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Author Topic: Trial Law  (Read 569 times)

woeisme

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Trial Law
« on: February 25, 2008, 07:15:54 PM »
If I want to go into litigation (not necessarily corporate litigation) ...

is it still important to go to the highest ranked possible? Or is it true that some lower ranked schools may better train me for trial law?

A family friend suggested that if I were interested in going into trial law, I'd have better opportunities graduating from Chicago Kent (IIT) than Northwestern or UChicago. Is there truth to this? How about trial law coming from WUSTL? Or Cornell?

Anyone? Thanks!
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woeisme

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Re: Trial Law
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2008, 11:56:43 AM »
Bump. Anyone? Please?
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cisforcookie

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Re: Trial Law
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2008, 12:30:21 PM »
heh. noone biting eh? i guess i'll take a swing at this. my answers relate entirely to the practice of trial lawyering. i know relatively little about civil litigation.

the only people who ever do anything meaningful in a courtroom are small firm lawyers, PDs, prosecutors, city/state/federal solicitors, and senior members of big law firms. anything federal is highly competitive, and becoming a senior litigating partner at a large law firm is an incredible amount of work and luck. the rest will mostly be populated by graduates of whatever local school produces more graduates than the nearby larger firms want. In my state, there are only 2 law schools and both are public. the better school sends most of its grads to firms or out of state to nearby big cities. the worse school produces the majority of the trial lawyers in the state and the majority of the judges.

I think you would find that the number of people who spend a number of years as trial lawyers who come out of places like northwestern, chicago, cornell, and even wustl is going to be much much less than the same number from places like Chicago Kent.

of course, i'm guessing based on my knowledge of my local legal market. the city of chicago might be filled with graduates of the university of chicago who work as low level trial lawyers. probably the same number of graduates of harvard business school who manage grocery stores.

at the higher levels, large corporate lawsuits especially, very few trials take place. those cases almost all settle.

woeisme

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Re: Trial Law
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2008, 12:48:41 PM »
heh. noone biting eh? i guess i'll take a swing at this. my answers relate entirely to the practice of trial lawyering. i know relatively little about civil litigation.

the only people who ever do anything meaningful in a courtroom are small firm lawyers, PDs, prosecutors, city/state/federal solicitors, and senior members of big law firms. anything federal is highly competitive, and becoming a senior litigating partner at a large law firm is an incredible amount of work and luck. the rest will mostly be populated by graduates of whatever local school produces more graduates than the nearby larger firms want. In my state, there are only 2 law schools and both are public. the better school sends most of its grads to firms or out of state to nearby big cities. the worse school produces the majority of the trial lawyers in the state and the majority of the judges.

I think you would find that the number of people who spend a number of years as trial lawyers who come out of places like northwestern, chicago, cornell, and even wustl is going to be much much less than the same number from places like Chicago Kent.

of course, i'm guessing based on my knowledge of my local legal market. the city of chicago might be filled with graduates of the university of chicago who work as low level trial lawyers. probably the same number of graduates of harvard business school who manage grocery stores.

at the higher levels, large corporate lawsuits especially, very few trials take place. those cases almost all settle.

I guess I still don't really understand. Isn't it still advantageous to go to the best school possible? Or would it really open more doors to go to a lower ranked school?
Cornell Law School Class of 2011 ... ftw.

cisforcookie

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Re: Trial Law
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2008, 01:20:16 PM »
I guess I still don't really understand. Isn't it still advantageous to go to the best school possible? Or would it really open more doors to go to a lower ranked school?

It's hard to say really. I just don't think anyone from those schools does that. You wouldn't have any alumni support, which is going to be a hugely useful networking tool. I'm not suggesting at all that you should go to a significantly worse school than you get into. It's one thing to take a school in the 15-30 range with money over a 1-14 school because you want to half no debt and go into a non-lucrative field. You still have good options out of those 15-30 schools. You have very few options out of a much lower school.

nealric

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Re: Trial Law
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2008, 04:55:29 PM »
Quote
at the higher levels, large corporate lawsuits especially, very few trials take place. those cases almost all settle.

95% of all lawsuits settle. Even many "trial lawyers" go to trial only once or twice a year. If you want to live in the courtroom all the time, criminal is where its at.

Quote
I guess I still don't really understand. Isn't it still advantageous to go to the best school possible? Or would it really open more doors to go to a lower ranked school?

There are different ways of becoming a trial lawyer, and a trial lawyer can mean many things. What exactly do you have in mind when you say you want to be one?
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woeisme

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Re: Trial Law
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2008, 05:10:09 PM »
Quote
at the higher levels, large corporate lawsuits especially, very few trials take place. those cases almost all settle.

95% of all lawsuits settle. Even many "trial lawyers" go to trial only once or twice a year. If you want to live in the courtroom all the time, criminal is where its at.

Quote
I guess I still don't really understand. Isn't it still advantageous to go to the best school possible? Or would it really open more doors to go to a lower ranked school?

There are different ways of becoming a trial lawyer, and a trial lawyer can mean many things. What exactly do you have in mind when you say you want to be one?

I guess that's the thing. I'm not sure. I'd like to keep my options opened, but let's say like a DA. Or maybe family law. Or divorce law. Or criminal law. Non-corporate litigation work...
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wustl3l

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Re: Trial Law
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2008, 05:18:33 PM »
Well then the question is what kind of D.A.'s office? Big city D.A.'s offices still want good grades/schools. D.A's office in Paducah, KY not so much.

For the rest of the stuff you are talking about, you should just go somewhere cheap and then try to latch on to one of the many tiny firms that do that kind of work. Money will not be good starting out in this situation and big firms really don't do that kind of work.