Penn 3L 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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DancesWithSmurfs
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Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby DancesWithSmurfs » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:04 pm

Typical, boring 3L Monday. Got a lot of use out of this board when I was an applicant, so I thought I would give back. Will try my best to answer your questions while watching some movies.

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apollo13
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby apollo13 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:15 am

Penn is one of my top lawschool list, what was your lsat/gpa?
lately, I've been pretty interested in Penn due to its location (close to nyc and DC, but away from the hustle and bustle of the city feeling), mix modern/old style facilities, quasi collegetown feeling, lesser need for owning a car, and just general feeling. These might be biased in one sense to another, but I would be thankful if you could chime into general atmosphere of the town and the law school. Thanks!

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dpk711
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby dpk711 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:16 am

how is the competition there, I know it's presented to have a "collegial feeling", but is this so in reality?
and also how are Penn job prospects compared to the T6 especially ITE?

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Lawquacious
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby Lawquacious » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:17 am

What has your general experience been there? Are you happy with the choice you made? I spent a little time on the campus a number of years ago and really liked it, though not so sure about Philly more generally. What are your job prospects- already have a job lined up? Anything about the Penn curriculum or law school in general that you really didn't care for?

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DancesWithSmurfs
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby DancesWithSmurfs » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:52 am

apollo13 wrote:Penn is one of my top lawschool list, what was your lsat/gpa?
lately, I've been pretty interested in Penn due to its location (close to nyc and DC, but away from the hustle and bustle of the city feeling), mix modern/old style facilities, quasi collegetown feeling, lesser need for owning a car, and just general feeling. These might be biased in one sense to another, but I would be thankful if you could chime into general atmosphere of the town and the law school. Thanks!



LSAT/GPA: 3.8/170

General atmosphere of town: University City is like your typical college town in the sense that there are a number of establishments geared toward college kids. After 1L you will most likely move out to Center City where most of the grad school students live. There's a lot more going on there (bars, clubs, shops, etc.), but clearly it can't hold a candle to NYC. The locals are generally rough and rude: for some reason I always get the feeling like nobody wants to do their job. Never venture beyond 42nd street. Also, be prepared to see 1 million Phillies jerseys per day. Best things about the town: food (carts), UG campus, proximity to NY for weekend excursions, public transport ease, enough things to do but not enough to really distract you.

Atmosphere of the law school: Pretty relaxed except about 2 months before finals (I assume this to be the case at most law schools). The majority of the students are good people, but of course there are always those outliers who make you cringe. Administration is always helpful - can't imagine a better Dean of Men. Plenty of social events - if your thing is hanging out with fellow law students (this gets old lol).

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DancesWithSmurfs
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby DancesWithSmurfs » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:57 am

dpk711 wrote:how is the competition there, I know it's presented to have a "collegial feeling", but is this so in reality?
and also how are Penn job prospects compared to the T6 especially ITE?



Collegiality: Yeah, for the most part it does have that collegial quality. Making friends is easy, and there enough social opportunities to where you can meet some similarly-minded people who you can partner up with to form study groups and the like. Never had a person deny me their outlines. I freely give mine away.

Penn Job Prospects: All my close friends have BigLaw jobs atm and those who wanted clerkships got them. Penn's reputation is all about Corp. Big Law - there aren't many better law schools in this regard. This will probably answer your question better: http://pdfserver.amlaw.com/nlj/goto%20l ... s_main.pdf

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DancesWithSmurfs
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby DancesWithSmurfs » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:05 am

Lawquacious wrote:What has your general experience been there? Are you happy with the choice you made? I spent a little time on the campus a number of years ago and really liked it, though not so sure about Philly more generally. What are your job prospects- already have a job lined up? Anything about the Penn curriculum or law school in general that you really didn't care for?



General Experience: Lots of hard work mixed with a decent social life after 1L. Wharton cross-disciplinary program huge resume +: this was a big conversation piece during interviews and probably landed me couple offers just by itself.

