Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion

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 on: March 27, 2015, 04:09:26 PM 
Started by Mdw426 - Last post by loki13

The reason I take issue with your goal-based analysis is that, unfortunately, the vast majority of incoming 0Ls don't have a clear idea of what it is they want to do. I often joke about the 0L that wants to be a "Constitutional Lawyer" or an "M&A Attorney." In addition, most have an extremely unrealistic picture of what attorney's earn (average salary not being the same as the median salary, for instance). Simply put, there are a few high salary jobs, a few mid salary jobs, and a larger number of "starter" jobs. And if you're not certain, your best option is a T14. In addition to the BigLaw jobs, many offer various types of loan forgiveness that you just can't get at other schools if you go into public service-y type jobs (they can afford to, since so many of their grads are making money).

The factor I think you are ignoring is that many schools outside of the T14 can't place their students into jobs. They just can't. I know the market has improved somewhat, but I have seen the decimation that occurred from 2008 onwards. People in my class couldn't get jobs- and this from a well-respected school. People in the next year's class, top students, struggling. So many unemployed and never getting jobs. Let's take an example- Temple. Good school. Ranked #52. In the last three years, they have never been able to graduate even 60% (from 52-59%, including school-funded jobs) into a position that requires a JD.

And that's the difference. I am *not* a T14 snob, as my experience shows that you don't need a T14 degree to succeed. But I'm also quite aware that the cost/benefit ratio is very different when you leave the T14. I could not, in good conscience, recommend that anyone pay full freight to go to a law school outside of the T14, unless it was a state school (lower tuition) or their parents were paying for it. It's just not worth it from a cost/benefit analysis.

I do agree with you that if someone is comparing a T14 school with a free ride (and no onerous conditions on the scholarship) at a T50 school, then perhaps, depending on circumstances, they might choose otherwise. But if a poster does not provide circumstances otherwise, I can't, in good conscience, tell them to pursue their dream at a lower ranked school.

 on: March 27, 2015, 03:52:45 PM 
Started by AndyAl - Last post by Citylaw
You might want to take your LSAT in a small California town like Chico or Monterey. I actually took mine at Cal Northern Law School in Chico and there were only 18 people in the room. I am from L.A. and did not want hundreds of people around me and to be fighting traffic etc.

Here is the list of test centers.

I would say Santa Rosa, Humboldt, Chico, Sonoma would be low key areas. I imagine Chico and Humboldt would be the best.

 on: March 27, 2015, 03:48:20 PM 
Started by Mdw426 - Last post by Citylaw
Exactly, but there is always more research that can be done, but at some point you also have to pull the trigger and do a tangible task. Where that balance is of doing to much or to little research is a difficult thing to learn.  I know personally they have been times when I made something simple very complicated and other times I should have done more research.

I also wanted to make one comment about the number of Harvard associates in Biglaw.  Again, if Biglaw/Clerkship is the goal then there is no question that choosing a T14 school is the way to go.  Biglaw cares about credentials, but outside of that 1-5% of the legal market it matters much less.  There are many people that simply want to be D.A.'s or Public Defenders. If that is the goal do not go to Harvard or Yale get out with as little debt as possible.

Again, good posting it is nice to not have spammers on here.

 on: March 27, 2015, 03:47:48 PM 
Started by AndyAl - Last post by loki13
I should add something- you don't seem very positive on the "where" you're going to move to part. LA is NOT Santa Monica is NOT Long Beach. And, um, you might have heard that LA occasionally has traffic issues.

RE: public transportation, LA has a great bus system, and a very limited subway. Once you understand the bus systems (differences between express and local, for instance) it is extremely easy to use and pretty reliable.

That said, LA is definitely a car city. I can't add anything about taxis, since I never took one when I lived there (it was recently, but pre-Uber).

Good luck. And don't stress too much. I took the LSAT in a place that was an hour and a half from where I was living, and it was no big deal.

The bar, on the other hand...

 on: March 27, 2015, 02:24:25 PM 
Started by AndyAl - Last post by loki13
It may be a bit outdated, but check out this thread:

It appears that the consensus is Southwestern, although some like USC (but not during football season).

I didn't take the LSAT in LA, but I lived there for a while. Southwestern is near the Wilshire/Vermont subway (for mass transit). Not the most scenic area, but still.

 on: March 27, 2015, 02:20:44 PM 
Started by Ameepaysmogma - Last post by Ameepaysmogma

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 on: March 27, 2015, 02:06:29 PM 
Started by Mdw426 - Last post by loki13
"The confidence and decisiveness can also backfire if it is wrong, but having clerked etc I imagine you saw many lawyers that you could have done better than. "

Heh. Maybe that's the problem. I've gradually gained confidence from seeing so much terrible, terrible lawyering. So I know that at least I'm not as bad as what I'm usually litigating against.

On the other hand, part of being semi-smart is worrying that you're not right, because there's always more law, more issues, and more things to look at.

 on: March 27, 2015, 02:01:14 PM 
Started by Mdw426 - Last post by Citylaw
Agreed and it certainly is not easy to start your own firm out of law school and for most recent graduates it is not likely. However, there certainly are graduates that have enough confidence right out of law school to do the things you mentioned, but it is rare. As you know most of the law is simply having the confidence to think your right, but that is not easy to obtain. Some people are born with that decisiveness and confidence while others are not.  The confidence and decisiveness can also backfire if it is wrong, but having clerked etc I imagine you saw many lawyers that you could have done better than.

 on: March 27, 2015, 01:36:37 PM 
Started by Mdw426 - Last post by loki13

Well, I was a non-trad in law school (and the oldest person in my associate class). My concern was not just the business side of starting your own firm (which is considerable, and is fraught with not only the typical concerns of starting a going concern, but also perils that only exist for law firms, such as client accounts), but also the more mundane issue of experience.

Which is to say, even having clerked, worked before, worked as a RA in law school, summered for a BigLaw firm, *and* worked for a local firm while in law school, I was still woefully underprepared for actual practice. Law school lays down a great foundation, but I would have had no idea how to the following straight out of law school:
1) Prepare a will (really) that was anything beyond the most simple of wills.
2) Draft a contact that was solid.
3) Prepare a trust (actually, I still can't do that).
4) Litigate in state court.
5) Litigate in federal court. Well, now I'm an old hand at this one, but I know a lot of practicing attorneys that are still terrified to litigate in federal court.
...and so on. There are so many small intricacies that are either formal rules (does your state have a specialized system or requirements for certain types of suits that you waive if you don't comply?) or are norms (how do you really conduct discovery) that are learned through practice, and it can be very hard to pick those things up on your own.

I know that some people can start practices out of law school, but in the last two decades or so, it has been my experience that this avenue has become much harder. Thoughts?

 on: March 27, 2015, 01:35:03 PM 
Started by AndyAl - Last post by AndyAl
Need your advice.
I'll be moving to CA, and I'll need to register for LSAT before actually getting there. I'll end up somewhere in Los Angeles / Santa Monica / Long Beach area.
Could you advise me which test places/centers of that area are better? The only two criteria to keep in mind are ample personal space in an airy room and easy morning access by public transportation (basically, the second condition is not as important as the first one, since I can use taxi; however, if it's within 5-10 minute walk from a stop, it's better than a taxi)

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