Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

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Apollo526
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby Apollo526 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:36 pm

Philosoraptor -great job. I don't have much to add, but have included my thoughts below.

On the bike: +1 for not being an idiot on the road. I prefer to cycle for exercise rather than to commute, so I can't say much. I did try biking for a bit, but the Texas heat annoyed me too much. Plus, it can become a pain in the ass when carrying extra supplements, etc. Although you can lock up your bike outside the school, you cannot take it inside (and store it in a journal office, etc.). My bike is fairly nice, and this was enough of a deterrent for me.

On contacting employers: The official date for NALP is 12/1. Unless you personally know someone at the firm, I wouldn't do it before then regardless of whether the firm was NALP. I wouldn't suggest doing it before Winter break unless you happen to meet an attorney at a networking event, know them previously, etc. Your time is better spent studying tort law than figuring out how to perfect a mail merge.

On utilizing the UT network: Realize that many attorneys have nothing to do with hiring, especially at the larger firms. I made more than a few contacts that could pass along my information, but really didn't have any pull whatsoever because they weren't on the hiring committee.

Studying away: Once again, I agree with Philosoraptor. If you have an interest in a specific country, then go for it. For example, I had a friend that was fully Chinese and spoke fluent Chinese. She did a semester in China because she wanted to do international law. She was also a member of the international law journal. If you want to find an easy country that speaks English and take blow-off classes (yes, several people did), re-think why you're in law school.

On a side note, it is also possible to do your 1st or 3rd year somewhere else. Apparently, the way degrees work is that where you spend 2 of the 3 years is where your degree comes from. This is why you can transfer after your 1L , but not your 2L. Several people did 2 years at UT, and then transferred sometimes to a "lesser" school in order to be closer to a spouse, etc. I think they consider you a visiting student.

Finally, on the issue of part-time jobs. Once again, yes. My 3L year, I worked for a non-profit organization in the Fall. In the Spring, I worked part-time for a firm that eventually offered me my full-time job. If you already have a job lined up post-grad though, I would advise enjoying the easier 3L year.

utlaw2007
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:43 pm

I wouldn't recommend intramural mock trial for anything. It won't prepare you for squat. But if you get on one of the law school's official mock trial teams, you'll learn a lot and it will definitely help if you want to become a trial lawyer in practice. That's what I am. I participated on one of the official mock trial teams and did very well. I did intramural mock trial before and thought I learned something. But after doing the real thing on one of the real teams, the difference in what you learn is like night and day.

utlaw2007
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:47 pm

In regards to taking evidence, that was the most helpful law school class for me. Each person is going to be different, I guess.

dkb17xzx
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby dkb17xzx » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:32 am

Apollo and philosoraptor - thank you very much for your responses. That was incredibly helpful.

I read philosoraptor's take on CSO. Any further input from Apollo and utlaw?

utlaw2007
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby utlaw2007 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:42 am

I don't have anything additional to say other than I have found other fellow alumni, even opposing counsel, to be very helpful and friendly in regards to basic tips and just casual conversation. Being a lawyer is like being in a fraternity. Having a law school in common between two lawyers makes the professional connection that much stronger.

dkb17xzx
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby dkb17xzx » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:45 am

utlaw2007 wrote:I don't have anything additional to say other than I have found other fellow alumni, even opposing counsel, to be very helpful and friendly in regards to basic tips and just casual conversation. Being a lawyer is like being in a fraternity. Having a law school in common between two lawyers makes the professional connection that much stronger.


It's very reassuring to hear that the Texas alumni network is strong and helpful. Thank you for your response.

blackmooncreeping
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby blackmooncreeping » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:18 pm

Rising 2L as well. I agree with a lot of what the above poster said, especially regarding job searching as a 1L and using supplements/not giving a shit if you don't sound like an allstar during cold calls. Exams are BLINDGRADED, I know TONS of people who always sounded like geniuses during class that did poor on the exam for that class.

I do have to disagree with him about spending time on campus or enjoying yourself during school. There is no reason not to enjoy yourself early in the semester and while I do think starting the outlining process early on is useful I don't think it's necessary at all. I am close friends with some people, and know a few others, who took the all work no play approach and it really didn't work out for them. I also know quite a few people who seemed to be getting trashed fairly frequently who did amazing. The name of the game IMO is to work smart. Long hours just for long hours sake are not going to get you awesome grades.

TL;DR-- Have fun and go out early in the semester. Get to know people, I've met some really good friends the past year. Work smart throughout the semester. Buckle down at the end of the year but don't forget to have fun, you'll be happier and healthier for it.

Edit:Whoops, that post isn't there anymore. Hopefully he/she puts it back up. It had some good advice IMO.

