A Very Cool New Blog

March 15, 2005 | 125 comments
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Those wacky Mormons at Harvard Law School (and some that used to be) have started a new blog Harv. L. Saints (for those who missed the geeky law joke in the title, Harv. L. Rev. is the traditional abbreviation of the Harvard Law Review, the greatest law journal of all time, since followed by many knock-offs). The introductory posts include an attack on big firm practice by a defensive Mormon liberal (HLS abounds with defensive Mormon liberals. It is one of the things that I miss. They are so dang cute!) and an analysis of Intellectual Irreverence.

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125 Responses to A Very Cool New Blog

  1. Gordon Smith on March 15, 2005 at 4:36 pm

    Only partly “onymous”? What is the deal with Harvard that makes bloggers want to hide their identities? I recall another Harvard-based blog that was completely anonymous. Are they just embarrassed that they didn’t choose Chicago?

  2. CJ on March 15, 2005 at 4:44 pm

    So what you’re saying Gordon is that I should decide on Chicago? I’m still up in the air for where to go in the fall. And forgive the completely tangential remark..

  3. Gordon Smith on March 15, 2005 at 5:13 pm

    CJ, I was just teasing Nate, and I never make flat recommendations about law school because there are too many factors to consider. But Chicago is a great school and Hyde Park is an interesting place to live.

  4. Kaimi on March 15, 2005 at 5:13 pm

    A very rough list of strengths:

    If you like Con law, go to Harvard.
    If you like L & E, go to Chicago.
    If you like corporate law, go to Columbia.
    If you like legal philosophy, do _not_ go to Harvard. Try Columbia, NYU, Yale.
    If you’re a libertarian, go to Chicago.
    If you like ontological approaches, go to Stanford.
    If you like CLS, go to Harvard.
    If you like international law, go to Columbia or NYU.
    If you like tax law, go to Columbia or NYU.
    If you like tort, go to Yale.
    If you want to clerk, the best choices, in rough order: Harvard, Yale, Chicago, Columbia, Stanford.
    If you want to work at a high-powered New York firm: Columbia, NYU, Harvard, Yale, Chicago.
    If you want to work for a high-powered DC firm: Harvard, Georgetown, Yale, Columbia, Virginia.
    If you want to be a public interest lawyer: Yale, Harvard, Stanford, NYU, Columbia.
    If you want to be an academic: Harvard, Yale, Chicago, Columbia, Stanford.

    Others’ perceptions may vary . . .

  5. Nate Oman on March 15, 2005 at 5:23 pm

    CLS is — blessedly — not as dominant at HLS as once it was. Also, HLS can take Columbia on in corporate law. Bebchuck et al are no slouches. Legal philosophy at HLS does, however, suck.

  6. Mark Martin on March 15, 2005 at 5:24 pm

    Kaimi (#4),
    What is the “If you want to…” phrase that precedes BYU?

    (Just curious as to what you’ll say. I’m not interested in law school.)

  7. Steve Evans on March 15, 2005 at 5:30 pm

    if you want to get cheap tuition and poor job prospects, go to BYU.

  8. Brian on March 15, 2005 at 5:35 pm

    If you want to work for Kirton & McConkie: BYU

  9. Kaimi on March 15, 2005 at 5:38 pm

    Mark,

    That would be ” . . . practice law in Utah . . . ”

    or perhaps ” . . . get a relatively inexpensive legal education . . .”

    BYU is a relatively new program, and does not yet have a strong national reputation. It’s a strong regional school, and its national reputation is getting better.

    Nate,

    I see your Bebchuk and raise you John Coffee. I’ve also got Goldschmid, Gilson, and Gordon in the wings, plus (historical?) intermittent participation from Eisenberg.

    I agree that Bebchuk is no slouch, ditto Mark Roe, Kraakman, Coates. Maybe we should put the question to Gordon. Both of us are likely letting our own biases affect our judgment.

  10. Nate Oman on March 15, 2005 at 5:44 pm

    Kaimi: Obviously both HLS and Columbia are far behind Wisconsin in this area….

  11. Yes i AM bitter on March 15, 2005 at 5:46 pm

    If you want a decent and inexpensive legal education, but no job prospects in SLC go to U of Utah.

  12. Gordon Smith on March 15, 2005 at 5:46 pm

    Re corporate law, Harvard and Columbia are both superior, and Stanford is very good, too. Of course, if you come to Wisconsin for corporate law, I will take you out to lunch.

    On being an academic, the recent numbers show three schools outpacing all others: Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. (Source: Brian Leiter and Larry Solum)

    I don’t have all of the figures, but I would be surprised if BYU isn’t the least expensive legal education in the country. If you computed a cost/ranking ratio, it would almost certainly be #1.

  13. Nate Oman on March 15, 2005 at 5:48 pm

    I have heard that Thomas Jefferson Law School is exceptionally strong in the area of estates and trusts, having pulled off a major faculty recruitment coup in this area.

  14. Jay S. on March 15, 2005 at 5:55 pm

    How about
    “If you don’t want to be in debt for the rest of your life but get a great education go to BYU”

    Seriously though, BYU will give you job prospects anywhere in the West (see traditional Mormon settlement map). Also BYU is great for DC. Being a BYU alum sets you apart from the 1000 plus Georgetown, GW, George Mason etc law school grads each year.

    Also the Academics are wonderful, if a little on the conservative side.

    The Student Life is also great at BYU. The SBA parties aren’t sloshfests, nor is student life centered around alcohol (as most of the BAR/BRI students I chatted with experienced).

    I think the value of a byu education will only increase as its alum’s and faculty become more highly placed.

  15. Shawn Bailey on March 15, 2005 at 6:27 pm

    Elite law school students draw on the prestige of big, powerful, rich, storied institutions that do not need them. Such students are prestige parasites. Of course, there are many good reasons to become such a parasite (i.e., to pass through the gateway to good clerkships and academic law). In contrast, BYU law students have the unique opportunity of conferring prestige on a young program that is good and getting better all the time. At least that’s my way of emphasizing the positive as a BYU alum. That and multiplying my student debt by five to imagine that I went to an elite school.

  16. Jordan Fowles on March 15, 2005 at 6:27 pm

    re: #4

    And if you want to avoid all those snooty private institutions, go to the University of MICHIGAN- a public school with class.

  17. Shawn Bailey on March 15, 2005 at 6:32 pm

    Regarding No. 13: CONGRATULATIONS, Kaimi!

  18. Amira on March 15, 2005 at 7:06 pm

    Yes, congratulations, Kaimi!

    My husband started teaching last Fall after practicing law for a few years, and I cannot tell you how much more pleasant it has been (even though he’s been busier than he was as an attorney).

  19. Gordon Smith on March 15, 2005 at 7:30 pm

    Jordan,

    Michigan is one of the public schools (along with Virginia) that is usually cited as being “de facto private.” Does its station as a nominally public school manifest itself in any way? Or does it feel like a “snooty private institution.”? (BTW, I looked at the website and couldn’t find the percentage of student from Michigan. Do you know?)

  20. a random John on March 15, 2005 at 7:48 pm

    Why is it that nobody has mentioned the weather at Stanford? After living in Boston for three years, let me tell you how stupid I was to think that I could handle the weather. Not that I can’t, but it isn’t worth it.

  21. just a prole Mormon on March 15, 2005 at 8:11 pm

    Nice to have it confirmed once again that Times and Seasons is where the Mormon elite comes out to show off their smarts, display their credentials, and rank the rest of us.

  22. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 15, 2005 at 8:26 pm

    Well, the new blog is snooty enough to not allow comments from outsiders.

    So, they won’t get my answer to a question they asked (without the smarts to realize, apparently, that there is a published answer), and a question based on a lack of foundational knowledge. I’ll post my response here.

    Well, there is an LDS business society as well. I just attended a meeting of it where corporate counsel for Hotels.com talked about SOX.

    But, the Church has always seen the JRCLS and Society as an active Church mission related activity. There is a lot on that topic, look around and it will make sense to you as you find it.

    But, they have more than enough arrogance to make up for the lack of knowledge, what the heck.

  23. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 15, 2005 at 8:28 pm

    Thomas Jefferson Law School

    Kaimipono Wenger (J.D., Columbia)

    Congrats!

    Thomas Jefferson School of Law
    2121 San Diego Avenue
    San Diego, CA 92110

  24. a random John on March 15, 2005 at 9:09 pm

    just a prole Mormon (and others),

    I hope that nobody took my comment to mean that I have a law degree or that I am studying in Boston.

  25. Dan Richards on March 15, 2005 at 10:11 pm

    Gordon–

    I can’t answer for Jordan, but here are a few factoids about the University of Michigan Law School.

    Percentage of UMLS students from Michigan: 25%
    Annual tuition for non-residents: $35,927
    Annual tuition for residents: $30,927
    Percentage of UMLS funding from state coffers: 4% (widely cited, but hard to find a source for)
    Justice Scalia’s assessment of Michigan: super-duper

  26. CJ on March 16, 2005 at 1:22 am

    Ha, always great to check back hours later and realize you’ve managed to derail a thread THAT well. Thanks for your advice everyone. FWIW, it’s between Chicago, GW w/ half-ride, Duke w/ 1/4 “ride” and UVa. I’m from the DC area and will probably do patent. :)

  27. Anna on March 16, 2005 at 1:43 am

    And, to continue the tangent, where would be a good place (other than cowering in a closet) for someone who never wanted to go to law school but suddenly felt like it would be a good thing to do and fired off some applications, still thinking all the while that the whole idea was crazy?

