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Didymus

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Didymus
I'm going to the Law School Recruitment Forum at McCormick Place here in Chicago this Saturday.
[url="http://lsac.org/Choosing/law-school-recruitment-forums.asp"]http://lsac.org/Choosing/law-school-recruitment-forums.asp[/url]

I know there were a couple phatmassers currently in Law School but I don't know who they are again. Any attorneys?

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CatherineM
Medically retired. Graduated in '87. I fell on my head, and the Bar Association took exception to my not being able to remember my clients names, plus I kept getting lost in the court house. I'm actually hoping to return to practicing in the tribunal. I can't practice regular law being in a different country and all, but the tribunal is less picky about licenses.

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CatherineM
[quote name='T-Bone _' post='1672336' date='Oct 7 2008, 09:05 PM']Does it hurt when they rip your soul out?[/quote]

I will say that I spent longer in the shower after court than I did after running a chain saw all day. I worked non-profit for a reason. Anything else would have killed me.

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T-Bone _
[quote name='CatherineM' post='1672377' date='Oct 7 2008, 08:50 PM']I will say that I spent longer in the shower after court than I did after running a chain saw all day. I worked non-profit for a reason. Anything else would have killed me.[/quote]

A few of the cases I had to sit in on for Grand Jury were like that.

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BG45
I was actually offered a position at Suffolk by a member of their alumni board and turned it down. I couldn't live with myself morally in some of the cases despite loving law.

For example, a friend, we'll call him Bill makes good money. Bill defends anyone with an equal passion, guilty or innocent. Bill tends to get accused sex offenders off with light sentences. I could not be Bill.

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puellapaschalis
[quote name='BG45' post='1672399' date='Oct 8 2008, 06:19 AM']For example, a friend, we'll call him Bill makes good money. Bill defends anyone with an equal passion, guilty or innocent. Bill tends to get accused sex offenders off with light sentences. I could not be Bill.[/quote]

And yet as I understand the system (British, ymmv), that is the kind of attitude required from lawyers. Or at least barristers. "Innocent until proven guilty" implies that you work as though your client were innocent despite your personal "hunches".

Although I guess a guilty plea changes that somewhat.

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Didymus
what law schools did you go to or are currently attending, and what area did you focus in during your second and third years?

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CatherineM
University of Oklahoma, and in 2nd and 3rd years I took classes that covered a lot of Social Justice issues such as Environmental, law and medicine and Labor, plus mostly property issues, like water, land use, oil and gas, indian land titles, agricultural. I also tried to do a general bit on the kinds of things that a neighborhood lawyer would need such as estates, debtor/creditor, tax, commercial law, criminal, and small corporations. I also highly recommend law office management if you want to set up your own office. I was fortunate that one of my professors had a canon law degree from I think Georgetown, and he taught non-credit weekend classes in canon law.

My first bachelors is in agriculture, and I went to work at an ecumenical organization's rural crisis ministry. I did primarily agricultural law in the beginning, but quickly found that farmers have all the same kinds of general problems that suburbanites have. One day I was bailing a farmer out for driving his tractor drunk across a highway, and the next day dealing with the tax issues of restructuring a 5 million dollar debt. Being the only lawyer on staff at an ecumenical organization with a bunch of different ministries meant I had to learn about immigration law and FEMA stuff on the fly. I also got over 1000 hours of mediation training, both as a student, and then later as a trainer. That was very useful.

I also did a lot of pro-bono stuff in my off hours working at a homeless shelter and mental health clinic helping homeless mentally ill get their disability stuff taken care of. I took disability law in continuing legal education. The legal aid would allow you to take their continuing ed classes for free (usually several hundred dollars a year to keep up your bar requirements) if you were willing to volunteer on some of their cases. In my jurisdiction, you had to either volunteer so many pro-bono hours a year or contribute a certain a certain amount of money, so volunteering with them saved me a bunch of money when I was paying back student loans.

To be honest, I learned more nuts and bolts of lawyering in continuing ed than I ever did in law school. My law school wasn't big on teaching how to do the paperwork. I guess they thought we would all be able to afford legal assistants and paralegals, and the paperwork would be beneath us. When I graduated, I knew the law, and could think like a lawyer, but had never prepared a single written lawsuit. When I went to prepare a custody suit, the court clerk had to give me a sample to copy off of. It was humiliating.

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rkwright
[quote name='Didymus' post='1672740' date='Oct 8 2008, 12:59 PM']what law schools did you go to or are currently attending, and what area did you focus in during your second and third years?[/quote]

I'm at the University of Houston.

Your 1L year is pretty set, we got to choose one elective 2nd semester.

Generally there are some classes that everyone needs and a lot of people take them their 2L year. A lot of my 1L friends are currently with me in Federal Income Tax and Evidence. I'm also taking Oil and Gas, just because its on the bar. Remember, regardless of what type of law you want to practice, you still have to pass the bar which may include things you are not so interested in. I'm also in an Appellate Advocacy class which is focussed on arguing at the appellate level. At UH we offer (as I assume many schools now do) many 'practical skills' classes. The problems Catherine talks about are real problems. Most first year attorneys know the law but don't know how to practice it (they don't teach you much about how to actually implement all the things you learn). So many school are offering more practical classes. My app. ad is one of these classes; we do oral arguments every week, and focus on brief writing. Our professors are all practicing appellate lawyers, and one Court of Appeals Justice. Its great to argue in front of a real Justice and then get feedback from her.

On top of all the classes, your 2L year begins all the extra circular activities also. I'm on the Health Law journal and the Moot Court team (Appellate argument team).

I've mostly been interested in Civil litigation, if the time permits.

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Didymus
Thank you so much CatherineM. It is so helpful to hear everyone else's stories. I have a fear that I too will have a problem with the whole nuts and bolts part of it. It seems like a lot of the other undergrad "pre-law" students at school here already know how to do most of that work because of mock trial and internships etc, but none of them seem to be too exceptionally bright overall..

I am interested in doing special education advocacy. Should I be looking at schools that allow for a focus on advocacy during the second and third years of jd, or maybe family law? (I don't want to ever get into divorce and child custody.)

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Didymus
thanks rkwright!

law school sounds a lot like seminary programs. You learn a lot about philosophy and theology, and not so much about how to say mass and hear confessions..

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