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Job Search / Recent Grad Unsure As to Future Career Path
« on: June 29, 2008, 02:26:23 PM »
Wondering if there's any other grads who are uncertain as to what type of law they want to practice, and how to move forward.

My situation is as follows: I'm a recent grad with very good grades from a T2 school. I will be a judicial clerk (1 yr position) in the Court of Common Pleas in PA, for a judge who deals with civil, criminal, and orphans court cases. I felt that a clerkship is a perfect option for me at this point: it's a nice transition from law school back to the working world, the judge is awesome and is very enthusiastic about mentoring clerks, and I'll get to watch trials in a wide variety of legal areas.

However, after the clerkship ends, I'm not exactly sure what I want to do. I know I want to be a litigator of some sort, but I'm torn between government criminal trial work or chasing the money as a civil litigator. I am about 90% sure I would find a career as a prosecutor or US Attorney to be satisfying, and would like to become a judge someday if this option is available. The only downfall I see with pursuing a career in criminal litigation is the pay.

On the other hand, I worked as a summer associate for a small insurance defense firm last summer and absolutely hated it. I couldn't imagine myself waking up every day and putting in the long hours at a small firm for minimal pay and limited partnership opportunities. I could see myself doing plaintiff's side tort litigation, and would absolutely love to open my own private practice someday after getting a few years of litigation experience under my belt.

Considering my grades and connections in the small market city I want to work, I think I will have some decent options to pursue over the next year or two. I interview pretty well and have the credentials to qualify for a position with the DA's office and the US Atty's office through their honors program. Through her job, my girlfriend provided me with contact information for a handful of attorneys at large firms in the city. I plan on pursuing all of these opportunities in addition to targeting mid sized plaintiffs firms next fall.

I realize that my immediate future will be dictated by the job market and whether or not I can make a favorable impression with these employers to land an offer. And I am certain that I would be perfectly happy in a career as a lower paid government attorney. But part of me wonders whether I could find an equally satisfying career on the plaintiffs' side and make more money in the process. Does anyone have any advice on how to move forward? Thanks for your help..

Job Search / Firm/Legal Employment Horror Stories
« on: March 31, 2008, 03:44:19 PM »
Just wanted to start a thread regarding people's "War Stories" with regards to summer or post-grad employment that demonstrated some of the horrors of legal employment. I think it would be useful to have a means of comparison for those of us considering different fields, different size firms, etc. I'll start:

I turned down $28/hr and 50-60 hr weeks in my hometown to take $14/hr (had to bargain them up from $12/hr) and 40hr week maximum to work at a small insurance defense firm in the town where my girlfriend is located. My reasons for doing so were three-fold: (1) the girlfriend obviously (2) to break into the legal market in that state/city where I will likely move post-grad (3) the people who interviewed me seemed awesome.

My duties were pretty much according to standard summer-clerk protocol: research and write memos, briefs, summarize depositions/medical records etc. The content of the first memo I ever wrote for a young associate was more or less taken verbatim and filed with the appellate court there. A motion for summary judgment I wrote on a slip and fall case was approved nearly verbatim and signed off on by an attorney from another firm who was joined in on the case. To make a long story short, the vast majority of my work product during my time there was well done and ALWAYS timely. Tack on the fact that I was literally never late to work, and only took 1/2 of a day off in the three months I worked there.

However, this firm made it crystal clear that they didn't give two shits about their law clerks. First, they stuck us in an "office" which was the equivalent of a janitor's closet. Secondly, by week two, we were informed that this firm had never extended an offer of full-time post-grad employment to a law clerk before. There was no degree of courtship whatsoever. Even on our last day of work, none of the partners/attorneys even offered to take us out and pay for our lunch. Furthermore, during the interview process, they told all of the clerks that we would have the opportunity to watch trials, depositions, etc. None of us ever saw a courtroom.

During my fourth week there, a partner for the firm asked me to compose a memo for him regarding a fire-related accident. He gave me limited facts and when I inquired more, he told me it was "my job to figure it out." I consulted with a young associate, who knew this company's paralegal very well, and suggested that I contact her. I did so, and received a fed-ex'd package of data shortly thereafter. I wrote the majority of the memo and went to ask the partner a question about one portion of it. When I told him I spoke with the paralegal, he said: "What hte @#!* are you doing. You're a f-ing law clerk. What makes you think you're so important, you're a speck on that company's radar. You better not ever f-ing call a client again, etc." Took every ounce of restraint not to leap over the table and deck this guy, and the only reason I didn't curse back was b/c I needed the job.

