Brooklyn for non-biglaw

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Renzo
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby Renzo » Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:33 am

BLS has a good reputation on NYC for public interest. If that's what you want, and you can do it nearly for free, it's a pretty good choice.

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alexonfyre
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby alexonfyre » Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:48 am

Renzo wrote:BLS has a good reputation on NYC for public interest. If that's what you want, and you can do it nearly for free, it's a pretty good choice.



read:

Anonymous Loser wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:One thing I'll add: PI places (esp. In NY) care a lot about commitment to the job/cause. If you spend your first two years working your butt off at BLS and getting as much PI experience as you can, you'll have a leg up in job hiring over kids even at higher-ranked schools who wait until after they washed out at OCI to start looking at PI.


The other posters in this thread are discussing Personal Injury firms.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:49 am

I know a significant number of very smart people attending Brooklyn and I highly suspect they will be successful in their careers. I turned down a full ride there for NYU, but would have seriously considered it if my admission cycle had gone a little worse. It strikes me as a much more solid option than people might make it out to be, as long as you have realistic expectations.

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emhellmer
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby emhellmer » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:00 am

alexonfyre wrote:
Renzo wrote:BLS has a good reputation on NYC for public interest. If that's what you want, and you can do it nearly for free, it's a pretty good choice.



read:

Anonymous Loser wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:One thing I'll add: PI places (esp. In NY) care a lot about commitment to the job/cause. If you spend your first two years working your butt off at BLS and getting as much PI experience as you can, you'll have a leg up in job hiring over kids even at higher-ranked schools who wait until after they washed out at OCI to start looking at PI.


The other posters in this thread are discussing Personal Injury firms.


Rude and unessesary. I started the thread, and never specifically mentioned personal injury. I mentioned civil litigation, and some assumed I was interested in personal injury. I mentioned immigration and family law, and others assumed I was interested in public interest. In fact, the first poster who used the term "PI" was using it to mean public interest, and others have echoed this opinion that BLS has a good reputation for public interest. Another poster mentioned personal injury work in New Orleans. As far as I can tell, that is one of the better legal areas in NOLA, so I can understand why he mentioned it. I am happy to hear all of these opinions.

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alexonfyre
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby alexonfyre » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:08 am

emhellmer wrote:
alexonfyre wrote:
Renzo wrote:BLS has a good reputation on NYC for public interest. If that's what you want, and you can do it nearly for free, it's a pretty good choice.



read:

Anonymous Loser wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:One thing I'll add: PI places (esp. In NY) care a lot about commitment to the job/cause. If you spend your first two years working your butt off at BLS and getting as much PI experience as you can, you'll have a leg up in job hiring over kids even at higher-ranked schools who wait until after they washed out at OCI to start looking at PI.


The other posters in this thread are discussing Personal Injury firms.


Rude and unessesary. I started the thread, and never specifically mentioned personal injury. I mentioned civil litigation, and some assumed I was interested in personal injury. I mentioned immigration and family law, and others assumed I was interested in public interest. In fact, the first poster who used the term "PI" was using it to mean public interest, and others have echoed this opinion that BLS has a good reputation for public interest. Another poster mentioned personal injury work in New Orleans. As far as I can tell, that is one of the better legal areas in NOLA, so I can understand why he mentioned it. I am happy to hear all of these opinions.


I apologize if I misunderstood, but generally civil litigation, when combined with immigration and family law, is taken to mean Personal Injury, Worker's Comp, Maritime, Products Liability, Med-Mal, and so on, but can colloquially be called personal injury or PI. Not having seen you say anything about public interest, we were trying to politely inform people in this thread as PI on TLS traditionally means Public Interest and we didn't want further confusion. The term has to this point been used exclusively used as public interest, but there is still a large potential for confusion as both terms are being discussed.

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emhellmer
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby emhellmer » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:23 am

I apologize if I misunderstood, but generally civil litigation, when combined with immigration and family law, is taken to mean Personal Injury, Worker's Comp, Maritime, Products Liability, Med-Mal, and so on, but can colloquially be called personal injury or PI, not having seen you say anything about public interest, we were trying to politely inform people in this thread as PI on TLS traditionally means Public Interest and we didn't want further confusion.


