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Author Topic: Securities Law  (Read 1634 times)

Lorenzo

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Securities Law
« on: December 22, 2011, 01:32:50 PM »
Hello all,

What is a good law school for securities law? Is it a regional thing such as Chicago/NY schools are best for this? Any general advice would be great.

My credentials are 153/3.0.



IrrX

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Re: Securities Law
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2011, 02:33:06 PM »
With a 153/3.0 you should be focusing on schools that will consider you, because your options are going to be extremely limited. If you really want to go to law school, you have two options: 1) take the LSAT again and try to do significantly better, since there's nothing you can do about your GPA or 2) start looking at low-ranking law schools in cities you feel you can tolerate living in for an extended period, since it's where you're going to spend three years going to school there, and will likely begin the practice of law (if you get a job) and not be able to leave until you have some years of experience.

You need to reflect on why you want to go to law school at this point. Specifically, why do you want to be a lawyer? Why do you want to invest that much money and three years of your life for this? What do you hope to get out of it, when even a job seems unlikely for people who went to a higher-ranked school than you are likely to attend with your current scores?

If I sound harsh, it's only because a lot of people fail to grasp the reality of their situations and cover it with a lot of misplaced hope and a scattering of fairy dust. So, just realize that your outcome will be about as poor as it can be: go to school to be a barrister; end up a barista.
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Lorenzo

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Re: Securities Law
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2011, 03:54:50 PM »
With a 153/3.0 you should be focusing on schools that will consider you, because your options are going to be extremely limited. If you really want to go to law school, you have two options: 1) take the LSAT again and try to do significantly better, since there's nothing you can do about your GPA or 2) start looking at low-ranking law schools in cities you feel you can tolerate living in for an extended period, since it's where you're going to spend three years going to school there, and will likely begin the practice of law (if you get a job) and not be able to leave until you have some years of experience.

You need to reflect on why you want to go to law school at this point. Specifically, why do you want to be a lawyer? Why do you want to invest that much money and three years of your life for this? What do you hope to get out of it, when even a job seems unlikely for people who went to a higher-ranked school than you are likely to attend with your current scores?

If I sound harsh, it's only because a lot of people fail to grasp the reality of their situations and cover it with a lot of misplaced hope and a scattering of fairy dust. So, just realize that your outcome will be about as poor as it can be: go to school to be a barrister; end up a barista.

I appreciate your honesty, but I have the motivation and I think correct expectations. Most importantly I have a deep interest in law. If I can't get a job out of law school, I have skills in finance and IT to make money - that's not an issue.

I think my biggest problem is getting into a law school that I like and one that provides value and a unique education. Would you suggest applying to a law school initially and transferring to a better one after the first year? Is that a common route for lower end credentialed students?

IrrX

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Re: Securities Law
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2011, 06:53:39 PM »
I appreciate your honesty, but I have the motivation and I think correct expectations. Most importantly I have a deep interest in law. If I can't get a job out of law school, I have skills in finance and IT to make money - that's not an issue.

If you have skills in finance and IT, why aren't you just planning on using them? You could get pretty far in a career in three years. And you didn't answer the question on why you want to be a lawyer.

I think my biggest problem is getting into a law school that I like and one that provides value and a unique education. Would you suggest applying to a law school initially and transferring to a better one after the first year? Is that a common route for lower end credentialed students?

Well, to help you pick out a school, you can look at some law school admissions calculators to see where you have a shot at getting in. From there, you can research the area, what major and minor journals they have so you can try and get on those. As far as applying to a law school with the intention of transferring: never, ever do this. Every law student applies to school with what they consider to be "correct expectations" but few live up to them. Law school is far more competitive than you know. If you plan to transfer out, you pretty much have to be in the top 10% and, as we all know, there is no way to cram 100% of students into the top 10%. So, it's very important to manage your expectations accordingly. As far as whether it's a common route: very few manage it; far fewer than those who attempt it.
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Lorenzo

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Re: Securities Law
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2011, 12:08:39 AM »

If you have skills in finance and IT, why aren't you just planning on using them? You could get pretty far in a career in three years. And you didn't answer the question on why you want to be a lawyer.
I need work that is challenging, requires intellectual curiosity, and critical thinking. Sometimes I watch C-SPAN and analyze arguments. What led to my interest in securities law (among other things) was the Goldman Sachs hearings, the Rajaratnam insider trading, WaMu Bankruptcy case, and Dodd-Frank legislation. I've taken classes in college such as Philosophy, Analyzing Evidence, and a basic law class. It feels natural to me.

As far as other careers - IT is like a trade job; after 1 year working at a part time IT desk I felt like I was at the same level as my superiors. Finance is more difficult for now at least with many layoffs and uncertainty on Wall Street.


