WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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ktg808
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby ktg808 » Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:50 pm

0LNewbie wrote:JCougar and Romo-

To continue the discussion above somewhat, if either of you has read the TLS article by the NYU student on his philosophy on doing law school, could you comment on the merit of that approach in the context of WUSTL? To me, it looks like an idea that could be good but would definitely be scary. Anything special about the way WashU runs that would make this a terrible approach?


Can you link to that article/post?


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ODBCP
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby ODBCP » Mon Mar 07, 2011 5:11 pm

romothesavior wrote:
edgarfigaro wrote:Very important question: how is the cell reception for ATT and Verizon?

Not gonna be an issue. St. Louis isn't Backwoods, Montana. I have ATT and have never had any issues.

Now, if you're in the library basement (or as I refer to it, the "bunker"), you can pretty much bank on no cell phone reception at all.


Good lord, you have ATT and have never had issues?! I usually have like 1-2 bars of service in major metro areas.

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myq
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby myq » Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:04 pm

0LNewbie wrote:JCougar and Romo-

To continue the discussion above somewhat, if either of you has read the TLS article by the NYU student on his philosophy on doing law school, could you comment on the merit of that approach in the context of WUSTL? To me, it looks like an idea that could be good but would definitely be scary. Anything special about the way WashU runs that would make this a terrible approach?


I know I'm not JCougar or Romo, but I'd say it's pretty good advice generally.

I do think it's easy to misinterpret it as "Go out and have fun, and because you have a good hornbook and E&E, you're going to do better than everyone." I agree with Arrow (I think it was his advice) that this is such an important year, it's better to do everything to minimize risk and maximize test performance. Sure, get to know your classmates, but I think you can network fine by going out once per week instead of five nights like the guy says in that article.

I also think that the little emphasis on the casebook works for a lot of classes, but you really have to know your audience (the professor). In my contracts class, for example, it was clear that the professor wanted us to know the cases very well, and it was clear that he wanted us to follow his specific way of analysis. There, I just obsessively studied the casebook and my notes from his class. I didn't use an E&E or a hornbook because I knew they'd be no good. On the other hand, in my torts class, it was pretty clear that the professor didn't really care about the casebook - her powerpoint slides were pretty much just black letter law, she rarely mentioned cases when going over analysis with us, etc. In that class, I think NYU guy's approach would have worked very well.

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ktg808
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby ktg808 » Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:05 pm

0LNewbie wrote:http://www.top-law-schools.com/success-in-law-school.html


Thanks!

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:40 pm

0LNewbie wrote:http://www.top-law-schools.com/success-in-law-school.html

I'll be honest, I haven't read this and it is waaaay too long for me to do a quick skim. If you can give me a quick synopsis, I'd be happy to comment.

But keep in mind, jcoug and I and anyone who else might comment are just a couple of 1Ls, and there are many, many ways to find success in law school. Everyone studies differently. There are some smart people in my class who take notes on every little thing the prof says, whereas I barely write anything down in class. Some folks just skim cases and use the supplements, other people read cases multiple times and use 15 different highlighter colors and write mini-books in the margins. Different strokes for different folks, and our own systems work for us.

I will reiterate, however, that becoming a gunner or sacrificing your personal life in law school is not necessary! Work hard? Absolutely. But if you like to socialize and make friends, then by all means! All of my friends and I have solid grades (certainly not the best, but solid), and we all like to go out and have a good time. I have a lady friend and I have time for her. I have time to TLS, network, watch sports, go out to eat, etc. You just have to be able to balance your time. Law school is a lot of work but it's not that bad (well... save for finals. Those weeks suck!)

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:52 pm

0LNewbie wrote:http://www.top-law-schools.com/success-in-law-school.html


I think that's a pretty good summary of the basics. Hornbooks are WAY more useful than casebooks. I agree that to have a good grasp of the material, you need to go through both the Hornbooks and the E&E.

