University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

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USAIRS
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University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby USAIRS » Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:05 pm

Shoot.

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whyamidoingthis
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby whyamidoingthis » Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:10 pm

What did you think of your fellow students? Were they fun? Nice? Did you graduate with a network that you feel you can draw on in the future?

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Whatisthis
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby Whatisthis » Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:15 pm

I've heard some negative things about its atmosphere and the workload there. Is it really where fun goes to die? Also, did you find the small class size helpful as far as job prospects go?

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Peter Griffin
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby Peter Griffin » Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:18 pm

When was your first Harold's-Chicken-induced heart attack? Seriously. I would be 20 pounds heavier if I lived anywhere near that joint.

USAIRS
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby USAIRS » Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:46 pm

whyamidoingthis wrote:What did you think of your fellow students? Were they fun? Nice? Did you graduate with a network that you feel you can draw on in the future?


My official answer, "They were incredibly smart, amiable, charming, and talented people."

Now, I am not saying that it isn't true, but I am not the kind of person that would spend my time complaining about other people, whether coworkers, fellow alumni, or family. I realized long ago that every person you meet can either add or diminish your reputation.

I also have no qualms about cold-calling anyone, including alumni, whether I know them personally or not. It is a skill you develope out of necessity as a litigator.

That being said, there is something about the uniqueness of the UofC experience that binds us all together. It is sort of like having been in the same squadron in WWII. I had a case against a 20 year alumnus recently and we talked for about 15 minutes about "the place where fun goes to die." We also had one of the same professors.

About 8 of us got together a month ago for dinner. I have a few very close friends that I speak to regularly. And, btw, I am out in California, not Chicago. I am constantly amazed at the number of alumni I run into, especially judges.

USAIRS
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby USAIRS » Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:57 pm

Whatisthis wrote:I've heard some negative things about its atmosphere and the workload there. Is it really where fun goes to die? Also, did you find the small class size helpful as far as job prospects go?


I had a lot of fun in Chicago. Too much fun, and I was not one of the people who particularly enjoyed law school. Not UofC in particular, I just find that most litigators are type "A" personality type while I am definitely type "B." I generally prefer the company of non-lawyers to lawyers and I spent most of my time in Chicago with non-law students. I lived in the International House-highly recommended- and on the northside for the last two years.

The workload is what you make of it, but you are brought to a higher level if you allow yourself to be motivated by the intensity of your fellow students. As it says in the Dean's message, the Law School is not for everyone. It is known for intellectuallism, rigor, and toughness, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I, for one, didn't go to law school to be unchallenged, I went there to reap the rewards of intense learning-and the recognition I receive for having chosen that path.

ETA: As to class size, I think it made a difference in terms of my overall experience and networking as noted above. I think the employment differences are ineffible, though, because it is impossible to discern UofC's reputation from its roots in things like class size and close interaction with professors.

USAIRS
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby USAIRS » Fri Dec 05, 2008 3:02 pm

Peter Griffin wrote:When was your first Harold's-Chicken-induced heart attack? Seriously. I would be 20 pounds heavier if I lived anywhere near that joint.


I was a Kenny's fan myself. I preferred ribs to chicken. The food in chicago is seriously awesome, if you are into large amounts of moderately priced death-food like I am. I am paying for it now, though :cry:

USAIRS
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby USAIRS » Fri Dec 05, 2008 3:11 pm

Peter Griffin wrote:When was your first Harold's-Chicken-induced heart attack? Seriously. I would be 20 pounds heavier if I lived anywhere near that joint.


By the way, I was in the best shape of my life in my third year thanks to the Ratner Gym, despite my eating habits. It is fairly new (within the last 6 years), very, very nice and free membership for law students. Especially loved the pool.

Jay Obee
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby Jay Obee » Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:45 pm

How many years since you graduated?

Is it true that employers don't care about your grades/class rank after your first job?

USAIRS
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby USAIRS » Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:20 am

Jay Obee wrote:How many years since you graduated?

Is it true that employers don't care about your grades/class rank after your first job?


1. About 5

2. I've had two lateral moves so far. For my first lateral, after about a year of experience, I interviewed for two positions and only the one that hired me asked about my grades. My grades were pretty mediocre, so I gave a little spiel on how the UofC doesn't rank and doesn't give standard grades because of its belief that its students shouldn't really compared to students from other schools, and how my average is roughly equivalent to a B (even though below median according to our scale), yada, yada, yada. They (the panel) bought it, as they should have-because it was true. FWIW, apparently I was hired over a Stanford grad who apparently had a lot of Cs, before the changed their grading system, so that was a good move for Stanford.

