Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
holla2007
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Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:47 pm

Am bored during break, logged back onto here after a long absence. Thought I'd take questions for the next few hours if people are interested.

I'm a third year at Northeastern. Hopefully I can offer some insight. Any questions welcome.

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NU_Jet55
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby NU_Jet55 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:48 pm

Do you have a job?

holla2007
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:50 pm

I don't have a job at this point, but I'm also not at the top of my class. I think I have a decent chance of getting a post-grad position at a small firm I work part-time for. A few of my friends have clerkships or big firm jobs in the waiting, and a few others have fellowships. For the most part though, 3Ls are unemployed at the moment. The market is terrible.

holla2007
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:00 pm

Questions don't have to be about Northeastern specifically either. Happy to talk about law school in general, application process, etc.

Aqualibrium
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby Aqualibrium » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:06 pm

How do you know where you are in the class with the no grade thing?

holla2007
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:14 pm

The no grade thing is half myth, half truth. It's true, you don't get letter grades. And you definitely don't get ranked. However, the evaluations, while not standardized, have a fairly routine use of "buzzwords" that essentially equate to a letter grade. Most professors start the eval with "overall, you did "buzzword" on the exam". Ranges from Outstanding to marginal pass. Also, in upper level courses, you can get an HH for High Honors, or H for Honors.

Of course, because the system, there is no real way to identify where you are at in the class. However, other things give indications as to how many people have gotten better evaluations. Were they a TA for a 1L class, did they get firm interviews?, where did they do their coops?, etc.

Also, people talk about how they've done. So, you get some sort of an idea. I've had very inconsistent evals mostly because I'm lazy. Based on that alone, I know I don't have the best evals. I got firm interviews during OCI's, but no summer position. Comparing that to the people who did get summer positions, I can kind of tell who has done the best and where I am. So, it's certainly not a science, but more of an art. Make sense?

swordsfish
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby swordsfish » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:26 pm

What's your overall experience like in Northeastern? Are you happy with your decision to go there?

Also, where are some common placements for the co-op program in regards to region? Are most students placed on the east coast?

From what I've read, I really like the school. It's the job prospects that worry me :(

Thanks!

holla2007
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:37 pm

Overall, I'm quite happy with my experience at Northeastern. While it is like any law school and has its own faults (mainly in the administration), the overall experience is unmatched, imo, especially if you are an experiential learner. The coop program is obviously the biggest draw for people, and for good reason. Having completed three coops thus far, I can honestly say I've learned 2-3X's as much while on coop than in a classroom. It's just the nature of "practicing" as a lawyer that you learn more.

On top of that, the students are for the most part fantastic, and Boston isn't a bad place to go to law school at all.

With regard to job prospects, a couple points to think about. 1) the legal market is already in recovery (from what I can tell) and hopefully by the time you graduate will be fully recovered, 2) Northeastern isn't any different than every other law school in Boston outside of Harvard in terms of getting students jobs. I think it's fair to say that because the market is so bad, most law school students are struggling to get jobs. But I feel like the concentration on law school rankings is highly overrated on this board, especially outside of biglaw opportunities.

In terms of coop placement, people are all over the place. I've chosen to stay in Boston simply for convenience, but a lot of my friends have gone to California, New Orleans, Seattle, New York, D.C., and even outside of the country. I have a buddy who will be doing his last coop in Brazil. The coop program is so flexible and their are a ton of employers to choose from (paid and unpaid alike).

swordsfish
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby swordsfish » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:45 pm

holla2007 wrote:Overall, I'm quite happy with my experience at Northeastern. While it is like any law school and has its own faults (mainly in the administration), the overall experience is unmatched, imo, especially if you are an experiential learner. The coop program is obviously the biggest draw for people, and for good reason. Having completed three coops thus far, I can honestly say I've learned 2-3X's as much while on coop than in a classroom. It's just the nature of "practicing" as a lawyer that you learn more.

On top of that, the students are for the most part fantastic, and Boston isn't a bad place to go to law school at all.