    This is purely a hypothetical example, of course. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  28. Sarah on March 16, 2005 at 6:04 am

    If you want a solid legal education that doesn’t cost an absolute fortune and is in no way snooty or anything other than egalatarian, I can’t imagine you’d pick Uof*blech*M over Cooley… and I don’t say that just because I’m an Ohio State student and my mom’s a Cooley student, really I don’t.

    I find the new blog snooty as well. I mean, really. Why make a comments feature at all instead of implementing a format like Various Stages, if you *really* want to see interaction amongst your team members? Bah, humbug.

    Though they seem smart, etc., it’s just annoying enough that I probably won’t stop by often. ^_^ I did enjoy writing my first reply to them, though — it was cathartic.

  29. Nate Oman on March 16, 2005 at 8:13 am

    Blogger defaults to only allowing comments by those with a blogger password. It may be a matter of snootyness on their part, but I suspect that it has more to do with technical ineptness. (But I could be wrong.)

    Prole Mormon: It isn’t about showing off or making you feel bad. Some people that I know and happen to like started a blog and I wanted to throw traffic their way. The rest of it is about ribbing Kaimi. Get over it.

  30. Nate Oman on March 16, 2005 at 9:25 am

    FWIW: I have always thought that GWU was way overpriced for the quality of the education. I love UVa and I think that they have some very interesting people on their faculty. Is there much of a break for instate tuition? Given the scholarship, I would look very hard at Duke. I don’t think that you can go wrong if you go to Chicago, but you probably want to think about debt burdens. If for some reason you have academic ambitions down the road it is, I think, a no brainer: go to Chicago.

  31. obi-wan on March 16, 2005 at 9:40 am

    BYU is a relatively new program, and does not yet have a strong national reputation. It’s a strong regional school, and its national reputation is getting better.

    This is a very, very kind and exceptionally optimistic assessment of BYU’s law program.

    Absent some other extraordinary constraint — immovable spouse, restraining order, appearance of a bona fide angel instructing you otherwise (shake his hand to make sure) — you should always go to the highest ranked law school you can get into. It will pay off in the long run.

  32. Russell Arben Fox on March 16, 2005 at 9:42 am

    “Get over it.”

    Speaking in regards to your emotional state, Prole, Nate’s advice is probably good. But I wouldn’t try too hard to get entirely over it in a political sense. A little class antagonism is healthy for a society.

  33. CJ on March 16, 2005 at 9:50 am

    Nate,

    The in state tuition break puts UVa around $26k and thus on par with Duke after the scholarship. So, speaking of tuition only, I’d have Chicago at around $35k, Duke and UVa at about $26k each, and GW at $15k. Can’t decide if the Chicago opportunity is so much better that it trumps the cheaper price and better locations (for me) of the other schools, particularly since I’m doing IP/patent.

  34. Shawn Bailey on March 16, 2005 at 10:50 am

    For those who have asked regarding law school and anyone else who may be interested, I have written a few thoughts. The key question is: what do you want to do?

    Do you want to work in a powerful big-city law firm (“BigLaw”)? You should understand what this means other than good money: long hours, sometimes late nights and weekends, significant pressure to tally up billable hours, monotonous, glory-less work for the first several years, and the possibility of not making partner and being squeezed out of the firm entirely. Of course, many good LDS people work in BigLaw and do an excellent job. As far as I can tell they are able to keep up family and church committments. But it does not look easy–to me it looks grueling. And other than people with apparently endless capacity (some regulars here come to mind), I doubt many BigLaw types can really pursue outside hobbies very much. Is it important to you to be able to do a lot of non-legal reading, painting, blogging, etc.? BigLaw may not permit some to fit things in their lives. Perhaps it is revealing that people refer to working in BigLaw as being shackled with golden handcuffs. Not confortable, but deluxe.

    The easiest path to BigLaw is through the elite schools. To an extent, students at elite schools can choose their BigLaw firm. I have heard from friends that on-campus interviews at elite schools mainly involves the students interviewing the law firms (i.e., listening to their sales pitches and choosing between many options). In contrast, BigLaw is extremely selective with students from less elite schools. Breaking into BigLaw from a less elite school is entirely possible. I have friends from BYU at some of the hoity-toitiest-white-shoe-wall-street firms known to mankind. But almost without exception, these people were ranked in the top part of the top ten percent of their class. You should know that BigLaw attorneys who conduct on-campus interviews at schools outside the top ten or so will assume that only the most distinguished at your school—perhaps only the No. 1 in your class or the editor-in-chief of the law review—is worth interviewing. Still, they will schedule a full day of interviews. It is not fun to be one of the candidates selected to interview in whom such smug interviewers do not even feign interest. This situation makes the competition for grades and other distinctions in such schools exceedingly fierce (the stories I could tell about the competition at BYU!). As far as BigLaw job prospects are concerned, it is probably better to graduate in the middle or lower at Harvard than just inside the top ten at BYU.

    Do you want to be a law professor? Going to an elite school is the best way to get there. A vast majority of law professors graduated from one of a handful of elite schools (see posts above), obtained a clerkship (usually at least U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals), and worked in BigLaw for a few years. The competition for elite law school admissions and elite law school grades (which determine clerkship and later job placement) can also be extremely fierce. Moreover, the tight academic market means if you are lucky enough to get a job, you will probably have to be willing to make much less than most attorneys and live just about anywhere in the country. How important is it to you to live near your extended family? Or in a particular region of the country? You should also bear in mind that many law professors these days have advanced degrees in history, philosophy, economics, or other related fields. Even if you do not plan to do likewise, you should know that you will be competing with such people. I would also note that it is possible to become a law professor by means other than the traditional path described above. But doing so is difficult. Lawyers, law professors, and law students are hopelessly obsessed with prestige. It is embarrassing. A candidate for an academic job without sufficiently elite schools and clerkships on her resume must prove she is blindingly brilliant in some other way.

    Do you want to do something else? There are a great deal of other options, from small to medium firm practice, public work (civil litigation and criminal prosecution on behalf of state or federal government), corporate counsel work, public interest work, etc., etc. Compensation and lifestyle in these vary. Some pay very well. Some permit a very full non-work life. Both are possible in some. There is a lot of interesting and personally rewarding work to be found here. It should also be noted that many attorneys wind up not practicing law, but using their legal skills in other industries.

    Students from non-elite schools are generally successful finding jobs in this “other” area. Indeed, in some places you may be more successful to land a good job in this category out of a non-elite school for a variety of reasons. A very desirable employer may have a close tie to a local school. Or an employer may make an effort to hire from a variety of regions and schools (as the Department of Justice does). In short, it might be very foolish to pay for an elite school if your dream is to open up your own small firm, be a prosecutor, or a public interest attorney.

    Other general considerations:
    (1) Debt. The amount of student debt with which you emerge from law school may determine what options you can pursue. Debt probably forces many law grads to join BigLaw even though they would much rather do something (almost anything) else. I know of an attorney who landed her dream job as a prosecutor in NYC. She had to quit after a year or so of winding up further in debt than she started. A notable exception to this: some law schools offer assistance to students who forego BigLaw’s big money to do some kind of public interest work.

    (2) Status and self. How much does status and prestige mean to you? Can you feel good about yourself without being able to drop the name of an elite law school for the rest of your life? Without being able to slap a harvard bumper-sticker on your car or show up at casual social events for the rest of your life wearing a harvard law sweat-shirt? Can you tolerate the idea of being evaluated on the merits of your work alone?

    (3) Scale and experience. Elite schools can be big, cold, impersonal places in which you are just another one of the hundreds or thousands of very bright people. Your professors may be authoritative experts on certain subjects, but will they give a damn about you as an individual? Will they take an interest in being a mentor to you? Perhaps they will. Yale, perhaps the most elite of them all, is quite small. Perhaps its size permits special relationships between faculty and students. I don’t know. Keep in mind that the professors at the less-elite schools are extremely bright people (they have successfully navigated the path described above). There are probably self-important people who will not condescend to students everywhere. But I suspect that students will be more successful finding willing mentors whose influence will truly bless their lives at the less-elite schools.

  35. Nate Oman on March 16, 2005 at 11:09 am

    One thing to keep in mind about law schools: They matter a great deal in terms of getting your first job. Frankly, I think that elite schools are probably less internally competitive than non-elite schools because generally speaking the stakes are much lower. It is pretty easy to walk out of Columbia or Harvard and get a job at BigLaw. It is possible, but difficult, to do so from BYU. However, once you have been out of law school a couple of years, people are less concerned with where you got your degree than with what you have been doing with it since.

  36. Jay S. on March 16, 2005 at 11:24 am

    Obi-wan siad
    Absent some other extraordinary constraint – immovable spouse, restraining order, appearance of a bona fide angel instructing you otherwise (shake his hand to make sure) – you should always go to the highest ranked law school you can get into. It will pay off in the long run.

    Owi-wan,I think your assessment of BYU is unfair. It is not a top 5 law school. It is a top 30 law school (34 this year?). If you rank the quality of its students & job placement rate, and bar passage rate it goes way up. BYU’s students are in the same quality as top ten law schools. Its job placement rate is one of the highest, and the average debt load is way down. The thing holding it down is its rep among lawyers, which is overrated. After all, a survey i read a year or two ago but princeton’s law school in the top 5 (which doesn’t exist by the way).

    I also think your advice is not the best. Rankings are very arbitrary, and don’t fully represent all the factors involved. Obviously the top 5 law schools will give you an advantage over one ranked 45, or a top 50 over a 2nd tier. But I don’t think you will be substantively better choosing USC or GW (18 & 20) over BYU (34). I have heard from many people at GW specifically about how horrible the Carreer Service office was. If you weren’t in the top 10%, you didn’t get any help (and those in the top 10% generally don’t need it).

