Penn Students 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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Georgiana
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Georgiana » Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:24 pm

23fulltimecowboys wrote:Does anyone know much about the Delaware Riverkeepers externship? Seems like Penn is a little shy on environmental law classes, no journal...

I don't know much about it but I've been to a few talks involving the Delaware Riverkeepers (the actual woman that is "the river" is crazzzzy!). I don't think its a very competetive externship to get (I think externships generally aren't too competitive because we all have SO much going on that it's hard to make time). There is also an EPA office in the city that takes externs though I don't think it is officially through the school, you just apply with the EPA. The school also has the environmental law project which does pro bono environmental work. As far as classes go, it's what you make of it. I took environmental law as a 1L and am taking natural resources law now. They have a climate change seminar next semester I think and there are a lot of regulatory classes that you can take. You also have to remember that anything that is available on campus is available to us. I think that the urban planning school (not sure what it's actually called) probably has a class or two about green planning and things like that which are really interesting (I look a grad class when I was in undergrad... not at penn).

Remember that you will have a LOT on your plate after 1L and you wouldn't have time for 10 environmental classes. You'd be lucky to make time for 2 per semester after 1L :)

Feel free to ask more questions here or to PM me. I have a background interest in environmental law but will probably be going into IP litigation. I do plan on checking out a few environmental cases over the summer since my firm does have an enviro practice group.

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observationalist
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby observationalist » Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:35 pm

Georgiana wrote:
23fulltimecowboys wrote:Does anyone know much about the Delaware Riverkeepers externship? Seems like Penn is a little shy on environmental law classes, no journal...

I don't know much about it but I've been to a few talks involving the Delaware Riverkeepers (the actual woman that is "the river" is crazzzzy!). I don't think its a very competetive externship to get (I think externships generally aren't too competitive because we all have SO much going on that it's hard to make time). There is also an EPA office in the city that takes externs though I don't think it is officially through the school, you just apply with the EPA. The school also has the environmental law project which does pro bono environmental work. As far as classes go, it's what you make of it. I took environmental law as a 1L and am taking natural resources law now. They have a climate change seminar next semester I think and there are a lot of regulatory classes that you can take. You also have to remember that anything that is available on campus is available to us. I think that the urban planning school (not sure what it's actually called) probably has a class or two about green planning and things like that which are really interesting (I look a grad class when I was in undergrad... not at penn).

Remember that you will have a LOT on your plate after 1L and you wouldn't have time for 10 environmental classes. You'd be lucky to make time for 2 per semester after 1L :)

Feel free to ask more questions here or to PM me. I have a background interest in environmental law but will probably be going into IP litigation. I do plan on checking out a few environmental cases over the summer since my firm does have an enviro practice group.


I don't know the Delaware RvK personally (though I can confirm she does some remarkable work), but I wanted to hop on and endorse the idea of externing with them while you're in school. You could end up doing anything from drafting FOIA requests to NOIS to assisting in actual litigation depending on what they've got going on. The Waterkeeper Alliance also has been working on a law school/watershed mapping project where they assist keeper programs around the country in reaching out to area law schools and pulling in externs year-round to work on cases. Unfortunately most schools require you to be supervised by an attorney to get externship credit, and not all keeper programs are large enough to have their own in-house counsel. Fortunately for you folks Bristol's not that far away.

Pace law, by the way, saw its environmental law program take off as a direct result of its partnership with the original Riverkeeper program in NY. That group had so much legal work that Pace was able to start up a clinic that now has around 10 students working on cases at any one time... it's a great way for students to develop expertise in environmental litigation regardless of whether they plan on eventually joining the private sector or going into government. If you're interested you could probably reach out to the DE RvK's staff attorney now and let them know you're considering attending Penn and working for them.

Sorry for the unsolicited advice, but I hope that helps.

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Georgiana
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Georgiana » Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:37 pm

observationalist wrote:I don't know the Delaware RvK personally (though I can confirm she does some remarkable work), but I wanted to hop on and endorse the idea of externing with them while you're in school. You could end up doing anything from drafting FOIA requests to NOIS to assisting in actual litigation depending on what they've got going on. The Waterkeeper Alliance also has been working on a law school/watershed mapping project where they assist keeper programs around the country in reaching out to area law schools and pulling in externs year-round to work on cases. Unfortunately most schools require you to be supervised by an attorney to get externship credit, and not all keeper programs are large enough to have their own in-house counsel. Fortunately for you folks Bristol's not that far away.

Pace law, by the way, saw its environmental law program take off as a direct result of its partnership with the original Riverkeeper program in NY. That group had so much legal work that Pace was able to start up a clinic that now has around 10 students working on cases at any one time... it's a great way for students to develop expertise in environmental litigation regardless of whether they plan on eventually joining the private sector or going into government. If you're interested you could probably reach out to the DE RvK's staff attorney now and let them know you're considering attending Penn and working for them.
Sorry for the unsolicited advice, but I hope that helps.

