Forgive These Stupid Questions

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ichbineindoughnut
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Forgive These Stupid Questions

Postby ichbineindoughnut » Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:38 pm

Hello!

(The bolded portion is the TL;DR version.)

I sure hope this is the right place for me to ask you, the omnipotent veterans of TLS, some questions regarding law school. I've looked around, and this appears to be the best place for this thread, but that does not mean that it belongs here. My apologies if I am wrong. I'm just an idiot.

I figure I'll lay my cards on the table and give some information about myself: I am currently a freshman in college (read: I don't know much, outside of what I have read on these forums and in Scott Turow's One-L) and am interested in going to law school in order to become a federal judge (A3, not that whole magistrate thing). I realize that my goals are extraordinarily high, but I figure that I will shoot for the stars. I am aware of the requirements of becoming a federal judge (such as being a top student at a top school, LR, clerking), but don't really know what this means--I suppose nobody can fully comprehend the inherent difficulties without actually being in law school. I also recognize just how futile it is to speculate one's cycle sans GPA/LSAT, but I do have some questions that border on asking you to do this.

As a non-URM, I know that this means a lot of hard work--for what it's worth, even if I were a URM, getting into law school would be hard to do--and that I will be going up against steep competition, but I would like to go to Yale because of its fantastic placement of students into clerkships, the whole "no grade" thing, and I hear that its studentry is less competitive than that of its peer schools. Please forgive me for being a gunnery asshat, or whatever other epithet you have reserved for assholes like me, but this is what I'd like my career path to look like:

UG-> Marshall Scholarship -> Yale -> Pass bar, wait 10 years clerking and working in BigGov/BigLaw -> (10 years are up) NYS CoA -> Federal CoA.

Yeah, it sounds so damn pretentious I will not even attempt to describe. I realize I sound like an asshole.

Currently, I attend a state school, however, I have been extended a Transfer Offer to Cornell (the New York Times ran this piece a couple of months ago, and I am in basically the same situation).

I am wondering whether, all questions being all other things being equal:
When would be the best time to start studying for the LSAT? As a freshman, I have time. I'm considering beginning to study this summer (probably just read old Economist/Scientific Americans). Thoughts?
I would have a better chance at Yale from Cornell or my current UG (Although it's generally accepted that one's UG does not matter, I've never heard this about Y or S, which have reputations of being black boxes);
I would have a better chance at getting a Marshall Scholarship from Cornell or my current UG (I realize this isn't the best place to ask this...);
I would have a better chance at getting prestigious clerkships with an Ivy bachellor's (I figure it wouldn't do much, as law school would be the important thing... perhaps this would be a good question for G. T. L. Rev., who appears to be a guru on this subject);
I would be able to network better to get the appointments necessary, or would my LS accomplishments be enough to allow me to get the networking... I really don't know much about the effect of one's UG if one goes to LS... all I know is that there is a NDNY (where I'm from) judge who went to a good-but-not-amazingly-great UG and HLS... anecdotal evidence or something else?


Thank you for reading this.
I know it's a jumble.
I know I sound like an asshole.
But I tried searching, and couldn't find much... other than somebody asking about international law... and I want to pick your brains.

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Strange
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Re: Forgive These Stupid Questions

Postby Strange » Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:53 pm

- LSAT: Take a diag and see what your starting point is. I would start studying the summer before your junior year, if you plan to go to LS right after UG.

- I don't think Yale cares about whether you went to Cornell or not. The flipside is that Cornell will probably be harder to get a good GPA than your current school. That's just speculative. Up to you though.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Forgive These Stupid Questions

Postby JamMasterJ » Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:03 pm

Actually strange may be wrong about the "harder to get a good gpa" thing. A lot of top UG's grade-inflate like crazy. Check to see if Cornell is this way. Take a diagnostic LSAT next summer if you want, but there's really no reason to start studying for it until after Sophomore year.

Curious1
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Re: Forgive These Stupid Questions

Postby Curious1 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:03 pm

JamMasterJ wrote:Actually strange may be wrong about the "harder to get a good gpa" thing. A lot of top UG's grade-inflate like crazy. Check to see if Cornell is this way. Take a diagnostic LSAT next summer if you want, but there's really no reason to start studying for it until after Sophomore year.


This incorrect perception gets funnier every time I hear it.

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paul34
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Re: Forgive These Stupid Questions

Postby paul34 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:19 pm

Freshman? Wow. Well, keep in mind that you could change your mind. The next 3-5 years will bring a LOT of changes, many of which you cannot predict right now.

Anyway, you can take your time. Also, if you're absolutely set on law school, don't take a hard major. Take something like poli sci or something else like that where you could get a high GPA without killing yourself. Note that if you do this, however, you are burning your bridges. You'll have to go to law school after graduating in poli sci, or some other similar major.

I don't think you'll be advantaged too much by an Ivy UG degree. Honestly, I would suggest just staying at your state school. It'll probably be cheaper, and minimizing debt is really important if you want to go to law school in the future. Law school isn't going to get any cheaper by the time you get there (I'm assuming nothing will change in a positive way in the next few years).