    If the choice is between BYU and Harvard/Yale/stanford, there is likely a comparison and choices to weigh and you are likely at advantage by going to these schools in pursuing a carreer in academics or a MegaLaw firm. Other than that, disregard the numbers other than as a general guide post.

    My advice would be to tour the school while class is in session. SIt in on a class, see where the students study. Chat with a professor. I think you would be making a huge mistake by committing to spend 3 years and possibly $75k to a place you haven’t even been to. Also, visit with the career service office. See what services they do, how friendly they are. Talk with students about the CSO. Talk with some recent grads about the school. Most will be very open with you, especially if they are LDS. While you are chatting with an LDS student, ask about the social life. Is everything a beer bust, or are their other opportunities? How involved are spouses (if married)?

    Also think about where you want to be after law school? Most will have abreakdown of where they send students geographically.

    I think choosing a law school is much too important to trust to some arbitrary and flawed ranking in US News.

  37. Kaimi on March 16, 2005 at 11:26 am

    Agreed with Shawn.

    I work at what is generally considered one of the most selective Biglaw firms. In any given year, probably upwards of 50% of incoming associates are graduates of Columbia, NYU, and Harvard. There are also significant contingents from Yale, Penn, Chicago, Cornell, Georgetown, and Fordham. The rest of the top-20 schools are also represented, but in smaller numbers, mostly for geographical reasons. For example, I don’t think anyone has anything against a UT grad, but not many of them go to Biglaw. There’s a slight edge to geographically closer schools because they’re more likely to have people already at the firm, and the Cornell partner or Penn partner may weigh in as a voice in your favor.

    Outside of the top-15, the biggest feeder to NYC Biglaw is Fordham, which is a very solid school, clearly the #3 school in the city. There’s also a significant presence from BC, BU, Brooklyn, and Cardozo.

    But there are also lots of others. We had a BYU summer associate a few years back; we’ve got associates who went to Illinois, Arizona State, GW, George Mason, Wash & Lee, UNC, Temple — you get the idea. It’s not nearly as easy to come from, say, UNC as it is from Columbia. But it’s certainly possible.

  38. Shawn Bailey on March 16, 2005 at 11:28 am

    Nate: I agree. In fact, except for your last sentence, I said so in detail in the post immediately preceding yours. The commonplace in your last sentence was only implied by my post. I guess I should be honored (or something) to have been “restated” by a real harvard man!

  39. Steve Evans on March 16, 2005 at 12:15 pm

    “But I don’t think you will be substantively better choosing USC or GW (18 & 20) over BYU (34). ”

    I disagree. If you plan on living in DC or NYC, GW is a significantly better choice in terms of career placement.

    In my experience, those who rankle against the US News rankings are those who are self-conscious about their own school’s ranking (go Columbia! NYU sucks!). Obi-wan’s advice is still valid: all else being equal, go to the highest ranked school you can.

  40. Shawn Bailey on March 16, 2005 at 12:54 pm

    Steve (no. 39): I can’t make sense of your comment. Is your advice regarding going to the highest ranked school valid “all things being equal” or only if one wants to end up in a particular kind of practice in a particular region (i.e., BigLaw in NYC or DC)?

    I think Steve and Jay may be talking past each other. GW may truly be more prestigious and better for some kinds of placement compared to BYU. But getting past these considerations, there may be very little difference between the quality of the education available at the two schools.

  41. Jay S. on March 16, 2005 at 1:06 pm

    “I disagree. If you plan on living in DC or NYC, GW is a significantly better choice in terms of career placement.

    Why is this so? I would guess that GW, because of its proximity to DC would be a good choice. The problem with GW is one of numbers. There are 400 people in each class (or so I was told by a GW prof at BYU now). Lets say the top 10% all apply to K Street Law Firm X. If your connection with the potential employer is only a resume in a stack, who will they take to interview? Perhaps the top 8-10 choices, likely in the top GPA range. If you have a comparable byu gpa, you are likely the only one interviewing for that job from BYU, so ceteris parabis they take you.
    This weakens the advantage GW has over other schools. You do of course have the alumni factor, which is lessening all the time as jRCLS members gain seniority in east coast firms.

    Also, BYU has an early job fair in both DC and NYC, which helps place JRCLS members in these communities.
    That being said, you need to weigh your options. If you for sure want to be in DC or NYC, perhaps a school out there is better. Unless you want to be a DA or Public Defender, or work in another government position. Then perhaps the low tuition will be worthwhile. I think it is a personal choice.

    While I think GW is a great school (I almost went as an undergrad, dorm picked out and everything, til I got a better deal), I sure enjoyed having my smaller class sizes. I think my argument is that unless you are at a top LS (Harvard/Stanford) the ranking itself doesn’t matter, and that there are advantages and disadvantages to each.

    Steve said
    “In my experience, those who rankle against the US News rankings are those who are self-conscious about their own school’s ranking (go Columbia! NYU sucks!). Obi-wan’s advice is still valid: all else being equal, go to the highest ranked school you can. ”

    I think your argument is flawed. It doesn’t address teh substance of my argument, but merely discredits it by making a personal attack. While your experience may be true, it doesn’t address the serious flaws of the US new rankings. I could point the same at those who support the rankings, stating that they are just desparatly trying to maintain their sense of superiority in the face of facts to the contrary. US News Law School Rankings are even more arbitrary than the BCS rankings.

    You need to weigh the facts, looking at costs and benefits for yourself. For alternative factual data on law schools see, http://www.ilrg.com/rankings/.

    The problem with the “for all else being equal” argument is that the schools are not equal. My advice would be to ditch the rankings as a number standpoint. Basically tack a Margin of error of +-25 onto each ranking. I don’t think GW or USC is any better than BYU in quality of education. But you need to look at the other factors, curriculum, faculty CSO, etc. It all depends on what you want to do.

    Don’t let some publisher wanting to make a buck determine your life’s course with arbitrary and flawed information.

  42. Matt Evans on March 16, 2005 at 1:12 pm

    Paul Cassel, the Bush43-appointed federal judge and former Utah law professor, advised me to attend the law school with the best US News reputation scores. He dismissed the other variables in their algorithm.

  43. Jay S. on March 16, 2005 at 1:14 pm

    I think I should have simply expanded on Kaimi’s comment in no 4. There is no one best school. What is best to you may be different for someone else.

    For me, I wanted to stay in the West, with the option of DC (loved my internship there). I wanted to get a quality education. I have no desire to be an academic, but wanted to build a challenging practice. I wanted to not have a crushing debt load and wanted to enjoy my law school experience. For those criteria BYU was the best place for me.

    You may have different criteria than me, so your decision in a school may be different. I think much of the experience at a school depends not on which college you go to, but what you do once you are there.

  44. Gordon Smith on March 16, 2005 at 1:19 pm

    Just got back to the thread. Thanks to Dan (#25) for the info on Michigan.

    obi-wan: “Absent some other extraordinary constraint – immovable spouse, restraining order, appearance of a bona fide angel instructing you otherwise (shake his hand to make sure) – you should always go to the highest ranked law school you can get into. It will pay off in the long run.”

    I think this is terrible advice. As others have noted, rankings can make a big difference for some purposes — getting a job at Cravath, working in a particular geographic market, etc. — but for other purposes location is much more important. Let’s say you had to choose between BYU and Washington & Lee, which is generally ranked higher than BYU. If you want to work in California after school, how much more valuable is your W&L degree? Actually, I would be shocked if BYU didn’t make you more valuable.

    I have met too many students who chose the “best law school” according to the rankings, but didn’t realize that they were choosing among law schools without national reputations. Law schools without national reputations do not have national benefits for alums. If you are choosing among regional schools, I would almost always recommend selecting a school in the region where you want to practice because they will provide more connections to that regions. And, of course, do well once you are admitted.

  45. Shawn Bailey on March 16, 2005 at 1:21 pm

    Matt (no. 42): Interesting. Was Cassel’s advice accompanied by an explanation?

  46. Steve Evans on March 16, 2005 at 1:32 pm

    “For those criteria BYU was the best place for me.”

    …. you mean the only place….

  47. john fowles on March 16, 2005 at 1:59 pm

    Jay # 41 wrote I don’t think GW or USC is any better than BYU in quality of education.

    Quality of education is irrelevant. Does anyone actually think that people are getting a better education at Harvard than BYU? What good does it do you to say that you got just as quality a legal education at BYU as you would have at Harvard? All associates are equally clueless once they land in the practice; first year associates coming out of Harvard might have a more highly refined skill of looking like they know what they are doing than the BYU law grad, but I doubt that it is really true. This is why, although it might be nice to say that BYU provides the same quality legal education as any elitist law school, that is actually irrelevant. The name of your law school is the all-important factor in getting your first job. An applicant from BYU ranked the exact same as an applicant from Harvard has no chance against the Harvard applicant. Period. I have become convinced of this through numerous discussions with my cousin Charles Farnsworth, NYU law grad now at a top London firm, and with my brother, Michigan law grad now at a top US IP firm.

    Without a doubt, you should go with the highest ranked school that has accepted you. I found Steve’s comments on this to be frustratingly condescending (b/c of how he targets BYU and dismisses it as a cheap education with poor job prospects), but it really is true that the name of your law school will open far more doors than the “quality” of legal education that you can get there. I chose BYU because of fear of a huge debt load (my cousin left NYU Law with debt the size of a mortgage). If I would have gone to the highest ranked school that accepted me, ignoring the substantial debt it would have costed me, I am confident that it would have made a difference, for example, with regards to clerkships, as has been noted above. This is not cynical, it is just realistic.

