International Law Career and School Choice

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Daalsz35
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International Law Career and School Choice

Postby Daalsz35 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:36 pm

Hello all,

I've been a browser on the TLS website for awhile. I applied to law school this autumn for admission in autumn of 2013, have gotten most of my acceptances and rejections back, and am going to be having some tough decisions to make.

My background:
- Graduated from Ohio Sate University this august with BA's in economics and German
- I can read, write, and speak German competently, I studied there for 6 months and passed a standardized language examination - Goethe Institute test "Business German", level B2
- I interned with the foreign service, working in the political-economic section of one of the consulates in Germany (prefer not to name which)
- I am currently working as a barback but am trying to find work as an entry level legal secretary/paralegal/legal assistant - simply looks better on a resume and would probably help when it comes to getting law student type internships, summer associate positions, etc.

My Priorities:
- I wish to pursue a career practicing international transactional law in the private sector. I think that my experience studying and working abroad, and my ability to speak a foreign language help with this.
- I want to go to law school for as cheaply as I can (obviously). Money is more of an issue for me than it might be for others, my parents helped me pay for undergrad but paying for law school I am 100% on my own
- I want to go to law school somewhere that has good international opportunities, such as study abroad, relationships with foreign law firms and institutions where students can intern, etc. ***(I am not sure whether this quality would make or break my career prospects for the sort of job I want. I've noticed that foreign law firms will post job notices on the ABA website, you can just shoot them your cover letter and resume and they'll consider it). Can someone give me a bit more insight into just HOW important it is to go to a place with good international programs/opportunities if you want to practice internationally? Is a school's reputation for such a quality a make or break deal to an employer?

My numbers and demographics:
- non minority male
- GPA: 3.45
- LSAT 159

My acceptances, rejections, and scholarship offers so far:
- Georgetown: No
-Fordham: No
-George Mason: No
-American Yes. 40-50k per year and no scholarship offer. Cream of the crop international programs
-Capital University: Yes. Enough scholarship money to make it 13k per year but they do not have any international program
-Ohio State: No
-Brooklyn Law School - still waiting. Have solid international programs but probably wouldn't give me money
-Case Western Reserve - still waiting. Have very good international programs but I wouldn't expect more money than 10k off/year
-Cleveland State - still waiting. Have international programs and an international business law journal but not well known for them. I can expect anywhere from 5k off/year to about 15k off/year.

Another concern of mine is that I'm considering deferring my enrollment until autumn 2014 so I can save more money (have about 2k saved up right now, would rather not take out loans).

Does anyone have any wisdom for me, particularly law students and other people who have been there and done that? Other people with similar priorities, situations, etc?
Last edited by Daalsz35 on Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Blessedassurance
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby Blessedassurance » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:39 pm

i have a hunch this will not end well

you should try to enter into some career with your current degree and language skills.

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Ludo!
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby Ludo! » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:41 pm

Daalsz35 wrote: Can someone give me a bit more insight into just HOW important it is to go to a place with good international programs/opportunities if you want to practice internationally? Is a school's reputation for such a quality a make or break deal to an employer?


No. Specialized programs are all but meaningless when it comes to picking a school. You need to go to the school with the best chance of getting you a job. The chances aren't good at any of these. If you really want to be a lawyer, retake the LSAT and go to a school with better employment prospects than the ones you've been accepted at so far.

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TripTrip
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby TripTrip » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:43 pm

1. There is no such thing as "international law."
2. Retake the LSAT.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, attend American at sticker.

Daalsz35
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby Daalsz35 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:43 pm

Not trying to be condescending or snotty but it is of importance to me that you mention just exactly where you are in the law school or legal career process so I know how seriously to take your advice.

rad lulz
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby rad lulz » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:43 pm

The schools you have been admitted to and are waiting to hear from suck so retake or don't go due to bad job prospects.

rad lulz
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby rad lulz » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:45 pm

TripTrip wrote:1. There is no such thing as "international law."

International transactions are very real bro, but OP won't get it from those schools.

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Ludo!
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby Ludo! » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:45 pm

Daalsz35 wrote:Not trying to be condescending or snotty but it is of importance to me that you mention just exactly where you are in the law school or legal career process so I know how seriously to take your advice.


