Law School Discussion

1L First Semester Grades

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #30 on: December 02, 2015, 07:08:36 PM »
Again, Loki I agree with you.

To go back to by Basketball example, ending up as a high school basketball coach is not a glamorous job, but if you truly love basketball and that is your passion then that is great.

I went through a similar path in basketball and ended up in some crazy places and gave up more lucrative regular job offers to pursue basketball, because I loved it. However, at some point I decided I did not want to keep living in China going to obscure villages to play basketball getting by and hoping x-shady Chinese basketball owner would pay me after the game, which did not always happen.

However, I have friends that stuck with it and are now assistants at D2 colleges or in a high school and they are extremely happy. However, they are making $45,000 in Nebraska and getting by and hoping that one day they will get a head coaching job or maybe become an assistant in the NBA somewhere. There is no guarantee of it, but they are pursuing their passion. If you really love basketball that is great.

The law is similar and I think we both agree that you shouldn't incur the costs, three years of your life, etc to figure out if law school is for you. Instead, you have to really want to be a lawyer and unless your admitted to Harvard, Yale, etc I strongly encourage a law school applicant to get a Paralegal Certificate first and work in a law office. If after that experience they are still dead-set on going to law school, but Golden Gate at full freight is their only opportunity then I would recommend it.

If some kid out of undergrad just doesn't want to start work or likes watching Law & Order and can only muster a 152 on the LSAT and thinks sure why not go to law school. Then I would give that kid the same advice you are.

To the stats issue. I don't know how else to back it up. Law students graduate in May? Am I wrong? You cannot sit for the California Bar Exam until you graduate from Law School and the exam is in late July.

You then have to sit and wait like a jacka** until the Friday before Thanksgiving to get your bar results.

Then the typical law student swears in at their school ceremony in December.

If that is not the process then I really f'ed up, because I went through the purgatory of waiting for bar-results clerking at some b.s. places making $15 an hour as a "clerk" from August to November.

However, p I had several job offers that were contigent on me passing. I sat around like a complete jackass waiting for the f'ing aholes that grade the bar-exam to give me my results so I could start real attorney work, instead of hustling to make a $100 a week.

However, none of the real jobs wanted me to start if I was going to have to go right back to taking the bar exam. Why would they waste the time, resources and money to implement me into their work environment, which I was not even licensed to do until my results came out?

If there is a way to avoid that situation then I am an idiot, but very few jobs if any were eager to hire someone until results were out. With more than 50% of takers not passing the first time would you? If some kid came into our office right now and seemed great, but could not make court appearances etc and if we did hire them they might have to take 4 months off to study I would not hire them. Instead, I would hire one of the countless people licensed already as would any reasonable business.



Thankfully, I passed and I accepted a job offer, but did not start until mid-January, because after I passed I went on a trip. The last thing on my mind after passing the bar exam, going on a cross-country trip and starting a new job was filling out my employment statistics with my law school.  In fact, I never filled it out so I am likely one of the people listed as "unemployed" according to the statistics.

In all honestly, did you fill out anything after graduating? On top of the countless things I have to do everyday that is not my #1 priority. However, for some reason I spend time on this board, but I like it, however more productive uses of my time could be found, including filling out the stats, but I didn't do it. I personally don't know many of my classmates that did either.

In summary my personal experience is how I dispute the statistics and I don't think anything in my experience is that unusual.

So as usual, I think we agree for the most part.  If a OL is considering law school research everything and take the commitment seriously. Don't half ass a 3 year and $100,000 plus investment.

Furthermore, do not I repeat do not attend Golden Gate, USF, Santa Clara etc if you don't want to be a lawyer. That is one of the biggest issues I saw. I don't how many people at my school said oh yea I am in law school, but I don't really want to be a lawyer. "WTF?" Unless you have time and money to burn then sure enjoy the intellectual challenge it provides.

However, if your an undergrad student already $50,000 in debt that has never worked a day in your life and you scrap by with a 2.9 from Humboldt State and then eek out a 151 on the LSAT and GGU says hey we will take $200,000 of your money. Then I would tell that kid to do some research and work for a little bit to realize how much $200,000 actually is and see if the life of a lawyer is for them.




 





 
Justification is all I saw in that

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #31 on: December 03, 2015, 02:10:53 PM »
Ok.

In an effort to get completely off track from the original topic, which is what online boards are all about I suppose. Here is an example of why stats in any context don't mean a whole lot. Realistically you can have a stat say anything you want.

