Work in Washington DC

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cmartin5970
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Work in Washington DC

Postby cmartin5970 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:38 pm

I got a 163 on the LSAT and a 3.5 GPA from UNC-Chapel Hill. I really want to practice law and live in the DC area and I am unsure about what school to go to. Would it be wiser to go to a better school that is outside of the DC area such as UNC or try to go to a 2nd tier school like Catholic but stay in the DC area? I am sure that alot of the jobs in DC go to graduates of Georgetown, George Washington and George Mason but my numbers are not quite on that level. What would you all do in my situation?

As of now here is what I am considering:

UNC
Wake Forest
NC Central- back up plan and I really like the civil rights program
University of Richmond
American University
Catholic University
George Mason

If there are any other schools that would prepare me well for that area or would be a good fit for me I would love any input

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Grizz
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby Grizz » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:42 pm

DC is probably the most competitive major market. Tons of grads of prestigious T14ish schools want to be there to do regulatory crap and high-profile lit. Why not retake the LSAT?

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:43 pm

DC is a very tough nut to crack. If you are white, you need to retake the LSAT. Still plenty of time to aggressively study for the October administration. Even if you don't end up at a school like Georgetown or UVA, you can get more money from the schools on your list. And that list should never include NC Central or Catholic, and probably shouldn't ever include Richmond or American.

cmartin5970
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby cmartin5970 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:45 pm

I don't want to work for a big law firm in DC or anything but I really just love the DC area and would want to just do criminal or civil rights in the DC area. I really don't know much about the DC job prospects but are the public defenders and people of that nature from top law schools? I have really wanted to do public defenders or work for low income families

tennisking88
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby tennisking88 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:50 pm

cmartin5970 wrote:I don't want to work for a big law firm in DC or anything but I really just love the DC area and would want to just do criminal or civil rights in the DC area. I really don't know much about the DC job prospects but are the public defenders and people of that nature from top law schools? I have really wanted to do public defenders or work for low income families


You should check out UDC. It's TTTT but incredibly cheap, and I think a lot of DC public defenders come from UDC.

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johnnyutah
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby johnnyutah » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:52 pm

cmartin5970 wrote:I really don't know much about the DC job prospects but are the public defenders and people of that nature from top law schools? I have really wanted to do public defenders or work for low income families

Can't speak for DC in particular, but competition for public defender jobs is cutthroat elsewhere. I'd retake the LSAT.

cmartin5970
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby cmartin5970 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:53 pm

ok great thanks i saw that, i also saw Howard and I am wondering how that would work out. so would you say if i was interested in public defender as my primary career goal because i really want to help out the lower income and try to make a difference, would it be better to go to a lower ranked school such as howard in the DC area or possibly UNC which is ranked higher but not in the area

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fltanglab
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby fltanglab » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:55 pm

Howard is an HBCU, so keep that in mind also because that would change the culture you're looking at.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:56 pm

If you are black you are in much better shape without a retake.

cmartin5970
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby cmartin5970 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:58 pm

im white, i would really love to get into civil rights or public defenders and thats why i initially started to look at NC Central...and since i know it is not going to be the highest paying job in the world i really dont think i could afford going to a school like american or anything like that.

does anybody know the job prospects and the kind of schools public defenders go to in areas such as DC?

AffordablePrep
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby AffordablePrep » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:59 pm

DC is very competitive as more tier ones try to place there first and foremost than any other single city. If you must have DC, I'd retake. If not, UNC is a very good school for NC.

Public defenders tend to go to top 14s for DC. There are loan repayment options if you do get that PI job.
Last edited by AffordablePrep on Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

tennisking88
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby tennisking88 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:00 am

cmartin5970 wrote:im white, i would really love to get into civil rights or public defenders and thats why i initially started to look at NC Central...and since i know it is not going to be the highest paying job in the world i really dont think i could afford going to a school like american or anything like that.

does anybody know the job prospects and the kind of schools public defenders go to in areas such as DC?


What I would do is research public defense offices in the DC area. Talk to their lawyers. See what schools they went to, how they got there, what the job is, etc. Do this before deciding which schools to send to.

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johnnyutah
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby johnnyutah » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:00 am

cmartin5970 wrote:does anybody know the job prospects and the kind of schools public defenders go to in areas such as DC?

