I am interested in becoming a public defender and was wondering what importance does the law school's ranking have in getting a job as a public defender. I am comparing a school that is #39 and #85. Will going to the #85 school (Santa Clara) hamper my chances in getting a job?
There isn't going to be a substantial difference in job prospects from a school like Hastings vs. Santa Clara. Neither is going to place that many grads from each class in big firms or any kind of job that is very competitive to get. The only difference in placement will be among the very top students, like those in the top 10-15% of the class. What I'm saying is especially true given the state of the economy and big firm hiring for the foreseeable future.PD jobs in California are very competitive to get. And they pay a lot more than $30K. California DAs and PDs are among the highest paid in the country. If you are pondering taking a scholarship at Santa Clara, vs. paying CA resident tuition consider this: if the Santa Clara scholarship is tied to 1L performance, there is a very good chance you won't keep it after 1L. So when comparing debt load between the schools you should compare it as if you'll lose the scholarship after 1L.Maybe is right in that you need ties to the area + top national school or a degree from a school in the same state in order to get a PD job. Exceptions exist, but they are rare.
Gonzo, are you aware that moot court teams compete against each other by going through mock appellate cases? There is no trial in an appellate case. Everything is argued from the record that the trial court made, there are NO witnesses, etc. Moot court isn't going to help you become a trial lawyer.Also, trial lawyers learn to be trial lawyers on the job, not in law school. There are "mock trial" teams but what they do is usually pretty overdramatic and removed from reality. Like I said, you learn on the job, not in law school.
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