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Author Topic: Boalt student taking questions about Boalt, law school in general, work, etc.  (Read 95568 times)

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

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I know lots of folks are applying to Boalt and there seem to be a few people here who are spreading a lot of misinformation. I am here to answer what questions I can, as honestly as I can.  They don't have to be about Boalt either.  Work, school, journals, Bay Area, social life, etc. are all fair game.

FAQ's (Sorry, some of these are reposts of old posts or my PM's.

I have a full ride to a lower-tier school and I've been accepted to a T14. What should I do?
i was accepted to stetson with a full ride plus a stipend and it seemed like an offer i couldn't refuse. at the time, i was leaning fairly strongly towards practicing in florida and stetson seemed like it would be good enough to place me there.

i ended up choosing berkeley and here's my insight...

while i was in law school, i changed my regional preferences at least three times. when i started, i was thinking florida. today i have a job lined up in london. things could not have turned out more differently than i expected. now i am not here to tell you that absolutely everyone is as indecisive as i am, but i will say that the vast majority of law students go into law school knowing very little about the law, the legal market and the type of work that lawyers do. they go in bright-eyed with fanciful ideas of how they are going to save the world. most of them walk out a bit more level-headed, cynical and corporate-law oriented. not to say that there aren't outliers, but this is what i've observed among my peers. this type of pattern goes hand in hand with people changing what type of law they want to practice, where they want to practice and if they want to practice at all. this dynamic makes me think that if you want to keep all the options open, the highest ranked school is the way to go.

the fact that i was a berkeley student opened doors for me into all the markets i've explored throughout my law school career. i can say without any hesitation whatsoever that i would not have the job i have today even if i had graduated first in my class at stetson.

and a bit of a sidenote on rankings at lower-ranked schools. i think everyone goes in expecting to be at the top of their class. that's not to say that you aren't capable of doing it, but just keep in mind that virtually everyone in your class will have the same goal. rankings are the end all be all in lower-tier schools and the environment is going to be cutthroat. you will have to bust your ass, yes, even at stetson, if you think you're gonna have any chance in hell.

the luxury of a top school is that you can be ranked virtually anywhere in your class and still get amazing job offers. you could be last in your class at duke and you'd probably be better off than a top 5% grad froms stetson. it's sad, but true. your class rank isn't listed on the firm's internet bio of you. they want pedigree. as long as they can list a "brand name" schoool, they can market their groups as having the brightest and most talented lawyers. clients care about that *&^% and firms cater to that desire.

the bottom line: if you aren't ready to be married to Tampa, FL, go to duke. period.

I am new to the Bay Area. What are your suggestions for finding affordable housing?

really can't say much about the first question.  I know people get them, but I don't know with whom and how often.  I am not interested in clerking after graduation, so it's not something I've looked into at all.  Sorry that I couldn't help.

Regarding your second question, I think that finding adequate housing *is* possible, but you should start looking early.  I found my place in June before I started 1L and people are always commenting on how good of a deal I got.  The people that came late are paying more than I am for places that are much shadier and much smaller.  I would probably caution you against staying in the city because the commute will be long and miserable, but if you absolutely hate Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Orinda, Emeryville and Oakland have some nice places.  Of course, if you're really lucky you might something reasonable in the Hills.  Register with Cal Rentals and scan Craigslist and you should be fine.

On Manville...

It really depends on what you're looking for.  They weren't an option for me for two reasons. One, I have a cat.  And two, while the apartments have an electric stovetop, the oven is a microwave/convection oven and you can't really cook in it quite the same way you would with a normal one. 

The apartments are small, a little under 400 sq feet, but definitely adequate for someone with not a lot of stuff.  You get the benefit of having your own space, while living around other law students.  The actual building is pretty new and there's central heat and air - a rarity in the Berkeley area.  There's room for a full size bed, but it will take up most of your non-kitchen space, so lots of people use futons or twin size beds.

