Journalims BA a disadvantage?

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Chicago425
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Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby Chicago425 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:50 pm

Will having an undergraduate degree in Journalism put me at a disadvantage when applying to schools?

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Bronx Bum
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby Bronx Bum » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:53 pm

It's a great thing and will be seen as a plus to the people on law review and journals. You have a better chance to get on a journal than someone without it.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:27 pm

Bronx Bum wrote:It's a great thing and will be seen as a plus to the people on law review and journals. You have a better chance to get on a journal than someone without it.

LOL - because it's "journalism?"

Anna Ivey claims that admissions reps don't like professional degrees - they prefer science and humanities majors. The one exception she mentions is engineering, which they have obvious reasons for favoring.

Presumably journalism is one of the better professional majors though, since it shares course content with English and would develop some law-relevant skills.

At the end of the day, however, your degree GPA is what really matters, not the subject.

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Samara
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby Samara » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:33 pm

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Last edited by Samara on Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Maye
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby Maye » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:45 pm

why would it put you at a disadvantage? if you have a good GPA, it's fine.

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Redzo
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby Redzo » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:50 pm

In itself, it is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage. It may be an advantage insofar as it has caused you to develop critical reading, writing, and analytic skills.

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kapachino
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby kapachino » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:54 pm

Don't think of it as a disadvantage. It could help you out if you talk about wanting to go into communications law (e.g. working for the FCC) or something like that. Relating your experience to what you want to do is always helpful.

bdvanhorn1
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby bdvanhorn1 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:01 pm

Try to think of it as refreshing departure from the 99.9% (exaggeration) Poly Sci majors' apps a reviewer has to read.

Seriously, I was a Journalism BA (Broadcast, actually) and I had no problems at all.

It really is a LSAT/GPA game after all...

HeavenWood
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby HeavenWood » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:03 pm

Chicago425 wrote:Will having an undergraduate degree in Journalism put me at a disadvantage when applying to schools?

Majoring in creative nonfiction (a very closely related field) didn't stop me from outperforming my LSATTT score. It also helped in writing my personal statement (which I suspect may have pushed me over the borderline).

bathtubgin
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby bathtubgin » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:32 pm

It will be a disadvantage when you get to lawschool. If you enjoy the English language and have an ounce of creativity/passion/flair for writing, law will extinguish it like a pail of water on a cigarette butt. Legal "writing" is dull, tedious, verbose, ungrammatical, and really just downright awful. Most lawyers (and esp judges) are horrifically poor writers, hence "legalese".

It doesn't help that they stick case citations WITHIN the text rather than using footnotes like a journalist or other person of talent/common sense would.

HTH

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rayiner
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby rayiner » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:50 pm

bathtubgin wrote:It will be a disadvantage when you get to lawschool. If you enjoy the English language and have an ounce of creativity/passion/flair for writing, law will extinguish it like a pail of water on a cigarette butt. Legal "writing" is dull, tedious, verbose, ungrammatical, and really just downright awful. Most lawyers (and esp judges) are horrifically poor writers, hence "legalese".

It doesn't help that they stick case citations WITHIN the text rather than using footnotes like a journalist or other person of talent/common sense would.

HTH


I disagree with nearly all of the above. Legal writing is about function over form. It is precise, thorough, plain, and organized, because it's function is to describe the law and how they relate to the facts, not to draw attention to itself. Conventions like internal citations exist because a judge cares more about knowing the source of every assertion than about keeping the flow of the prose.

I do agree that journalists and English majors will find it distasteful. As an engineer, I found it quite natural.

HeavenWood
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby HeavenWood » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:54 pm

bathtubgin wrote:It will be a disadvantage when you get to lawschool. If you enjoy the English language and have an ounce of creativity/passion/flair for writing, law will extinguish it like a pail of water on a cigarette butt. Legal "writing" is dull, tedious, verbose, ungrammatical, and really just downright awful. Most lawyers (and esp judges) are horrifically poor writers, hence "legalese".

It doesn't help that they stick case citations WITHIN the text rather than using footnotes like a journalist or other person of talent/common sense would.

HTH

This isn't necessarily so. A truly good writer can adapt his or her style to any imposed framework. Creative nonfiction (especially journalism) can be quite dry. The inverted pyramid (the format for your everyday news article) is often just as dull, tedious, and downright awful.

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dextermorgan
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby dextermorgan » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:59 pm

Everyone is feeding you bullshit. The real answer is that no one on the admissions committee will care what your major was.

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Samara
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby Samara » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:00 pm

HeavenWood wrote:
bathtubgin wrote:It will be a disadvantage when you get to lawschool. If you enjoy the English language and have an ounce of creativity/passion/flair for writing, law will extinguish it like a pail of water on a cigarette butt. Legal "writing" is dull, tedious, verbose, ungrammatical, and really just downright awful. Most lawyers (and esp judges) are horrifically poor writers, hence "legalese".

It doesn't help that they stick case citations WITHIN the text rather than using footnotes like a journalist or other person of talent/common sense would.

HTH

This isn't necessarily so. A truly good writer can adapt his or her style to any imposed framework. Creative nonfiction (especially journalism) can be quite dry. The inverted pyramid (the format for your everyday news article) is often just as dull, tedious, and downright awful.

+1 I "worked" for my UG newspaper for like two weeks before quitting because I couldn't handle the idiosyncrasies of the writing style. I enjoy every other type of writing I've done, so let's hope newspaper writing isn't analogous to legal writing.

