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Old 02-22-2008, 12:59 PM
 
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Hi,

Got accepted to UNL Law school and just wanted some input from current law students about the curriculum and student life. I read a thread from last year so I kind of got a feel of what to expect living in Lincoln. I'm from CA so it's going to be a big change for me and I'm a little nervous about moving over there. Any sort of info about classes, prof, lifestyle, etc will be greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-23-2008, 12:11 AM
 
Location: West Omaha
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Phil,

I'm currently a student in the law program. I also know 2 or 3 students from California.

As far as curriculum goes, you'll find that UNL is pretty much like every other law school in the U.S. The first year courses are pretty much standard across the nation. Contracts, Property, Torts, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, and Legal Writing.

If you have any specific questions just shoot them at me, either here or via private message. This topic is a bit broad for me to give me much useful info, but if you could supply me with some specific questions, concerns, or thoughts I can try and help out.

Matt
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Old 02-23-2008, 12:33 PM
 
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Matt,

Thanks for the reply. I have a bunch of random questions and if you were to even answer a couple, it would be great.

I haven't been in school for a while so I'm a little worried about my writing skills. I'm aware that there is going to be tons of reading and studying, but I haven't written anything longer than a company memo/email in the past 4 years. Also, I have a science degree so I really didn't do too much writing for my undergrad anyway. What should I expect? Would taking a community college class in the summer to brush up on my writing help in any way? Legal writing and essay writing is probably comparing apples to oranges, but I just want to be prepared.

I was also wondering if the school provides housing for 1L law students. If so, do you know the condition of the housing? Is it in the same location as the undergrads? It's a priority for me to get housing near or on campus and can live without the partying and loud music. If I do get housing near or on campus, do you think it's necessary to have a car?

In regards to computers, I have a macbook. Will that pose a problem? I know it will not matter in terms of notes and my outline, but I've heard some professors have tests on computers and the programs required to take the test is only available for PCs.

Thanks again,

Phil
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Old 02-23-2008, 10:46 PM
 
Location: West Omaha
1,181 posts, read 3,646,896 times
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Phil,

As far as writing goes, I'm not sure if taking a community college writing class will help that much. It wouldn't hurt, but I think you could probably find other avenues that might be a little more useful. Maybe some sort of intro to legal writing course or some sort of analytical writing.

I actually have a science background too, but I went on to get a Ph.D. and, as a result, did a lot of analytical writing. I went into law school being very comfortable with writing, but I wouldn't get overly concerned with the issue. I felt like I was at a pretty big advantage because all of my professional writing was analytical. As you suggested, there is a big big difference between essay writing and analytical legal writing. That's why I would suggest that if you do take a course over the summer make sure its an analytical writing course. But I also think you might be just as well of by ordering a few legal writing books from Amazon in order to get a better feel for what is expected. The legal writing course moves relatively slowly and you get plenty of feedback from your professor and your small group adjunct professor. I would also add that your first graded memo isn't due until you've received feedback from a "dry run" memo that you'll submit.

I think you'll find your science background is actually pretty useful. Its good to be different and you'll find that its nice to have a technical quantitative background when you're in class with 125 business administration and political science majors.

As far as housing goes, I'm not really sure. I'm married with kids and I commute from Omaha. I have worked and studied at UNL for the past 10 years though, so I have some generic knowledge. I do know there are graduate school dorms, but, to my knowledge, they are not within walking distance of the law college. You'll find out that there are two UNL campuses, "city campus" and "east campus." The law college is on East Campus and I think all the dorms are on City Campus. That said, there is plenty of affordable housing near the Law College and if you don't find a place within walking distance you should keep in mind that parking at the Law College is very very convenient. As a result of the East Campus/City Campus split nearly all of the undergrad students are on city campus, so loud partying should be an issue.

As far as computers, your Mac will be fine. I would say about 30 to 40% of this year's class uses Mac. You're right, most professors will require that exams be taken on a computer. However, the software is absolutely available for Macs. The software that UNL takes is "Exam4."

I'll wrap it up here for now. Let me know if you have any more questions or if there are issues I missed.

Matt
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:00 AM
 
Location: West Omaha
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Phil,

I meant: "loud partying should NOT be an issue." That was a critical issue for you, so I didn't want to accidentally confuse you with my typo.
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:31 PM
 
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Matt,

Once again, thanks for all the info. It really helps to understand what I'm getting into and I'm feeling more confident with my decision to go to UNL. I'm just a little sad there is no baseball or basketball team to watch, but I will finally have a college football team to support! My undergrad didn't have one

I was checking the employment statistics for UNL and the numbers show only a minority of graduates finding work outside of Nebraska. According to the UNL website, 3% to the west coast and 2% to the east coast for the class of '06. I'm pretty sure a significant majority, if not all the job recruiters are from the midwest, but is most of students staying around Nebraska (66%) because of choice or because there is a lack of options? I know this question cannot be answered by any one person, but just wondering what the general vibe is regarding work placement. My ball and chain, oops I mean my LOVELY ball and chain is currently working in LA and I will probably have to go back there.

