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  #31  
Old 10-14-2012, 11:56 AM
Munchkin03 Munchkin03 is offline
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Originally Posted by adpiucf View Post
That doesn't sound intelligent at all, but hey, if you have six figures to blow on an education that will never pay off, go for it. Dream big.
Wow, you are starting to sound like a Bitter Betty. Did someone pee in your coffee?

If Psi U MC Vito has done his research, which it appears he has, and understands the risks, then why can't he apply to a top law school? If he can get into a Stanford, Columbia, Yale, or Harvard--why not? He's not applying to Cooley with a 145 and a 2.5 from Jarvis Christian College and thinking he's going to roll up at Sullivan Cromwell, after all. Like I said before, the attorneys I know who went to those schools are all employed in their fields. To them, the debt's been worth it.

My skepticism in my earlier post was geared towards the OP, who seems really unprepared for the law school process in general, and might be looking to law solely due to its perceived status as a lucrative career. If you didn't go to a top undergrad and are prepared--GPA and LSAT wise--for a top tier law school, or if you don't have a guaranteed job waiting for you then, yes, your point may be valid.
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  #32  
Old 10-14-2012, 05:55 PM
KDCat KDCat is offline
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Originally Posted by Psi U MC Vito View Post
*sigh* You know, I am intelligent enough to weight the risks myself without 8 million people telling me it is a bad idea. Also I am getting really tired of the "in this economy" and "now" things. Yes I would be entering next year God willing, but it takes three years to get your degree, possibly 4 if I get into a joint degree program I'm looking at. I'm not going to base long term decisions on what the current finical clusterfuck is.

The jobs aren't coming back. The industry has undergone a structural shift and it's not going back to where it was when the recession ended. My current firm is outsourcing simple discovery work that was previously done by new associates. (review of electronic documents, medical records, etc.) to India. Corporations have found way to reduce legal costs and will maintain those cost-cutting measures. Insurance companies have instituted strict bill review policies and severely cut the amount of cases that are going to outside counsel or being litigated. Many small and mid-size firms are closing or struggling to survive. Governments are cutting hiring because of low tax revenues.

Legal hiring will pick up somewhat, but it will not go back to pre-recession levels. The schools are currently producing 2 graduates for every full time job. When this is all over there will still be around 1.5 new graduates for every new job.

That doesn't even begin to address the lifestyle issues with the practice of law. Burnout is high.

If you want to go to law school in that environment, I wish you the best. It is not a choice that I would make. I really enjoyed law school and I enjoyed practice when I started. I don't enjoy it now.
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  #33  
Old 10-14-2012, 05:57 PM
KDCat KDCat is offline
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You may disagree with me, but I don't think you have more information about the T14 than I do. I am closely involved with more than one institution in that group. A large majority of graduates still do well, even coming out of Georgetown, to say nothing of HYSNCC. It's not the sure bet it used to be, but it's still a reasonable risk for many people. I just don't agree that everybody borrowing to go to Cornell or Duke is a sucker. It's case by case.
The ABA has a database with the reported employment rate for every law school. It's sortable by percentage of graduates employed.

http://www.lawschooltransparency.com/clearinghouse/

Last edited by KDCat; 10-14-2012 at 05:59 PM.
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  #34  
Old 10-15-2012, 10:27 AM
MysticCat MysticCat is offline
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Originally Posted by adpiucf View Post
That doesn't sound intelligent at all, but hey, if you have six figures to blow on an education that will never pay off, go for it. Dream big.


Vito seems to be a smart guy, capable of assessing his resources, forecasting what he would want to do with a law degree, identifying the opportunities there might be for doing what he wants to do and making informed choices as to the risks and benefits.

The rest of us, on the other hand, are not in a position to assess any of those things. At all. So what doesn't sound very intelligent to me is passing judgment on the intelligence of his decisions.

Believe it or not, it is possible to go to a law school that is not in the T14 or T20 (or even T50), not incur crushing amounts of debt and find a good job after law school. I know enough people who have done it lately to know that it can be done.

Yes, the job market has been much tighter in recent years. But not everyone wants the job with the big firm in the big city (with the big expectation of big billable hours). And the degree to which the market has been tighter varies from region to region of the country.

Could it be challenging? Of course. But it can and does work out for lots of people.
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  #35  
Old 10-15-2012, 02:40 PM
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Since I posted above, I will clarify that I personally am not saying that people should not go to law school. I do agree with trying to be realistic about it, though.

I've enjoyed my time in school, and am not sure that I would change the decision I made before I enrolled if I could go back in time. But I honestly did not expect that I would have as much debt as I do, given that I am on a full tuition scholarship. I have really good grades, great job experience from my previous career, but I didn't get the lucrative summer jobs that I thought would take the edge off. Those summer jobs are, for the most part, no longer reality. For personal reasons I didn't foresee when I applied to law school, I wasn't able to work part time during the year as I planned on, except for one semester. So I have debt that I didn't plan on. And, I honestly thought the economy would be different by the time I graduated. It's not. That being said, there are still jobs. They simply are not as plentiful. I worry most about the person who is in the bottom 50% and doesn't have the social aptitude to network.

