Colorado 1L taking Questions!

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
the lantern
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby the lantern » Tue May 04, 2010 1:13 pm

I was originally going to try and live in a nearby community (not in Boulder) in order to save some money. After spending a weekend there though, I changed my mind and I guess the house my friends and I leased is like 2 blocks from campus. I haven't seen it or anything, but I'm pretty excited. Can't wait til August 1 when I can move in!

BroncoHawkeye
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby BroncoHawkeye » Thu May 06, 2010 11:10 pm

Alright I have a quick question: what's the deal with the orientation the week before classes start? Are we expected to attend all five days, or is it the same program every day of the week and we just need to make sure we make it to one? Sorry, I've been curious about this for awhile and haven't been able to find any answers on the website.

Thanks.

rekopter
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby rekopter » Fri May 07, 2010 12:02 am

BroncoHawkeye wrote:Alright I have a quick question: what's the deal with the orientation the week before classes start? Are we expected to attend all five days, or is it the same program every day of the week and we just need to make sure we make it to one? Sorry, I've been curious about this for awhile and haven't been able to find any answers on the website.

Thanks.


You're required to be there all five days. Several days you'll have legal writing class. Lots of it is boring, and it's all very tiring, but plan on being there for all of it. Be sure to get most of your shopping done beforehand too, because it's an exhausting week.

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adora
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby adora » Fri May 07, 2010 12:52 pm

What's the scoop on Nederland? Seems like a cool little town. Any students live there? How's the commute?

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Pufer
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby Pufer » Fri May 07, 2010 3:30 pm

adora wrote:What's the scoop on Nederland? Seems like a cool little town. Any students live there? How's the commute?


As far as I'm aware, there are two law students living in Ned. If you're at all worried about being off the beaten path and falling out of touch with the law student community, Ned shouldn't be anywhere on your list of places to look at.

The commute is really the story with Ned. Heading out of Boulder, as soon as you hit the canyon, you hit the gas in your car and you keep it going for around 35 minutes winding back and forth almost up a very picturesque canyon. There's around 3000 feet of elevation gain between Boulder and Ned (which is more elevation gain than exists in 16 states). On the way back, as soon as you get around the lake, you can pretty much just give up on the gas and ride your brakes all the way back down - around 25 minutes.

While the commute is probably okay for 2Ls or 3Ls who can set up their schedule so they can get to campus later in the day, 1Ls have to be on campus at 9 AM for their first class. When it snows, it's often a bit of a shitshow having to get across Boulder for a 9:00 class, much less driving down a winding canyon pass from 3000 feet higher (they don't cancel school at CU Law).

You'll [strike]probably want[/strike] all but require all-wheel drive and studded snow tires to make the morning commute in the snow, and - even so equipped - the two law students who live up there got to be good friends with a guy down the street with a tractor, who they got to drag their vehicles out of their driveway a few times this last winter.

There's also the bit where Nederland gets three inches of snow on May 6th, and has a couple more snowstorms in the forecast for the coming week. You might want to keep your snow tires on until June.

In short, I think you'd be somewhat crazy to be living in Ned during 1L year in that you'll be insulated from the rest of the law school community and will have to deal with one hell of a commute when it snows (not to mention, you'll be thrashing the hell out of your car even when it doesn't snow).

There is a bus (RTD Route N), but it's not frequent enough to really be that solid an option, and you'd require a couple not-insubstantial walks and a bus transfer to get to the law school; probably about an hour commute using public transport.

-Pufer

legalized
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby legalized » Fri May 07, 2010 11:17 pm

Pufer wrote:
the lantern wrote:Are there actually jobs available in stuff like American Indian Law and Natural Resources Law? I am incredibly interested in both of those, but I can't help but feel like these must be small niches in the market that are filled by much higher ranked schools (although CU is ranked highly in these specialties).


If you don't care about money, there are definitely jobs in Indian Law (although you might end up working off in the middle of nowhere, someplace). Plenty of jobs in natural resources law (the category can be pretty broad, depending on who defines it) too, only with the potential to actually make some money. Various biglaw firms deal in the area generally, and water law practitioners tend to make out quite well. Wanting to be a water law attorney is a little bit like wanting to be a tax lawyer, though, so you'd probably want to look public interest in that as well, in which case you won't get paid.

If you want to get into either area, they're really specialized enough that you won't have much competition from higher-ranked schools in getting the jobs, if for no other reason than higher-ranked grads generally want to make money (and nobody wants to practice water law).

ozarkhack wrote:More seriously: As much as I'd like to live close to campus (wherever I wind up) how foolish is it to consider living in Denver? Does anybody do it? Is it a 45min to 1 hour commute? (I have to ask b/c SO might need to for job-proximity purposes. And since she'll pay at least half the bills, she'll likely call that shot.)


Loads of people live in Denver (it often seems like nobody on the Law Review actually lives in Boulder). From downtown Denver to campus, you're probably looking 40-50 minutes on the express bus (which is probably quicker than driving during rush hour - the bus takes the carpool lanes while drivers are all sitting in traffic - but likely slower during other times). Of course, you can split the difference and utilize the park-n-rides (or just drive), so long as you don't get too far from 36.