But that still misses the overall point. Reading the E&E and the Hornbooks only helps you understand the material better than your classmates. This won't get you good grades. You have to learn how to get it down on paper to get points for it on the exam. And in that regard, law school exams are a typing race. Write down everything, step by step, even the obvious steps. Don't just skip right to the complex issues or the brilliant arguments. On your Torts exam, if the hypo says someone blatantly punched another guy in the face in a bar fight, don't take it for granted that the punch caused harm. Spend a second explaining how knuckles forcefully directed at a vulnerable area of the body such as the face usually cause bruising, pain, and possibly broken bones, and that you would want to look at medical reports in this case to prove harm. It seems obvious that a punch to the face would cause harm, but on a law exam, you lose points if you don't spell this out using the facts.

It actually helps if the material seems a bit confusing to you, because you're more inclined to spell out your reasoning. If it makes too much sense, you tend to skip over (or process sub-consciously) the small logical steps that lead you to your conclusion. If you do this on law school exams, you miss tons of points. Spell everything out. Don't feel like you are being stupid for making a big deal out of tiny, obvious issues. Don't think you are brilliant for skipping right to the critical issues that would decide the case. The truth is, you get the same amount of points for talking about the obvious issues as you do the more complex ones. In order to get an A, you have to talk about them all. So writing a lot is key. And making that writing effective is the other key.

Don't go into the exam thinking a good answer is going to simplify and sort out the chaos. Your goal is actually to sort of create chaos. If there is something in your outline that is only tangentially relevant to the fact pattern, you will probably get points if you can artfully weave that issue into your analysis using the facts (it has to be somewhat related, though). The more stuff you can talk about that is in any way related to the question, the better. It might not even be a bad idea to talk about things that could be an issue if you knew more about the case.

How far to stretch things really depends on your professor, though. Some are more prone to having you be focused and relevant in your answers, and some want you to literally apply your entire outline in any way possible to the fact pattern.

The bottom line is: you're training to be a lawyer. Lawyers deal with a somewhat unpredictable bureaucracy. The law is complex, and there are many different conclusions you can come to from reading a fact pattern. Your goal is to talk about them all, even if they seem to be remote or unlikely conclusions. Also, judges can make weird decisions that don't always seem logical or make the most sense, so you have to be prepared to deal with all possible outcomes, even if they don't seem rational. You don't want to leave any stone unturned, because that looks bad to a client, and it leaves an opening for the opposing counsel.

Also, a bit of a cynical view, lawyers don't make money by simplifying things. If you want to milk a case for billable hours, you don't want to make things short and sweet. The incentive isn't necessarily to be efficient. It's to generate a lot of paperwork and be overly thorough...to the point of overkill. Some clients actually prefer it to be this way. They'd rather pay for over-analysis that is somewhat irrelevant than making the mistake of missing some tiny little thing that there is a 99% chance it's not going to matter. When you're working on multi-billion dollar deals, client's aren't going to care if they have to pay for an extra $20K of billable hours spent on an issue that is 99% irrelevant on the off-chance that 1% of the time, it could sink the deal and cost billions of dollars.

Bottom line -- you have to go into the exam with the mentality that you're going to spew everything you know rather than trying to make a clear analysis about only the most important, crucial, and complex issues. You DON'T want to get straight to the point. For example, the Glannon's Torts E&E has some practice exams and answers in the back of the book. But in the model answers, Glannon kind of brushes aside the obvious things and goes right to the critical decision points. This is a BAD EXAMPLE of what to do. Don't use the model answers in the E&Es to guide you. You need to talk about everything. But you also have to keep what you say at least somewhat relevant. Work through all the little details and do your analysis step-by-step, even if the steps seem painfully obvious. And do this for any topic on your outline you possibly can. Don't talk about stuff that's not related to your outline or the course, though...that is the limit of the "talk about everything" rule.

It's hard to describe in words, though. You really just have to go through it. You do have to strike a balance...you don't get points for talking about things that are totally irrelevant, but it's better to err on that side than to narrow your discussion to only the crucial or complex issues. The people I know that did well just sat down and typed a fuckload of stuff, some of which the professor didn't even understand...but you don't lose points for doing this. You do lose time if you talk about totally irrelevant stuff, but you make up that time by typing fast. What you don't want to do is leave points sitting out there not to be covered.