My second job didn't seem to care at all about my grades. I don't think they even asked for a transcript until after I was hired. They did, however, check my references very diligently. They also didn't interview anyone else for the position, since it was one of those jobs that you get through connections and reputation, rather than advertised. So, yeah, eventually your grades won't matter, at least for some positions so far. On the other hand, grades didn't really matter in my first lateral either because I am pretty sure I wouldn't have got the job if they did. I think going to Chicago, and the weird grading system, alleviates a lot of that concern.
Last edited by USAIRS on Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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NoodlesHighChief
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby NoodlesHighChief » Sun Dec 07, 2008 3:17 pm

How quality are the girls? Other threads on TLS have been hating on UofC girls.

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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby USAIRS » Sun Dec 07, 2008 7:49 pm

NoodlesHighChief wrote:How quality are the girls? Other threads on TLS have been hating on UofC girls.


Well, coming from a larger undergrad I think I, and others, may have gotten used to dating dumb hot girls. Well, you'll find women at Chicago who are quality, but no dumb hot girls. It's a bit of an adjustment. Date intelligent women? Wuh? A lot of people found their life partners there. I think that's great. As noted above, I don't prefer the company of other attorneys, so I looked elsewhere (although I had a few experiences with UofC women that weren't bad). I ended up marrying a UofC grad student from another school.

As a UofC Law student, my game stepped up a lot. Much like our employment prospects, everyone knows about the UofC's reputation, women like (future) lawyers, and there are so few of us that many feel compelled to give you a shot just for the hell of it. I dated a lot my first year. Probably dated 20 women first year, maybe more if you count certain things. UIC, depaul, Northwestern, Chicago grad schools, working women, med students: they all love UofC. If that is your thing, you'll be just fine, no "law goggles" required.

Wally.
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby Wally. » Mon Dec 08, 2008 2:20 am

I'm at Chicago right now. I have my Elements final with Strauss next week, and Civil Procedure as well.

I'm a bit surprised by your comments about the girls. I haven't had much game, but I suppose I can blame myself for that. Most of the girls at our law school are charming and intelligent, and I'm friends with most of them.

I'm surprised that you lived in iHouse. These days, everyone is at Regents or New Graduate. A few chose graduate housing, too, like the big building on 61st.

Do you have any advice for an aspiring litigator? Should I continue taking many more procedure courses, like Criminal Procedure, during the next two years?

USAIRS
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby USAIRS » Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:28 am

Wally. wrote:I'm at Chicago right now. I have my Elements final with Strauss next week, and Civil Procedure as well.

I'm a bit surprised by your comments about the girls. I haven't had much game, but I suppose I can blame myself for that. Most of the girls at our law school are charming and intelligent, and I'm friends with most of them.

I'm surprised that you lived in iHouse. These days, everyone is at Regents or New Graduate. A few chose graduate housing, too, like the big building on 61st.

Do you have any advice for an aspiring litigator? Should I continue taking many more procedure courses, like Criminal Procedure, during the next two years?


Good ol' Strauss. I'm sure you'll do great. He's been teaching elements for a while and the sample answers are useful.

I'm not sure what would surprise you about my comments. I didn't mean to imply that they were anything but great, just that I didn't find my personality compatible with dating future lawyers. I can see your game issues from just reading your post. You can't be friends with most girls and be running game on them as well :wink:

Everyone lived at regents and new grad when I was there, too. But how many hot Spanish women lived in Regents? How is another law student going to meet you discretely in new grad without the whole school knowing? I digress.

Good question re:litigator. Ending up in litigation is pretty easy. You'll do it by default. You'll get something out of Chicago, no doubt. However, litigation is a really broad field. There is a huge difference between state court and federal court, and between insurance defense and securities litigation. You would be wise to think about these things in terms of what would fit your background best and what you would enjoy, otherwise the firm will pick for you. That isn't the worst thing in the world, you may get lucky, and being specialized can put you out of the running if they don't have any need in that department. Nonetheless, you should have some idea of what is available and how to get there. You may be wasting your time in criminal procedure, for example, if you intend on working in a big firm where they primarily work in civil litigation.

