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Author Topic: It is people like these that give law school a bad name  (Read 2149 times)

bigs5068

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It is people like these that give law school a bad name
« on: September 09, 2010, 11:02:05 PM »
So I was on the muni today and I had my law school book. This guy sloppily dressed hair all over the place, overweight, stained sweatshirt, looks at my book and says are you in law school. I say yes, he says I graduated from Wisconsin Law School a few years ago. He says how hard it is to find a job and I don't doubt that it is, but just looking at the guy I wouldn't have hired him if he was number #1 at Harvard. He goes onto say that it is impossible to get a job unless you go to a top 10 school. So I ask have you been looking pretty hard, he says yea. Then I ask oh what are you doing now. I am going to smoke out with some of my friends. Shocking that overweight, sloppy, guy who goes out of his way to smoke pot when he has no job can't find anything.  He justifies his laziness by the fact that he did not go to a top 10 school. Those are the type of people that drive me crazy, just puts no accountability on himself and that blows my mind. He will go and tell everybody that unless you go to a top 10 school there is nothing. However, I mean just dealing with the guy for 5 minutes I could tell the name of his school was the least of his problems in his job hunt.

Morten Lund

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Re: It is people like these that give law school a bad name
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2010, 04:53:50 AM »
I both agree and disagree.

Yes, many people forget about simple things like appearance, and perhaps acquire a sense of entitlement with regard to employment. 

But, frankly, not many of those people attend, let alone graduate from, decent law schools like Wisconsin.  That requires a certain degree of motivation that the "take no responsibility" crowd does not possess.  You declare him lazy, but his diploma says he is not. 

Unless you met this man on his way to or from a job interview, I would not judge him too harshly based on his appearance.  I certainly don't look "lawyerly" all the time.  And, as it turns out, a number of very successful lawyers are sloppy, overweight, and/or pot smokers.

A friend of mine (a partner at a large firm) has a brother who is a professional skateboarder.  They both look their respective parts, yet the family resemblance is uncanny.  I have no doubt that the skateboarder could look like a lawyer in an hour if that suited his purpose (it might take longer for the lawyer brother to acquire the various growths necessary to fully emulate the pro skateboarder).

Yes, consider your attitude and appearance when job-hunting.  No, don't dismiss the funny-looking.

bigs5068

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Re: It is people like these that give law school a bad name
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2010, 11:26:23 AM »
The funny looking part  I was willing to overlook, but when he said I am going to smoke out with my friends was where I lost the respect. Everybody looks like a slob at some point. However, if I was really looking for a job I would not be going around spending money on pot and wasting time. Nothing wrong with smoking, but it is not the ideal thing to do when you need to be productive. Granted it was a 5 minute conversation, maybe he is a great hard working person who knows, but it seemed like he was justifying all of his failures by the fact that unless you go to a top 10 school you won't get anything. I also think this goes to show the real problem with low tier 1 and tier  2's. I think a lot of people from those school's expect something, I went to the 47th best school so clearly I am entitled to a job, but as I have said repeatedly 47th or 64 or 92 it doesn't matter that much, which is why you should take money and go to a lower ranked school if you don't get into a non-elite school. Also he was from San Francisco and moved back to San Francisco, but went to Wisconsin probably based on it's low tier 1 or tier 2 ranking not sure where it is. However, Wisconsin has no contacts in San Francisco another reason to not listen to the rankings. Location matters a lot more than the 52nd ranking a school has. He might have been able to get a job in Wisconsin or the midwest, but I am sure he did not want to live there if he is from San Francisco and moved back here.





the white rabbit

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Re: It is people like these that give law school a bad name
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2010, 08:25:11 AM »
Is he jobless because he's a druggie or is he a druggie because he's jobless?  ;)

Substance abuse is, incidentally, a big problem among the lawyer population.
Mood: Tired but cheerful.  :)

bigs5068

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Re: It is people like these that give law school a bad name
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2010, 12:28:15 PM »
That is the question, which is it?? Honestly, from his speech and general demeanor it seemed like he had been smoking pot for awhile and might be playing a significant factor in his inability to find a job.

