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Messages - Maclock

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Choosing the Right Law School / University of Kansas vs. Southwestern
« on: June 15, 2005, 07:04:12 PM »
Ideas on where I should go, people?  I had thought that Kansas was a whole lot more prestigious that it appears to be, so I am unsure whether it will serve me any better when looking for work than attending Southwestern.  If the buzz is to be believed, however, the jobs (if offered) coming out of Southwestern are decidedly sub-par.

I am also on the waitlists at Rutgers-Newark, Northwestern and the University of Miami.  If I get into Northwestern, I'm off like a shot.

(The collection of schools is decidedly mixed because I deliberately restricted my applications to law schools that would give me advance standing for my LL.B., or, in the case of Southwestern, would grant me admission to the SCALE program, so that I could finish a J.D. in two years.)

So, Kansas vs. Southwestern.  What are your thoughts?

Many thanks for your replies,

Choosing the Right Law School / University of Kansas
« on: June 02, 2005, 12:28:25 PM »
Anyone, anyone?  For a lawyer interested in practicing oil and gas law, would the University of Kansas be a terrible choice?  I get the impression that it is an under-rated school (for instance, Brian Leiter would seem to suggest that it is well-regarded by other law schools; see for more information), but I also think that getting any kind of Biglaw job out of there may be next to impossible unless you are in the top 5-10% of the class.  (Hiring partners likely do not have it on their radar.)

Lawrence also looks like such a livable city....

For the moment, all Texas and Louisiana schools are out of the question for me.

Thoughts, anyone?


Canadian Law Students / Re: small school vs large school?
« on: May 31, 2005, 10:31:15 AM »
Maclock ... please learn to be more concise.

"Canada is not as egaltarian as the lefties that run this country would have you believe."


I am glad that I could make you chuckle, Cheeks!  If you think that I am a circumlocutionist, wait until you see the ways in which your soon-to-be peers at the bar mangle, twist and manipulate the English language into all kinds of unnatural shapes; shapes that you will not be able to recognize.  Whooo-wheee, son, now THAT'S funny!


Canadian Law Students / Re: small school vs large school?
« on: May 30, 2005, 11:16:57 AM »
Thank you very much for taking the time to reply.  I guess my problem is that I'm not looking for big money in TO..I'm not looking to go to a school where the competition is unreal and the tuition is 25000$ a year with no guarantee of future employment of the calibre that such a loan is paid back in a reasonable amount of time.  Ideally, for right now, I would like to go into family law.. eventually become a family law judge if all goes wonderfully (which of course, it may not)  Do you think that one of the larger schools is still more appropriorate for my goals?  Any help would be great. :)

O.K., at the expense of sounding like an old coot, I must advise you to be realistic about your goals.  Becoming a judge has more to do with being in the good books of a political party that assumes power in whatever jurisdiction in which you practice than with whether you are, for instance, a family law guru.  It's a sad, but true, fact of life.  That being said, there are some excellent judges out there appointed by their political buddies, but there are some slugs, too.

Even for family law, I think that the perceived prestige of a lawyer's alma mater can be of vital importance.  Remember, seriously wealthy people get divorced, too, and they will pay for quality counsel from what they perceive to the best law firm around.  Sometimes, this will be the law firm that handles other legal matters for a given person's company.  Most big shops keep on staff a few lawyers interested in criminal law and family law for this purpose.  These same firms may not be particularly interested in such areas of the law, but they certainly are interested in keeping as much business in the firm as they can and they are interested in pleasing the client.  The trick is, however, that it is likely going to be much easier to be hired by a prestigious firm to do such work if you have attended what has traditionally been considered to be a prestigious law school.

And as for not being interested in the money that Bay Street has to offer, well, I used to think that way, too, but believe me, when you get out in the rough and tumble reality of practice, having the money and whatnot offered by the big Bay Street firms at your disposal makes a HUGE difference.  Money is a good thing, whatever others might try to tell you.

You are rightly concerned about high tuition fees, but I wish to add that you should really consider this an investment in your future, an investment that will pay dividends for decades to come.

On the subject of competition, I would imagine that every law school has its share of hyper-competitive gimps; that's just the nature of the beast.  People are going to be like that anywhere they've got on their "A game".

I wish to caution that as I never practiced family law and have never had any interest in doing so, I may be inadvertantly feeding you some falsehoods.  Caveat emptor, etc.  Should you have any other questions that you would like answered, please feel free to ask away.


Canadian Law Students / Re: small school vs large school?
« on: May 30, 2005, 10:20:21 AM »
law firms prefer good schools...

A tad harsh, I am afraid.  Other than U of T, Osgoode and McGill, Canadian law schools are, more than likely, relatively comparable to one another in quality.  However, I think that these same schools are more likely to place better in local markets than they would clear across the country.  Does that mean that these schools are, by necessary implication, "bad"?  No, it does not; it simply means that law firms only recognize a handful of Canadian law schools as being nationally prestigious and placement rates in, for instance, the big shops on Bay Street reflect that fact.