Yay for unsolicited Penn trolling... and thanks for the input!!!

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observationalist
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby observationalist » Sun Sep 27, 2009 11:09 pm

Georgiana wrote:
observationalist wrote:I don't know the Delaware RvK personally (though I can confirm she does some remarkable work), but I wanted to hop on and endorse the idea of externing with them while you're in school. You could end up doing anything from drafting FOIA requests to NOIS to assisting in actual litigation depending on what they've got going on. The Waterkeeper Alliance also has been working on a law school/watershed mapping project where they assist keeper programs around the country in reaching out to area law schools and pulling in externs year-round to work on cases. Unfortunately most schools require you to be supervised by an attorney to get externship credit, and not all keeper programs are large enough to have their own in-house counsel. Fortunately for you folks Bristol's not that far away.

Pace law, by the way, saw its environmental law program take off as a direct result of its partnership with the original Riverkeeper program in NY. That group had so much legal work that Pace was able to start up a clinic that now has around 10 students working on cases at any one time... it's a great way for students to develop expertise in environmental litigation regardless of whether they plan on eventually joining the private sector or going into government. If you're interested you could probably reach out to the DE RvK's staff attorney now and let them know you're considering attending Penn and working for them.
Sorry for the unsolicited advice, but I hope that helps.

Yay for unsolicited Penn trolling... and thanks for the input!!!


Haha, you're welcome. Every school should have advocates pointing out all the incredible things that are unique to their institution, so good work and keep it up.

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kurama20
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby kurama20 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:04 pm

How is Penn's 1L year setup? 3 doctrinal classes and LRW each semester? Also is Penn's LRW class graded?

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AngryAvocado
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby AngryAvocado » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:20 pm

Question(s): Do you think "Why Penn" essays are particularly influential during admissions?

Penn is among my top choices but I don't really have any persuasive reason to go, other than great placement and beautiful campus. In that case, do you think I should write a fairly standard "Why" essay?

I should also probably note that I'm a high-LSAT splitter (3.4x, 176).

Thanks!

riccardo426
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby riccardo426 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:25 pm

kurama20 wrote:How is Penn's 1L year setup? 3 doctrinal classes and LRW each semester? Also is Penn's LRW class graded?


My semester right now: Torts, Contracts, Property, Civil Procedure and LRW (Pass/Fail)

Next semester: LRW (P/F), Crim Law, Con Law, and two electives (one regulatory elective, one perspective elective)

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Georgiana
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Georgiana » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:28 pm

kurama20 wrote:How is Penn's 1L year setup? 3 doctrinal classes and LRW each semester? Also is Penn's LRW class graded?

First semester you take 4 doctrinal classes and legal writing, this ads up to a crazy 18 credits. Legal writing is not graded though and ends shortly after Thanksgiving so it's not terrible at all first semester (or ever really...). Second semester is two mandatory classes (4 creds each) and 2 electives (3 creds each) as well as legal writing. The electives are not completely elective in that there are two categories of classes you have to take (one class from each). One category is regulatory (Environmental law, Admin, International law etc) and the other is perspectives (intellectual property, chinese law, law and equality etc). It's a lot of work but not too terrible looking back on it :)

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kurama20
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby kurama20 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:31 pm

Thanks guys!

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Georgiana
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Georgiana » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:38 pm

AngryAvocado wrote:Question(s): Do you think "Why Penn" essays are particularly influential during admissions?

Penn is among my top choices but I don't really have any persuasive reason to go, other than great placement and beautiful campus. In that case, do you think I should write a fairly standard "Why" essay?

I should also probably note that I'm a high-LSAT splitter (3.4x, 176).

Thanks!

Disclaimer... I did not write the "Why Penn?" essay. I didn't have a reason when I applied and honestly didn't want to put in the effort to BS it.

In the case of a splitter I think it's its more important to write the extra essay since you really need to do everything to show that you are going to thrive in the law school environment. It's great to have a high LSAT, but the GPA is still something showing your academic performance in the classroom. If you can show that you know what law school is about and are ready to take it on (specifically at Penn) I think it will help.

Things they like to hear about are diversity and interdisciplinary studies. It's all about explaining why you think Penn is right for you though, not just the positives of the school. If there's something random that you want to talk about feel free to add it in or just ask me or others whether it seems appro.

Some people swear by the essay, I don't. I guess it depends on who you are and how your situation turned out :)

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AngryAvocado
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby AngryAvocado » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:23 pm

Georgiana wrote:
AngryAvocado wrote:Question(s): Do you think "Why Penn" essays are particularly influential during admissions?

