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
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:29 pm

Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:57 pm

Well, public interest is an umbrella term that incorporates a wide variety of career paths, sort of like public service used in politics can refer to political representatives, military service, etc. I think a lot of people at Northeastern going the "public interest" route tend to do public defense, or less frequently become ADA's. There may be some argument out there as to whether this actually constitutes public interest or not, but I would argue that it does. Also, a lot of people are interested in legal services (employment law being a big interest of students at NUSL). Other general areas of "public interest" that students at NUSL seem to pursue are GLBT rights, public health, human/civil rights. So, its a fairly wide spectrum there. Most people don't actually end up in jobs that are defined as "public interest" (something like 16%), but that's still a much higher rate than most other law schools, and students in law school tend to be involved in different "public interest" projects.

What makes NUSL unique here, from my perspective, is just the culture that has been created. A lot of the faculty have dedicated their practice to public interest issues (Wendy Parmet: Health Law; Lucy Williams: Welfare Law; Rachel Rosenbloom: Immigration Law; Karl Klare: Employment Law; Margaret Burnham: Civil Rights...to name a few), so students who are interested in these areas naturally want to work with these professors. Also, the school is quite liberal (this is a broad generalization, and in no means representative of all students), so students tend to lean in that direction anyway. But of course, that's sort of a chicken or egg problem. We're also the only school (I know of) that first year students do a public interest based client service project, and one of the only I know of that requires each student to complete some type of public interest project, such as a coop, pro bono work, or a clinic.

I will say though, that during the time I've been at Northeastern, the administration does seem to be emphasizing different areas of practice (while still maintaining a strong public interest program). For instance, they've recently hired an IP professor, and hired a more corporate minded International Law professor a couple years back (Sonia Rolland). They also seem to be expanding courses in more corporate law based areas.

Hope that helps. Keep them coming.

ldboston
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:55 am

Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby ldboston » Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:11 pm

Thanks for all the info so far! I am accepted at NUSL and have a good scholarship there so right now its one of my top choices. I live in Boston now and know that Northeastern is recognized, but its also easy to get anxious that BU and BC will get all the jobs after Harvard.

I've really like Northeastern when I've visited, so all of this information definitely helps. Did you do law review, clinics or moot court at NUSL? I'm interested to know if lots of people do law review since its not competition based.

Thanks!

holla2007
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:29 pm

Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:19 pm

I did do law Journal. I was on it after second year, and am currently on it as well. It's up and coming, so its not as competitive as traditional law reviews, but they have implemented a write on process, so you don't automatically get on it anymore (they just implemented it for this years staff). It's not based on anything with academics, and at this point it is a short writing sample. So, like I said, no where near the intensity of other law schools, but it is a competitive process now. I think we have like 80 people on journal staff (I could be estimating incorrectly here) between the two rotations.

I also did one clinic. Clinics are very popular, some more than others, but usually if you want to do one you can get it during one of your four upper level quarters (I've known of people that have done two clinics as well).

Finally, in an attempt to remain somewhat anonymous (don't really know why, but it seems like the wise thing to do) I'll be ambiguous and say I have participated or currently am participating in a moot court or mock trial event. These don't seem to be as popular with some students, and I can't really say why. You do usually have to be a 3L to have a team, but this isn't an exclusive rule, especially if you are a part of an affinity organization like BALSA.

derrminater
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby derrminater » Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:23 pm

How many hours a week do you put into a coop program?

holla2007
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Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:29 pm

Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:16 am

The stated requirement is that a coop must be 35 hours per week for 11 weeks. There is a little flexibility there, especially if you are doing coops abroad where there labor standards are different than in the U.S. Most coop employers are pretty flexible with you and don't track hours, just as long as you get your work done. Sometimes extra work is necessary, depending on the coop, but it is generally a 9-5, don't think about it at night or weekends kind of deal.

aidez-moi
Posts: 183
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby aidez-moi » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:46 am

I have a couple more if you're still up for it:
1) Is it possible to have all co-ops in the Boston area? With a dog and the high rent of Boston apartments, it doesn't seem to make sense for me to have to take co-ops all across the country.
2) You pretty much already answered this, but do any students live near NUSL? Are apartments in Back Bay, Fenway, etc. legit? Too expensive? Are there better areas?
3) For financial aid, did the school present you with a package or did you go out on your own for your loans?
4) I'm coming from Texas. How bad am I going to freeze my ass off up there? (only 1/2 joking..)

holla2007
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:29 pm

Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:43 pm

Hey there aidez,

Answers for you:

1) Definitely possible to do all of your coops in Boston. There are a ton of coop employers in the Boston area, so if you want to stay here, you definitely can. With the legal market being so large, there are coop employers in pretty much any area you'd want to practice as well, whether it's IP, criminal or civil litigation, International, employment/labor, etc. I've stayed in Boston for my first three coops and only applied to Boston employers for my fourth. I never had trouble finding a place to go.