Generally, and I am sure you have an idea about this, clerkships are great experience for litigators. They have general prestige, of course, but a real practical application to litigation and everyone recognizes that. I've said this before, but it bears repeating:You can get a clerkship from the middle of the class at Chicago. I've seen it done. References matter a lot. Participate and do well in a couple classes or work as a research assistant and you will have some great references. There are certain things that you have less control over: You can't walk onto a clinic, you can't walk onto a journal, and it is very hard to win the moot court competition. But, you can try to get one of your major papers published, enter extra moot court comps outside of the Law School (UofC may pay for it and travel if you ask), enter extra-chicago writing competitions, and volunteer in a non-law school clinic.

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jayhawkai
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby jayhawkai » Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:47 am

Great info so far. Just sent my app in this morning.

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NoodlesHighChief
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby NoodlesHighChief » Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:21 am

USAIRS wrote:
NoodlesHighChief wrote:How quality are the girls? Other threads on TLS have been hating on UofC girls.


Well, coming from a larger undergrad I think I, and others, may have gotten used to dating dumb hot girls. Well, you'll find women at Chicago who are quality, but no dumb hot girls. It's a bit of an adjustment. Date intelligent women? Wuh? A lot of people found their life partners there. I think that's great. As noted above, I don't prefer the company of other attorneys, so I looked elsewhere (although I had a few experiences with UofC women that weren't bad). I ended up marrying a UofC grad student from another school.

As a UofC Law student, my game stepped up a lot. Much like our employment prospects, everyone knows about the UofC's reputation, women like (future) lawyers, and there are so few of us that many feel compelled to give you a shot just for the hell of it. I dated a lot my first year. Probably dated 20 women first year, maybe more if you count certain things. UIC, depaul, Northwestern, Chicago grad schools, working women, med students: they all love UofC. If that is your thing, you'll be just fine, no "law goggles" required.



20+ girls your first year? Impressive. Did you ever study? Also, great insight on housing. UofC is my first choice and if I get in I will certainly be looking to your candid advice for guidance.

USAIRS
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby USAIRS » Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:03 pm

NoodlesHighChief wrote:
20+ girls your first year? Impressive. Did you ever study? Also, great insight on housing. UofC is my first choice and if I get in I will certainly be looking to your candid advice for guidance.


There were a lot of single dates, but I had my weekends full. I worked two jobs and managed a full load in undergrad, so living on loans and only worrying about school felt like a vacation. IMO, having a girlfriend took up more time than dating. I-House is dorm-style, but great for the UofC social life. I lived there my 3rd year. It really expands your social network and you'll be invited to a lot more diverse social events. Europeans know how to party. I also lived in hyde park with a roommate for 9 months and on the far northside for about a year and then for 6 months after graduating. Northside was best for meeting random single folk and for heading up to Evanston.

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NoodlesHighChief
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby NoodlesHighChief » Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:15 pm

Do you have any insight on Environmental Law and Legal Philosophy at UofC? I hear more about NYU's expertise in those fields. I am sure UofC has clout in those areas but do you think it compares to NYU's?

USAIRS
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby USAIRS » Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:56 pm

NoodlesHighChief wrote:Do you have any insight on Environmental Law and Legal Philosophy at UofC? I hear more about NYU's expertise in those fields. I am sure UofC has clout in those areas but do you think it compares to NYU's?


I wasn't interested in environmental law, so I wouldn't know about that. I took the survey course with Sunstein, but he isn't best known for that specialty and he seems to have moved to Harvard (and I thought he was supposed to stay at UofC as a visiting prof). Specialties like that are generally best served by larger schools with a critical mass of students interested in a subject area. Chicago has emphasized a well-rounded approach, but I think it fails to credit what really happens there.

Chicago's quarter system allows you to take 50% more electives than other schools. You can focus on IP, Patents, and Trademarks by taking 6 courses in those areas, and still have 3 courses a quarter to fill in. You have enough electives to do four specialties. You can take all the available courses in tax, bankruptcy, antitrust, corporations, and business law and still have time for law and philosphy. Rather than being a generalist, you end up being a rennaissance lawyer of sorts, having putative specialties in a number of areas. I think this works rather well, especially since the work of litigators and judges generally involves the overlap of several subjects rather than isolated specialties.

