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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No13baby
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby No13baby » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:02 pm

5965 wrote:What is something you don't like about Penn Law? I think knowing its downsides will help me have a balanced understanding!

This may not apply to you, but if you're trying to work anywhere besides NYC/DC/Philly after graduation, career services doesn't know SHIT. I have a handful of friends trying to go back to the West Coast/Texas and they all have the same complaint as well.

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PennBull
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby PennBull » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:08 pm

No13baby wrote:
5965 wrote:What is something you don't like about Penn Law? I think knowing its downsides will help me have a balanced understanding!

This may not apply to you, but if you're trying to work anywhere besides NYC/DC/Philly after graduation, career services doesn't know SHIT. I have a handful of friends trying to go back to the West Coast/Texas and they all have the same complaint as well.


Well, we have a pretty solid regional interviewing program, plenty of those offices come to our OCI, and our actual job placement is pretty solid. But, in general, I rely on upperclassmen/TLS for everything job-related, regardless of how good or bad our CSO is, just because anecdotes and advice from actual law students who have done this recently is the best advice you can get.

It seems like everyone I know at different law schools complains about their career services. It's all over the boards here, too. I don't know what the chronic issue is.

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Nelson
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Nelson » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:48 pm

SaintsTheMetal wrote:
Nelson wrote:... the allotment is already way more than you need.


even once you take into account that the budget is for 9 months rather than 12? Or is the summer funding enough to offset this, assuming an unpaid 1L summer job

Considering most people are either going home to their home market, getting paid for 1L, or doing qualifying public interest (the funding is either $4k or $4500 depending on the source), you can easily stretch to 12 months on less. The budget is way too high and one of the advantages Penn has over the NYC schools is that you can shave a lot off COA in living expenses.

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Nelson
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Nelson » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:53 pm

No13baby wrote:
5965 wrote:What is something you don't like about Penn Law? I think knowing its downsides will help me have a balanced understanding!

This may not apply to you, but if you're trying to work anywhere besides NYC/DC/Philly after graduation, career services doesn't know SHIT. I have a handful of friends trying to go back to the West Coast/Texas and they all have the same complaint as well.

This is hardly unique to Penn. Career services at all schools don't know much about anything beyond telling you to "network." This is especially true outside of the markets where most grads go. If you were at Berkeley or Chicago, your CSO wouldn't know squat about Philadelphia. I don't know a single current student at any school who's happy with their CSO.

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PennBull
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby PennBull » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:05 pm

Nelson wrote:
No13baby wrote:
5965 wrote:What is something you don't like about Penn Law? I think knowing its downsides will help me have a balanced understanding!

This may not apply to you, but if you're trying to work anywhere besides NYC/DC/Philly after graduation, career services doesn't know SHIT. I have a handful of friends trying to go back to the West Coast/Texas and they all have the same complaint as well.

This is hardly unique to Penn. Career services at all schools don't know much about anything beyond telling you to "network." This is especially true outside of the markets where most grads go. If you were at Berkeley or Chicago, your CSO wouldn't know squat about Philadelphia. I don't know a single current student at any school who's happy with their CSO.


Glad to see someone else echo this sentiment. I thought there was something weird about how everyone I know is not pleased with their CSO. I think Penn does a solid job all things considered. I don't know about public interest, but Penn puts on a pretty great OCI, and gives us fantastic statistics on hiring trends for law firms.

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smdpnp
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby smdpnp » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:30 pm

PennBull wrote:Some folks like to say that Penn has lackluster public interest employment advice/assistance, but I think that has a lot to do with the self-selection of the student body into private sector work.

Applicant here. Kinda surprised by that self-selection. When promoting itself, Penn likes to highlight its public service commitment, and I thought that'd attract some like-minded students. Why are most Penn students turning to private sector work?

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PennBull
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby PennBull » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:44 pm

smdpnp wrote:
PennBull wrote:Some folks like to say that Penn has lackluster public interest employment advice/assistance, but I think that has a lot to do with the self-selection of the student body into private sector work.

Applicant here. Kinda surprised by that self-selection. When promoting itself, Penn likes to highlight its public service commitment, and I thought that'd attract some like-minded students. Are most Penn students turning to private sector work because of their loans?