It does take a lot of work, though. The only way you're going to have time to type all this stuff is if you've committed most of it to memory, and you don't have to reference your outline. Your outline should mostly be there for safety's sake. And the way you commit it to memory is to read the material from multiple sources (casebook, hornbook, E&E). Casebook is the least efficient and most confusing way to learn the material, but you still should go through the cases once and pay attention to the principles and rules the judges are using. It actually makes more sense to read the E&E and Hornbook first, and THEN read the cases. And briefing is a waste of time. A huge waste of time. Focus on how the rules, tests, and principles are used.

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Hannibal
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby Hannibal » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:02 pm

But that still misses the overall point. Reading the E&E and the Hornbooks only helps you understand the material better than your classmates. This won't get you good grades. You have to learn how to get it down on paper to get points for it on the exam. And in that regard, law school exams are a typing race. Write down everything, step by step, even the obvious steps. Don't just skip right to the complex issues or the brilliant arguments. On your Torts exam, if the hypo says someone blatantly punched another guy in the face in a bar fight, don't take it for granted that the punch caused harm. Spend a second explaining how knuckles forcefully directed at a vulnerable area of the body such as the face usually cause bruising, pain, and possibly broken bones, and that you would want to look at medical reports in this case to prove harm. It seems obvious that a punch to the face would cause harm, but on a law exam, you lose points if you don't spell this out using the facts.



I feel like this paragraph might have been the most important thing I've read on TLS. Love you.

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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby beachbum » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:24 pm

Hannibal wrote:
But that still misses the overall point. Reading the E&E and the Hornbooks only helps you understand the material better than your classmates. This won't get you good grades. You have to learn how to get it down on paper to get points for it on the exam. And in that regard, law school exams are a typing race. Write down everything, step by step, even the obvious steps. Don't just skip right to the complex issues or the brilliant arguments. On your Torts exam, if the hypo says someone blatantly punched another guy in the face in a bar fight, don't take it for granted that the punch caused harm. Spend a second explaining how knuckles forcefully directed at a vulnerable area of the body such as the face usually cause bruising, pain, and possibly broken bones, and that you would want to look at medical reports in this case to prove harm. It seems obvious that a punch to the face would cause harm, but on a law exam, you lose points if you don't spell this out using the facts.



I feel like this paragraph might have been the most important thing I've read on TLS. Love you.


+1, there was actually a ton of great info in that post. Thanks a lot.

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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby TatteredDignity » Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:23 pm

You guys continue to answer the call- thanks so much!

Romo, to summarize, he says that you should read the relevant section of the hornbook, read the brief from the commercial briefing book, only then read the relevant parts of the case, and throw in the E&E for good measure. He also recommends taking practice tests about halfway in, once you have enough of an outline to do so.

I've heard almost universally that briefing is a waste of time, so I think I won't do that - it's just difficult to ignore what all the profs say, even though they seem to be a bit removed from the reality of how to prepare for their own tests. Have you seen anyone whom you know has prepared well (you know them personally, etc), but isn't necessarily reading the cases in excruciating detail, get reamed in a cold-call?

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:28 pm

0LNewbie wrote:Romo, to summarize, he says that you should read the relevant section of the hornbook, read the brief from the commercial briefing book, only then read the relevant parts of the case, and throw in the E&E for good measure. He also recommends taking practice tests about halfway in, once you have enough of an outline to do so.

This is not what I would start out with. You might move to it over time once you figure out what works and what doesn't, but I would start out by reading cases. I started out taking lots of notes, briefing, and meticulously reading. As I got more comfortable, I moved away from it, and now that I got my first semester grades, I know that having briefs for every class is a huge waste of time. Definitely get the supplements though, because they are very helpful down the stretch.

My neighbor (2L) got the 2nd highest grade in one of his classes and he claims his prof hated him because whenever he got called on he'd just say, "I dunno..." Class can be helpful for learning the types of things your prof wants, but it is a lot of pomp and hooplah. Don't get caught up in all that crap, because nobody will care if you said the most brilliant thing ever in Week 4 of Contracts. What matters is your grade, and that is pretty much solely determined by your exam. Keep your eye on the prize.

