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Topics - ryanjm

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I graduated last year from law school (T50 if you think rankings other than T14 are important), and yesterday at a wedding I saw quite a few of my old law school classmates. Here is what they had to say:

"Sam" - Works at biglaw litigation firm downtown. He's at the office around 8:30, leaves around 6:30. Usually does an additional hour or two of work at home. Says "it's a grind" and generally dislikes his job. The partners work late as well, so there's little hope in sight. Wishes he had been a businessman or some kind of entrepreneur.

"Stefan" - Works at small firm doing tax law. Also considers it a grind, but hasn't worked there as long so he's still adjusting and doesn't have the same perspective as Sam.

"Wallace" - Worked for a few months as an attorney and hated it so much he went back to school for early education.

"Bram" - Didn't want to practice law and went into federal law enforcement.

"Lefty" - Clerks for a state sup ct. judge and likes it, but his 2-years are up soon and then he starts to work at a biglaw firm.

"Me" - Didn't want to practice and went into family business.

...and on and on. Point being, I don't know more than 1 or 2 of my classmates who are practicing law who actually like their job. No one at the wedding did.

I would really encourage all of you considering law school to actually go and speak with lawyers practicing in whatever area you think you want to work in. Ask 3L's at your local law school what they think of it. Just talk to as many lawyers as you can about their job. Figure out what their schedule is like. I think more than a few would be willing to give you 5 minutes of their time to help you get an idea of whether or not this is a career you really want to get into.

It's worth doing some serious research in order to avoid a six-figure mistake and 3 years of your life. So many people, including myself, had a vague picture of the realities of being a lawyer, and what the work is really like. You like to argue using logic? You like reading and writing, and you're interested in justice? Go join a debating club, create a blog, and read some legal books on your own time. Every lawyer likes to read and write and argue. But do you like working 10-12 hour days at a desk in front of a computer by yourself? Do you like doing tedious research on minute details of the law? Do you like doing tons of paperwork for partners? Do you want to deal with clients who are invariably stressed and upset because they are coming to you only with a serious problem, and you cannot offer them much consolation besides 'we think you have a good case,' or 'we think we have a good argument.' And that's not even touching on the whole billable hour problem which incentivizes working slowly and padding.

The money is nice if you can find a job, but do you want to hate getting up in the morning? These are the realities of legal work. Good luck to you guys, I was in your shoes 4 years ago on this very same board.

While studying for the bar exam these last few weeks, I came to the conclusion that if I had these books as a law student, I would have crushed every exam. Why? Because reading a case in your casebook is like digging through a pile of crap to find a nugget of gold hidden inside. Don't get me wrong, you need to learn how to read cases and pick out what is important, but if you want to really _know_ the law, and learn what you will need to ace an exam, an outline is going to help you 100x more than studying cases.

For instance, when you take a torts exam, there will be some sort of fact pattern dealing with negligence. ALL you need to know, are the elements of negligence. You need them memorized, and you need to understand how to apply each element to the fact pattern. You can learn that in about 1 hour reading an outline, maybe less. In your actual Torts class, you'll spend weeks on negligence reading all sorts of justices pontificating on all sorts of crap, but that doesn't help you answer a question your client will bring to you in the real world. You'll have tons and tons of policy discussion in class. You'll learn the how and why of everything. You'll hear your class gunners ask all sorts of insightful questions. BUT, if you want to just skip the BS and learn the law, or just get a huge head start that will clarify things and allow you to put all the minutia in perspective, here's are the books I'd get if I was starting law school all over again:

1) Barbri class note book, filled in. This is the book that you take to class with notes from the lecturers, and for some dumb reason they left blanks in them so that you actually have to attend the classes to fill them in. They are generally very good condensed explanations of every 1st year subject and many 2nd-3rd year subjects with examples and simple language.

2) Barbri Mini-conviser outline. Has an outline of every subject on the bar, most 1st year subjects are around 30-40 pages. In those 30-40 pages you will learn basically everything you would need to do well on an exam except the policy crap.

3) MBE Strategies and Tactics. This book has sample questions from the MBE (multi-state bar exam) on all of your 1L subjects plus a few 2L subjects. Around 50 questions per subject, plus a full MBE at the back so that's around another 30 per subject. It also has a 5-10 page section before each subject with helpful strategies for common questions asked in each subject and common areas of confusion cleared up.