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unlicensedpotato
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby unlicensedpotato » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:27 pm

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Last edited by unlicensedpotato on Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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philosoraptor
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby philosoraptor » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:31 pm

I was also all set to respond to the disappeared post, but here's the gist of what I wanted to add:

- If you're looking for the tried-and-true 1L supplements, get Chirelstein for Ks, Glannon for civ pro, E&E for property/torts, Chemerinsky for con law, Dressler for crim, and whatever else upperclassmen who had your profs will tell you is useful. Use those to learn the basics and clarify what your casebook and prof try to obfuscate.

- Try to put together a professional resume before school starts so you don't have to spend a ton of time on it during the semester. It doesn't take a ton of time to write a cover letter. Try to get those things ready to send out to firms on Dec. 1 if you can. If you can't, it's not the end of the world. CSO will advise you on the timeline.

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unlicensedpotato
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby unlicensedpotato » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:39 pm

I completely agree with blackmooncreeping, the name of the game is to work smart, not necessarily hard.
Edit: I also agree that there's no reason not be happy, and I personally really enjoyed the first year. What I was meaning to point out is that I felt there were a lot of students who knew deep down that they weren't positioning themselves for success. But, they would have much rather remained happy and not worried about it (and done poorly gradewise as a result) than have taken on extra work/stress in order to improve their position.

Philosoraptor - I didn't mean to call you out on the mailing dates. I think most people would agree with you and I just wanted to offer a different view. You're absolutely right that it doesn't matter at all if you mail after 12/1, I think I mailed mine the first weekend in december. I would recommend not waiting until after exams though. Great supplement recommendations as well.

One another thing to add: To the point of insanity, UT will attempt to shove litigation down your throat. It is still a great school to go to even if you have zero interest in litigation (which is me). You just have to wade through some annoying talking points during orientation/1L year. The professors for the transactional type classes are top notch and Texas has a lot of transactional opportunities.
On the flip side, if you are interested in litigation, you will get a ton of help looking for clerkships and developing litigation skills during your time at UT.

Apollo526
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby Apollo526 » Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:59 am

Reading over the other posts, I'd have to say that the biggest thing to me is that people's experiences differ. Some people, having your mail-outs ready by 12/1 is vital and it works. A running buddy of mine (rising 2L) had 2 interviews during finals week and received a big-law summer offer on his way to take his CivPro final. He got out of it and received an offer for the second half at a court (may be exaggerating, but I know it was all very soon). Other people, like myself, found it very time-consuming with little to no pay off. So do what you think works for you. Philosoraptor mentioned putting together a resume. Yes. That is a great idea. Resumes take very little time compared to cover letters and they are easy to send out. This is something I would say absolutely do by 12/1 because it takes so little effort.

One other point:

philosoraptor wrote:- If you're looking for the tried-and-true 1L supplements, get Chirelstein for Ks, Glannon for civ pro, E&E for property/torts, Chemerinsky for con law, Dressler for crim, and whatever else upperclassmen who had your profs will tell you is useful. Use those to learn the basics and clarify what your casebook and prof try to obfuscate.


All great suggestions, but I want to mention that you need to be careful with supplements for two reasons. First, never forget that at the end of the day, its your professor that is grading your exam. Law school can become very focused on policy. "Yes, X is the law, but what are we trying to accomplish with that?" Supplements focus on "what is the law?". If your professor focuses more on policy, the supplements won't help you as much. While this is more true of 2L/3L classes, it can still be true of 1L classes (e.g., Bob Bone's CivPro class). Second, they take time. This becomes very important come November. If you need to make an outline for the class, read for tomorrow's class, and memorize the 200 flash cards you made, do you really want to read portions of a 180 page book that isn't required as well? Analyze when it will help and when it won't.

dkb17xzx
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby dkb17xzx » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:13 am

so what would be the best way to study for / answer a policy focused exam? focus on the professor's beliefs and regurgitate it articulately?

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philosoraptor
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby philosoraptor » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:40 am

dkb17xzx wrote:so what would be the best way to study for / answer a policy focused exam? focus on the professor's beliefs and regurgitate it articulately?
Depends on the class. As I recall from my 1L classes, the exams that put the most emphasis on policy were contracts (Golden) and crim (Laurin). These required very different approaches.

Contracts policy questions required knowledge of how courts (common law), academics (Restatement and theoretical stuff), and statutes (UCC) had treated similar issues. You had to be able to argue both sides and cite to cases and laws to back up both sides. Laurin's crim policy questions were generally along the lines of, "State legislator X wants to propose the following change to the penal code. As her staffer, what do you think?" This kind of question required knowledge of the Model Penal Code and common law approaches to whatever crime is at issue; maybe a particular state's take on it (we focused on Texas in our class); any cases you may have read on the subject; any relevant theoretical bases for criminalizing conduct, justification for punishment, etc.; trends in the development of the law; and so forth.

