Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion

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 on: October 29, 2014, 04:29:41 PM 
Started by BvBPL - Last post by BvBPL
I'm a 3L and the deadline for judicial clerkships in my Commonwealth is fast approaching.  I've asked the supervising attorney at my externship to write me a letter of recommendation and she asked me to write my own (which she will of course review and edit). 

Ack!  What should I do? 

I'm sort of frozen on this.  I'm generally okay with listing competencies, but I'm a bit shy about praise.  For example, I'd like to say that my presence at the office has elevated the practice of the attorneys and the office as a whole, something my supervisor has said to me on more than one occasion, but writing that out seems really prideful. 

Any advice would be helpful and appreciated.

 on: October 29, 2014, 11:30:43 AM 
Started by iChaseH - Last post by Citylaw
First and foremost realize that any anonymous internet poster on this board or others myself included knows anything about you, and for all you know I am a crackhead in a public library or I could be a partner at Cravath. So with that take any anonymous internet poster advice with a major grain of salt my post included.

With that said I think you are making one of the most common 0L mistakes, one I made myself, which is putting way to much thought into what a for profit unregulated magazine thinks. U.S. News is not regulated by anyone, and they are offering an opinion for entertainment and to make money. If you want to make a life altering decision based on that it is your choice, but I do not recommend it.   Also realize rankings change drastically year by year, because U.S. News has no real formula, just look at the two schools you are considering. 

Temple Ranking U.S. News 2009-2014
Present 61* 2013   56*   2012 58* 2011   61*   2010 72*   2009 65*    

Penn State Ranking
Present 51*   2013 64*   2012 76*   2011 60   2010 72*   2009 65*

Both schools were tied for the same rank in 65th along with a number of schools, then both fell to a tie for 72nd with a bunch of other schools. In 2011 Penn State was one rank higher, In 2012 Temple was 18 spots hight, in 2013 Temple was 8 spots higher, and now Penn State is 10 spots higher.

So to sum it up if you choose Temple based on rank over Penn State in 2011 the school that you graduated from would be significantly lower ranked even though it was 18 spots higher. So DO NOT CHOOSE a law school based on ranking.

Here is a link to show the drastic changes in law school rankings year by year. The top 10-20 schools are basically the same, but outside of that they change drastically and odds are if you choose Penn State based on rank today, Temple will be ranked higher by the time you graduate or vice versa, and it doesn't matter.

With that said I think any 0L should consider the following factors in this order when choosing a law school: (1) Location; (2) Cost; (3) Personal Feelings about school; (4) Understanding the Reality of legal education; (5) Last and certainly least U.S. News Ranking.  I will analyze each of these factors to your current decision between Penn & Temple, but I also encourage you to apply to other schools in the area to obtain scholarship offers and more leverage when negotiating with schools you really want to attend.

 (1) Location:
It looks like you want to be in Pennsylvania, which is good you narrowed it down to a state, but do you want to live in Philly or University Park. No right or wrong answer, but if you want to be in a big-city go to Temple if you want the college feel go to University Park. It will make a big difference, and whatever is more your style is the right choice there.

(2) Cost
Temple offers in-state tuition at $19,000 per year x 3= 57,000 in Tuition which is a great deal.

Penn-State does not offer in state tuition and is $40,000 per year x 3= 120,000 in tuition;

On that factor Temple certainly wins you will save $63,000 on tuition, which is something to consider.
(3) Personal Feelings About School
Aside from location and cost each school has a culture to it, and whether the school's culture fits you is something only you can determine. When I was visiting schools there were some I liked others I didn't, which is entirely subjective to my personality.

The only way to know if a school is a fit is to visit personally, talk to professors, walk around campus, walk around the surrounding neighborhood, talk to students, alumni, etc and you will feel better about one over the other, and listen to your gut it will guide you in the right direction.

(4) Reality of Legal Education:
Finally I know there are law school rankings, but the reality is at any ABA law school you will learn the same thing. You will receive a great education at Penn State or Temple or any other ABA school. In law school you read Supreme Court Cases, and the Supreme Court does not write separate opinions for different law schools, nor does the law change whether you attend Temple or Penn State.

Your first year will consist of Torts, Civil Procedure, Contracts, Property, and a LRW class. Schools differ on whether they offer Crim Pro/Crim Law/Con Law 1L or 2L, but you will take those courses in law school as well. In Torts you will read the Palsgraff case, Civ Pro Pennoyer v. Neff, Contracts Hadley v. Baxendale, Property the fox-hound case.