2) Some students do live near NUSL, especially during 1L when the on-campus housing is most popular. There are also students that live in the Fenway/Back Bay areas, but from what I can tell, those areas tend to be a little more expensive. The most popular area is Jamaica Plain (JP), which is only a 15-30 minute commute to school (depending on what part you are in), is probably the least expensive area, and tends to be a little more dog friendly than areas closer to downtown like Fenway and Back Bay. I lived in JP for a few months, lived in Cambridge for the majority of time (also popular for students, but the commute is a little farther), and live in Chelsea now. I suppose the short answer is that students are all over the place, and in probably every local neighborhood. It's just figuring out what works best for you and your needs. If you have a dog, that'll probably be your most limiting factor.

3) In terms of federal loans (including GradPlus) that all goes through the financial aid office. I can't remember exactly how it came up, but if you decide you want to come to NUSL, they are generally pretty good at spelling things out for you. And, I've found that they are quite helpful and generally quick in responding to questions so you can send them an email for that. I'm not sure how private loans would work, but I imagine they have a process for helping students out there as well.

4) You're gonna freeze your ass off. Only 1/2 joking. haha. I came from CO, so I'm used to the cold, thus it's hard to really answer that. I'd say the worst part about Boston is that the wind is the coldest aspect of anything. There's no sugar coating that it is cold in Boston, but that's sort of the territory. The summers here are fantastic though, and probably aren't nearly as hot as Texas. haha.

aidez-moi
Posts: 183
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby aidez-moi » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:48 pm

holla2007 wrote:Hey there aidez,

Answers for you:

1) Definitely possible to do all of your coops in Boston. There are a ton of coop employers in the Boston area, so if you want to stay here, you definitely can. With the legal market being so large, there are coop employers in pretty much any area you'd want to practice as well, whether it's IP, criminal or civil litigation, International, employment/labor, etc. I've stayed in Boston for my first three coops and only applied to Boston employers for my fourth. I never had trouble finding a place to go.

2) Some students do live near NUSL, especially during 1L when the on-campus housing is most popular. There are also students that live in the Fenway/Back Bay areas, but from what I can tell, those areas tend to be a little more expensive. The most popular area is Jamaica Plain (JP), which is only a 15-30 minute commute to school (depending on what part you are in), is probably the least expensive area, and tends to be a little more dog friendly than areas closer to downtown like Fenway and Back Bay. I lived in JP for a few months, lived in Cambridge for the majority of time (also popular for students, but the commute is a little farther), and live in Chelsea now. I suppose the short answer is that students are all over the place, and in probably every local neighborhood. It's just figuring out what works best for you and your needs. If you have a dog, that'll probably be your most limiting factor.

3) In terms of federal loans (including GradPlus) that all goes through the financial aid office. I can't remember exactly how it came up, but if you decide you want to come to NUSL, they are generally pretty good at spelling things out for you. And, I've found that they are quite helpful and generally quick in responding to questions so you can send them an email for that. I'm not sure how private loans would work, but I imagine they have a process for helping students out there as well.

4) You're gonna freeze your ass off. Only 1/2 joking. haha. I came from CO, so I'm used to the cold, thus it's hard to really answer that. I'd say the worst part about Boston is that the wind is the coldest aspect of anything. There's no sugar coating that it is cold in Boston, but that's sort of the territory. The summers here are fantastic though, and probably aren't nearly as hot as Texas. haha.


Thank you for this, it is greatly appreciated.

All in all if I attend I'll probably be in the same boat as you with regards to my debt at graduation. If you're up for one more question, if you could go back and attend somewhere else, with less debt, would you? Or has the overall experience been too great to pass up?

holla2007
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Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:29 pm

Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:16 am

Hey aidez,

Good question, and good timing as I was literally just thinking about that same question the other day. Short answer is no, I wouldn't have gone to another school with less debt (higher or lower ranked), but let me explain in more detail.

I had a couple options of less debt. I could've gone to a lower ranked school in Boston and graduated with no more than 45K in debt (undergraduate and law school combined), or I could've gone to a much higher ranked state school in my home state for less debt as well (not sure how much less debt, as I don't remember the numbers, but substantially less overall).