With regard to job prospects, a couple points to think about. 1) the legal market is already in recovery (from what I can tell) and hopefully by the time you graduate will be fully recovered, 2) Northeastern isn't any different than every other law school in Boston outside of Harvard in terms of getting students jobs. I think it's fair to say that because the market is so bad, most law school students are struggling to get jobs. But I feel like the concentration on law school rankings is highly overrated on this board, especially outside of biglaw opportunities.

In terms of coop placement, people are all over the place. I've chosen to stay in Boston simply for convenience, but a lot of my friends have gone to California, New Orleans, Seattle, New York, D.C., and even outside of the country. I have a buddy who will be doing his last coop in Brazil. The coop program is so flexible and their are a ton of employers to choose from (paid and unpaid alike).


Thanks, that's very helpful :)
I'm actually from Seattle and ideally want to end back up on the west coast down the road. Do you think going to Northeastern will be a big hindrance regarding my chances of ending back in the Northwest? Or would choosing a co-op in the Seattle area help alleviate this issue?

holla2007
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:45 pm

Sorry about the slow response Swordfish...got sucked into a documentary on a project I'm working on.

In regards to your question...I think the best part about the coop program is that you can use it to end up wherever you want after graduation. If you want to end up in Seattle, you can use coops to build connections and establish a foundation in Seattle. While Northeastern as a T2 school is certainly regional, you can use your coops to build a network wherever you would like to help you in getting a job anywhere in the country. I took the liberty of checking how many coop employers we have in Seattle for you. We have 10 official coop employers, so that is a good start. Beyond that, you can create your own coop with any lawyer in Seattle that you are interested in.

One of my friends has done at least two coops in Seattle and is planning on taking the WA bar to settle there. Having the opportunity to coop their has definitely helped her in that process. When I came to Northeastern, I planned to do coops where I was from and wanted to practice, but other endeavors kept me in Boston, where I plan to practice now. Thus, you never know, but the opportunity is there for you to create your own program.

Regardless though, there are a lot of things to consider. So, just because the coop program can help doesn't mean Northeastern will be the right place for you. But if you feel like it is a good fit otherwise, I wouldn't let the regional reputation deter you because it is less prevalent at NUSL.

Any other questions?

holla2007
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:53 pm

Come on people. I'm bored...ask me the tough questions about life as a law student, going into the law, etc...honest answers only, I promise.

Aqualibrium
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby Aqualibrium » Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:59 pm

holla2007 wrote:Come on people. I'm bored...ask me the tough questions about life as a law student, going into the law, etc...honest answers only, I promise.


I think the only thing people care about is job prospects...

Anyway, do you think it's a bit irresponsible to advise someone who wants to work on the west coast to go to Northeastern? The school is expensive, doesn't give out much merit aid, and isn't a major player in its own market. If that person's admissions statistics limits them to school in the Northeastern range, doesn't it make more sense to go to a school on the west coast?

(you asked for tough questions...)

holla2007
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:06 pm

I'm not surprised people are only worried about job prospects, because most people who haven't gone to law school yet are naive (as I was) about what the practice of law, and law school are all about. There is no denying that if you go to one of the the top law schools (by this, I mean more exclusive than T16, as is referred to on this board) you have a pretty decent shot at getting a job. Outside of that, it's all sort of the same ball game, imo. Maybe it's different if you are going to a T3 or a T4, but I can't speak to that. Law school and law practice is not as glamorous as people think, and job prospects (outside of the top schools) are not as cut and dry as this board tries to make clear.

Also, I never advised anyone to go to Northeastern if they wanted to practice outside the New England area. I simply said that Northeastern is less restricted with a regional reputations as other schools because our coop program. Well, to be fair, I didn't say this explicitly, but intended to say so implicitly. I absolutely don't think Northeastern is for everyone. However, because we do have the coop program, students are able to establish connections directly after 1L that allow them to break through a regional reputation (if they can establish themselves as dedicated and bright legal minds) more so than schools on a traditional system can.