  48. Todd Lundell on March 16, 2005 at 2:04 pm

    Just to add a few facts about getting a job with a large NYC law firm from BYU: at my instigation, my firm (which is not Cravath, but has a good national reputation) interviewed a number of BYU students for summer associate jobs. The upside was that everyone we interviewed received high marks. In fact, I recieved a number of “where did you get these students, they are just fantasitc” phone calls. The downside was that we interviewed only those in the top 15% of their class. There were many great resumes that never made it up the ladder because they were not ranked high enough. That is unfortunate, but it’s reality.

    The students who interviewed at my firm definitely improved whatever impression the lawyers here had about BYU Law School (which was probably none), but I doubt my firm will start interviewing deeper into the class. There are simply enough local schools to draw good students from.

  49. Kaimi on March 16, 2005 at 2:04 pm

    I think it’s time to settle this once and for all. The only solution seems to be to lock Steve Evans and John Fowles in a room, for a no-holds-barred, winner-takes-all bluebooking contest. Two men enter, one man leaves . . .

  50. Steve Evans on March 16, 2005 at 2:04 pm

    I realize I’m coming off as condescending. Sorry. But the fact remains: BYU does provide a cheap education, with poor job prospects, in comparison to top-tier schools. Compared to other schools with relatively similar rankings, it is a deal and I encourage all who can to attend.

  51. Kaimi on March 16, 2005 at 2:06 pm

    John,

    He escaped from NYU with a debt load only the size of a mortgage? He must have been one frugal guy. More typically, Ivy and Ivy-esque students graduate with a debt load about the size of the GDP of a small country.

  52. Steve Evans on March 16, 2005 at 2:06 pm

    …and I concede any and all bluebooking battles. Man, I hated that stuff. No wonder I’m a corporate lawyer.

  53. Matt Astle on March 16, 2005 at 2:20 pm

    I feel stupid making a comment about the ORIGINAL POST after all those off-track comments, but Harv. L. Saints was not intended to be a public blog. That’s why only members are allowed to comment. It’s a way for the small community of LDS HLS students and alumni to interact and keep in touch with each other, since attendance at our official meetings is sporadic at best. If that makes us snooty, so be it.

  54. Nate Oman on March 16, 2005 at 2:24 pm

    I am not sure that the education at BYU and Columbia is entirely interchangable. At Columbia you can take a philosophy of law class from Jeremy Waldron. A Harvard you can take constitutional law from Larry Tribe. At Chicago you can take a law and economics seminar from Richard Posner. There is some real value to these things. Also, my sense is that elite schools have a broader course offering particularlly in theoretical and other useless areas.

    I do think that the Ivy’s open up some doors that can be otherwise difficult to open — BigLaw, federal appellate clerkships, academia, etc. On the other hand, they have steep costs, which in many ways will limit your post-graduation options. However, many lower ranked schools have equally steep costs. A GWU education probably costs about as much as Harvard and more than Michigan or Virginia, and I don’t think that you get nearly as much value. I think that BYU is an extremely good bang for your buck, especially if you are weighing it against schools like Washington & Lee or Washington University, which have comparable national rankings and much higher costs. As Gordon points out, however, regional connections matter quite a bit more at this level. It comes down to where you want to practice and what sort of practice you want.

  55. Jay S. on March 16, 2005 at 2:24 pm

    John F

    I didn’t mean to say that rankings have NO meanings, just that they aren’t everything. If i did assert that, I certainly didn’t mean it. Truely, having a Harvard sheepskin will open doors a BYU one will not. My argument is more in line with Gordon Smith’s in #44. You need to weigh the factors.

    Steve said”
    I realize I’m coming off as condescending. Sorry. But the fact remains: BYU does provide a cheap education, with poor job prospects, in comparison to top-tier schools. Compared to other schools with relatively similar rankings, it is a deal and I encourage all who can to attend.’

    Poor job prospects? Perhaps you are overbroad. I think you mean “less likely to get a job at a white shoe firm in NYC than a Harvard grad”. In this I will concede. If you mean, “Hard to find a job that will provide a competive income and fulfilling career” i disagree.

    BYU wasn’t the only choice for me. It was just the best at that time. I was pragmatic, and felt that given the great bar passage stats, emplyment stats and regional reputation of BYU it was a good option. It may not be the best for everyone, but it certainly isn’t the Red Headed step child of law schools.

  56. Nate Oman on March 16, 2005 at 2:26 pm

    If it is any consolation to those who feel excluded from the Harv. L. Saints blog, I’m an alumnus and they won’t let me comment. That’s why I hate HLS people. They are all snobs ;->

  57. Kaimi on March 16, 2005 at 2:28 pm

    Matt,

    You protests ring hollow, since I can think of another law school’s J Reub student blog which _does_ allow comments. See http://columbiajreub.blogspot.com/ .

    (Of course, they have their own drawbacks. No posts since the antebellum era, for instance.)

  58. Nate Oman on March 16, 2005 at 2:30 pm

    For what it is worth, way back when in the distant pre-history of the bloggernacle when T&S was young, I wrote up a post discussing my impression of BYU Law School’s place in the law school world. Here it is for those interested:

    “BYU Law School”

  59. "JRS" on March 16, 2005 at 3:14 pm

    Oh my, some people have too much time on their hands. My school’s better! No, mine is! Sheesh.

    I’m surprised that my “attack on big firm practice” (which was actually more an attack on the way such was presented at a meeting you didn’t attend) was taken as the ravings of a “defensive liberal.” Quite the contrary: it was more offensive than defensive, and I prefer to be billed as a left-wing commie pacifist hippie treehugging nutcase rather than a mere “liberal.” And for the record, I don’t think any of us were using our initials to “hide.” I would be happy to provide you with my full name, email address, and telephone number in the event that you want to tell me what a weirdo I am–or how “cute” my “defensive liberalism” is…

  60. Steve Evans on March 16, 2005 at 3:19 pm

    JRS, who are you talking to?

  61. Mark B. on March 16, 2005 at 3:26 pm

    Professors like Ed Levi, Richard Posner, Antonin Scalia, John Langbein and the incomparable Walter Blum, and on and on, the altogether invigorating experience of living in Hyde Park, seeing nearly seven feet of snow fall in each of the first two winters, attending church in a wonderful branch, having a whole flock of classmates whose experience was completely different from my own, Chicago politics at the end of the Daley (Richard J.) era, not owning a car, Lake Michigan in May, Gary, Indiana “steel mill smell” on rare days in the summer when the wind blew the wrong way, Harry Carey and Jimmy Piersall calling White Sox games on the radio, Comiskey Park (the real one, not that new thing), St. Patrick’s Day in the Loop, Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony, fireworks in Grant Park, softball on the Midway, da Bears. And to think that I could have gone to BYU and avoided $11K in student loans!

  62. Zeke on March 16, 2005 at 3:30 pm

    Re: #22 & #28. Having been the one that started Harv.L.Saints, I just wanted to plead complete ignorance as to blog etiquette and all things technical. Who would have guessed someone outside of HLS would actually want to read and comment on something we wrote? :) If we’re to be condemned as either snooty or inept, I vote for the latter! (Nate was a complete anomaly).

  63. Aaron Brown on March 16, 2005 at 3:34 pm

    Steve Evans, shame on you for being so condescending! By the way, where is Colombia Law School again? New Jersey?

    Aaron B
    HLS ’00

  64. Mark B. on March 16, 2005 at 3:37 pm

    In the US, that word is “Columbia”. In South America, you’re right, it’s “Colombia.”

    Did Steve Evans really go to law school in Colombia? I knew he was a furriner, but didn’t know they spoke French down there.

  65. Aaron Brown on March 16, 2005 at 3:40 pm

    I actually knew that, Mark B. But I just wanted to remind Steve that for those of us from the Holy Trinity of law schools, everywhere else is an indistiguishable mass of medocrity. You say “tomayto,” I say “tomahto,” if you know what I mean.

    :)

    Aaron B

  66. Mark Martin on March 16, 2005 at 3:44 pm

    Has this post actually resulted in extra hits at Harv. L. Saints?

    I’ve followed this thread only to see what attorneys and law students say about the different schools. I couldn’t remember the title (or purpose) of the original post if you asked me. And no, I haven’t clicked on the link.

  67. Steve Evans on March 16, 2005 at 3:44 pm

    Aaron, someday I’ll regale you with my tale of why I “chose” not to go to Harvard…

  68. Anony Mouse CLS on March 16, 2005 at 3:47 pm

    I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but I for one would never want to attend law school at an institution that didn’t sit beside a three-story statue of a man and a horse in a compromising position.

    For me, that was the deciding factor.

  69. john fowles on March 16, 2005 at 3:55 pm

    Steve # 60: I think JRS is responding to Nate’s “defensive liberals” comment. JRS is the originator of the anti-big-firm post at Harv.L.Saints, I think.

  70. obi-wan on March 16, 2005 at 4:04 pm

    I don’t think you will be substantively better choosing USC or GW (18 & 20) over BYU (34).

    Believe me, you will be. I’ve spent enough time hiring law students, and trying to help hapless BYU law grads find jobs, that there is essentially no question in my mind.

    While I have some sympathy for Jay S.’s diatribe about the U.S. News rankings, they are largely self-fulfilling prophecies. And while there is some truth to Gordon Smith’s regionalism comment, we live in a very mobile society and you can’t predict where you are going to live or practice. Don’t expect that you will wind up in the region where your regional law school has some currency.

    The other half of my advice, also based on personal experience and first-hand observation, but which will no doubt also be very unpopular, is that if you can’t get into a school with a national reputation — basically, one in the top twenty, preferably top fifteen — consider a different career choice.

