Corporate Law

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The_23
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Corporate Law

Postby The_23 » Mon Aug 29, 2005 12:01 pm

Hi Ken,

I was wondering what you personally feel is the best undergraduate program to prepare you for success in law school and legal practice for corporate law?

In addition to this, I was curious as to what kind of marks one would need to receive at a top law school, such as Cornell, Boalt Hall, Michigan, USC or UCLA, to get a job at a good corporate law firm upon graduation?

Thanks

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Ken
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Best Major for Corporate Law

Postby Ken » Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:02 am

While many prospective law school applicants dream of saving the world through environmental or criminal law, the majority of graduates from top law schools end up practicing corporate law at large law firms.

Your question is excellent in that you already anticipate practicing corporate law and want to know what major provides the best background for success in this field.

Corporate law is generally concerned with business activities such as mergers and acquisitions or getting corporate financing through initial public offerings or stock sales. Thus, an excellent knowledge of economics and business is the best background for corporate law. Understanding the dynamics of a business and how businesses successfully grow will allow for a quick understanding of the fundamentals of corporate law. Given the international nature of most large companies, international finance will also give you an excellent background into understanding what issues many companies are facing.

Note that the economic theory taught at most universities should also be complemented by an understanding of accounting rules, for this drives many business decisions.

Corporate lawyers also draft and edit many large documents, such as prospectuses for initial public offerings. So being a fast reader and an excellent writer are also essential, so take a few English classes along the way.

The nice part about getting in to one of the top law schools you mentioned, such as USC, UCLA, or Boalt, is that you do not necessarily have to be at the top of your class to get a prestigious corporate law job. Just graduating in the top 1/3 of your class (of course doing better will result in more opportunities) will generally provide you with one or more excellent job offers. If you go to a second tier law school, then you will have to be in the top 10% of your class to get a corporate law job at a top tier firm.

Note that corporate law jobs are cyclical in nature, and when the economy is doing well there is always a huge demand for corporate attorneys but during recessions demand dries up as there are fewer initial public offerings and mergers. If the economy is good when you graduate, just coming from one of those top law schools will be enough to guarantee employment. Yet during a recession, you may need to be in the top 20% of one of the great law schools you mentioned to get a job.

In contrast, litigation jobs are more constant in the number of positions available. When the economy is strong companies have the money to sue other companies, and when the economy is poor companies desperately sue each other over coveted finances.

Corporate attorneys generally have a win-win negotiating strategy. For example, seeing how two companies can synergistically be merged. Conversely, litigation attorneys generally have a more competitive negotiating style and must battle over a finite amount of money. I personally have noticed that my friends who practice corporate law are happier with the practice of law than those who are litigators.

I think your interest in corporate law is excellent and having a major or minor that gives you a strong background in economics and finance will prepare you will on the road to success.

Thanks for your question :). If I did not answer in as much detail as desired, please let me know.

The_23
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Postby The_23 » Fri Sep 09, 2005 4:57 pm

Ken,

Thanks very much for your response. I can't begin to verbalize how nice and also how resourceful it is to have someone like you aiding law school hopefuls by way of a website and a message forum.

That being said, I have a few more questions.

What do you think of Political Science as a prep for corporate law? I'm almost surely going to be studying that so I'd like your input.

Secondly, you already mentioned the rank in your class for a top-notch firm position, but I was wondering about the letter grades associated with the top 30% or so. What kind of marks do these students usually get? A-, B+, etc?

In terms of jobs farther East, say for example Chicago, what kind of marks are needed at the west coast schools mentioned earlier (USC, UCLA, Boalt)?

Also, could you discuss what you know about the two more eastern schools I mentioned (Michigan and Cornell), as I am located closer to them and therefore it's more likely I'd attend one of those.

Finally, this has nothing to do with my questions, but I was curious as to when you anticipate an update on the site. I'm a frequent visitor and would love to see some more info posted and more specifically more profiles of schools.

Thanks very much for your assistance.

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Ken
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Political Science as a Major, Cornell and U. of Michigan Law

Postby Ken » Wed Oct 05, 2005 1:20 am

Sorry for the delay in responding. We recently had our second daughter and there is less free time than in the past. However, I am now working with two brilliant Stanford students who are assisting me in writing content, so there will be a lot of new material coming on the site over the next few months so please keep visiting to view new content and I really appreciate the posts to the forum.