These kinds of issues are where supplements are great. Listen in class for what your prof cares about (it will not be hard to know, since he/she will want to talk about it all the time in class), then get a concise overview of the standard arguments from your supplements and put it in your outline.

As Apollo said, this will be entirely professor-dependent. Mullenix couldn't care less about policy in civ pro, but it's all Bone talks about. You'll get a feel for it, but the point is you need a lot of background knowledge and the ability to present cogent arguments on all sides of a policy debate -- not just regurgitate what your prof said in class (and especially not what your classmates said!).

ETA: A lot of profs (especially torts, Ks, and Bob Bone) love the law and economics policy questions. (Can't believe I forgot about that.) Law and econ debates are usually thoroughly covered in good supplements.

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StylinNProfilin
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby StylinNProfilin » Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:01 pm

Apollo526 wrote:Reading over the other posts, I'd have to say that the biggest thing to me is that people's experiences differ. Some people, having your mail-outs ready by 12/1 is vital and it works. A running buddy of mine (rising 2L) had 2 interviews during finals week and received a big-law summer offer on his way to take his CivPro final. He got out of it and received an offer for the second half at a court (may be exaggerating, but I know it was all very soon). Other people, like myself, found it very time-consuming with little to no pay off. So do what you think works for you. Philosoraptor mentioned putting together a resume. Yes. That is a great idea. Resumes take very little time compared to cover letters and they are easy to send out. This is something I would say absolutely do by 12/1 because it takes so little effort.



How rare is it for UT students to land a 1L biglaw summer SA? Do firms actually hire without seeing your Fall grades?

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unlicensedpotato
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby unlicensedpotato » Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:11 pm

StylinNProfilin wrote:How rare is it for UT students to land a 1L biglaw summer SA? Do firms actually hire without seeing your Fall grades?


Not rare at all. I have first and second half SAs this summer as a 1L (and had additional offers beyond that I had to turn down) and I know a lot of other people that do as well. Yes, firms will hire without grades, but it's not common. Generally it only occurs if you went to a very preftigious undergrad with great grades or have some ridiculous work experience. That's one of the huge advantages of UT is they have excellent access into the market with by far the most 1L SAs.

blackmooncreeping
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby blackmooncreeping » Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:58 pm

StylinNProfilin wrote:
Apollo526 wrote:Reading over the other posts, I'd have to say that the biggest thing to me is that people's experiences differ. Some people, having your mail-outs ready by 12/1 is vital and it works. A running buddy of mine (rising 2L) had 2 interviews during finals week and received a big-law summer offer on his way to take his CivPro final. He got out of it and received an offer for the second half at a court (may be exaggerating, but I know it was all very soon). Other people, like myself, found it very time-consuming with little to no pay off. So do what you think works for you. Philosoraptor mentioned putting together a resume. Yes. That is a great idea. Resumes take very little time compared to cover letters and they are easy to send out. This is something I would say absolutely do by 12/1 because it takes so little effort.



How rare is it for UT students to land a 1L biglaw summer SA? Do firms actually hire without seeing your Fall grades?



I also know quite a few who got one or two 1L SA's

BigZuck
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby BigZuck » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:04 pm

unlicensedpotato wrote:
StylinNProfilin wrote:How rare is it for UT students to land a 1L biglaw summer SA? Do firms actually hire without seeing your Fall grades?


Not rare at all. I have first and second half SAs this summer as a 1L (and had additional offers beyond that I had to turn down) and I know a lot of other people that do as well. Yes, firms will hire without grades, but it's not common. Generally it only occurs if you went to a very preftigious undergrad with great grades or have some ridiculous work experience. That's one of the huge advantages of UT is they have excellent access into the market with by far the most 1L SAs.


Awesome to hear, the ease you guys say 1Ls are getting SA is in direct contradiction to what I have heard from everyone else I have asked. The general sense I got was that maybe 10% of the class were able to snag one. I guess hiring picked up massively this year?

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unlicensedpotato
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby unlicensedpotato » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:32 pm

BigZuck wrote:
Awesome to hear, the ease you guys say 1Ls are getting SA is in direct contradiction to what I have heard from everyone else I have asked. The general sense I got was that maybe 10% of the class were able to snag one. I guess hiring picked up massively this year?


