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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bsktbll28082
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby bsktbll28082 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:03 am

Is St. Louis the type of place you have to visit to see if you could live there? Since it's the middle of the semester, I don't think I have a couple days where I could fly over. Plus, it's hundreds of dollars. Deposit for me is April 1st I believe. So I'll need a decision by then.

I've done research and it seems like it'd be a fine place to live. Thoughts?

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TatteredDignity
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby TatteredDignity » Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:33 pm

If WUSTL is the best value proposition for you as a law school, don't worry so much about whether you could live here. It's a fine city. It's only three years. Plenty of sports, nightlife, affordable housing, etc. You'll be fine.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:49 pm

bsktbll28082 wrote:Is St. Louis the type of place you have to visit to see if you could live there? Since it's the middle of the semester, I don't think I have a couple days where I could fly over. Plus, it's hundreds of dollars. Deposit for me is April 1st I believe. So I'll need a decision by then.

I've done research and it seems like it'd be a fine place to live. Thoughts?


From someone that's lived in a number large, cosmopolitan cities before, and been to pretty much every one in the United States and Canada, I can say that St. Louis as at the very least passable for any reasonable person. The nightlife isn't great in the NYC sense, but there's at least 5-7 neighborhoods where you can hang out late and have fun (in addition to the typical Loop, CWE, Downtown, Dogtown, and Clayton areas, there's also The Grove, Soulard, Cherokee St., Grand Center, and South Grand which are often overlooked by WUSTL students). The bars in the city are open to 3am. There's a great symphony orchestra that has $10 student tickets, some beautiful theaters (the Fox is amazing). There's Forest Park, which is right next to campus and is 50% larger than Central Park in NYC, and it has 36 holes of golf, a free zoo, a free art museum, a free history museum, miles of running/biking trails, an outdoor theater, a boathouse/lake, and every sport field you can think of. To top it all off, rent is very cheap.

Then you have the Cardinals/Blues/Rams, and while I'll admit that the Rams aren't much of an attraction, the other two teams are a huge draw.

The music scene is really hit or miss on any given night, but there'll be enough hits over the course of the month to keep you entertained. It's not like NYC/Chicago/Austin, etc. where you'll have to chose between like five good acts on the weekend nights. Some Friday nights there will be absolutely nothing going on and you'll just have to wing it. The club scene is also pretty weak if you're into that. The food scene is pretty mediocre overall, but after living there a year or so, you'll figure out where the gems are. The one exception is The Hill, an Italian neighborhood with about a dozen mostly fantastic Italian options. Otherwise, the Chinese/Mexican/Indian/Mediterranean/Thai options certainly leave something to be desired. Although I did find at least one fantastic option for each scattered throughout the city. If anyone wants details, let me know.

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chuckbass
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby chuckbass » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:16 pm

JCougar wrote:
bsktbll28082 wrote:Is St. Louis the type of place you have to visit to see if you could live there? Since it's the middle of the semester, I don't think I have a couple days where I could fly over. Plus, it's hundreds of dollars. Deposit for me is April 1st I believe. So I'll need a decision by then.

I've done research and it seems like it'd be a fine place to live. Thoughts?


From someone that's lived in a number large, cosmopolitan cities before, and been to pretty much every one in the United States and Canada, I can say that St. Louis as at the very least passable for any reasonable person. The nightlife isn't great in the NYC sense, but there's at least 5-7 neighborhoods where you can hang out late and have fun (in addition to the typical Loop, CWE, Downtown, Dogtown, and Clayton areas, there's also The Grove, Soulard, Cherokee St., Grand Center, and South Grand which are often overlooked by WUSTL students). The bars in the city are open to 3am. There's a great symphony orchestra that has $10 student tickets, some beautiful theaters (the Fox is amazing). There's Forest Park, which is right next to campus and is 50% larger than Central Park in NYC, and it has 36 holes of golf, a free zoo, a free art museum, a free history museum, miles of running/biking trails, an outdoor theater, a boathouse/lake, and every sport field you can think of. To top it all off, rent is very cheap.

Then you have the Cardinals/Blues/Rams, and while I'll admit that the Rams aren't much of an attraction, the other two teams are a huge draw.

The music scene is really hit or miss on any given night, but there'll be enough hits over the course of the month to keep you entertained. It's not like NYC/Chicago/Austin, etc. where you'll have to chose between like five good acts on the weekend nights. Some Friday nights there will be absolutely nothing going on and you'll just have to wing it. The club scene is also pretty weak if you're into that. The food scene is pretty mediocre overall, but after living there a year or so, you'll figure out where the gems are. The one exception is The Hill, an Italian neighborhood with about a dozen mostly fantastic Italian options. Otherwise, the Chinese/Mexican/Indian/Mediterranean/Thai options certainly leave something to be desired. Although I did find at least one fantastic option for each scattered throughout the city. If anyone wants details, let me know.

