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Author Topic: Better to be big fish in small pond or small fish in big pond?  (Read 2626 times)

Harsh Reality

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Re: Better to be big fish in small pond or small fish in big pond?
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2008, 05:46:52 PM »
If you're the Editor in Chief of a Law Review at NYLS/Pace, ranked Number 1 in your class, 4.0 GPA, well duh, you're going to be fine but that's only a handful of students out of a class of 300. 

From my experience with recruiters:

The first question is always, What is your name;

Second question is, Where do you go to school:

This is what usually happens,

if you say "NYU/Columbia,"  their eyes lite up, the conversation usually lasts much longer, they might even ask for your resume, etc.

If you say "Cardozo/Brooklyn," then it's like, oh I hear Cardozo/Brooklyn is a fine school (as opposed to a non-so-fine school?)

If you say "Pace," it's like "Oh....where's that located at?"

That's the realty of the legal environment, prestige and pedigree is a big deal. It's all about the Namebrand school.


shelfgirl

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Re: Better to be big fish in small pond or small fish in big pond?
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2008, 08:31:00 PM »
Here's the thing.  I am an older student, with a family.  If I went to law school when I was first accepted, I would agree with everything that people are saying.  (By the way, thank you for the replies).

However, I am not looking for a huge law firm.  I want to go into real estate law, work with a small company for a few years to gain enough experience to hang my own shingle.

What would you do?  Partial scholarship at Pace with the Real Estate Institute and connections in Westchester, where we would move if the connections lead to a job, or Brooklyn/Cardozo?  We are rooted in NYC/NJ area and do not plan to move.

Just_Chexin

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Re: Better to be big fish in small pond or small fish in big pond?
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2008, 10:06:17 PM »
I would also like to know the answer to shelfgirl's question. What if your dreams don't lie in working 80 billable hours per week at a Biglaw law firm and instead are more in-line with working at a small(er) firm, and eventually hanging your own shingle / opening up your own boutique law firm? The lack of entrepreneurial interest on these boards is kind of shocking to me!

MahlerGrooves

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Re: Better to be big fish in small pond or small fish in big pond?
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2008, 10:20:53 PM »
I would also like to know the answer to shelfgirl's question. What if your dreams don't lie in working 80 billable hours per week at a Biglaw law firm and instead are more in-line with working at a small(er) firm, and eventually hanging your own shingle / opening up your own boutique law firm? The lack of entrepreneurial interest on these boards is kind of shocking to me!

I would guess that if you wanted to start your own firm, minimizing debt would be the primary focus.  Without a debt load of such a substantial amount, you would have more financial freedom with which to play.  The 80 billable/week life is somewhat a product of superbly high amounts of debt.


dashrashi

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Re: Better to be big fish in small pond or small fish in big pond?
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2008, 11:45:25 PM »
Being at the top of your class, meaning top 10% at Pace and NYLS is better than middle-of-the-road at Brooklyn/Cardozo.

However, being a middle-of-the-road NYU/Columbia student is arguably better than top 10% at NYLS/Pace.


Arguably??  If you were #1 in your class, Ed-in-Chief of Law Review, and the most popular kid in class at Pace/NYLS you would not be in an even remotely comparable position as someone at NYU/CLS.  To say otherwise is to give a false sense of hope to a very clear situation.

Agreed. Hell, I'd rather be dead last a CLS than #1 w/LR at Penn, for example.

If this isn't hyperbole, then you are A) highly idiosyncratic; B) irrational; or C) both.
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dashrashi

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Re: Better to be big fish in small pond or small fish in big pond?
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2008, 11:46:50 PM »
I would also like to know the answer to shelfgirl's question. What if your dreams don't lie in working 80 billable hours per week at a Biglaw law firm and instead are more in-line with working at a small(er) firm, and eventually hanging your own shingle / opening up your own boutique law firm? The lack of entrepreneurial interest on these boards is kind of shocking to me!

I would guess that if you wanted to start your own firm, minimizing debt would be the primary focus.  Without a debt load of such a substantial amount, you would have more financial freedom with which to play.  The 80 billable/week life is somewhat a product of superbly high amounts of debt.



Agreed. Of note, however: how easy is it to lose that Pace scholarship? What kind of GPA do you have to maintain?
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MiamiHurricane

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Re: Better to be big fish in small pond or small fish in big pond?
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2008, 07:33:36 AM »
Not knowing how big of a fish you are, it is very hard to evaluate the size of the pond.  You have to balance the factors that are important to you, including rank, scholarship, geography, etc.  However, before you have taken a law school exam and received your grades, you have absolutely no clue what your class rank will be.

dashrashi

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epicac

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Re: Better to be big fish in small pond or small fish in big pond?
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2008, 01:04:53 PM »
I would also like to know the answer to shelfgirl's question. What if your dreams don't lie in working 80 billable hours per week at a Biglaw law firm and instead are more in-line with working at a small(er) firm, and eventually hanging your own shingle / opening up your own boutique law firm? The lack of entrepreneurial interest on these boards is kind of shocking to me!

I agree.  My brother went 3rd/4th tier, and didn't do very well.  But he took a garbage job out of school and then used the knowledge and little bit of $$ he made to start his own firm.  He works long, hard hours, but he's doing great.  I think anyone that is dedicated enough and works long hard hours (60-80 hour weeks) will do just as well, even at a lesser school. 

What I can't understand is how all these LSD users still in ugrad have lots of knowledge about the job market.  Everything is 2nd or 3rd hand.  I can only go on what I know, and that's that of the handful of people I know who have gone to LS, the ones that work the hardest in and out of school get rewarded the most.  And that's how it should be.

Don't sweat it, from what I can tell, these are the people that you will be grappling with for the top of the class! ;)
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Harsh Reality

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Re: Better to be big fish in small pond or small fish in big pond?
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2008, 01:09:34 PM »
I was under the impression that you were interest in BigLaw by titling your topic "Small Fish in Big Pond," Big Pond meaning Big Law.

If you set on being a real estate lawyer in Westchester, then you are perfectly fine at Pace, your GPA won't matter as much as your connections. 

Good luck!