Here to answer any questions about all things Texas Law

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AreJay711
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Re: Here to answer any questions about all things Texas Law

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:38 am

utlaw2007 wrote: I'm ... owner of my own law firm.


utlaw2007 wrote:I chose UT because I am from Houston, Texas and currently live there ... I went to the University of Michigan for undergrad.


Will you pay me to work for you? Please? Pretty Please? I'm going to be working in Houston for free this summer.

utlaw2007
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Re: Here to answer any questions about all things Texas Law

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:12 am

@UTLaw: I was accepted to U of H with a nice scholarship. How is their reputation in the area? How do you think their placement is? I think I could get into UT if I wait and reapply next year, but I think it would cost substantially more, and I'm not sold on BigLaw.

Also - how is the Houston legal market doing?

(My goal is civil litigation defense/trial lawyer.)


U of H Law Center has a really good rep in Texas along with SMU. Baylor doesn't have as much luster. If you go through the attorney rosters of the big firms in Texas, you will see them littered with U of H and SMU grads. They are mostly filled with Texas grads, but U of H and SMU make a strong showing in their respective cities with biglaw firms. I've yet to personally see a Baylor grad on the roster at a big Texas firm. That doesn't mean that none exist. I have just yet to see one.

If biglaw is not a must have for you than U of H is a pretty good choice. You still have to do very well. My brother's best friend went to SMU. He said that one had to be in the top quarter just to get a firm job. I assume the cut off was for a smaller midlaw firm, but I don't know for sure. It may have been for any firm job. SMU and U of H seem to be pretty comparable. So you have to do very well. That being said, U of H has a great rep in the city.

The Houston non biglaw market seems to value experience above all else. The economy made it this way because it used to not be this way. It kind of sucks, especially when you know you are a better litigator than most of the attorneys at a given firm, but don't have the years experience they want. Midlaw in Houston might as well be biglaw. It's very competitive. That was even how it was before the economy went bad. The same thing is true for midlaw firms in Austin because many Texas grads want to stay in Austin. The Dallas market seems to be easier to penetrate. But you must have Dallas ties to do so if you aren't going biglaw. In one of my interviews with a midlaw firm in Dallas, the guy talked the entire time about how much he hated Dallas because he was from Houston. I tried to lie and say I had a girlfriend that lived in Dallas, but he wasn't buying it. Needless to say, they weren't convinced I wanted to be in Dallas and did not give me the job.

But U of H is loved in the Houston market. I just don't know anything about their placement numbers. I do know that if you do very well, you will get a biglaw or midlaw job in Houston. One thing that helps you get midlaw jobs after law school is clerking for a state trial judge. If you want to litigate, find a way to clerk for a TRIAL judge. Once you get this experience, you will become more employable. Also, try working at the Harris County DA's office or the attorney general's office if you also want to become a litigator, but don't land a firm job right after law school. You might not want to practice in those areas long term, but you get invaluable trial experience. And that trial experience makes you even more employable. There are plenty of big small firms. These are firms that have about 20+ attorneys. These firms actually do defense work for smaller corporations. These are primarily the corporations I sue. The point is that these firms are small enough to where you will get in the court room very early, within the first year of your employment. But you have to have better courtroom skills, the smaller the firm. I would say that midlaw firms care about grades and smallLaw firms care about your skills as a litigator, provided you have them. It won't be like biglaw where you may never see a courtroom even if you wanted. Litigators seem to be more valuable to midlaw and smallLaw firms because they are a rare find and they need them.

And whatever you do, and this is the most important piece of advice for a law student who does not want to go biglaw and is open to litigating. TRY OUT FOR ONE OF THE LAW SCHOOL'S INTERSCHOLASTIC MOCK TRIAL TEAMS! There should be a few and try out as soon as you are eligible. Do not settle for the in school competitions. Those won't teach you a thing.

Trial law is all about practice and studying the ways of litigation in the courtroom. There is an art to cross examination and direct examination. And you have to really be comfortable in your own skin to nail a closing argument! You need to be comfortable speaking. But before you can get there, you HAVE to know what you're doing. Also, take the rules of evidence. This is imperative. It will be an elective you can take second year. To be good in the courtroom, you have to know your rules of evidence backwards and forwards. And you have to know both federal and Texas rules. You never know what court you may end up in.

The Houston legal market is doing pretty well because Houston has not been hit as hard by the recession as everyone else.

All in all, I'm glad you want to be a trial lawyer. We are a rare breed, but we are a valuable breed!
Last edited by utlaw2007 on Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.

utlaw2007
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Re: Here to answer any questions about all things Texas Law

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:37 am

The other reason why you want to take evidence, is because your opponent and the trial judge may not know the rules at all. And you WILL get overruled incorrectly. You NEED to be able to preserve error for an appeal and then you need to know why you are appealing. The main thing about knowing evidence, you can better craft your case knowing what kind of evidence is admissable or not. If you are working for a firm, you won't have to craft your case. But you want to still know the rules so you can pummel your opponent in the courtroom. Plus, your opponent may be one of those lawyers who objects because there was a strong breeze outside for that moment just to keep you from admitting a damaging piece of evidence or testimony. You want to admit everything you can about your case to make it stronger. If your reasoning and quick wit are your sword in the courtroom, the knowledge of the rules of evidence is your shield.

utlaw2007
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Re: Here to answer any questions about all things Texas Law

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:59 am

Will you pay me to work for you? Please? Pretty Please? I'm going to be working in Houston for free this summer.


Unfortunately, I won't be able to hire you. I have a trial set for this summer. Things will be ramping up. I won't have time to supervise and teach you. I'm not opposed to hiring law clerks. But if I hire them, I want to train them in the ways of litigation and I also want to train them on the finer points of trial work which you would NOT get at a big firm.

What law school do you attend, AreJay?

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Tyr
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Re: Here to answer any questions about all things Texas Law

Postby Tyr » Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:28 am

utlaw2007 wrote:U of H Law Center has a really good rep in Texas along with SMU. Baylor doesn't have as much luster.

***snip***


Thank you for this information! I was reading your thread and was about to ask about the other schools in Texas, their general reputation in Texas, and their relative comparisons to UT Law. I'm going to be a "Super Splitter" this coming fall and so UT will be a reach, but it is my goal. It's good to know that SMU and UH are both solid choices.

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Attax
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Re: Here to answer any questions about all things Texas Law

Postby Attax » Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:28 pm

Tyr wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:U of H Law Center has a really good rep in Texas along with SMU. Baylor doesn't have as much luster.

***snip***


Thank you for this information! I was reading your thread and was about to ask about the other schools in Texas, their general reputation in Texas, and their relative comparisons to UT Law. I'm going to be a "Super Splitter" this coming fall and so UT will be a reach, but it is my goal. It's good to know that SMU and UH are both solid choices.


Also splitter here, headed to UT along with quite a few others.




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