URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
ahnhub
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby ahnhub » Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:56 am

Yeah I wasn't trying to white-knight Duke or anything, I just wanted to point out that the story OP was using to dissuade other URMs from thinking about law school was rather exceptionally bad (and weird), even for c/o 2011.

The odd thing about posts like these is that the posters come off sounding so out-of-touch with reality that it almost makes prospective students feel more secure about going to law school--'oh, it was a disaster for this person but I can see why, and probably everybody else who experienced disaster was just as out-of-touch; I'm not out-of-touch; I'll be fine'

I think more sober posters might be more useful, like maybe someone who says 'I paid sticker for Duke, got median-ish grades, struck out at OCI, couldn't find anything for a while, had to take a school-funded job after graduation, I landed on my feet with a small firm at 60K but this isn't really what I envisioned myself doing and I'm drowning in debt,'---1) it actually sounds like it could happen to anybody, and could make us think twice about taking the plunge, 2) to be fair, even in disastrous times seems a more likely result for a Duke grad than OP's story.

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TrialLawyer16
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby TrialLawyer16 » Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:40 am

what's the class rank of a 2.97 at Duke? Isn't that like bottom 10% or something? If so (and I believe it is), I think the URM centricity of this topic is a cop-out.

Black male here btw, fwiw.

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sunynp
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby sunynp » Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:39 am

ahnhub wrote:Yeah I wasn't trying to white-knight Duke or anything, I just wanted to point out that the story OP was using to dissuade other URMs from thinking about law school was rather exceptionally bad (and weird), even for c/o 2011.

The odd thing about posts like these is that the posters come off sounding so out-of-touch with reality that it almost makes prospective students feel more secure about going to law school--'oh, it was a disaster for this person but I can see why, and probably everybody else who experienced disaster was just as out-of-touch; I'm not out-of-touch; I'll be fine'

I think more sober posters might be more useful, like maybe someone who says 'I paid sticker for Duke, got median-ish grades, struck out at OCI, couldn't find anything for a while, had to take a school-funded job after graduation, I landed on my feet with a small firm at 60K but this isn't really what I envisioned myself doing and I'm drowning in debt,'---1) it actually sounds like it could happen to anybody, and could make us think twice about taking the plunge, 2) to be fair, even in disastrous times seems a more likely result for a Duke grad than OP's story.


I don't understand this. First, why do you need someone to post their life story to convince of something that the numbers make clear. Do you think that just because people don't turn up with their stories of unemployment on TLS that those stories don't exist? Just because people aren't posting their life stories here, you don't think that they don't exist?

Second, just based on experience with this forum, most people who do post their unemployment and job hunting stories are minimized and in some instances ridiculed like OP here. People are told they must be bad at interviewing or have terrible personalities or made stupid decisions with bid their list or they should have gone to a higher-ranked school or it is their own fault they weren't in the top of their class or (like OP in this thread) they should have known better than paying sticker for a T14 school.

Third, most people don't know and don't care about this forum. The people that do post about the lack of good jobs get severe push back when they try to explain how bad the job market really is. Why would unemployed or underemployed people rush here to open a discussion about how tough their life is?

If I was in a bad situation TLS is the last place I would look for support or understanding. (see the way OP has been treated in this thread. Do you think people are going to be willing to take that on when they already feel terrible? )

Do you really think that the worst outcome of most below median students at Duke is a school funded job for a while that leads them to a $60,000 job? Did you look at those numbers carefully? It doesn't take a genius to figure out that a non-trivial amount of these Duke graduates may never practice law. (Look at the people in business and industry and academics.) Or if they are practicing, they will never get out of a 2-10 person firm.

Here is a quote from Rayiner's un-employment thread - he found a conservative 30% of people are probably underemployed from Duke.

