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Author Topic: HELP!!!! Good schools vs Free school  (Read 6327 times)

kenpostudent

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Re: HELP!!!! Good schools vs Free school
« Reply #40 on: July 08, 2008, 11:07:11 PM »
I only know what I'm told. I associate with alot of attorneys, and I ask alot of questions. I don't believe that I ever said that I know what law school is like from any firsthand knowledge; I have stated what I believe it will be like. The fact that I can say much of law school is reading and briefing cases and discussing them in class is akin to saying accounting is working with financial data: it's common knowledge to anyone who has ever read anything about law school, spoken to an attorney, or been friends with a law student. Oh, my girlfriend is an attorney, so, I can say that I have sound secondhand data, though not firsthand data. I've inverviewed law professors at UNLV. I've sat in on law classes at UNLV because I know the professors. None of this translates into firsthand knowledge of law school. However, if I read 1,000 books about Mars, interview astronauts who have landed on Mars, and hang out with expatriate martians, I would say I know a little about Mars. None of that is a substitute for actually going to Mars, though.

My two semesters of business law were taught by a law professor in a format that he says is similar to law school. Granted, it's simply not the same. However, we read and briefed cases, used the socratic method in class, and had a reading load similar to what is in law school (750-1,000 pages a week, except our cases were abridged). We crammed the first year of law school into two sememsters in a very summarized format. I am told that the curriculum was nearly identical except that more cases are discussed and each topic is developed more thoroughly. So, I believe I am familiar with the material. I have been told that the two classes are to law school what a Becker CPA course is to an accounting degree. If a non-accountant took the course, he would learn vocabulary and concepts that would be too far above his head to be of a practical use without in depth study. The purpose of the business law courses was simply to teach legal vocabulary to accountants so we know how to converse intelligently with attorneys and know how to recognize legal issues for referral to an attorney. Nothing I encountered was even remotely difficult. In fact, after advanced accounting courses, I thought they were a breeze.

So, do I know what law school is like? Yes and no. I know the material that I will encounter. I'm familiar with how the material is likely to be taught. That's about it. The rest I know from talking to attorneys, law students, and professors. I hope their descriptions are accurate. I suppose I know no more about law school than I did about Marine Corp boot camp from watching documentaries on the military channel before enlisting in the Marines. Much of what I saw on videos and read in books was quite accurate, though. I'm sure it's no different with law school.

iscoredawaitlist

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Re: HELP!!!! Good schools vs Free school
« Reply #41 on: July 09, 2008, 02:43:32 AM »
I think there's a fairly big difference between what law students spend a lot of time doing and what law school is "all about." Again, I didn't brief a single case my second semester and I was in the top part of the class that semester. I briefed the first semester and did substantially worse. I don't mean to say briefing caused my poorer grades, but I do mean to say that briefing isn't what "law school is all about."

Anyway, you seem very sure of yourself which is fine. Just make sure you're not inflexible come your first class. And for social reasons, I wouldn't play up the fact you know everything about law school.

Oh, and for what it's worth, both my parents are lawyers; I dated a law student all last year; and I was a regular on this board. I still didn't fully understand what law school was "all about." I'm not even sure that I do now.

kenpostudent

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Re: HELP!!!! Good schools vs Free school
« Reply #42 on: July 09, 2008, 03:28:37 AM »
I don't know what it's all about, in the sense that I'm some Zen Master that has figured it out. A bird's eye view of what you do in law school is read cases (I suppose you don't have to brief them). Then you go to class, discuss them, take notes, and go home and study your notes and read more cases. That is just a synopsis, not meant as a definitive declaration of all there is to law school. If I have been unclear, my point is as such: I have studied the basic concepts of law. In doing so, I have covered most, if not all, of the major concept covered in the first year. I have NOT covered them in the same depth as a law student. If you spend a semester on torts, I covered the same very basic concepts in two weeks. I basically did an outline of what you study in the first year of law school. That is what sparked my interest in law. I did not find it hard. In fact, I found it far easier than accounting. It could be that legal reasoning is easier for me. Although, I've heard the same case made by many accountants turned lawyers (tax attorneys and securities attorneys). The two fields have very different objectives, though. Attorneys don't have to balance a set of books and tie out financials.