I mean, I'm a 7-10 minute drive from the law building and a 20-25 minute bus ride from downtown Denver. As far as commuting is concerned, being somewhere in-between is definitely preferable to being either in Denver-proper or Boulder-proper.

adora wrote:I've read a bit about their LRAP program, as well as their work-study stuff but am wondering if either of these are feasible options. Do any current students here know people who have done the work-study program? And does anyone know how well their LRAP functions? Really, any information about how students repay the loans and how many students get scholarships, etc., would be great.


No idea about how much money is in the scholarship coffers this year, but I'd bet it's somewhat comparable to last year (which is to say, there's no huge piles of money; virtually nobody gets a free ride, and $40-50k is about the best you could possibly hope for). If you're surprised that your numbers were good enough to get you in (and you're not a URM), I wouldn't want to bet you're looking at much scholarship money ($5-10k, maybe, if you're lucky). You can get in-state tuition after your first year, though, which is a bit like a $20k scholarship built in already.

Loads of people do work-study, but I don't think I know of anyone who did it during their 1L year (they may not even let you). During both of your summers and your 2L and 3L years, loads of folks do work-study as RAs for professors and at various centers (NRLC, and the like). You don't need to take any summer classes or anything to get summer work-study funds.

CU's LRAP program is young (2007) and doesn't really have any big sources of funding. As far as I'm aware (and please correct me if I'm wrong, anyone), it doles out something in the range of a few tens of thousands of dollars every year. If you look at the aggregate debt load for all CU Law grads since time immemorial, tens of thousands of dollars is nothing.

the lantern wrote:What about summer opportunities? Any info on what people have done/plan to do/what most people do would be very much appreciated!


If you're a URM, big industry and firms in Denver have an excellent summer diversity program where you'll get big piles of money. If you're just some boring old white person, odds are that you won't get big piles of money your 1L summer, if you get paid at all.

1L summer: Most people do something law related, but most people don't get paid (if they do get paid at all, most folks probably earn less than $2k for the summer). A lot of folks take summer school so they can get loans in order to pay their rent. The largest single employer was probably the law school itself, doling out work-study money to folks to work as research assistants for professors. After that, was probably unpaid government clerkships (judicial or otherwise). A few folks did doc review, a few ran around for smaller firms, and a small minority worked at relatively high-paying firm clerkships. A fair number of folks really didn't do anything, or studied abroad.

I worked (for free) at the US Department of Justice, clerking for the Denver Immigration Court.

2L summer: The typical way it works is that a fair number of folks get a summer job through OCI at some firm, and everyone else either gets a judicial clerkship or a firm clerkship, hoping to leverage it into after-graduation employment; most folks (who want to) get paid somehow.

In this economy (very few folks got jobs through OCI, and almost everyone is in about the same position they were this time last year), 2L summers are going to look a lot like 1L summers (and I'm not real sure what 1Ls will be doing, what with us all taking their jobs). I'll consider myself extremely lucky if I end up with a position having any possibility of becoming permanent this summer, much less get paid doing it.

kalvano wrote:For current CU students -

I've been accepted at Wake Forest with decent money, and WL'ed at CU.

In that situation, would you fight to get off the WL, or take the money and run?

I'd love to live in Colorado, but North Carolina is pretty dang nice too.

HELP!


If you want to live the rest of your life in Colorado, maybe wait for CU. If you want to live the rest of your life in North Carolina, maybe go with Wake Forest. Neither school offers enough mobility to where you could easily change your mind later. Visit both areas and schools, if you can. In any event, I wouldn't feel any rush to make a decision until Wake Forest's deadlines are upon you; maybe CU will come through with $$$ (although I wouldn't hold my breath for the money).

-Pufer


Please expound, in detail, on the stuff in "huge" font.

I've been thinking I might need to have a backup-backup plan and get away from the coastal areas where the minorities are clogging up the URM line.

And from what you just said, it might actually be easier to get a job in Denver than to get one here. Yay.

I lived in Boulder before. I liked it, but didn't like that I couldn't get back from Denver after 2am without a car. Another girl who came from my UG and was out there lived in Denver for precisely that reason (access to Denver's social life/places to get hair done!) and took the Denver/Boulder Express bus up to work and back home...easy breezy, no traffic worries, read the paper and chill. And have access to all of Denver on the weekend and in the evenings.

The more I read what's going on with law, the more I realize if I value being a lawyer more than I value WHERE I am practicing law...I can open up some options and go somewhere there aren't so many of ME looking for a job.

And tonight is the first night I thought that, which is what made me click on this thread, and like a confirmation, I see this post from you. So please, do explain the first large font and how you got the 2nd large font cause immigration is one of the main things I want to do!

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Pufer
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby Pufer » Sat May 08, 2010 12:43 am

legalized wrote:Please expound, in detail, on the stuff in "huge" font.


Regarding the diversity clerkship thing, a bunch of big Denver firms/companies have signed onto a voluntary "Pledge to Diversity (LinkRemoved)," which hopes to open up opportunities in the traditionally white, christian, male lawyer community in Denver for other folks.

Nowadays, this manifests itself in a bunch of firms opening up summer-after-1L opportunities for diverse students. In practice, even if it's not actually written anyplace (the way the pledge is written, all women, atheists, and various other groups should probably be eligible), "diverse" effectively means nonwhites and homosexuals. It's a fairly involved and drawn-out application/interview process, which pretty much limits participation to CU and DU students.

