Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion

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 on: Today at 02:21:19 PM 
Started by MsEsquire718 - Last post by Citylaw
Good luck having a thick skin is one of the most important parts of becoming a lawyer and if you can handle that you will do well. This site is a good place to post for specific questions etc. One thing I did as a 1L that helped me out a lot was using e-case briefs and CALI lessons, which Widener should provide to you.

Something I didn't realize until second semester was the importance of doing practice questions more than studying. You can remember all the cases etc, but if you don't do practice Multiple Chioce questions and exams it will be to detriment. Again, good luck!

 on: Today at 02:02:49 PM 
Started by samoagl - Last post by Maintain FL 350
Citylaw's advice is good. I would just add the following:

Since you're already carrying 65k in debt, you may want to make debt minimization your top priority. Accruing an additional 100k (which is ENTIRELY possible even though you've been offered scholarships) can impact your career choices as much if not more than your choice of school.

Since none of the schools you're considering are elite, you probably won't be competing for a high paying job straight out of law school. Thus, you really need to consider whether or not you will be able to service that amount of debt on a (probably) $50-70k starting salary.

Citylaw has already addressed this, but I will reiterate: if you go to school in Chicago you will likely end up working in Chicago. If you want to live in California, go to school in California. When you're talking about non-elite, local schools it really is that simple.

Other options
I understand that you are probably eager to start law school, but if I were you I would at least consider reapplying to other So Cal schools and seeing what happens. Frankly, (and don't take this as criticism) I don't think any of the schools you mentioned are worth racking up a $150k + debt.

Whittier has offered the most, but you could easily lose it and be stuck paying full freight after the first year. Whittier has also had some problems with high attrition and low bar pass rates which resulted in the ABA putting them on probation several years ago.

If you were willing to wait on more year, you could study like crazy and retake the LSAT, then reapply to schools like La Verne, California Western, Southwestern, Chapman and Western State. You employment options from any of these schools would be about the same as the schools you're currently considering. You might be able to improve your bargaining position and significantly reduce you overall debt. Something to think about.

 on: Today at 01:44:48 PM 
Started by AndyAl - Last post by Maintain FL 350
I grew up in LA, went to law school in LA, and currently live and work in LA.

Regarding the need for a car, you have to understand that people refer to all of the greater Los Angeles basin simply as "LA". Thus, the area that folks are referring to includes pretty much everything from Long Beach to Malibu, and from Santa Monica inland all the way to the Inland Empire. It's a huge, flat, sprawling area. So when people say "You need a car" it's because they're assuming that you'll be commuting 30 miles a day or more.

Downtown and the Westside are more compact. You can definitely get around on public transportation. If, however, you ended up living in Long Beach and going to law school in Westwood you would probably need a car. Just my two cents.

LSAT test centers
I don't know anything about ones in the areas you mentioned, but I took the LSAT at the University of La Verne and it was great. Nice big room, probably sat around 150, but only had 20-30 taking the test. I had a whole table to myself. It was definitely worth the drive.

Incidentally, I took the bar nearby at the Ontario Convention Center and that was a good move too. Parking was easy, there was more than ample space, there were places to get breakfast and lunch on site. It just seemed a little less crazy than you might expect. My classmates who took the bar in downtown LA had to deal with terrible parking issues, overcrowding, etc. Something to consider.

 on: Today at 12:33:25 PM 
Started by MsEsquire718 - Last post by MsEsquire718
There will always be negative comments out there one way or another, but that will not break me or make me. And thank you!!!

 on: Today at 11:07:59 AM 
Started by AndyAl - Last post by loki13
Here's the thing- LA is a completely, totally, bizarre city. I lived near the LACMA(technically, West Hollywood area). If you talk to most people in Los Angeles, they'll tell you that it is a car city, and they won't be wrong. But it is also one of the most amazingly walkable cities I have ever lived in.

Okay, let me explain. "LA" isn't so much a single city, but a bunch of sprawling, urban neighborhoods. With the (usually) wonderful weather, and the sidewalks that are everywhere, it can be a much more walkable city than many others (such as cites in the South, which are gawdawful hot and often don't have sidewalks in many areas, or the NE, which have that whole Winter thing). But very few people walk, because it's not in the zeitgeist. When I worked downtown, people would (seriously) drive if it was more than a five minute walk. It was crazy to me.

LA also has a great subway system. Unfortunately, it doesn't go very far. But I loved it.

Finally, when I was there, I often took advantage of the buses. You have to understand the differences (the express v. the locals) but they could take you everywhere. Clearly, they weren't as convenient as a car, but the system was amazing! And a TAP card (for public transit) was so cheap.

So... here's the thing. It really was a cultural thing there. Poor people took the public transit. My firm reimbursed the cost of parking / public transit. AFAIK, I was the *only* attorney to take the public trasit reimbursement. Repeat- the only one. I had a car, I just didn't feel like driving it unless I had a court date somewhere out of the city.