Not that I would knock the legal profession. I want to go to law school. I simply don't get why attorneys think so much of themselves and their ability to get through law school, even a prestigious school. Medical school deserves the bragging rights. Engineers and architects deserve to be snobby too. Can you build a f***ing building? Then, you deserve to be a snob. Can you save a life? Then you rate. Attorneys don't rate because there is little that they do that other professionals don't regularly. What do attorneys do that is so special? Interview clients? I do that regularly. Write briefs? I write annual and quarterly reports. Litigate? Ok, I can't go to court. Yet many attorneys never go to court. I halfway respect the litigators because they have to at least have the balls to face off with another attorney and put their knowledge and reputation to the test. If an attorney does not go to court, his job is not much different from a consultant. MBAs do that. So what is special about that? I consult client regularly on financial matters and refer clients to attorneys for legal matters. Often, I have to recognize the legal implications of a transaction because a client never will. The only difference in that sense is an attorney can render a legal opinion. Hence, it's consulting until there is a challenge in court. Attorneys can prepare legal documents, but paralegals do the same.  My biggest gripe is with the snobbishness of the profession. Attorneys do very little that is special. I can do almost everything an attorney does, with the exception of going to court and rendering a legal opinion.

For Resident CLS Troll: How do I know this... because I work with plenty of attorneys and attend enough meetings and conference calls with clients and their attorneys. Very few of them can do half of what I do in a day. Hence, it's not a special, glorified profession. Therefore, drop the snobbery and don't think so highly of yourselves. My tone is very strong because I deal with too many attorneys who act like they are gods. I would expect that from a surgeon, but it's not warranted from an attorney. An attorney that graduates from Harvard, Yale, Columbia, or Stanford is still and attorney and about half as bright as the med student or engineer that struggled through Podunk U. He/she won't even manage to do a fraction of  a percent of the good has the engineer or doctor in his/her whole life. I simply don't get the high-mindedness of the profession.




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Re: HELP!!!! Good schools vs Free school
« Reply #43 on: July 09, 2008, 05:53:34 AM »
I only know what I'm told. I associate with alot of attorneys, and I ask alot of questions. I don't believe that I ever said that I know what law school is like from any firsthand knowledge; I have stated what I believe it will be like. The fact that I can say much of law school is reading and briefing cases and discussing them in class is akin to saying accounting is working with financial data: it's common knowledge to anyone who has ever read anything about law school, spoken to an attorney, or been friends with a law student. Oh, my girlfriend is an attorney, so, I can say that I have sound secondhand data, though not firsthand data. I've inverviewed law professors at UNLV. I've sat in on law classes at UNLV because I know the professors. None of this translates into firsthand knowledge of law school. However, if I read 1,000 books about Mars, interview astronauts who have landed on Mars, and hang out with expatriate martians, I would say I know a little about Mars. None of that is a substitute for actually going to Mars, though.

My two semesters of business law were taught by a law professor in a format that he says is similar to law school. Granted, it's simply not the same. However, we read and briefed cases, used the socratic method in class, and had a reading load similar to what is in law school (750-1,000 pages a week, except our cases were abridged). We crammed the first year of law school into two sememsters in a very summarized format. I am told that the curriculum was nearly identical except that more cases are discussed and each topic is developed more thoroughly. So, I believe I am familiar with the material. I have been told that the two classes are to law school what a Becker CPA course is to an accounting degree. If a non-accountant took the course, he would learn vocabulary and concepts that would be too far above his head to be of a practical use without in depth study. The purpose of the business law courses was simply to teach legal vocabulary to accountants so we know how to converse intelligently with attorneys and know how to recognize legal issues for referral to an attorney. Nothing I encountered was even remotely difficult. In fact, after advanced accounting courses, I thought they were a breeze.

So, do I know what law school is like? Yes and no. I know the material that I will encounter. I'm familiar with how the material is likely to be taught. That's about it. The rest I know from talking to attorneys, law students, and professors. I hope their descriptions are accurate. I suppose I know no more about law school than I did about Marine Corp boot camp from watching documentaries on the military channel before enlisting in the Marines. Much of what I saw on videos and read in books was quite accurate, though. I'm sure it's no different with law school.

