Best Law School for a Career in Politics?

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TrojanBadger
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Re: Best Law School for a Career in Politics?

Postby TrojanBadger » Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:21 pm

Dick Whitman wrote:
TrojanBadger wrote:
True, but the south hates its carpetbaggers and loves its populists.

Besides, Kaine is the exception and not the rule. The four other lawyer-governors of the South (KY, AK, FL, MS) all went to Southern law schools, three others who went to grad school (NC, SC, GA) all went to Southern grad schools, and three more who only went undergrad (LA, AL, TX) all went to Southern universities. Only Phil Bredesen did his undegrad-only studies at HYS as well, Harvard.

If it's not detrimental, it's at least giving up a hammer you could use on a potential opponent.


Well, it wouldn't be a detriment to a native. I'm not worried about it, because any question of whether or not I'm a carpetbagger will be settled the moment I open my mouth.


Ok, well congratulations. But this thread is not "Best Law School for Dick Whitman's Career in Politics." Open your mouth and drawl away, and be very satisfied with yourself.

mike_H
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Re: Best Law School for a Career in Politics?

Postby mike_H » Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:42 pm

thanks for the help so far guys/gals, please keep it coming!

i guess my problem at the moment is that assuming i dont get into harvard/stanford (too lazy and pessimistic to even try for yale), i've narrowed down my decision to berkeley, nyu, and georgetown, which are clearly really different, esp. with berkeley. i guess going to berkeley as a liberal guy is probably already a bad idea as it gives people an easy in to call me a hippie-communist liberal. georgetown has the obvious political exposure, but i would be hard-pressed to turn down nyu for georgetwon.

if only harvard would just let me in, i could immediately end this thread. too bad i've been under review since october. awesome.

Snooker
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Re: Best Law School for a Career in Politics?

Postby Snooker » Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:44 pm

TrojanBadger wrote:
Snooker wrote:trojan -

You say someone "could" do Stanford over Berkeley for politics, but Stanford travels much better than Berkeley for politics. If you intend to run for office anywhere in the south or Texas, people are going to say "eww Berkeley" and "ooh Stanford". Berkeley has such a bad political rep in the south that I'm sure nobody from Berkeley is going to be President any time soon. But Stanford is almost as respected as Harvard, it's seen as a brass-ring elite school much more so than the hippies down at Berkeley.


What part of American politics over the last 40 years has indicated to you that Southerners would like to see a guy from a "brass-ring elite school" run for office down there?

Besides, the premise of my suggestion was that he should not strive for a portable degree. Find where you want to run, and go to the best public school there. I understand a law degree from UA or ASU may not run very well elsewhere, but it's probably the best for running in Arizona. So yes, Berkeley would not be best for the South (Stanford wouldn't be much better, though). If you want portability within the south, Vandy's the way to go.


My family is from North Carolina and we've had a few people successfully run for office in the Georgia/SC/NC areas. Granted, Vandy/Duke are probably better for politics in the South than anything shy of Harvard (and then probably comparable). But Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Princeton are all still regarded glowingly there; it's not like they call them those schools north of the mason-dixon like in 1910. Houston's mayor went to Harvard, for example.

A great deal of self-selection is also no doubt involved.. I can imagine few people graduating HYS then deciding to settle down in Jacksonville, Mississippi as opposed to NYC, Boston, and so forth. So both Mississippi senators got law degrees from in-state schools, but California and Texas each have one senator who got degrees out of state.

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Rainmaker11
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Re: Best Law School for a Career in Politics?

Postby Rainmaker11 » Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:52 pm

dextermorgan wrote:Depends on the type of politics you're looking for. If you don't get into Harvard or Yale or are only looking at state politics you might be better served to go to the big state school. This is especially true in the south. Someone who goes to UNC has a better chance of being elected to local/state office in NC than someone who went to Columbia for instance.


These types of statements are true to a certain point, but for the most part elections do not hinge on your choice of law school. In Virginia, Tom Perriello (Yale UG, Yale Law) knocked off longtime incumbent Virgil Goode (UVA Law) in Virginia's 5th Congressional district, a district that stretches from just north of Charlottesville down to the Virginia/North Carolina border. Mark Warner (Harvard Law) completely crushed Jim Gilmore (UVA Law) in the 08 Senate race only losing a handful of counties.
Goode tried to paint Perriello as a "New York lawyer" with "New York values", whatever that means. Warner, before he became a known entity, dealt with the same nonsense but was able to overcome it quite successfully. Former North Carolina Senator Liddy Dole (Harvard JD) was able to defeat UNC alum Erskine Bowles in her first Senate race. And of course there is Bill Clinton...

