Consensus on which T-14 schools are best for...

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Consensus on which T-14 schools are best for...

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:27 am

VegasLaw702 wrote:
hibiki wrote:OP, you do understand that a lot of lawyers in these specialized fields like that the salary starts low: it ensures that only people who are kill-a-puppy serious about that area get jobs to begin with. White collar crime stuff really is interesting, but it's my impression that the only people who don't have hands on crim experience are like ballers at Williams and Connolly. So, if that's the path that you really want, you would pretty much need to go to HYS and do very well (or absolutely kill it at a lower school, though I don't know if that's really an option.)

Most importantly, if you're not willing to gun your ass off for a slot as a PD and don't have an interest in other areas of law, you shouldn't go to law school. You really need to commit yourself if you're not going down the relatively easy biglaw path.


I have an interest in other areas of law, and really I would take a job wherever I could get it. Beggers can't be choosers, especially in this market. Which is precisely why I'm gunning for T14 over lower ranked local schools, because I would rather keep my options open instead of set my sights on criminal and criminal only.


Biglaw hiring happens Fall 2L year. Hiring for PD, DA, and small/midsize firms happens 3L year (or sometimes even not until after you passed the bar). Biglaw isn't going to be a safety net for you.
Last edited by Richie Tenenbaum on Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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smaug_
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Re: Consensus on which T-14 schools are best for...

Postby smaug_ » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:28 am

VegasLaw702 wrote:I have an interest in other areas of law, and really I would take a job wherever I could get it. Beggers can't be choosers, especially in this market. Which is precisely why I'm gunning for T14 over lower ranked local schools, because I would rather keep my options open instead of set my sights on criminal and criminal only.


Keeping those options open will probably preclude you from doing crim work. People still strive like hell for work as PDs. So, unless you're going to HYS, you're probably going to have to make a choice when applying as to whether you want to try to go for biglaw or whether you want to take reasonable steps toward becoming a crim lawyer (going for cheap and gunning for a job as a PD.) They're mutually exclusive. Even something that would probably guarantee you an outcome (like getting an RTK at NYU) would preclude you from getting paid big bucks.

You pretty much need to choose what you want at the outset. Even if you're planning on riding the LRAP train, you need to take affirmative steps toward working as a PD during your 1L year, and those steps will make you less attractive for biglaw.
Last edited by smaug_ on Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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VegasLaw702
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Re: Consensus on which T-14 schools are best for...

Postby VegasLaw702 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:30 am

rad lulz wrote:Yeah see here those PD/DA offices that you're gonna want to work at (even if you think you don't now) generally want to hire people who have gone "all in" and have resumes that just SCREAM commitment to criminal work


Agreed. I just think as a 0L it would be incredibly naive to say "well I'm gonna do defense or nothing". With so many other areas of law and not a lick of education on any of them yet, I'm in no position to commit to anything until I know a little more.

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Emma.
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Re: Consensus on which T-14 schools are best for...

Postby Emma. » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:40 am

VegasLaw702 wrote:
rad lulz wrote:Yeah see here those PD/DA offices that you're gonna want to work at (even if you think you don't now) generally want to hire people who have gone "all in" and have resumes that just SCREAM commitment to criminal work


Agreed. I just think as a 0L it would be incredibly naive to say "well I'm gonna do defense or nothing". With so many other areas of law and not a lick of education on any of them yet, I'm in no position to commit to anything until I know a little more.


Riiiight. That would be naive, but this:
VegasLaw702 wrote: The excitement comes from being able to challenge the laws and make new laws via case law at the federal level. This can be done at the state level, but generally you bill more for fed cases than you would state cases, especially on appeals.

isn't?

:lol:

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Consensus on which T-14 schools are best for...

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:04 am

Criminal defense seems to be one of the few areas where you really need to come in to law school saying "this is what I want to do" and working toward it from day 1. Not saying its impossible to get otherwise, but less likely.

Anyway, OP, people have asked this already, but: where do you want to practice? Figure that our, then google for criminal law firms in the area and see what kind of background their hires have. Basically it sounds like if you want "street crimes" (federal or state) criminal defense you're looking at smaller regional firms that don't hire on the kind of biglaw schedule but hire when they need someone. If you want whitecollar you want biglaw. These things are generally not in the same firm and have different hiring practices. You really need to find examples of these firms rather than describing something most of us aren't sure really exists.

You've already said you live in Vegas, so is there an example of the kind of firm you're talking about there that you can show us?

In any case, to return to your original question, there isn't information about how t14s place into the kind of firms you're describing, because T14 is probably not the relevant metric for such jobs. The relevant metrics are experience and dedication.

Finally, there are these nifty things called PAYE, IBR, and PSLF that allow you to take a low paying job to service your debt. If you then get a not low-paying job, you go off the programs and go back to paying off the debt. But no, a lot of criminal defense firms don't pay huge salaries, either.

wisdom
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Re: Consensus on which T-14 schools are best for...

Postby wisdom » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:17 am

A few points:

1. Criminal appeals -- in terms of making law and arguing appeals, the people who get the most appeals in are actually the public defenders. They are also the ones who make the most law, especially since they're repeat players who have a more global view of what soft spots there are in the law. They can wait for a case and a client where it makes sense to make a challenge. Just look at the Supreme Court's docket for significant criminal cases. Lots are argued by the federal PD.