Here is a recent list of the top 10 best cities to raise a family based on the following stats. http://www2.forbes.com/business/the-best-cities-for-raising-a-family/?utm_campaign=Best-Cities-Raising-Family&utm_source=yahoo-gemini&utm_medium=referral

Metro Population: 567,000

Major Industries: Technology, Health care, Education

Gross Metro Product: $18.5 B

Median Household Income: $59,916

Median Home Price: $177,100

Unemployment: 3.5%

Job Growth (2013): 5.3%

Cost of Living: 7.3% below natíl avg

College Attainment: 35.8%

Net Migration (2013): 610

-The cost of living is 7.3 below the national average, but what are the salaries?

Collegiate attainment is 35.8%, but what is the median income of the households that end up enrolling in college. Does every family that makes over $1,000,000 a year send their kid to college, probalby, but what about the families making under $50,000.

More importantly what is college attainment. If you enroll in a Sports & Film nightclass at a Junior College is that "attainment"

You could go on and on and poke holes in any stat, including job placement for law grads.

Frankly, everyone I know that graduated with me 4 years ago is employed. Did I know everyone in my class no, but of the 50-60 people I interacted with during law school every single one passed the bar some took two attempts and found employment.

One guy took 4 times to pass, but he did and got a job.

So the point is don't rely heavily on stats, the rankings, or anything else. Use this magical thing called common sense.

If you graduate law school and don't pass the bar your not going to get a job as an attorney. 100% of students that never passed a bar are not working as attorneys, that is a stat I can get behind.

Additionally, just because you pass the bar and a test of minimal competence to practice law does not mean every firm in the world is going to beg you to work there. Instead you will have to hustle to get a job.

it is the catch 22 everyone faces in every profession. You need education and experience to do X job. However, as a new graduate you don't have experience and therefore you are not qualified to do many jobs, but eventually you will find a job that allows you to get experience. Thereafter, you have experience and problem solved, but it will be an annoying 1-2 year journey to start your career.

I don't know any profession that doesn't have this barrier. You don't do brain surgery the second you graduate from Med School, you don't handle a Murder Trial the second you graduate from Law School, You are not named CEO the second you get your MBA, you are not made the Head of Accounting at Global Tax Firm after getting your CPA license, You are not named head of Psychiatric Care for the State after getting your Ph.D. in Psychology, your are not named Head of Nursing after graduating from Nursing School, your not made Chief of Police the second you graduate from the Police Academy.

On and on it goes.

Starting a career is difficult and the law is no better or worse. In fact personally I think it is a little easier than a lot of careers to get your start, because there are only so many licensed attorneys.

If your competing for X Admin Job literally millions of people are qualified to do that job.

So to get back on track 1L Semester Grades you want to do as well as possible, because that will open as many doors. However, there is a 99% chance that any 0L is not going to graduate in the top 1% of their class or graduate from the top 1% of law schools.

Every firm would surely love to have to the Valedictorian of Harvard work at their firm. Every NBA team would love to have Lebron James, Steph Curry, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan as their starting 5. so on and on so, but they can't.

There is only one Lebron there is only one Harvard Valedictorian per year.

End of incoherent rant.







loki13

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Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2015, 08:53:13 AM »
...

You could go on and on and poke holes in any stat, including job placement for law grads.

Frankly, everyone I know that graduated with me 4 years ago is employed.

Citylaw,

I snipped the rest because this perfectly encapsulates the difficulty you are having. The conflation of statistics and anecdotes, and why each has their purpose.

Let's take this one- Personally, everyone I knew well at law school my year passed their Bar on the first try and had no problem finding a job.* Then again, I was heavily into the Law Review at a T50 school, so my law school friends were my law review friends and it was a good school. My anecdote doesn't really help other people.

On the other hand, everyone I knew after that wasn't getting jobs. But that's because I was working with the alum office with people that weren't getting jobs during the greatest legal recession our country has seen.

So if I was to say either that everyone gets jobs (based on first-hand knowledge) or that no one gets jobs (based on first-hand knowledge) that would be wrong.

Where statistics often go wrong is when they are used to prove something. Take a bunch of stats to show, definitively, that X School is the #18 Law School and Y School is the #22 Law School. Or that these specific factors make a city the best place to raise a family. But what shouldn't be wrong is the underlying statistics. What is unemployment rate in that city? What is the population?

You keep making generalized statements about the employment rate (well, it's probably wrong). But here's the thing- it isn't. They do it nine months after graduation (that takes into account the Bar Passage rate). Sure, sometimes there are ways to game any stats- after years of suspiciously high employment numbers at some schools, they started looking at school-funded positions (the school hiring people, or funding jobs, in order to make their employment statistics look better). There are also the government's statistics on employment for JDs, which I have also cited.