Well, to help you pick out a school, you can look at some law school admissions calculators to see where you have a shot at getting in. From there, you can research the area, what major and minor journals they have so you can try and get on those. As far as applying to a law school with the intention of transferring: never, ever do this. Every law student applies to school with what they consider to be "correct expectations" but few live up to them. Law school is far more competitive than you know. If you plan to transfer out, you pretty much have to be in the top 10% and, as we all know, there is no way to cram 100% of students into the top 10%. So, it's very important to manage your expectations accordingly. As far as whether it's a common route: very few manage it; far fewer than those who attempt it.

That's helpful to know, thank you.


IrrX

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Re: Securities Law
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2011, 03:53:19 AM »
I need work that is challenging, requires intellectual curiosity, and critical thinking.

That describes a lot of jobs, including legal practice, but doesn't explain why you want to be a lawyer.

Sometimes I watch C-SPAN and analyze arguments. What led to my interest in securities law (among other things) was the Goldman Sachs hearings, the Rajaratnam insider trading, WaMu Bankruptcy case, and Dodd-Frank legislation. I've taken classes in college such as Philosophy, Analyzing Evidence, and a basic law class. It feels natural to me.

It's better than the "I watch Law & Order and think I can do that" statement, but not by much. It's pretty much the equivalent of wanting to go to culinary school because you make a damned good grilled cheese. That basic law class you took? It's nothing like actual law classes, and an interest in the law at the level you describe won't even get you through 1L. You haven't convinced me. You know what makes a successful legal career? Pick one end of the emotional spectrum: love or hate. On one side, you can love what lawyers do every day, so much more than anything else in your life that you barely even notice them slipping away while you work. A recent discussion I had included, "[Wife] left me on Tuesday. I billed 14 hours on Wednesday." Keep that in mind. On the other side, you can hate something that pisses you off so much and is so pervasive that it can fuel you through years of tearing apart everything you love. That's not hyperbole. Just look at addiction, divorce and suicide rates for lawyers. Going to a lower-tier school will only aggravate that, because your chances at employment are so much lower.

As far as other careers - IT is like a trade job; after 1 year working at a part time IT desk I felt like I was at the same level as my superiors. Finance is more difficult for now at least with many layoffs and uncertainty on Wall Street.

I hate to break it to you, but the law is a trade job, too. The purpose of law school isn't to train you to be a lawyer; it's just to teach you how to read the law, memorize and spot fact patterns, and pass the bar exam. The rest is on-the-job training. Pray you get a job, because otherwise you'll be hustling for work like strippers do lap dances.
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FalconJimmy

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Re: Securities Law
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2011, 02:01:49 PM »
I appreciate your honesty, but I have the motivation and I think correct expectations.

I don't mean to be cruel, but IrrX posted exactly what I would have posted (but much nicer.)  I thought better of it, but let's be frank for a moment.

153/3.0?  You're not getting into a good law school.

Securities law is complicated and competitive and very difficult to get into.  You won't get in.

You should probably think about a different way to apply your interest in securities.  153/3.0?  You might want to think about being a stockbroker. 

I know you don't want to hear this, but IrrX is trying to do you a favor.  You really need a reality check, here.  Even in 4T schools, 153/3.0 puts you in the pretty much in the bottom half of the incoming class.  Odds are if you do that, you're going to spend 3 years getting your clock cleaned, graduate with average grades at best, and then end up bearing a six figure student loan debt without prospects for a job.

I'm sure you're great, great, great at a great many things.  The odds of you being great at law school are remote, at best.  Find something you will be good at.  You would be lucky to be an average student in a 4T.

I know that sounds cruel, but it's a lot less cruel than letting you "follow your dream" then end up feeling totally screwed over after 3 years of this.  There are a lot of very lucrative jobs in Securities.  You should pursue them.  However, securities law?  I don't see how you can make that happen, unless your Dad is the senior partner of a securities law firm.

Lorenzo

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Re: Securities Law
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2011, 04:46:51 PM »
So you guys are saying that one shouldn't go to law school unless they have top grades from the top schools, much less even begin thinking about getting a job as a lawyer. Furthermore the job will tear your life apart, and you will either love it or hate it. To be honest, it really does sound like hyperbole. Or it might be an anti-competitive conspiracy to lessen the supply of lawyers?   ;)

Just out of curiosity, what experience(s) and credentials do you guys have to come to a conclusion like this?

IrrX

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Re: Securities Law
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2011, 05:09:36 PM »
So you guys are saying that one shouldn't go to law school unless they have top grades from the top schools, much less even begin thinking about getting a job as a lawyer. Furthermore the job will tear your life apart, and you will either love it or hate it. To be honest, it really does sound like hyperbole. Or it might be an anti-competitive conspiracy to lessen the supply of lawyers?   ;)

Just out of curiosity, what experience(s) and credentials do you guys have to come to a conclusion like this?

