ram jam wrote: *kiki* wrote: truthypants wrote:
FunkyJD wrote:As someone with a policy school background, I actually find the idea of a law and economics class to be interesting, the more I consider it. I'd be curious to know which textbooks you guys used, or articles you read, in your law and econ class.
Well, for my class, I had Professor Tyler Cowen--he has his own book (I forgot the name of it already--something invisible hand?). Google him. Basically, it is an undergraduate microecnomics class. You talk supply demand curves, incentives, comparative advantage, incentives, etc. He didn't really talk about law at all (he's an economist). So, basically, we just read his book and his blog (or if you were an econ major, you didn't read and walked into the final and typed your thesis from undergrad/grad school and got an A-hey, it worked for me).
In our class we used a textbook from Mankiw. The only articles we had to read were ones that our Professor (Hazlett) had published, as well as Coase's paper on Social Costs. If you are interested in the law and economics program, truthypants is correct in advising you to read Coase and familiarize yourself with the "Coase theorem."
"In our class we used a textbook from Mankiw", this alone makes GMU more tempting.
Do you feel that the extensive Legal Writing program (4 classes) is overkill or an asset?
Also, the talks at the orientation put forward the expectation that Mason grads will most likely find government work, are there still enough students finding firm jobs? If so, where? Do students seeking firm jobs find work in Nova/DC or are most of the firm jobs scattered about Virginia?
Agh--where do I begin... The legal writing, in my opinion, is the worst thing about Mason. I say that based on its arbitrary grading system and not about the substance of what you learn in it. It was my lowest grade first semester. Here is just a *sample* of the problems you can look forward to. First, you are split into small sections of about 10 students each and are graded solely based on how well you do compared to those 10 students (and not the class as a whole). So, if you get stuck in a group that happens to have the future law review editor, you are basically screwed (and yes, a bad legal writing grade kills your gpa and your job prospects). Also, you might have a situation in which a person in one writing section blows off a project and basically types their name and a few sentences, but gets the same grade as a student in another section that spent 80 hours working on a project but happened to be the low grade based on their section. Not only that, but students grade the writing-not actual professors. I don't want to out my friend, but this is a big problem. More specifically, my friend's writing fellow gave him a bad grade because she said he reminded her of her ex boyfriend (the writing fellows are notoriously arbitrary in how they grade--it is all luck, no joke). My personal horror story-I submitted a project in .docx format and would have had a grade above median, but the writing fellow docked me (said it should have been in .doc format) and I subsequently got below median on the project. And no, they don't tell you ahead of time how to submit the project or what format to use--you guess and turn it in and hope they have mercy on you. I am in the part-time program as I work during the day, but another problem I have found is that many part-time students don't work (they just flat out gun for grades). This is unfair because that means they have more time to devote to writing projects, which translates into higher grades. I expressed my concern to the professor and said that I thought it would be more fair to just have all of the writing assignements pass/fail, and then at the end of the course have a timed writing assignment (similar to an exam) to determine the grade. I felt that that would be the most fair--but, they simply don't listen when you complain. Sorry to whine, but I really feel that the writing program (at least how it is graded) is not fair and needs to be improved upon. Fair warning before you attend Mason.
If you want biglaw, you flat out need to be at the top of the class (i.e. top 5%). I am top 20% and was told not to expect biglaw from career services. I don't really mind, my goal all along was federal govt., but just realize how well you need to do to accomplish your goals. That said, I have had success in gaining interviews with federal agencies (no offers as of yet, but I just interviewed recently). I'd say probably top 50% for govt. work, top 30% for federal govt. work. Most of the people I know and talk to at Mason have similar goals and want federal govt. jobs, so you are going to have your work cut out for you due to the competition. Again, if you're top 30% or so, you should get interviews with the feds. Below median at Mason, I think you're screwed (you basically have to settle for their "legal clinic" which is basically interning with small law or clerking for some small time judge in fairfax--really sucks.). Bottom line, aim for at least top 30% to get a decent job at Mason (i.e. federal govt. or biglaw). Top 50% is pushing it, below that, expect shitlaw. Fair warning.
*edit*--yes, most of the people at Mason do get govt. jobs, but I think part of it is because they opt for those jobs. Fact of the matter is, firm jobs are risky (i.e., they can fire you at any moment). Govt. jobs you don't have to worry--you're in, you're there for life basically. I think that a lot of people want the job security in this economy and that is why you are seeing so many self-select into the feds (at least at Mason they are)