Penn is among my top choices but I don't really have any persuasive reason to go, other than great placement and beautiful campus. In that case, do you think I should write a fairly standard "Why" essay?

I should also probably note that I'm a high-LSAT splitter (3.4x, 176).

Thanks!

Disclaimer... I did not write the "Why Penn?" essay. I didn't have a reason when I applied and honestly didn't want to put in the effort to BS it.

In the case of a splitter I think it's its more important to write the extra essay since you really need to do everything to show that you are going to thrive in the law school environment. It's great to have a high LSAT, but the GPA is still something showing your academic performance in the classroom. If you can show that you know what law school is about and are ready to take it on (specifically at Penn) I think it will help.

Things they like to hear about are diversity and interdisciplinary studies. It's all about explaining why you think Penn is right for you though, not just the positives of the school. If there's something random that you want to talk about feel free to add it in or just ask me or others whether it seems appro.

Some people swear by the essay, I don't. I guess it depends on who you are and how your situation turned out :)



Thanks for the response. I suppose my issue is that I don't really have any compelling reasons, outside of the obvious. I could do a little research about programs and such but I just have a feeling it may come off as a somewhat generic. You're point about the splitters is valid, though, so I may do it just to prove I'm not completely lazy. I guess it couldn't hurt? Right? :?

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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby DelDad » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:39 pm

I was a high LSAT splitter as well - convinced the Why Penn essay helped me - mine is on this site somewhere, I think. If you can't think of a good reason, maybe identify some areas of the law you are interested in, and ask one of us our opinions of professors in that area?

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underachiever
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby underachiever » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:43 pm

Not a splitter, but I applied in real late (February) and I think the "Why Penn" really helped b/c it tied my PS into why Penn would help me complete my goals.

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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby GeePee » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:50 pm

Have any 2L/3L's (or those you know) taken the opportunity to take any cross-disciplinary, non-legal courses for credit as electives? What were their opinions?

Also, who has been your most engaging professor so far?

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Georgiana
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Georgiana » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:31 pm

GeePee wrote:Have any 2L/3L's (or those you know) taken the opportunity to take any cross-disciplinary, non-legal courses for credit as electives? What were their opinions?

Also, who has been your most engaging professor so far?

I know a lot of people doing joint degrees... they seem to enjoy their classes outside of the law school (sometimes it's nice to get away haha). I know a few people taking classes at Wharton and I'm trying to figure out a way to take some science classes. I haven't heard any complaints.

My most engaging professor... interesting... I guess I have a few:
Prof. Yoo for IP - great with life advice and just an entertaining person all around. Plus I like the subject
Prof. Johnston for Natural Resources - his stories are great, he rants constantly, and has very interesting views on issues... I love it. I plan on taking his class next semester also.

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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Helmholtz » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:48 pm

What's the reason you think Penn lags behind schools like Michigan and UVA in assessment scores? It seems like the combination of excellent placement + Ivy League name would be getting superior numbers. Do you see this translate into the real world at all, i.e. lawyers holding Michigan and UVA in higher regard? Would you classify Michigan and UVA as peer schools or do you think Penn is a step up?

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Georgiana
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Georgiana » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:29 pm

Helmholtz wrote:What's the reason you think Penn lags behind schools like Michigan and UVA in assessment scores? It seems like the combination of excellent placement + Ivy League name would be getting superior numbers. Do you see this translate into the real world at all, i.e. lawyers holding Michigan and UVA in higher regard? Would you classify Michigan and UVA as peer schools or do you think Penn is a step up?

I'll take on the wrath of UVA/Mich and say I think Penn is better. But I go here. And I chose Penn over both schools as well as "better" schools. I have no clue how the assessment scores are done or why Penn is "lagging" but I haven't seen it have an impact on the real world. To be honest not many people talk about law school rankings anymore and most people still think Penn State when I say Penn, its life. As far as practicing attorneys go, they just want you to be good at what you do, the name gets you in the door. I think that having Penn v. Mich v. UVA will be looked upon similarly. I don't think a person who has a 3.5 at Penn has a better chance at a job than a person with a 3.5 at UVA or Mich... at least not in a normal year. I do get the feeling that ITE there were differences in OCI at the different schools but I'm not really sure why, I guess it was mostly based on what their major recruiting markets were.

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stayingclassy
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby stayingclassy » Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:48 pm

Helmholtz wrote:What's the reason you think Penn lags behind schools like Michigan and UVA in assessment scores? It seems like the combination of excellent placement + Ivy League name would be getting superior numbers. Do you see this translate into the real world at all, i.e. lawyers holding Michigan and UVA in higher regard? Would you classify Michigan and UVA as peer schools or do you think Penn is a step up?