The thing is, in ligation, you are constantly having to learn new things that take you outside of your comfort zone. It is useful to have a good foundation in that area of law in which you officially practice, but you don't operate in a vacuum, so you have to be well-rounded. In my typical litigation case I have civil procedure, evidence, corporations or partnerships, property, contracts, bankruptcy, tax, statutory interpretations, and equity to consider. Your typical environmental law case will likely require knowledge of corporations, jurisdiction and venue, administrative law and procedure, choice of law, property, torts, contracts, remedies, and statutory interpretation in addition to the mere knowledge of environmental law.

For philosophy, I had a course with Nussbaum and it seems like anyone who has studied philosophy knows who she is. I think that may be Leiter's focus, too, although he wasn't there when I attended. For something like legal philosophy, it strikes me that for a subject as academic as that one would be best served by a small school where fewer students are competing for the attention of the most infuential professors.

Jay Obee
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby Jay Obee » Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:36 am

USAIRS wrote:
Jay Obee wrote:How many years since you graduated?

Is it true that employers don't care about your grades/class rank after your first job?


1. About 5

2. I've had two lateral moves so far.....


Thanks.

Besides the usual stuff (reputation, clerkships, biglaw placement, and faculty), can you comment on why someone would choose chicago over other schools in the top ten?

smalltown
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby smalltown » Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:53 am

Jay Obee wrote:
Thanks.

Besides the usual stuff (reputation, clerkships, biglaw placement, and faculty), can you comment on why someone would choose chicago over other schools in the top ten?


One advantage I've heard of is there are some good political opportunities in Illinois. It would probably help if you had a union boss job at your disposal, though.

Jay Obee
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby Jay Obee » Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:03 pm

smalltown wrote:
Jay Obee wrote:
Thanks.

Besides the usual stuff (reputation, clerkships, biglaw placement, and faculty), can you comment on why someone would choose chicago over other schools in the top ten?


One advantage I've heard of is there are some good political opportunities in Illinois. It would probably help if you had a union boss job at your disposal, though.


:lol:

I'm not sure if I'm very interested in Blagojeviching.

USAIRS
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby USAIRS » Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:04 pm

Jay Obee wrote:
Besides the usual stuff (reputation, clerkships, biglaw placement, and faculty), can you comment on why someone would choose chicago over other schools in the top ten?


I am having some difficulty responding to this, since you basically preempt a lot of responses that would be "usual stuff." Well, for one, I'd say that Chicago (despite Blagojevich) is a really great metropolis. There are tons of things to do, I think I went to every museum, several sporting events, free outdoor concerts, and several indoor venues. Almost everything I did was eithr free or cheap. Affordable, fun, diverse, clean, a great downtown, entertainment, beauty-on all measures, although Chicago wouldn't be the best for any individual measure, it would score higher in my opinion than any city in the US as a whole. As an aside, I generally have had at least one person interviewing me who has lived in the Chicago area at some point in their lives, more so than NY or any other east coast city. While I think that this has given me something of a boost in interviews, I also have run into a large number of people in California who have Chicago (the city) history. For whatever reason, I enjoy this connection.

I also would discount any school, outside of Yale, that was not in a major metropolitan area for a number or reasons. If you are intent on ending up in a big law firm or federal government, they will more than likey be in a major city. In addition to legitimizing yourself in a major market (and show that you are a "city person" if you are applying to another major city), you can take advantage of fall and spring internship opportunities at a US Attorney's Office, Federal Defender's Office, or the ACLU.

As far as schools like NYU, Columbia, and Penn, I think those schools are great. However, in my limited experience, I have found that these school seem to primarily place on the east coast. IMO, the most national schools are Harvard (who could fill a small city with their alumni here), Yale, and Chicago. Running into any other alum is a rare occurrence. As a result of the smaller class size, though, I find that Chicago alum feel more connection to their fellow alumni (and students). We are simply more likely to have similar experiences and connections.

Jay Obee
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby Jay Obee » Sun Jan 04, 2009 2:30 am

Bump, in honor of me actually getting into Chicago.

If you are still around, anything you recommend I do while in Chicago for a visit?

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etwake
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Re: University of Chicago Alum Taking Questions

Postby etwake » Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:45 pm

I'm not a UofC grad, but I can definitely recommend attending a bulls or hawks game. Grabbing a drink at the 95th restaurant on the top of the John Hancock Building (beware, ~15 dollars per drink, but worth it for 1 or 2 drinks), visiting Millennium park/soldier field area, Go visit the art institute in Chicago, and go shop on Michigan Avenue.




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