I am a 3l at a T35ish law school. But really it doesn't matter, you're going to get the same advice from everyone. You need to retake the LSAT

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kwais
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby kwais » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:46 pm

Daalsz35 wrote:-American. Cream of the crop international programs


correction. cream of the crop marketing for their international programs. do not go to American

Daalsz35
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby Daalsz35 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:47 pm

TripTrip wrote:3. Do not, under any circumstances, attend American at sticker.


I have heard firsthand from acquaintances currently in law school that it is possible to bargain your tuition down. For example, I know someone who is currently a 1L at Ohio State and he got nearly a free ride to Arizona State. He used this pretty much to explain to the Ohio State financial aid people that the prospect of free law school was complicating his decision and that they should give him more money - and they did. 16k to 11k/year.

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TripTrip
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby TripTrip » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:49 pm

rad lulz wrote:
TripTrip wrote:1. There is no such thing as "international law."

International transactions are very real bro, but OP won't get it from those schools.

Alright, I exaggerated a LITTLE. OP could go to Columbia and do an exchange with Oxford. Then they could work in international law.

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Rahviveh
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby Rahviveh » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:50 pm

Daalsz35 wrote:
TripTrip wrote:3. Do not, under any circumstances, attend American at sticker.


I have heard firsthand from acquaintances currently in law school that it is possible to bargain your tuition down. For example, I know someone who is currently a 1L at Ohio State and he got nearly a free ride to Arizona State. He used this pretty much to explain to the Ohio State financial aid people that the prospect of free law school was complicating his decision and that they should give him more money - and they did. 16k to 11k/year.


You need peer schools to make negotiations like this though. I don't see American or any of its peers giving you significant aid.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:53 pm

Daalsz35 wrote:Not trying to be condescending or snotty but it is of importance to me that you mention just exactly where you are in the law school or legal career process so I know how seriously to take your advice.


I'm a 3L at UT. "International" private law doesn't really exist. If you want to have a shot at doing something close to it, then try to interview with biglaw firms with a somewhat big office in the country where you want to work. Then ask people during interviews how likely it is you will get a chance to work over there. Since you'll be low man on the totem pole, my guess is not very likely. (Plus, a lot of firms run foreign offices with attorneys from that country.) Maybe their answer will be different though.

That said, the schools you are interested won't get you the chance to get biglaw interviews unless you are the top of your class. It doesn't matter one iota if a law school has an international law program--what matters is if you can get a biglaw job. You need to retake the LSAT and talk to lawyers at biglaw firms with international offices and ask them how likely is it for a junior associate to start (or move) to the overseas office.

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nickb285
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby nickb285 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:55 pm

1. You will probably not get significant money from American.

2. Even if you attend American for free, you're still paying a DC cost of living (expect to pay 18k/year in rent alone if you actually want to live in DC proper) with loan money, plus the opportunity cost of three years not working or doing something else, for a 1 in 3 shot of actually having a job when you graduate: http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=american.

3. Retake the LSAT, go somewhere better and/or somewhere free, and adjust your expectations. It's fine to shoot for international law, but you need to recognize that the prospects of you actually getting a job like the one you're describing are so slim as to be nearly nonexistent, particularly if you're not going to a top school. If the only kind of law you're interested in practicing is international law, do not go to law school. Try to get a job with the State Department or something using your language skills.

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ph14
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby ph14 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:57 pm

I don't know this for a fact, but I suspect that international transactions aren't going to be more exciting or interesting than domestic transactions. You're not going to be prosecuting Kony at the ICC or anything.
Last edited by ph14 on Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

timbs4339
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby timbs4339 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:57 pm

Graduated from a T6.

First principles: there is no such thing as international law.

International transactional law is biglaw. You could work for a Magic Circle firm like Allen and Overy, Freshfields, etc, or a US firm with significant international presence (White and Case, a dozen others), doing cross-border deals for clients with funny names. I know personally a bunch of people do this. All went to a T14. It is not important, at all, to go to a school with good international programs. These programs exist to pump up law school budgets.

If this is your goal, your LSAT is simply not high enough to qualify you for any school that would be worth the sticker price. German is not one of the languages that is going to get you a significant employment boost. Even if you did speak Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, fluently, you would still not be going to any school where it would matter.

The good news is that you can still get your dream with a significant LSAT boost. You need to retake and score in the 170s. Your best bet would then be Northwestern or UVA.