Political Science is the most common major of law school applicants. Its focus upon politics and the legal foundations that create the state do provide an excellent background for understanding legal theory. This is the ideal major for those interested in becoming law school professors or experts on Constitutional Law.

However, it is only average for helping you excel in your interest in corporate law. Political Science only tangential covers financial institutions and consequently provides little insight into the workings or needs of corporations. Most corporate attorneys spend time facilitating mergers and acquisitions, structuring stock offerings, or working on initial public offerings. A Political Science degree will give you the ability to analyze and write well, but otherwise offers no preparation for corporate law.

However, the key in college is to do well. For law school will provide you with all the tools you need to succeed in whatever legal field you choose. I had a friend who took engineering classes in college because he heard that law schools liked engineers. However, he had no real aptitude for science and as a result did poorly in his engineering classes and got into marginal law schools. If you like political science and will succeed in it, that is the best path for you for it will allow you to get into the top law schools you desire such as Cornell and U. of Michigan.

Cornell Law School, located in Ithaca in upstate New York, is an excellent choice. Ithaca is a beautiful town and an enjoyable place to spend 3 years, so long as you can handle cold winters. They have some very strong programs in corporate law. Additionally, their business school seemed more liberal than other business schools in allowing law students to take some business school classes, a great thing to have on your resume as you apply for corporate law jobs. The U. of Michigan Law School has beautiful facilities, especially the library. Excellent faculty and a strong reputation make it a solid choice. They are a very strong law school overall but not renowned for their business law programs.

The Educational Quality Rankings ranks Cornell Law School 7th in Business Law, tied with U.C. Berkeley (Boalt). The U. of Michigan is 18th in Business Law. The other top law schools for Business Law are Harvard Law School first, Columbia second, and Stanford and the U. of Chicago tied for third.

To address your final question, to get in the top 30% of most great law schools would require a B/B+ average.

The_23
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Postby The_23 » Sat Oct 08, 2005 9:10 am

First off, congrats on the birth of your second daughter.

Also, I cannot wait to see the updates of the site, I'm sure they'll be great.

In terms of poli sci, thanks very much for your assessment of it as prep for corporate law. A lot of people just blow me off when I ask that question and say, "study what interests you". Although this is obviously true, as you will do better in it, it's nice to get someone's honest opinion on the subject without the traditional response.

However, I was curious as to what your opinion of studying philosphy in undergrad is? It is a another area that interests me and I have heard that it provides you with excellent analytical and reading comprehension skills, both of which are crucial for success in law school. Do you feel that it is good prep for corporate law in spite of the fact that it obviously does not deal with learning about balance sheets and quarterly reports?

Thanks

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Ken
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Philosophy Major - Great prep for law school & LSAT

Postby Ken » Tue Oct 11, 2005 1:40 am

Philosophy is one of the best majors to prepare you for law school. First, you should know that much of the study of philosophy today is not the study of the Greek or Roman philosophers, but instead analytical philosophy. Analytical philosophy is very akin to mathematics, but in a verbal setting, and provides excellent analytical and reasoning capabilities. Critical Thinking is the introductory course in many universities to analytical philosophy and I highly recommend that you take this class. It is excellent for overall learning, for it shows you how to identify and overcome fallacies that exist in debates and arguments. Additionally, it shows you many analytical insights, such as the contrapositive. (The contrapositive is a logical statement that states that IF A implies B, then Not B implies Not A. An example of a contrapositive would be: "If there is fire here, then there is oxygen here." The contrapositive would be, "If there is no oxygen here, then there is no fire here."

You do not need to worry about the contrapositive now, but learning that analytical tool and others will be amazingly helpful when you take the LSAT. The hardest section for almost all people on the LSAT is the games section. Basically, the games section is all analytical philosophy which requires successful deductions (such as utilizing the contrapositive) to quickly determine the correct answers.

This is a complicated way of saying that Philosophy is an excellent major for preparing you for both success on the LSAT and success in law school.

To be honest, corporate law is relatively easy to learn and the basics will be learned in law school and the details learned on the job. I would not be so nebulous as to tell you to study what you like, but instead to study something that will hone your thinking and provide you with the analytical and reasoning skills that will teach you to think like a lawyer (the mantra and goal of law school).

