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Author Topic: Hastings - A Very Competitive School  (Read 6655 times)

Grubesac

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Hastings - A Very Competitive School
« on: April 12, 2005, 04:54:02 PM »
How much have you all heard or know first hand about hastings being a competitive school? I've heard things first hand from students that its cutthroat and then I've heard that it doesn't deserve that reputation at all. Moreover, it might be just me, but I have a feeling this school lacks much of a social life, due to its stand alone non-affiliation with an undergrad and due to the competitive nature of the school.

Berkeley would have been so much easier with its kumbaya grading approach, and the fact that employers want the dumbest laziest pricks at Berkeley over the smartest grads from any "lesser" law schools. Do I sound bitter? Well I am. 

ruskiegirl

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Re: Hastings - A Very Competitive School
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2005, 08:24:21 PM »
How much have you all heard or know first hand about hastings being a competitive school? I've heard things first hand from students that its cutthroat and then I've heard that it doesn't deserve that reputation at all. Moreover, it might be just me, but I have a feeling this school lacks much of a social life, due to its stand alone non-affiliation with an undergrad and due to the competitive nature of the school.

Berkeley would have been so much easier with its kumbaya grading approach, and the fact that employers want the dumbest laziest pricks at Berkeley over the smartest grads from any "lesser" law schools. Do I sound bitter? Well I am. 


Hastings is a great school with a solid reputation in the Bay Area.  It has a more competitive environment than both Stanford and Berkeley because it has to.  Hastings grads, as you adequately pointed out, usually line up behind Stanford and Boalt grads for jobs.  Hastings students are aware of this fact and realize that they have to graduate near the top of their class to be competitive in the Bay Area job market. 

I don't think it's fair to say that the people at the bottom of their class at Stanford and Boalt are dumb -- they just realize they can relax a bit more with fewer negative consequences.  And even if they take the path of relaxation through law school, they are still getting top notch training with oustanding faculty, research centers and clinics.

All that said, if you do well at Hastings, you can still count on good regional placement.  Several of my buddies who go there were able to secure fairly prestigious firm offers for the first summer -- a rarity at any school. 

There's no need to be bitter.  If you excel at Hastings, you can transfer up.  Many people do.

fraea

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Re: Hastings - A Very Competitive School
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2005, 04:33:19 AM »
i'm a 2L at hastings and i was worried about its reputation as a cutthroat school too, but it really hasnt been my experience at all. people want to do well and study hard, but imagine that's how it is in most law schools. i've heard that the quality of students at hastings have increased over the last few years (probably due to the bad job market) so perhaps the students are less likely to have a chip on their shoulder. i went to undergrad at cal (01 grad) and over a 1/3 of my class came from berkeley, so i just felt really at home intellectually and socially.

i like hastings. san francisco is great (even if you do live in the tower). the only thing that i dont like is that it is only a law school with no undergrad or other graduate programs. it is isolating, and it affects the quality of students' non-academic experience: e.g. small gym, low-tech administration, small/understaffed medical services etc.

good luck,
ym

JakeLaw

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Re: Hastings - A Very Competitive School
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2005, 02:37:25 PM »
Hey There-
I just graduated from Hastings ('05) and for what its worth here's my two cents:

1)  Hastings does have a reputation for being very competitive and by and large, that was not my experience.  While I had many friends who took law school very seriously and did very well, I found Hastings to be a pretty friendly place and I never experienced any of the "hiding books necessary to complete wrting assignments" stories I had heard legend of.  In fact, some of my closest friends today are those that I had in my first year legal research and writing and Moot Court classes.

2) It is unfortunate Hastings isn't connected to an undergraduate institution as it adversely affects alumni loyalty and pride in the school (no sports team to root for, not much of a campus, etc.)  However, as another poster said, more sitting California judges come from Hastings than any other school and given its size (400+ per class), there are A LOT of Hastings lawyers out there and especially in California.  Connections go a long way and while not Stanford or Boalt, Hastings has a very strong regional reputation so the job prospects are good.

3)  Nearly of my friends who did decent at Hastings (top 50%) have jobs lined up at prestegious firms in the Bay Area and beyond including Skadden, Mofo, Heller Ehrman, etc.  I was in the top 40% after my 1st year and probably ended somewhere in the top 60% (class rankings aren't out yet) and I got a job through On Campus Interviews (OCI) at a mid-sized firm that I could not be more happy about.  It will provide me with a life style I never would have at a big firm and the pay is only 20% less starting- a sacrifice I'm more than happy to make.

4)  There are actually a lot of social events at Hastings.  Every other Thursday is "Beer on the Beach" - Hastings buys 10-15 kegs and students drink for free on the patio for hours.  During your first year there are also bi-weekly "Bar Reviews" at various bars around the city.

5)  Final word of advice:  Put in the time and do well your first year because really, that's the only year that matters if you get a job through OCI (beginning of your fall semester your second year).  So long as you accept a summer position that has a track record of giving job offers to most/all of their summer associates, and you don't f-ck up over the summer, you'll never have to worry about your grades again and your 3rd year you can just cruise.

Best of luck and don't forget to keep it all in perspective.  Law school is likely your last opportunity to NOT be burdened by the responsibilities and obligations of work and "real life."

Grubesac

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Re: Hastings - A Very Competitive School
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2005, 10:45:16 AM »
Hey, thanks for the insight. I'm happy to hear such positive responses. I have a questions about the firm you were placed at and your hours, since I have already decided that big law is not what i want to do, at all. The pay is good, but the quality of life is bad. The free time I spend with my girlfriend, and future wife as far as I am concerned, is above and beyond more valuable than hitting 2200 billable.

What are the time committments at the firm where you are/will be employed? I'm currently looking at government and pubic interest as my area of focus (quality of life is better and thats where my interests lie), but I am also contemplating small and medium firms if the quality of life is there. Whats your take on the weekly hours you will be putting in? What is the minimum billable?

SeattleMelody

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Re: Hastings - A Very Competitive School
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2006, 07:41:41 PM »
I graduated from Hastings in 2004.  Its reputation of being cut-throat competitive appears to be hugely exaggerated from what I can see.

It's a solid school, and I think that if you are going to practice law anywhere on the west coast, it's a good choice.  I'm from Seattle (and returned to Seattle after graduation) and have discovered that when looking for a job, the fact that I went to Hastings did help. 

Of course there is much more to your career than just the name of the school you went to.  What grades are you making, and what experience are you getting (if any) in the field that you want to practice in:  Those are very important questions!