And that's what I keep returning to. Both of us agree that people need to be better informed. But part of that information is a clear picture of what is really going on. Not your anecdotes; not my anecdotes; not the school's brochures; but the real statistics and probabilities of what will happen.

Put it this way- law school should be a passion (as is the profession), but it's also an investment in your future. Would you tell people to invest $260,000 based upon your anecdotes that, "Hey, it worked out okay for me and some buddies," or would you expect people to actually look at how the investment has performed with, you know, numbers? Statistics? Annual rate of return? Likelihood of success? Because the problem with law schools isn't that people are overly pessimistic about their chances; it's the exact opposite.



*With one medical exception.

loki13

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Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2015, 10:04:31 AM »
And I'm going to expand on this, and why I get frustrated that, despite our areas of disagreement, I think you continue to be overly ... cheery when it comes to people thinking about law school.

It is very difficult for a person to estimate how they will perform in law school, and in the law profession. I will be the first to say that your uGPA and your LSAT score are the full measure of a person. That said, they do measure *something.* There is some correlation between your LSAT score, for example, and how you will perform in school and on the Bar.

If a person cannot even score a 150 (for example) on the LSAT, that person should be seriously thinking about why they are going to Law School. Because getting into a law school isn't the battle- it's success at the law school, it's passing the Bar, and it's getting a job as an attorney in what remains a difficult market. Remember- the *nationwide* unemployment rate for new JDs *nine months after graduation* (and this is all jobs, including flipping burgers) has remained about 10% since the beginning of the great legal recession. And it hasn't looked like it's going to under it.

In addition, my anecdotal experience is that, if anything, a JD makes it more difficult to get hired in many non-legal fields. Having spoken to some of the alums from my school who were not as fortunate as I was, I have heard variations of the same story when they have interviewed for non-legal positions- "Why aren't you working as an attorney?" "What happened?" Many non-legal employers view JDs as more expensive as other hires, more likely to cause "problems," and failures if they weren't employed as an attorney (this is different if you've worked and you're choosing to leave the profession, fwiw). There are people I've known that omitted their JD from their resume in order to get employment.

And all of this is why I get so discouraged. I love the law. I love practicing the law. I have a hearing this afternoon that I am going to just dominate in (it's possible that the judge might be wrong... heh). Last night, the appellate court just cut & paste my brief and vacated the lower court's order. I live for this. But this isn't for everyone. I saw people who worked with me at BigLaw who are still doing due diligence and discovery, and have never taken a deposition- they get money, but hate their jobs. I know classmates who have left the profession in order to write books. One of the people I know, who worked in the PD's office and was as good an attorney and as good a person as you will ever meet, just up and quit because she could no longer, in conscience, continue to do a credible job for her clients with the caseloads and resources the state gives her. Seriously- she worked harder than a second year at Cravath, and it never ended. And that's the point- practicing attorneys, we are the successful ones! We are the ones who made it. And this isn't for everyone.

So we need to be very cautious about giving optimistic advice to people. If you're not going to a top school, or you don't have a free ride, a 0L needs to seriously consider whether law school is right for them.

loki13

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Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2015, 10:06:11 AM »

 I will be the first to say that your uGPA and your LSAT score are the full measure of a person.


Are not the full measure of a person.

Why can't we edit out posts!!??!!

Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #35 on: December 04, 2015, 10:09:32 AM »
Again, you are correct your law review buddies probably did well. I was also at the top of my class and most of my friends took school seriously and worked really hard to succeed.

There were some characters to say the least at my school as I am sure there are at every school and I wouldn't be shocked if they are working at some coffee shop complaining about how unfair everything is.

To any OL if your in the bottom 10% of your law school class at Golden Gate for example the job market is going to be really tough.

If your in the top 10% of your class at any school your first job is going to be easier.

That is my overall point I suppose and why I don't like stats, because it negates common sense.

Are there slackers at every law school out there that couldn't hold down a job at Starbucks. Probably, but if you are a hard-working person that takes law school seriously and truly works at it an ABA school will do fine.

That is my main point it really is up to the individual whether they will succeed or not. However, I think the problem is a lack of self-awareness for many people, who think hey I got a 2.9 GPA and a 151 LSAT, but being a lawyer might be cool. The LSAT is not a good predictor and the test isn't fair, but I will be in the top 10% and transfer to Stanford 2L and then make $200k a year starting. 

That is not uncommon thought process for many 0L's and that is where the problem is.

It all comes to expectations and if someone with a 2.9 and 151 LSAT legitimately was passionate about becoming a Public Defender had worked in a P.D's office during college and loved the work, then Golden Gate or some mediocre law school would work fine.