It sounds like you have a pretty good idea of what UNLV might be like.  But perhaps a more apt analogy might be that you've talked to and read books about Las Vegas and are claiming to have a good idea about the state of Nevada in general.

And it's perfectly fine if you think that attorneys need to get over themselves and if you have no respect for the profession whatsoever.  Some of it is, admittedly, rather silly (calling non-lawyers laymen for example).  I simply think that you assume that you know more than you do when you make assertions like "an attorney that graduates from... is half as bright as etc."  And frankly, I'll wager that a number of those attorneys with which you interact think that you can't do half of what they do in a day. 

kenpostudent

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Re: HELP!!!! Good schools vs Free school
« Reply #44 on: July 09, 2008, 10:36:04 AM »
Now that I have thoroughly trashed the profession, let me state why I want to practice law. I believe that the two greatest skills that attorneys at large possess is the ability to summarize vast sums of information and communicate this knowledge, whether in verbally or in writing, to people completely ignorant of the field of law and the circumstances in question in an understandable way; secondly, they tend be the best negotiators. Those two skills, when combined with any other profession, exponentially increase one's odds of success in any endeavor. If I develop those two skills and decided not to practice law, even as accountant my career prospects would be far stronger than they otherwise would. I think law school is the fastest way to develop these skills.

I want to practice law, primarily criminal law, because I think it is a meaningful pursuit that fosters the public good. I would like to specialize in white collar crimes because most prosecutors have trouble with those types of cases. White collar crimes are difficult to prosecute often because smart people commit the crimes and the burden of proof is difficult to meet. Many juries are confused by the cases because prosecutors often lack the experience in accounting and finance to break the concepts down to lay people while still preserving the integrity of their cases. If I didn't do white collar crime prosecution, I would do expert witness work in forensic accounting and fraud examination.

As an auditor, I sit on the sidelines and quantify the effects of fraud after the fact. Sometimes I am lucky enough to catch it. Even in those instances, I hand my findings off to management, the audit committee, a corporate counsel, a fraud examiner or law enforcement to do what they will with them. I would prefer a more active role in the resolution of these types of cases.

kenpostudent

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Re: HELP!!!! Good schools vs Free school
« Reply #45 on: July 11, 2008, 02:53:07 PM »
Waitlisted:

You're probably right in that attending a lower tier school and racking up significant debt is not smart nor the ideal circumstance. However, my point is simply that there is life after such mistakes... and a life that is not SO horrible. My personal rule is as follows: NEVER attend a T3/T4 school (in any discipline, but especially Law) unless you plan to practice in the IMMEDIATE vicinity of the school and/or you have a scholarship that is not dependent upon grades or class rank. This will allow one to maintain a low debt load and build contacts in the local area.

That being said, I am not applying to any T3/T4 schools. I am sticking with T1/T2 state schools.

Either way, you are going to claw your way out of debt whatever school you choose, provided that you don't get a scholarship. It's damn near impossible to come out of law school without $100k or more of debt and attend a T1 school. If you end up at say Alabama or Utah as an in-state resident, it's possible. Most T14 schools will at least cost you $120k in just tuition and fees without significant scholarships. I don't view the debt as too big of a problem. Yet I have a different perspective. I will NEVER be out of a job. This may not be the case for all law graduates (though, I think there is plenty of work to go around in many practice areas). I the very minimum, a law degree puts me on the fast track for a partnership at a Big 4 accounting firm. I can do expert witness work as a forensic accountant. I can teach undergrad. I can teach graduate accounting courses if I get a dual  JD/Master's of Acc. degree. I can practice both accounting, securities, and tax law in my own firm. I can do fraud examination. My options are limitless WHEREVER I go simply because no accounting firm would care where I went to law school. So, if I can't break into white collar crime prosecution at the federal or state AG level or the SEC, I will land on my feet somewhere.

