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Author Topic: Northwestern  (Read 5655 times)

GentleTim

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Re: Northwestern
« Reply #30 on: December 22, 2004, 03:46:40 AM »
So if I have 60% on chiashu for Northwestern, but NO WORK EXPERIENCE at all, and NO ECs (yes, I'm a lazy bastard), I shouldn't even apply to NU?

I'd apply, but consider it a reach, and have some really good reasons you've applied without WE.

GentleTim

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Re: Northwestern
« Reply #31 on: December 22, 2004, 03:48:31 AM »
hey i was just wondering if nu would consider working a year as a noncommissioned officer in iraq during my senior year as enough valid work experience. i was going to graduate this december but i got caught up with the war for 16 months so i wont graduate tell next december and i would really like to jump straight into law school. i also would like to attend a place like nu where alot of the students r a little older and more mature even though i will still be fairly young. on a side note how much do u think serving in iraq will give me a boost at the t14 schools. i heard that some schools give vfw's um status. thanks in advance for your help

I think that would probably make you more than qualified.  From what I understand, military service is a big plus everywhere.

SuicideNixon

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Re: Northwestern
« Reply #32 on: December 22, 2004, 11:38:50 AM »
I know that I'm much better prepared, motivated and sure of what I want after working for a 5 years.  And I've learned so much about how the world outside of Universities work. 
...
I think that people who come to Law School straight from undergrad are going to have to spend the first 3-4 years learning the same things that everyone learns upon first entering the workforce, whereas graduates with some prior work experience are going to be able to contribute more quickly in a professional setting.
People with WE seem to be particularly good at giving bland generalities about what skills one learns from WE. Seriously, no one is able to give a specific skill or say anything less general than "social skills" or "people skills" or "the way the world works". Gee whiz, I could say the same thing about a two month internship or even a lot of campus jobs, for that matter.

Additionally, with a few years of experience in business, someone with social skills will develop friends which can later be used as a network to bring in business for the firm, and that's what advancement at BIGLAW is all about; can you bring in business?

My understanding is that promotion is all about the number of hours you are able to bill. As an associate, you aren't a salesperson for the firm-you're the factory worker.

I think that Northwestern has made a conscious decision not to be an academically focused school.  WE is a prerequisite of attendence, and as such it's probably not going to attract as many students looking for careers in teaching or as Judges, clerks, etc. 

This is exactly what I'm talking about...any school that would like to be considered a top school has to be academically focused. That's not my opinion. That's the opinion of the people whose opinions make a school a top school. These people are judges and law professors. The law is an academic profession. My take on it is that NU had some serious faculty losses in the past 5 or 10 years and this is one way to try and maintain a top-notch applicant pool. Michigan had similar losses 15-20 years ago and they fell from a consensus top 4-5 to where they are today. Declining faculty talent led to a weaker matriculating class, and that's the most important element of most ranking systems.

NU is taking a novel approach to try and short-circuit that, but the danger is that they will be seen as you are seeing them: as not having an academic approach to law.
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Thor

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Re: Northwestern
« Reply #33 on: December 22, 2004, 01:07:22 PM »
I know that I'm much better prepared, motivated and sure of what I want after working for a 5 years.  And I've learned so much about how the world outside of Universities work. 
...
I think that people who come to Law School straight from undergrad are going to have to spend the first 3-4 years learning the same things that everyone learns upon first entering the workforce, whereas graduates with some prior work experience are going to be able to contribute more quickly in a professional setting.
People with WE seem to be particularly good at giving bland generalities about what skills one learns from WE. Seriously, no one is able to give a specific skill or say anything less general than "social skills" or "people skills" or "the way the world works". Gee whiz, I could say the same thing about a two month internship or even a lot of campus jobs, for that matter.

Additionally, with a few years of experience in business, someone with social skills will develop friends which can later be used as a network to bring in business for the firm, and that's what advancement at BIGLAW is all about; can you bring in business?

My understanding is that promotion is all about the number of hours you are able to bill. As an associate, you aren't a salesperson for the firm-you're the factory worker.

I think that Northwestern has made a conscious decision not to be an academically focused school.  WE is a prerequisite of attendence, and as such it's probably not going to attract as many students looking for careers in teaching or as Judges, clerks, etc. 