Snooker
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Re: Best Law School for a Career in Politics?

Postby Snooker » Sun Jan 18, 2009 8:13 pm

dextermorgan wrote:Depends on the type of politics you're looking for. If you don't get into Harvard or Yale or are only looking at state politics you might be better served to go to the big state school. This is especially true in the south. Someone who goes to UNC has a better chance of being elected to local/state office in NC than someone who went to Columbia for instance.


This is very true about Columbia, many people in the south aren't aware it's an ivy league school, if you can believe that. Columbia gets no love in the south. It's amazing how people will see HYS as top dog there, then CCN can't hold a candle to UNC.

Zoidberg
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Re: Best Law School for a Career in Politics?

Postby Zoidberg » Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:18 am

Snooker wrote:
dextermorgan wrote:Depends on the type of politics you're looking for. If you don't get into Harvard or Yale or are only looking at state politics you might be better served to go to the big state school. This is especially true in the south. Someone who goes to UNC has a better chance of being elected to local/state office in NC than someone who went to Columbia for instance.


This is very true about Columbia, many people in the south aren't aware it's an ivy league school, if you can believe that. Columbia gets no love in the south. It's amazing how people will see HYS as top dog there, then CCN can't hold a candle to UNC.


Completely agree, as I was one of those people when looking at undergrad options.

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AR75
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Re: Best Law School for a Career in Politics?

Postby AR75 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:23 am

Win an election for something. Then worry.

djgroves
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Re: Best Law School for a Career in Politics?

Postby djgroves » Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:28 am

Georgetown seems solid for a career in politics.

SlipperyPete
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Re: Best Law School for a Career in Politics?

Postby SlipperyPete » Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:15 pm

It doesn't matter a lick where you go to law school. I can't think of any race that seriously hinges on where you went to school. Certainly some electorates are more averse to carpetbaggers than others--If you want to run for office in Mississippi, but have never lived there growing up, and went to UG and LS in different states, and worked in NYC, then try to run in Mississippi, they'll laugh at you. But as long as you have a credible claim to the area, you'll be okay.

Of more concern than upsetting the electorate/populace for carpetbagging would be not getting respect from party elders and donors on account of your carpetbagging. You need help from them if you have a shot at winning any partisan office (at least in a district that isn't already 70%+ in your party's column), and if they don't know who you are, they won't feel compelled to help you.

Assuming you settle down in some place for at least a couple of years, then once you start running for office, chances are nobody will make much of your non-local roots and education. And if they do start to stick you with that, then it means you're doing something right, and that's all they can find against you.

My advice: go to the best law school you can. Practice BigLaw in NYC (unless you figure out before then where you want to settle down; if so, opt for the best firm you can in that state's biggest market) for long enough to pay bills/meet a woman/get satisfaction/get bored/whatever. Move to whatever state you want (unless you're already there), and try to move into an area/district that votes with your party. Get a job with a firm that will let you be flexible with your hours. Then start to meet people, beginning with the chair of your state and county party organizations. Tell them that you want to run for office in a few years and ask how you can get involved. Figure out who some up-and-comers are . . . such as a young assemblyman everybody likes or the Insurance Commissioner who is just biding his time before he runs for Governor and Senate . . . and then offer to help their campaign. A great idea would be to offer to do their legal work pro bono. Campaigns are strapped for cash, and if they can have a friendly well-educated lawyer work for them for free, that beats the hell out of having to put an attorney on retainer. Build friendships with these candidates, and also their staff and consultants. Figure out who's who. Who are the top donors in each county, who are the activists and what are their pet issues, which consultants do your party's candidates use, etc. Meet them and befriend them all. After a few years of meeting everybody you can, and getting a lay of the political land, then start your path towards world dominance, beginning by running for State House or Senate or County Commission.

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Reinhardt
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Re: Best Law School for a Career in Politics?

Postby Reinhardt » Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:16 pm

Illinois:
Senior Senator Dick Durbin

BS Georgetown
JD Georgetown

Junior Senator Roland Burris
BA Southern Illinois University Carbondale
JD Howard

Replacing Barack Obama (if you watch the news)
BA Columbia
JD Harvard

Governor Pat Quinn
BS Georgetown
JD Northwestern

Replacing Rod "Blago" Blagojevich
B? Northwestern
JD Pepperdine

Chicago Mayor Richard M Daley
B? DePaul University
JD DePaul University (irrelevant because he's a legacy admit to the mayor's office)

Just in case you'd like to join the long and proud traditional of Illinois politicians. I checked the site for the state senators and most of them have degrees from Illinois colleges that you've probably never heard of. The ones with JDs were often sporting Chicago-Kent or Loyola Chicago.