Private lawyers are rarely, rarely going to be doing exciting appeals. If someone is paying you, your job is to fight it out in the trenches during trial or, much more likely, negotiate a favorable plea. No client wants to hear that your strategy is to do your best at trial, but probably lose, and then try to win an appeal on a novel legal argument with a small chance of success. This calculation doesn't affect a PD the same way because, first of all, they HAVE to take the client. And, second, the small chance to make a seismic shift in, say, the law around ACCA is very important as an institutional matter.

2. Criminal practice values the experience that you gain in either a DA/USAO or a PD's office. So if you can get one of those gigs, it's by far the best stepping stone to a private federal criminal practice. If you're worried about debt servicing, gun HARD for YLS or HLS where their killer loan forgiveness programs will pay your debt while you work in a PD's.

3. In terms of law firms that are well known for federal criminal or high-end criminal work, I think you mean boutiques like Morvillo Abramowitz. If you want to see what it takes to get hired there, check out their attorney bios:

http://www.maglaw.com/lawyers/index?showProfessionals=1&searchPositions=associate

For them, there is no single law school that dominates, but they focus on hiring former SDNY/EDNY/2d Cir. clerks. So, again, the answer is to go to the schools that have the best shot at clerking (YLS, HLS, SLS), try to get a clerkship specifically in the local market you want to work in, and then pray.

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kalvano
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Re: Consensus on which T-14 schools are best for...

Postby kalvano » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:28 am

VegasLaw702 wrote:
kalvano wrote:
VegasLaw702 wrote:Pretty much, except for your incorrect assumption that my notion of what criminal law is all about is incorrect. But yes, I would prefer to avoid a PD office if at all possible, which is why the question was which T14 schools have a good track record placing recent grads into these types of firms. It isn't unheard of.



Nothing you've said in this thread in any way implies that you know much about the actual practice of criminal law.


I might not know as much as I will ~ 3 years from now, which is what law school is for, but I can assure you I have an idea. The question was which, if any, T14 schools have a track record of placing grads into good defense firms. Again, not unheard of. If you are implying that my desire to practice criminal defense outside of the typical street-crime level of criminal defense means that I do not know much about the practice of criminal law, I guess I won't argue with you. The complexity of criminal defense at the federal level can be very challenging, which is what I seek. If one desires not to work DUI and domestic violence cases, this does not mean they don't know much about criminal law, they just don't want to work those cases.



The most complex thing about federal criminal defense is understanding the Sentencing Guidelines manual so you can negotiate the best deal possible because the Feds have about a 99% conviction rate. Otherwise, federal work isn't much different from state work. In fact, state work can often be more interesting.

timbs4339
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Re: Consensus on which T-14 schools are best for...

Postby timbs4339 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:50 am

I work as an appellate clerk and the poster above is right. The lawyers "making law" are coming from the institutionalized appellate defense services, like http://www.appellatedefender.org/. The PDs are too damn overworked to take every case up on appeal. The only young lawyers I've seen before my court are from these appellate criminal offices or are ADAs.

You can get hired at a FPD out of law school, and the pay is pretty damn good (they have parity with AUSAs). But they aren't handling the headline grabbing complex cases you seem to want. All the mob bosses, big drug dealers, etc have high paid private lawyers who work in small firms of maybe 5-10 lawyers. I've even seen solos who handle murder cases for like 25K a pop.

The financial/securities stuff is almost entirely biglaw or boutique and you're more likely to see a firm that does white collar and civil stuff rather than white collar and criminal stuff. It really does sound like you want biglaw.
Last edited by timbs4339 on Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Consensus on which T-14 schools are best for...

Postby JamMasterJ » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:58 am

Yale

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BullShitWithBravado
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Re: Consensus on which T-14 schools are best for...

Postby BullShitWithBravado » Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:07 pm

Go to the best school that gives you the most $$$. If you get into two or more great T-14 schools and can't decide between them, then you can look at their criminal defense clinics and use that as a tiebreaker. Most schools list their clinical offerings on their website.

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Borhas
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Re: Consensus on which T-14 schools are best for...

Postby Borhas » Sun Apr 28, 2013 1:40 pm

whichever one has the best LRAP for PI/Govt work

whichever one doesnt have a clinic that allows you to represent defendants in court put at the bottom of the list

also probably not Yale, you don't want be be labeled as some ivory tower douche that can't relate to people (even if that is an unfair label)

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jbagelboy
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Re: Consensus on which T-14 schools are best for...

Postby jbagelboy » Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:50 pm

For white collar defense crime, go to Harvard -- your networking at HBS with the future cronies will pay off handsomely.

Although I question the guiding principles of anyone who wants to help wealthy criminals avoid prison sentences via technicalities. PDs may be less glamorous but far more rewarding

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kalvano
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Re: Consensus on which T-14 schools are best for...

Postby kalvano » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:07 pm

jbagelboy wrote:Although I question the guiding principles of anyone who wants to help wealthy criminals avoid prison sentences via technicalities.


Better than being thrown in jail without the government actually having a case.

jbagelboy wrote:PDs may be less glamorous but far more rewarding


Right, because it's much more rewarding getting the guy who traffics in child porn off on a technicality.




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