Choice: Yeah definitely happy with my choice. I had many other options (higher ranked as well), but looking back on it now, I would still chose Penn. Haha, yeah Philly isn't America's greatest city by any means. Like we all say: the best thing about Philly is that it's only an hour and a half from NY.

Job Prospects: Several offers. Summered at top firm. Job secured.

Didn't Like: More emphasis on networking would have been nice. I would have liked to see Career Services have some networking seminars and also coordinate with the other grad programs to throw events just to meet other Penn grad students. As far as courses, there are plenty to choose from; if you want a tough schedule with intellectually stimulating material and professors, you can have it. If you want easy A classes where you can slack off until the week before the finals period, Penn has them too. Can't say that anything really stood out in terms of being bad.

cern
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby cern » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:22 am

Sounds like you got what you wanted in terms of a job. How stellar were your grades?

Any insight on housing for 1L?

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Veyron
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby Veyron » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:30 am

How did your friends between bottom 1/3 and median do?

What firms should a median-ish student bid assuming he wants to do litigation and wants to make market or near market but doesn't care about vault rank or geography?

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DancesWithSmurfs
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby DancesWithSmurfs » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:32 am

cern wrote:Sounds like you got what you wanted in terms of a job. How stellar were your grades?

Any insight on housing for 1L?



Grades: B+/A-, but I know students with straight Bs who landed awesome gigs and students with straight As who struck out. Grades are important (they get your foot in the door), but your social skills are far more important: don't be a creeper.

Housing: There are various options. The key for 1L is living close so you can slog back and forth from the library as quickly and easily as possible. Check out: Domus, Stratum (I think it may be called the Axis now), Radian, Left Bank, and Chestnut Hall. Avoid the Grad student housing, Sansom (aka Sanslum), if at all possible. It really comes down to what your budget is. Domus is easily the nicest, closest, best option, but it is also the most expensive. Stratum is cheaper but is filled with exchange students from Penn UG and from what I hear the admin threw weird parties in the basement. Radian is around 1k but is filled with undergrads. Chestnut Hall is decent and Left Bank is nice as well. I wouldn't choose anything past Spruce / 40th St - just for safety reasons.

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DancesWithSmurfs
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby DancesWithSmurfs » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:44 am

Veyron wrote:How did your friends between bottom 1/3 and median do?

What firms should a median-ish student bid assuming he wants to do litigation and wants to make market or near market but doesn't care about vault rank or geography?



Friends: The ones who had good social skills, kept networking, and rethought their approaches got jobs (some big law, more midlaw, and some other interesting jobs like in-house, govt., and starting their own companies); the ones who were social duds and/or became depressed and stopped looking/trying didn't.

Bid: If you want to get strategic about it, I wouldn't bid on any firm that is ranked in the top 30. I would use all my bids for 30-100 and focus on firms that still have large classes. During OCI, I would still meet with any rep I could talk to: in between interviews, after interviews, early in the morning whatever. Just tell them you bid and lost and really wanted an interview, add some interesting reason why you want to be at their firm, hand them resume, grades, writing sample, rec. In terms of geography, you are only getting an offer if the firm thinks you have geographic ties to that city. Don't waste your time interviewing for an office in a city you have no ties to. Now, that doesn't mean you need to have lived there. You can have family there, your sig other is/works/moving there, you vacationed there, etc. Just have some solid reason as to why you are interested. As for litigation, 80% of the jobs ITE are litigation-based so don't worry about that. However, I would never go into an interview saying I only want lit. The credited approach is saying: I prefer litigation, but am definitely willing to try my hand at any transactional work I can get my hands on this summer.

thechee
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby thechee » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:32 am

DancesWithSmurfs wrote:
cern wrote:Sounds like you got what you wanted in terms of a job. How stellar were your grades?

Any insight on housing for 1L?



I wouldn't choose anything past Spruce / 40th St - just for safety reasons.


Is this based on perceptions, or have you known/heard of grad students who had problems living past 40th/42nd?

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DancesWithSmurfs
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby DancesWithSmurfs » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:16 pm

thechee wrote:
DancesWithSmurfs wrote:
cern wrote:Sounds like you got what you wanted in terms of a job. How stellar were your grades?