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RVP11
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Re: Best Law School for a Career in Politics?

Postby RVP11 » Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:19 pm

I believe UVA may still have the largest number of senators. I think it was 6 or 7 and now it's down to 5.

Gators08
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Re: Best Law School for a Career in Politics?

Postby Gators08 » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:04 pm

msoftceo wrote:Illinois:
Senior Senator Dick Durbin

BS Georgetown
JD Georgetown

Junior Senator Roland Burris
BA Southern Illinois University Carbondale
JD Howard

Replacing Barack Obama (if you watch the news)
BA Columbia
JD Harvard

Governor Pat Quinn
BS Georgetown
JD Northwestern

Replacing Rod "Blago" Blagojevich
B? Northwestern
JD Pepperdine

Chicago Mayor Richard M Daley
B? DePaul University
JD DePaul University (irrelevant because he's a legacy admit to the mayor's office)

Just in case you'd like to join the long and proud traditional of Illinois politicians. I checked the site for the state senators and most of them have degrees from Illinois colleges that you've probably never heard of. The ones with JDs were often sporting Chicago-Kent or Loyola Chicago.


I'm not sure if I was looking for "typical politics" and what is good for it I would consider Illinois as a good example. The state is famous for its corrupt politics and still having something of a "machine", so you're looking at more than just whether an out of state law school goes over well with the electorate when you consider Illinois.

art vandelay
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Re: Best Law School for a Career in Politics?

Postby art vandelay » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:09 pm

mike_H wrote:Hi everyone,

I'm pretty new to the forum and have never posted, but any help would be greatly appreciated...

I'm going to law school first and foremost as a first step into politics (yeah, i know it's not a great reason, but i'm firmly committed to the politics/public service route and this seems to be the most traditional/safe way of getting involved, especially in electoral politics). I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on how to decide on schools?? I somehow cranked out a 174 so have gotten into pretty much every T14 luckily (haven't heard back from HYS but looking less and less likely....), and I think I'm mainly debating between Georgetown, NYU, and Berkeley. Any advice?? THANKS IN ADVANCE!!!


HLS, no doubt. Yale a close second. After that, it depends. Even some TTT local schools have produced senators. Biden went to 'Cuse. Cornyn went to St. Mary's in San Antonio, TX. Hatch went to Pitt.

The simple answer is without a doubt HLS, but then again you can never go wrong with HLS unless you're in at Yale and you're sure you wanna teach. Still, networking within a given political community (beginning at a local level) is key, so that's why you see successful pols going to school at lesser schools.

I dunno, thats my 2 cents.

greenwave42
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Re: Best Law School for a Career in Politics?

Postby greenwave42 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:42 am

If you want to run for/ work in federal office one day, I would think G-town has clear advantages. For all the talk about meritocracy, DC will probably always be an insiders town. So get inside. You can learn a lot about government by getting a legislative fellowship or externship.

The conversation about which T14 schools produce senators is interesting, but I don't think it is relevant to your question.

I've worked in electoral politics and with officeholders for half a dozen years. I did not roll a number nearly as high as yours, or I'd be happily weighing Boalt vs. G-Town. The advice about making the rounds and networking is good. Other than that, I would try to learn about how government works. Consider a joint J.D./ Masters in Public Policy (I'm going for one myself). You get 2 degrees in 4 years. Georgetown & Boalt offer the joint degrees with their graduate schools. NYU has arrangements with Princeton and Harvard for the MPP.

Lot's of people can get elected. Many of those same people get booted from office because of greed or incompetence. Being a successful public office holder over the long terms comes from competency and connections.

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hamburgler
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Re: Best Law School for a Career in Politics?

Postby hamburgler » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:04 am

OP: If you are thinking about staying in the state of Florida, I would consider FSU law. It's right in Tallahassee and I would be surprised if they don't have better connections to state politics than UF. However, politics is more about WHO you know rather than where you went or what you know.

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Lob Boblaw
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Re: Best Law School for a Career in Politics?

Postby Lob Boblaw » Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:44 pm

Tom Trump Supporter Brady went to Michigan.




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