I highly recommend philosophy as a preparation for law school if you feel that it will interest you. No matter what, take and study hard for a Critical Thinking class for you will be well rewarded when it comes time to take the LSAT.

The_23
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Corporate Law

Postby The_23 » Tue Oct 25, 2005 6:56 pm

Ken,

I was wondering what your undergrad major was? What did you think of the philosophy courses you took besides the aforementioned Critical Thinking class? (which I btw was planning on taking) And, where did you do your undergrad degree?

Thanks

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Ken
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Major for preparation for Law School

Postby Ken » Wed Oct 26, 2005 12:47 am

My undergraduate major was a dual major in mathematics and economics. I really enjoyed this training and I believe my economics background helped me succeed in my corporate law classes. I strongly considered doing corporate law because of my background and enjoyment of facilitating business transactions, but the draw of intellectual property was too strong and I went that route. (I particularly love trademark law, which I recommend that everyone take as it has great cases and legal issues).

I attended the University of California at Santa Barbara. It was quite a good school academically, with 5 nobel laurates in the last 5 years in the sciences. (It is a school on the rise, so not as well known on the East Coast). However, I have to confess that I chose to attend Santa Barbara due to the great surfing and amazing hiking in that area. My father was a math professor in Florida (he has an excellent site for law school applicants http://www.prelawhandbook.com) and he told me to look for a school that combined good academics with a great quality of life. Remember, rankings are not everything.

I actually consider myself a philosopher in the sense the literal sense, for I love knowledge (as you probably know, the Greek root of phil is love and the sophy means knowlege in Greek). I try to create my own philosophies and the result is to live a life so great that I do not fear death.

But I digress, with the dual major I did not have much time to take as many courses as I would have liked the only classes in philosophy that I took were Critical Thinking and Greek Philosophy. For those who have more latitude, I highly recommend philosophy classes both for success in law school and life wisdom.

With both college classes and law school classes, the professor is more important than the subject matter, so sign up for several classes (or preview several classes) and take the classes with the best professors who excite you and drop the losers.

I have really enjoyed seeing all the posts of late and want to thank everyone for their coming back to the site. I am in the middle of working on a lot of new content for the site (new school profiles, pre-law advice, etc.), so please come back soon.

The_23
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Major Preparation for Law School

Postby The_23 » Sat Oct 29, 2005 11:04 pm

Thanks for sharing your path to law school with us Ken.

I just wanted to get your opinion as to the level of difficulty of philosophy courses? Did you find them difficult or fairly straightforward? Obviously how well you do in a particular subject depends upon the individual, and you seemed to study more math oriented things, but I would like your input nonetheless. For your benefit, I tend to do better in subjects like history and english than sciences and math's (although I perform above average in the latter two).

Also, I would appreciate your input on two other law schools that I'm also interested in. What are your opinions on Northwestern and Chicago in terms of corporate law education. Also, what do you think of their locations?

Thanks.

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Ken
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Best College Major for law school-what you like & succee

Postby Ken » Sun Oct 30, 2005 1:58 am

I would like to go back to your first question, of what major is the best to prepare you for law school. Because the most important part is to get into the law school you want, the wise person takes the classes and major that most interest them and that they will do the best in. No matter what your major, from Anthropology to Zoology, law schools care first and foremost about your GPA and how you did relative to other students at your college. Thus, take what you enjoy and get all A's and B's rather than toil away at a subject you do not like simply because you think it will prepare you for law school.

As an example, I have a brilliant friend who got an 800 on her verbal section on the SAT and was an excellent writer. She would have done amazingly well as an English major, but instead my friend's parents demanded that she major in a practical subject like Engineering. She struggled and did below average, and even with her coming from a great college and having a very impressive LSAT score, she only got into one law school and it was far from her first choice. The lesson, take the classes that you love and you will be rewarded with great grades and admission to several top law schools.

To address your question on a more direct level, philosophy classes can be vary a lot depending upon whether you study Continental philosophy (traditional philosophy, such as the Greeks, Romans, and the Enlightenment philosophers) or Analytical philosophy (which is very mathematical). If your greatest talents do not include math, Analytical philosophy will prove to be very difficult. Critical Thinking, which as we discussed helps on the LSAT and you are planning on taking, is a good intro to analytical philosophy for it includes the basic principles of logical reasoning, but is generally understandable by most. However, if this class proves quite hard, stop here and focus upon your true talents of history and English.