Basically, you end up with a chance as a 1L at the same sort of jobs you'd expect to get out of a T20 school for your 2L-summer, both in pay and prestige. It's by no means a slam dunk that you'd get a summer job out of Pledge (especially in this economy - there were fewer Pledge jobs for this year's 1Ls than there was last year, which was already a down year), but there ain't no other way you're getting your foot in the door at MoFo as a CU 1L.

For 2L-summer hiring, you still get some boost from diversity in the Denver and Salt Lake City markets (and the possibility of staying around at wherever you worked last summer), but there're no reserved seats as there is 1L year.

legalized wrote:And from what you just said, it might actually be easier to get a job in Denver than to get one here. Yay.


Just to be clear, getting a job while a student ≠ getting a job for after graduation. Most of the firms/companies in the Pledge program aren't permanently hiring any newly minted CU grads, no matter how diverse it makes their websites look (especially not with as many unemployed Harvard grads there are kicking around nowadays).

legalized wrote:how you got the 2nd large font cause immigration is one of the main things I want to do!


I just got the Immigration Court gig through the CU Law online job posting system, which is the same place I got my job for this coming summer (small immigration firm in the North Denver Metro area). The Denver Immigration Court has at least one 10-week internship every semester.

Denver is a good place to practice immigration law. All the immigration cases arising in Colorado, North and South Dakota, and Wyoming end up in Denver to go through the administrative court system (the ICE regional detainment center is over by the airport), and the 10th Circuit is here, so you get all the immigration appeals from the geographic circuit too.

-Pufer

legalized
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby legalized » Sat May 08, 2010 6:12 am

Pufer wrote:
legalized wrote:Please expound, in detail, on the stuff in "huge" font.


Regarding the diversity clerkship thing, a bunch of big Denver firms/companies have signed onto a voluntary "Pledge to Diversity (LinkRemoved)," which hopes to open up opportunities in the traditionally white, christian, male lawyer community in Denver for other folks.

Nowadays, this manifests itself in a bunch of firms opening up summer-after-1L opportunities for diverse students. In practice, even if it's not actually written anyplace (the way the pledge is written, all women, atheists, and various other groups should probably be eligible), "diverse" effectively means nonwhites and homosexuals. It's a fairly involved and drawn-out application/interview process, which pretty much limits participation to CU and DU students.

Basically, you end up with a chance as a 1L at the same sort of jobs you'd expect to get out of a T20 school for your 2L-summer, both in pay and prestige. It's by no means a slam dunk that you'd get a summer job out of Pledge (especially in this economy - there were fewer Pledge jobs for this year's 1Ls than there was last year, which was already a down year), but there ain't no other way you're getting your foot in the door at MoFo as a CU 1L.

For 2L-summer hiring, you still get some boost from diversity in the Denver and Salt Lake City markets (and the possibility of staying around at wherever you worked last summer), but there're no reserved seats as there is 1L year.

legalized wrote:And from what you just said, it might actually be easier to get a job in Denver than to get one here. Yay.


Just to be clear, getting a job while a student ≠ getting a job for after graduation. Most of the firms/companies in the Pledge program aren't permanently hiring any newly minted CU grads, no matter how diverse it makes their websites look (especially not with as many unemployed Harvard grads there are kicking around nowadays).

legalized wrote:how you got the 2nd large font cause immigration is one of the main things I want to do!


I just got the Immigration Court gig through the CU Law online job posting system, which is the same place I got my job for this coming summer (small immigration firm in the North Denver Metro area). The Denver Immigration Court has at least one 10-week internship every semester.

Denver is a good place to practice immigration law. All the immigration cases arising in Colorado, North and South Dakota, and Wyoming end up in Denver to go through the administrative court system (the ICE regional detainment center is over by the airport), and the 10th Circuit is here, so you get all the immigration appeals from the geographic circuit too.

-Pufer


Hm. (And yes I oversimplified the job prospects, sorry.)

Interesting that Denver probably has a less crowded market for what I want to do.

And lol/smh that the T5 grads still have such a far/strong reach nationwide despite all the local grads that need a job. Ouch.

But how come you don't sound stressed or pressured at all? What are your employment plans post-grad? What would you have done if there had been no interview and/or no job offer for the summer from the school's system?

How is the CU-Boulder minority recruitment effort working out for them? Most minorities that hear about my time there raise eyebrows at the thought of living in the state of Colorado in general. At least from over here. Unless they are military or a military child.

Also, I had thoughts of getting public defender experience (if no immigration firm was hiring me as a new grad) to help gain experience with the deportation defense side of things (just being in court on the side of defense, basically). How is the public defender's office out there treating new grads?

And who hires new grads interested in immigration/family law out there?

legalized
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby legalized » Sat May 08, 2010 7:03 am

And quite by accident I finally know what you mean by "Mofo" lol it looks like a badword!

http://www.mofo.com/

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Pufer
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby Pufer » Sat May 08, 2010 4:55 pm

legalized wrote:And lol/smh that the T5 grads still have such a far/strong reach nationwide despite all the local grads that need a job. Ouch.


Really more a function of a lot of the Pledge firms being national (or at least super-regional) firms. MoFo presumably has access to a lot of top-notch Stanford and Berkeley grads at their SF headquarters, and a lot of them would probably be willing to be shipped out to Denver for their $160k paycheck and a foot in the door.