Thanks for that, definitely very helpful. My main priority is Chinese food... tell me where to go.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:30 pm

There actually is a Chinatown in St. Louis. It's on Olive Blvd. northwest of the Delmar Loop a few miles. It's not really walkable like most urban Chinatowns (lots of strip malls, etc.), but there's about a dozen Chinese restaurants (and one Jamaican one). A few of them are just cheap/average buffets, but Lu Lu Seafood has good dim sum and a pretty good standard menu as well, and Asiana Garden is probably the best if you want authentic food (like real Szechuan peppercorns, interesting non-Americanized dishes, etc.).

If you want Mexican, La Vallesana on Cherokee St. is absolutely fantastic. They have all the good taco meats (al Pastor, Chorizo, Cachete, Lengua, etc.), good homemade salsa, and they also make their own ice cream...including a rose petal ice cream made with real rose petals.

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sublime
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby sublime » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:14 pm

..

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MarkinKansasCity
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby MarkinKansasCity » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:24 pm

sublime wrote:
bsktbll28082 wrote:Is St. Louis the type of place you have to visit to see if you could live there? Since it's the middle of the semester, I don't think I have a couple days where I could fly over. Plus, it's hundreds of dollars. Deposit for me is April 1st I believe. So I'll need a decision by then.

I've done research and it seems like it'd be a fine place to live. Thoughts?



I didn't visit prior to coming and enjoy it much more than I had anticipated.


To be fair - That's because you're an alcoholic and you moved in next door to a fuckton of bars. with all due respect.

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sublime
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby sublime » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:27 pm

..

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chuckbass
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby chuckbass » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:46 pm

Sublime, do you live in CWE?

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Otunga
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby Otunga » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:58 pm

What's the general impression you guys are getting with employment? If one doesn't get biglaw or PI, are you going to be working your ass off for shitlaw?

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sublime
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby sublime » Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:18 pm

..

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:34 pm

Otunga wrote:What's the general impression you guys are getting with employment? If one doesn't get biglaw or PI, are you going to be working your ass off for shitlaw?


I'm going to be doing FedGov soon now that various budget freezes have been lifted thanks to the budget deal. I had slightly below median grades, but very relevant work experience, another graduate degree, and softs in my particular area, wrote onto a journal, etc. I also networked my ass off.

I think the LST reports are generally accurate. About 2/3rds have some sort of legal job, maybe about 25% have biglaw or an Article III clerkship. But there's also a fair share of people volunteering/doing shitlaw at the 9-month mark. Not all of the non-Biglaw jobs are shitty, as quite a few people have found jobs at smaller firms that seem pretty legit (although still probably pay somewhere around $50-60K to start). If it's actually a legit firm, though, those salaries will go up fast. Some of the 1/3 that don't have a legal job aren't really trying, and don't really want to be a lawyer. Some went on to grad degrees in other fields. But others are just SOL so far.

It's the same at every school. If you don't get Biglaw from OCI, you're in for a long, long grind of networking and mass-mailing to get a job. Your class might have an easier go at it because there's just significantly less people. My class was I think the largest in history, and it was also competing with the large and laid off classes of the years prior. PI jobs aren't easy to get, either. They're actually very, very difficult...harder than Biglaw in some instances. They're not a fallback option for those that strike out from Biglaw...they require demonstrated interest in the area as soon as you start law school...and preferably before. And most require that you volunteer for a year or two before hiring you due to budget cuts, etc. Congressional funding to the Legal Services Corporation has been hacked to death due to a particular nihilist political faction controlling the House of Representatives, the name of which will not be mentioned here.

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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby Otunga » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:25 pm

JCougar wrote:
Otunga wrote:What's the general impression you guys are getting with employment? If one doesn't get biglaw or PI, are you going to be working your ass off for shitlaw?


I'm going to be doing FedGov soon now that various budget freezes have been lifted thanks to the budget deal. I had slightly below median grades, but very relevant work experience, another graduate degree, and softs in my particular area, wrote onto a journal, etc. I also networked my ass off.