    This course of action would no doubt substantially cut down on the number of lawyers, but very few people will complain about that . . .

  71. Nate Oman on March 16, 2005 at 4:13 pm

    JRS: I am glad to see that I touched a nerve. You are so cute when you’re angry…

  72. obi-wan on March 16, 2005 at 4:20 pm

    Can’t decide if the Chicago opportunity is so much better that it trumps the cheaper price and better locations (for me) of the other schools, particularly since I’m doing IP/patent.

    One more unpopular piece of advice: DO NOT choose a law school based on specialty “programs,” except possibly as a tie-breaker between similarly situated schools. “Programs” are all to some extent marketing ploys, and most are nothing but marketing ploys. (Can you say “vaporware?”) Most firms couldn’t care less whether you got a certificate in Environmental Litigation or Intellectual Property Dispute Resolution. You will be much better situated with a Chicago degree, even if it has no IP “program,” than with the GW degree.

    If you are choosing between a closer pair of schools — say, Stanford and Chicago, then maybe look at the IP programs, not because it will give you any advantage when you get out, but just because it may mean there are more classes you enjoy.

  73. Matt Evans on March 16, 2005 at 4:23 pm

    That was hilarious, Anony Mouse, that sculpture is a piece of art.

  74. Kaimi on March 16, 2005 at 4:25 pm

    I’ll second obi-wan on job findability. I’ve gotten a number of “can you help my friend find a job” queries over the past few years are they’re inevitably about a grad of some non-top-15 law school. It’s practically inconceivable that I would get an e-mail of this sort about a Columbia or Harvard grad. For better or worse, once you get into the top schools, you’re practically guaranteed a solid job on graduation.

  75. Jay S. on March 16, 2005 at 4:34 pm

    Obi Wan
    “While I have some sympathy for Jay S.’s diatribe about the U.S. News rankings, they are largely self-fulfilling prophecies.”
    How So?

    “while there is some truth to Gordon Smith’s regionalism comment, we live in a very mobile society and you can’t predict where you are going to live or practice…”

    I think that this is likely true for recent graduates, but I am not sure that this is the case for more established attorneys. There are significant “barriers to entry” involved with moving/practicing in another state. The ordeal of a bar exam, establishing a practice etc. while this may not apply to academics or federal government types (as much), I think there is a significant burden in moving. Thus if you know you want to stay in a certain area, (and this is important for many people) attending LS in that area is good way to maximize your investment.

    As far as schools with a national reputation, I think there are only a top few that carry that reputation. Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Chicago, etc. But get beyond the top 5-10 and the distinctions blur. Sure, that Seattle attorney is going to recognize Georgetown is a good school, but will not necessarily prefer it to U Washington or Berkley.

    Things could be different out east, but I had no particular desire to live out east. DC was the exception, which seemed to be the most Western of the east coast cities.

  76. Steve Evans on March 16, 2005 at 4:42 pm

    “Seattle attorney is going to recognize Georgetown is a good school, but will not necessarily prefer it to U Washington or Berkley. ”

    I disagree. Georgetown will be preferred to U Wash. Boalt Hall is a different matter, with a historically very strong program, but both G’town and Boalt will get further than U Wash, even in Seattle.

  77. Shawn Bailey on March 16, 2005 at 4:42 pm

    So if prestige and its incidents* matter most to you, you should go to the most prestigious law school that will take you. Is that the kind of earth-shattering insight we should expect from those who learned at the feet of Tribe, Posner, and their ilk?

    I wonder if some elites here simply cannot imagine people valuing something other than prestige and its incidents. Or perhaps they cannot imagine people understanding the difference between elite and a non-elite law schools and simply not being that impressed by former.

    My point remains: there are good legal careers, careers pursued by people every bit as brilliant as elite law school grads, that are accessible to non-elite law school students.

    *Money, Power, and/or Position. More specific to this context: a narrow subset of all the possible legal careers. Such careers may or may not be wonderful things for individuals and society. But they may also be little more than empty status markers.

  78. Mark B. on March 16, 2005 at 4:46 pm

    Are we sure that “Jay S” isn’t the first name and middle initial of a certain judge, who chose that school at the foot of the Wasatch over the Bell Quadrangle just off the Midway? If so, no wonder we’re hearing the drumbeat in favor of that choice.

    On another matter: I have a friend who went to BYU law school, got a first job through some good connections between Cole Durham and some folks here in New York, and then had a miserably difficult time finding a place to jump to when that first job soured. The BYU diploma didn’t help out here then (late ’80’s). Maybe it’s better now.

    So, swallow the debt load, and go to the best school you are admitted to.

  79. Elisabeth on March 16, 2005 at 4:47 pm

    Another attempt to make a lame comment/question on this blog, but just wondered if any of you lawyers have ever thought about going back to law school to teach a legal research and writing class (or a similar class that doesn’t require you to be hired as a full-time faculty member)? I’m teaching this year after five years of practicing law, and it has been a real eye opener into how completely irrelevant most law school classes are in teaching a student about the practical aspects of what an attorney actually does. I loved learning all the legal theory we were taught in law school, but I have had a hard time adjusting to being a real lawyer. I wish more people understood how truly mindnumbing many legal jobs can be (especially as a junior associate at a large law firm), before they decided to go to law school. All of my students are very bright and talented, and it’s a shame (in my opinion) that more of them aren’t choosing more creative, meaningful careers. Maybe an interesting blog topic would be to survey whether or not all the lawyers here truly enjoy the practice of law.

  80. obi-wan on March 16, 2005 at 4:55 pm

    I think that this is likely true for recent graduates, but I am not sure that this is the case for more established attorneys.

    It’s probably more true for established attorneys — especially if your practice is healthy and growing. Regional practice is a thing of the past. Get used to the idea of taking four or five bar exams over the course of your career. My very strong sense is that it’s becoming the norm rather than the exception — I’ve practiced in six different jurisdictions since graduation, and my career trajectory is not at all uncommon.

  81. Eric Soderlund on March 16, 2005 at 5:18 pm

    “Believe me, you will be. I’ve spent enough time hiring law students, and trying to help hapless BYU law grads find jobs, that there is essentially no question in my mind.”

    Something missing from this conversation is the discussion of GRADES. I went to BYU and landed a job at a top law firm in Dallas. However, to do it I had to have higher grades than my fellow associates who went to Harvard, Yale, etc. The problem with BYU is not that you cannot get a big firm job in a major market–it’s just that the chance of qualifying for it is smaller. This is heightened because BYU has a Top Ten student body (LSAT & UGPA combined) but is only ranked in the 30s in US News. That means it is that much harder to make it into the top 10 or 20% of the class that big firms will require for BYU law students. My firm goes very deep into the Harvard, Chicago, and Stanford classes (top 50% or maybe deeper). From BYU or schools in the lower half of the 1st tier, a candidate really needs to be Law Review, etc. So, there are students who go to BYU Law who land the “elite” jobs (we have had several Supreme Court clerks in the last number of years, for instance). But if you can get into one of the Top Ten schools, it WILL be easier to land a job at a big firm upon graduation.

    Of course, not everyone wants a job at a big firm in a major market, and BYU Law has one of the highest employment rates at graduation of any law school. So, it may depend on what you want to do after law school.

  82. Steve Evans on March 16, 2005 at 5:24 pm

    That’s exactly right — if you don’t want to bust your hump for three years, go to a higher-ranked school off the bat and save yourself some heartache. Worked for me.

  83. Shawn Bailey on March 16, 2005 at 5:27 pm

    John and Eric: I agree. I think I said as much above. I’ll take the repetition as a compliment. We poor non-elites must stick together.

  84. Eric Soderlund on March 16, 2005 at 5:29 pm

    “This is a very, very kind and exceptionally optimistic assessment of BYU’s law program.

    Absent some other extraordinary constraint – immovable spouse, restraining order, appearance of a bona fide angel instructing you otherwise (shake his hand to make sure) – you should always go to the highest ranked law school you can get into. It will pay off in the long run.”

    Iowa, UC-Davis, Emory, Washington & Lee. All good schools. All listed ahead of BYU Law in US News. You’re telling me a person should choose one of these schools over BYU Law because they are ranked higher in US News? That’s crazy, mon ami. I office with folks who went to gerogetown, Duke, Harvard, etc. They all have massive debt loads and they make the same salary I do. And I can tell you I won’t have trouble finding another job if I ever need to. BYU is not a drag on my resume–certainly no more than Iowa would be, and probably much less.

  85. Kaimi on March 16, 2005 at 5:32 pm

    By the way, John, do you really think that the law schools and their graduates are elitist? That is, believing “that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.” (Dictionary.com definition).

    I don’t think many of the people here have made an argument that a Harvard grad is _better_ than a BYU grad. Many graduates from top law schools don’t necessarily feel that they are better than others. There is some recognition that the world works in a way that prizes their education over others’. But are all Columbia or Harvard grads really elitists?

  86. Jay S. on March 16, 2005 at 5:41 pm

    Mark, #78 – No wrong one. I am not in the business of writing DOJ memos for Alberto Gonzalez.
    But you bring up an interesting point. Here we have a Appellate Court judge, who took a real gamble back in ’77. Back then a BYU degree was experimental at best. Thanks to the efforts of the initial class members, the value of his degree has risen dramatically. Although I am sure we get into stiffer competition now, I only imagine the value of a BYU Law degree will increase in the future due to the risen quality of the student body (pointed out by Shawn).