At the present moment, based on the experience I've had at Northeastern, I don't think either one of them would have been as appealing. Of course, this analysis probably would've changed if my debt was more like 150K a year, but its not. The essential question to me becomes "Are the experiences I've had at Northeastern that I couldn't have had elsewhere worth the 50K in extra debt I've accrued?" I think the answer to that question at this point is yes.

Northeastern certainly has its flaws that other schools probably don't. However, the experience to get work experience at 5 different places (4 full-time coops and 1 part-time job), combined with the awesome people I've met, and the personal growth I think I've had that is unique to the Northeastern environment makes the extra debt worth it TO ME.

Obviously, at any school I would've probably had two full-time summer jobs and maybe a part-time internship or something throughout law school. The extra 6 months of working for two different places is so valuable to me though, because I learn more about being a lawyer during internships than I do in class (legal education originated with apprenticeships for a reason...). Plus the growth I've experience in terms of political and social beliefs have been something I've valued that I don't think I would've gotten elsewhere.

I'm going to add a little unsolicited appendix to the question though. If I could do it all over again, I would do two things differently:

1) Stayed in the working world for three or four more years. This not only would've improved job prospects by avoiding the current state of the market, but also helped me be more prepared mentally for law school and the fact that I will be forced to be a real adult when I graduate in May. This could be unique to me though. I'm one of the younger people in my class and although I took a year off after undergrad, still don't feel like that was enough.

2) The second one is related to the first, but I think I would have approached 1L more humbly. I came in with a lot of confidence regarding my ability to learn and do well in an academic environment, and still have that confidence. However, even though I still think the work during law school isn't necessarily hard, the amount of work makes the task difficult. I think had I given myself more time to mature academically and socially, I would've done better throughout, simply because I would've been more prepared to put in the hours at the library instead of at the bar (although, all the hours at the bar were quite fun as well). Seems like a silly thing to want to change, but I think 50% of people (maybe more on TLS) think they will be in the top 10% of their class. I think all of them are probably intelligent enough to be, but law school isn't necessarily about intelligence as it is the drive to put the work in. Kind of an ineloquent thought, but organic to say the least. haha.

derrminater
Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:30 pm

Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby derrminater » Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:04 am

Seeing that Northeastern follows a quarterly schedule rather than a semester schedule, can you give a little info on what that is like? Is there a break between quarters and if so when does that usually occur?

holla2007
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:31 pm

Just to make sure everyone out there knows, the first year is a traditional semester system, so breaks and everything are similar to any other law school. After that, though, you switch to a quarter system. This definitely results in having less break (at least it feels that way) than other law students. You usually have a week or two after each quarter, and have some flexibility in planning your breaks with coop. You can start coops earlier or later in the quarter (so long as you get 11 weeks in). Some people take a week before and a week after. I prefer to take two weeks after an academic quarter with no break after a coop. Quarters end in February, May, August, and November. Plus you get a short "winter" break if you are in classes during the winter (it was Dec. 23rd to Jan 3rd this year). However, if you are on coop during the winter, you follow the schedule of your employer (although, I think most allow you to go out of state for the holidays if you'd like...but I don't have personal knowledge as I'm in school during the winters).

Let me know if that needs further clarification.

holla2007
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:29 pm

Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:20 pm

Super bored during this snow day...any other questions out there in prospective law student cyber space?

acirilli1722
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby acirilli1722 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:33 am

I was wondering what kind of jobs most students at Northeastern tend to pursue/receive, is it a good program if you are interested in getting into Plaintiff law. Also does Northeastern have a good amount of coop opportunities in Philadelphia. Thanks and good luck.

holla2007
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:57 am

Maybe it's just my ignorance, but "Plaintiff law" is quite broad in that it seems to encompass pretty much any type of civil law. So, I can't really address that specific question.

It seems that outside of general practice firm jobs, the main areas of employment people get into are public defense, prosecution work, other governmental work ranging from A.G.'s to clerkships, etc., employment law, housing, health related fields, some international stuff, some business. I think if you are interested in something, you can craft your coops enough to be able to get into that field, or at the very last make contacts in that field.

In terms of Philadelphia, I've known one or two of my friends to coop in Philadelphia. I can't say I know anyone that has gone their post-grad (not saying it doesn't happen, I just don't know anyone). The best part about coop is that you complete craft your experience, including where you want to practice after. I have friends that want to practice in Seattle, in the South, or California, so they've done numerous coops in those places to enhance connections.

aidez-moi
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby aidez-moi » Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:20 pm

holla, how's the job search going? / what have you heard about the job outlook for current 3Ls?