I don't think there's any meaningful difference - most practicing lawyers I've spoken with consider all 3 to be peer schools. If you get into 1 or more of MVP, just visit the schools, and pick the one you like best.

Apple Tree
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Apple Tree » Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:20 pm

Goergiana, have you done OCI this year yet? Do you mind sharing how it went at Penn?

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Georgiana
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Georgiana » Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:13 pm

Apple Tree wrote:Goergiana, have you done OCI this year yet? Do you mind sharing how it went at Penn?

Thankfully OCI/job BS ended for me about a month ago. It was definitely a stressful time for everyone and it was hard to get advice from anyone because the 3L's had a very different OCI experience and people in the career office, though super nice, didn't know what to expect. I don't think that the number of OCI screening interviews were too terrible. Most people had between 17 and 23, some had more, some had less... it all depended on bidding strategy. Callbacks took a lot longer than in past years. I heard from several 3Ls that firms would call them the night after callbacks or the day after, for most of us it was at least 3 days if not a week or two before hearing a word. Some heard back even later than that. I'd say that callbacks went largely based on grades. The people known to be at the top of the class based on grades had the most, and some people who struggled during 1L were pretty much shut out.

I really don't have numbers or even guesses of numbers at this point. Some people are still doing callbacks, some are waiting to hear back from firms they had callbacks on. It seems that the people who have offers are pretty willing to talk about them which makes the school an uncomfortable place for those who are still working on their summer plans. Plus, believe it or not there are people who want to work in public interest at Penn and their hiring process hasn't even really started yet.

If you have specific questions I didn't answer you can feel free to PM me or just ask follow up questions here.

Apple Tree
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Apple Tree » Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:10 am

Georgiana, thank you SO much for the detiailed answer! Congratulations on your OCI.

I just have one more question. You might not know this, but do you feel like this year's OCI is better compared to last year's? Or they are about the same?

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Georgiana
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Georgiana » Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:52 am

Apple Tree wrote:Georgiana, thank you SO much for the detiailed answer! Congratulations on your OCI.

I just have one more question. You might not know this, but do you feel like this year's OCI is better compared to last year's? Or they are about the same?

If you're talking 2008 OCI v. 2009 OCI the issues were very different. Pretty much all of the current 3Ls I've talked to that wanted biglaw SA gigs last year got them ... Many of them were just no offered at the end. 2Ls have had a much harder time obtaining SA gigs but firms are hiring less so hopefully there won't be massive no offers at the end of summer. The 3Ls who were no offered have it pretty bad, I'd much rather be a jobless 2L right now than a jobless 3L.

If you were talking about 2009 v. 2010 let me know and ill do a "rant" on that as well :)

Also, thanks for the congrats! I love my firm... It amazes me that I actually got an offer from the placei really wanted to be. Fate hahaha

Edit for issues with posting from bberry :)
Last edited by Georgiana on Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Apple Tree
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Apple Tree » Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:04 pm

Thanks! Actually i was referring to 2008 v. 2009, but if you could share anything about 2009 v 2010, that would be great too!

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Georgiana
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Georgiana » Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:22 pm

Apple Tree wrote:Thanks! Actually i was referring to 2008 v. 2009, but if you could share anything about 2009 v 2010, that would be great too!


2009 v. 2010 is definitely speculative. Personally I question people who decided to go to law school this past year unless they really had nothing else they could be doing. No one knows what will happen but I doubt OCI will be worse than it was this year. Even if the need for new associates remains at the same (low) levels, 2010 OCI wont have to deal with a huge 2009 class that needs to be "dealt" with. For this past OCI we had 2008 SA's with offers deferred to 2010 or in some case later as well as full SA classes in 2009 with people who had to be deferred, no offered, or started on time. There was a huge backlog. By 2010 OCI the backlog should be mostly corrected either because 1) they will withdraw offers to deferred associates 2) they've no offered a lot of the class of 2010 or 3) they corrected for it by hiring tiny SA classes for the class of 2011 (likely a combination of these).

The class of 2012 should go into OCI worried. It'll still be rough. Its important to get good grades, get something legal for 1L summer, and know how to come across well in interviews. And keep ties to a smaller market. If you're from a secondary market, consider going back there for summer and using that market as a back up if you're still trying to go to NYC/LA/DC/Chi. If you're there for the summer you can send out your resume in June and set up interviews in that market before you even go back to school for OCI. Going into OCI with some true interview experience is beneficial. You need to know what works for you and what doesn't. Some people are better at being funny/random in interviews, others need to keep it strictly professional. You need to learn to read the interviewer and see what style they respond to and you also need to figure out what kind of questions to ask interviewers. There's the inevitable "So, do you have questions for me/us" moment and freezing up or asking something dumb is going to hurt your chances.

Apple Tree
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Apple Tree » Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:20 am

Thank you so much! Good luck on your summer internship next year!




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