Graduates: 207
Employment is unknown, unemployed, grad school: 2+5+3=10
Employment is law-school funded: 11
Academic = 6
Law firms < 50 attorneys: 22
Business/industry: 12 / 2 = 6
State & local clerkships = 8
---
Probably unemployed: 27 (13%)
Probably less than desirable jobs: 36 (17%)
Upper bound: 63 / 207 = 30%



http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewt ... 1&t=181723

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Ruxin1
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby Ruxin1 » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:00 am

She said 2nd biggest legal market, if she was targeting ONLY DC BIGLAW no wonder she struck out, I wouldn't feel comfortable in D.C. with top grades, let alone bottom of the class trying to break into the toughest market

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Helicio
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby Helicio » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:09 am

I feel bad for being so mean now. I guess you are not a troll after all. Sorry OP. <3

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Kring345
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby Kring345 » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:25 am

Helicio wrote:I feel bad for being so mean now. I guess you are not a troll after all. Sorry OP. <3

Why do the reasonable posts outweigh the asinine posts?

jdhonest
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby jdhonest » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:27 am

"It's hard to feel like you can do well when you're one of 10 in a class of 200+"

Maybe if you spent less time counting fellow minorities and more time studying, then you'd have found employment sooner. Seriously, who cares how many other URMs are in your class? As a URM from a T14 I powned classes with hardly any other minorities. Having another black guy in class did not affect my ability to learn secured credit - just didn't.

You must be one of the those pathetic, racist URM's who assumes that other black people share the same ideas and political leanings as you. You're a loser and employers could smell it on you.

kaiser
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby kaiser » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:31 am

OP seems to imply the "mismatch theory" that many articles mention as one of the top arguments against affirmative action. Not debating that topic, but I certainly feel for OP a bit

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ck3
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby ck3 » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:31 am

I would say to the OP, take a long view of your career. I am almost 50 and I think that if you are still in your 20 or early 30's and comparing your situation only to others who attended law school and graduated at the same time as you, it would lead to a certain negative perspective. You are focusing on the fact that you will be paying off your debts for the next 30 years. You also need to consider your potential for upward mobility with that degree and with your current position, whether that upward mobility means more money and a more prestigious position or if it means that through political organizing you can rise to the ranks in an organization to the level that you can influence those major changes that you want to see. Maybe you could have gotten the job you now have without the law degree and the debt. However, without the Duke law degree and the 30 years of debt that came with it in your case, then you would probably have less statistical potential for upward mobility. A limiting factor of most of the employment data is that it focuses on employment at graduation, employment at 9 months, employment at 1 year and it also is comparing one group of lawyers against other groups of lawyers. I am not saying that anything is wrong with that because these short term snapshots are what people are intersted in and they are very useful. But when you are deciding if law school is worth it, you have to also look to the future and ask yourself, if I pay off my loans over the next 30 years, can I become a leader in an orgainization like the National Urban League or could I become a judge in an urban area. I think if you have that type of career outcome after paying off 30 years of debt then your evaluation of whether law school is worth it

Also, if you have a Duke law degree and you work in political organizing in the DC area, that sounds like a great place to gain the connections that you will need to advance your career.

Cinderella
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby Cinderella » Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:20 pm

DukeURMGrad wrote:
rad lulz wrote:
DukeURMGrad wrote:Duke Law did NOTHING to help students with struggling grades. No support from academic affairs, whatsoever. We were left in the dust. I don't mean to fear monger or start an anti URM debate. I just want to warn other 0Ls to go into law school fully informed. The financial stakes are too great. I did okay, after 1L--3.1 GPA, but bombed some 2L year classes because i didn't get adequate course selection advice. I am not trying to make this into a "it's their fault argument." In my case, it was hard to focus and stay motivated when I saw others like my struggling as well. It's hard to feel like you can do well when you're one of 10 in a class of 200+. Professors did not give a f***. A lot of the replies to my post are from 0Ls or folks still in law school. Y'all have no idea what it's like when you graduate and need to pay down $100K debt. Doc review gigs are sporadic and provide NO benefits. I did not mean to knock Howard in any way. I just meant to say that I feel like my job prospects are on par with people from T2 and T3 schools despite all the TLS hype. If you do not come from money, go for the free ride ALWAYS. it is always better. If you must go to law school in this economy, please do not spend more than 60-70K, period. With my debts, I will be paying them down until I'm probably in my 50's. The thought of working in legal aid or a public defenders office IS NOT FOR ME. i want to be part of the solution, not the problem. For those who understand crime law, you'll see why I have a beef with PDs. These jobs are stressful and often pay the same as entry level college jobs. LRAPs are almost a trap.