Any insight on housing for 1L?



I wouldn't choose anything past Spruce / 40th St - just for safety reasons.


Is this based on perceptions, or have you known/heard of grad students who had problems living past 40th/42nd?



Both. Plus we get crime alerts from that area quite often. 40th St is the line you don't want to cross:

"This is a UPennAlertt notification regarding an incident that occurred in the area of 40th & Locust. Penn Police apprehended a gunman and a second male. Gunfire was exchanged. Both suspects are in custody. There are no injuries to civilians (Penn Community members) or police. Incident started at 50th Race Streets."

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Veyron
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby Veyron » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:16 pm

DancesWithSmurfs wrote:
Veyron wrote:How did your friends between bottom 1/3 and median do?

What firms should a median-ish student bid assuming he wants to do litigation and wants to make market or near market but doesn't care about vault rank or geography?



Friends: The ones who had good social skills, kept networking, and rethought their approaches got jobs (some big law, more midlaw, and some other interesting jobs like in-house, govt., and starting their own companies); the ones who were social duds and/or became depressed and stopped looking/trying didn't.

Bid: If you want to get strategic about it, I wouldn't bid on any firm that is ranked in the top 30. I would use all my bids for 30-100 and focus on firms that still have large classes. During OCI, I would still meet with any rep I could talk to: in between interviews, after interviews, early in the morning whatever. Just tell them you bid and lost and really wanted an interview, add some interesting reason why you want to be at their firm, hand them resume, grades, writing sample, rec. In terms of geography, you are only getting an offer if the firm thinks you have geographic ties to that city. Don't waste your time interviewing for an office in a city you have no ties to. Now, that doesn't mean you need to have lived there. You can have family there, your sig other is/works/moving there, you vacationed there, etc. Just have some solid reason as to why you are interested. As for litigation, 80% of the jobs ITE are litigation-based so don't worry about that. However, I would never go into an interview saying I only want lit. The credited approach is saying: I prefer litigation, but am definitely willing to try my hand at any transactional work I can get my hands on this summer.


Thanks for this. How does one go about getting midlaw? Lots of the good firms in my home market fall into this category.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby Lawquacious » Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:34 pm

DancesWithSmurfs wrote:
Lawquacious wrote:What has your general experience been there? Are you happy with the choice you made? I spent a little time on the campus a number of years ago and really liked it, though not so sure about Philly more generally. What are your job prospects- already have a job lined up? Anything about the Penn curriculum or law school in general that you really didn't care for?



General Experience: Lots of hard work mixed with a decent social life after 1L. Wharton cross-disciplinary program huge resume +: this was a big conversation piece during interviews and probably landed me couple offers just by itself.

Choice: Yeah definitely happy with my choice. I had many other options (higher ranked as well), but looking back on it now, I would still chose Penn. Haha, yeah Philly isn't America's greatest city by any means. Like we all say: the best thing about Philly is that it's only an hour and a half from NY.

Job Prospects: Several offers. Summered at top firm. Job secured.

Didn't Like: More emphasis on networking would have been nice. I would have liked to see Career Services have some networking seminars and also coordinate with the other grad programs to throw events just to meet other Penn grad students. As far as courses, there are plenty to choose from; if you want a tough schedule with intellectually stimulating material and professors, you can have it. If you want easy A classes where you can slack off until the week before the finals period, Penn has them too. Can't say that anything really stood out in terms of being bad.


Thx for the thoughtful reply, and congrats on getting job secured!

TLSNYC
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby TLSNYC » Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:47 pm

Thanks for offering to take questions! I'll be starting at Penn in the fall and I couldn't be any more excited.

A few questions:

1. For your friends who landed Fed D.Ct clerkships, how competitive their grades? Where do you need to be at Penn to land one?
2. Favorite and least favorite things about Penn?
3. Aside from the Wharton, are there any other joint degree or certificate programs that are truly worth it?
4. What do you know now that you wish someone had told you prior to 1L?
5. From what I understand, Penn claims not to rank students. How, if at all, has this affected your OCI or that of people you know?

