Law School Discussion

In Vino Veritas Competition

In Vino Veritas Competition
« on: October 14, 2013, 08:00:58 PM »
Golden Gate successfully held the second annual In Vino Veritas Mock Trial Competition. Numerous Judges, Attorneys, and Political Figures attended and professor Wes Porter has been doing an excellent job with Golden Gate's litigation program.

More information on the competition can be obtained here.

I think Golden Gate is on the right track and doing a great job with their students.

Re: In Vino Veritas Competition
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2013, 11:26:58 AM »
That's good to hear. GGU ran onto some problems a few years ago (as law schools sometimes do) with the ABA. I think it had to do with their bar pass rate. Their bar pass rates now, however, look good so they seem to have corrected the issue.

As far as the mock trial competitions, it should be noted that students from lower ranked schools often beat the pants off elite schools. I think this has to do with the fact that students at elite schools tend to be eggheaded and nerdy whereas the lower tiered students might have the common touch, so to speak. I remember reading a couple of years ago that La Verne mopped up the floor with Berkeley and a few other T1 schools at some national competition, and I've also seen articles about places like Texas Tech having great  trial teams.

This is another aspect that USNWR does not take into account when they compile their rankings. Something to think about.   

Re: In Vino Veritas Competition
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2013, 07:37:27 PM »
GGU had some tough times in in the mid 2000's, but they got a new dean in 2009-2012 and another new dean this year and hired a number of new professors. GGU is far from Harvard, but it has always been a solid litigation school.

Mock Trial and real litigation is a classic example of why law school ranking doesn't matter, particularly if you want to be a litigator. I believe you are thinking of South Texas College of Law not Texas A & M dominating higher ranked schools.

South Texas College of Law is essentially the best trial advocacy school in the Country and wins the majority of competitions they enter. In Mock Trial Competitions you never know who is from what school, because just like in Real Court you never say I went to X law school, because no jury should ever hear what law school you went to.

I encourage any 0L to watch a live trial at their local courthouse and you can see good and bad attorneys, and you will have no idea what school they went to and frankly it doesn't matter.  The rules for hearsay, relevance, expert opinion etc don't change based on what school you attended.

Re: In Vino Veritas Competition
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2013, 01:09:12 PM »
"I think Golden Gate is on the right track and doing a great job with their students."

Really? GGU has a 21% employment score on Law School Transparency. This means that 79% of its 2012 graduates did not obtain fulltime jobs for which bar passage was required. I don't think that's doing a great job. That's much worse than Hofstra about which Professor Paul Campos recently declared, "Hofstra’s law school is a classic example of an institution whose very reason for being has become at the least highly questionable."     

Re: In Vino Veritas Competition
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2013, 01:26:07 PM »
You're assuming it's the responsibility of the law school to find jobs for it's graduates. Once a student leaves the school, isn't the responsibility of finding a job the student's? Law schools have very little (if any) control over what people do once they leave.

Re: In Vino Veritas Competition
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2013, 02:27:57 PM »
I think Golden Gate is a classic example of why these employment statistics cannot be accurately kept. Golden Gate has a large part-time program and is located in the heart of the San Francisco Financial District. A number of part-time students enroll while working full-time at various jobs and have no intention of becoming lawyers. They want to have a law degree to help them in their non-legal career.

There are also a number of older people who simply attend Golden Gate as an intellectual challenge not to become lawyers. On top of that there are number of wealthy housewives that want to attend law school to have something to do. I would say 30-40% of the student population at GGU makes up one of those three categories and none of them are looking for jobs that require bar passage.

The real problem with these statistics you continually cite is that it assumes every law student is in the same exact boat there are an abundance of reasons why people attend law school or any form of education. Not everyone graduate of GGU is a 25 year old ready to start a career it is more of an alternative schoool than Harvard etc where the majority of graduates are 25 years old and ready to start a career.