I think the LST reports are generally accurate. About 2/3rds have some sort of legal job, maybe about 25% have biglaw or an Article III clerkship. But there's also a fair share of people volunteering/doing shitlaw at the 9-month mark. Not all of the non-Biglaw jobs are shitty, as quite a few people have found jobs at smaller firms that seem pretty legit (although still probably pay somewhere around $50-60K to start). If it's actually a legit firm, though, those salaries will go up fast. Some of the 1/3 that don't have a legal job aren't really trying, and don't really want to be a lawyer. Some went on to grad degrees in other fields. But others are just SOL so far.

It's the same at every school. If you don't get Biglaw from OCI, you're in for a long, long grind of networking and mass-mailing to get a job. Your class might have an easier go at it because there's just significantly less people. My class was I think the largest in history, and it was also competing with the large and laid off classes of the years prior. PI jobs aren't easy to get, either. They're actually very, very difficult...harder than Biglaw in some instances. They're not a fallback option for those that strike out from Biglaw...they require demonstrated interest in the area as soon as you start law school...and preferably before. And most require that you volunteer for a year or two before hiring you due to budget cuts, etc. Congressional funding to the Legal Services Corporation has been hacked to death due to a particular nihilist political faction controlling the House of Representatives, the name of which will not be mentioned here.


Haha - I didn't mean to imply that all non-biglaw is shitty, or even that shitlaw is shitty, but I've gotten accustomed to saying 'shitlaw' as it tends to get across a private firm job that pays anywhere from 35-60k or so, instead of saying 'small law' where one's meaning might be kind of vague.

I pose the question about general employment as someone debating biglaw and a job in a public defender office. As you said, the latter, given it's PI, is something you have to invest in almost as soon as you get to law school, and even before that. I won't have any PI experience on the resume going in, so I would certainly have to do something PI in the summer and demonstrate interest in it during 1L. What I think favors WUSTL were I to get accepted there with a big scholarship is that it gives one a respectable (for a non-t14) chance at biglaw, but it also looks to have a good crim defense clinic and has the resources that one needs to go into that field. By going to a t14, in one major aspect (employment) there's less risk, in another it's binding (more loans), which makes one either do biglaw to pay off the loans if they get it, or bank on completing 10 years in PI so the government can forgive their loans.

I have numbers such that I'm above the 75th or near it GPA-wise at every school, but the LSAT is right off the median at mid-t14s. I've been attracted to doing a final third take in June for a chance at increasing any potential scholarships that are on the table.

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mt2165
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby mt2165 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:27 pm

Glad to see this exists and is so thorough. I have two questions. The first is; in your opinion how diverse is Washu Law and WUSTL overall? I am a URM and would like, even if just for the perceptive sense, to experience a diverse law school environment. Second, I was recently awarded a full ride at Washu (Ahhh still cannot believe it!!) I have pretty broad interests and I think I'm a t6 level candidate, but I am especially interested in government/political work, and in clerking. Obviously the elimination of debt is huge, but if I don't feel like I can do the same kind of work I'd want to do upon graduation, it becomes trickier. Assuming I do relatively well (lets assume median) do you think WUSTL is the right choice over a T6 of T10 at sticker or with minimal scholly, like less than 60k??

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LET'S GET IT
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby LET'S GET IT » Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:39 pm

JCougar wrote:
Otunga wrote:What's the general impression you guys are getting with employment? If one doesn't get biglaw or PI, are you going to be working your ass off for shitlaw?


I'm going to be doing FedGov soon now that various budget freezes have been lifted thanks to the budget deal. I had slightly below median grades, but very relevant work experience, another graduate degree, and softs in my particular area, wrote onto a journal, etc. I also networked my ass off.

I think the LST reports are generally accurate. About 2/3rds have some sort of legal job, maybe about 25% have biglaw or an Article III clerkship. But there's also a fair share of people volunteering/doing shitlaw at the 9-month mark. Not all of the non-Biglaw jobs are shitty, as quite a few people have found jobs at smaller firms that seem pretty legit (although still probably pay somewhere around $50-60K to start). If it's actually a legit firm, though, those salaries will go up fast. Some of the 1/3 that don't have a legal job aren't really trying, and don't really want to be a lawyer. Some went on to grad degrees in other fields. But others are just SOL so far.

It's the same at every school. If you don't get Biglaw from OCI, you're in for a long, long grind of networking and mass-mailing to get a job. Your class might have an easier go at it because there's just significantly less people. My class was I think the largest in history, and it was also competing with the large and laid off classes of the years prior. PI jobs aren't easy to get, either. They're actually very, very difficult...harder than Biglaw in some instances. They're not a fallback option for those that strike out from Biglaw...they require demonstrated interest in the area as soon as you start law school...and preferably before. And most require that you volunteer for a year or two before hiring you due to budget cuts, etc. Congressional funding to the Legal Services Corporation has been hacked to death due to a particular nihilist political faction controlling the House of Representatives, the name of which will not be mentioned here.