Make sense?

derrminater
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby derrminater » Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:09 pm

You want questions? You got em!
-Fitness center. How is it? Is it often flooded with undergrads?
-Housing. What has your housing experience been like? Did you live in the on campus residences?
-Financial aid. What kind of aid do you have (don't mean to pry, really just want to compare). I was offered 20k a year plus a 3k public interest stipend for co-op. Is this a fair offer, what is the coop stipend?

Lets start there and see where things go! Thanks!

Aqualibrium
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby Aqualibrium » Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:10 pm

holla2007 wrote:I'm not surprised people are only worried about job prospects, because most people who haven't gone to law school yet are naive (as I was) about what the practice of law, and law school are all about. There is no denying that if you go to one of the the top law schools (by this, I mean more exclusive than T16, as is referred to on this board) you have a pretty decent shot at getting a job. Outside of that, it's all sort of the same ball game, imo. Maybe it's different if you are going to a T3 or a T4, but I can't speak to that. Law school and law practice is not as glamorous as people think, and job prospects (outside of the top schools) are not as cut and dry as this board tries to make clear.

Also, I never advised anyone to go to Northeastern if they wanted to practice outside the New England area. I simply said that Northeastern is less restricted with a regional reputations as other schools because our coop program. Well, to be fair, I didn't say this explicitly, but intended to say so implicitly. I absolutely don't think Northeastern is for everyone. However, because we do have the coop program, students are able to establish connections directly after 1L that allow them to break through a regional reputation (if they can establish themselves as dedicated and bright legal minds) more so than schools on a traditional system can.

Make sense?


Makes sense, and good answer.

holla2007
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:18 pm

And I appreciate the tough question...I feel like if people don't ask the tough questions now, they may end up in law school and totally blinded by its reality...

holla2007
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:37 pm

derrminater wrote:You want questions? You got em!
-Fitness center. How is it? Is it often flooded with undergrads?
-Housing. What has your housing experience been like? Did you live in the on campus residences?
-Financial aid. What kind of aid do you have (don't mean to pry, really just want to compare). I was offered 20k a year plus a 3k public interest stipend for co-op. Is this a fair offer, what is the coop stipend?

Lets start there and see where things go! Thanks!


Sorry Derrminator, missed your question at first...

The fitness center is actually pretty good (although, I must admit, because I'm lazy, I haven't used it since 1L). It is right across from the law school, which is very convenient. It also has lockers, with free locks, showers, everything you need for a quick trip during a class break. It's not huge, but has plenty of cardio equipment, a couple basketball courts, free weights, etc. And I know there are classes like cycling and what not if you are interested. It certainly gets the job done. With that said, there are definitely times when it is overrun by 1Ls, but most law students figure out times that work for them that 1Ls aren't around (early in the morning, for instance).

In terms of housing, most students live off campus. I've lived off campus for the whole time and enjoyed it. There is on-campus housing, but other than the convenience to school (5 minute walk...and close to the law school's popular bars), it isn't amazing, especially considering the price. Most people live in Jamaica Plain, but I've lived in JP, Cambridge, and Chelsea...they are all very do-able.

Financial aid isn't the greatest at Northeastern (mostly because the low alumni giving rate, and the fact that so many people go into public interest and get help from loan forgiveness programs), but it seems like you've gotten a great package compared to most students I know. I have the standard (or what used to be standard) 8500 per year, plus a one time 3K coop stipend. I also have a private scholarship for 20K a year. What is less obvious about Northeastern is that you can get quite a lot of money on coops. Some people start getting paid on their second coop (average paid coop is probably 500/week), so that helps offset things. If you do two or three paid coops (which isn't out of the question, especially if you do well) it can help. Also, even if you do public interest stuff, there is a lot of funding for coops. I've never had a coop without funding (or a stipend) of some sort, not to say that this is typical. A coop stipend is essentially a scholarship. It just reduces the amount of loan money you have to take out while on coop for living expenses.