I would say maybe 40% of the urms graduated with jobs--not all of them in big law. Many of them were 1 year local clerkships. I am class of 2011.

I think more recent black law grads will share my opinion. The idea of hustling for a job doesn't exist in this economy. WTF? 0LS have no right to comment on how legal hiring works or law school culture--you just don't know yet unless you have very close association with lawyers.

Maybe it is different at other schools, i don't know. The location of Duke is horrible for networking for jobs in DC or NY. The school likes to think the name travels well, but it really doesn't. Again, I am sure any recent Duke Law URM will cosign with my opinion. If not, let them speak up.

Why is being a PD or in legal aid being part of the problem, not the solution?



These are personal peeves I have about these sectors of law. Being a PD isn't about helping people win liberty--it's more like saying some crazy formalities in court while the judge determines the sentence. I think it's an important job but they aren't very effective at mitigating down sentences or helping people avoid jail time. It's all about fueling the prison industrial complex, which unfortunately impacts the black community in disproportionately numbers. I went to law school to unite black families, not tear them up. DAs so a lot more damage.

I have way more respect for legal aid lawyers--but they are often limited by funding and other bureaucracy. Also, I'm not a fan of band aid community lawyering. It's helping an individual client but not addressing the larger structural issue about why their problem (access to healthcare, lack of housing, etc) exists in the first place. They work long hours and get burned out quickly. It's not that different from big law, in that sense. I don't know, I just want to feel like I'm making a macro difference. To each his own. Both of these seem like white do-gooder jobs, but I don't know how much good they are actually doing.

Most LRAP/IBR beneficiaries end up in one of these fields. It's hard to get an entry level legal policy job with a nonprofit.


It sounds like the only court proceedings you’ve ever watched are sentencing hearings/dispositions. If this is the case, then I can understand this view, but sentencings are not where the action happens. You’re missing the negotiations and hearings where a good PD can get counts dropped, charges lowered, and can leverage crazy good sentences.

The macro-level criticism is valid, but it’s a criticism of the entire legal system, which tends to preserve the status quo rather than change it. If you wanted to make changes at a macro-level, then you flat out should not have gone to law school.

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tooswolle
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby tooswolle » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:56 pm

ck3 wrote:I would say to the OP, take a long view of your career. I am almost 50 and I think that if you are still in your 20 or early 30's and comparing your situation only to others who attended law school and graduated at the same time as you, it would lead to a certain negative perspective. You are focusing on the fact that you will be paying off your debts for the next 30 years. You also need to consider your potential for upward mobility with that degree and with your current position, whether that upward mobility means more money and a more prestigious position or if it means that through political organizing you can rise to the ranks in an organization to the level that you can influence those major changes that you want to see. Maybe you could have gotten the job you now have without the law degree and the debt. However, without the Duke law degree and the 30 years of debt that came with it in your case, then you would probably have less statistical potential for upward mobility. A limiting factor of most of the employment data is that it focuses on employment at graduation, employment at 9 months, employment at 1 year and it also is comparing one group of lawyers against other groups of lawyers. I am not saying that anything is wrong with that because these short term snapshots are what people are intersted in and they are very useful. But when you are deciding if law school is worth it, you have to also look to the future and ask yourself, if I pay off my loans over the next 30 years, can I become a leader in an orgainization like the National Urban League or could I become a judge in an urban area. I think if you have that type of career outcome after paying off 30 years of debt then your evaluation of whether law school is worth it

Also, if you have a Duke law degree and you work in political organizing in the DC area, that sounds like a great place to gain the connections that you will need to advance your career.


Although I agree with you with the long term benefits of a law degree. I'm sorry to say things aren't like they were when you joined the workforce. I remember during college where many lawyers told me how little they paid and how abundant jobs were back then and how they are shocked at the price of tuition now. The sad thing is since the ABA hasnt "grown balls" and gotten a hold of the increasing number of schools; tuition has risen exponentially and competition for jobs has grown more difficult. In the long term were probably better off in the short term if the law school gamble fails it'll mess your life up.

DukeURMGrad
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby DukeURMGrad » Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:18 pm

When I was researching law schools, I stumbled across TLS. I am posting on here because I want other similarly situated students to understand my struggle.