There's not all that much out-of-state competition for mid-sized and smaller firms in Denver.

legalized wrote:But how come you don't sound stressed or pressured at all? What are your employment plans post-grad?


Meh. I've had two years to come to terms with how the economy sucks, and it's just not really anything I can do about. Therefore, I don't worry about it too much. That said, most folks are still getting jobs for after graduation, they're just coming more upon bar passage instead of having something lined up at graduation.

As for my own employment plans, right now I don't have any. I'm an editor on the law review, and Colorado Law Review editorships are basically conveyor belts into judicial clerkships, so I have that door open to me. I'll also be hitting up any interviews I can get, and hoping for the best.

Worst comes to worst, I hang my shingle and open up my own firm after I pass the bar. Maybe enroll in massage school (or some other ridiculous thing) at night so I can keep tolling my student loan forbearance period until I start making money.

legalized wrote:What would you have done if there had been no interview and/or no job offer for the summer from the school's system?


Job opportunities tend to continue to pop up throughout the summer, so I would've just continued to apply and hope I eventually got something. To pay my rent, I'd go work at Home Depot or something. I understand that the Kohl's right next door to my apartment complex is hiring for the summer.

legalized wrote:How is the CU-Boulder minority recruitment effort working out for them? Most minorities that hear about my time there raise eyebrows at the thought of living in the state of Colorado in general. At least from over here. Unless they are military or a military child.


I have no idea what's going on with main campus, if that's what you mean by CU-Boulder, but the law school is doing as well as they want to. I think admissions was a little disappointed with the racial diversity of our class, but I think they feel better about the class of 2012 and the incoming 2013 class. I still tend to think that the law school is full of an awful lot of gringos, but I come from an all-minority neighborhood in a majority-minority city, in a majority-minority state, so you might want to discount my opinion.

legalized wrote:Also, I had thoughts of getting public defender experience (if no immigration firm was hiring me as a new grad) to help gain experience with the deportation defense side of things (just being in court on the side of defense, basically). How is the public defender's office out there treating new grads?


Colorado PDs don't do deportation defense (I think it's pretty unusual for any local PD office, anywhere, to screw around with federal administrative law, and I know that the federal PD doesn't touch immigration until maybe appellate level). There are a couple quasi-charitable organizations that serve as public defenders on immigration matters where you can probably get a job relatively easily (especially if you speak Spanish), but they definitely aren't making any money, even by PD standards. Aliens have no right to counsel, so the state isn't paying for their lawyers.

It's really a lot harder getting a PD job than most incoming law students seem to think it is. This is doubly true in this economy where current PDs aren't leaving, and the offices sure as hell aren't getting any extra funding. Because you're perpetually in court, PD offices are seen as wonderful starting points for most trial-related fields, so everyone wants the positions.

The prototypical city PD these days is probably a law student well up in the top-half of their class, with loads of trial competition and clinical experience, along with a lot of volunteer legal experience demonstrating how much you really want to work with nothing but indigent clients. This probably isn't as true if you want to be a PD down in Trinidad or someplace off in the sticks, but you really have to be something special to get to be a Boulder PD.

legalized wrote:And who hires new grads interested in immigration/family law out there?


Immigration-types either go the private (small immigration firms, opening up a solo practice) or public (EOIR Honors, ICE/DHS) routes. Family law types either do contract work for the state (guardian ad litem work, etc.) or go small firm/solo practice (oftentimes both).

Criminal defense, immigration, and family law are pretty similar areas insofar as they are dominated by small firms and solo practices on one side, and the government on the other. The biggest players in any of those fields are boutique firms with maybe 15 lawyers at most.

Basically, in order to get hired in immigration/family law, you need to either know somebody, be really lucky (either to find an advertised position, or get accepted into a government honors program), or start your own practice.

-Pufer

iamluke20
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby iamluke20 » Wed May 12, 2010 12:16 am

BroncoHawkeye wrote:Alright I have a quick question: what's the deal with the orientation the week before classes start? Are we expected to attend all five days, or is it the same program every day of the week and we just need to make sure we make it to one? Sorry, I've been curious about this for awhile and haven't been able to find any answers on the website.

Thanks.


I dont think you HAVE to be there for everything, just make sure you go to the softball game. I skipped some stuff and am glad I did. Go to all the social stuff.

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Pufer
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby Pufer » Wed May 12, 2010 1:15 am

iamluke20 wrote:
BroncoHawkeye wrote:Alright I have a quick question: what's the deal with the orientation the week before classes start? Are we expected to attend all five days, or is it the same program every day of the week and we just need to make sure we make it to one? Sorry, I've been curious about this for awhile and haven't been able to find any answers on the website.

Thanks.


I dont think you HAVE to be there for everything, just make sure you go to the softball game. I skipped some stuff and am glad I did. Go to all the social stuff.


That's probably true. Unless they've really changed the format, you can go to the first day and you'll get all the important stuff (like pick up your name tag so they know you've bothered to show up at least once, get your locker, etc.), then just go to legal writing class (you pretty much have to - you'll have a few pass/fail homework assignments that first week) and the social stuff the rest of the week.

I went to everything, but kinda' feel like a sucker for doing so.

