twentypercentmore wrote:1) So PI. LST doesn't show a lot of Penn grads going into govt/PI out of law school -- is this just because most students are gunning for biglaw, or are there limited PI opportunities? In short, if your run-of-the-mill K-JD decided he wanted to work for a DA's office/non-DOJ feds/direct legal services/etc., would he be better off going to a different school?
There is a small and dedicated group of people who want to do direct civil legal services and/or PD. I know a bunch of them, they're good people and the school has excellent connections with PD offices and civil legal aid organizations. Lou Rulli, who is the clinic director and runs the civil practice clinic, is amazing.
I don't know much about the prosecutor route because it's not my thing. There are people who go this route (at least one girl recently went to Philly DA), I don't know much about what the school has to offer in this department.
If you're talking about really prestigious impact-type PI, don't worry about it until after you snag your prestigious clerkship. There are people who want to do this, but it's not really something to go in aiming for because it requires excellent grades.
twentypercentmore wrote:2) Having been to Philly three times now, it's probably my second-least favorite city on the east coast. It feels like Detroit if Detroit were on the east coast and slightly less cold. I appreciate that a lot of cities will have crime/gang issues, but I'd like to isolate myself from that as much as physically possible, and I'm okay with paying more for that luxury (i.e, not living in west Philly, driving to school, etc.). I really, really don't mean to come off as an asshole, but... what steps can I take to minimize my exposure to Philadelphia while I'm at Penn?
This is ridiculous, but I'll bite. Plenty of people live in Center City which isn't even remotely like Detroit. You can overpay for a doorman building in one of the really nice buildings by the river and be both totally safe from gang violence and isolated from any of the nasty poors.
twentypercentmore wrote:3) How much interaction is there with undergrads? I see Penn geographically seems a bit removed from the "main area", but do law students kind of hang out in one area and that's it?
The law school is entirely self contained. You aren't going to run into non-law people on campus much unless you're taking non-law classes. I don't know anyone with much social interaction with undergrads. There's more overlap between the law school and Wharton/the other graduate schools. I am friends with some people at other grad schools at Penn.
4) Is LRW still pass/fail?
It was this year, but they're still revamping the program. I don't think anyone knows for sure about next year, but I'd ask the school.
twentypercentmore wrote:5) What are the things that come to mind when you think of the differences between Penn and, say, UVA or NYU?
Penn is in the best non-NYC location (unless you're a crazy person and actually like Charlottesville or Ann Arbor) and is probably two-thirds the cost of living of NYU or Columbia, if not less.
twentypercentmore wrote:6) Is all biglaw NYC/Philly? If not, how hard is it to get back to a secondary market you have ties to? (i.e, SF, Boston, Los Angeles)
I know several people going back to the west coast or New England from my class. Secondary markets are entirely possible if you have the interest and the grades (what those grades need to be probably depends on a lot of other factors). NYC is just where the most jobs are and a ton of people either grew up in or worked in NYC before law school. Philly isn't that big of a market for Penn for biglaw-focused people (at least my impression this year) because there aren't that many spots here and the firms pay less. Only natives really target Philly firms. Plus, the Philly firm market contracted a lot again this year.
twentypercentmore wrote:7) Assuming you'd choose Penn again, what things would you go back and do differently?
Gotten more scholarship money up front.