Oregon 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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DCDuck
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Re: Oregon 3L Taking Questions

Postby DCDuck » Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:05 pm

It is 105 miles straight up I-5 to Portland. Salem is right between the two, and other than all of the government jobs, the private legal market in Salem is even smaller than Eugene. I had a summer externship in Salem and commuted from Eugene. It was no problem. It is definitely too long to commute to Portland from Eugene daily, but easy to get up to on the weekend. We also offer a semester in Portland program for people with externships up there. We have a building in Portland with classes and everything. Some people also spend a semester in the rural parts of the state doing externships. The school offers stipends to attend conferences in Portland and even some out of state.

None of the schools in Oregon have a "lock" on any market, contrary to what people at Lewis and Clark seem to tell everyone who will listen. People at Lewis and Clark seem to think L&C is better than the other schools in the state, but that sentiment is not shared by those at the two other schools, nor by most of the attorneys I have spoken with. They seem to be fairly even. That said, getting a job in Oregon, particularly a legal job, and particularly from a school that isn't T-14, is challenging from any of the schools here. L&C's career services is might be better than ours? Ours is going through a transition and hasn't been so great in recent years. I have no idea how L&C's career services office is, since I'm not a student. L&C students seem to make their opinion about UO apparent. Not sure why, maybe they are sore about having to pay considerably more for the same degree? No one at UO seems to really think or speak much about L&C. We just don't focus on what they are doing. (Other than an apparent distaste for my school, the people at L&C I have met are awesome, same with the one, lonely Willamette student I have met).

I never considered attending L&C, so I'm not a good candidate to make that kind of comparison. Try to take people's opinions about law schools that they have never attended with a grain of salt. The difference in rankings between L&C and UO is minimal at this level. They are both tier 2. Willamette is a lower tiered school. I have spent a lot of time in Salem working before law school and externing there and I hardly hear anything about the Willamette law school or students. I hear plenty about L&C and UO, though. The few Willamette grads I have met are fine lawyers, and I'm not sure why I hear so much less about them. I know almost nothing about Willamette. I hear that have a tough fail-out policy. Rumor is they drop 10% of the class every year. I have no idea if that is true or not. Pretty campus, though.

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atcushman
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Re: Oregon 3L Taking Questions

Postby atcushman » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:09 pm

Thanks for the info...this is a really tough decision it seems like everytime I look at a schools website or talk to someone about the school I fall in love with it and then five minutes later im in love with another school ha ha ha...I think it is down to SU and UofO for me right now...Ill know more after I visist i guess

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DCDuck
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Re: Oregon 3L Taking Questions

Postby DCDuck » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:05 am

Visits will tell you a lot. It'll come down to fit and a gut feeling, most likely. Good luck!

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atcushman
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Re: Oregon 3L Taking Questions

Postby atcushman » Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:58 pm

What is the curv like?

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DCDuck
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Re: Oregon 3L Taking Questions

Postby DCDuck » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:11 pm

The curve is like it is at other schools. I think median needs to be between 2.7 and 3.0. A 3.2-ish 1L year would put you in the top 1/4, a 3.75 is close to top 10%. There is only a mandatory curve first year, but the school has talked about imposing a curve for all years. Also, some of the bigger classes, usually bar courses, are still curved 2L and 3L. I believe you will be graded against your peers at least 1L year no matter where you go.

inlikeflynn
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Re: Oregon 3L Taking Questions

Postby inlikeflynn » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:17 pm

DCDuck - Any thoughts on Oregon's overall trial advocacy / litigation strengths, including clinics and/or externships? I've narrowed my options to Seattle U and UO, but prefer a trial advocacy / litigation focus. I also appreciate your thoughts re going to UO so you could focus and do well, including your thoughts re the Eugene nightlife. That is essentially the situation I'm in, but would plan to move back to Seattle after school, which also plays a role in determining school choice. I have a litany of other questions, but definitely appreciate your insight.

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DCDuck
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Re: Oregon 3L Taking Questions

Postby DCDuck » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:55 pm

I would not say that trial advocacy is a focus at OLaw, but there are opportunities. For 2L and 3L we offer trial advocacy, Practice and procedure (motions), trial practice and procedure, litigation practice and procedure, and advanced appellate advocacy. We also have clinics that you can participate in 3L that will give you real courtroom experience. For example, I will be arguing a jury trial next week. While looking into this question, I was surprised to see that it appears that we have no "statement of completion" for litigation, but there is a criminal practice statement of completion that you can get. Externships are less likely to get you into a courtroom yourself, but you can extern with agencies or firms that do litigation. You can also extern at the trial or appellate courts, which gives you a valuable different perspective on trial practice.
We also have moot court competitions that you can participate in all three years. Our mock trial team is not as big of a deal here as it is at some other schools (Do we have one?).