-Pufer

legalized
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby legalized » Wed May 12, 2010 10:22 am

Pufer wrote:
legalized wrote:And lol/smh that the T5 grads still have such a far/strong reach nationwide despite all the local grads that need a job. Ouch.


Really more a function of a lot of the Pledge firms being national (or at least super-regional) firms. MoFo presumably has access to a lot of top-notch Stanford and Berkeley grads at their SF headquarters, and a lot of them would probably be willing to be shipped out to Denver for their $160k paycheck and a foot in the door.

There's not all that much out-of-state competition for mid-sized and smaller firms in Denver.

legalized wrote:But how come you don't sound stressed or pressured at all? What are your employment plans post-grad?


Meh. I've had two years to come to terms with how the economy sucks, and it's just not really anything I can do about. Therefore, I don't worry about it too much. That said, most folks are still getting jobs for after graduation, they're just coming more upon bar passage instead of having something lined up at graduation.

As for my own employment plans, right now I don't have any. I'm an editor on the law review, and Colorado Law Review editorships are basically conveyor belts into judicial clerkships, so I have that door open to me. I'll also be hitting up any interviews I can get, and hoping for the best.

Worst comes to worst, I hang my shingle and open up my own firm after I pass the bar. Maybe enroll in massage school (or some other ridiculous thing) at night so I can keep tolling my student loan forbearance period until I start making money.

legalized wrote:What would you have done if there had been no interview and/or no job offer for the summer from the school's system?


Job opportunities tend to continue to pop up throughout the summer, so I would've just continued to apply and hope I eventually got something. To pay my rent, I'd go work at Home Depot or something. I understand that the Kohl's right next door to my apartment complex is hiring for the summer.

legalized wrote:How is the CU-Boulder minority recruitment effort working out for them? Most minorities that hear about my time there raise eyebrows at the thought of living in the state of Colorado in general. At least from over here. Unless they are military or a military child.


I have no idea what's going on with main campus, if that's what you mean by CU-Boulder, but the law school is doing as well as they want to. I think admissions was a little disappointed with the racial diversity of our class, but I think they feel better about the class of 2012 and the incoming 2013 class. I still tend to think that the law school is full of an awful lot of gringos, but I come from an all-minority neighborhood in a majority-minority city, in a majority-minority state, so you might want to discount my opinion.

legalized wrote:Also, I had thoughts of getting public defender experience (if no immigration firm was hiring me as a new grad) to help gain experience with the deportation defense side of things (just being in court on the side of defense, basically). How is the public defender's office out there treating new grads?


Colorado PDs don't do deportation defense (I think it's pretty unusual for any local PD office, anywhere, to screw around with federal administrative law, and I know that the federal PD doesn't touch immigration until maybe appellate level). There are a couple quasi-charitable organizations that serve as public defenders on immigration matters where you can probably get a job relatively easily (especially if you speak Spanish), but they definitely aren't making any money, even by PD standards. Aliens have no right to counsel, so the state isn't paying for their lawyers.

It's really a lot harder getting a PD job than most incoming law students seem to think it is. This is doubly true in this economy where current PDs aren't leaving, and the offices sure as hell aren't getting any extra funding. Because you're perpetually in court, PD offices are seen as wonderful starting points for most trial-related fields, so everyone wants the positions.

The prototypical city PD these days is probably a law student well up in the top-half of their class, with loads of trial competition and clinical experience, along with a lot of volunteer legal experience demonstrating how much you really want to work with nothing but indigent clients. This probably isn't as true if you want to be a PD down in Trinidad or someplace off in the sticks, but you really have to be something special to get to be a Boulder PD.

legalized wrote:And who hires new grads interested in immigration/family law out there?


Immigration-types either go the private (small immigration firms, opening up a solo practice) or public (EOIR Honors, ICE/DHS) routes. Family law types either do contract work for the state (guardian ad litem work, etc.) or go small firm/solo practice (oftentimes both).

Criminal defense, immigration, and family law are pretty similar areas insofar as they are dominated by small firms and solo practices on one side, and the government on the other. The biggest players in any of those fields are boutique firms with maybe 15 lawyers at most.

Basically, in order to get hired in immigration/family law, you need to either know somebody, be really lucky (either to find an advertised position, or get accepted into a government honors program), or start your own practice.

-Pufer


Excellent info in all your responses, thanks!

So the midsize and small law firms that are hiring mostly local grads...what kind of law are the hiring firms into, mostly?

What is the usual starting pay for midsize? For small?

And is it me, or from your posts the market for newly minted lawyers hasn't crashed as hard in Denver as it has in other major cities?

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Pufer
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby Pufer » Wed May 12, 2010 6:02 pm

legalized wrote:So the midsize and small law firms that are hiring mostly local grads...what kind of law are the hiring firms into, mostly?


They'd like you to come in and do whatever they tell you for 60+ hours a week and not bitch about not wanting to do <insert boring-ass bullshit area of the law here>. Now, this boring-ass area of the law could be virtually anything (probably more on the corporate side of things than, say, environmental), except it's not going to be immigration or criminal defense or really anything else you might see some terrible TV commercial for. The firms with terrible TV commercials are typically like three lawyers, a secretary, and a couple of unpaid interns (there are exceptions, of course, but if you want to get into TV-commercial law, most folks just end up hanging their shingle and filming their own terrible commercial).

legalized wrote:What is the usual starting pay for midsize? For small?