That person is probably capable of passing the bar and getting a job at a P.D's office somewhere, which is that person's passion as you state. If the law is something X person is a passionate about then law school can be a great choice.

If someone goes to law school expecting a golden ticket and they don't know what else to do, well that is a problem.   


Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #36 on: December 04, 2015, 03:59:44 PM »
I just read your post above, we must have simultaneously posted and I could not agree with you more it is very difficult if not impossible to predict how you will do in law school.

 Clearly if you excel in law school your odds of doing well as a lawyer are increased and vice versa the other way. How well you know if you well do well in law school? You don't.

That is the simple question law school is a huge risk/investment whatever you want to call it. It could go great and you can land your dream job out of law school it does happen. You could also fail out after 1L and be out $40,000 in debt and a year of lost income, not to mention it would be embarrassing to fail out.

Each form of school is a risk even Med School plenty of people fail out of that or don't make it through residency etc. There are plenty of people that regret every enrolling in Med School.

What it all comes down to do is common sense and a brief reality check. Law school is not a golden ticket, but there are no other golden tickets either.

If you want to be a lawyer and know what your getting into law school can be a great choice. However, if you really want to be a lawyer you may fail out 1L, you may never pass the bar, you may pass the bar and not ever work as a lawyer. Those are all options, but there is one way and one way only to be a lawyer and that is by going to law school.

Would I recommend law school to everyone? No.

Can it be a great choice for some people? Yes.

How will it work out for random 0L reading this post? Nobody can know.

Law school can be a great choice or a disastrous choice and again apply common sense.

Will a person with a 4.0 and 180 LSAT that graduates from Harvard have more options than another person with a 3.1 and a 155 LSAT that graduates from USF?

Yea I would bet on the Harvard Grad to make more money, have more job opportunities, and more or less have a better legal career.

Just as the Number #1 draft pick in the NBA Draft will have more options than the 49th pick.





Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2015, 06:19:40 PM »

 I will be the first to say that your uGPA and your LSAT score are the full measure of a person.


Are not the full measure of a person.

Why can't we edit out posts!!??!!
Because the new thread is stupid and we all miss the old one

-As to the idea of poking at the flaws of stats, sure. Nothings perfect, but they exist for a reason. Stats show that you are most likely more hungry in a refugee camp than in a trailer park. Always true? No. But not a lot of 19 year old heart attacks from a deep fried oreo died south of the sahara................stats DO matter.

loki13

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Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #38 on: December 05, 2015, 06:26:39 AM »
So many quick things-

"That is my overall point I suppose and why I don't like stats, because it negates common sense."

O ... M ... G. Yes, and that's exactly why statistics are useful (or, as so many people who go to law school say, "I didn't know that there'd be math!"). So-called common sense is neither common, nor sensical. What a person believes to be true (from their own anecdotal information, from what they see in the media, and from what friends tell them) isn't as valuable as, well, numbers. Do outliers exist? Sure. But how do we know, for example, what the odds of getting a federal clerkship if you go to Golden Gate are- well, there are numbers on that, and they influence your decision. You don't ask Uncle Bob. Same with everything. Problem is, people suck at evaluating decisions. For example, people overestimate their chances of getting killed by extremely unlikely events (shark attacks, terrorist attacks, and so on) and underestimate their chances of dying as they most likely will (car accident, heart attack, cancer). Numbers (real numbers) help. Common sense doesn't.

"Each form of school is a risk even Med School plenty of people fail out of that or don't make it through residency etc. There are plenty of people that regret every enrolling in Med School.
What it all comes down to do is common sense and a brief reality check. Law school is not a golden ticket, but there are no other golden tickets either."

Please, just stop with this. For anyone reading this- if you have are choosing between Law School and Medical School, and you have the ability to do both... go to medical school. Period. No, there isn't a 100% guarantee. You could die. You could become a drug addict during residency. You could decide you hate being a doctor. Of course, there are equal risks (if not greater) with going to law school. And the upside is much greater. Period. While there are cases that this won't apply to (brilliant mind, but comes from a family of lawyers and will take over an established and thriving family practice, say) ... that person will already have *actual reasons and will not be debating the question*. No, nothing is guaranteed, and medical school is very tough on you, but it is pretty much guaranteed employment at a good income for the remainder of your life. When you write that there are "plenty of people that regret enrolling in Medical school," I can 100% guarantee you that the number of people in that category is < the number of people that have regretted law school. By a large, large, large degree.

"That person is probably capable of passing the bar and getting a job at a P.D's office somewhere, which is that person's passion as you state."