This is exactly what I'm talking about...any school that would like to be considered a top school has to be academically focused. That's not my opinion. That's the opinion of the people whose opinions make a school a top school. These people are judges and law professors. The law is an academic profession. My take on it is that NU had some serious faculty losses in the past 5 or 10 years and this is one way to try and maintain a top-notch applicant pool. Michigan had similar losses 15-20 years ago and they fell from a consensus top 4-5 to where they are today. Declining faculty talent led to a weaker matriculating class, and that's the most important element of most ranking systems.

NU is taking a novel approach to try and short-circuit that, but the danger is that they will be seen as you are seeing them: as not having an academic approach to law.

I really don't see how you can reach this conclusion. As far as number of graduates going to big firms, becoming federal clerks, or becoming professors, it's not like NU is only the 40th best in those categories. It still keeps up with the other top schools not named HYSC. Unless you've sat in on a significant number of classes in a variety of subjects I don't think you're qualified to say that the school takes a non academic approach to teaching law. Just because they prefer applicants with more WE does not mean that they don't teach their classes in the same was as everyone else. I'd be suprised if their teaching methods differ much from the T14 norm. The difference that you perceive is most likely a result of your evaluation of the class composition. Their career goals will more likely dictate a preference to the BigLaw job over the professorial track, thus you commit a classic composition fallacy by indicating that this difference reflects on the school's lack of Academic clout (sorry just finished my logic class). Now I could be wrong, but nothing I have read anywhere but in this thread has given me that indication.

Also, didn't they actually rise in the most recent rankings? They are tied for #10 right now and I'm pretty sure they were hanging out at 12 or so in the past. I do know that I have browsed at least 6 different ranking systems, including ones heavily relying on the opinion of professors from other schools and in all of them NU was a top 15 school. This fact is one of the reasons I began to consider it more carefully. A school that widely recognized as being a top school is worthy of anyone's consideration. If you want to be a Supreme Court clerk and you manage to get intio HYS, then fine, but if you want to get a top job anywhere in the country, you have said nothing to indicate that NU is a poor choice.     
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Elaine

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Re: Northwestern
« Reply #34 on: December 22, 2004, 03:21:49 PM »
People with WE seem to be particularly good at giving bland generalities about what skills one learns from WE. Seriously, no one is able to give a specific skill or say anything less general than "social skills" or "people skills" or "the way the world works". Gee whiz, I could say the same thing about a two month internship or even a lot of campus jobs, for that matter.
There are many skills that you learn with WE and it is a progression. I'm not going to list them out because there are many and the number and degree to which one develops these skills depends on the individual. I think that it may be something that you cannot fully appreciate until you've been there because I felt the same way at one point. I used to get very annoyed by people who would tell me that I was too young or didn't have enough experience. Now I get a little annoyed by people who think that experience is overrated because I've been able to see for myself the value of it.

As I've said before, you may be right about whether WE matters to BIGLAW or not. BIGLAW typically wants people that are young and energetic that they can more easily mold (because they haven't picked up certain habits) and work to death.  This is also true of the top consulting firms. Someone else posted a link to an article in another thread that discusses this and having worked in consulting with older people (primarily 45+ and I'm not saying that they are old - just older) I can see where they are coming from. As much as I'd like to think that my WE would be an advantage to them the fact is that most of them (BIGLAW) don't see it that way. However, the percentage of graduates that get recruited to BIGLAW is small and I doubt that is the way I would go because I've already (well still am) been a slave to billable hours.

I think that Northwestern has made a conscious decision not to be an academically focused school.  WE is a prerequisite of attendence, and as such it's probably not going to attract as many students looking for careers in teaching or as Judges, clerks, etc. 

This is exactly what I'm talking about...any school that would like to be considered a top school has to be academically focused. That's not my opinion. That's the opinion of the people whose opinions make a school a top school. These people are judges and law professors. The law is an academic profession. My take on it is that NU had some serious faculty losses in the past 5 or 10 years and this is one way to try and maintain a top-notch applicant pool. Michigan had similar losses 15-20 years ago and they fell from a consensus top 4-5 to where they are today. Declining faculty talent led to a weaker matriculating class, and that's the most important element of most ranking systems.

NU is taking a novel approach to try and short-circuit that, but the danger is that they will be seen as you are seeing them: as not having an academic approach to law.