Plan to do well on the LSAT. Plan to work your ass off in school to be sure you are ranked well. Plan to scrimp and save on day-to-day stuff. Plan to network and get to know the attorneys in the area you plan to practice. Know the market you are getting into, which may mean going to a lower-ranked school if it is more respected and has better connections in the town you want to live in. Plan to be unemployed until after the bar exam results are published, which means a few months without a paycheck after graduation. If you are realistic, and understand that the jobs that there once were will never be around again, that's all that one can ask.

I would, however, strongly recommend anyone who tests poorly to forego law school. If you cannot handle the stress of an exam, and you don't have a parent's law firm to work in after you graduate, you are going to be in trouble.
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  #36  
Old 10-15-2012, 10:32 PM
AGDee AGDee is offline
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Nothing to add to this conversation except that when I was researching the Michigan Supreme candidates for the upcoming election, I noted that one of them attended Cooley. Should I not vote for him?
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  #37  
Old 10-16-2012, 10:20 AM
KDCat KDCat is offline
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Nothing to add to this conversation except that when I was researching the Michigan Supreme candidates for the upcoming election, I noted that one of them attended Cooley. Should I not vote for him?
He's probably not a great legal scholar. He may be a great judge, though. Some people are really good at cutting through technicalities to the heart of a problem. He may also have political biases that you like. Ie. He is more or less pro-business, pro-worker, anti-abortion, pro-GLBT rights, whatever.
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  #38  
Old 10-16-2012, 11:27 AM
Kevin Kevin is offline
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He's probably not a great legal scholar. He may be a great judge, though. Some people are really good at cutting through technicalities to the heart of a problem. He may also have political biases that you like. Ie. He is more or less pro-business, pro-worker, anti-abortion, pro-GLBT rights, whatever.
Wow. You know all of that without knowing anything but where he went to school? You're kind of coming off like a school snob.

Here in Oklahoma, one of the brightest justices we've ever had, Justice Opala, went to a then marginally accredited (and now still T4) school and did just fine. There's nothing magic in the water at higher ranked schools which makes people brilliant scholars. They just accept based on LSATs and GPAs--neither of which are 100% accurate methods to pinpoint the best legal minds.

I went to an evening program at a T4 school and every one of my classmates in my social circle had no problem finding jobs or doing what they always wanted to do anyhow--hang up a shingle.

Not all of us are even slightly interested in big law.
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  #39  
Old 10-16-2012, 12:45 PM
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The only thing she even guessed at was that he's probably not a great legal scholar, which I agree with.
If he was straight out of school, maybe you'd have something--and I'm not even sold on that. The difference between the actual instruction going on at various law schools of different tiers is not all that different.

This is someone who likely has a very lengthy resume though. To simply assume that because he graduated from Cooley, he's not a great legal scholar is assuming an awful lot without really any evidence to back it up.
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  #40  
Old 10-16-2012, 02:35 PM
MysticCat MysticCat is offline
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Originally Posted by Low C Sharp View Post
You are misreading KDCat's post. She didn't claim to know anything about him. The only thing she even guessed at was that he's probably not a great legal scholar, which I agree with.
And which I agree with Kevin is bunk. I know morons who went to Harvard. I know very good legal scholars who went to schools that don't make the top 100 list.

I work with one of those lawyers who thinks that all the "legal scholars" went to T20 schools. His reliance on this snobbish theory (and it is snobbery with him) has proven unfortunate more than once.
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  #41  
Old 10-16-2012, 03:33 PM
ASTalumna06 ASTalumna06 is offline
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And which I agree with Kevin is bunk. I know morons who went to Harvard. I know very good legal scholars who went to schools that don't make the top 100 list.
Hell, I know VERY intelligent people who never went to college at all!

Low C and KDCat - you're making assumptions about a person's intelligence/ability based solely on what school they attended. That's ridiculous, regardless of what about them you're trying to measure.
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  #42  
Old 10-16-2012, 03:51 PM
KDCat KDCat is offline
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If he was straight out of school, maybe you'd have something--and I'm not even sold on that. The difference between the actual instruction going on at various law schools of different tiers is not all that different.

This is someone who likely has a very lengthy resume though. To simply assume that because he graduated from Cooley, he's not a great legal scholar is assuming an awful lot without really any evidence to back it up.
Respectfully, I've worked with judges and lawyers who have gone to schools from every level. I've known great judges and great lawyers from schools at every level. The quality of teaching is good at most schools. The quality of students isn't, however. There is a big difference between students at Cooley and students at a Tier 1 school. I'm sure there are good students at Cooley. On the whole, though, they're not as good as students at better schools.