Allow me to rephrase. People look at Penn's employment statistics and see a much higher percentage going to the private sector than, say, NYU. However, this is simply because Penn attracts more students who want to do private sector work, and Penn's excellent reputation in the private sector.

That doesn't take anything away from our awesome public interest faculty and students though. We're actually having an entire week this week dedicated to celebrating our various public service commitments. Check it out here. I don't want to delve too much into it as I am not as fully informed as one of our public interest students. What I can say with confidence is that we have a ton of opportunities and resources for public interest folks that shouldn't be undermined just because most of us go to law firms. Even those of us who go to law firms are heavily involved with public interest while we're here. I came into law school knowing I was headed to law firm based on my career goals, but I've done a lot of pro bono work so far that I really enjoyed. I know others who feel the same.

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Nelson
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Nelson » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:13 pm

Agreed 100% with everything that PennBull said. I have no problem with CP&P (as a 1L who hasn't done OCI yet). They've been pretty helpful to me and they've brought in new staff recently to help people interested in PI (Tory Messina is great). Not sure what people expect from career services besides helping with OCI, some interview prep/resume advice, and putting you in touch with some alums.

I don't really buy the whole less people go into PI from Penn than other schools. There is a small but committed minority of people who want to do PI. I think this is pretty typical. The job stats we have don't suggest that significantly fewer people from Penn are going into PI than peer schools. PI is just a damn hard path where you have to make your own opportunities happen (instead of using OCI) and it's really hard to pursue if you have a significant loan burden.

SportsFan
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby SportsFan » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:27 am

Nelson wrote:Agreed 100% with everything that PennBull said. I have no problem with CP&P (as a 1L who hasn't done OCI yet). They've been pretty helpful to me and they've brought in new staff recently to help people interested in PI (Tory Messina is great). Not sure what people expect from career services besides helping with OCI, some interview prep/resume advice, and putting you in touch with some alums.

I don't really buy the whole less people go into PI from Penn than other schools. There is a small but committed minority of people who want to do PI. I think this is pretty typical. The job stats we have don't suggest that significantly fewer people from Penn are going into PI than peer schools. PI is just a damn hard path where you have to make your own opportunities happen (instead of using OCI) and it's really hard to pursue if you have a significant loan burden.

Agree about PI. I'm actually sort of surprised how many people I've met who aren't interested in firms and really want PI (it's still small, like 10-15% maybe, but significant).

gertie
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby gertie » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:57 pm

When will we find out who we are staying with during ASW?
PennBull wrote:
hume85 wrote:Would you all recommend staying with a student for ASW? A room at the Sheraton on campus costs $200 a night. TYIA.


Yes. 1000x yes. (I'm also organizing the student hosts haha)

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SaintsTheMetal
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby SaintsTheMetal » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:16 am

Nelson wrote:The budget is way too high and one of the advantages Penn has over the NYC schools is that you can shave a lot off COA in living expenses.


Just curious, which part of the budget is so over-estimated?

If we consider for 12 months from here https://www.law.upenn.edu/admissions/fi ... pplicants/
If I look their rest estimate, $746 doesn't really seem extravagant from the listings I've seen
$13 a day for food doesn't seem very outlandish to me either...
The rest of the budget seems pretty small and easily filled up with stuff like gas, household supplies, other random shit...

I guess I'm just confused where you guys are making all the savings.. If we cut the Health Insurance, their budget is like living on an 15.5k take home salary, or with health insurance 19.5k.
I'm not trying to say I can't live decently on a 16k take home salary, but I'm not quite seeing how it is WAY too high.

Maybe I'm just missing something, but I've been working on my budget so :x

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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby one_by_one » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:47 am

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Last edited by one_by_one on Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nickg415
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Nickg415 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:15 am

one_by_one wrote:
SaintsTheMetal wrote:
Nelson wrote:The budget is way too high and one of the advantages Penn has over the NYC schools is that you can shave a lot off COA in living expenses.


Just curious, which part of the budget is so over-estimated?