Midsize, it's anywhere from $50k to $160k; small, it's probably more like $35-$120k. There's so much variation between firms of any particular size that you can't really say anything meaningful about them in general.

As a total guess, I'd put the median for a small firm at or around $45k, for a midsize firm at or around $60k.

They keep it a big secret, but my guess (which is totally just a guess) would have the CU graduate salary chart for last year's grads would look something like:

Image

And I'm probably being too generous with the higher regions (downside of modifying NALP's salary chart), and not steep enough with the bump around $50k (which might be a little bit misleading in itself, given that the higher regions will come into play for some of the $50k crowd after they finish their judicial clerkships - the same chart two years out would have a larger bump between $100-120k).

legalized wrote:And is it me, or from your posts the market for newly minted lawyers hasn't crashed as hard in Denver as it has in other major cities?


If it hasn't crashed as hard, it's only because it didn't have as far to crash down from. There's always been a lot of CU grads still looking for jobs until they pass the bar; the fact that there's more such folks these days isn't quite as panic-inspiring here as it would be graduating from USC or whatever.

The number of firms participating in OCI this past year was less than a third of what there was two years ago (and that's kinda misleading too - I mean, where I'm working this summer is counted in the OCI stats this year, but would've been far too small to even think about participating in OCI two years ago), and most of the firms that did participate this year didn't actually give any offers to CU students (they were doing it to keep up appearances - "We recruited at 35 schools this year! Only actually hired two summer clerks (both from Stanford), but we did talk to students at 35 schools!").

The legal job market is fucked up just about everywhere right now. Doesn't mean that there's any reason to panic, though.

-Pufer

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KmissP
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby KmissP » Thu May 13, 2010 9:43 am

Pufer wrote:
legalized wrote:So the midsize and small law firms that are hiring mostly local grads...what kind of law are the hiring firms into, mostly?


They'd like you to come in and do whatever they tell you for 60+ hours a week and not bitch about not wanting to do <insert boring-ass bullshit area of the law here>. Now, this boring-ass area of the law could be virtually anything (probably more on the corporate side of things than, say, environmental), except it's not going to be immigration or criminal defense or really anything else you might see some terrible TV commercial for. The firms with terrible TV commercials are typically like three lawyers, a secretary, and a couple of unpaid interns (there are exceptions, of course, but if you want to get into TV-commercial law, most folks just end up hanging their shingle and filming their own terrible commercial).
-Pufer


This is hysterical. You just made my morning.

Narrator: Have you ever been, or are you planning to ever be in an accident? Then call our law firm!

ReaganRocket
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby ReaganRocket » Fri May 14, 2010 2:04 pm

I had a question for all the students that are either 1Ls now or have been through the first year at CU Law:

I have a fiance that will be starting medical school in New Mexico next year, and I will be at law school in Boulder. It's a short and cheap flight from DIA to Albuequerque and I am hoping to make that flight at least twice a semester to visit her, as well as visit on the week long breaks (thanksgiving and spring) each semester. My question is, with the workload of being a 1L (or 2L or 3L for that matter) make it possible to make weekend flights every now and then to visit New Mexico? I would plan on studying in the airport and on the flight, as well as study during the weekend, but I am curious if 1L is so demanding that I would not have the free time to travel.

Thanks

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Pufer
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby Pufer » Fri May 14, 2010 5:31 pm

ReaganRocket wrote:I had a question for all the students that are either 1Ls now or have been through the first year at CU Law:

I have a fiance that will be starting medical school in New Mexico next year, and I will be at law school in Boulder. It's a short and cheap flight from DIA to Albuequerque and I am hoping to make that flight at least twice a semester to visit her, as well as visit on the week long breaks (thanksgiving and spring) each semester. My question is, with the workload of being a 1L (or 2L or 3L for that matter) make it possible to make weekend flights every now and then to visit New Mexico? I would plan on studying in the airport and on the flight, as well as study during the weekend, but I am curious if 1L is so demanding that I would not have the free time to travel.

Thanks


This sorta' depends on the way you operate. If you reckon you'll actually need to be studying at the airport (there's really not enough time in that flight to get any real studying in)/in ABQ, that plan might fuck you up a bit. If you're like most other folks, however, it won't be any problem.

Paraphrasing a comment made by a then-3L at orientation a couple years ago, law school basically boils down to a long, boring waste of time, broken up sporadically by moments of abject terror and stress. Most of the semester, you're really not doing anything. Here's your first semester mapped out for you:

Orientation (work too hard on pass/fail Legal Writing assignments) --> nothing for a while but reading for class, bullshit pass/fail crap for legal writing that you'll do Sunday evening --> first big legal writing thing annihilates a weekend --> nothing but reading, revising legal writing stuff --> "Oh shit, the Civ Pro midterm is due this Monday?" --> nothing --> next big legal writing thing annihilates another weekend --> Thanksgiving break (when everyone actually outlines, contrary to anything they say to the contrary) --> "Oh God! Finals are next week." --> uncontrollable sobbing --> finals --> booze (lots of it).