Edit to add: The quality of teaching at Tier 1 is better than at Cooley, though. I took classes from people who were the leading scholars in their fields. Many of them wrote the textbooks that were being used in the schools in the lower tiers. It's a different experience.

I said "probably," not "definitely," BTW. He may be a great legal scholar. However, most state judges get where they are going on the basis of political connections, not merit, so I sort of doubt it.

Last edited by KDCat; 10-16-2012 at 04:09 PM.
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  #43  
Old 10-16-2012, 03:57 PM
KDCat KDCat is offline
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Originally Posted by ASTalumna06 View Post
Hell, I know VERY intelligent people who never went to college at all!

Low C and KDCat - you're making assumptions about a person's intelligence/ability based solely on what school they attended. That's ridiculous, regardless of what about them you're trying to measure.
My grandmother was the smartest person I've ever known and she never went to college.

That said, I would not hire or even interview a lawyer who went to Cooley or John Marshall or similar. You might find a diamond in the rough, but it's not likely.
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  #44  
Old 10-16-2012, 05:30 PM
MysticCat MysticCat is offline
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Respectfully, I've worked with judges and lawyers who have gone to schools from every level. I've known great judges and great lawyers from schools at every level. The quality of teaching is good at most schools. The quality of students isn't, however. There is a big difference between students at Cooley and students at a Tier 1 school. I'm sure there are good students at Cooley. On the whole, though, they're not as good as students at better schools.
Respectfully, I too have worked with lawyers and judges who have gone to schools from every level. And I have also known great lawyers and judges and lousy lawyers and judges from schools at every level. One thing my experience has taught me is that I can't make any assumptions about a lawyer's ability, much less his or her "legal scholarship," based solely the name of the institution on that lawyer's diploma.

Low C Sharp has a point -- some schools do focus more on practice than on producing "scholars." That said, I have known more than a few "scholars" from so-called top 14 schools that have no clue how to be an effective lawyer (and who I would be horrified to see on the bench), and I know some very competent scholars and jurists who came out of third tier schools that focus on the development of practitioners, not scholars.

But I guess some full disclosure is called for. I find the "tiers" for law schools about as meaningful as the "tiers" for sororities and fraternities -- which is to say, not very meaningful at all. Yes, it probably still matters if you want a seat at the US Supreme Court, and I'm sure it still matters for big firms in places like Washington and New York. But not being in either of those situations, I've never seen much value in the law school tiers beyond bragging rights. So, I tend to roll my eyes a bit when law schools start being compared by tiers and the like.

And just in the interests of full disclosure, my JD is from a so-called "Tier 1" (but not top 14) school.
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  #45  
Old 10-16-2012, 06:22 PM
Kevin Kevin is offline
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Respectfully, I've worked with judges and lawyers who have gone to schools from every level.
Respectfully, if you're a lawyer, you know the difference between anecdotal information and real data.

Quote:
There is a big difference between students at Cooley and students at a Tier 1 school.
The only measurable difference is their undergrad GPA and LSAT scores, neither of which are 100% accurate measures of aptitude or intellect. Are the probably accurate more often than not? Sure. Does that mean a positively brilliant person might have to choose Cooley because they didn't test well and majored in beer for their undergrad degrees? It doesn't.

Quote:
Edit to add: The quality of teaching at Tier 1 is better than at Cooley, though. I took classes from people who were the leading scholars in their fields. Many of them wrote the textbooks that were being used in the schools in the lower tiers. It's a different experience.
I went to a T4 school and can claim the same thing. Further, being a preeminent scholar in your field does not equate to being a good professor. In fact, some of my best professors were adjuncts. Our adjuncts tended to be partners at the big firms in town or judges. I had a trial practice class taught by a named partner of one of the city's largest firms who has practiced in front of the Criminal Court at The Hague, the SCOTUS, etc. and a federal magistrate who is now the Dean of the school. Unless you had Clarence Darrow, I had a better trial practice experience than you did.

Quote:
I said "probably," not "definitely," BTW. He may be a great legal scholar. However, most state judges get where they are going on the basis of political connections, not merit, so I sort of doubt it.
The fact is that he's running for the Supreme Court. I'm not sure how your Supreme Court appointments process works. He may be a terrific jurist and scholar. You made a very snotty comment which attempts to categorize him because of where he went to school. Are you now digging your heels in by saying all of your judges are political appointees anyhow and those people tend not to be smart?

I'd hate to be practicing in that jurisdiction.

All that said, what you learn in law school, maybe aside from research habits, has basically nothing to do with the actual practice of law. You leave with a basic understanding of common concepts in the law, how to use and interpret statutes and regs and constitutional principles, but very little idea on how to get a case to trial, or even how to use a PACER account. Judges nor juries GAS where you went to school. Employers might at the entry level, but that's really about it. Unless you're wanting to practice biglaw or be a clerk to someone on a circuit court, a T4 or T3 school may actually be a better degree program for what you want to do.
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Last edited by Kevin; 12-28-2012 at 07:10 PM. Reason: Spelling
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