The location is nice.  You're about a 15 minute walk from Boalt and if you're lazy, there's a bus line one block away.  Plenty of shops and restaurants in the area as well.  BART is a 5 minute walk away.

gillesthegreat chimes in:

Having lived in Berkeley, Oaklamd and El Cerrito, I feel capable of answering that one. North Berkeley is a generally nicer neighborhood, and you will pay for what you get. South Berkeley is closer to the socio-economic level of Oakland; some people have issues with that. If you don't care much, the best is to plan to be one bus ride away from campus (i.e. no transfers). With that in mind, there are certain neighborhoods that are a bit riskier. A friend living near Adeline had drug dealers living next door, something you wouldn't find in North Berkeley, or in Albany or El Cerrito for that matter. Richmond might however be inadvisible.

Summary: 400$ less a month is certainly worth the bus ride. North better than South. One bus away at most.

Hope this helps


What do people think of John Yoo? Isn't Boalt really liberal?

boalt is not as politically homogenous as most people imagine, so there is a variety of opinions regarding yoo's memo and yoo himself.  there are those who, like me, are so appalled and offended by the memo, that they refuse to take yoo's classes as a matter of principle.  there are those who are able to separate yoo in the classroom from yoo in the political arena, and there are those who are fond of him and his work.  he's a frequent speaker at the federealist society's events and he's the subject of a semester-long protest in the front courtyard. basically, the opinion just depends on who you talk to.

How well does Boalt place on the east coast?

I think that there idea that Boalt students are not successful in placement on the east coast is just one of those Boalt-bashing myths.  I've seen all students from various ends of the grade spectrum get placed at top 20 NYC firms.  I know someone who has mostly, if not all, Passes who is going to a top 5 NYC firm. Boalt is just one of those schools that attracts people who want to stay in the area.  But, like I said before, it's actually harder for a Boaltie to get a job in SF than it is in NYC.

How did you score your London job?

i prepped really well for the interview. i knew exactly what they did, why they did it and why it wasn't done elsewhere. being at boalt helped, because they don't interview outside the top 10 schools and don't even interview at all of those. my courses probably didn't help at all - i had a lot of pub interesty stuff on my transcript. clerked with two firms last summer and had something intelligent to say about the work. i guess that may have been part of it. but, like i said before, i am still trying to figure out what got me hired. they told me when they gave me the offer they said that with previous interviewees, there was some disagreement among the lawyers as to whether they should be hired. the hiring partner told me that in my case the decision was unanimous. i guess it could have been bull, though.
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chidochido

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What do you plan on focusing on over there? How strong is tax law there? How often do people kick it? Where do you all normally go?  9i went fir ug...) That's it...lemme know!
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IvanTrbl

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Hey Ruskie - Are there many Russians in the Berkeley/San Fran area?  Where do you hang out (if there is sufficient time to unwind)?  Do you think there is ANY possibility for a USF student to transfer into Boalt?  Either way, are legal job openings in the norcal area bountiful enough so that USF or Santa Clara grads will have little trouble finding work?  (The employment stats of the two schools seem artificially high for T3s).     
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LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

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How competitive are Boalt students?  They typically seem far less "gunner"-ish than other schools despite Boalt's high national standing.

Also, how is the international law program?

I've never attended another law school, but my sense is that the environment at Boalt is probably less competitive than it is at other schools.  At the very least, I can tell you that students are not in the habit of intentionally sabotaging their classmates.  That is not to say, however, that Boalt students are not hard-working.  The 1L's now are really hard-core.  It seems to me that they study a lot more than my class did, but perhaps that's just the way it seems to any 2L once the memory of 1L has faded somewhat.  The curve is a double edged sword.  It's good for people who want to relax, take a P and ride the Boalt name to a good job in a secondary market.  No one will know if they had the absolute worst exam in the class.  They are just somewhere in the pack of the 60% of people who got a P.  It's bad for those who are very focused on getting all the H's and HH's they can because if they do get a P, they have no way of showing that it was the highest P in the class.  As one might expect, the more you care about grades the more competitive you become, but generally this is not a problem at our school.  At least I have never had a personal experience with anyone being outright malicious.

