Winning at a Regional Law School

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Macondo
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Winning at a Regional Law School

Postby Macondo » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:44 am

Long time lurker wishing to give back. I am a 2L at law school ranked somewhere in the 20 to 40 range in a large secondary market that I chose over T14 and T20 law schools at sticker. I am on close to a full ride. I came here because I wanted to live in this market long term, but I had serious doubts my 1L year. I have lined up a SA position at a big law firm here , a district court clerkship in a flyover market not too far from here, and am getting to argue motions in court at the local prosecutor's office. I am probably somewhere in the top 10-15% of my class and that does make hustling easier. Grades matter, but here are a few things that have helped:

1. Pick your regional powerhouse wisely. Are you comfortable living in that market for your entire career? Expect 0 portability... Also, come to terms with the school's pecking order in the community. Hastings doesn't compete with Boalt or Stanford. Nor does Cardozo or Fordham with Columbia and NYU. Ask yourself if the regional school is the big dog in town. If it is, graduating towards the top of your class puts you in good shape for strong career outcomes.

2. Network like crazy. Create a hometown advantage for yourself. I go to every bar association event I can make. I don't really go to bar review or any self righteous on campus activity where people just get together and bitch on the plight of x group or y cause. If you don't like the idea of networking, you probably won't like building a book of business and you will hit a ceiling in a service profession. I landed my 1L paid position at a bar event, and the managing partner of my 2L firm loved the fact I go to the events for the organizations he belongs to. Get to know who matters in your legal community. This is the best advantage you have over someone who has a better school behind their name--you are local and one of the community. use this to your advantage. No you are not that awkward. Go to the events. Have a beer or some wine. And if you are aspie, figure out how to be really good at researching on westlaw or drafting so you can service someone else's clients. Friends with shitty grades (sub 3.0) who have done the same landed decent paying boutique firm jobs in the area as well.

3. Get good grades.

4. Negotiate your way up to a full ride. The only price worth going for is free or close to it. Use your full price offers from more prestigious schools as leverage.

5. Work part time your 2l and 3l years. I work 25 hours per week, and don't mind it. It actually keeps me sane as I despise law school and the general sense of entitlement students have about jobs, the lack of hustle, and complete break from reality that exists in my fishbowl of a school. Working teaches you how to practice, it builds a better resume than bs clubs or activities no one cares about. And as the top dog in town, you are a small firm's most desirable candidate. It gives you talking points for post grad hiring as well. You can use your earnings to finance COL and not take out loans (winning).

6. Don't be like me and beat yourself up for settling for a lesser law school for free. Laugh all the way to the bank. I will graduate with my savings intact.

7. A clerkship is possible if you figure out which faculty and administrators are important for going to bat for you. You need to be smart about who promotes you internally at the school. See number 3 though--this is the most important. Faculty can help you out with jobs in the area as well. Adjuncts can hire you as well.

8. Extern for class credit at local DA/USAO/PD offices. Many upper level classes teach you nothing useful (law and society, please). Getting to know local prosecutors (aka future judges) and others in the community builds your network out. Internal clinics may give you the same experience but not the network.

Happy to help in any way I can

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chuckbass
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Re: Winning at a Regional Law School

Postby chuckbass » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:56 am

Macondo wrote:I don't really go to bar review or any self righteous on campus activity where people just get together and bitch on the plight of x group or y cause.

Do you have any idea what bar review actually is?

Macondo
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Re: Winning at a Regional Law School

Postby Macondo » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:01 am

Yeah and it's not worth it at my school

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chuckbass
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Re: Winning at a Regional Law School

Postby chuckbass » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:02 am

Macondo wrote:Yeah and it's not worth it at my school

:| Still unsure if you know what bar review is.

Macondo
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Re: Winning at a Regional Law School

Postby Macondo » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:05 am

scottidsntknow wrote:
Macondo wrote:Yeah and it's not worth it at my school

:| Still unsure if you know what bar review is.


I guess not

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bearsfan23
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Re: Winning at a Regional Law School

Postby bearsfan23 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:07 am

Macondo wrote: I don't really go to bar review or any self righteous on campus activity where people just get together and bitch on the plight of x group or y cause.


You sound like a lot of fun.

Sweet humblebrag though

ub3r
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Re: Winning at a Regional Law School

Postby ub3r » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:24 am

Little complaints aside, I found this pretty helpful. Thanks.

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twenty 8
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Re: Winning at a Regional Law School

Postby twenty 8 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:27 am

I took a similar same path. Sidestepping marginal T14 scholarships for a full ride, plus I was able to live at home (in a top 20 market). Difference was that my school was ranked [just] outside the top 100. I happily ended up at a firm (under 100 attorneys) with a six figure income. I work alongside T14 (and T6) grads. Unlike many of them, on payday I do not have to divert funds to cover a bloated law school debt.

If you are talking about law review, I did that, but I had no fancy title, just simply noted law review on my resume. Might have helped, not sure.

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bearsfan23
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Re: Winning at a Regional Law School

Postby bearsfan23 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:44 am

Some of OP's advice is helpful, but the way he presents it is awful.

I'm a 2L at a T6, have a V10 SA and COA clerkship lined up and will graduate with minimal debt.

I would NEVER say that I've won anything (because I definitely haven't), much less say something like "laugh all the way to the bank" that can only be meant to belittle the decisions of other students.

You've put yourself in a decent position for career success, but that's it. If you end up getting no offered you're just as screwed as everyone else. Saying you're "Winning Law School" is just being a dick. There are ways to give advice without being a dick.

Midas Whale
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Re: Winning at a Regional Law School

Postby Midas Whale » Fri Mar 20, 2015 2:01 am

3. Get good grades.


lol

Nomo
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Re: Winning at a Regional Law School

Postby Nomo » Fri Mar 20, 2015 3:58 am

He is basically right. Grades matter a ton for a small portion of legal jobs. But the easiest way to get most legal jobs is through personal connections. Networking, externing, and doing part-time work are crucial. Anyone at a regional school should be doing this. Anyone at a top school who bombs OCI should also do this.

BigZuck
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Re: Winning at a Regional Law School

Postby BigZuck » Fri Mar 20, 2015 4:31 am

bearsfan23 wrote:I would NEVER...say something...that can only be meant to belittle the decisions of other students.

:shock: :arrow: :D :arrow: :wink:

To be fair to the OP, I think he was saying that people should laugh all the way to the bank and that he didn't appreciate debt freedom himself. Seemed more like advice than a brag (although I guess he is acknowledging his savings will be intact so it is a brag too, I dunno).

I thought the post was dece but seemed to ignore arguably the most important piece of advice: be lucky. Of course you have to create your own luck as best you can but being good at law school, binking an offer, being in the right place at the right time, etc. often can be pretty dependent on luck, at least from my own experience at a regional school.

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cron1834
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Re: Winning at a Regional Law School

Postby cron1834 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:47 am

Dudes just get top grades and network well. What could be simpler?

Definitely don't go to bar review and hit it off with future colleagues/alum connects. And certainly don't choose a "powerhouse regional" where the other 99 percent of students are trying hard to get top grades, too - that would be dumb.

This is pretty simple stuff guys.

mvp99
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Re: Winning at a Regional Law School

Postby mvp99 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:17 am

Macondo wrote:I am a 2L at law school ranked somewhere in the 20 to 40 range in a large secondary market that I chose over T14 and T20 law schools at sticker.


Inferiority complex much?




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