Entering UT, have questions

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Mos10
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Entering UT, have questions

Postby Mos10 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:21 am

I'll be starting at UT this year (I applied ED). It was my dream school, but I want to put my best foot forward.
I'm very interested in their duel degree with ITAM in Mexico City. I want to specialize in corporate law, but I'm especially interested in the petroleum industry.
I don't want to bring up partisan politics, so I won't say which of the two parties I'll be volunteering with ahead of the elections this November. I hope to network through acquaintances in the party (I'm not from Texas, by the way).
I know UT is the best investment law school, and that Texas has a strong economy, but with the national legal market being what it is, I'd appreciate any insight and advice from UT students/grads, or from anyone familiar with the Texas legal world, about making my legal education worthwhile.
I'm hoping that the only contingency that could come between me and a job would be a depression. Don't want to squander these three years.

BigZuck
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby BigZuck » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:27 am

There's a few UT students round these parts.

What exactly are your questions?

Mos10
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby Mos10 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:39 am

Well, aside from doing as well as I possibly can academically, what should I do to put myself ahead of the pack?
I know everyone thinks they'll do better than they actually end up doing, but what's the percentile where, barring a new recession, you're all but guaranteed a decent-paying job in Texas? 25%?
Which courses should I take if I hope to represent oil corporations? Which firms should I apply to for internships?

Mos10
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby Mos10 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:43 am

And does anyone know how valuable a joint degree from ITAM really is? Does the Mexican market really create abundant opportunities?

BigZuck
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby BigZuck » Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:06 am

I think you're getting a little ahead of yourself. The first year you're going to be taking torts and crim law and crap like that that everyone takes and your success in those courses will pretty much define whether you snag a high paying job or not.

Roughly one third of the class gets big law or a federal clerkship (aka a high paying job or could have got a high paying job if they wanted it). It's oversimplistic to say "Top third= big law" because there are other factors like work experience, diversity, being a hot girl, etc. that go into your big law chances. Gun to my head? I guess I would say top 25% should feel pretty good about their chances.

I'm just a 1L so don't know anyone who has done the dual degree. Know someone who chose UT for that program, but I don't think he has even applied yet. TLS wisdom says dual degrees are worthless and instinctually I would say that I doubt the Mexican market is bumping cuz it's Mexico but I really don't know if that's true or not. Maybe email admissions and ask them to connect you with students in that program?

There are a lot of firms that do energy law: check the NALP directory and do some google searches if you want to know more. UT has an Oil, Gas, and Energy Law society and journal. They put on symposiums where a bunch of good ole boys talk about fracing and stuff if you're into that sort of thing. I'm sure there are oil and gas classes you can take as well.

I think a non-Texan should be prepared to answer questions about why they chose UT and defend their choice a bit when it comes to interviews and stuff. You will be met with suspicion I'm guessing.

If you have any other questions please post them!

BigZuck
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby BigZuck » Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:15 am

And sorry if that sounded overly negative, I was trying to post quickly. I think as a general matter UT is definitely the right choice if you want to work somewhere in TX, it's just that you need to be prepared to work hard, answer questions about your non-Texanness, and have a back up plan if you still want/need a high paying job and don't finish toward the top of the class.

You didn't ask about this but in my opinion the professors are great, classmates are cool and smart, and Austin is one of the best cities in the country.

Mos10
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby Mos10 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:09 am

Thanks for the detailed response.
Yes, I definitely want to stay in Texas. The dual degree was just a thought, but it's probably not worth it.
I got a 3.83 at Berkeley - in history, true, but I'm fairly confident that this trend will carry over to law school.
I visited Austin a few months ago and think I'd be very happy living there.
I intend to aggressively seek out contacts in the political party of my choice when I volunteer ahead of the gubernatorial election this November. Then I'd truly have Texas ties.
I have a crazy dream of working for BP. I know their North American HQ are in Houston, plus they own 20% of Rosneft (I'm fluent in Russian). Obviously that's just a dream, not a set goal.
I chose Texas because it's the best investment, and the state has one of the strongest economies.
My back-up plan is law enforcement, on the federal or state level.
By work experience you mean summer internships?

Mos10
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby Mos10 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:15 am

Have you spoken to 3Ls? What does the job market look like now for UT grads hoping to join firms?
I don't want to go into IP, but are people with engineering backgrounds still preferred in representing energy corporations?

Mos10
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby Mos10 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:16 pm

I meant joining a state or federal law enforcement agency is something I'd consider if I didn't decide on big law.

Mos10
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby Mos10 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:06 pm

I meant the FBI.
And no back-ups are foolproof. In the meantime I intend to get into big law, preferably energy.