English and History are both good majors for law school preparation, for they hone your writing skills and will make you a fast reader, essential to master the LSAT and read the thousands of cases you will see in law school.

Law schools truly pride themselves on being able to teach you how to think like a lawyer, irrespective of your college major.

Thus, do not worry too much about how your major will prepare you for law school, but instead take exciting professors who make learning enjoyable and get good grades (generally a 3.5+ is becoming requisite to get into a great law school unless you have an excellent LSAT score).

Chicago has two excellent law schools, the University of Chicago Law School and Northwestern Law School. The University of Chicago Law School is an amazing place academically and all who attend receive an amazing education. They are THE PLACE to learn about law and economics if that interests you or any other readers. However, even with my love of economics, I turned the U. of Chicago down because I was not impressed with its location or quality of life. The U. of Chicago Law School is located in Hyde Park, from the best part of town. In fact, the U. of Chicago has the 3rd largest police force in the state of Illinois, to mitigate student's safety concerns. The Gothic buildings are impressive, but to me felt cold and sterile. I spoke to students about their quality of life and all seemed pretty depressed and overwhelmed by their studies. Thus, attending one of the best law schools in the country comes with many costs that to me seemed too great.

Northwestern Law School is located in a much better, and safer part of town. While Northwestern College is located in the beautiful Chicago suburb of Evanston, the law school is located in downtown Chicago. With its beautiful skyline and many attractions, downtown Chicago is a very exciting place to spend 3 years.

Both schools have excellent business schools as well (Kellogg is the famous business school at Northwestern), which helps complement their very strong offerings in corporate law.

I think both of these top law schools should be considered by any one willing to put up with cold Chicago winters for 3 years. Graduating from the U. of Chicago Law School is more prestigious and will allow for more job opportunities, particularly clerking for a federal judge or as an academic, but the quality of life is generally considered to be much lower than at Northwestern Law School and most other top law schools as well.

I personally would attend Stanford, Boalt, UVA or the U. of Penn ahead of these two Chicago law schools, but to each their own.

Thanks for your continued posts.

The_23
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Corporate Law

Postby The_23 » Sun Nov 20, 2005 9:43 am

Ken,

I was wondering what are the typical job opportunities available for a University of Michigan law grad? Also, how many of the U of M grads go to work in biglaw in Chicago? Thanks

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Ken
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University of Michigan Law School Career Prospects

Postby Ken » Tue Nov 22, 2005 2:39 am

Graduates of the U. of Michigan Law School will generally have several excellent career choices that they can choose from. Particularly in the midwest and the Chicago market, UM Law School grads are well received and many UM alumni recruit heavily. Chicago is definitely the hub of the midwest legal market, as no other city can compare (such as Detroit, which continues its long decline).

The good news is that U. of Michigan Law School grads have a great reputation that precedes them throughout most of the nation and certainly in New York. In fact, the over 700 law firms that interview at the University of Michigan Law School is amongst the highest number in the nation. Approximately 150 of these firms are from California alone.

However, for those who want to practice in the South and West besides California, there are fewer UM alumni there and the law school is not as well known.

If you are interested in working in the midwest than I highly recommend the U. of Michigan. Only the University of Chicago Law School will provide more midwest connections, but that is a very academic experience (to the detriment of other aspects of life), so I would likely go to UM Law School over UC Law School. In the end, both law schools will provide stellar job opportunities in Chicago and throughout the midwest, but I always recommend visiting all law schools that you are considering and making an educated decision.

The_23
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Philosophy Major

Postby The_23 » Sun Jan 08, 2006 6:41 pm

I was wondering what some other current philosophy students or law students who took philosophy in undergrad think of it as a whole and how well it prepares you for corporate law.

Thanks

cindytran872
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Postby cindytran872 » Sun Jul 02, 2006 7:01 pm

hi!! i was wondering what were some of the top law school that offer a STRONG corporate law education? thanks.