I agree with you on the need to clarify the termonology. You seem to know a lot about this, so I'm going to pick your brain. I understand why lawyers who work in personal injury, malpractice, etc. are not viewed very favorably by the general public (ambulance chasers). However, I find it odd that these areas of legal practice are so derided by TLS posters. All of the PI lawyers I know are RICH, and John Edwards made tens (hundreds?) of millions as a malpractice lawyer. So many on this forum seem mainly concerned with earning potential and look very favorably towards landing a biglaw job (I presume doing transaction work?), yet look at civil litigation as if it were the worst possible kind of work any lawyer could do. Why is that?

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alexonfyre
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby alexonfyre » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:12 am

emhellmer wrote:
I apologize if I misunderstood, but generally civil litigation, when combined with immigration and family law, is taken to mean Personal Injury, Worker's Comp, Maritime, Products Liability, Med-Mal, and so on, but can colloquially be called personal injury or PI, not having seen you say anything about public interest, we were trying to politely inform people in this thread as PI on TLS traditionally means Public Interest and we didn't want further confusion.


I agree with you on the need to clarify the termonology. You seem to know a lot about this, so I'm going to pick your brain. I understand why lawyers who work in personal injury, malpractice, etc. are not viewed very favorably by the general public (ambulance chasers). However, I find it odd that these areas of legal practice are so derided by TLS posters. All of the PI lawyers I know are RICH, and John Edwards made tens (hundreds?) of millions as a malpractice lawyer. So many on this forum seem mainly concerned with earning potential and look very favorably towards landing a biglaw job (I presume doing transaction work?), yet look at civil litigation as if it were the worst possible kind of work any lawyer could do. Why is that?


You could write a book on this one, but I will try to explain things briefly and hopefully clearly.

Make no bones about it, this is a grimy industry. I have lived and worked in it nearly my entire life, I have seen it from the lawyers point of view (from the poorest sole practitioner with a single case to the multi-state $100m+ operations,) the doctors', the plaintiffs' and the banks', so unlike most things I say on TLS (or most things most people say) I happen to have a lot of first hand knowledge on the subject.
The critical difference between PI (for simplicity's sake, this will include all of the aforementioned areas of civil litigation, but not med-mal) and other type of law is that the attorney gets paid based on the settlement, and only on the settlement. If you don't win, you don't get paid; by the same token, the bigger you win, the bigger you get paid. On the face of things, this seems to be an optimal way to ensure that the lawyer will zealously advocate for his client, as their interests are entwined. But it can't be that easy can it? There has to be some problem here, otherwise why do they get a bad rep?
Well, there are really two things. The first is that the attorney is only zealously advocating for his client in order to establish liability and damages. Once the case is won, and the lawyer's payday is guaranteed, it is a matter of making the settlement higher and higher (in order to increase the lawyer's fee.) The easiest way to reliably increase the fee for a case is to drive up the medical costs, since any necessary medical treatment that can be directly linked to the injury should be covered. The necessity of these treatments are questionable, but are very difficult for a defense attorney to disprove in court if it happens to get that far so they will often just accept the charges as-is.
The result of this is that the settlement (and thus the attorney's paycheck) is rising, while the plaintiff is getting the same amount, or less and having to endure months of medical treatment that may or may not even be necessary. At the end of the case, the lawyer will ask every single person who is owed money if they can get a discount, to somewhat mitigate the fact that their client is getting 1/3 to 1/2 of what they are getting.
And this happens to tens of thousands of people a year.
In addition to this, you have views that have been popularized by the media of the malingering client and his attorney who puts the neck brace on as they enter the courtroom. This is actually untrue, and most PI attorneys won't touch a malingering client with a 10-foot pole (and not only because that might "aggravate their spinal condition" and cost them thousands.) Despite this, it is a popular lay opinion.
Other unfortunate factors include lawyers having to pay clients to keep their cases, doctors paying lawyers to send high paying PI clients, doctors raising their prices to astronomical levels and the overall commodification of clients that occurs as a result.
Add on top of this that the cases tend to be rote, and aside from catastrophic cases and complex litigation, it requires about the same amount of legal acumen as doc review. The things that make PI attorneys better are the ability to settle the cases faster and higher (generally as a result of having a reputation established and a good office staff,) but that rarely has anything to do with good lawyering, so some lawyers see them less as "lawyers" than glorified negotiators and can be jealous of making half as much doing "legitimate" legal work in twice as many hours.