No one has explained how my job prospects are ANY better than a T2 or T3 URM grad. They are not. This is the point of my thread. Going to a prestigious law school does not really mean much anymore--so save your money and avoid scam schools like Duke.

Duke is LYING about those employment numbers. 96% in 9 months is NOT TRUE!!!!!! I know at least 10 other people who are currently searching for ANY type work. Also, the law school funded program pays $8/hr--it is a f****** scam. I started the law school funded program in the fall, but once I realized that it was a road to nowhere, I left and got a WAITRESSING job because I could make MORE money. Yes, thats how sad it is.

I am familiar with the mismatch theory. I hate to say it, but it has some merit. Again, not for all URMS because there will always be the story of someone who made law review or had their parents connect them to a firm job. But the majority of my friends didn't do that hot in law school. It's not always because they didn't try, it's because of the nature of the curve. What sort of jobs can a bottom 10% student get in this economy? NOTHING. I don't wanna discourage any URM from pursuing law. I just don't think schools like Duke are worth the debt--especially now. You TLS people are so stuck on labels.

Someone mentioned Duke has a lot of URM faculty. THIS IS A LIE. I think it was only 2 while I was there--and one--Trina Jones was visiting at UC Irvine from 2008-11. Also, as a URM from the Northeast, I disagree with Duke being an extremely liberal place where everyone is accepted for who they are.

I really don't think non-URMS are qualified to speak about the URM experience in law school or in the workplace. Sorry, but you just do not know--no matter what your friends tell you. Please get in contact with a Duke Law URM--I am sure they will cosign on everything I am saying.

Harlyn
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby Harlyn » Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:32 pm

DukeURMGrad wrote:Going to a prestigious law school does not really mean much anymore--so save your money and avoid scam schools like Duke.


This is flat out false. Any reliable law employment statistics would say much to the contrary.

DukeURMGrad wrote:I am familiar with the mismatch theory. I hate to say it, but it has some merit. Again, not for all URMS because there will always be the story of someone who made law review or had their parents connect them to a firm job. But the majority of my friends didn't do that hot in law school.


As a black female 0L, I cannot speak as to how I will fare in law school but I damn sure know if I found myself at the bottom of my class: 1) I'd drop out of law school if I'm paying sticker and 2) I would be smart enough to know that my poor performance was at least due to my inability to perform better than my peers and that it had nothing to due to my race.

It's more than disappointing that you blame your failure on your race and the fact that you got a boost due to AA. I'm not exactly sure why I find your posts to be so infuriating but the reality of your situation is that you don't have better job prospects than a T2 or T3 URM grad because you have TERRIBLE GRADES and no connections.

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ben4847
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby ben4847 » Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:45 pm

Harlyn wrote:
DukeURMGrad wrote:Going to a prestigious law school does not really mean much anymore--so save your money and avoid scam schools like Duke.


This is flat out false. Any reliable law employment statistics would say much to the contrary.

DukeURMGrad wrote:I am familiar with the mismatch theory. I hate to say it, but it has some merit. Again, not for all URMS because there will always be the story of someone who made law review or had their parents connect them to a firm job. But the majority of my friends didn't do that hot in law school.


As a black female 0L, I cannot speak as to how I will fare in law school but I damn sure know if I found myself at the bottom of my class: 1) I'd drop out of law school if I'm paying sticker and 2) I would be smart enough to know that my poor performance was at least due to my inability to perform better than my peers and that it had nothing to due to my race.

It's more than disappointing that you blame your failure on your race and the fact that you got a boost due to AA. I'm not exactly sure why I find your posts to be so infuriating but the reality of your situation is that you don't have better job prospects than a T2 or T3 URM grad because you have TERRIBLE GRADES and no connections.


OP isn't blaming her performance in law school on her race! She is clearly blaming it on her ability, and noting that her ability was somewhat predictable going in on account of her past performances in undergrad and on standardized tests.
I don't know how you read it any other way.

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BruceWayne
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby BruceWayne » Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:54 pm

Harlyn wrote:As a black female 0L, I cannot speak as to how I will fare in law school but I damn sure know if I found myself at the bottom of my class: 1) I'd drop out of law school if I'm paying sticker and 2) I would be smart enough to know that my poor performance was at least due to my inability to perform better than my peers and that it had nothing to due to my race.