HeavenWood
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby HeavenWood » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:05 pm

Samara wrote:
HeavenWood wrote:
bathtubgin wrote:It will be a disadvantage when you get to lawschool. If you enjoy the English language and have an ounce of creativity/passion/flair for writing, law will extinguish it like a pail of water on a cigarette butt. Legal "writing" is dull, tedious, verbose, ungrammatical, and really just downright awful. Most lawyers (and esp judges) are horrifically poor writers, hence "legalese".

It doesn't help that they stick case citations WITHIN the text rather than using footnotes like a journalist or other person of talent/common sense would.

HTH

This isn't necessarily so. A truly good writer can adapt his or her style to any imposed framework. Creative nonfiction (especially journalism) can be quite dry. The inverted pyramid (the format for your everyday news article) is often just as dull, tedious, and downright awful.

+1 I "worked" for my UG newspaper for like two weeks before quitting because I couldn't handle the idiosyncrasies of the writing style. I enjoy every other type of writing I've done, so let's hope newspaper writing isn't analogous to legal writing.

Based on my extremely limited experience with LRW thus far, I find CREAC to be much more flexible than the inverted pyramid and its relatives.

acrossthelake
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:16 pm

rayiner wrote:
bathtubgin wrote:It will be a disadvantage when you get to lawschool. If you enjoy the English language and have an ounce of creativity/passion/flair for writing, law will extinguish it like a pail of water on a cigarette butt. Legal "writing" is dull, tedious, verbose, ungrammatical, and really just downright awful. Most lawyers (and esp judges) are horrifically poor writers, hence "legalese".

It doesn't help that they stick case citations WITHIN the text rather than using footnotes like a journalist or other person of talent/common sense would.

HTH


I disagree with nearly all of the above. Legal writing is about function over form. It is precise, thorough, plain, and organized, because it's function is to describe the law and how they relate to the facts, not to draw attention to itself. Conventions like internal citations exist because a judge cares more about knowing the source of every assertion than about keeping the flow of the prose.

I do agree that journalists and English majors will find it distasteful. As an engineer, I found it quite natural.


+1 Though replace engineer with a diff science oriented major.

bathtubgin
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby bathtubgin » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:31 pm

+1 I "worked" for my UG newspaper for like two weeks before quitting because I couldn't handle the idiosyncrasies of the writing style. I enjoy every other type of writing I've done, so let's hope newspaper writing isn't analogous to legal writing.


Might want to go grab the warranty for your TV set, or your automobile lease/insurance policy/etc. Read the entire documents all the way through 3 time each, then ask yourself if both reading and producing such "prose" is something you can see yourself doing 60+ hours a week for the next 40 years.

HTH

missinglink
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby missinglink » Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:06 pm

bathtubgin wrote:
+1 I "worked" for my UG newspaper for like two weeks before quitting because I couldn't handle the idiosyncrasies of the writing style. I enjoy every other type of writing I've done, so let's hope newspaper writing isn't analogous to legal writing.


Might want to go grab the warranty for your TV set, or your automobile lease/insurance policy/etc. Read the entire documents all the way through 3 time each, then ask yourself if both reading and producing such "prose" is something you can see yourself doing 60+ hours a week for the next 40 years.

HTH

Because every lawyer will be doing contracts and warranties?

bathtubgin
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby bathtubgin » Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:12 pm

Because every lawyer will be doing contracts and warranties?


No. Those who head into Biglaw will be reviewing all 655,974 pages of a "Global Tri-Lateral Broker Dealer Sub Agreement Addendum" to assure that the words "shall perform" rather than "may perform" appear in all such instances.

Get the picture?

HeavenWood
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby HeavenWood » Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:14 pm

bathtubgin wrote:
Because every lawyer will be doing contracts and warranties?


No. Those who head into Biglaw will be reviewing all 655,974 pages of a "Global Tri-Lateral Broker Dealer Sub Agreement Addendum" to assure that the words "shall perform" rather than "may perform" appear in all such instances.

Get the picture?

That's why it's advisable to GTFO after a few years and switch to something cushier and/or more lucrative like midlaw.

midwestls
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby midwestls » Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:26 pm

If you have actually worked as a journalist it can be looked on as a strong positive by firms. I have former journalist friends who are 3Ls at Chicago, Yale and Virginia - all killed it in OCI, had their choice of summer jobs, and received offers at the end of the summer. I know of another who went to Fordham, made law review, got a federal clerkship, and is about to start with a V10 firm.

bp shinners
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Re: Journalims BA a disadvantage?

Postby bp shinners » Fri Sep 16, 2011 10:52 am

bathtubgin wrote:It will be a disadvantage when you get to lawschool. If you enjoy the English language and have an ounce of creativity/passion/flair for writing, law will extinguish it like a pail of water on a cigarette butt. Legal "writing" is dull, tedious, verbose, ungrammatical, and really just downright awful. Most lawyers (and esp judges) are horrifically poor writers, hence "legalese".


Just because most lawyers write in a dull, tedious, verbose, ungrammatical, and downright awful way doesn't mean that those features are inherent to legal writing. If you're a great writer, you can use those skills to create legal documents that stand out. Hell, if you can put a comma in the right place, you can create a legal document that stands out.

I know a lot of people with writing backgrounds who enjoy legal writing, partly because they don't even have to try very hard to be at the top of that area in their firm.




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