If we consider for 12 months from here https://www.law.upenn.edu/admissions/fi ... pplicants/
If I look their rest estimate, $746 doesn't really seem extravagant from the listings I've seen
$13 a day for food doesn't seem very outlandish to me either...
The rest of the budget seems pretty small and easily filled up with stuff like gas, household supplies, other random shit...

I guess I'm just confused where you guys are making all the savings.. If we cut the Health Insurance, their budget is like living on an 15.5k take home salary, or with health insurance 19.5k.
I'm not trying to say I can't live decently on a 16k take home salary, but I'm not quite seeing how it is WAY too high.

Maybe I'm just missing something, but I've been working on my budget so :x




I think it's due to the fact that the academic year = about 9 months, not 12 months


I think there are a few ways to cut. From what I have found I plan on cutting the cost of housing down to 6000 (sharing a 2 bed room apartment at 1000 month) and the cost of food down to 2400 (200 a month is not that hard to do if you cook your own meals) that saves about 15,000 over the three years. Also this is the high end assuming that I am in Philly living off of loans both of my summers.

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JamesDean1955
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby JamesDean1955 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:33 am

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Last edited by JamesDean1955 on Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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02889
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby 02889 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:46 am

JamesDean1955 wrote:Also, I spend $125 a week on groceries (I'm in a pricey suburb of NYC) that I can cook meals/live off of for that week. Serious question: how the hell does one live off of $200/month for food and other essentials (shampoo, paper products, etc.) (referring the the above post)?? :|

What?! I spend between 30-40/week on groceries and I feel like I eat really well. How are you possibly spending $125 per week on groceries? Is that like, only shopping at Whole Foods and buying exclusively expensive meats, pricey spices, and dumpsters full of produce?

Eggs are like $3-5/dozen, chick peas are $1-2/can, veggies range from $1-$4/pound... I just don't see how you're getting to $125/week unless you're eating like Michael Phelps.

edit. To make my post less abrasive and more useful, I'll just point out that since the living budget is a concern of yours, you can cut your $125/week down to $50/week or less quite easily and still have a nice balanced diet. Try Google searching for some meals that are a bit less expensive than what you're used to.

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JamesDean1955
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby JamesDean1955 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:52 am

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Last edited by JamesDean1955 on Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nickg415
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Nickg415 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:02 am

Its not the most comfortable life style but you aren't living off of ramen noodles either. Also personal expenses are categorized under miscellaneous. Whats interesting is that the fin. aid account UPenn sends you projects a total COA that is 3K higher than their website! I guess we should expect this to go up about 4% each year. But back to the topic of cutting from the COA projected by UPenn. Any cuts that we can make are going to be to the cost of living (22K). In the end, to make substantial cuts, you are going to have to scrimp and save any money you get while in school. Its not a question of whether or not its possible to make substantial cuts to the 22k, people are able to get their living costs under this all the time and often on much less. It comes down to whether or not the discomfort that comes with the adjustments that you must make for those cuts justify the amount saved. For each person this is going to be different. Of course this is assuming an average single adult.

one_by_one
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby one_by_one » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:08 am

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Last edited by one_by_one on Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PennBull
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby PennBull » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:30 am

Maybe I'm exaggerating, but I don't think it's that hard at all to live well and stay way under budget. I have roommates. I live in University City. I rarely eat out. I cook a lot (and well, too!). I take advantage of every free lunch ever. If I ever buy lunch it's at one of our delicious, cheap food trucks ($4-6). I drink Yuengling like it's going out of business tomorrow, instead of fancy shit. In Philly a Yuengling is pretty standard to be $3-4 at bars, where mixed drinks go for way higher and you have no idea the alcohol content.

Okay that last part is a subjective cost cut for me :lol: but you get the idea.

I wish I could be more specific, but considering that the budget is for a 9-month academic year, it's not bad. Most of you will be able to get a stipend for your summer internship, as long as it's public interest/gov't, i.e. working for a judge.