marcus-aurelius

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Re: It is people like these that give law school a bad name
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2010, 12:53:00 PM »
I can see a high rate of dependency in the legal profession.  At times, I am sure cases are assigned/taken that require an attorney to espouse a position that is contrary to their own beliefs.  With this will come cognitive dissonance which typically requires a change in action (don't take the case, maybe lose your job) or a change in belief to actually cause yourself to believe your client's position.  A third choice is to simply numb oneself through detachment, and drug abuse is a great way in which one may do so. 

I am not saying all attorneys will succumb to it, but a good possibility

Cicero

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Re: It is people like these that give law school a bad name
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2010, 08:45:42 PM »
I'm going to have to disagree a little bit on this 47th, 96th, whatever, take the money at a T4 thing. Maybe my view is skewed because the "low" T1 I go to is in a state that has no higher T1. I started at a T4 and transferred to a T1, and have experienced a huge difference in job prospects. For example, OCI in general. My T1 had well...no real OCI, where as my T1 has had a lot of larger firms sign up for OCI this year. Beyond OCI generally, in talking to associates from these larger firms, I have learned just how much graduating from my T4 would have hurt my job prospects. Many of these firms seem like they would have thrown my application in the trash after just seeing the name of my T4 had I graduated from it, even though I was at the top. They had no problem saying that they only interviewed at my T1 because it was the best in the state and it either had the best students off the bat or scooped them up through the transfer process. (I was shocked by this viewpoint by the way. FSU isn't exactly a bad school in my opinion.) Other large firms went to my school and maybe a couple others in the state, but absolutely not my T4 or any of the others in this state. So I guess my point is that you can't expect to have a job handed to you without trying, but many jobs are available for students at T1s that are not open to T4s, or even T2/3. And at my "low" T1, if you can't find a job straight out because of the economy, the school may help find a judicial clerk position for you and fund it. The school did that for the  30 people last year who couldn't find work in the 2009 nightmare situation (but the other 400 some graduate found work). (The school has agreed to keep doing this until the economy starts getting better.) My T4 didn't do anything like that and many of those graduates were simply SOL.

bigs5068

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Re: It is people like these that give law school a bad name
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2010, 06:39:15 AM »
Well Wisconsin is probably as high ranked as UF and he was complaining about it. Again, who the hell knows how a school will turn out one way or the other. OCI people come does that mean they will hire you? Again who knows, UF might do all kinds of things for people I have no idea and you are in a better position to say. However, might they be sugarcoating what they did for alumni? It is possible I mean you can't trust a school to do anything for you honestly that is the way it is. A school is selling you a product and they will do what they need to do to keep afloat. Bottom line is you have to look out for yourself, because nobody else will. A school might claim to do it, but is it b.s. or not who knows.

In regards to people throwing away resumes etc I am sure it does happen and again some places will probably throw it away unless you are in a top 10 school. Other places might not want anyone from a top 10 school, I mean what a potential employer is looking for from a new employee is completely subjective. no . My tier 4 had employers come for OCI and I got a pretty sweet gig for summer out of it. At my OCI interviews they talked about the practical education blah blah blah, but any firm that goes to an OCI is going to say positive things and blow smoke up your a** about the school they are interviewing at. It is interview and there is a lot of bsing going on and they are as sincere about how great Florida or xyz or school is as you are about how great you think the firm your  interviewing with is. You definitely made the right choice by going to UF, it is a better school and the tuition there is way lower than FCSL, because even if they significantly increased your scholarship you would probably still be paying more at FCSL than UF. If you have the option to go to a higher ranked school and pay less money it is obvious what you should do and you made the right choice.

I was speaking mostly about the Bay Area schools because GGU, Santa Clara, USF, and Hastings have about equal tuition costs and an employer will go to Stanford or Berkeley before any of those schools. From the other 4 schools mentioned you are going to have to fight for a job and you might as well get out with as little debt as possible, that is my take on it at least. 