I hope five questions isn't too gunnerish :oops:

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khodorko
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby khodorko » Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:57 pm

At what point did you start the Wharton program?

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niederbomb
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby niederbomb » Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:09 pm

What types of companies hire Penn students in-house right after graduation? Did these students have to have some special background (like IP)?

I am possibly very, very interested in this line of work.

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DancesWithSmurfs
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby DancesWithSmurfs » Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:35 pm

khodorko wrote:At what point did you start the Wharton program?



I started the Wharton program 2nd semester of 1L year. I think that was a credited decision since it allowed me to discuss it at length during OCI.

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DancesWithSmurfs
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby DancesWithSmurfs » Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:44 pm

Veyron wrote:
DancesWithSmurfs wrote:
Veyron wrote:How did your friends between bottom 1/3 and median do?

What firms should a median-ish student bid assuming he wants to do litigation and wants to make market or near market but doesn't care about vault rank or geography?



Friends: The ones who had good social skills, kept networking, and rethought their approaches got jobs (some big law, more midlaw, and some other interesting jobs like in-house, govt., and starting their own companies); the ones who were social duds and/or became depressed and stopped looking/trying didn't.

Bid: If you want to get strategic about it, I wouldn't bid on any firm that is ranked in the top 30. I would use all my bids for 30-100 and focus on firms that still have large classes. During OCI, I would still meet with any rep I could talk to: in between interviews, after interviews, early in the morning whatever. Just tell them you bid and lost and really wanted an interview, add some interesting reason why you want to be at their firm, hand them resume, grades, writing sample, rec. In terms of geography, you are only getting an offer if the firm thinks you have geographic ties to that city. Don't waste your time interviewing for an office in a city you have no ties to. Now, that doesn't mean you need to have lived there. You can have family there, your sig other is/works/moving there, you vacationed there, etc. Just have some solid reason as to why you are interested. As for litigation, 80% of the jobs ITE are litigation-based so don't worry about that. However, I would never go into an interview saying I only want lit. The credited approach is saying: I prefer litigation, but am definitely willing to try my hand at any transactional work I can get my hands on this summer.


Thanks for this. How does one go about getting midlaw? Lots of the good firms in my home market fall into this category.


Caveat: the advice I am relating to you is what I have heard from my friends who did indeed find midlaw jobs. With that said, I think the best way is to really target those specific firms. You have to make them feel like they are your top choice because most people are clearly gunning for biglaw. So I would start off by going to martindale.com and looking for midlaw firms in the geographic locations that you have ties to; basically this consists of firms from 40 - 150 people (you can select these size ranges in the search engine). After you get a list of firms, you really have to target them. Thus, you want to reach out to alumni that you have connections with: ethnic background, UGrad, Grad school, law school etc. Tell them that you would very much appreciate it if they would be willing to chat with you via telephone or in person over lunch/coffee some time just to discuss the legal market and maybe a specific field of law you are interested in (that they specialize in as well). Network from there: tell them you are looking for employment and would appreciate it if they would consider if and when they have openings and if not, then to pass along your resume. Target your resume and cover letter to small firms - have all that ready. Have like 20 or so meetings scheduled for this summer or whenever and chances are you will get multiple interviews/offers by Sept. I heard of this strategy working very well for Penn students who were interested in midlaw. The key is being social and likable.

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DancesWithSmurfs
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby DancesWithSmurfs » Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:45 pm

Lawquacious wrote:
DancesWithSmurfs wrote:
Lawquacious wrote:What has your general experience been there? Are you happy with the choice you made? I spent a little time on the campus a number of years ago and really liked it, though not so sure about Philly more generally. What are your job prospects- already have a job lined up? Anything about the Penn curriculum or law school in general that you really didn't care for?



General Experience: Lots of hard work mixed with a decent social life after 1L. Wharton cross-disciplinary program huge resume +: this was a big conversation piece during interviews and probably landed me couple offers just by itself.