-Cindy

jeff2486
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Top Corporate Law

Postby jeff2486 » Sun Jul 02, 2006 8:06 pm

Cindy to answer your question I can quote Ken from an earlier post,

"The Educational Quality Rankings ranks Cornell Law School 7th in Business Law, tied with U.C. Berkeley (Boalt). The U. of Michigan is 18th in Business Law. The other top law schools for Business Law are Harvard Law School first, Columbia second, and Stanford and the U. of Chicago tied for third."

Hope this helps and saves Ken some time.

cindytran872
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Postby cindytran872 » Sun Jul 02, 2006 9:45 pm

thanks jeff!!

I found this after i saw your post: http://www.leiterrankings.com/faculty/2 ... .shtml#bus

it gives the top law schools for each area of studies. =)

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HayaSul
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Re: Corporate Law

Postby HayaSul » Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:29 pm

wow. I googled corporate law and found this great forum and have decided to join. I'm a senior in high school and i've recently been accepted u of m. I think i'm going to major in English because I love reading and writing and would certainly like to improve my skills. I want to know everything possible before i enter college next fall...I hope i get high marks and not make any mistakes.. i'm praying..

this is great thanks for all the info. :)

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mallard
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Re: Corporate Law

Postby mallard » Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:30 pm

HayaSul wrote:wow. I googled corporate law and found this great forum and have decided to join. I'm a senior in high school and i've recently been accepted u of m. I think i'm going to major in English because I love reading and writing and would certainly like to improve my skills. I want to know everything possible before i enter college next fall...I hope i get high marks and not make any mistakes.. i'm praying..

this is great thanks for all the info. :)


Awesome bump, I doubt there's been a better first post.

That said, try to avoid spending much time here while you're in college; enjoy being an undergraduate and come back here in three years or so when you're starting to think about law school and the LSAT.

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RVP11
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Re: Corporate Law

Postby RVP11 » Sat Dec 26, 2009 4:20 pm

HayaSul wrote:I want to know everything possible before i enter college next fall...


GL with that.

cubswin
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Re: Corporate Law

Postby cubswin » Sat Dec 26, 2009 4:29 pm

mallard wrote:That said, try to avoid spending much time here while you're in college; enjoy being an undergraduate and come back here in three years or so when you're starting to think about law school and the LSAT.


Good advice.

Rayne
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Corporate Law

Postby Rayne » Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:50 pm

Im entering into my second year of junior college and im still not sure what school I want to go to after I graduate. I live in florida and the University of Florida seems like it would be a good fit for me as a school but so does university of miami what do you think?

My second question is do you think Florida is a good place to consider practicing law in terms of opportunities?
Thank you

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Vincent Vega
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Re: Corporate Law

Postby Vincent Vega » Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:54 pm

It's pretty well accepted that UF is the best school for anywhere in Florida, except perhaps if you want to work in Miami itself. Even then, UF is still a great school to have a law degree from.

Rayne
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Re: Corporate Law

Postby Rayne » Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:09 am

Do you think Florida is a good place to persue a career in law or should I seek opportunities outside the state? If so, where would be the closest place in this region?

Renzo
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Re: Corporate Law

Postby Renzo » Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:12 am

--ImageRemoved--

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Aeon
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Re: Corporate Law

Postby Aeon » Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:32 am

Rayne wrote:Do you think Florida is a good place to persue a career in law or should I seek opportunities outside the state? If so, where would be the closest place in this region?

The traditional hubs of the legal world are held to be located in New York City, Chicago, California (specifically, LA and the Bay Area), and Texas (a growing center that I think is bound to be more prominent in years to come). Of course, these are the prime locations for "BigLaw" - that is, working for large corporate firms - and if this isn't something that you want to get into, then there are plenty of other opportunities to practice law in different settings throughout the nation. A degree from a Florida school might allow you to break into one of these markets, but you'd need to do some legwork. If you want to live and work in Florida after law school, then the University of Florida would be a great choice.

If you get a high enough GPA and LSAT score, I'd suggest looking into attending a top law school (you can't go wrong with one that generally falls into the top 10 or so), as it would open many doors into the prime legal markets. Moreover, if you have ties to Florida (long-time resident of the state, have family there, etc.), then you shouldn't have many difficulties into breaking into the Florida market with a T10 degree. The national portability of such a degree is its main attracting factor.




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