I didn't mean to say that it was easy. 10% of the class is 30 to 40 people though so in my opinion that isn't "rare." I would guess that you become competitive for them around top 15-20% but I have nothing to back that up. Hiring was actually a little weaker this year I think but about the same.
This is also your classic rich get richer situation. The group of students that get one 1L SA are also the students most likely to get a second one. A lot of people get disheartened by this and may not even try for the 1L SA before they get their grades because they don't think they'll have a shot. But, the pre-tax salary for one is going to be roughly 24k (8 weeks * $3,077 per week) and for two is 36k (12 weeks * $3,077 per week). That is huge if you're taking out loans for school. It's definitely worth a shot applying.

BigZuck
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby BigZuck » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:43 pm

Oh. Guess we have a different definition of rare then :) 10% chance sounds pretty rough to me.

Do any of you guys have any idea what's happening to the 25% of the graduating class who are not becoming lawyers? Any good non-JD required jobs that people are getting (in business maybe?) or are they all on the struggle bus?

And any idea why people are missing out on lawyer jobs? I know one recent grad who doesn't have anything lined up but it seems to be because her grades are a little below average and she's trying to get a job out of state. Just wondering if a UT degree is good enough to get work at a small firm in TX at least (assuming one doesn't blow any interviews, etc.) or if bad grades are just the kiss of death?

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unlicensedpotato
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby unlicensedpotato » Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:01 pm

Sorry, not trying to monopolize the thread and I hope others will continue to chime in on these.

Haha that's pretty fair, 10% would probably be considered rare. I was just thinking that it wasn't rare in the sense that everyone knows a good number of 1Ls with SAs.

People definitely end up with jobs that are in business and there's probably some people who go in to a landman type role. Bad grades are absolutely the kiss of death, at every law school (excluding Yale, maybe H and S). Median and below at every other school is in trouble. There are plenty of UT Law graduates on the breadlines and just the degree itself is nowhere near enough to land a position with even a small Texas firm. That is probably the biggest misconception I heard from students on campus. A lot of the students are from TX (I'm not) and have heard growing up that UT law is really good (which it is), but from this they basically assumed that once they got were admitted to the school they were in good shape as far as getting at least some type of legal job. I do not think that this is the case in the current legal economy.

dkb17xzx
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby dkb17xzx » Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:47 pm

Unlicensed - if you don't mind sharing, what is your GPA / class percentile?

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unlicensedpotato
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby unlicensedpotato » Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:51 pm

dkb17xzx wrote:Unlicensed - if you don't mind sharing, what is your GPA / class percentile?


I don't want to give anything too precise, just to be safe. It's between 3.8 and 4.0. As far as class percentile, I don't really have any idea. People say anecdotally that 3.8 is top 10% but I think that is a little generous. UT only publishes median and top 25%.

Holynorth
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby Holynorth » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:06 pm

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Last edited by Holynorth on Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

utlaw2007
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:54 pm

BigZuck wrote:Oh. Guess we have a different definition of rare then :) 10% chance sounds pretty rough to me.

Do any of you guys have any idea what's happening to the 25% of the graduating class who are not becoming lawyers? Any good non-JD required jobs that people are getting (in business maybe?) or are they all on the struggle bus?

And any idea why people are missing out on lawyer jobs? I know one recent grad who doesn't have anything lined up but it seems to be because her grades are a little below average and she's trying to get a job out of state. Just wondering if a UT degree is good enough to get work at a small firm in TX at least (assuming one doesn't blow any interviews, etc.) or if bad grades are just the kiss of death?



I don't know about the rest, but I can address your small firm question. There is no hard and fast rule what small firm employers look for because each firm is so different. Some small firms care about grades, some don't. For example, I plan to hire associates for my firm within the next couple of years. I will not focus on grades as much as I will focus on trial advocacy preparation. I will only hire from my law school alma mater, but outside of that, I will be looking for preparation for trial ad, including four hour evidence, TX civ pro, and Conflicts of Laws for diversity cases. Conflicts is not nearly as important as the other two because it does not present itself nearly as frequently. So it wouldn't be necessary to my evaluation like the other two, but it would be a nice bonus. But that is me. Another small firm employer may be completely different.
Last edited by utlaw2007 on Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

utlaw2007
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Re: Recently Graduated UT Law Student taking questions

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:04 pm

The biggest obstacle to small firm hiring is that they hire extremely infrequently. But, they do hire. But you have to scour very intently for those that are hiring. My suggestion would be to survey a large sampling of small firms early on in law school to get an idea of what they want from prospective associates. Smaller firms seem to care more about what practical skills you can bring to the table than grades unless your grades are awful. Some of the larger small firms that handle commercial litigation hire much more frequently. But those jobs are also more competitive. Bad grades would spell the kiss of death for those firms. They are just miniature biglaw lit departments, basically. But as competitive as those jobs are, they aren't nearly as competitive as your biglaw or midlaw jobs because most of these firms don't recruit at OCI, at least they didn't when I was there. I have only come to find out about these firms while practicing because they were my opponents.




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