I cannot possibly tell you what the right answer is, but really analyze the factors above to your personal situation. Good luck whatever you decide.

 on: October 27, 2014, 11:36:00 PM 
Started by Risingwaters01 - Last post by I.M.D.Law
Thanks for your response. To touch on the "elephant in the room" he will be retiring early next year. I will be sending my applications around this time so I do not see much of an issue.  To be honest I couldn't see myself having to retake the bar in a different location every time we had to move with new orders. That would be crazy ! :)

Thanks for your response.
That sounds like perfect timing then, spouse with pension to watch kids and all......pretty cool
With the bar I don't think that would be an issue too much (if he reuped post grad or whatever) since you in theory could go civie jag and practice on fed soil as long as licensed in some place in America (not needing to be in state in question, just anywhere)

That being said, I bet after a life long military career you are both ready to settle down in one spot for awhile.

 on: October 27, 2014, 09:47:51 AM 
Started by Risingwaters01 - Last post by Risingwaters01
Thanks everyone for the great advice,

I really appreciate it.I would agree that the Tier 4 choice may not be so bad after all and with my LSAT score I will apply to a few higher "ranked" schools in my local area as well. I think attending part time is a perfect idea for three reasons: financial, having a family and work experience. I know it won't be easy but this is what I want to do.  Scholarships are great, tuition remission is also a possibility that I am looking into.

Everything has been resolved. I think it was the initial period of really seeing where the kids were at emotionally and with their education. They've done a complete 180 which I'm really proud of and they are fantastic kids. I know this will be harder than anything I have ever done and I'm trying to make sure that I am going to take my time this time and make the best decisions for me and my family.

Again, I really appreciate all the great feedback.

 on: October 27, 2014, 07:40:46 AM 
Started by Risingwaters01 - Last post by Risingwaters01
Thanks for your response. To touch on the "elephant in the room" he will be retiring early next year. I will be sending my applications around this time so I do not see much of an issue.  To be honest I couldn't see myself having to retake the bar in a different location every time we had to move with new orders. That would be crazy ! :)

Thanks for your response.

 on: October 26, 2014, 08:30:58 PM 
Started by Massgirl94 - Last post by I.M.D.Law
Yes disclose, but unless you did it naked and ended up a registered sex offender, no one will care UNLESS you fail to disclose I bet

 on: October 26, 2014, 08:30:03 PM 
Started by cosdcg - Last post by I.M.D.Law
I wouldn't qualify for it (even if I was still in) but its good to see that these programs exist
I sure hope someone here can use it, or passes it along to others who can. The posts here tend to show up on google searches too, so that may help too

 on: October 26, 2014, 08:27:07 PM 
Started by Nimmy - Last post by I.M.D.Law
Free is a shame not to use. I'd do whatever you've always wanted to do FOR FUN (since you are already a lawyer)
Think of stuff that is otherwise useless like pastry chef, fudge it, its FREE and you earned it !

my 2 cents brother

 on: October 26, 2014, 08:24:12 PM 
Started by Risingwaters01 - Last post by I.M.D.Law
I am going to ignore every aspect of this EXCEPT the 10,000 lbs elephant in the room


Unless you are in an online program your husband will more likely than not be at risk of having to relocate during your time in law school (the odds of this double if you go part time which is pretty much the only real option for a mom who has a working spouse and no immediate family in the area willing to take a solid three years straight of babysitting)

I would wait until your spouse retires. Sometimes the spouse can use part of the GI Bill nowdays too (if you havn't already done so)

 on: October 26, 2014, 05:40:47 PM 
Started by Risingwaters01 - Last post by Groundhog
I agree with the above. All I have to add is that a part-time may program may be the best way to go, as you still have a family to consider. Many law students in full-time programs are straight from undergrad or a year or two out and don't have kids. They will be your competition.

A part-time program, in addition to better suiting a family lifestyle, may understand your situation during undergrad better and allow you to attend a higher-ranked school than if you attend a full-time program. It is well-known that for schools with both full-time and part-time JD programs, the part-time programs have less stringent admissions requirements. Some students that desire to then switch to the full-time program and make up the credits over the summer. I wouldn't recommend this, but if you find that you have extra time as a 1L(!!) then you could consider it.

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