In many if not most large urban areas, you will be competing with students from much better schools for positions as a public defender.

cmartin5970
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby cmartin5970 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:01 am

thats good to know!

what about in the surrounding areas such as alexandria and parts of maryland??? is it just as competitive because i wouldnt mind living outside of washington DC

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vanwinkle
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:01 am

cmartin5970 wrote:I don't want to work for a big law firm in DC or anything but I really just love the DC area and would want to just do criminal or civil rights in the DC area. I really don't know much about the DC job prospects but are the public defenders and people of that nature from top law schools? I have really wanted to do public defenders or work for low income families

The Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia is probably one of the most prestigious PD offices in the entire nation. Because all crimes in DC are handled by the US Attorney's Office, PDs have to face off against Assistant US Attorneys on all federal and "local" crimes, whether felony or misdemeanor. Because of that, being a PDS defender for any real length of time is a huge positive credential to have. Not only that, but they're paid on the federal scale, so it's pretty damn good money for a PD (better than you can make in New York, or probably any other city, to be honest). Yeah, those jobs are highly competitive and often go to people from top schools.

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fltanglab
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby fltanglab » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:02 am

I'm from the DC area (born and raised) and I'm not even sure I'm a lock for coming back home to practice. We have the highest number of lawyers per capita in the nation, so be prepared to have some sort of ridiculous connection or go to a better law school... I also recommend retaking if that's your only score. If you're looking at local schools, what about Maryland?

cmartin5970
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby cmartin5970 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:04 am

fltanglab wrote:I'm from the DC area (born and raised) and I'm not even sure I'm a lock for coming back home to practice. We have the highest number of lawyers per capita in the nation, so be prepared to have some sort of ridiculous connection or go to a better law school... I also recommend retaking if that's your only score. If you're looking at local schools, what about Maryland?


Thats a good idea, I havent looked there yet and I am from NC and I really just love the maryland, DC, northern virginia area and have been up there many times...so its not necessarily that i want a job in downtown DC but i just love the area so i will definitely check out schools in maryland

dkt4
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby dkt4 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:08 am

fltanglab wrote:Howard is an HBCU, so keep that in mind also because that would change the culture you're looking at.


howard's graduate programs are very different than the undergrad. i don't know the exact figures, but there are plenty of white graduate students at howard (not sure what the law school specifically looks like). that said, you may have better options if you're just looking to live in the DMV in general and not specifically work in DC.

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deadpanic
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby deadpanic » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:13 am

You should retake if you want DC, but I think you at least have a shot at george mason, which may not be a completely horrible idea if you can get in-state for your 2nd & 3rd years and while it may not get you a gig in DC, it should at least give you decent options in NOVA.

I would not bother with American & Catholic. you are likely to be admitted to both, but they don't give out much aid and are both extremely overpriced and will set you up with bad job prospects.

I would only go to UNC if you are comfortable practicing in NC. The top 5% or so may have a shot at a job in DC, but even that is no guarantee.

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fltanglab
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby fltanglab » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:30 am

dkt4 wrote:
fltanglab wrote:Howard is an HBCU, so keep that in mind also because that would change the culture you're looking at.


howard's graduate programs are very different than the undergrad. i don't know the exact figures, but there are plenty of white graduate students at howard (not sure what the law school specifically looks like). that said, you may have better options if you're just looking to live in the DMV in general and not specifically work in DC.


In the class of 2012, 83% were AA, 7% white, 4% Asian, 4% Hispanic, 2% other. --LinkRemoved--

Personally I wouldn't mind going there for the right reasons (if I needed to get a job and that was the best way to do so), but I would definitely keep the culture in mind and make it a factor in the decision to attend.

OP: Sounds like you're looking around the metro DC area, in which case in-house and government-associated opportunities are probably more plentiful with a few years of other experience under your belt (so not straight out of law school). In any case I think you'll change your mind about what kind of law before you finish law school, so targeting an area is probably more reliable.

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JCougar
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby JCougar » Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:38 pm

Protip: there simply aren't any jobs in DC right now. The market is saturated, yet there's only a fraction of the jobs NYC has. If you get a job out here, it's because you're on law review at a T6, or you simply had the right luck at the right time. That, or you have family connections or something.

Any strategy involving ending up here is a gamble.

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ndirish2010
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Re: Work in Washington DC

Postby ndirish2010 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:23 pm

Stay in Chapel Hill and work in NC. Or retake and get a 172+.




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