As Thor points out Northwestern has moved up in at least USNWR's ranking in the last year. I get the impression that you are stretching a bit here because they look more favorably on something that you don't have. If you don't think they are making sound judgements in their direction then they are not a good match for you anyway. They obviously have some clue as to what they are doing because as far as rankings go they are moving up.

SuicideNixon

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Re: Northwestern
« Reply #35 on: December 25, 2004, 05:31:24 PM »
Wow. Ok, I never claimed that NU wasn't taking an academic approach. GentleTim said that and I was saying in response:

The fact that people think that is a problem for Northwestern. If you are getting that vibe from them then it's possible other people (law profs, judges etc) are also getting that vibe and they certainly wouldn't think it's a positive thing, even if you do.

I don't think anyone disagrees with that.

thus you commit a classic composition fallacy by indicating that this difference reflects on the school's lack of Academic clout (sorry just finished my logic class).
You commit (or should I say perform?) the classic fallacy (strategy?) of attributing to me positions that I do not hold. There are at least 4 places in your post where you either refute something that I never have claimed or you explicitly attribute to me a claim that I never made.

you have said nothing to indicate that NU is a poor choice.

Finally, you do me some justice. I think NU is a great choice. If you re-read my post that you quoted, you will note that my position is that by having a somewhat unusual admissions practice, NU is running a risk of being percieved as less academic than other T14 schools. Hardly absurd, considering some people in this very thread have said that they prefer NU because it takes a less academic approach.
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S.J.

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Re: Northwestern
« Reply #36 on: December 25, 2004, 11:06:40 PM »
This hair splitting, "which T14 is better" mentality is meaningless. If you get into a T14 and do well, than anything you want is a good possiblity, whether it be BigLaw, federal clerkships, or teaching positions.

I'd have to disagree with you on this.  If you do well enough at any top-tier school, anything may be possible.  But it's far easier to get these jobs from certain schools, and that's why you attend them.  Northwestern is an excellent school, but it generally places a shade below most schools traditionally ranked in the top 10. 
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S.J.

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Re: Northwestern
« Reply #37 on: December 25, 2004, 11:21:16 PM »

This is exactly what I'm talking about...any school that would like to be considered a top school has to be academically focused. That's not my opinion. That's the opinion of the people whose opinions make a school a top school. These people are judges and law professors. The law is an academic profession. My take on it is that NU had some serious faculty losses in the past 5 or 10 years and this is one way to try and maintain a top-notch applicant pool. Michigan had similar losses 15-20 years ago and they fell from a consensus top 4-5 to where they are today. Declining faculty talent led to a weaker matriculating class, and that's the most important element of most ranking systems.

I agree with most of what you say, but it might be relevant to point something out.  Judges and Law Professors (along with Attorneys), do pretty much determine what makes a school a top program (in my opinion), since they do most of the hiring.  In this vein, it's interesting to look at the ratings of schools by lawyers/judges and academics, which is a key component of USNews.  In these rankings, Michigan is consistenly ranked in the top 5 or 6 in both categories (It's currently tied for 5th in the lawyer/judge ranking with Columbia, and tied for 6th in the academic ranking with NYU.)  If you look at national elite-firm placement (Leiter's ranking), Michigan is ranked 5th.  If you look at Supreme Court Clerkships, they're ranked 6th.  If you look at Academic placement (as law professors at top schools), they're tied for 4th.  If nothing else, this is a strong comment on the durability of law school reputation, and the difficulty of changing it.
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SuicideNixon

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Re: Northwestern
« Reply #38 on: December 26, 2004, 01:26:35 PM »
Michigan's rep has suffered in leiter's overall rankings, though, and the quality of its applicant pool has definitely declined. The national firm hirings thing isn't a good measure because there aren't any national firms in ann arbor so no michigan grads stay there (or even in michigan in general). Since the strength of the applicant pool is 50% or so of the USNWR rankings, it's important to keep that up. Michigan's judge and lawyer survey numbers will eventually fall to reflect the strength of the applicant pool. Also, USNWR lawyer judge survey isn't geographically balanced and has a low response rate. The vast majority of the responses are from the NYC, DC and Chicago legal markets and Michigan probably gets a boost over schools like berkeley as a result.

Clearly, however, the rankings are extremely durable.
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melissamw

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Re: Northwestern
« Reply #39 on: December 26, 2004, 10:54:02 PM »
Does anyone know about NU's grading scales?  How are students compared to each other?