At least "pretty good" grades from top schools, yeah. At least the T14 for a good job, like the one you're after. But with your numbers, that's not what you're going to get. If you're really going to do this, for you, it's just trying to get in and, later, get a job. Any job. If I were in your position, I'd try to get a job as an investment banker. If you're pissed off about what's happened in finance and investment in recent years, you can always be an insider for DoJ. They've had a hell of a time getting FBI agents on the inside. Even harder of a time than they've had getting people inside the mafia. So that's one route. But honestly, law isn't going to happen for you, unless you take the LSAT again and really kill it. I mean like over 170. It isn't a conspiracy to keep people out of law school. Some people I fully recommend going to law school, if they fit a certain profile. I'm honestly speaking to you in your best interests.

My credentials? Other than being where you are now, being through with law school, and seeing all of the horrors that law school and the practice of law can unleash on myself and the many friends I have who are law students and lawyers, having seen lives crumble and relationships fail as a result of it? I've been here for years. I've seen class after class come through this site. I've seen their hopes while studying for the LSAT shattered. I've seen rejections from favored schools, and I've also seen some massive successes with friends attending top schools. I've seen dreams come true at graduation, and I've seen students change their plans and priorities in the middle of 1L or even 2L. Really, I've seen it all. I've seen everything law school and the practice of law has to offer, and I really don't think it has much to offer you. You have many better options.

edit: If you don't want to take my word for it, find someone who's doing what you want to do and discuss it with them. I'm sure their assessment will be fairly close to ours. Hell, for that matter, find anyone who recently graduated from a school you would get into with your scores, and they'll tell you what's up.
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FalconJimmy

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Re: Securities Law
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2011, 08:30:04 PM »
So you guys are saying that one shouldn't go to law school unless they have top grades from the top schools, much less even begin thinking about getting a job as a lawyer.

I would say for certain jobs, the hiring environment is exceptionally competitive.

If you said that you wanted to practice family law or crimlaw or PI or something like that at graduation, and you have a 153/3.0 I'd say go for it.  That's a reasonable aspiration.  You can get into those fields without graduating from the very top schools.  In fact, those are areas where sometimes a person with really good interpersonal skills can do well.  Sometimes being able to play to / read a jury is more important in PI or crimlaw than being a top go-getter, ultra-detail-focused person.

Securities law?  Exceedingly competitive.  Every aspect of it.  If you want to work for the SEC, I hope you can afford 2 Summers paying rent in DC because the SEC internships are unpaid.  And they're competitive as hell.  Lots of top school students go there because they want to save the world (and/or get a job on wall street at $300,000 after a few years working for the SEC).  Want to work on Wall Street?  I don't even think those guys are aware that schools outside the Ivy League exist.  Want to work in securities litigation for a firm in private practice?  You may not need to graduate from ivy league schools (though you probably should), but you need to graduate from a top program in the top of your class.

With 153/3.0 you're looking pretty much exclusively at 4th tier schools.  You can take a flier and there's probably a 3T somewhere that will take you, but there won't be many.

There are various sites where you can plug in your numbers to get your idea of acceptance at various schools.  This is one:

https://officialguide.lsac.org/release/OfficialGuide_Default.aspx

With your scores, you're looking at schools like Akron, Albany, Arkansas-Little Rock, etc.  Don't take my word for it.  Go visit one of their campuses or get in touch with some alums.  Ask them how many of their graduates got placed on Wall Street last year.



As for whether or not to go to law school, only you can decide that for yourself.  I'm not saying you shouldn't go.  I have no doubt that you can get into a law school, you can probably graduate, you can probably pass the bar, and if you work hard enough, you'll eventually probably be a damned fine, well-paid attorney.

I just don't think you stand a snowball's chance of working in securities.

As you consider whether law school is for you or not, I'd ask myself:  what has changed since the 3.0/153?  Not trying to kick you when you're down, but those scores suck.  Seriously.  I have a 3.0.  It sucks.  It's a terrible undergrad GPA. 

What will be different this time for you?  Why will things be different?

Because the hiring picture is awful right now, and it's especially awful if you are an average student, or worse, at a 4T.  I ascribe no negative or positive value judgement at all when I say this.  That's just the way it is.

As for me, my money has largely been made.  I have a source of income that doesn't require me to earn anything in the law.  I attend a 4T.  My goal is to start a PI practice at graduation.  I have the luxury of not needing an income while I establish my practice.  Even so, it's a hard slog out there.  Lots of attorneys.  Only so much work. 

But you don't have to be a 4T student to know what's happening.  You also don't have to be a Yale grad, either.  Unless you're the type of person who has to get burned by a hot stove to figure out it's hot, you can figure all this stuff out just by talking to folks and doing a minimal amount of reading.

I wouldn't say to avoid going to law school.  If you want to go, like I said, I figure you stand a shot at success. There are a lot of reasons to go to Law School.  At least half my motivation is that I want to be able to say I am an attorney before I die.  At least 50% of my reason is pure bucket-list, alone.  I don't know what your reasons are, but if the reason is because you want to work in securities law,  I sense that you really haven't researched this at all.  You might want to look into things a bit more before you jump onto this ride.