But to answer your question- LA's public transit was, IMO, pretty amazing. The only reason I had even considered it is because I had previously lived in NE cities and used public transit (subways). If you keep your smartphone and google maps with you, and/or the LA Transit website loaded (maybe they have an app now?) it can take you where you need to go. That said, if you are taking a bus, remember that they also go on the roads, just like cars. Occasionally they get delayed. Try and make sure to be near an express stop (those are the big red buses)- the locals can, sometimes, take forever. Get a TAP card first thing. The subway system there is pretty awesome as well, but very limited; it also shut down early, and very occasionally would shut down at weird hours or at weird stations to shoot a film (look closely at many films and you'll see that the subway station in question is, in fact, LA's subway).

Finally, while you didn't ask it- neighborhoods really matter in LA. It's not a homogenous city.... at all. I loved where I lived. I could walk one way and end up at the Chinese Theater and the Grove. I could walk the other way and end up in Little Ethiopia for a great meal.

Hope this helps.

 on: Today at 09:29:27 AM 
Started by AndyAl - Last post by AndyAl
LA has a great bus system... That said, LA is definitely a car city.

And don't stress too much.

I don't stress about the test at all. However, the score is the separate issue:)

Also, somewhat off-topic, if you don't mind. Internet is filled with remarks that it's close to impossible to have a distinct life in LA without a car. But you see some greatness in its bus system. What do you mean by "great?" (you can insert other web links if don't want to waste your time on explanations).

 on: Today at 01:35:05 AM 
Started by MsEsquire718 - Last post by Citylaw
Oh awesome will good luck with it. If you put the time into law school it will yield good results, but it is a difficult road.

I imagine their will be negative posters out there, but if becoming a lawyer is really what you want then fight to make it happen.

Good luck to you.

 on: Today at 01:33:13 AM 
Started by Mdw426 - Last post by Citylaw
First I agree very few OL's have any idea what they want.

However, any law school can and does place students in jobs, but it is a long road. The 9 months after graduation stats are highly flawed. First off you honestly cannot even be employed as a lawyer until 7 months after graduation at least in California where bar results are released in November and very few firms will hire in November or December so realistically it is not until that January when you even have a chance of getting hired, which is 9 months after graduation and odds are many lawyers will do some b.s. thing the first year or two out of law school.

Education however, is a long term investment as you have mentioned in your post you just landed your dream job, but I imagine there was a lot of stress and uncertainty going down that path. Most lawyers however that have practiced that have been licensed for 5 or more years do pretty well for themselves, but getting that first job is a pain in the ass.

However, this is not uncommon to law school.

College grads not finding jobs.

MBA's a bad choice

Nursing grads can't find jobs

I could go on and on with articles saying X education is a bad investment. However, the truth is starting out in any profession is difficult. To the best of my knowledge I am not aware of some guaranteed $200k a year cush job waiting for 100% of graduates in any profession. If that exists let me please let me know.

Basically anything is a challenge and there is no easy route. Therefore, if you want to be a lawyer go to school and use common sense when choosing the school you choose.

Law school is a great investment for thousands of students and terrible one for thousands of others.  Then these blanket employment stats from schools have little merit to me.  Frankly, if your in the bottom 25% of your class at any school, no internships, no mock trial, no nothing then it will be hard to get a job out of law school and probably to even pass the bar.

At the same school another student can finish in the top  25%, have numerous internships, participates in mock trial, heads law review etc likely will find a job, which goes to my overall point that whether you succeed in the legal profession will have a lot more to do with the individual than the school.

I interview people and schools are great, but I look at references, experience, etc. If someone attended Berkeley and had a 2.6, never interned, participated in nothing and showed up 20 minutes late to the interview I am not hiring them.

If another student from Santa Clara comes in with a 3.6, numerous professor references, internship experience, participated in mock trial, comes prepared to the interview etc I am hiring them.

So that goes to the overall crux of OP's question choose the school that fits them best, but if Biglaw is their main goal then sure Penn opens more doors, but is it worth the cost? Maybe, that is for OP to decide, but don't choose anything without thinking of yourself first and foremost.


 on: Today at 01:15:44 AM 
Started by samoagl - Last post by Citylaw
It sounds like you have experience living in both L.A. and Chicago and the first question to ask yourself, which City do you prefer more?

If you attend Southwestern or Whittier you will be in L.A., which is much different than Chicago. If your friends etc are in Chicago and you love Chicago stay in Chicago.

You can negotiate better conditions and scholarship money with the school. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by asking.

Also, visit all these schools and see what you prefer. Each school has a culture to it and whether you like a particular school is a highly personal decision. Depaul has an undergrad with sports teams etc while Southwestern is a Law School with no sports teams etc. One is not better than the other, but just one of 10,000 factors to consider.

You are wise to not count on anyone guaranteeing you a job in the future. Your uncle may leave that firm by the time you graduate in four years. The economy could tank again and jobs might be unavailable and frankly a lot can happen in four years. Maybe you will meet a girl who convinces you to move to Minnesota where he doesn't have a practice group. I could go on and on with possibilities, but number one thing to consider is where you want to live after graduation.

Good luck with your decision.

This article might also be helpful in making your decision.

 on: Yesterday at 11:10:10 PM 
Started by bizzybbb - Last post by bizzybbb

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