So, for argument's sake, let't say that I come out of law school with $120k in debt. The Clark County District Attorney's office pays starting prosecutors $60k. They move up to $66k in two years. Nevada has no state taxes, so your figures are very high. I would pay roughly $9,600 in taxes (including payroll taxes). Since my expenses won't change much out of law school, with the exception of student loan payments (which I will consolidate and amortize over the longer possible term), I'll have more than enough disposable income to meet my obligations and live a decent life until my salary increases to six figures. At about the five year mark, prosecutors climb to about $105k in Clark County. If I were able to make a lateral move to either the SEC or the DOJ (less likely) at that point, I would start between $85 and $120k, depending on the market. Hence, I would be fine. Do I care if I ever pay off my debt? Nope. As long as I can make the minimum payments, I hope I die with student loan debt and stick the lenders with the liabilities and the task of collecting from my estate.

Now, the discussion changes drastically when the principal is a liberal arts major with no real work experience out of law school that graduates from a T3/T4 school and is the middle or bottom of the class. I already have two professional designations and a few years in a sister profession. This does not apply to me.

StevePirates

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Re: HELP!!!! Good schools vs Free school
« Reply #46 on: July 11, 2008, 03:10:54 PM »
I really wish that life had an "epilogue" feature that would allow us to find out what happens to kenpo in eight years now.

kenpostudent

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Re: HELP!!!! Good schools vs Free school
« Reply #47 on: July 11, 2008, 09:27:41 PM »
I agree, that for the majority of law students, high tuition costs are a problem. The top students that get into the best schools will more than likely make the money to service their debts. Everyone else has got to keep a handle on their debt load. I do think that it is possible to claw your way up out of the $50-$60k salary bracket into a comfortable six figure range... after about 5-10 years of hard work. I also believe that most prospective law students are entering the profession with very unrealistic notions of their success after law school. In proportion to the total law number of law graduates per year, I would be willing to guess that only a small percentage make more than say $90-$100k right out of school. For those that do, they are typically not as well off as many would think because of the dangers of the AMT and high cost of living rates in big markets.

I doubt the job market will be better for MBAs and other professionals, though. With the economy taking a turn for the worse (and what seems like more than a temporary dip), law may turn out to be a more stable profession than others. It's hard to say.

Unfortunately, too many law students probably enter the field for all the wrong reasons... money and prestige. The fact of the matter is that law, like accounting is a stressful profession. I have very tight deadlines, and I work a TON of hours. Those are the realities in any client-driven profession. If you truly don't love your job and find purpose in it, the money, no matter how much, will never be enough. Sadly, many law grads will find that what they really wanted was a big salary and not the hard work that goes with it. What people should be asking themselves before law school is, will I enjoy the practice of law at what I am making now (or at a very meager salary for students fresh out of undergrad) with only the POTENTIAL for future income growth over several years? If the answer is yes, go to law school. If it is not a resounding yes, then find another career. A law degree is not very useful outside the practice of law. Sure it can be adapted to other professions; but there are far less expensive degrees that are adaptive to a variety of industries. Just my 2 cents.

weez

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Re: HELP!!!! Good schools vs Free school
« Reply #48 on: July 11, 2008, 10:22:17 PM »
Do people think it's actually true that scholarshiped students are grouped together? I'm at 85% and trying to get it bumped up...and have to maintain a 3.0 (apparently the 'average' is a 2.67). It's bs if they group all the 'smart' kids together so that some of them lose their scholarships by default.

dashrashi

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Re: HELP!!!! Good schools vs Free school
« Reply #49 on: July 13, 2008, 05:51:05 PM »
Do people think it's actually true that scholarshiped students are grouped together? I'm at 85% and trying to get it bumped up...and have to maintain a 3.0 (apparently the 'average' is a 2.67). It's bs if they group all the 'smart' kids together so that some of them lose their scholarships by default.

I've heard that this is the standard MO at some schools. Can't personally vouch, though. I would call and ask. Aggressively. And I would ask to be put in touch with scholarship recipients from the year before. Oh yes I would.

And wowzers, Kenpo est un feminine hygiene product-bag. To. The. Max.
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Saw dashrashi's LSN site. Since she seems to use profanity, one could say that HYP does not necessarily mean class or refinement.