I'd love to attend NUSL, but the whole no grade thing combined with being behind BC/BU in the Boston pecking order is making Northeastern a tough sell.

holla2007
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Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:29 pm

Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:16 am

In terms of the no grade concern, check out my post earlier with a little more detail. It's definitely a less than traditional evaluation system, but especially for employers in markets with many Northeastern grads (Boston, New England generally, CA, New York to some extent, a little DC), there is enough knowledge about the evaluation system that people know who did well, and know who didn't do well.

As far as the job search goes, its sort of hit and miss at this point for 3Ls. I have a couple friends who have gotten clerkships (I know of two students that got clerkships with the MA Supreme Court, one in Maine), a couple others with positions at Public Defenders offices throughout the country, the five or six people that got Summer Associates (before the market went crap, we were placing about 15% of our class in Summer Associate positions), and a few more that have gotten fellowships for various things. Obviously not all BigLaw stuff, but people don't come to Northeastern to do BigLaw as much as they do at other schools. I'm certainly not trying to paint the picture as a good one, because a lot of us are still worried about jobs, but it doesn't seem to be as bad to me as I thought it would've at this point.

I don't think the fact that BC/BU are higher ranked in Boston necessarily hurts Northeastern's job prospects, in large part because our students are looking for different jobs for the most part. Those students who want to do BigLaw can, and if they do well they have those opportunities (especially in a more stable market). But the majority of us don't want those jobs, so we are not necessarily competing for the same jobs as BC/BU grads.

I think Boston employers are good at recognizing the strengths of schools too. If you want to do governmental work in Boston, Suffolk places the most students there. Harvard students go all over the country, and BC/BU students compete fairly well for BigLaw. I think employers recognize how well prepared NUSL students are as a result of coop, so they appreciate that and it can be a big boost for employment prospects.

I guess the main take away is that NUSL isn't more or less impacted by the crappy economy than any other school, in my opinion. Students all over Boston (except Harvard, obviously) are worried about job prospects. It's not like jobs are filled by choice of school. You get a job based on your credentials beyond rankings (although that certainly has an impact, especially in BigLaw).

But, ask again in May and if I don't have a job yet, I may feel differently. haha.

birdistheword
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby birdistheword » Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:13 pm

I am applying to NU Law and was wondering how being a former undergrad there would affect my chances, if at all. I graduated 8 years ago with a BA in Journalism and loved the co-op program.

aidez-moi
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby aidez-moi » Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:41 pm

holla, you mentioned a couple 3Ls that are headed to be public defenders. Are there any that are looking to practice criminal defense in firms?

holla2007
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Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:29 pm

Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby holla2007 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:24 pm

birdistheword...

I'm not exactly sure how going to Northeastern for undergrad would impact your chances, especially since you've been out of school so long (good, not bad thing). I hear word on campus is that going to Northeastern undergrad puts you at a disadvantage, but I don't think that's necessarily true. Two of my friends went to the undergrad, but they came straight to law school, so I imagine their process would be much different than yours. As a whole, I'd venture to guess that with your work experience, it would have little, if any, impact on a decision. If it did have an impact, I can only imagine it being a positive one.

Aidez...

I can't say I know anyone looking to practice criminal defense in a firm. I think that's probably fairly common throughout law schools though. Most firm based criminal defense is either 1) white collar in big and small firms (which is a totally different beast than your typical defender) or 2) very small firms with partners who were once DAs or Public Defenders and as a result don't take on many (if any) associates. This is, of course, a huge generalization. Short answer is that I don't know anyone looking to do criminal defense in a firm setting. Doesn't mean they aren't out there, just means they aren't cool enough to know me (totally kidding).

africaforlife
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Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby africaforlife » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:31 pm

hey, don't know if you are still answering questions, but thought it was worth a shot.

In the end, I think my choice will come down to BC and NU. You have talked some about BC, but do you know any friends who went there? Do you have any personal insights that might make the distinction more clear? I have very little interest in going the corporate route (though I can't say I won't entertain the thought at some point), and I currently live in a refugee camp in Kenya working for UNHCR - so that is where my interests are. Any words of wisdom or additional thoughts that you have not shared that might help me think about this?

Thanks for your time!

wokeemilo
Posts: 90
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:32 pm

Re: Northeastern 3L Taking Questions

Postby wokeemilo » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:46 am

thanks for this thread, holla. this is really helpful. i am seriously considering northeastern and your answers were very informative!




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