Law School Discussion



« on: July 01, 2008, 06:22:41 AM »


Re: What A Waste
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2008, 09:59:30 AM »
Wow, thanks for typing that all out. What a terrifying story!

I am a 0L, but I work near a local Tier4 that has many graduates in the area. Almost all my clients have come from that school and almost none of them are working BigLaw jobs. From the horror stories I have seen on here I'm starting to think that is the minority of students, but as you said in your article on 1 out of 7 graduates are unemployed. That isn't HORRIBLE, but for 40K a year the school should be offering much more.

What are you plans for the future?


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Re: What A Waste
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2008, 01:48:20 PM »
A well written warning.  You should head over to, lots of angry new york attorneys.

Re: What A Waste
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2008, 11:09:45 PM »
NYJD04 has a pretty sad story he's selling. When one's bitter about their career outlook, it makes even easier to blame the school rather than look at one's own involvement in that failure. But is he responsible for the position he's in? Let's look at some factors here...

1) Due diligence. Before taking on the huge responsibilities associated with law school, did our OP take a good look at what the career opportunities were really like? While the school's claimed numbers may seem inflated to some degree, are the numbers at any non T-14 that much different? How about we consider something a bit more realistic like this...
Surprise... the average salary for a new law school grad is just over $62k a year, and it seems like there's a pretty big hump at the $40k mark that the OP is complaining about. That's not St. John's, that's the industry.
Factor in that the OP was a middling law student that graduated from a middling law school in the most competitive legal market in the country... why is he surprised that he's struggling to find 'acceptable' legal work when he's competing against graduates from more prestigious local schools (Brooklyn, Cardozo, Fordham, NYU, Columbia) as well as the best of every law school in the country? Were this any legal market but NY, his average performance from an average law school would easily land him an average legal position. Here in NY, when competing against the best you have to be better than average...

2) Active involvement. We all know that OCI's at most non T-14 (hell, T-1) schools don't go very deep into the class... say 10-20%. Given that the Office of Career Services didn't hand the OP a job along with his degree, what did the OP do on his own to get a job? Join the local state bar and attend meetings? Get involved in a journal or mock trial? Clubs? Moot Court? Take advantage of any of the networking opportunities the school offers? As for the rejections the OP alleges regarding non-profit groups, I am surprised to hear that he couldn't find any charitable organization that would make use of his services. Then again, presuming that the OP feels the way that he alleges most St. John's grads feel (that he couldn't care less about these groups or their causes), then I could understand even non-profit organizations turning him away in favor of someone that actually cares. Furthermore, what approach, if any, did the OP use when trying to network? Going up to alumni with a hand outstretched asking for a job probably doesn't go too far. However, if that outstretched hand is offered in friendship and common interest, 'what can I do for you' as opposed to 'what can you do for me', then perhaps networking opportunites would have turned into something more concrete.

In regards to the OP's other complaints, what school would you chose to go to that doesn't have a curve? The OP complains about the harshness of the curve, yet only 8% of the class will get a grade of C- or lower... and with a 2.0 required to maintain good standing, one would have to accumulate a series of low grades in multiple subjects to be in any danger. Maybe that's a good thing... someone who consistantly pulls C-'s and lower might not be cut out for law school (either capability-wise, maturity-wise, or effort-wise). In regards to effort, OP sounds surprised to find out that the school has many hard-working, diligent students, all competing against each other on a mandatory curve. Didn't he know that BEFORE going to law school? Do any readers of this board think they're going to have an easy time in law school? I was of the impression that just like I put in a ton of work to get into law school, my classmates would have the same drive and determination... but it appears that the OP was hoping that slackers would allow him to just rise to the top without fighting for it. I'm pretty sure that you'll find "most first year students commit a tremendous amount of time and effort into preparing for classes and studying for finals." no matter which law school you go to. However, in regards to the allegations of 'cutthroat classmates', not only have I not seen that, with students sharing their outlines and reviewing with each other, but further, even the student bar association has outlines posted from previous years.