All in all, I'll graduate with about 95K in debt from law school. I am in no way saying this is typical because my private scholarship. The typical debt I've heard from friends is 6-figures. Hope that helps.

derrminater
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby derrminater » Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:45 pm

wow that is really a great in depth answer, thanks!

holla2007
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:48 pm

No problem. Happy to continue answering questions.

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foga8659
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby foga8659 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:01 am

What do you know about how Northeastern evaluates applications? My GPA isn't wonderful (3.0) (My LSAT got rescheduled due to a blizzard so I won't know that until January 15th or so) and my PT's put me at about a 164. I have good softs including plenty of leadership positions in UG Extracurriculars, lots of volunteer work, great work/internship experience, and 4 wonderful LOR's. What do you think my chances are?

Also, study abroad has been a large part of my undergraduate career (studied abroad 3 times) and I would be interested in Co-op's abroad. Are these easy to come by? Do you know of anyone doing their Co-op's abroad?

Generally speaking, are students competitive with each other at Northeastern? Also, will it hurt me that I am applying so late in the cycle? Thanks for taking these questions.

swordsfish
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby swordsfish » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:32 am

holla2007 wrote:Sorry about the slow response Swordfish...got sucked into a documentary on a project I'm working on.

In regards to your question...I think the best part about the coop program is that you can use it to end up wherever you want after graduation. If you want to end up in Seattle, you can use coops to build connections and establish a foundation in Seattle. While Northeastern as a T2 school is certainly regional, you can use your coops to build a network wherever you would like to help you in getting a job anywhere in the country. I took the liberty of checking how many coop employers we have in Seattle for you. We have 10 official coop employers, so that is a good start. Beyond that, you can create your own coop with any lawyer in Seattle that you are interested in.

One of my friends has done at least two coops in Seattle and is planning on taking the WA bar to settle there. Having the opportunity to coop their has definitely helped her in that process. When I came to Northeastern, I planned to do coops where I was from and wanted to practice, but other endeavors kept me in Boston, where I plan to practice now. Thus, you never know, but the opportunity is there for you to create your own program.

Regardless though, there are a lot of things to consider. So, just because the coop program can help doesn't mean Northeastern will be the right place for you. But if you feel like it is a good fit otherwise, I wouldn't let the regional reputation deter you because it is less prevalent at NUSL.

Any other questions?


Thanks for the detailed reply. Definitely encouraging to hear I'd have some doors still open if I head to NULS. I've actually been accepted already and have the same financial package as you. Still waiting to hear back from the Cal schools and UW but as of now, it's between Northeastern and Seattle U, both similarly ranked schools. It'd probably be smarter to pick Seattle if I want to stay in that area but ever since I've started the law school app process, I've had this soft spot for Northeastern. Thanks for the help!

holla2007
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:15 am

foga8659 wrote:What do you know about how Northeastern evaluates applications? My GPA isn't wonderful (3.0) (My LSAT got rescheduled due to a blizzard so I won't know that until January 15th or so) and my PT's put me at about a 164. I have good softs including plenty of leadership positions in UG Extracurriculars, lots of volunteer work, great work/internship experience, and 4 wonderful LOR's. What do you think my chances are?

Also, study abroad has been a large part of my undergraduate career (studied abroad 3 times) and I would be interested in Co-op's abroad. Are these easy to come by? Do you know of anyone doing their Co-op's abroad?

Generally speaking, are students competitive with each other at Northeastern? Also, will it hurt me that I am applying so late in the cycle? Thanks for taking these questions.


Hey Foga,

I sat on the admissions committee as a 1L, so I think I have a little insight into the admissions process at NUSL. haha. Of course, I don't know how other schools work, so I can't judge my experience on a wide spectrum. Anyway, I think NUSL is great at looking at the full student, and beyond the numbers. I have close friends at the school that had LSAT's in the 140's, and know of people that had LSAT's in the 170's. With that said, as with any law school, the better the numbers, the better your chances. However, at Northeastern, having a well rounded background, personal story, and overall good "soft" factors seems to help a little bit more. The fact that you've studied abroad should certainly be a good thing for you, as NUSL has a good international program and we seem to have a lot of internationally focused students. Can't emphasize enough though that my thoughts are simply informal and in no way reflective of what will actually happen for you.