I grew up in Eugene so there was nothing really "fun" and "new" for me to explore here, like there might be for someone moving to NYC, DC, SF or Seattle (or even Portland) for the first time. I doubt there's much fun stuff to explore in town for new people, either, but some people get a little distracted by all of the outdoor activities we have nearby. There are bars, and art galleries and restaurants, and some good concerts and sporting matches that come through town. You can get a social life and get away from the law school/students when you need to. But I have not really experienced the "Man, I'm stuck here at home/in the library studying on a Friday night when I could be doing really cool X instead" (but plenty of "man, I'm stuck here studying and would rather be doing ANYTHING else" moments). There is no really big "club scene" like in bigger cities. You never need to get dressed up to go anywhere. There are some really nice breweries and vineyards around and some typical bars. It's just a typical college town of 150,000 (with a student population of something like 28,000 if you include graduate students).

I know nothing about Seattle U, so I cannot do a direct comparison there.

ashen
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Re: Oregon 3L Taking Questions

Postby ashen » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:22 am

I've heard from others on the forums that Portland is a very insular legal community and attending U of O does not sufficiently establish the necessary ties to find decent employment in the city, let alone state. I was seriously considering Oregon Law as I'd love to practice in Portland, but considering the warnings of TLS-ers, I'm starting to have doubts as to whether or not attending UO will be a good decision.
Also, considering how much of the student body of Oregon Law is from out of state, I'm wondering how they are faring in the Portland legal market. Like many other out of state applicants, the reason I applied to Oregon was to get a foot in the door in Portland.
Recent employment statistics as reported to USNews this year are indicating that the warnings I've heard are at least somewhat valid.

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DCDuck
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Re: Oregon 3L Taking Questions

Postby DCDuck » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:37 am

It is true that Portland is an insular legal market. It is also very small. The Oregon Bar in general is very small. I think the smallness of it is more problematic for landing work there than any lack of ties. Not only are you competing against most law students from L&C, UO and WIllamette (out of state and in state), but you are also competing against students at the T-14 who grew up in Oregon and want to return. The 1-3 person summer associate classes at the big portland firms seemed to be filled mostly from the T-14. I had one friend from out-of-state who goes to OLaw get a summer spot at a portland firm from OCI, but they are not hiring new associates, so it didn't lead to a full-time offer.

It is hard to predict what kind of time you will have trying to find work in Portland. There seems to be a certain intangible factor that is the deciding factor. I think you can overcome not growing up in Oregon as long as you have a compelling and articulable reason for why you want to be in Oregon that makes the employer think you will STAY in Oregon.

I know so few people who have found permanent paying work in Portland for after graduation that I cannot come up with a trend or answer for you. It's tough, but it's tough everywhere and I can't think of a market that doesn't have more people looking for legal work than available positions. Sorry I can't be of more help.

Edit: Things seem to be better for the class behind me. I have also heard from many lawyers that the legal economy here is picking up, profits are up and the firms are starting to think about hiring again. They are cautiously optimistic about the Oregon legal economy.

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Campagnolo
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Re: Oregon 3L Taking Questions

Postby Campagnolo » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:58 am

We just hired a new associate at the small firm I work for. The associate is from out of state but went to one of the local schools. During the summers, the new associate stayed in Oregon to work, and worked/volunteered post-graduation in Oregon. That was sufficient to show the partners that he won't bail and head back home. If he had summered back home, questions would be raised.

I haven't gone to law school, but I have worked in a firm for 3 years now. My impression is that Lewis & Clark isn't better than UO, but that proximity is a factor in hiring. Outside the 4 or 5 biggest firms in the state, I think that Oregon is seen as equal to, if not better than, L&C. Never underestimate football. Seriously.

If you're in at both, I would follow the money and go to the school which minimizes my debt load. L&C gives generous scholarships, so if you crush the LSAT, they can be cheaper. If you're in-state and don't get a good offer, go to Oregon.

Edit: I work at small firm in Portland.

ashen
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Re: Oregon 3L Taking Questions

Postby ashen » Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:06 pm

Any idea how well Oregon grads place outside of Oregon but within the Pac-NW?
I almost gave up on the idea of attending Oregon as it seems like I wouldn't be able to get a job in Portland after graduating but they just tripled my scholarship offer and I owe it to myself to give the school some more consideration...

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DCDuck
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Re: Oregon 3L Taking Questions

Postby DCDuck » Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:10 pm

It's still tough and it appears that you generally still need to have connections to the community. I know people who have been placed in ID, MT, WA and NorCal. It's possible, but you'll need to hustle. Basically anything is possible if you put in the effort and have the qualifications. I got a job in DC, but most people on TLS would have said that's impossible. I don't have stats or anything for you, though. For little to no cost, Oregon is not a bad bet, and cost of living in Eugene is pretty low compared to other places. Congrats on the $ increase!




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