Morten Lund

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Re: It is people like these that give law school a bad name
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2010, 02:48:59 PM »
First, on drug use - yes, substance abuse is a problem in the legal profession, and no surprise.  But this guy wasn't in the legal profession yet - he was a student, functionally speaking, and recreational pot is so widespread in that population as to hardly be mentionable, frankly.  And while I have seen some good careers crash and burn in part due to drugs and alcohol, I have also seen far too many professionally successful tokers to dismiss them out of hand.

I would be curious to see how this fella looked when all polished up for OCI.  That's what really matters.


On law school choice:

Well Wisconsin is probably as high ranked as UF and he was complaining about it.

Wisconsin is an interesting school and state.  UW is the highest-ranked school in Wisconsin (out of two - Marquette being the other), which gives UW grads a significant advantage in the Wisconsin market.  As you noted in your OP, however, UW law doesn't carry as much weight outside Wisconsin, and certainly not outside the Midwest.  If your guy was always planning on coming back to the bay area, then UW may not have been the best school for him.

(I'll take the opportunity to plug Thane's Law School:  Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold, which discusses law school selection at length, including school rankings and regional school reputation.)



Quote
I was speaking mostly about the Bay Area schools because GGU, Santa Clara, USF, and Hastings have about equal tuition costs and an employer will go to Stanford or Berkeley before any of those schools.

On a side note, this caught my attention.  I had never heard of any of the first four law schools until I started frequenting this board.  While I have been involved in recruiting for years, as has been noted most BigLaw recruiting is built around OCI, and BigLaw OCI is mostly about T1 schools and selected regional schools.

Then, while cruising online bios last week, I learned that one of the top lawyers in my particular field is a graduate of GGU.  She is a bay-area BigLaw partner, and has been for many years - including surviving several mergers and implosions.  I know her to be an excellent lawyer and a very nice human being, and she has had an extraordinarily successful BigLaw career.

This goes to your point, which you have repeated many times in various threads, that on the job nobody cares which law school you went to.  What matters is how well you do the job.  Absolutely.  She is but one of countless examples. Anyone who has been in practice for a while know too many excellent and successful lawyers from low-ranked schools to believe that they do not exist.

But the key phrase there is "on the job" - because boy does school ranking/reputation matter when trying to GET the job, and when trying to get clients, etc.  A diploma from a top law school is the gift that keeps on giving, for decades and decades.  It does in no way become irrelevant after the first day on the first job.  I have no doubt that I owe my current situation in no small part to having had the great fortune to attend a top law school.

Random anecdote:  While having a similar discussion with a friend and colleague more than a decade ago during break from document review, she made this observation:  "You went to Yale, and I went to Marquette.  Yet here we are."  (Her comment may seem snide/rude, but it was not, in context.  Simply a excellent observation that different paths had landed us in the same spot, literally)

bigs5068

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Re: It is people like these that give law school a bad name
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2010, 08:41:59 PM »
Yea I think we are in agreement about everything there. As you mentioned you never heard of the other 4 schools because they rank from 50 to 112 approximately and I know so many people that give up huge scholarship money at GGU to go to Santa Clara, USF, and Hastings. To me it doesn't really make sense, because as you mentioned the Big Law OCI type gigs well be going to Stanford or Berkley. The OCI at Santa Clara, USF, GGU, and Hastings are roughly the same I imagine, and as a result the burden is going to be on you to find a job. So instead of paying 80,000 to find your own job why not get out with less debt. I would understand transferring to Stanford or Berkley, but the other ones make no sense. It would have been like me giving up my basketball scholarship at Division II school to play at San Diego State with no scholarship. Neither school is going to provide a better education and odds are I am not going to hear your name on NBA draft board if you go to either school. If you really want to play in Europe or something then you find something from any American College Basketball Program, but your going to be bear the burden of finding a team etc so again you might as well go through that struggle with as little debt as possible.

It is cool to hear about a successful GGU alum by the way.