PS. I don't recommend pissing your profs though. Having good relationships with your profs is important. I just share this anecdote to show that being a whiz in class is not what matters.

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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:43 pm

Also, one caveat. Everything I said above should be treated as a general rule. Adjust from this rule if your professor gives you a different impression of what he/she wants on the exam. But be warned: I had two professors last semester that said "don't information dump." I took that as they wanted no-bullshit, straight to the meat of the argument responses. And those were my two lowest grades. Be wary of what they mean by "information dump." By this, they probably meant "don't just recite black letter law." This is a waste of time. But "information dump" is not the same as applying every single part of the law you possible can think of to the facts. You really have to be a gunner on the exam (even if you don't like the gunners in class). Instead of making a solid-sounding argument, you should be trying to show off that you know everything (to a point).

So the lesson is, professors can't always be trusted when you ask them what they want on the exam, so if there's any doubt, the more you talk about, the better, especially if it involves applying law to the facts. If you can connect any part or sub-part of the law to the facts to make some sort of argument, even if it's marginal, you should be doing it.

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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby Peg » Sat Mar 12, 2011 2:52 pm

Don't know if this question has been asked yet, so I apologize if this is a repeat: what is the typical private sector salary a WUSTL grad can expect at a St Louis firm?

I'm asking because, if I end up at WUSTL (most likely I will), I may not get the grades/good luck to get out of St Louis. So I'm curious what the private sector pays in STL. I guess there are no $160k jobs in the city?

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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby Spookyghost » Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:00 pm

Peg wrote:Don't know if this question has been asked yet, so I apologize if this is a repeat: what is the typical private sector salary a WUSTL grad can expect at a St Louis firm?

I'm asking because, if I end up at WUSTL (most likely I will), I may not get the grades/good luck to get out of St Louis. So I'm curious what the private sector pays in STL. I guess there are no $160k jobs in the city?


Doubt there are many 160k jobs without good grades period.

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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby beachbum » Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:15 pm

Peg wrote:Don't know if this question has been asked yet, so I apologize if this is a repeat: what is the typical private sector salary a WUSTL grad can expect at a St Louis firm?

I'm asking because, if I end up at WUSTL (most likely I will), I may not get the grades/good luck to get out of St Louis. So I'm curious what the private sector pays in STL. I guess there are no $160k jobs in the city?


I believe starting salary for the big firms (i.e. Thompson Coburn, Bryan Cave) starts at ~$110k. But considering the low COL in St. Louis, you're still gonna be doing all right.

FAR262
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby FAR262 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 8:30 pm

For that matter how many WUSTL grads get 160k jobs in general? I know their website says median private sector salary is 152,500, but I've heard that schools often fudge these numbers.

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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby Rock Chalk » Sat Mar 12, 2011 8:51 pm

beachbum wrote:
Peg wrote:Don't know if this question has been asked yet, so I apologize if this is a repeat: what is the typical private sector salary a WUSTL grad can expect at a St Louis firm?

I'm asking because, if I end up at WUSTL (most likely I will), I may not get the grades/good luck to get out of St Louis. So I'm curious what the private sector pays in STL. I guess there are no $160k jobs in the city?


I believe starting salary for the big firms (i.e. Thompson Coburn, Bryan Cave) starts at ~$110k. But considering the low COL in St. Louis, you're still gonna be doing all right.

This is correct. Larger firms in town pay between $110K and $125K, with most firms at $110K. I also know of a couple midlaw firms in town that pay $80K - $100K. I've been told by reliable sources that a few firms at $110 might increase in the coming years to match those at $120 and $125 if those salaries persist, but it's not guaranteed.

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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby 2011Law » Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:26 pm

FAR262 wrote:For that matter how many WUSTL grads get 160k jobs in general? I know their website says median private sector salary is 152,500, but I've heard that schools often fudge these numbers.


I guesstimate about 10%. Again though, if your living in the midwest where most of the cities have a low CoL, 110k is a lot of money. You can probably buy a much bigger place with that than with 160k in NYC.