No. That's what you keep missing. Many of these positions just aren't as available as they were. And many of the people applying have no idea what a PD does. It isn't all of this glamorous, "I'm going to defend a client falsely accused of murder." It's, "How do I manage 500 cases, knowing I'll get to meet the client for 10 minutes, and try to move my caseload with the most plea deals, so that, if necessary, I can occasionally take one of these to court - knowing that I won't be able to get any resources to fight the prosecutor?"

Instead of saying, "It's all out there, follow your dream." Try and be real. Courts are open. A person should sit in and watch proceedings for a few days. Not a murder trial. But a foreclosure docket. Some minor criminal proceedings. Bail hearings. Then that person should realize that (if they go into litigation) that this is *the most exciting part of an attorney's job*. They should understand what due diligence and discovery entail. They should talk to a few practicing attorneys in transactional and litigation.

Then, assuming this is a job they want to do (and for some people, such as us, it really is!), they need to evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as their likelihood of success. If a person is paying full freight at Golden Gate- that is just not a good investment in their future. Period.


Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2015, 02:47:13 PM »
So many quick things-

"That is my overall point I suppose and why I don't like stats, because it negates common sense."

O ... M ... G. Yes, and that's exactly why statistics are useful (or, as so many people who go to law school say, "I didn't know that there'd be math!"). So-called common sense is neither common, nor sensical. What a person believes to be true (from their own anecdotal information, from what they see in the media, and from what friends tell them) isn't as valuable as, well, numbers. Do outliers exist? Sure. But how do we know, for example, what the odds of getting a federal clerkship if you go to Golden Gate are- well, there are numbers on that, and they influence your decision. You don't ask Uncle Bob. Same with everything. Problem is, people suck at evaluating decisions. For example, people overestimate their chances of getting killed by extremely unlikely events (shark attacks, terrorist attacks, and so on) and underestimate their chances of dying as they most likely will (car accident, heart attack, cancer). Numbers (real numbers) help. Common sense doesn't.

"Each form of school is a risk even Med School plenty of people fail out of that or don't make it through residency etc. There are plenty of people that regret every enrolling in Med School.
What it all comes down to do is common sense and a brief reality check. Law school is not a golden ticket, but there are no other golden tickets either."

Please, just stop with this. For anyone reading this- if you have are choosing between Law School and Medical School, and you have the ability to do both... go to medical school. Period. No, there isn't a 100% guarantee. You could die. You could become a drug addict during residency. You could decide you hate being a doctor. Of course, there are equal risks (if not greater) with going to law school. And the upside is much greater. Period. While there are cases that this won't apply to (brilliant mind, but comes from a family of lawyers and will take over an established and thriving family practice, say) ... that person will already have *actual reasons and will not be debating the question*. No, nothing is guaranteed, and medical school is very tough on you, but it is pretty much guaranteed employment at a good income for the remainder of your life. When you write that there are "plenty of people that regret enrolling in Medical school," I can 100% guarantee you that the number of people in that category is < the number of people that have regretted law school. By a large, large, large degree.

"That person is probably capable of passing the bar and getting a job at a P.D's office somewhere, which is that person's passion as you state."

No. That's what you keep missing. Many of these positions just aren't as available as they were. And many of the people applying have no idea what a PD does. It isn't all of this glamorous, "I'm going to defend a client falsely accused of murder." It's, "How do I manage 500 cases, knowing I'll get to meet the client for 10 minutes, and try to move my caseload with the most plea deals, so that, if necessary, I can occasionally take one of these to court - knowing that I won't be able to get any resources to fight the prosecutor?"

Instead of saying, "It's all out there, follow your dream." Try and be real. Courts are open. A person should sit in and watch proceedings for a few days. Not a murder trial. But a foreclosure docket. Some minor criminal proceedings. Bail hearings. Then that person should realize that (if they go into litigation) that this is *the most exciting part of an attorney's job*. They should understand what due diligence and discovery entail. They should talk to a few practicing attorneys in transactional and litigation.

Then, assuming this is a job they want to do (and for some people, such as us, it really is!), they need to evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as their likelihood of success. If a person is paying full freight at Golden Gate- that is just not a good investment in their future. Period.
The sad truth is that even though (IMHO) ALL medical students (even those who fail out first year) could easily pass law school and the bar exam, I'd go as far as to say most law students (even those doing great at law school) couldn't even get into medical school. The main reason being the difference in prereqs, but mental ability too. Lets not fool ourselves. It angers people to say that, but reality remains.

Interesting article I came across the other day. Albeit from our neighbor to the north, and PharmD bust still interesting
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/the-future-of-work/fresh-university-grads-facing-tough-entry-level-job-market/article27513283/