Choice: Yeah definitely happy with my choice. I had many other options (higher ranked as well), but looking back on it now, I would still chose Penn. Haha, yeah Philly isn't America's greatest city by any means. Like we all say: the best thing about Philly is that it's only an hour and a half from NY.

Job Prospects: Several offers. Summered at top firm. Job secured.

Didn't Like: More emphasis on networking would have been nice. I would have liked to see Career Services have some networking seminars and also coordinate with the other grad programs to throw events just to meet other Penn grad students. As far as courses, there are plenty to choose from; if you want a tough schedule with intellectually stimulating material and professors, you can have it. If you want easy A classes where you can slack off until the week before the finals period, Penn has them too. Can't say that anything really stood out in terms of being bad.


Thx for the thoughtful reply, and congrats on getting job secured!



No prob. Thanks.

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DancesWithSmurfs
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby DancesWithSmurfs » Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:56 pm

TLSNYC wrote:Thanks for offering to take questions! I'll be starting at Penn in the fall and I couldn't be any more excited.

A few questions:

1. For your friends who landed Fed D.Ct clerkships, how competitive their grades? Where do you need to be at Penn to land one?
2. Favorite and least favorite things about Penn?
3. Aside from the Wharton, are there any other joint degree or certificate programs that are truly worth it?
4. What do you know now that you wish someone had told you prior to 1L?
5. From what I understand, Penn claims not to rank students. How, if at all, has this affected your OCI or that of people you know?

I hope five questions isn't too gunnerish :oops:



1. They were all top 40% (in my guesstimation). It really comes down to how well you can connect with the judge. Yes you have to have good grades, but more often than not, it's how well you can connect with them on a personal level. The most credited approach is getting a recommendation from a judge that the judge you want to clerk for respects. There are tons of opportunities for that at Penn: Fed Courts Prof = DE judge, Trial Ad = Fed judge, etc. Network network network.

2. Favorite: Wharton program for resume / campus in fall / proximity to NY
Least Fav: the fact that gym membership is not included in grad tuition

3. Sure plenty of degree programs - you can do almost anything. I have a friend doing the JD/MD - amazing. In terms of the certificate, the environmental studies one really pops out as worthwhile.

4. Prepare for 1L during the summer before law school. Read a supplement for each course you take in the fall just so u are ahead of the game. Outline from day 1.

5. It doesn't rank, so you get to interview with firms based on lottery. It gives any student a chance to get face time in front of any firm which is great if your grades are good but not great - you have to opportunity to win them over with your personality.

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DancesWithSmurfs
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby DancesWithSmurfs » Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:59 pm

niederbomb wrote:What types of companies hire Penn students in-house right after graduation? Did these students have to have some special background (like IP)?

I am possibly very, very interested in this line of work.


A strong and well-documented interest in IP or previous work experience at that co. Then again, a connection or two never hurt. In-house is very difficult to get right after graduation as most cos. don't want to waste money training you (you are useless for years). Also, you would limit yourself in terms of future employment/lateraling. The credited career path is biglaw -> in-house, but I'm sure you know that already.

lawscholar20
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby lawscholar20 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:09 pm

i know Penn is very into BigLaw, but what can you tell me about the Toll Public Interest Center. I have a strong interest toward Public Interest Law, Although I may end up going into BigLaw, especially if I attend a school like Penn, I still would like to give Public Interest Law my best shot. Is this possible at Penn?

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DancesWithSmurfs
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Re: Penn 3L Taking Questions

Postby DancesWithSmurfs » Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:13 pm

lawscholar20 wrote:i know Penn is very into BigLaw, but what can you tell me about the Toll Public Interest Center. I have a strong interest toward Public Interest Law, Although I may end up going into BigLaw, especially if I attend a school like Penn, I still would like to give Public Interest Law my best shot. Is this possible at Penn?



Honestly, if there is one area that Penn is lacking in, it would have to be Public Interest. Students are required to complete at least 70 hours of public interest work by graduation, which gives you a good opportunity to network in the area to find possible employment. However, Penn is nowhere near as strong in PI as schools like Cal Berk, Columbia and Yale. If your heart is really set on PI, I would go elsewhere.




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