Admittedly, some schools that are coasting on their names, like Dal, still place reasonably well on Bay Street, but that has more to do with the fact that more than a few senior partners went to Dal (or whichever school) back in the day when it was considered every bit the equal of Osgoode, McGill and U of T, than it does with Dal (or whichever school) being considered one of Canada's top schools.  (For that matter, some might argue that Osgoode is also coasting undeservedly on its past glory.)

I had a couple of friends at UNB study on exchange at Ontario law schools, one at Western and the other at Osgoode, and they both seemed to think that UNB compared well with these Ontario schools, for instance.  However, UNB's name power does, no doubt, pale in comparision with any of Western, Osgoode or U of T when competing for the Holy Grail of many Canadian law school students' lives: articles with a big Bay Street firm.  It's depressing how provincial the Canadian mindset can be from time-to-time.

So, a small school that places primarily in its region will have a smaller network upon which to draw when seeking to place its students.  If that network is smaller, in absolute terms, and is in an area that is not filthy, stinking rich, then students may stuggle to find decent articling positions.  Unless they are near the top of their class, these same students are more than likely going to find it tough to crack Bay Street unless they have some highly prized pre-law school work experience and/or good contacts on Bay Street.  (Perhaps a small school like Calgary, which is often not accorded the highest degree of respect and is certainly not considered the equal of McGill, U of T or Osgoode, might fare better than places like UVic, UNB, USask and the University of Manitoba at placing its grads in decent articling jobs if only because it is the only law school in Calgary, Canada's hottest legal market right now.  Similarly, the proximity of Western to Toronto, and the fact that it is known to the denizens of Bay Street as a decent law school, likely helps Western quite a bit when placing its grads in T.O.)

So, to that end, I would think that prospective Canadian law students might best be advised to go to the most prestigious law school to which they are admitted.  Sadly, many good Canadian law schools are not considered prestigious, and placement rates in the highest paid articling jobs in Canada (which jobs, in turn, dictate how many doors will be open to you later on in life) reflect that fact.  Canada is not as egaltarian as the lefties that run this country would have you believe.


Canadian Law Students / Re: Any UNBers out there?
« on: May 27, 2005, 09:02:45 PM »
How would you feel that Dal ranks??

Dal is, arguably, an inferior place to study law, but it has a much better reputation in the canyons of Bay Street.  Additionally, Halifax is a much better city than Fredericton.  Law school is hard enough without having to be blue about the place in which you live.

Still, though, there are far more prestigious law schools out there, and believe you me, the perceived prestige of your law school counts for a lot when you try to find articling jobs (which jobs, incidentially, determine whether you will have access to the top jobs later on in your career).  Think long and hard about it, and really give it your all to get into the very best law school that you can.  For true flexibility, I think that you would do well to consider the joint LL.B.-J.D. programme offered by Osgoode Hall and N.Y.U.  (Osgoode, like Dal, is frequently accused of coasting on a reputation for excellence built many years ago, a reputation that some might argue it no longer deserves, but mention its name to many in the legal community, and their eyes light up.  It's hard to argue with that kind of reaction.)

Having the option to work anywhere in the States (your LL.B. will not get you anywhere in the States, no matter what some might try to convince you) is of crucial importance should things not work out for you in Canada and the United States is not a universally bad place in which to live and work (whatever the CBC might try to tell you).


Canadian Law Students / Re: Any UNBers out there?
« on: May 27, 2005, 09:21:52 AM »
What is your general feeling about the school? Where did you end up when it was all over? Were the professors nice? Is there a big public speaking component? Where did you do your placement? Etc etc. :) Thanks for taking the time to reply!!

The school is o.k.  There are some wonderful professors and there are some awful professors (much like anywhere else, I would imagine, except that it is likely more difficult to keep good talent in a smaller city like Fredericton than it is in, say, Vancouver or Victoria).

By youthful conceit, I ended up in Newfoundland.  (Don't make the same mistake.)  Go to the biggest and best law firm that will hire you in a real market, like Calgary or Toronto.

You will have to participate in moot court as a first year; that is the only mandatory "public speaking" thing that you will have to do.  You may also be called upon in class from time-to-time to discuss readings that have been assigned for your various courses.

I wish to caution you about two things:

(1) Fredericton is small, cold, inconvenient, isolated, occasionally depressing and a bit boring, so make sure that you absolutely want to be there prior to accepting any offer of admission; and

(2) many Canadian firms look down their noses at small law schools like UNB; try your very best to get into U of T, McGill, UBC, U of A, etc.

Should you have any other questions, please feel free to ask away!


Canadian Law Students / Re: Any UNBers out there?
« on: May 25, 2005, 10:48:08 PM »
I am a grad.  Ask away.




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