Med-Mal lawyers sue doctors, and can thoroughly ruin a man's career over any slight mistake. Because of their overzealous pursuit of the doctors (which extends well beyond the noble cause of exacting justice for an injured or killed client,) the MDs must order every test they can think of and any treatments they think might have a chance of helping, otherwise they may be sued for malpractice; but sometimes they STILL get sued for malpractice, so they have to carry exorbitantly expensive malpractice insurance, even if they never actually need to use it. Since med-mal lawyers can't feed their children unless they find some sort of error with a doctor's work they tend to dig up anything and everything, and the more they dig up, the more cautious the doctors are, and the more cautious they are, the more tests and treatments they will do, and the higher their prices will be (to manage the risk.)
Part of the reason that socialized medicine won't work in the United States is because of Med-Mal.

As you can see, these lawyers are not being paid a professional fee, as most professionals would be, but they are profiting off of the legal system itself and then advertise "$250,000 settlements" which the client got $35,000 and the lawyer got almost $100,000. There is a lot of dishonesty, bending of the truth and chicanery involved in making money on personal injury, but most of the lawyers themselves are genuinely good people, and most of them have their hearts in the right place, but the system of incentives within this industry makes these issues unavoidable.

traffic.lawyer
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby traffic.lawyer » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:32 am

I just got my acceptance letter to Fordham on Friday and now I'm faced with making a decision between BLS and Fordham. Some of the options I'm considering are:

Brooklyn is offering me a $16,000 grant
BLS vs. Fordham Ranking
Proximity to home - BLS = 60 min commute, Fordham 20 min
Employment after school

Can anyone give me their opinions of these schools and why one might be better than the other? If you attended Fordham or BLS and have personal experiences to share?

Thanks in advance!
Last edited by traffic.lawyer on Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:33 am, edited 2 times in total.

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emhellmer
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby emhellmer » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:44 am

Make no bones about it, this is a grimy industry.
The critical difference between PI (for simplicity's sake, this will include all of the aforementioned areas of civil litigation, but not med-mal) and other type of law is that the attorney gets paid based on the settlement, and only on the settlement. If you don't win, you don't get paid; by the same token, the bigger you win, the bigger you get paid. On the face of things, this seems to be an optimal way to ensure that the lawyer will zealously advocate for his client, as their interests are entwined. But it can't be that easy can it? There has to be some problem here, otherwise why do they get a bad rep?
Well, there are really two things. The first is that the attorney is only zealously advocating for his client in order to establish liability and damages. Once the case is won, and the lawyer's payday is guaranteed, it is a matter of making the settlement higher and higher (in order to increase the lawyer's fee.) The easiest way to reliably increase the fee for a case is to drive up the medical costs, since any necessary medical treatment that can be directly linked to the injury should be covered. The necessity of these treatments are questionable, but are very difficult for a defense attorney to disprove in court if it happens to get that far so they will often just accept the charges as-is.
The result of this is that the settlement (and thus the attorney's paycheck) is rising, while the plaintiff is getting the same amount, or less and having to endure months of medical treatment that may or may not even be necessary. At the end of the case, the lawyer will ask every single person who is owed money if they can get a discount, to somewhat mitigate the fact that their client is getting 1/3 to 1/2 of what they are getting.
And this happens to tens of thousands of people a year.
In addition to this, you have views that have been popularized by the media of the malingering client and his attorney who puts the neck brace on as they enter the courtroom. This is actually untrue, and most PI attorneys won't touch a malingering client with a 10-foot pole (and not only because that might "aggravate their spinal condition" and cost them thousands.) Despite this, it is a popular lay opinion.
Other unfortunate factors include lawyers having to pay clients to keep their cases, doctors paying lawyers to send high paying PI clients, doctors raising their prices to astronomical levels and the overall commodification of clients that occurs as a result.
Add on top of this that the cases tend to be rote, and aside from catastrophic cases and complex litigation, it requires about the same amount of legal acumen as doc review. The things that make PI attorneys better are the ability to settle the cases faster and higher (generally as a result of having a reputation established and a good office staff,) but that rarely has anything to do with good lawyering, so some lawyers see them less as "lawyers" than glorified negotiators and can be jealous of making half as much doing "legitimate" legal work in twice as many hours.

