law school.

I just pushed the dates ahead on all my previous experience. Of course this limits your job possibilities to firms who won't check up on these things, but a surprisingly large number of firms don't bother with reference checking.

Duming down your resume is a common strategy if you appear "overqualified" for the job you are applying for. Do a Google search for dumbing down your resume. I plucked the following advice from a WSJ article:

The best advice is to contain the problem. One way is by dumbing down your resume so you donít seem so overqualified. For instance, we advised one customer to delete his Ph.D. in chemistry when he applied for jobs as a junior chemist.

Speaking of "dumbing down" a resume, it's pretty dumb to falsify dates of employment on your resume...and I must say that you got lucky. Any reputable company will check your references. I was employed at the North American HQ of the world's largest container shipping company. I got the job despite the fact that I was a Crime, Law, and Justice major, and despite the fact that I was specifically asked "whether I'm considering law school." My college jobs were far from great: basically a part time weight room monitor and pizza delivery boy. The people from HR called the owner of my pizza shop inquiring whether (1) I was reliable (2) I was on time for work (3) I was well liked and worked well with other employees. Definitely not the smartest move to fabricate dates on your resume during the hiring process, and it could impose future problems if your employer finds out 5 years down the road that you lied to get hired in the first place.

While pushing up the dates on your prior achievements might have scored you your current job, what advice would you give to someone with prior work experience who didn't feel comfortable about lying on their resume? And what advice would you give to someone with a JD fresh out of undergrad with little to no real world experience? These two sets of people will obviously have to fill in a three year gap without being ballsy enough to lie about when they obtained their prior experience, provided they had any prior experience.

In terms of dumbing down your resume, I can see where that is necessary if you're desperate for a job that you're overqualified for. If you have a chemistry Phd, you don't want to put this on a resume when you're applying for a junior chemist position. Same for someone with a JD who is applying for a full time paralegal position. But I don't see why it's necessary for someone, with a JD and a business degree, to feel the need to "dumb down" their resume when they have little to no experience in the industry and know nothing about how their potential employer operates.


Employers recognize, with some justification, that individuals who work below their competency level wonít realize their true potential and enjoy the work. They wonít be committed employees.

Employers would just as soon promote someone whoíll find the work challenging. Additionally, employers wonder whether you truly want to be on their payroll. Among their concerns: Why arenít you able to command the salary you deserve? How long would you stay with us? Wonít the work bore you?

You're making a lot of assumptions here: (1) that they're hiring you to do one job, and one job only (2) that someone with a JD, although bored with their entry level job, won't push themselves to take on more responsibility and realize their potential (3) that employers have two sets of salaries they believe a potential hire feels he/she deserves: a higher one for JD's and a lower one for everyone else.

Since I knew I was going to law school, I learned enough and did enough work to adequately perform my job. However, had my company been a career job for me, I would have taken advantage of conferences, classes, guest speakers that the company put on to educate individuals about the container shipping industry. If I mastered my current position (i.e. got bored), I would speak with my manager and encourage him to give me more responsibility...such as allowing me a minor management role in operating one of the less frequently used shipping routes. If that could not be done, I would apply to be transferred to a different department (like sales) where I could learn how that aspect of the business operates, master that position, then apply for management position...onto get the jist.   

This is what a good friend of mine did, and now he's a department manager at a well known company making $90K in Pittsburgh.  He started with the same bad desk job that I had, and transitioned it into a challenging position with another company. It wasn't the degree itself that helped was his eventual motivation that took him that far. In another example, my girlfriend's mother has a masters in child psychology..what's she doing now? Assistant VP at a corporation.

General Board / Re: Where does the bottom 50% end up?
« on: March 28, 2007, 09:48:42 AM »
Why do you think this?  I never stop hearing or reading about the versatility of the JD.  What are your sources?

Personal knowledge of the job market. I have a JD and don't work in law, so I have firsthand knowledge of the fact that a JD does crap for you if you're not working in law.

I usually leave it off my resume because it's seen as a negative.

If you have a JD and you are seeking a non-legal job, the employer thinks

(1) This guy will leave as soon as he finds a job in law (and this one is HUGE if you're just out of law school, the kiss of death)
(2) He is overqualified for the job, because "everyone knows" that people with JDs make a lot more money than we're willing to pay
(3) This guy couldn't find a job in law so he is a loser, and we don't hire losers around here we hire only winners.


I'm sorry to shatter your illusions, but this is the truth.

A law degree will only help you if you're looking for very high level jobs, but those aren't the kind of jobs that people will hire you for without fifteen years of experience.

If you're looking for a generalist degree that's seen as a plus (albeit usually a small one) in any position, get an MBA. (Not that an MBA will magically open any doors if it's not from a top school, but it's not seen as a minus.)

Bob...if a JD doesn't really help you in "non-legal" careers...basically you'd recommend to pretty much everyone in the bottom half of their classes at T4's (except for those with family owned law firms and other connections OR those looking to do public service work) to withdraw? Since these people have will have limited legal job opportunities altogether, and will be at a disadvantage seeking non-legal work...then why is it that so many bottom half T4 grads stay in school? False hope? Lack of candid advice after their first year of school?

If having the JD hurts you in obtaining non-legal jobs b/c companies may be worried that you're going to bail for the first available job...I don't understand how this is possible for a strong interviewer who honestly and openly tells a potential employer that he/she is not interested in the law and finished the degree because they had already invested enough time and money into the degree to back out. If anything, I would think you could spin it by saying "look, I finished my JD, have no interest in law yet finished just to get the professional degree, and if anything, this proves that I will be able to learn the business quickly and in greater depth than the average person." I can see where an employer would be skeptical about (1), but I think this would explain away (3) in that it was a conscious choice not to seek legal employment. Also, for (2), couldn't the same be said for a Wharton grad who is seeking a $35K entry level business job, since his peers are generally starting out at $50K (I'm fabricating these #'s, but you get the point)?

Also, if many people with JD's seeking non-legal employment leave off the accomplishment of obtaining the JD from their resumes, how on earth do they explain in interviews what they did for the last 3 years? Wouldn't it look worse to say "I haven't obtained any work experience in the last 3 years" than by saying "I made a mistake in obtaining a professional degree, yet have learned a way of thinking that will help me be an asset to your business/company/firm"?

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