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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:56 pm

2011Law wrote:
FAR262 wrote:For that matter how many WUSTL grads get 160k jobs in general? I know their website says median private sector salary is 152,500, but I've heard that schools often fudge these numbers.


I guesstimate about 10%. Again though, if your living in the midwest where most of the cities have a low CoL, 110k is a lot of money. You can probably buy a much bigger place with that than with 160k in NYC.

+1. 110k in STL takes you a LOT farther than 160k in NYC. Of course, STL is no NYC, but if you can handle the Midwest lifestyle, you'll be doing just fine at 100k+.

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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby FAR262 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:19 pm

What's the CoL like in Chicago? Don't more people end up there than STL?

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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby Peg » Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:19 pm

romothesavior wrote:
2011Law wrote: Again though, if your living in the midwest where most of the cities have a low CoL, 110k is a lot of money. You can probably buy a much bigger place with that than with 160k in NYC.

+1. 110k in STL takes you a LOT farther than 160k in NYC. Of course, STL is no NYC, but if you can handle the Midwest lifestyle, you'll be doing just fine at 100k+.


Yeah, I was looking up the real estate in STL just out curiosity and you could get a five bedroom house (FIVE. BEDROOMS.) for...wait for it...


under $400,000.

My eyes almost popped out, I even checked if I was looking in the worst part of town, but I wasn't. Here in New York, you would need to put down at least $10 million for a house like that.

So yeah, I figure a salary of at least $100,000 makes you pretty comfortable, even after taxes.

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:40 am

FAR262 wrote:What's the CoL like in Chicago? Don't more people end up there than STL?

COL in Chicago is higher than STL, but generally less than NYC or DC.

And yes, more people end up there, in large part due to self-selection, and also because the Chicago market is far bigger than St. Louis.

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theturkeyisfat
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby theturkeyisfat » Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:54 am

so how many people would you say get the 100k jobs? and are people who aren't from the area at a disadvantage? also, how well does the school place in KC?

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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:33 pm

theturkeyisfat wrote:so how many people would you say get the 100k jobs? and are people who aren't from the area at a disadvantage? also, how well does the school place in KC?

These are my best guesses for NLJ firms PLUS clerkships (because most who clerk in Article III and some who do Article I will get an NLJ 250 firm)

Pre-boom: ~30% (some were started at slightly less than 100k because not all NLJ firms pay 6 figures to start)

Last year or two: Anyone's guess, but I'd say 20-25% or so (We were around 18-19% in the latest NLJ data, and then throw in clerks who got NLJ after clerking and its probably close to 25%)

This fall: Even more of anyone's guess, but probably guess back to about 25% of my class will get a biglaw SA. Not quite as high as pre-ITE, but better.

People who aren't from STL are at a disadvantage, but you can make up for it with good grades and a tangible reason for wanting to be here, especially if you are from the Midwest.

And yes, we place decently into KC. We're the best school that feeds into KC, and we send a decent number of people there every year. But again, it helps to be from there or have ties.

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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby lushka » Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:07 pm

romothesavior wrote:
theturkeyisfat wrote:so how many people would you say get the 100k jobs? and are people who aren't from the area at a disadvantage? also, how well does the school place in KC?

These are my best guesses for NLJ firms PLUS clerkships (because most who clerk in Article III and some who do Article I will get an NLJ 250 firm)

Pre-boom: ~30% (some were started at slightly less than 100k because not all NLJ firms pay 6 figures to start)

Last year or two: Anyone's guess, but I'd say 20-25% or so (We were around 18-19% in the latest NLJ data, and then throw in clerks who got NLJ after clerking and its probably close to 25%)

This fall: Even more of anyone's guess, but probably guess back to about 25% of my class will get a biglaw SA. Not quite as high as pre-ITE, but better.

People who aren't from STL are at a disadvantage, but you can make up for it with good grades and a tangible reason for wanting to be here, especially if you are from the Midwest.

And yes, we place decently into KC. We're the best school that feeds into KC, and we send a decent number of people there every year. But again, it helps to be from there or have ties.



What percentage would you estimate get biglaw in Chicago? East Coast?
Thanks




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