During all those nothing periods, I was able to treat school like a 9-5 job, typically not even putting in a full 40 hours per week (it was usually more of a 9-4 job), and not bringing anything home at all with me. I read casebooks a lot quicker than most folks, but even so, what gets people working at 10 PM is the fact that they went out for lunch, then went for a run, then they talked with their SO on the phone for a while, then played some video games, then they realized that they still need to read Property for tomorrow at 9:15.

Virtually nobody gets out of class at 2:00 and then studies nonstop until 10 PM, they spend most of their time fucking off. If you just postpone the fucking off until the evenings/weekends, you'll stand a decent chance of having your evenings and most of your weekend free.

If you can discipline yourself into actually getting your shit done during the week, you will have absolutely no problem most of the semester taking a weekend off to go spend with your fiance in ABQ. Hell, put in an extra hour here and there during the surrounding weeks, and you probably won't even have to bring the books with you on the plane.

That said, you're not going to want to plan those weekend trips before you get your legal writing syllabus, and see if you have any midterms in your small-section classes (which generally have nothing to do with the midpoint of the semester in terms of scheduling). Those are the things that will actually need a weekend.

Also, the unofficial start of finals period is really the Friday before Thanksgiving break - that's when everyone falls off the face of the planet, locks the door, and actually starts doing shit for real. There's only one week between Thanksgiving and the start of finals.

A lot of folks will take the traditional 4-day Thanksgiving weekend to go home, and that's probably workable (however, the fact that I wouldn't do it combined with the fact that my family is in ABQ so I'd have the same short trip as you, added to the fact that I'm not exactly known for my primo study habits - I waste a lot of time during Thanksgiving decorating my xmas tree - should probably tell you something). I think you'd be out of your mind to plan on taking the whole week. Spending all spring break in ABQ would probably be fine.

My primary piece of advice to incoming 1Ls remains, remember that law school is still just school. You've probably been going to school for most of your life, so this ain't new. Law school requires a bit more effort than most of us are probably used to putting in to do well, but it's not the huge jump that the general perception would suggest that it is. You'll do fine, there's no chance of you failing, and you'll learn after first year that you were probably putting too much time into it, no matter how much time you were putting into it.

So long as you plan ahead, you'll have no problem visiting your fiance a few times a semester.

As an aside on Albuquerque, so long as you're booking air travel more than a couple weeks in advance, Southwest will always have the cheapest flights between Denver and ABQ; there's really no reason to even bother checking other airlines. Also, unless it's Thanksgiving weekend or something (or you're checking bags), you never have to get to DIA more than hour before your flight leaves, 45 minutes at the Sunport. If your fiance isn't familiar with ABQ, feel free to PM me and I can give you guys the scoop on where to live, etc., down there as well (I was born, raised, and spent my entire life up until a couple years ago down there, and am a fifth-generation ABQ native).

-Pufer

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KmissP
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby KmissP » Fri May 14, 2010 8:43 pm

I know what the school allows in the financial aid budget for books, but I'm wondering if anyone can share what they actually spend on books per semester?

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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby icarter » Fri May 14, 2010 9:26 pm

KmissP wrote:I know what the school allows in the financial aid budget for books, but I'm wondering if anyone can share what they actually spend on books per semester?


I bought almost all new books (combination b/w amazon and barnes & nobles). My first term total was roughly $900 and my second term was about $400 (b/c 2 classes are year long). I could have saved at least $100 if I hadn't bought unnecessary legal writing books. I sold back each main textbook for roughly 50-70 dollars each.

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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby Pufer » Sat May 15, 2010 3:05 am

My numbers were pretty in line with icarter's (except my second semester was probably closer to $500). I was well under $500 both semesters 2L year.

On the legal writing books icarter brought up, I'd go so far as to say that all of the books (except the Blue Book, which may well be the most necessary book you get 1L year) are completely optional. Like a sucker, I bought all of them (used, fortunately), and opened maybe one of them three times at most.

I'll also mention bookbyte.com. Bookbyte allows you to apply their coupon codes to casebooks, which turns it into the go-to site for new editions that tend to be straight list price everywhere else (for editions that have been out for a few years, Amazon will usually beat them though). They seem to always have a 10% off coupon code floating around online at the beginning of every semester.

-Pufer

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KmissP
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby KmissP » Sat May 15, 2010 10:13 am

Great info- thanks fellas!

ReaganRocket
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby ReaganRocket » Sat May 15, 2010 3:57 pm

Pufer wrote:
ReaganRocket wrote:I had a question for all the students that are either 1Ls now or have been through the first year at CU Law:

I have a fiance that will be starting medical school in New Mexico next year, and I will be at law school in Boulder. It's a short and cheap flight from DIA to Albuequerque and I am hoping to make that flight at least twice a semester to visit her, as well as visit on the week long breaks (thanksgiving and spring) each semester. My question is, with the workload of being a 1L (or 2L or 3L for that matter) make it possible to make weekend flights every now and then to visit New Mexico? I would plan on studying in the airport and on the flight, as well as study during the weekend, but I am curious if 1L is so demanding that I would not have the free time to travel.

Thanks


This sorta' depends on the way you operate. If you reckon you'll actually need to be studying at the airport (there's really not enough time in that flight to get any real studying in)/in ABQ, that plan might fuck you up a bit. If you're like most other folks, however, it won't be any problem.