But here's the real kicker. Halfway through the summer, I went to my managing attorney and asked her for feedback. She emailed several of the people who I did work for and asked their opinion of my work. These people themselves came up to me and said "Person A asked me about your work and I told her youre doing a great job." However, it wasn't until my last day of work where my boss brought me into my office and told me that she "didn't feel I really wanted to practice law." She said I lacked confidence and didn't listen properly to instructions because I did not correctly summarize medical records in the format that she requested on one individual assignment(fair criticism). She provided me with none of the email feedback she received from others indicating that the work I did for them was well done.

I don't regret working there for several reasons. First, one of the young associates wrote me a glaring letter of recommendation. Secondly, I greatly improved my research and writing skills. Third, I figured that if I could endure working at a place where the vast majority of attorneys/partners exhibited little to no professionalism, that I can handle working pretty much anywhere.

I guess what I'm asking are the following:

1. Have any of you experienced a work situation that resembled mine in any fashion?
2. Am I being a giant p*ssy and is this something I shoudl "get used to" dealing with in the future if I'm to work at a law firm?

Current Law Students / Moron Tries to Bribe LSAC Employee for Copy of LSAT
« on: February 12, 2007, 09:06:08 AM »
Not sure if this has been posted already:

DA says man tried to steal law school test

Bucks County Courier Times

An aspiring attorney is in trouble with the law, accused of trying to cheat his way into a better law school.

Kevin Siangchin, 30, of North Plainfield, N.J., was arrested Thursday and charged with trying to bribe an employee of the Law School Admissions Council in Newtown Township to sell him an advance copy of the Law School Admission Test for $5,000.

Siangchin allegedly took the standardized test, which is required to get into law school, twice before and wanted to take it again to improve his score.

The test is so highly guarded that it is insured against theft and fraud for $1 million. When an LSAC employee found a note with $100 taped to her car, asking to talk to her later, she immediately called police.

“This is just about the most stupid thing I have ever seen,” District Attorney Diane Gibbons said. “When we got the call about the note and money, we thought we had a stalker or a wealthy but mentally ill person. We were blown away by how stupid this guy was.”

According to a police report, Siangchin asked the LSAC employee to contact him via e-mail. A detective, posing as the employee, contacted him and he laid out his request.

Siangchin, an engineer, used the name John Galt on the e-mail. John Galt is a character in the Ayn Rand novel “Atlas Shrugged,” about an engineer who designed a revolutionary new motor powered by ambient static electricity with the potential to change the world.

A female detective pretended to be the LSAC employee and met Siangchin on Wednesday at an area McDonald’s. He showed up with the cash, concealed inside a copy of The Economist magazine, and slid it across the table. The detective handed him a copy of the test and Siangchin walked to his car, where he was arrested.
click here

According to police, Siangchin told detectives that he knew he was doing something wrong but that he “really wanted a good score.”

Police said Siangchin added that with 120,000 people across the country taking the exam, “putting himself ahead in such a large group would make no difference.”

After his arrest, Siangchin asked detectives for his money back, police reports said.

Siangchin is charged with potential to change the world.

A female detective pretended to be the LSAC employee and met Siangchin on Wednesday at an area McDonald’s. He showed up with the cash, concealed inside a copy of The Economist magazine, and slid it across the table. The detective handed him a copy of the test and Siangchin walked to his car, where he was arrested.

According to police, Siangchin told detectives that he knew he was doing something wrong but that he “really wanted a good score.”

Police said Siangchin added that with 120,000 people across the country taking the exam, “putting himself ahead in such a large group would make no difference.”

After his arrest, Siangchin asked detectives for his money back, police reports said.

Siangchin is charged with attempted theft, criminal solicitation, criminal use of a communication device, and unlawful use of a computer.

He was released on $100,000 bail. If convicted, Siangchin could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.

Siangchin did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

My T4 had a 2.67 curve, and my T2 has a 3.0 curve. I did well enough to transfer out of the T4 yet my grades at the T2 (waiting for one class) are significantly better than they were at the T4. I was just looking for passing grades and I'm in absolute shock thus far.

Anyone else in the same boat? I don't know what it is, but it appears that the people at my new school are much more laid back b/c of decent job security in the region while everyone at the T4 was cutthroat b/c they either wanted to transfer or knew that it would be difficult to get a good job upon graduating.

Job Search / Extremely Late 2L Job Search
« on: January 04, 2007, 06:55:42 PM »
Ok so I dicked around this semester and didn't give it my all in searching for a job. I'm a transfer student at PSU DSL, and in my first semester I will likely end with a minimum 3.5/max 3.7 depending on my last 5 cred worth of grades. I have no desire to work at a large firm and realize that these jobs are probably gone at this point. While I admit that laziness is 90% of it, it can't hurt to be able to post a GPA for PSU on my resume, especially since it will be significantly higher than my GPA was at my previous school.

If I start sending out cover letters and resumes to mid sized or smaller firms in the Pittsburgh area, do you think there's still a decent chance of me landing some interviews at this point? While I lost a few credits in transferring, I don't want to just pack it in and do some unpaid internship again while taking summer classes. Any 3L slackers who were able to get jobs during their 2L summer despite procrastinating?