I obviously can't give you a strong indication, but with a 3.0 and a 160+, I'd say you'd probably have a decent shot at acceptance. Of course, take that with a grain of salt, because I'm not reading you full application, and Northeastern is much more about the complete applicant than other schools as I can tell. If your "softs" are as strong as you say, you should probably be in good shape though.

In terms of international coops, I can't say they are "easy" to come by, but they are more than available for those interested. Most students just do coops with "coop employers", a.k.a. those employers that the school has established a relationship with. Most students who do international coops will establish their own coop outside of the coop office for their own experience. These don't seem to be too hard to come by if you have the drive to contact organizations, but it is a little extra work. Also, we have the PHRGE (pronounced like FERGIE from the Black Eyed Peas...how cool is that) program, which gives a small stipend and places students in an International focused coop here (usually in Boston or D.C.) or abroad (I was a PHRGE Fellow for one coop and it was fantastic).

Generally, most students aren't competitive at all. Most people are willing to share notes, study, don't tear pages out of books, etc. haha. Of course, there are the rare few who are competitive, but I think that's probably true for all schools. I choose not to associate with those people. I think any NUSL law student would tell you that it's a very informal, cooperative environment overall.

Finally, if you've already applied, you probably aren't at a disadvantage in the application process, based on what experience I do have. But, once again, I don't make the decisions. :).

Hope this helps.

holla2007
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:18 am

swordsfish wrote:
holla2007 wrote:Sorry about the slow response Swordfish...got sucked into a documentary on a project I'm working on.

In regards to your question...I think the best part about the coop program is that you can use it to end up wherever you want after graduation. If you want to end up in Seattle, you can use coops to build connections and establish a foundation in Seattle. While Northeastern as a T2 school is certainly regional, you can use your coops to build a network wherever you would like to help you in getting a job anywhere in the country. I took the liberty of checking how many coop employers we have in Seattle for you. We have 10 official coop employers, so that is a good start. Beyond that, you can create your own coop with any lawyer in Seattle that you are interested in.

One of my friends has done at least two coops in Seattle and is planning on taking the WA bar to settle there. Having the opportunity to coop their has definitely helped her in that process. When I came to Northeastern, I planned to do coops where I was from and wanted to practice, but other endeavors kept me in Boston, where I plan to practice now. Thus, you never know, but the opportunity is there for you to create your own program.

Regardless though, there are a lot of things to consider. So, just because the coop program can help doesn't mean Northeastern will be the right place for you. But if you feel like it is a good fit otherwise, I wouldn't let the regional reputation deter you because it is less prevalent at NUSL.

Any other questions?


Thanks for the detailed reply. Definitely encouraging to hear I'd have some doors still open if I head to NULS. I've actually been accepted already and have the same financial package as you. Still waiting to hear back from the Cal schools and UW but as of now, it's between Northeastern and Seattle U, both similarly ranked schools. It'd probably be smarter to pick Seattle if I want to stay in that area but ever since I've started the law school app process, I've had this soft spot for Northeastern. Thanks for the help!


Hey Swordfish. Just one last piece of advice...follow your gut. Law school is a grind regardless of where you go, so it's important in balancing your decision to think about where you will be happy for three years, regardless of rankings, job prospects, etc. If you think you'll be most happy at a certain place you should go there. If you can't get through law school, everything else doesn't matter anyway. This forum seems to encourage things that are well beyond that basic notion, and I think that is sometimes dangerous. Just a thought...

holla2007
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:09 pm

Happy to continue answering questions if people are interested.

derrminater
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby derrminater » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:01 pm

what exactly makes the public interest program at northeastern so special? I know about the coops and stuff but what else? What career paths have people taken with this area of study?




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