Med-Mal lawyers sue doctors, and can thoroughly ruin a man's career over any slight mistake. Because of their overzealous pursuit of the doctors (which extends well beyond the noble cause of exacting justice for an injured or killed client,) the MDs must order every test they can think of and any treatments they think might have a chance of helping, otherwise they may be sued for malpractice; but sometimes they STILL get sued for malpractice, so they have to carry exorbitantly expensive malpractice insurance, even if they never actually need to use it. Since med-mal lawyers can't feed their children unless they find some sort of error with a doctor's work they tend to dig up anything and everything, and the more they dig up, the more cautious the doctors are, and the more cautious they are, the more tests and treatments they will do, and the higher their prices will be (to manage the risk.)
Part of the reason that socialized medicine won't work in the United States is because of Med-Mal.

As you can see, these lawyers are not being paid a professional fee, as most professionals would be, but they are profiting off of the legal system itself and then advertise "$250,000 settlements" which the client got $35,000 and the lawyer got almost $100,000. There is a lot of dishonesty, bending of the truth and chicanery involved in making money on personal injury, but most of the lawyers themselves are genuinely good people, and most of them have their hearts in the right place, but the system of incentives within this industry makes these issues unavoidable.


Thanks for the response. I guess the I am confused by the fact that these guys are somehow less prestigious than the Exxon lawyers who helped that company evade financial liability for the valdez oil spill for decades. Yet most on here would give anything to be an exxon lawyer.

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paratactical
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby paratactical » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:48 am

emhellmer wrote:
paratactical wrote:
emhellmer wrote:I lived in NOLA for many years, love it, but I don't know about spending the rest of my life there. Which is where a Tulane or Loyola degree will probably get me.


FWIW, and not to be a Debbie Downer, the schools you're talking about are all putting you at spending a very long time in the area where you go to school, so I would really hesitate to choose a place like BLS if you've never lived in NYC before. Have you lived there? Sorry if I missed it!


The fact that I am choosing a lifetime home is one of the things that makes my decision very difficult. I like to move. I've lived in New Orleans, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Dallas, Tulsa, Austin, LA, even Mexico City. Never New York. Its my understanding that this town was built by people who arrived on a boat from another continent with little more than the clothes on their back; I'm sure I'll be fine. However, the cost of living does get me down, as I find neither suburbs nor $3000/mo. studio apartments to be very appealing. Brooklyn Heights looks reasonbly affordable though, considering the neighborhood.

I've lived in San Fran, LA, NYC and Boston and been all over. I totally understand. If you ever have any questions on NYC, feel free to PM me and we can discuss! Though, be forewarned - I lived there for almost six years. I loved it for the first four but the during the last two, the city really got to me.

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alexonfyre
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby alexonfyre » Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:03 am

emhellmer wrote:
words


Thanks for the response. I guess the I am confused by the fact that these guys are somehow less prestigious than the Exxon lawyers who helped that company evade financial liability for the valdez oil spill for decades. Yet most on here would give anything to be an exxon lawyer.