Transferring / Transferring to PSU Dickinson: Univ Park Campus
« on: July 31, 2006, 07:21:43 PM »
Are there any current PSU Dickinson students or transfer students that will be attending classes in UPark this fall? I'm in the midst of looking for housing, and I'm having trouble locating 1br or studio apts. If anyone knows of any 1br's/studios for rent, or is looking for a roommate for a 2br apt, feel free to send me an email at [email protected].

In any event, the UPark project should be interesting, with 40-45 2/3L's and 90 1L's.

Transferring / Will One Bad Grade Kill Me?
« on: February 04, 2006, 07:36:27 PM »
I'm currently at a T4 ranked in the top 40% of my class with a 3.0 GPA. My grades are A-, B+, B+, C-. I think the C- is reflective of a few things: last final of the semester, didn't feel comfortable with the material, sub-par professor. I'm going to apply to a few T3 schools, PSU (alum), and a T4.
Let's say that next semester I'm able to pull off a 3.3 to 3.6. Do you think those schools might look at my C- as an anomaly and use my other grades in order to make a decision? I realize that my GPA and Class Rank will still reflect my low grade, however I'm wondering whether schools will overlook a lower GPA/rank if the vast majority of my grades are a B+ or higher...

Transferring / Transferring from T4 to another T4, T3, or T2
« on: November 01, 2005, 10:09:42 AM »
I'm currently at a T4 and I'm looking to transfer mainly because I want to move closer to home, closer to my girlfriend, or both. I also wouldn't mind transferring to a school that has a better reputation, but I'm more concerned with quality of life than anything. What type of grades and class rank from a mid-upper level T4 do you think I'd need to get into another T4, T3, or possibly T2. I'm looking at applying to Duquesne, West Virginia, Pitt (if my grades are good enough), Univ of Baltimore, Rutgers (both campuses), Dickinson (PSU undergrad), and Widener (as a complete last resort). Let me know what you think. Thanks

General Off-Topic Board / Homosexuality and Flamboyancy...Honest Question
« on: February 16, 2007, 10:20:24 AM »
The latest development with John Ameachi led me to pose this question. First, before I'm targeted as a "bigot", I'd like to preface this question. I am a straight male who is 100% in favor of gay marriage. I think gays have the right to be as happy or as miserable as straight couples. Since coming to law school, I have met many homosexual males...some as students and some as professors. An openly gay professor from my former school wrote a letter of recommendation on my behalf which I'm sure was a factor in my ability to transfer to my current school.

One of my best friends from my former school was a gay guy in his early 30's. He was slightly feminine, but at the end of the day he's a bright guy in a happy relationship with a good sense of humor.  Similar to Chris Rock's skit about "Black people and N-ers", he would always say that there's two types of gay people: gay people and faggots. He said that gay people were the ones secure with their relationships who wanted nothing more than acceptance of their lifestyle. Faggots were the overly feminine, prancing, making out in public type of gay people starved for attention. He specifically said these guys gave all homosexuals a bad name. While this was merely the opinion of one gay individual, I wonder whether other gay people feel the same way.

There's a kid at my current law school who is an openly gay guy. I have a hard time understanding why he acts like he does. He always uses limp wrists hand motions, prances around the building, openly stares at other dudes crotches, and openly talks about his sexual "conquests" in front of the point where it can be heard down the hall. For some reason, his conduct is deemed acceptable where if a heterosexual male did the same thing, he would be a pig. I dont think a single girl would bother speaking to me if I walked down the hallway grabbing my crotch talking about how many girls I've banged in the last few weeks.

I have nothing but respect and admiration for people like my friend and the professors I've encountered. They're openly gay, but they appear to be comfortable with who they are, and don't need to act over the top to prove a point. On the other hand, I absolutely cant stand flamboyant gay people who appear to be putting on an act everytime they set foot in public. We get're gay

I guess my question is why there's a need to act flamboyantly? Is it merely a genetic thing, where much of this behavior cannot be controlled? If that were the majority of it, then I would change my view, but I honestly dont believe it is. Is it an attention seeking thing? Or a combination of the both? Any input from gay or straight people, whether criticism or information is appreciated.

Does anyone know if schools are open to switching you to Part-Time status after finishing your 1L? I'll be a full-time student this year...and will be taking out nearly 35K in debt to cover tuition and cost of living. If I went full-time for all three years, I'd be $105K in debt (excluding credit cards)...and with a long-term repayment plan, I could end up paying back 170K+. I figure that if I could cover my living costs, books, and part of my tuition through employment, I'd come out only 70-80K in debt...give or take.
I'm just curious how long that process would take. Would it take me 4 yrs total? or 3 and summer classes? Is anyone else considering doing this?

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