Thanks for the insight, this is one of the more informative posts I think I've read on TLS. If you were a 0L this year knowing what you know now, what is the max debt you would take on to attend WASHU? Assuming for arguments sake you think you'll finish around median.

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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby TatteredDignity » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:19 pm

mt2165 wrote:Glad to see this exists and is so thorough. I have two questions. The first is; in your opinion how diverse is Washu Law and WUSTL overall? I am a URM and would like, even if just for the perceptive sense, to experience a diverse law school environment. Second, I was recently awarded a full ride at Washu (Ahhh still cannot believe it!!) I have pretty broad interests and I think I'm a t6 level candidate, but I am especially interested in government/political work, and in clerking. Obviously the elimination of debt is huge, but if I don't feel like I can do the same kind of work I'd want to do upon graduation, it becomes trickier. Assuming I do relatively well (lets assume median) do you think WUSTL is the right choice over a T6 of T10 at sticker or with minimal scholly, like less than 60k??


If clerking is really important to you, I'd consider going somewhere else. Our placement is weak compared to our peer schools, and it's not an institutional priority. Part of the problem is that we haven't been high in the rankings for long enough to get traction in the judiciary.

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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:35 pm

Otunga wrote:I pose the question about general employment as someone debating biglaw and a job in a public defender office. As you said, the latter, given it's PI, is something you have to invest in almost as soon as you get to law school, and even before that. I won't have any PI experience on the resume going in, so I would certainly have to do something PI in the summer and demonstrate interest in it during 1L. What I think favors WUSTL were I to get accepted there with a big scholarship is that it gives one a respectable (for a non-t14) chance at biglaw, but it also looks to have a good crim defense clinic and has the resources that one needs to go into that field. By going to a t14, in one major aspect (employment) there's less risk, in another it's binding (more loans), which makes one either do biglaw to pay off the loans if they get it, or bank on completing 10 years in PI so the government can forgive their loans.

I have numbers such that I'm above the 75th or near it GPA-wise at every school, but the LSAT is right off the median at mid-t14s. I've been attracted to doing a final third take in June for a chance at increasing any potential scholarships that are on the table.


If you want to do PD, keep in mind that the school offers a JD/MSW, and our Social Work school is #1 in the country. Now, I'm not one to recommend more debt, and getting a PD job isn't easy for anyone (it's actually really good, hands-on experience...much better in a "I want to be an actual lawyer in court" sense than Biglaw), but I know at least one JD/MSW working as a PD right now. But PD is an area where funding can be cut off by politicians with an agenda, so you never know if and when the jobs might go away. The criminal defense clinic is legit, and the professor that runs it was one of my favorite professors.

It's something you'd have to think about. If you want to go the PD route, I think it's better to go for lower debt over high prestige. You can never guarantee you'll last 10 years to get the IBR forgiveness, and if you miss out on PD right out of school, you're probably looking at a year or so of volunteering at a legal non-profit. Working for no pay is nerve-wracking when you have school loan interest accumulating at >$1000/month.

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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:46 pm

LET'S GET IT wrote:Thanks for the insight, this is one of the more informative posts I think I've read on TLS. If you were a 0L this year knowing what you know now, what is the max debt you would take on to attend WASHU? Assuming for arguments sake you think you'll finish around median.


That's an individualized question, and it depends on your undergrad debt, your parents finances, your age, etc.

Personally, I don't think any law degree is worth much more than $100K in debt, even in the T14. I ended up with more than that, and I also have debt from a previous graduate degree (no undergrad debt, though). The stress of carrying that kind of debt really wears you down.

In general, though, I'd be looking at about a 50% scholarship, and I'd be looking to live frugally and not max out on the living expenses they allow you to take out. I was able to live for about $10K/year in STL, but that was admittedly with some savings from my pre-law school job, and it helped that I got a paid job 2L summer (didn't pay that much, but it was enough to cover my summer expenses and cushion my 3L year). If you can live off of $10K instead of 20K each year, it's equivalent an additional $30K in scholly money over your entire law school tenure. You can't live that cheaply in every city though.

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Otunga
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby Otunga » Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:05 pm

JCougar wrote:
Otunga wrote:I pose the question about general employment as someone debating biglaw and a job in a public defender office. As you said, the latter, given it's PI, is something you have to invest in almost as soon as you get to law school, and even before that. I won't have any PI experience on the resume going in, so I would certainly have to do something PI in the summer and demonstrate interest in it during 1L. What I think favors WUSTL were I to get accepted there with a big scholarship is that it gives one a respectable (for a non-t14) chance at biglaw, but it also looks to have a good crim defense clinic and has the resources that one needs to go into that field. By going to a t14, in one major aspect (employment) there's less risk, in another it's binding (more loans), which makes one either do biglaw to pay off the loans if they get it, or bank on completing 10 years in PI so the government can forgive their loans.