As a caveat, perhap the evening division is more mature, less whiney and more cooperative than the OP would cast his classmates to be.
There are some points that the OP raised that I will conceed...
1) Parking - the parking situation is horrible during the daytime. St. John's has 20,000 undergrads, 1,000 law students and 17 parking spots. ;-) While that's an exaggeration, the truth is that you struggle for parking if you get to school after 8:30... and once you're there, don't think that when you drive off for lunch you can come back and easily find a parking spot. It's hell until 5 pm... after 5, law students can park in the faculty lot adjacent to the law school building.
2) Commuting - eastern Queens has fairly limited public transportation. Buses do run outside the school to the nearest subway, but it's not necessarily convenient.
3) Professors - I've had 8 different professors this year... 5 1st semester, 3 second semester. 4 of the 5 I had first semester were excellent. They were all tenured faculty and those 4 were enthusiastic about teaching our section. The 5th, well... perhaps I just didn't get a good grasp of their teaching style or of what was expected. Second semester I had that same teacher, a visting professor from Hofstra and two tenured faculty. That semester I finally latched onto the teacher's style. The visting professor was... a nice person who knew the material. Of the two tenured faculty, one of the them taught very much by the book, almost reading their lecture from a supplement rather than heavily relying on the Socratic method. The other tenured faculty, however, was the sharpest, most thorough professor I had ever had. He had our names memorized within 2 weeks (all 60 of us), strongly relied on the Socratic method (certainly made you want to be prepared for class), and made sure that you understood the material. I wouldn't describe him as nice, but he was the one professor that semester that you never skipped the reading on, and ultimately the one class I learned the most in (even if it wasn't the largest credit class). So while the OP's criticisms of the St. John's faculty may be harsh, I will conceed that not all of them are 'excellent' (then again, show me a school where all the professors are consistantly excellent). As for a professor 'screaming and yelling at a student until they cry', I never saw anything like that. I did have an intimidating Torts professor in the fall... He had this manner that when he called on you, you forgot everything about the case you had just read and briefed and couldn't even make out your notes. Intimidating? Hell yes. Abusive? Hell no.

The OP made a few comments that may address some of his troubles...
"Except during finals, the library is often deserted on Friday and over the weekend. Most students cannot wait to get off-campus after their last class of the day and do not attend school events. I cannot tell you the number of times I have attended talks by prominent speakers where the room was embarrassingly empty. "

Yes, the library is mostly deserted over the weekend... and people wonder why they're not happy with their grades? And as for those events, those would seem to be prime networking opportunities that people bypass (and then cry about how OCS doesn't get them a job).

I don't have the energy to offer a detailed response to each of the OP's laments. I can only conclude that it's a shame that he didn't get to appreciate and take advantage of the opportunities that St. John's offers. It's sad to hear a St. John's grad badmouth his alma mater. I wish him the best of luck and if there's anything this lowly rising 2L can do to help out, I can be easily reached through PM on this board...
Offering another viewpoint,
St. John's University School of Law '11
Part-time PM Division
Admitted in NY

Re: What A Waste
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2008, 08:15:43 PM »
I want to offer a few points in defense of the OP.

Due diligence - the NALP article is well known now, but look at the date.  It covers the class of 2006 as of 15 February 2007.  This data was not available at the time the OP applied to law school.  When I applied to law school, I talked to prosecutors, biglaw partners, and small firm partners.  They were by and large successful people.  I didn't have access to people who went to law school and either did poorly or failed as lawyers.  Sites like jdunderground and blogs like temporary attorney did not exist at the time (2002-2003 or so) and I consequently did not know the worst that could happen.

Active involvement - IMO student groups are largely useless.  If you want to meet real practicing lawyers, hanging around a student group that is mostly students will not help you get anywhere.  On the other hand, I think specific sections of bar associations are much more helpful and RobWreck is on the right track here.  If you want to practice family law, there is no better place to meet actual family law attorneys than the local bar's family law section.  This is really common sense.

Curve - The curve at Temple was similar to that of St. John's.  Unfortunately, the difference between a B+ and C+ was usually only a handful of arbitrary points.  I found it was often the case that I would get every issue, but still get a B on the exam because everyone else also got every issue.  Curves are worthless because they punish a class of very smart people, or reward a dumbass who happens to have stupider classmates.  People should get grades based on what they accomplished or demonstrated, not what other people did.  If the class had a bunch of lazy slackers who learned nothing, they should all get F's. D level work should not get an A just because of a curve. 

As RobWreck correctly points out, job prospects from a Tier 2 school in the most competitive legal market in the US are going to be pretty poor.  A school as expensive as SJU or BLS just isn't worth the full price.

Re: What A Waste
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2008, 08:31:20 PM »
The unfortunate truth is that St. Johnís is no different from every other Third Tier Toilet (TTT). So long as it can, it will continue to transfer millions of dollars annually from dumb and gullible students into the pockets of law school faculty and administration while providing an education of little to no value. With most students borrowing hundreds of thousands of dollars but unable to earn enough in their lifetimes to justify the cost, you have borrowing for a product that costs more than its actual worth and the real prospect of widespread loan defaults when interest rates readjust upward. Just like a sub-prime mortgage company, this TTT law school will eventually go bust. Unfortunately for many of us, it didnít happen sooner.