The 2L's think that the 1L class is full of gunners.  There's a girl in my Estates and Trusts class that never shuts up.  Such behavior is definitely frowned upon at Boalt, especially if the student is only trying to showcase his or her allegedly superior intelligence.  But, once agian, it might just be a matter of perception.  By the time you're a 2L with 3 semesters of grades and a BIGLAW job, you don't seek validation among your classmates, so it's not as common for upperclassmen to gun.

I really couldn't tell you much about the international law program or how it compares to other schools.  I know that the IL profs. are highly respected at Boalt and that there is a journal, but beyond that I really couldn't tell you much.  You might want to email the EIC of the journal and ask about the program if that really interests you.  I don't want to weigh in on sometihng I know very little about. ;)
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LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

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What do you plan on focusing on over there? How strong is tax law there? How often do people kick it? Where do you all normally go?  9i went fir ug...) That's it...lemme know!

My interests right now are in Real Estate and Immigration.  I am splitting my summer between two firms in those practice areas.  Hopefully, by the end of it all, I can figure out which I would like to do.  There's also a newly acquired interest in Securities Litigation.

As with international law, I don't really know much about the Tax program.  Rakowsky is supposed to be a big shot in the field, but beyond that I can't tell you much.  I haven't even taken tax yet.

People go out fairly often.  It's not undergrad, but I guess you're used to Berkeley not being much of a party town, so it shouldn't be a huge shock for you.  I went to a PARTY school so I continue to be somewhat disappointed with the realm of opportunity to participate in all sorts of college-style debauchery, but I like San Francisco for its cultural attractions and try to take advantage of them as often as possible. 

There's a Bar Review every Thurs. night and often a kegger in the courtyard on Thursday afternoons.  The identity organizations tend to have lots of parties, so if you join one of those, I doubt you will be bored.
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desivibes

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Does Boalt take a good number of transfers from other UC schools (Hastings, Davis, etc).  or do you never see or hear about that? 

A more random question... do you feel that its significantly easier to get into Boalt if you're instate or is it about the same difficulty?  Is it the same for Hastings or Davis? 

Sorry if my questions have already been asked... I feel like no one really has an answer to these or everyone just has their own opinions.

Thank you so SOO SOOOO much!!  And congrats on being a Boalt student!!!  :)

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

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Hey Ruskie - Are there many Russians in the Berkeley/San Fran area?  Where do you hang out (if there is sufficient time to unwind)?  Do you think there is ANY possibility for a USF student to transfer into Boalt?  Either way, are legal job openings in the norcal area bountiful enough so that USF or Santa Clara grads will have little trouble finding work?  (The employment stats of the two schools seem artificially high for T3s).     


I don't think there are many Russians in the East Bay, but there are plenty in SF.  I go at least twice a month down to Geary Ave, where there are tons of Russian stores, bakeries, cafes, etc.  It's the most Russian stuff I have ever seen in one place in the US.

I try to hang out with friends outside of law school, but I think that's an approach that works for me and may not work for other people.  I do it because I have a tendency to stress law school even when I am in a purely social setting with law students, and I prefer to unwind with people who do other things and have other topics of conversation.  I attend Bar Reviews and the formals occasionally, but for me it's necessary to get out of my Boalt circle occasionally.  

SF is a VERY tough market right now.  In fact, this year's OCI results seem to indicate the people had an easier time getting jobs in NYC, DC, Chicago and LA than they did in SF.  If you want to work in SF I would advise you NOT to attend USF, Golden Gate, Hastings, etc.  These people line up behind Stanford and Boalt grads for jobs in the Bay Area, and these jobs are not easy to land.  I have a buddy at Hastings who is top of his class and on Law Review and he was *lucky* to get a job in a small firm in Sacramento...as a 2L!!!  His case is not unusual.  From what I understand, most Hastings grads actually get jobs after graduation rather than through their second summer offers.  I am not sure what, besides the ranking of the school and the relatively tough job market in the Bay Area accounts for this, but do a search for Hastings on the resume section of craigslist.com and you will see what I am talking about.  Yes, tehre are brand new layers who are Hastings grads trying to find jobs through craiglist!