You can buy all of these used, a 2007 or 2008 copy would be totally fine, for less than $200. Use however you like, but I'd recommend skimming through an entire subject once just to get an idea of how everything fits together. Then I'd use them as reference books throughout the year, and then finally as exam prep. If you simply add some policy explanations and cites to cases in the conviser outline, you're set.

So I guess I'm unoffically rejected after hearing that they're full and everyone will be either waitlisted or rejected. Kind of sucks that they would be full before their app deadline. I know it's better to apply early, but geez, at least save some space for people applying the last month of your admissions period :( My numbers were right in line with the majority of people who were admitted that decided to attend.

I got into 2 of the 3 law schools I applied to, and I'm still waiting on OSU, which was my #1 choice. Unfortunately, after calling the admissions office, I found out that they've sent out all of their acceptances and everyone still under review is waitlisted or rejected. I don't really want to go to the other 2 I applied to, which leaves me thinking that maybe I should wait and apply early next year. I'm almost certain that I will be waitlisted because I applied pretty late, as my numbers are good enough to get in, and right in line with what most accepted who decided to attend had.

I'm thinking maybe it would be better to work for a year, take the lsat again in june, and apply early next year. Anyone else thinking of delaying a year to try and get into a better school? Is it stupid to wait a year to try and get into a higher ranked school?(Aka tier 3 to tier 1?)

Choosing the Right Law School / OSU Moritz a black hole?
« on: April 13, 2005, 04:51:40 PM »
I've sent 2 e-mails and left 2 messages on voicemail there and never hear back from these people. It's like a communications black hole, things go in, and never come out. Anyone else having trouble getting ahold of anyone there? I'm just trying to see what's going on with my app, as they've had it for over a month with no word and seat deposits are due everywhere.

Incoming 1Ls / First thing you'll buy when you make the big bucks?
« on: April 08, 2005, 07:07:17 PM »
Ok, so we haven't even started law school, but let's talk about what the first thing(s) you'll buy assuming you're one of the single folks out there that just graduated from college and haven't yet seen a paycheck over a few hundred bucks.

-C6 Corvette. It's hot.
-Trip to the islands. Somewhere warm.

That will be my present to myself if I get a good job. What will you all get?

I thought a little bit about this, and I was wondering what you guys think:
Does the order of your sections and what experimental you recieve affect your score?
Personally I thought I got the best ordering/experimental possible. I got:

A little LR to warm up the brain and get the logic going. Then the RC when you're really focused, then some games for fun. Then more games for fun, and the easy LR on the home stretch.
Last time when I took it in October I had an extra LR section, and it was brutal to have to do LR,RC,LR--LR,LG
I wonder if the LSAT ppl have thought of this?

I'm sure this has been brought up before, but I can't find it if it has.

Can you lie and say you're black when applying to law school? If some schools actually do have lower admissions standards for URMs, it would be worth it, no?

I mean, does your official transcript list your race anywhere, or is it something you fill out on your law school apps?

I wouldn't do it even if I could, but I brought this up for shits and giggles to see what you'd all say. Hell, if you got in and they said "Hey, you're not black" you could say, "What, you're not racist are you?".

Law School Admissions / Do any lawyers actually LIKE their job?
« on: October 19, 2004, 03:13:52 PM »
I've heard a lot about the job satisfaction ratings for lawyers being really low. Does anyone know of/work for any lawyers that like their job? What kind of work do they do? Is it just the corporate whores that hate their work, or is this more of an "across-the-board" type of thing?

Law School Admissions / Starting Salaries-- Adjusted for Cost of Living?
« on: October 08, 2004, 04:49:40 PM »
Many people talk about starting salaries after graduating from the various law schools. One thing I would like to know is whether or not any of these are adjusted for cost of living expenses.

My reasoning is this:
If you go to a t-14 law school, you're most likely going to be practicing in some big city such as NYC, Chicago, LA, etc... where the cost of living is high. Thus, even if you're making $110,000 starting, it's really not much more than $75,000 at another firm in a smaller city. Has anyone checked this out?

A few sites show cost of living differences by city, and it would seem that the differences in salary might not be what they're cracked up to be...

For example, if I went to OSU and worked in Columbus making $100,000, I'd need to make $135,000 to live in Brooklyn at the same standard of living according to some sites.

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