It's more than disappointing that you blame your failure on your race and the fact that you got a boost due to AA. I'm not exactly sure why I find your posts to be so infuriating but the reality of your situation is that you don't have better job prospects than a T2 or T3 URM grad because you have TERRIBLE GRADES and no connections.


You're talking out of your ass (as you essentially admit by saying that you're an 0L). First, you, and others, are acting like it's so crazy hard to end up with terrible grades and that it only happens to either 1. Lazy people or 2. Stupid people. The thing that you don't realize is that law school grading is insanely opauqe. And what I mean by that is that no one really knows what it is that get's someone good grades and what gets them bad grades. It's not an objective subject like math where you can clearly point to why an answer is wrong and you are getting poor grades. Oftentimes, especially at the top 14 level, it's more like student A's answer is better than student B's. And when that's the case it can come down to things that really have little or nothing to do with being lazy or even not understanding the material. Frankly, most law school material isn't even that difficult.

shoeshine wrote:OP's experience is not representative of what happens to URMs at T14 schools. I have had the opposite experience in law school so far.

However, I do not go to Duke so maybe things are really bad there. It really sounds like the OP got into law school at the wrong time because Duke's placement stats have been terrible during the recession.


What the hell are you talking about? Her experience is very representative of URMS at T14 schools--unless they get good grades. Obviously you got high grades and are doing well. Congratulations--but there's not need for you to start jacking off to yourself and gaining a holier than thou mentality because you did. To be frank, if there's any field where you shouldn't get that sort of attitude it's law. I mean, it's not like you really have control of whether you get good grades or not. The bottom line is that there's a forced curve and what that means, even though astoundingly people don't seem to get this, is that SOMEONE has to be below the median and--gasp--even at the bottom. It's like a race. Further let's be real, it's not like you know why you got good grades and why those who didn't get good grades didn't. Yeah you may say some B/S about you worked hard and "applied law to fact" and you "argued both sides'. But guess what--so did everyone else at a top 14. The bottom line is that OP is trying to warn people; and I understand where she's coming from. The truth is, now that I think about it, going to a local school for free really is better than going to any top 14 at sticker or even half price excluding HYS for most URMs.
Last edited by BruceWayne on Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Harlyn
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby Harlyn » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:07 pm

ben4847 wrote:OP isn't blaming her performance in law school on her race! She is clearly blaming it on her ability, and noting that her ability was somewhat predictable going in on account of her past performances in undergrad and on standardized tests.
I don't know how you read it any other way.


She stated that Duke's racist environment had a negative impact on her ability to perform. To quote the OP:
DukeURMGrad wrote: I am not trying to make this into a "it's their fault argument." In my case, it was hard to focus and stay motivated when I saw others like my struggling as well. It's hard to feel like you can do well when you're one of 10 in a class of 200+. Professors did not give a f***.


BruceWayne wrote:You're talking out of your ass (as you essentially admit by saying that you're an 0L). First, you, and others, are acting like it's so crazy hard to end up with terrible grades and that it only happens to either 1. Lazy people or 2. Stupid people. The thing that you don't realize is that law school grading is insanely opauqe. And what I mean by that is that no one really knows what it is that get's someone good grades and what gets them bad grades. It's not an objective subject like math where you can clearly point to why an answer is wrong and you are getting poor grades. Oftentimes, especially at the top 14 level, it's more like student A's answer is


I don't think it's "crazy hard" to end up with bad grades and I did not mean to imply that the OP was too stupid to get good grades or that she was lazy. If you end up in the bottom of the class, it's because a lot of people earned better grades than you. To quote my previous post "poor performance was at least due to my inability to perform better than my peers". I don't see a flaw in my logic.

I can't say that I won't be at the bottom of my class, I sure hope I don't. But if I do end up at the bottom, I would drop out. The risk would be too high for me at that point and I have other career options.
Last edited by Harlyn on Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Helicio
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby Helicio » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:17 pm

Nevermind, the OP just called Duke--a T14 with some of the best faculty/output in the nation--a "scam school."