    I think this board is somewhat biased towards big city elites, but the status wasn’t important to me. John F., perhaps you should have gone on to a bigger name school. I don’t mean this with any carcasm, but You certainly have the credentials to make a name in academia. For myself, I have no such desire. I have no burning desire to sit on the federal bench. I have no overwhelming compulsion to compile textbooks.

    Steve, For me, the competition at BYU was a drawing point. I was able to be surrounded by very intelligent and capable people, and get a great experience out of it. I didn’t slave tremendously, but perhaps that is why my grades dropped from 1st semester to last. (Top 10 to merely top 25).

  87. john fowles on March 16, 2005 at 5:43 pm

    I didn’t mean elitist strictly according to the dictionary definition. I meant elitist b/c a product of an elite. I realize that noone is arguing that a Harvard grad is better than a BYU grad. I suppose I am, in a way, since the job market values the Harvard legal education far more than the BYU legal education. I am merely noting this reality in our society, not blaming anyone here for it. It should go without saying, but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem obvious to some people (it wasn’t for me either).

  88. john fowles on March 16, 2005 at 5:44 pm

    That is, product of an elite school.

  89. Jay S. on March 16, 2005 at 5:45 pm

    In response to Obi-wan’s comment about switching jurisdictions, I am curious how many attorneys really do switch jurisdictions to take another job?

    At my work there are several who have licenses in both California and Nevada, but that is because we have two offices. One woman has a license in Georgia, because her husband transfered here for work.

    I will admit that a lot of people in my barbri class were from out of state. This may be due to the relatively high demand for attorneys in Las Vegas. But it is also for new attorneys.

    I can’t imagine taking 5-6 different bars. Perhaps 1-2 more (california and arizona), but not likely a cross country move. Perhaps in specialized fields such transfers are more common?

    I would be interested to hear from others experiences how common switching jurisdictions is.

  90. Steve Evans on March 16, 2005 at 6:34 pm

    Jay, you’re selling too hard.

    Switching jurisdictions is common. Ask Kaimi. Or ask me, in a few months.

  91. Matt Evans on March 16, 2005 at 7:34 pm

    Elisabeth, as I expected, I really, really disliked being a lawyer. I only went to law school because I was accepted to a good program (though having unmarketable undergrad degrees in sociology and political science was a factor, too).

  92. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 16, 2005 at 7:41 pm

    This is a very, very kind and exceptionally optimistic assessment of BYU’s law program.

    Absent some other extraordinary constraint – immovable spouse, restraining order, appearance of a bona fide angel instructing you otherwise (shake his hand to make sure) – you should always go to the highest ranked law school you can get into. It will pay off in the long run.

    Interestingly enough, a number of comments like that are addressed by both Prof Leiter and Atticus Falcon, who actually seem to agree once (and only once, as far as I can tell, other than they both also think Texas is a good school).

    Bottom line, you are wrong, though your post indicates you lack the necessary knowledge to understand why and how you are wrong.

  93. Jay S. on March 16, 2005 at 7:53 pm

    I wasn’t trying to sell my point.

    While I don’t know your situation, Kaimi is taking a job as an academic. I don’t think his example proves Obi-wan’s point. Of course I am not sure if Obi-wan meant that you can’t be sure if you will end up in the same region immediately following law school, or if the transition will come later in life. If the transition is later in life, i would think that work experience would minimize the educational achievements (Except in SC nominations, etc). As far as immediately following law school, I agree you can’t totally predict if that is where you will end up. But if you know that you 100% want to stay in Utah, or Oregon, or Florida for that matter, I think you have minimized the danger. It all goes back to priorities. Is it the high profile job what you are after, or is it something else?

    While this is off topic perhaps (but what hasn’t been), I am legitimately curious as to how common interjurisdictional changes are? I would think that moving from state to state is not nearly as common as in other professions. While interstate transitions have become more common in the legal profession, I don’t think they match rates of transitions elsewhere. The main reason being that there are significant barriers to entry (with an exception for reciprocity rules in states like Oregon/Washington, etc). It seems that most of the transitioning in the legal community occurs under a small number of cases.

    For my own interest I would be interested in looking at this. Does anyone know of any data on this?

  94. wendy on March 16, 2005 at 8:04 pm

    This is totally anecdotal, but while I was at Cravath in NY many people (including T&S’s own Greg) switched to California firms, and a decent number switched to Chicago, Boston and Miami firms. Flipping through the facebook for my year, I also see folks that went to Georgia, Texas, and Seattle. Not many people that I know took the NY bar exam thinking “I plan to work in New York forever”.

  95. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 16, 2005 at 8:08 pm

    Do you want to work in a powerful big-city law firm (“BigLaw”)? You should understand what this means other than good money: long hours, sometimes late nights and weekends, significant pressure to tally up billable hours, monotonous, glory-less work for the first several years, and the possibility of not making partner and being squeezed out of the firm entirely. Of course, many good LDS people work in BigLaw and do an excellent job. As far as I can tell they are able to keep up family and church committments.

    Very true, I know several who have also served in the JRCLS, as bishops and stake presidents.

    Do you want to be a law professor? Going to an elite school is the best way to get there. , very true. Visit one of several sites consolidating the data. Extremely true.

    Status and self. How much does status and prestige mean to you? Can you feel good about yourself without being able to drop the name of an elite law school for the rest of your life? Without being able to slap a harvard bumper-sticker on your car or show up at casual social events for the rest of your life wearing a harvard law sweat-shirt? Can you tolerate the idea of being evaluated on the merits of your work alone?

    ;)

    Truer than it reads, btw. The author is gentle in tone, but it is much more important than it looks. I had a friend switch off to teaching business law. It took him a couple-three years to adjust to the status loss. Now he would never go back, figures it added at least ten years to his life span, but status issues were very hard for him.

    it really is true that the name of your law school will open far more doors than the “quality” of legal education that you can get there

    True.

    But, top 10% at University of Idaho places better than bottom half at Lewis & Clark. Compare the matrixes and think about it.

    One more unpopular piece of advice: DO NOT choose a law school based on specialty “programs,” except possibly as a tie-breaker between similarly situated schools. “Programs” are all to some extent marketing ploys, and most are nothing but marketing ploys. (Can you say “vaporware?”) Most firms couldn’t care less whether you got a certificate in Environmental Litigation or Intellectual Property Dispute Resolution. You will be much better situated with a Chicago degree, even if it has no IP “program,” than with the GW degree.

    Very true. Also, certain programs (such as ADR, my hobby) have negative value.

    “Seattle attorney is going to recognize Georgetown is a good school, but will not necessarily prefer it to U Washington or Berkley. ”

    I disagree. Georgetown will be preferred to U Wash. Boalt Hall is a different matter, with a historically very strong program, but both G’town and Boalt will get further than U Wash, even in Seattle

    Then Seattle is far different from Dallas. SMU grads place better in Dallas than Georgetown grads do. Heck, Baylor grads place better in Dallas than Georgetown grads.

    Elisabeth

    Most of those classes only pay about 40K a year to teach and don’t lead anywhere. They are interesting to teach, but hard to afford, like doing significant pro bono. When I had my own practice I’d put in well over 200 pro bono hours a year. When I took a job in Dallas and made partner, I couldn’t afford the time (well, I was already working six days a week and if I wanted to see my family too) …

    Eric Soderlund — have I seen you at the JRCLS in Dallas at the Belo?

  96. Steve Evans on March 16, 2005 at 8:20 pm

    Ethesis, Dallas is indeed a different place, as is the South in general, where personal/regional connections take particular significance. SMU grads probably place as well in Dallas as Harvard grads, from what I’ve heard.

  97. Steve Evans on March 16, 2005 at 8:27 pm

    And Jay, I know of many that have switched jurisdictions as they move between offices at their firms or move from place to place. I don’t have numbers, but it is a common occurrence. It’s true that there are more obstacles to moving for lawyers, but it’s all part of the analysis for both lawyers and law firms. Firms that I’ve talked to are not daunted by the prospect of having their lawyers take another bar exam.

  98. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 16, 2005 at 8:32 pm

    I’ve taken two bar exams since ’82 — Utah and Texas (I could have gotten reciprocity in Texas, but the bar exam was faster). Of the people I practice with, most have just a Texas bar license, though one also has Louisiana and one was JAG (Air Force) and so has his prior law license as well.

    Most of us have been in practice 20+ years.

  99. Elisabeth on March 16, 2005 at 9:18 pm

    Matt Evans-

    Thanks for your reply. These posts are so interesting to read, since I allowed myself to get caught up in the competition of working hard to get into a good law school, graduating at the top of my class and then ending up working for a big firm making lots of money, but wondering why I was so bored – even though the deals I worked on were making headlines, and I was supposedly working with the brightest lawyers in Boston. Guess I chose the wrong profession, but there are just so many talented people who grow up and want (or encouraged) to be lawyers – so you kind of just go with the flow and think that you’ll enjoy it. I know a few attorneys who enjoy their work, but not many. I still have a day job as a lawyer, but decided to start teaching law school one night a week, which has been the most interesting legal job I’ve had so far. Anyway, seems like most lawyers on this board enjoy being lawyers. How long did you practice law before you realize you had to get out and do something else?

  100. Eric Soderlund on March 16, 2005 at 10:15 pm

    Stephen–

    I was at the Steven M. Covey thing and a couple other things. I was planning to go today but something happened and it got cancelled.

  101. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 16, 2005 at 10:23 pm

    Ethesis, Dallas is indeed a different place, as is the South in general, where personal/regional connections take particular significance. SMU grads probably place as well in Dallas as Harvard grads, from what I’ve heard.

    Comment by Steve Evans — 3/16/2005 : 8:20 pm

    I’m honestly surprised that the same metric does not hold true in Seattle.