On top of that California takes four months to provide bar results and the stats calculate 9 months after graduation. You graduate law school in May take the bar in Late July and results are released the week of Thanksgiving. Therefore, assuming you pass the California Bar the first time, which statewide has a 55% passage rate you cannot possibly start working in a job that requires bar passage until 7 months after graduation and most firms are not going to fire during Thanskgiving or Christmas so you can't even look until January, which is 9 months after graduation.

I know a number of GGU alumni and alumni from all the Bay Area schools and alsmot of them started working between January-March after receiving bar results, but that doesn't show up in these "stats" because it doesn't even count until 9 months after.

Additionally as Maintain states it is not the responsibility of a school to find you a job I have interviewed students from Santa Clara, USF, GGU etc some are great others I would not trust to feed my cat and would really never hire them as a lawyer and that has a lot more to do with the person than the school.

As an example I was interviewing for Interns one student from Santa Clara showed up 20 minutes late, wrinkled shirt no suit jacket and frankly looked hungover. He had no resume and clearly did not research what our firm did. He was completely unprepared and obviously not hired, but another Santa Clara student interviewed and was great on time, suit, researched, etc he was hired and has done a great job.

Santa Clara can't babysit these students and the guy we hired will do fine the other one needs a wake-up call. He could have attended Harvard I wouldn't have hired him based on my interaction with him. At the end of the day it comes down to the individual and any ABA school will provide you with the basic tools to pass the bar exam. What you do with thta is up to you and has very little to do with your school.

Re: In Vino Veritas Competition
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2013, 12:29:49 AM »
You can make all the excuses you want, but GGU's employment outcome is significantly lower than most law schools.

Re: In Vino Veritas Competition
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2013, 01:12:00 AM »
You can make all the excuses you want, but GGU's employment outcome is significantly lower than most law schools.

I think that's probably true, but the question is why?

I don't think it's due to some failure on the part of GGU. I think that GGU is fulfilling it's obligation to adequately teach the law, and that the low employment rate is due to the factors which are beyond GGU's control. These factors include those listed by Citylaw , the fact that GGU is located in a very competitive legal market, and the fact that the national and local economies stink.  What can a law school really do about that? What do you suggest?

Since law schools can't force firms to hire their grads, the only way to effectively increase a school's employment rate in a stagnant economy is to somehow peg the incoming class size to market fluctuations, graduating less people when the economy is slow and more when it's growing. That's not very practical, however. In fact, it would probably be a huge headache. Budgets, hiring decisions, and other institutional goals which are made years in advance would be subject to imprecise economic prognostications.

Maybe a better option (for all law schools) is to focus on practical skills training as opposed to theory, and to prepare students to work as solo practitioners and small firm attorneys. One of the schools here in L.A. has made great strides in this area. Don't get me wrong, I agree that the employment rates at many schools are low. I just think there is much the schools can realistically do about it until the economy improves.   

Re: In Vino Veritas Competition
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2013, 03:18:16 PM »
Maybe the answer is that there are too many law schools, and that law schools, like GGU, with poor employment statistics should close.

Re: In Vino Veritas Competition
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2013, 04:12:00 PM »
And when the economy improves and there is a shortage of lawyers due to closing down law schools, then what? Re-open them?

That's the problem with reactionary thinking, the long term ramifications are seldom considered. Here's another facet of the problem: let's say you close down GGU, USF, and Santa Clara. You're left with the higher ranked Bay Area schools like Hastings, Berkeley, and Stanford. Who will do the small firm family law jobs? Public defender? Juvenile court? I'm not sure if you're a lawyer yet, but schools like GGU fill these types of niches.

By advocating shutting down schools with low employment stats, you seem to be arguing that people need to be protected from themselves. It's an unreasonably paternalistic argument. No one is forced to go to law school and the employment data is readily available to anyone who bothers to inquire. People choose to go to schools like GGU for lots of different reasons, and some will fail and some will succeed. As long as schools are being honest about the data, I say let people make up their own minds.