If you don't already have one, try to get a part time job. Nothing fancy. Just work in the real world, even if its only a few hours per week. I suggest something in the service industry. That'll expose you to all kinds of people, and will probably humble you. I know some people work as a front desk person at an academic office, and spend 99% of their shift on facebook or studying. While that technically counts as work experience, that is not the kind of work experience to which I am referring.

I'm always surprised to hear of some people who have never really worked anywhere going straight to law school. IMHO, you should have some blue collar experience before entering the very white collar world of law. This will help make you a more well-rounded person. Again, IMO, I think this sort of thing is doubly important for you, since you want to eventually become a judge. Some judges live in another reality. Don't be that person.

At any rate, don't get so caught up in your planned future that you forget to live in the present. You only get to live undergrad once; live it well.

ichbineindoughnut
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:33 am

Re: Forgive These Stupid Questions

Postby ichbineindoughnut » Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:36 pm

Thanks for the responses!

Anyway, there is additional information that is pertinent:
-My major is Economics.
-My Transfer Offer is to one of the four statutory colleges, and I am a New York State resident.
-If I transfer, my major would be Industrial and Labor Relations; however, I would probably double major in Economics (even though doing so would not noticeably help my admissions prospects).

Strange wrote:- LSAT: Take a diag and see what your starting point is. I would start studying the summer before your junior year, if you plan to go to LS right after UG.

- I don't think Yale cares about whether you went to Cornell or not. The flipside is that Cornell will probably be harder to get a good GPA than your current school. That's just speculative. Up to you though.


Ah, so there is a traditional LS admission policy (that law schools like their numbers) that Yale won't buck.

Curious1 wrote:
JamMasterJ wrote:Actually strange may be wrong about the "harder to get a good gpa" thing. A lot of top UG's grade-inflate like crazy. Check to see if Cornell is this way. Take a diagnostic LSAT next summer if you want, but there's really no reason to start studying for it until after Sophomore year.


This incorrect perception gets funnier every time I hear it.


Heh, I always thought that grade inflation was a function of the combined actions of individual professors as opposed to an institutional policy.

paul34 wrote:Freshman? Wow. Well, keep in mind that you could change your mind. The next 3-5 years will bring a LOT of changes, many of which you cannot predict right now.

Anyway, you can take your time. Also, if you're absolutely set on law school, don't take a hard major. Take something like poli sci or something else like that where you could get a high GPA without killing yourself. Note that if you do this, however, you are burning your bridges. You'll have to go to law school after graduating in poli sci, or some other similar major.

I don't think you'll be advantaged too much by an Ivy UG degree. Honestly, I would suggest just staying at your state school. It'll probably be cheaper, and minimizing debt is really important if you want to go to law school in the future. Law school isn't going to get any cheaper by the time you get there (I'm assuming nothing will change in a positive way in the next few years).

If you don't already have one, try to get a part time job. Nothing fancy. Just work in the real world, even if its only a few hours per week. I suggest something in the service industry. That'll expose you to all kinds of people, and will probably humble you. I know some people work as a front desk person at an academic office, and spend 99% of their shift on facebook or studying. While that technically counts as work experience, that is not the kind of work experience to which I am referring.

I'm always surprised to hear of some people who have never really worked anywhere going straight to law school. IMHO, you should have some blue collar experience before entering the very white collar world of law. This will help make you a more well-rounded person. Again, IMO, I think this sort of thing is doubly important for you, since you want to eventually become a judge. Some judges live in another reality. Don't be that person.

At any rate, don't get so caught up in your planned future that you forget to live in the present. You only get to live undergrad once; live it well.


The only class I'm in that I'm sweating (outside of one with an awful professor), is a Pol. Sci. class, haha.
Anyway, as, if I transferred, I'd be attending a statutory school and am a NYS resident, I would receive a discount; however, even with this discount, it would still be more expensive than my current school, but it's like a 20k discount.
Also, does this mean that, if I make it to the bench, I won't be allowed to wear a (normal, not a clip-on) bowtie?

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Nicholasnickynic
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Re: Forgive These Stupid Questions

Postby Nicholasnickynic » Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:40 pm

Saying you want to be a federal judge in a court of appeals is like saying you wish to be a
Governor/member of congress. There are a few hundred of them and it is extremely hard to get.

You are not shooting for the stars, you are shooting for the area thats above the area that above the stars.

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JamMasterJ
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Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:17 pm

Re: Forgive These Stupid Questions

Postby JamMasterJ » Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:44 pm

I would transfer to Cornell b/c you really don't know what you want to do and if you decide law isn't for you, you may actually have job offers after graduation, whereas people at TTT schools do not

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paul34
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Re: Forgive These Stupid Questions

Postby paul34 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:18 pm

ichbineindoughnut wrote: I won't be allowed to wear a (normal, not a clip-on) bowtie?


As a potential Cornell student, you should get used to asking "what would Andy Bernard do?"




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