SportsFan
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby SportsFan » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:43 pm

I'm looking into private sector work, but I see they've just expanded TollRAP (or so they say). Anyone more familiar with this program know if these changes are actually good/helpful or if this is just good PR to cover up bad changes?
https://www.law.upenn.edu/live/news/258 ... eliminates

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PennBull
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby PennBull » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:37 pm

SportsFan wrote:I'm looking into private sector work, but I see they've just expanded TollRAP (or so they say). Anyone more familiar with this program know if these changes are actually good/helpful or if this is just good PR to cover up bad changes?
https://www.law.upenn.edu/live/news/258 ... eliminates


Naw, it's definitely better. In the past it wasn't as competitive with other top schools' LRAP programs, but now it's pretty solid.

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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby annieq » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:37 pm

gertie wrote:When will we find out who we are staying with during ASW?
PennBull wrote:
hume85 wrote:Would you all recommend staying with a student for ASW? A room at the Sheraton on campus costs $200 a night. TYIA.


Yes. 1000x yes. (I'm also organizing the student hosts haha)


Your student host should be e-mailing you within the next couple of days!

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JamesDean1955
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby JamesDean1955 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:10 am

Are there going to be swag bags at ASW? 8)

Also, where's the best place to pick up a Penn hoodie on/near campus?

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JamesDean1955
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby JamesDean1955 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:16 am

Nelson wrote:Agreed 100% with everything that PennBull said. I have no problem with CP&P (as a 1L who hasn't done OCI yet). They've been pretty helpful to me and they've brought in new staff recently to help people interested in PI (Tory Messina is great). Not sure what people expect from career services besides helping with OCI, some interview prep/resume advice, and putting you in touch with some alums.

I don't really buy the whole less people go into PI from Penn than other schools. There is a small but committed minority of people who want to do PI. I think this is pretty typical. The job stats we have don't suggest that significantly fewer people from Penn are going into PI than peer schools. PI is just a damn hard path where you have to make your own opportunities happen (instead of using OCI) and it's really hard to pursue if you have a significant loan burden.



Even with TollRAP/IBR/PSLF? I thought that was a huge advantage of PI work.

Also, how hard is it for a Penn student with no public interest background before law school to get a PI position? Assuming they have good grades and get involved with PI/pro-bono stuff throughout law school, are they at any sort of disadvantage to people who have been saving refugees before coming to law school?

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Nelson
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Nelson » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:38 am

JamesDean1955 wrote:
Nelson wrote:Agreed 100% with everything that PennBull said. I have no problem with CP&P (as a 1L who hasn't done OCI yet). They've been pretty helpful to me and they've brought in new staff recently to help people interested in PI (Tory Messina is great). Not sure what people expect from career services besides helping with OCI, some interview prep/resume advice, and putting you in touch with some alums.

I don't really buy the whole less people go into PI from Penn than other schools. There is a small but committed minority of people who want to do PI. I think this is pretty typical. The job stats we have don't suggest that significantly fewer people from Penn are going into PI than peer schools. PI is just a damn hard path where you have to make your own opportunities happen (instead of using OCI) and it's really hard to pursue if you have a significant loan burden.



Even with TollRAP/IBR/PSLF? I thought that was a huge advantage of PI work.

Also, how hard is it for a Penn student with no public interest background before law school to get a PI position? Assuming they have good grades and get involved with PI/pro-bono stuff throughout law school, are they at any sort of disadvantage to people who have been saving refugees before coming to law school?

In my opinion, LRAP is overrated by 0Ls and career services people. Remember that on IBR, your loans just keep gaining interest and the principle does not decrease. That means that if you leave the program at any time, for any reason, you're going to have as much loans as the day you entered. That's fine if your loan burden is relatively modest. It's horrible if you have six figure debt. You're straightjacketing yourself to "qualifying employment," the definition of which is very narrow. Then you have to hope you manage to get 10 years (sounds like a long time to me) in qualifying employment and that the feds are still in the business of eating six figures of your student debt + interest. Neither IBR or Penn's program is guaranteed in any way.

As for getting into PI, it's obviously easier with a demonstrated commitment to public service before law school. That said, it's not hard to get involved with pro bono orgs on campus and do PI your 1L summer to start building a resume and making connections. A bigger barrier to pursuing public interest without a pre-law school background in it is that you have no idea what you want to do, who to talk to, or how to find that stuff out. People with previous PI involvement usually have a clear goal going in.
Last edited by Nelson on Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.




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