Practicing in San Diego

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Aceee
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Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:48 pm

Practicing in San Diego

Postby Aceee » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:59 pm

Hey guys, Ive been in San Diego most of my life, and I am hoping to stay here and join the District Attorney's office eventually. As far as law schools are concerned, I know USD is the highest ranked school in the area, but it it's known for tax law. I have heard that cal western is better for criminal law, and the DA herself went to TJLS... I have searched the forums, but it looks like most people hate on it because of its ranking. Is cal western a better pick for a career with the DA?

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Great Satchmo
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Re: Practicing in San Diego

Postby Great Satchmo » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:12 pm

Aceee wrote:Hey guys, Ive been in San Diego most of my life, and I am hoping to stay here and join the District Attorney's office eventually. As far as law schools are concerned, I know USD is the highest ranked school in the area, but it it's known for tax law. I have heard that cal western is better for criminal law, and the DA herself went to TJLS... I have searched the forums, but it looks like most people hate on it because of its ranking. Is cal western a better pick for a career with the DA?


I can only give my assumptions about this, but I would assume that clinical offerings and connections are going to be a bigger deal.

I think it's probably not an issue if you go to Thomas Jefferson or Cal Western and do well, but I doubt going to USD and doing well would hurt you either...assuming you seek out similar experiences/opportunities.

People here hate on lower ranked schools, and I think there is a legitimacy to some of it. San Diego, however, seems to be a bit different of a market. If you want to practice there, you have 3 school options, and two are T4's - or you can go to a higher ranked school somewhere else if possible (UCLA/USC or above). I have family in SD that went to Cal Western and Thomas Jefferson and they are doing just fine for themselves in private practice in criminal law.

Aceee
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:48 pm

Re: Practicing in San Diego

Postby Aceee » Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:39 pm

Yah, I'm going to apply to most schools in CA, but I figured staying in SD would be best. How did your family do at those schools?

BruinsFan
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Re: Practicing in San Diego

Postby BruinsFan » Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:56 pm

I don't know specifics about criminal law, so I can't respond to any of that, BUT I have done a lot of research about Cal Western vs. USD. In all honesty, I don't think anyone really takes Thomas Jefferson seriously.

Cal Western offered me major dough and I got into USD and was trying to figure out if it was worth the extra money.

I've talked to 4 or so older attorneys 50 + who say Cal Western does a fine job educating students and their bar pass rate is high (especially for the T4 ranking). At the same time, a younger associate at the same firm said they've never even interviewed a graduate of CW and have hired USD grads.

Here's what I've decided on. If I end up staying in San Diego, I'm going to USD. Cal Western fails out the lower 1/4 if not 1/3 of 1L's and the curve is fierce, I know 2 people who've said professors didn't give out the max number of A's. Both also thought in order to keep an 80, to retain my money, is top 25% and the idea of having 1 bad class and not meeting that/losing my money is brutal. Their admissions office couldn't tell me the average GPA, which is on many other schools websites, and couldn't tell me the % of students who lost their scholarships.

At the same time, I don't know what kind of law I want to do, I'm going part time and also working my way through to help lower my debt from USD. If you get into USD, you're gpa/lsat will probably be high enough to get you some money from CW and you'll end up in the same position I am.

Since you have a much more targeted trail to follow, CW might work just fine. For me, I just didn't want to work my tail off not to have the best opportunity available.

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Great Satchmo
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Re: Practicing in San Diego

Postby Great Satchmo » Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:58 pm

Aceee wrote:Yah, I'm going to apply to most schools in CA, but I figured staying in SD would be best. How did your family do at those schools?


Honestly, I don't know, they are older family members and I never asked about grades that much. They are all in private/solo practice, so I don't think it was some sort of OCI job opportunity that they seized.

The fact of the matter, for SD, seems to be that you can go to Cal Western or Thomas Jefferson, and as long as you do well, you should be "ok". Granted, it's a gamble to go to these schools without any scholarship (or really, any lower ranked school without significant scholarship) - but if law school is what you want to do, it should be ok.

Be aware, however, the Cal Western and Thomas Jefferson, I believe, have hard curves. This can mean it's easy to lose scholarship, or if you are struggling you may just be dropped out of the school and be stuck with debt and no degree. I'm sure it happens are higher ranked schools, but I don't hear as much about it. The T4 schools with low bar pass rates have to struggle to keep their numbers of for graduation and bar passage, so by dropping the bottom portion of the entering class, they can keep numbers up a bit.

As much as people rag on T4's, and as much as there is to be very aware about these schools, San Diego seems to be fed by these 3 schools and doesn't see the influx of grads from other schools that larger markets like LA and SF may see. A lot of this is conjecture and regurgitation of what I've read/heard, so definitely do your own research.

eth3n
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Re: Practicing in San Diego

Postby eth3n » Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:24 pm

Most DA offices, especially in cash-strapped CA, will basically only hire you honestly put in the effort to prove you want to work there. As long as you intern their 1L summer or 1L fall extern if summer doesn't work out, you will have a chance. Make it clear you want to do DA.

Connections will matter more then grades or school IMHO, but at the same time I would assume they would prefer local candidates over any other. Sorry don't know anything specifically about SD.




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