Paraphrasing a comment made by a then-3L at orientation a couple years ago, law school basically boils down to a long, boring waste of time, broken up sporadically by moments of abject terror and stress. Most of the semester, you're really not doing anything. Here's your first semester mapped out for you:

Orientation (work too hard on pass/fail Legal Writing assignments) --> nothing for a while but reading for class, bullshit pass/fail crap for legal writing that you'll do Sunday evening --> first big legal writing thing annihilates a weekend --> nothing but reading, revising legal writing stuff --> "Oh shit, the Civ Pro midterm is due this Monday?" --> nothing --> next big legal writing thing annihilates another weekend --> Thanksgiving break (when everyone actually outlines, contrary to anything they say to the contrary) --> "Oh God! Finals are next week." --> uncontrollable sobbing --> finals --> booze (lots of it).

During all those nothing periods, I was able to treat school like a 9-5 job, typically not even putting in a full 40 hours per week (it was usually more of a 9-4 job), and not bringing anything home at all with me. I read casebooks a lot quicker than most folks, but even so, what gets people working at 10 PM is the fact that they went out for lunch, then went for a run, then they talked with their SO on the phone for a while, then played some video games, then they realized that they still need to read Property for tomorrow at 9:15.

Virtually nobody gets out of class at 2:00 and then studies nonstop until 10 PM, they spend most of their time fucking off. If you just postpone the fucking off until the evenings/weekends, you'll stand a decent chance of having your evenings and most of your weekend free.

If you can discipline yourself into actually getting your shit done during the week, you will have absolutely no problem most of the semester taking a weekend off to go spend with your fiance in ABQ. Hell, put in an extra hour here and there during the surrounding weeks, and you probably won't even have to bring the books with you on the plane.

That said, you're not going to want to plan those weekend trips before you get your legal writing syllabus, and see if you have any midterms in your small-section classes (which generally have nothing to do with the midpoint of the semester in terms of scheduling). Those are the things that will actually need a weekend.

Also, the unofficial start of finals period is really the Friday before Thanksgiving break - that's when everyone falls off the face of the planet, locks the door, and actually starts doing shit for real. There's only one week between Thanksgiving and the start of finals.

A lot of folks will take the traditional 4-day Thanksgiving weekend to go home, and that's probably workable (however, the fact that I wouldn't do it combined with the fact that my family is in ABQ so I'd have the same short trip as you, added to the fact that I'm not exactly known for my primo study habits - I waste a lot of time during Thanksgiving decorating my xmas tree - should probably tell you something). I think you'd be out of your mind to plan on taking the whole week. Spending all spring break in ABQ would probably be fine.

My primary piece of advice to incoming 1Ls remains, remember that law school is still just school. You've probably been going to school for most of your life, so this ain't new. Law school requires a bit more effort than most of us are probably used to putting in to do well, but it's not the huge jump that the general perception would suggest that it is. You'll do fine, there's no chance of you failing, and you'll learn after first year that you were probably putting too much time into it, no matter how much time you were putting into it.

So long as you plan ahead, you'll have no problem visiting your fiance a few times a semester.

As an aside on Albuquerque, so long as you're booking air travel more than a couple weeks in advance, Southwest will always have the cheapest flights between Denver and ABQ; there's really no reason to even bother checking other airlines. Also, unless it's Thanksgiving weekend or something (or you're checking bags), you never have to get to DIA more than hour before your flight leaves, 45 minutes at the Sunport. If your fiance isn't familiar with ABQ, feel free to PM me and I can give you guys the scoop on where to live, etc., down there as well (I was born, raised, and spent my entire life up until a couple years ago down there, and am a fifth-generation ABQ native).

-Pufer



Thanks for the input. Very useful and helps me plan my next year!

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Matthies
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby Matthies » Sat May 15, 2010 4:35 pm

Just chiming in on the Denver market here, since I went to DU not CU, but things seem to be picking up in mid law and small law hiring as opposed to a year ago this time. Also would encourage everyone to look into an Inn of court, escpially those current students at CU.

Puffer my Inn has several immigration attorneys, including one of the most well know in Denver as members, if you would like to come as my guest next year I can introduce you to them and you can see if you would like to join. Inns are great networking resources for students, but seem to be dominated by DU students, we had our end of the year Inn party last night where we invited prospective members but all where DU students, we only had one CU applicant and they did not show up (in part maybe because the rainstorm we had last night meant we had to change locations at the last minute to an indoor location on the other side of town).

As to getting to ABQ I make that drive about 4-5 times a year. From my place in Denver to ABQ is around six hours. I would useully put in one of the PMBR or other law school lectures in my Ipod to listen to on the drive so I was doing something at least productive. No idea on flying, I hate flying. But the drive is not that bad.

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KmissP
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby KmissP » Sat May 15, 2010 5:50 pm

What are the differences between the different inns in the area?

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Matthies
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Re: Colorado 1L taking Questions!

Postby Matthies » Sat May 15, 2010 6:05 pm

KmissP wrote:What are the differences between the different inns in the area?


Not much really. The Doyle Inn is an "old boys" inn. Araji Inn has a lot of students as does Mashouri (sp?) Inn. Rhone Brackett is known as the "diversity" Inn because they have several past and current presidents of minority bars as members. But really they are just pretty much the same thing. They all have a good mix of judges and lawyers with different practice areas and specialties.




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