Daalsz35
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby Daalsz35 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:09 pm

So far I've gathered that all that matters to employers is the name of your school and your grades. It seems lots of sub tier-1 schools spend significant amounts of money trying to convince one otherwise. Thanks for disabusing me of the notion that specializations matter, there seems to be a consensus that it's really a bunch of smoke and mirrors.

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Ludo!
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby Ludo! » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:11 pm

Daalsz35 wrote:So far I've gathered that all that matters to employers is the name of your school and your grades. It seems lots of sub tier-1 schools spend significant amounts of money trying to convince one otherwise. Thanks for disabusing me of the notion that specializations matter, there seems to be a consensus that it's really a bunch of smoke and mirrors.


This is pretty much exactly right. Good luck dude. There are a lot of great resources in the LSAT forum to help you study for a retake

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:12 pm

TripTrip wrote:1. There is no such thing as "international law."
2. Retake the LSAT.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, attend American at sticker.

timbs4339
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby timbs4339 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:25 pm

Daalsz35 wrote:So far I've gathered that all that matters to employers is the name of your school and your grades. It seems lots of sub tier-1 schools spend significant amounts of money trying to convince one otherwise. Thanks for disabusing me of the notion that specializations matter, there seems to be a consensus that it's really a bunch of smoke and mirrors.


Right. International transactional law is not entirely bullshit (unlike wanting to do international human rights law that most applicants mean), but there is no specialty program that will obviate the need for you to go through the same rigorous biglaw hiring process as everybody else. The score increase that you need is not impossible to get and you can use the time off to work in the field.

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suralin
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby suralin » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:41 pm

Daalsz35 wrote:So far I've gathered that all that matters to employers is the name of your school and your grades. It seems lots of sub tier-1 schools spend significant amounts of money trying to convince one otherwise. Thanks for disabusing me of the notion that specializations matter, there seems to be a consensus that it's really a bunch of smoke and mirrors.


I'm pleasantly surprised by OP's response. After a bunch of idiotic threads/OPs, it's nice to know that there are indeed some people who will listen to good advice without being defensive.

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TripTrip
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby TripTrip » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:46 pm

Suralin wrote:
Daalsz35 wrote:So far I've gathered that all that matters to employers is the name of your school and your grades. It seems lots of sub tier-1 schools spend significant amounts of money trying to convince one otherwise. Thanks for disabusing me of the notion that specializations matter, there seems to be a consensus that it's really a bunch of smoke and mirrors.


I'm pleasantly surprised by OP's response. After a bunch of idiotic threads/OPs, it's nice to know that there are indeed some people who will listen to good advice without being defensive.
+1

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bluepenguin
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby bluepenguin » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:56 pm

Suralin wrote:
Daalsz35 wrote:So far I've gathered that all that matters to employers is the name of your school and your grades. It seems lots of sub tier-1 schools spend significant amounts of money trying to convince one otherwise. Thanks for disabusing me of the notion that specializations matter, there seems to be a consensus that it's really a bunch of smoke and mirrors.


I'm pleasantly surprised by OP's response. After a bunch of idiotic threads/OPs, it's nice to know that there are indeed some people who will listen to good advice without being defensive.


Seriously. I've never seen anyone come around so fast, and not just come around but come from "American has cream of the crop programs maybe worth sticker" to a nascent understanding of the realities of legal employment.

Kudos OP. Good luck.

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AreJay711
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby AreJay711 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:00 pm

timbs4339 wrote:
Daalsz35 wrote:So far I've gathered that all that matters to employers is the name of your school and your grades. It seems lots of sub tier-1 schools spend significant amounts of money trying to convince one otherwise. Thanks for disabusing me of the notion that specializations matter, there seems to be a consensus that it's really a bunch of smoke and mirrors.


Right. International transactional law is not entirely bullshit (unlike wanting to do international human rights law that most applicants mean), but there is no specialty program that will obviate the need for you to go through the same rigorous biglaw hiring process as everybody else. The score increase that you need is not impossible to get and you can use the time off to work in the field.


International law is a thing. It is just theoretically dubious and there are very few jobs that all go to HYS law review people after working in the state department for 10 years.

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worldtraveler
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Re: International Law Career and School Choice

Postby worldtraveler » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:08 am

OP I am not trying to be rude, but your language background and experience abroad are really not as impressive as they seem. EVERYONE going into international law in any capacity will have experience abroad and language ability. Unfortunately, German is also not a very useful one.

If this is what you really want to do, retake the LSAT and take time off after law school to get work experience.




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