Transferring is an option.  I can't tell you about specific numbers or probabilities, but I know we accepted about 30 transfer students this year and more than one of them was from USF.  It's possible, but I think it's dangerous to attend a school with the belief that you will definitely be at the top of the class.  Hastings and USF kids may have a hard time getting jobs, but they work at least twice as hard as we do and no matter what your LSAT score is, don't expect those top grades to come easily.  Those kids know more law than we do.
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LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

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Does Boalt take a good number of transfers from other UC schools (Hastings, Davis, etc).  or do you never see or hear about that? 

A more random question... do you feel that its significantly easier to get into Boalt if you're instate or is it about the same difficulty?  Is it the same for Hastings or Davis? 

Sorry if my questions have already been asked... I feel like no one really has an answer to these or everyone just has their own opinions.

Thank you so SOO SOOOO much!!  And congrats on being a Boalt student!!!  :)

See my post above about transfer information.  If you want more specifics, admissions might disclose that information to you if you call and ask.  It's worth a try.

Berkeley doesn't have a preference for in-staters, but I can't really say anything about USF or Hastings. 

Thanks and I hope this helps!

Russian by birth, Southern by the grace of God.

pinkybella

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Hey Ruskie - Are there many Russians in the Berkeley/San Fran area?  Where do you hang out (if there is sufficient time to unwind)?  Do you think there is ANY possibility for a USF student to transfer into Boalt?  Either way, are legal job openings in the norcal area bountiful enough so that USF or Santa Clara grads will have little trouble finding work?  (The employment stats of the two schools seem artificially high for T3s).     


I don't think there are many Russians in the East Bay, but there are plenty in SF.  I go at least twice a month down to Geary Ave, where there are tons of Russian stores, bakeries, cafes, etc.  It's the most Russian stuff I have ever seen in one place in the US.

I try to hang out with friends outside of law school, but I think that's an approach that works for me and may not work for other people.  I do it because I have a tendency to stress law school even when I am in a purely social setting with law students, and I prefer to unwind with people who do other things and have other topics of conversation.  I attend Bar Reviews and the formals occasionally, but for me it's necessary to get out of my Boalt circle occasionally.  

SF is a VERY tough market right now.  In fact, this year's OCI results seem to indicate the people had an easier time getting jobs in NYC, DC, Chicago and LA than they did in SF.  If you want to work in SF I would advise you NOT to attend USF, Golden Gate, Hastings, etc.  These people line up behind Stanford and Boalt grads for jobs in the Bay Area, and these jobs are not easy to land.  I have a buddy at Hastings who is top of his class and on Law Review and he was *lucky* to get a job in a small firm in Sacramento...as a 2L!!!  His case is not unusual.  From what I understand, most Hastings grads actually get jobs after graduation rather than through their second summer offers.  I am not sure what, besides the ranking of the school and the relatively tough job market in the Bay Area accounts for this, but do a search for Hastings on the resume section of craigslist.com and you will see what I am talking about.  Yes, tehre are brand new layers who are Hastings grads trying to find jobs through craiglist!

Transferring is an option.  I can't tell you about specific numbers or probabilities, but I know we accepted about 30 transfer students this year and more than one of them was from USF.  It's possible, but I think it's dangerous to attend a school with the belief that you will definitely be at the top of the class.  Hastings and USF kids may have a hard time getting jobs, but they work at least twice as hard as we do and no matter what your LSAT score is, don't expect those top grades to come easily.  Those kids know more law than we do.

Did you intentionally leave Santa Clara out of the schools NOT to attend or was this an accidental ommission?

IvanTrbl

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WOW!  Thanks for the advice, USF and Santa Clara have just been relegated WAYYYYYYY down my list.    
"I spent lots of money on birds, booze, and fast cars.  The rest I squandered." - George Best!