Advice for practicing in different state from law school

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icantread

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Questions about University of Arkansas Law

Post by icantread » Mon Feb 10, 2020 7:11 pm

So, let me start with my info: I’m a law school applicant with a BS in business administration at the University of Arkansas (2019). I’m a URM with a 3.06 LSAC GPA and a 158 LSAT. I have had exposure to the criminal justice system through an internship at a local drug court, and I’m currently finishing another internship as a research assistant UArk. I learned quickly that criminal law is not for me, and I have less than no desire to work for any level of government. I’m originally from Dallas, TX and strongly prefer to practice in the DFW area. This in mind, it seems my only options for law school at this time are the University of Arkansas, Oklahoma University, and Louisiana State University. Baylor, Tulane, and Southern Methodist are my far reach schools I will apply to. I mostly worry about the ability of any of these degrees to carry to DFW. I would love if anyone could give some insight as to how the above-mentioned JDs carry to my preferred area of practice. I specifically wonder about Arkansas, as I already have a very amenable living situation. Thanks!

JOThompson

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Re: Advice for practicing in different state from law school

Post by JOThompson » Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:47 pm

If you go to a regional school, you need to start getting practical internship/externship experience in your target state immediately. Would also recommend networking consistently. Some of the schools in your target state might give you access to their Symplicity / student hiring site.

Your connections to Texas will help a little, but you'd be much better off retaking and going to Baylor, SMU, Houston, UT etc. Realistically, do you think you can get your score high enough to have a shot at Baylor? Their non-spring admission is a little less competitive. You may have to pay close to sticker price, but at least you'll be employable in Texas. Baylor is well regarded in Texas even though it's not ranked high.

I would not advise you to go to Arkansas, Oklahoma, or Louisiana if your goal is to work in Texas. You might make it back to Texas immediately after graduation or you might not. And no guarantee what type of job you'd have to settle for. I've lived in Texas long enough to know how fanatical they are about hiring graduates of Texas schools over graduates of higher ranked out of state schools. Honestly, Texas Tech or another third tier school would place better than any of the schools you have been accepted to.

I would not be in a rush to start law school. Take the test again if you need to, try a different study routine or prep company. Going to either a lowly ranked school, or even a decent school at full cost can have serious impacts on the next 10-20 years of your life. You do not want to be underemployed or unemployed and staring down $200,000 in student loans. Trust me -- I thought that going to a T1 with a full-ride would give me some mobility in the region, but it really didn't. Would have been infinitely better off going to a T2 or even T3 with $$$ in my target market.

Pennoyer v. Meh

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Re: Questions about University of Arkansas Law

Post by Pennoyer v. Meh » Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:32 pm

People will tell you that if you want to practice in DFW, you should go to law school there, if you aren't going to one of the top 1/3/14 schools. If your LSAT score isn't good enough to get into UT or SMU, you should probably retake the LSAT until it is good enough, especially with your low GPA. Do NOT go to LSU, which only teaches the civil law curriculum that is applicable to Louisiana and nowhere else.

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LSATWiz.com

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Re: Advice for practicing in different state from law school

Post by LSATWiz.com » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:14 pm

It's difficult. I'd look at firms in DFW and see how many of them went to Arkansas, and ask to see a list of employers who came to recruit from Arkansas. It's generally going to be difficult to get interviews if (1) the firm doesn't come to your campus, (2) nobody with hiring power went to your school, or (3) your school isn't seen as prestigious enough to rule out not having (1) and (2).

decimalsanddollars

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Re: Questions about University of Arkansas Law

Post by decimalsanddollars » Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:35 pm

1) Why haven't you applied to Texas A&M and Texas Tech? In-state tuition, and both schools place better in DFW than Arkansas and LSU (on par with OU). As Pennoyer indicated, LSU does not place well in DFW, although they do OK in Houston.
2) It sounds like you want to do private-sector civil litigation or transactional work, and those jobs tend to be at large firms, which recruit mostly from top schools (plus top quarter at SMU and a handful of top Baylor grads). If this is the kind of work you want to do, you should seriously consider retaking the LSAT and reapplying in a later cycle.
3) On that point, it looks like you've had a mostly negative experience with legal work. Are you sure you want to be a lawyer? Most people (particularly in Texas) who have a hard time landing a job at a firm/judicial clerkship end up working at a local/rural DA or Public Defender office, which sounds like the exact worst case scenario for you. That means that the risks involved with going to law school are much greater, because the "safety job" for many grads is your nightmare job...

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QContinuum

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Re: Advice for practicing in different state from law school

Post by QContinuum » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:46 pm

Moderator note: I merged OP's two identical posts into a single thread. OP, please don't make duplicate posts in different boards.

decimalsanddollars

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Re: Advice for practicing in different state from law school

Post by decimalsanddollars » Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:45 pm

Wanted to add an empirical addendum to show the placement power of the schools you mentioned. I picked 14 firms with large Dallas/FW offices, looked at how many attorneys went to law school at Arkansas, LSU, and OU, and tabbed the results below. 00 means the firm had no lawyers from that law school in any office, which happened a lot for Arkansas in particular. 0 means no DFW lawyers, but at least one lawyer in another office went to that school.

Format = [Firm name]: [# Uark lawyers in DFW], [# OU lawyers in DFW], [# LSU lawyers in DFW]

Akin Gump: 00, 0, 0
Jones Day: 00, 00, 00
Sidley Austin: 1, 2, 1
Haynes and Boone: 0, 3, 0
Locke Lord: 00, 3, 0
Jackson Walker*: 2, 1, 2
Baker Botts: 00, 1, 1
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher: 00, 0, 00
Bracewell: 00, 0, 0
Hunton Andrews Kurth: 1, 2, 1
Vinson & Elkins: 0, 3, 6
Norton Rose Fulbright: 1, 0, 1
Thompson & Knight: 1, 9, 8
Winstead: 2, 0, 0
*includes at least one lawyer at a Fort Worth office

As you can see, these firms very rarely hire from the schools you're considering, but OU generally fares better than the others. Arkansas fares particularly poorly, even with Thompson & Knight, which hired 17 lawyers from the other 2 schools but only 1 from UArk.

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cavalier1138

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Re: Advice for practicing in different state from law school

Post by cavalier1138 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:26 am

In addition to what others have said, I'm confused by this sentiment:
icantread wrote: I learned quickly that criminal law is not for me, and I have less than no desire to work for any level of government.
icantread wrote:I would love if anyone could give some insight as to how the above-mentioned JDs carry to my preferred area of practice.
What is your preferred area of practice? So far, you've only identified areas you don't want to work in.

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