Sigh. :/

Don't blame Duke for your problems; don't blame affirmative action for your problems; blame yourself. You are the one who underperformed in law school; you are also the one who chose to go to Duke Law.

Just because you did badly in law school does not mean others will, nor that AA is flawed.

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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby shoeshine » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:20 pm

BruceWayne wrote:
Harlyn wrote:As a black female 0L, I cannot speak as to how I will fare in law school but I damn sure know if I found myself at the bottom of my class: 1) I'd drop out of law school if I'm paying sticker and 2) I would be smart enough to know that my poor performance was at least due to my inability to perform better than my peers and that it had nothing to due to my race.

It's more than disappointing that you blame your failure on your race and the fact that you got a boost due to AA. I'm not exactly sure why I find your posts to be so infuriating but the reality of your situation is that you don't have better job prospects than a T2 or T3 URM grad because you have TERRIBLE GRADES and no connections.


You're talking out of your ass (as you essentially admit by saying that you're an 0L). First, you, and others, are acting like it's so crazy hard to end up with terrible grades and that it only happens to either 1. Lazy people or 2. Stupid people. The thing that you don't realize is that law school grading is insanely opauqe. And what I mean by that is that no one really knows what it is that get's someone good grades and what gets them bad grades. It's not an objective subject like math where you can clearly point to why an answer is wrong and you are getting poor grades. Oftentimes, especially at the top 14 level, it's more like student A's answer is

shoeshine wrote:OP's experience is not representative of what happens to URMs at T14 schools. I have had the opposite experience in law school so far.

However, I do not go to Duke so maybe things are really bad there. It really sounds like the OP got into law school at the wrong time because Duke's placement stats have been terrible during the recession.
better than student B's. And when that's the case it can come down to things that really have little or nothing to do with being lazy or even not understanding the material. Frankly, most law school material isn't even that difficult.

What the hell are you talking about? Her experience is very representative of URMS at T14 schools--unless they get good grades. Obviously you got high grades and are doing well. Congratulations--but there's not need for you to start jacking off to yourself and gaining a holier than thou mentality because you did. To be frank, if there's any field where you shouldn't get that sort of attitude it's law. I mean, it's not like you really have control of whether you get good grades or not. The bottom line is that there's a forced curve and what that means, even though astoundingly people don't seem to get this, is that SOMEONE has to be below the median and--gasp--even at the bottom. It's like a race. Further let's be real, it's not like you know why you got good grades and why those who didn't get good grades didn't. Yeah you may say some B/S about you worked hard and "applied law to fact" and you "argued both sides'. But guess what--so did everyone else at a top 14. The bottom line is that OP is trying to warn people; and I understand where she's coming from. The truth is, now that I think about it, going to a local school for free really is better than going to any top 14 at sticker or even half price excluding HYS for most URMs.


My post was responding to OP's comments about experiencing overt racism at a T14 law school. Only the last line was about job prospects.

Honestly, I have okay grades but I am not top 10% or anything close to that. I will admit that my w/e and URM status have probably carried me a long way in getting SA offers. My point is that URMs should not be discouraged from attending top law schools because of one person's bad experience. I was offering my experience as a counterpoint of anecdotal evidence to give people reading this thread some perspective.

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rayiner
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby rayiner » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:45 pm

ben4847 wrote:
bk1 wrote:Outside of the racism you talk about at Duke (which doesn't necessarily apply to other law schools), I don't see how any of what you say is URM, black, or even minority specific. And just because you had a bad outcome makes law not a good career choice for anyone ever?

Your post comes off as entitled. You don't understand how they were preferred over you? How about grades, interviewing skills, and connections? School prestige is not the be all, end all. If you can't fathom that then there's a decent chance you didn't come off well when interviewing.


Lay off her. The post comes across quite sincere, and she is obviously in pain.
She said she knows exactly why she isn't getting hired; she says she has bad grades. She's quite legitimately complaining about the fact that a 150k education at a top school can be worthless if you finish at the bottom of the class; something which happens to a substantial amount of students every year.

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BruceWayne
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby BruceWayne » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:53 pm

shoeshine wrote:My post was responding to OP's comments about experiencing overt racism at a T14 law school. Only the last line was about job prospects.