100% of Exxon lawyers had a higher salary than 99.9% of "shitlaw" lawyers. In that case, the plaintiff attorneys are looked down upon for being poor/selling their souls too cheaply. Also, getting a multi-billion dollar legal mess like the Exxon Valdez spill requires a lot more brilliant lawyering (regardless of it's ethicality, it was impressive,) than convincing an insurance company that Joe-from-the-street's broken arm is worth $50,000 because of 6 months of surgery and rehab.
Not saying that these views are justified, only that that is how it works; but don't worry, plenty of people despise the corrupt corporate lawyers just as much.

Renzo
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby Renzo » Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:08 pm

alexonfyre wrote:Part of the reason that socialized medicine won't work in the United States is because of Med-Mal.




I was mostly with you until here.

I'll bet you a ham sandwich you've never known anyone who tried to sue the US government (e.g. a VA hospital, a federally funded community care center, a military hospital) for med mal. In federal court, with no jury, under the crazy timely-filing and administrative exhaustion rules of the FTCA is NOT where any plaintiff's lawyer wants to be. Hell, we could probably wipe out nearly all med mal litigation by properly socializing healthcare.

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alexonfyre
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby alexonfyre » Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:19 pm

Renzo wrote:
alexonfyre wrote:Part of the reason that socialized medicine won't work in the United States is because of Med-Mal.




I was mostly with you until here.

I'll bet you a ham sandwich you've never known anyone who tried to sue the US government (e.g. a VA hospital, a federally funded community care center, a military hospital) for med mal. In federal court, with no jury, under the crazy timely-filing and administrative exhaustion rules of the FTCA is NOT where any plaintiff's lawyer wants to be. Hell, we could probably wipe out nearly all med mal litigation by properly socializing healthcare.


I wasn't referring to the likelihood of a lawsuit against the government, but that Med-Mal has driven up medical costs so far as to be entirely prohibitive for the government to afford them. The healthcare bill set up the government sort of like a large insurance company which would cover all Americans, so you could still sue a doc for malpractice and it would be on him or his hospital to pay the judgement. Even if it weren't the case, the costs of medical care RIGHT NOW even with steep insurance discounts are exorbitant, and a large part of the reason for those prices is the prevalence of medmal.

traffic.lawyer
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby traffic.lawyer » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:24 am

thanks to u all for your appreciation....................

FiveSermon
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby FiveSermon » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:25 am

Sounds like a solid choice considering your career goals and expectations.

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:42 am

traffic.lawyer wrote:thanks to u all for your appreciation....................

Start your own thread.

rose711
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby rose711 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:11 am

I think that Brooklyn would be a good choice if you can keep your debt down. The thing is there are a lot of places to get involved, volunteer, make contacts in NYC. If you want to live in NYC, then go to Brooklyn and make as many contacts as you can.

Yes, New York is expensive but people make it here on a lot less than $160,000 a year. You will learn how to manage.

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AssociateX
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby AssociateX » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:36 pm

emhellmer wrote:Hello all. I got pretty close to a full ride to BLS and am considering it over higher ranked schools in other areas that have also given me big scholarships. I'm interested in family, immigration, and civil litigation (shitlaw...but I know several such lawyers who are very happy with what they do). Frankly, I just like Brooklyn and think that New York would be a nice place to hang my hat. However, I am a little nervous considering that this is such a saturated market. Does rank even matter for fools pursuing shitlaw? Can such an attorney afford to live anywhere decent in New York? Any insight would be appreciated (but please understand that I am familiar with the conventional TLS wisdom on rank, debt, biglaw, etc.) Thanks!


Only big law firms and certain elitist firms make a stink about law school ranking, if you want to work at a small firm, take the law school which offers you the least amount of debt and the option of pursuing your career path.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Brooklyn for non-biglaw

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:33 pm

alexonfyre wrote:I apologize if I misunderstood, but generally civil litigation, when combined with immigration and family law, is taken to mean Personal Injury, Worker's Comp, Maritime, Products Liability, Med-Mal, and so on, but can colloquially be called personal injury or PI.

Wow, this is just wrong. Family law and immigration law both fall under the traditional umbrella of civil legal aid services, which are pretty big in NYC, and "public interest", along with other civil litigation matters.




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