I have numbers such that I'm above the 75th or near it GPA-wise at every school, but the LSAT is right off the median at mid-t14s. I've been attracted to doing a final third take in June for a chance at increasing any potential scholarships that are on the table.


If you want to do PD, keep in mind that the school offers a JD/MSW, and our Social Work school is #1 in the country. Now, I'm not one to recommend more debt, and getting a PD job isn't easy for anyone (it's actually really good, hands-on experience...much better in a "I want to be an actual lawyer in court" sense than Biglaw), but I know at least one JD/MSW working as a PD right now. But PD is an area where funding can be cut off by politicians with an agenda, so you never know if and when the jobs might go away. The criminal defense clinic is legit, and the professor that runs it was one of my favorite professors.

It's something you'd have to think about. If you want to go the PD route, I think it's better to go for lower debt over high prestige. You can never guarantee you'll last 10 years to get the IBR forgiveness, and if you miss out on PD right out of school, you're probably looking at a year or so of volunteering at a legal non-profit. Working for no pay is nerve-wracking when you have school loan interest accumulating at >$1000/month.


Interesting you mention the JD/MSW - that's something I've never really considered as it pertains to PD jobs, and not only would it appear to bolster your application, but it'd also appear to get you more prepared to communicate directly and effectively with clients.

And yes...I'm not sure my PI interests are diverse enough or that I have enough of them to be motivated to work (for free no less) at any legal non-profit in a desperate situation. Having said that, the t14 gets less and less appealing for me if I can just go to a school in my region for free (or WUSTL!) with affordable living expenses (or not so affordable expenses if I were to do a regional in Boston). Clerkships are also something I have to look into, as I know those can not only be helpful for biglaw applications, but for PD applications as well, but I don't think taking significantly more debt is justified unless a clerkship were the #1 goal by and large.

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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby tsv » Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:44 pm

Hello,

I've been accepted with $$$ for the fall, and have a couple of questions.

1) Do you have a lot of international students in the JD program (I'm international and have an undergrad degree from a US school)
2) Is finding employment much more difficult for them?I understand that small firms are out, but do the bigger firms discriminate/ refuse to sponsor.

Thanks!

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:51 pm

It's impossible to gun for clerkships unless you get into Yale. The amount of randomness and uncertainty that comes with trying to force subjectively-determined grades onto a bell curve where the students are already near-perfect in their LSAT and/or uGPA pretty much destroys any sort of predictability in regard to whether you will finish in the top 5% of any class...which is what you need to gun for clerkships even from the best schools.

If you really want to be an Article III clerk, it shouldn't be your Plan A. It should be a lucky surprise addendum to your Plan A, where Plan A is a more realistic goal that you're reasonably comfortable in achieving.

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bulinus
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby bulinus » Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:12 pm

tsv wrote:Hello,

I've been accepted with $$$ for the fall, and have a couple of questions.

1) Do you have a lot of international students in the JD program (I'm international and have an undergrad degree from a US school)
2) Is finding employment much more difficult for them?I understand that small firms are out, but do the bigger firms discriminate/ refuse to sponsor.

Thanks!


We have about 5% international JDs. Seems like most or all have LLBs from their home country.

I don't know about employment/visa issues, but it seems like someone with a JD who was bilingual would be in demand with international firms, especially if one of those languages was Mandarin.

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chuckbass
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby chuckbass » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:51 pm

When do loan disbursements occur? If I go to WUSTL, I'd want to move into an apartment at the beginning of August to get settled, and I'd love to be able to actually pay for that.

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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby Ricky-Bobby » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:57 pm

scotth724 wrote:When do loan disbursements occur? If I go to WUSTL, I'd want to move into an apartment at the beginning of August to get settled, and I'd love to be able to actually pay for that.


Paying for things is so 2007. Just move in and wait it out. They won't evict you within 30 days. Bonus points if you don't even tell the landlord you're looking for apartments.

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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby Birdnals » Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:43 pm

scotth724 wrote:When do loan disbursements occur? If I go to WUSTL, I'd want to move into an apartment at the beginning of August to get settled, and I'd love to be able to actually pay for that.

Usually the week after summer welcome week. So you will have a week or so of "classes" before you get your loan disbursements. Plan accordingly.




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