Honestly, I have okay grades but I am not top 10% or anything close to that. I will admit that my w/e and URM status have probably carried me a long way in getting SA offers. My point is that URMs should not be discouraged from attending top law schools because of one person's bad experience. I was offering my experience as a counterpoint of anecdotal evidence to give people reading this thread some perspective.


That's the thing that you guys aren't getting. Her story isn't just "anecdotal"--it's actually quite common for URM's who attend a top 14 and get bad grades. The crazy thing about it is how quickly things can change on the curve for a URM. So you said that you don't have top 10 percent grades--well that's not necessary for a URM to come out OK. But the reality is that A LOT of URMS end up at the very bottom of the class--I'm talking 3.0 and below at a top 14. And that's where things can go terribly wrong.

One thing I will say about the OP, and something that I continuously stress on here for ANYONE of ANY race: if you ARE FROM THE NE or DC THE ONLY TOP 14 you should be looking at without BIG CASH is CCN and MAYBE PENN/CORNELL (and obviously HYS). You have to understand that if you are from the NE or DC you HAVE NO secondary markets that you can bring a fancy top 14 degree back to and be seen as the home town hero. Thus, if you don't get high grades and are from the NE or DC, you have to rely on NYC biglaw. NYC law firms are not going to be impressed by a non HYS non CCN law degree--period--if you don't have high grades. Thus, you leave yourself in a situation where you have a degree, that for your needs, isn't viewed as all that special and can't do much for you. It is downright dangerous to attend a non HYS CCN school ITE for someone from the NE or DC. And I only threw in Penn and Cornell earlier because they probably do give you at least a fighting chance in NYC for someone from the NE/DC with bad grades. Still I'd be particularly wary--especially of Cornell. If OP had been from the South she probably would have been in a very different position now.
Last edited by BruceWayne on Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rayiner
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby rayiner » Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:08 pm

I don't know why people are being so hard on OP. There is a huge difference between T14 and TTT, but someone unemployed at either is the same level of unemployed. And people do get sub-3.0 at T14's and those people struggle. And they don't necessarily get it by being lazy, etc. The curve is tighter than you think (plenty of top grads have a bottom-third grade or two in classes where they slipped just a bit). Moreover, exams are all about gaming the system: ignoring what the professor says and focusing on the BLL, etc. Not everybody goes in with that cynical, deconstructionist mindset.

And as sunyp mentioned, 30% of Duke's C/O 2011 did not have a great outcome and 10% are probably in OP's position.

Now I think OP did some things wrong. E.g. its a mistake to take up waitressing instead of doing the fellowship. The point of the fellowship is not to get paid, but to make contacts and get experience that might lead to a legal job. In my experience most people who end up unemployed make mistakes at some level. However, just as with grades, the curve is tighter than you think. The people who make mistakes don't do stuff like to into interviews being incredibly abrasive. It takes heroic effort to be employed from the bottom of the class, not merely diligent effort.

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LSAT>LDAC
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby LSAT>LDAC » Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:25 pm

BruceWayne wrote:
Harlyn wrote:As a black female 0L, I cannot speak as to how I will fare in law school but I damn sure know if I found myself at the bottom of my class: 1) I'd drop out of law school if I'm paying sticker and 2) I would be smart enough to know that my poor performance was at least due to my inability to perform better than my peers and that it had nothing to due to my race.

It's more than disappointing that you blame your failure on your race and the fact that you got a boost due to AA. I'm not exactly sure why I find your posts to be so infuriating but the reality of your situation is that you don't have better job prospects than a T2 or T3 URM grad because you have TERRIBLE GRADES and no connections.


You're talking out of your ass (as you essentially admit by saying that you're an 0L). First, you, and others, are acting like it's so crazy hard to end up with terrible grades and that it only happens to either 1. Lazy people or 2. Stupid people. The thing that you don't realize is that law school grading is insanely opauqe. And what I mean by that is that no one really knows what it is that get's someone good grades and what gets them bad grades. It's not an objective subject like math where you can clearly point to why an answer is wrong and you are getting poor grades. Oftentimes, especially at the top 14 level, it's more like student A's answer is better than student B's. And when that's the case it can come down to things that really have little or nothing to do with being lazy or even not understanding the material. Frankly, most law school material isn't even that difficult.

shoeshine wrote:OP's experience is not representative of what happens to URMs at T14 schools. I have had the opposite experience in law school so far.