    It appears to hold in New Mexico and in some other regions (e.g. Lewis & Clark in Portland).

    I know a few attorneys who enjoy their work

    I have to admit I enjoy my work, but I’ve enjoyed teaching more. Unfortunately, with my weaker credentials, the time has passed when a law school would cold call me and ask me to apply for an opening before it was listed. I lost a lot in the years following 1992, in every area of my life. Now, if I had graduated from Yale like my uncle …

    Anyway, it is late, I need to go to sleep and not dwell on old dreams and mistakes.

  102. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 16, 2005 at 10:25 pm

    Eric

    Drat, I’ve probably just missed you. Well, I’ll catch you at something else. Today’s problem was too many board members out of town, speaker fell through and it seemed better to cancel. But we will be up and running again.

  103. Shawn Bailey on March 16, 2005 at 11:08 pm

    Elisabeth: most lawyers here may or may not enjoy being lawyers. I will not presume to speak for anyone but myself. But I do think the heavy involvement of lawyers here (in terms of both quanity of lawyers and quantity of content provided by lawyers) says something about the failure of law practice to fulfill something important for lawyers. What that something is may not be reducible to a single-word definition. I am thinking of several related things people seem to get here: a creative outlet, a place to satisfy intellectual curiousity, a place to show off, a place to test developing ideas, a place to break the monotony of document review (there have been posts on this, but they are not worth linking), etc.

    I am interested in the job dissatisfaction rates among attorneys I have seen reported in several places. And the large number of attorneys that leave practice for other fields each year. I think the obsession with status in the legal profession that has been discussed above has something to do with it. In my humble opinion, far too many lawyers sacrifice opportunities that would make them happy to pursue what will make them rich or enable them to look down on other lawyers (and other people in general). I think that this is part of what informs the “go to the most elite school possible no matter what” attitude. People making this argument seem to assume that every lawyer would be an NYC BigLaw attorney if only they could.

    However, I think that it is atleast possible that wanting to be an NYC BigLaw attorney is a form of mental illness. What child dreams of working on “big deals” when they grow up? Or engaging in pitched discovery battles? Do non-lawyers in general find these “big deals” corporate lawyers talk about interesting? Do people make movies about the kind of litigation or transactions that are the bread and butter of BigLaw? I’ve heard BigLaw friends talk about their deals being in the headlines. Does that really keep them warm at night? Such news stories no doubt are good sedatives, but what about warmth? (I am obviously joking here to make a point. I know that BigLaw attorneys are extremely important to the world in general. Respond to this post lecturing me about how I underestimate BigLaw only to prove you are a twit.)

    I’m just saying that there may be a reason that BigLaw attorneys get paid so much. What other incentive is there to do such boring and tedious work? Along the same lines, there may be a reason why BigLaw attorneys are so invested in the myth of prestige. It may be an extension of law review: law students will go crazy for the privilege to copy edit and check citations (the very definition of boring and tedious work) if they are led to believe that doing so is very prestigious.

    Incidentally, in a limited sense, I enjoy being a lawyer. After law school, I worked for a year as a DOJ trial attorney. I am currently clerking for a federal trial judge in DC. I will probably return to DOJ. I generally never think “this is so fun, I can’t believe I am getting paid to do this.” But I am grateful to get paid to do intellectual work: fact-gathering, research, analysis, writing, advocacy. I feel satisfaction in doing work of which I can be proud. And I feel like a small but meaningful part of a good legal system. I will probably practice (with a smile on my face) until I retire.

  104. Jordan Fowles on March 16, 2005 at 11:29 pm

    Wow- is this T&S or the Princeton Review? :)

  105. Mark B. on March 16, 2005 at 11:39 pm

    One of the problems about law schools these days is that their tuition rates appear to assume that all their students will be working at large law firms, making six figure salaries as they learn the intricacies of making coffee and copies. As recently as 25 years ago (my 25th reunion is in May) I finished at Chicago with two children and less than $11K in debt. One of those years our family income was under $4,000, but somehow we made it without more debt. Paying off the debt was just a minor annoyance, not a burden that forced me to stay with big firms doing work I didn’t find very satisfying–I am still trying to figure out why I did that for over 10 years.

    When I read recently of a friend who is now the managing partner at Cadwalader, where per partner profits last year were over $1.6 million, I felt just a bit envious. Then I remembered the price I would have to pay for a share of those profits, and I was happy once again with my solo practice–no partners, no boss telling me to bill more hours, no associates to try to keep happy, and, thankfully, an income that keeps me from the poorhouse and my daughters’ tuition paid.

  106. Matt Evans on March 16, 2005 at 11:41 pm

    Elisabeth, I was always looking for opportunities outside the law, even while in law school. I eventually decided I should at least work for a couple of years to ‘finish’ my education, have someone else pay my bar fees and moving expenses, and bide my time looking for something better suited to my personality.

  107. Elisabeth on March 17, 2005 at 7:23 am

    I’d also be interested in hearing from anyone here who truly enjoys the practice of law at a big firm. Without making too many generalizations, the only people who “enjoy” their work at my law firm of over 400 attorneys, are obsessively driven (coming back to work two days after giving birth) and extraordinarily difficult to work with on both personal and professional levels (insert ridiculously cruel partner stories here). They definitely don’t seem like they are happy people (and getting to know a few of them outside the office was no more revealing). Since the LDS church encourages people to choose careers that are compatible with developing (and maintaining) productive relationships, and with allowing time to serve others, working for a big law firm (in most cases) seems like the wrong choice. But, in a perfect world, you wouldn’t have to go into $100,000 of debt to go to law school – and working for a big firm for a few years to pay off student loans is a common career trajectory for impressionable new lawyers.

  108. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 17, 2005 at 8:08 am

    What child dreams of working on “big deals” when they grow up? Or engaging in pitched discovery battles?

    Ok, I did. My idea of what lawyers did consisted of Louis Nizer’s “My Life in Court” (available used on Amazon.com for under two dollars). Exciting pitched discovery battles, new legal theories, etc. Case load is a little high right now, but we are hiring again. It is March and I’ve already zeroed out eight cases (I’m in Texas, summary judgments are very rare, but I’m running 90% this year given I’ve got the paperwork finished on zero #9 and lost one motion, which is being reheard).

    But I’m not in a “BigLaw” firm (well, there are about 400 attorneys, but it is the staff counsel office for St Paul Travelers which means no business development, reasonable hours, I actually take vacations and each branch office, like the one I work in, usually has less than twelve attorneys. I work six miles from the house instead of the hour each way commute I had when I was a partner downtown with a corner office on the 23rd floor).

    However, I thought I should note that one thing you are unlikely to get from BYU is status/class training. In watching how people do in large firms and how in smaller firms and alternative legal careers, I’m struck by how often class markers are substituted for competence by those who are hiring.

    When http://mthollywood.blogspot.com/ is talking about the computer industry and the paths of some of the managers he has encountered more than once, he sees their attitudes and class markers as a bad thing about them — yet it is what gets them hired over and over again.

    What got me noticing was comparing some friends of mine (I’m going to call them all by J names):

    Jake, got his JD from Washburn. Not very competent, bad work ethic, bad judgment, but a nice guy. Has had a string of good jobs in IP litigation, chief corporate counsel (lost that one by running a law practice on the side and not showing up to work), etc. He projects upper professional class and constantly is able to find new jobs that way.

    James, U.T. Graduate, has been senior counsel of a fortune 50 company. Amazingly does not have good class markers, when his company merged, was unable to find any sort of decent replacment job. Headhunters would take him in, but couldn’t place him. Willing to work, good skills, retrainable.

    Jesse, Columbia graduate, a string of “biglaw” firms (that phrase seems abnormal to me), found himself, due to a mistep, without any portable business. Worked his way back to six figure income the old fashioned way (using associates).

    Jerry, Antioch graduate, great class markers in spite of alcholism, can bring clients in like a pro bass fisher brings in the panfish. Great guy, just unable to do any of the work he brings in.

    Jacob, Texas Tech graduate, good workmanlike attorney, JAG followed by laboring in the trenches. Lacks class markers, did not get them from the JAG or Texas Tech.

    Jeriah, Suffolk, dresses well, takes three times as many billable hours for any project as one would estimate, gets dissed on by the Columbia graduate.

    Jasper, UT graduate (still edits a yearly update for their law review), great skills, great guy, last I heard was working 200 hours a month, being paid $20k a month. You’d like him for a brother-in-law, loves IP litigation and is good at it. He lives for legal practice.

    I could go on, but not counting Jasper, who is a true meritocracy result, the rest can chart their careers not by their skills, but by their connections. Heck, Jesse, the Columbia graduate, has a law school textbook under his name, knows nothing of that area of the law (associates wrote it all) — which dampened a project to market him in that area of the law. James, from UT (a loser in the status wars, gets up in the ratings, but dissed on all over) really got far before he fell from grace and never really recovered — but that was because he amazingly does not seem to have learned how to look like a person of the right class and status level to get the kind of work he had or even 3-4 tiers under it.

    All of those seemed to enjoy legal practice, btw. I left out people I know who don’t.

    In the JRCLS group, a number of the guys really seem to enjoy being lawyers. For others, it is a job.

    Most jobs are not that satisfying. I’ll have to dig up my mother-in-law’s favorite quote.

    On the other hand, if you like it, teaching is a blast. If the right chance came up again (rather than at the wrong time in my life) I’d take it in a heartbeat. Well, as soon as my sixteen year old graduates from high school. We promised her we wouldn’t move until after she graduated and left for college.

    Wish you the best.