BigZuck
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby BigZuck » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:11 pm

Mos10 wrote:I meant joining a state or federal law enforcement agency is something I'd consider if I didn't decide on big law.


I don't know that you can treat a job like this as a backup, you kind of have to choose either this or big law.

I also would caution against assuming that a 3.8 from Berkeley means you'll get a 3.8 in law school. By and large your classmates will be quite smart, and law school grading can border on arbitrary at times.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:11 pm

Um, the FBI isn't a back up for anything. You're lucky to get the FBI if you gun for it every minute of your life from before entering law school.

Mos10
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby Mos10 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:34 pm

Anyway, what I really need to know is, if I apply myself, do I have a reasonable chance of being gainfully employed in Texas with a JD from UT, or am I better off going to trade school and becoming a handyman?

BigZuck
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby BigZuck » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:39 pm

Mos10 wrote:Anyway, what I really need to know is, if I apply myself, do I have a reasonable chance of being gainfully employed in Texas with a JD from UT, or am I better off going to trade school and becoming a handyman?


You probably have roughly a 75% chance of being employed as a lawyer.

What are the odds of employment coming from a trade school?

Mos10
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby Mos10 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:40 pm

I'm not counting on anything. The FBI was just an idea. I thought my fluency in Russian might help.
And yes, I'm aware a 3.8 at Berkeley wouldn't necessarily translate to a 3.8 at UT law. But I reasonably assume I'd be capable of competing.

Mos10
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby Mos10 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:42 pm

BigZuck wrote:
Mos10 wrote:Anyway, what I really need to know is, if I apply myself, do I have a reasonable chance of being gainfully employed in Texas with a JD from UT, or am I better off going to trade school and becoming a handyman?


You probably have roughly a 75% chance of being employed as a lawyer.

What are the odds of employment coming from a trade school?


Fair point. Since I'm no one's idea of an engineer, UT law is certainly my safest bet

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Attax
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby Attax » Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:05 pm

Mos10 wrote:I'm not counting on anything. The FBI was just an idea. I thought my fluency in Russian might help.
And yes, I'm aware a 3.8 at Berkeley wouldn't necessarily translate to a 3.8 at UT law. But I reasonably assume I'd be capable of competing.


And so will all 299 of your classmates at UT Law. When on a forced curve, your individual performance doesn't matter except in respect to everyone else.

Mos10
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby Mos10 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:00 pm

And your point is?
So I should go in with the attitude that I won't be in the top third, and slack off, right?

BigZuck
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby BigZuck » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:09 pm

I think you should go into it ready and willing to do the work to make it to the top 1%, but be more than ok with what your job prospects might look like if you end up in the middle of the pack (or, Heaven forbid, below median).

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Pneumonia
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby Pneumonia » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:10 pm

Mos10 wrote:And your point is?
So I should go in with the attitude that I won't be in the top third, and slack off, right?


his point is that if you assume anything it should be that you'll be median.

Mos10
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby Mos10 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:14 pm

Thanks BigZuck, you bring refreshing clarity and politeness to this forum.
And what are job prospects for the middle of the pack? What's the best field to go into in Texas right now, excluding hard IP?

Mos10
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby Mos10 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:16 pm

And are there mostly electives, allowing you to specialize, after your first year? The last thing I want to be is another generalist.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:19 pm

Mos10 wrote:And are there mostly electives, allowing you to specialize, after your first year? The last thing I want to be is another generalist.

There is no point in specializing in law school. It doesn't teach you enough in any one field to claim any particular expertise. Moreover, being a specialist shuts you out of more jobs than being a generalist does. There's nothing wrong with taking courses relevant to your interests, but you're not really going to specialize until you get into a job and actually practice in the area.

BigZuck
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby BigZuck » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:22 pm

Middle of the pack you're probably looking at relatively lower paying small firm work if you're looking for something in the private sector. Public sector probably stuff like PD and DA offices, things like that. Basically not the more "prestigious" work.

It's a relatively big school so there's all kinds of different courses on offer. By and large though a JD is a "generalist degree."

Mos10
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Re: Entering UT, have questions

Postby Mos10 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:24 pm

All right, I'll take that into consideration. But I would like my transcripts to be biased towards commercial law over constitutional/human rights/criminal.
And by the way, to become a special agent you need three years of experience in a professional field (such as law). Foreign language skills are valued as well. This doesn't necessarily mean I'd even be competitive six years from now, but there is no mutually exclusive choice between the FBI and big law.
https://www.fbijobs.gov/1111.asp




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