However, I do not go to Duke so maybe things are really bad there. It really sounds like the OP got into law school at the wrong time because Duke's placement stats have been terrible during the recession.


What the hell are you talking about? Her experience is very representative of URMS at T14 schools--unless they get good grades. Obviously you got high grades and are doing well. Congratulations--but there's not need for you to start jacking off to yourself and gaining a holier than thou mentality because you did. To be frank, if there's any field where you shouldn't get that sort of attitude it's law. I mean, it's not like you really have control of whether you get good grades or not. The bottom line is that there's a forced curve and what that means, even though astoundingly people don't seem to get this, is that SOMEONE has to be below the median and--gasp--even at the bottom. It's like a race. Further let's be real, it's not like you know why you got good grades and why those who didn't get good grades didn't. Yeah you may say some B/S about you worked hard and "applied law to fact" and you "argued both sides'. But guess what--so did everyone else at a top 14. The bottom line is that OP is trying to warn people; and I understand where she's coming from. The truth is, now that I think about it, going to a local school for free really is better than going to any top 14 at sticker or even half price excluding HYS for most URMs.



... looks like someone else did horrible in law school.

rad lulz
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby rad lulz » Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:32 pm

rayiner wrote:I don't know why people are being so hard on OP. There is a huge difference between T14 and TTT, but someone unemployed at either is the same level of unemployed. And people do get sub-3.0 at T14's and those people struggle. And they don't necessarily get it by being lazy, etc. The curve is tighter than you think (plenty of top grads have a bottom-third grade or two in classes where they slipped just a bit). Moreover, exams are all about gaming the system: ignoring what the professor says and focusing on the BLL, etc. Not everybody goes in with that cynical, deconstructionist mindset.

And as sunyp mentioned, 30% of Duke's C/O 2011 did not have a great outcome and 10% are probably in OP's position.

Now I think OP did some things wrong. E.g. its a mistake to take up waitressing instead of doing the fellowship. The point of the fellowship is not to get paid, but to make contacts and get experience that might lead to a legal job. In my experience most people who end up unemployed make mistakes at some level. However, just as with grades, the curve is tighter than you think. The people who make mistakes don't do stuff like to into interviews being incredibly abrasive. It takes heroic effort to be employed from the bottom of the class, not merely diligent effort.

There are plenty of people in OPs position, but I just don't like OP, as a person.

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beachbum
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby beachbum » Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:38 pm

Seems the only controversial point in this whole topic is OP's blaming her grades on her URM status/law school culture.

I mean, OP did really, REALLY poorly. Duke doesn't release class rank, but I would guess she was somewhere around bottom 10%. And, yeah, with grades like that, your preftigious Duke degree is probably no better than any random TTT JD. I'm not sure why this is such a sticking point, though; it seems common knowledge around here that if you end up at the bottom of the class (even at a T14), you can essentially forget about any decent legal career. And not only did OP do poorly, but OP attended law school at just about the worst time you could attend law school.

Otherwise, I'm not sure what OP expects. With grades like that, it's gonna be difficult to get any job. She can network with alumni and reach out to Career Services, but these people can't get her a job that doesn't exist. And, unfortunately, OP's employment record since law school is only going to further stigmatize her.

So, yeah, it sucks, but it sucks for URMs and non-URMs alike, and it sucks for similarly-situated people at just about every school. I don't think Duke is unique in this regard: if you graduated in the last few years with shitty grades, you're probably gonna have a lot of trouble finding decent employment. Such is the current legal market.

As far as the URM stuff, I still don't know what OP is referencing. Duke seems pretty liberal to me. I've also had two AA professors (out of my 7 1L professors), and I can't think of any racist remarks (whether overt or not) made in any of my classes. OP is gonna need to elaborate a bit on the racism argument, because I find it hard to believe that anyone at Duke (whether student or staff) would treat OP differently based on her race.

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BruceWayne
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Re: URM Students--think long and hard about law school choices

Postby BruceWayne » Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:51 pm

LSAT>LDAC wrote:... looks like someone else did horrible in law school.


LOL aren't you at Howard?




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