    Oh, and BYU when I was graduating in 82 had tuition of 400 dollars a semester. I think I had five or seven thousand dollars in debt at graduation.

  109. Elisabeth on March 17, 2005 at 8:53 am

    Stephen M – I wholeheartedly agree with the class markers statement. My Yankee and New York colleagues in law school and at my law firm all summered on the Cape or in the Hamptons, went to the same (or similar) nursery schools and summer camps as children, and definitely had a leg up on the people from the West as far as making connections and exuding a sophisticated professionalism. Along these lines – I now work in the Romney administration – and it has been very interesting to see how the Mormon influence has infiltrated Beacon Hill and the upper echelons of business in Massachusetts. Now, being a Mormon is seen as the ticket into the inside circle, instead of a borderline acceptable membership in a vague religious group.

  110. Shawn Bailey on March 17, 2005 at 10:14 am

    Elisabeth and Stephen: coming from the west, my wife and I have noticed many of these cultural “status” differences. Colleagues and neighbors frequently ask on which elite pre-school waiting lists we have placed our 18-month-old’s name. Many of these charge tuition that rivals ivy-league undergraduate tuition! We explain to those who press the issue (I guess we should take it as a compliment; they are apparently assuming we fit in a particular class category and they want our kids to be friends) that we intentionally arrange our lives in a way that (a) reserves for us ample time to personally supplement our children’s education; and (b) forecloses certain options due to the costs involved. We are not opposed to pre-school, but it will probably be done in our home—or in a program where the tuition is not more than what I paid for law school.

    Friends and colleagues have also expressed amazement at our financial situation in general. My wife is a pianist (a damn good one too!) who occassionally performs in the area and teaches lessons. As for me, well … my salary is a matter of public record, so I won’t belabor the point. Anyway, friends and colleagues observe that they don’t know how we do it. What they mean, I have come to understand, is that they don’t know how we live without a summer home on the Eastern Shore or the Outer Banks. They don’t know how we live without driving luxury cars. Or without fine wine and cigars. Or how Andrea lives without regular makeovers, spa visits, and power-shopping.

    It is a different world, and the connections and socialization associated with it do exert a powerful influence in the professional world. I think things like JRC Law Society and the Marriot Society are important alternatives to that world. And it is probably important to have people who belong to both the mormon and eastern elite networks. It sounds like that is happening in Boston these days.

  111. Ben S. on March 17, 2005 at 10:35 am

    “But Chicago is a great school and Hyde Park is an interesting place to live.”

    As a non-law student at Uchicago, let me plug both the school, Hyde Park and the ward.
    Excellent, all of them:)

    Plug plug!

  112. John Morley on March 17, 2005 at 10:43 am

    Perhaps I’ve missed it, but it seems to me that quality of law school experience has been underemphasized here, in favor of instrumental concerns about what a law school will do for you later in life. I came to Yale despite some very real costs: Columbia would have been vastly cheaper for me, and Harvard indisputably has more prestige power outside of elite law circles. But I view law school attendance as an act of consumption, rather than investment. Quite apart from what Yale will do for me in the long-run, I saw it as the best place to grow as a person and as a thinker. That may not be true about Yale for many people–a lot of aspiring corporate lawyers might hate its chaotic, head-in-the-clouds atmosphere. But it was true for me. And I suggest that any person considering law schools think about which school will enrich her/him most as an individual.

  113. Steve Evans on March 17, 2005 at 10:55 am

    Yale, Yale, Yale.

    John, “quality of law school experience” is a funny factor to focus on, for someone who went to the highest-ranked school in the nation and who (supposedly) never had to deal with struggles of getting a job. What’s more, the factor you’re emphasizing is virtually impossible to measure. How do you propose that one assess “which school will enrich her/him most as an individual?”

    I did not feel particularly engaged by law school, and feel that it is largely a means to an end. I find practice more interesting and fulfilling. But that’s not saying much, either.

  114. Elisabeth on March 17, 2005 at 2:19 pm

    Hey, Shawn-

    It IS amazing at how much preschool costs here. My friend still remembers being rejected from a prestigious pre-school in NYC when he was four years old because he failed the interview. It’s a little too much pressure to worry that your child’s life will be ruined unless he gets into a particular school at age four, but such are the worries of many parents here in Boston. Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts and positive experiences as a government lawyer – good luck saving up for that summer house…

  115. Aaron Brown on March 17, 2005 at 2:35 pm

    I haven’t read all the comments here, but I’ll throw in my two cents as an attorney who HATES being an attorney.

    I went to law school with Matt Evans, except I was a year ahead of him. Matt never really wanted to be a lawyer. I thought that was weird. Why go to a top law school if you know you don’t want to be a lawyer? I definitely looked forward to Big Firm practice myself, even though I really didn’t know what I was getting into (I didn’t have any close relatives who practiced law; Everyone had always told me “You’d make a good lawyer,” and I had always “known” that I wanted to be a lawyer, whatever that meant). Some of law school was intellectually engaging. Some of it wasn’t. In any event, I had one very fulfilling summer experience at a Big Firm, and another that was so-so. I finally joined a branch office in California of a big New York firm, and assumed my life was on track. How naive.

    I hated law firm life. I mean I REALLY HATED it. For me, it wasn’t the long hours (which was only a problem some of the time). It was that the work was so incredibly meaningless and boring. I never believed I could loathe something so much. I should have figured this all out when Matt Evans did.

    In any event, I ended up taking a job with a smaller, much less prestigious firm, and even though the hours were better and the people were nicer, I still couldn’t stand the work, and my lack of intellectual interest translated into a lack of motivation, which can, of course, be potentially dangerous to one’s job security.

    I left my firm in late January, and have relocated to Washington State to handle some family emergencies that required my attention. I was looking for a reason to leave, and I found it. I am now debating whether to try to re-enter the law firm market up here (which I really don’t want to do), or to move one to something else. I just need to figure out what that is.

    My advice to prospective big firm lawyers: SAVE YOURSELVES!!

    Aaron B

  116. Shawn Bailey on March 17, 2005 at 2:50 pm

    Best wishes to you too, Elisabeth. I have appreciated reading your thoughts. Good luck in your work for the Governor and the people of Mass. And I hope you continue to enjoy teaching legal writing! By the way, I think it would be appropriate for you to tell your students just how mind-numbing some legal work can be. Some of my English and history professors in undergrad certainly told me about the drawbacks of their profession (mostly complaints that they were underappreciated and poorly compensated). Just don’t ruin a gig you are enjoying by getting in trouble with your law school employer—you know, for convincing too many law students to value things other than money, power, and/or position! I take it law schools’ endowments depend on BigLaw donations!

  117. Steve Evans on March 17, 2005 at 3:04 pm

    Aaron, that may well be the best advice thus far, I’m afraid.

  118. Nate Oman on March 17, 2005 at 3:26 pm

    Thoughts on life in BigLaw: I work in the DC office of mega firm based out of Chicago. So far I think that my impression is that about half of what I do is drugery. Boring but not really horriblely unpleasant. About a quarter of what I do is really quite facinating, and about a quarter of what I do is intensely unpleasant. The facinating part consists of doing legal research, writing briefs, helping to prep people for oral argument, and going to court (only done this once). The drudgery stuff is your run of the mill document review and the like. The intensely unpleasant stuff basically consists of the drudgery with the added spice of high pressure deadlines, grumpy bosses breathing down your neck, etc.

    I actually have enjoyed litigation, particularlly on the three smaller cases that I have worked on so far (two appeals, one grand jury investigation). The problem with BigFirm litigation is that generally you are working on monstorously huge cases. The result is a sort of industrialized, assembly-line model of litigation in which you are small cog in a vast litigating factory. Not too much fun. My sense so far is that — at least for a litigator — the size of the cases that you work on is much more important than the size of the firm that you work for. There are some very nice benefits of working for a big firm. I like having secretaries and paralegals that I can throw work at, as well as a good support staff that handles non-legal tasks.

  119. Eric Soderlund on March 17, 2005 at 5:55 pm

    And I get free sody pop all day long at my big law firm. Can’t beat that, can you?

  120. HL Rogers on March 17, 2005 at 7:15 pm

    I submit laawyers need nothing more to be happy. Any lawyer who is or has been unhappy at a big firm simply did not appreciate the free soda (and hot chocolate) enough. Shame on you!

  121. a random John on March 17, 2005 at 7:20 pm

    Shawn,

    You know I love you but:
    most lawyers here may or may not enjoy being lawyers.
    Wow. That sentence is majestic in its nonsense. Not only does it reduce to a tautology, but you throw in a most and two mays, making me wonder if you even believe the tautology. In any case, we all know that summers are best spent in Wyoming…

    Elisabeth,

    Welcome! I was wondering when you’d show up here. As far as I know you are Boston II member #3 here, though Marko (who I really shouldn’t count anymore) mostly just lurks.

  122. a random John on March 21, 2005 at 5:50 pm

    let’s do the time warp again!

  123. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 21, 2005 at 10:49 pm

    Wow, missing posts, about sixty of them as of this post.

    Random John has the “time warp” down cold!

  124. Seth Rogers on March 22, 2005 at 5:33 pm

    If you have no intention of entering academia, despise the idea of working at Biglaw, got mediocre grades as an undergrad, and don’t want to sell your firstborn to make debt repayments …

    Wyoming isn’t too bad.

    Just expect to be doing a lot of networking before and after graduation.

    And yes, the summers here are lovely. If you can stomache five months of winter and an FM dial consisting entirely of Country and Christian Pop, you’re all set.

  125. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 22, 2005 at 8:00 pm

    Hey, Country music isn’t so bad …