Regarding school activities, I'm going to shoot for the stars and try to get into the law review and/or moot court. I know that being a part of the law review and moot court require excellent grades and impeccable writing. Do you know what the general requirements are? The website is very vague and states that students are invited based on class rank or from a writing competition. Any info would be great

I really appreciate all the input!

Phil
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:20 PM
 
Location: Papillion
2,585 posts, read 9,528,705 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil1234 View Post
Matt,

Once again, thanks for all the info. It really helps to understand what I'm getting into and I'm feeling more confident with my decision to go to UNL. I'm just a little sad there is no baseball or basketball team to watch, but I will finally have a college football team to support! My undergrad didn't have one
Good Baseball team to follow... not as good as a few years ago and rebuilding with Joba Chamberlin and the others moving on, but it is a great group of kids, great coach, and a Haymarket Stadium - Hawks Field is a great intimate enviornment for college ball.
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:27 PM
 
Location: West Omaha
1,181 posts, read 3,646,896 times
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Phil,

I'll have to correct you on the baseball thing. Our baseball team actually is one of the top in the country over the last 6 or 7 years. Plus, Omaha is home of the college world series. Maybe you were referring to MLB baseball though. At any rate, the NU baseball team is top notch.

As far as job placement, most people stay in the state because of choice...not limitation. The reason UNL places many more in the state are because most of its students are originally from Nebraska and want to stay. So, they'd be stupid not to go to UNL and take advantage of the in-state tuition. By contrast, Creighton (which costs about double of UNL), which is quite a bit lower rated than UNL, has only about 40% of the students staying in Nebraska. That's because they're a private institution and in-state tuition doesn't factor into a student's decision when attending Creighton.

At any rate, you shouldn't have a problem going back to CA to get a job. The UNL law program is well respected nationally and as long as you do pretty well in school you'll be fine. One thing that may be to your advantage is to do your summer internships in CA.

As far as law-review and moot court go, the law review cut off is, I think 12 to 15 %, but don't quote me on that. I'm not exactly sure what the cut off numbers are and I believe its treated on a scaled basis. By that I mean that the cut off will come at some sort of statistical discontinuity. Moot court is also based on performance, but some other things are factored into that. I would also add that you can "write on" to the law review if you don't qualify based on your class rank. I'm not overly concerned with law review and moot court because, due to my research, I went into law school for a very specific purpose and already have a job lined up. I still am trying to make law review, but I'm not too concerned about it, so I may not be the best one to ask.

I hope this helps. I you think of anything else don't hesitate to ask.

Matt
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Old 02-24-2008, 06:00 PM
 
5 posts, read 18,866 times
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Thanks for the input on baseball. Yes Matt, I was referring to MLB, but I do enjoy watching college sports. They play with more heart and all the money and ego in professional sports can get irritating at times. I'm also excited to watch Nebraska football this fall. I think giving Callahan the boot will do wonders to the program. I just hope I don't get too distracted from my studies!

The information you provided for the law review and moot court was pretty close to what I was guessing it was. Most schools accept only the top students for moot court/law review and I expected UNL to be no less competitive.

Speaking of competition, is there much tension among students? I've heard stories of cutthroat students sabotaging material in libraries to gain an edge. I've also heard the polar opposite where students are a tight-knit community. I'm hoping the latter, but I do except everyone to be somewhat unwilling to help out others in regards to schoolwork.

Quote:
I actually have a science background too, but I went on to get a Ph.D.
With a Ph.D. in science, I'm going to take a stab in the dark and guess you're going to work in the field of intellectual property? or possibly the space and telecom program? I'm personally planning to go into IP because of my degree and my work exp in biotech. I know most people in IP usually have a Masters or Ph.D., but hopefully just having a bachelor's is sufficient. If not, environmental law is probably where I'm headed.

Thanks again for the great input. I know I have absolutely random questions, but I appreciate all the help.

Phil
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Old 02-24-2008, 06:27 PM
 
Location: West Omaha
1,181 posts, read 3,646,896 times
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Yes, you're right, I'm going into IP law. Now knowing that that is your path then I can say with even more confidence that you'll have no problem going back to CA to get a job. You'll find that IP is the one area that is in high demand. It is in such high demand that things like grades and class rank are rarely relevant, provided you don't do "poorly." The demand does depend on your previous educational and professional background though. With a biotech background you should find plenty of opportunities, even without a Ph.D. or masters degree. Granted the more expertise the better, but the pool is already so small that a undergrad science degree already puts you into a pretty small class. I think in my class of about 140 students only about 4 or 5 people are even technically qualified to sit for the USPTO patent bar.

Obviously, the number of IP jobs available in Nebraska are relatively few when compared to the west coast, but there are some. Since you want to go back to CA anyway I would suggest doing your summer internships in CA. It would be much easier for you to find a job relevant to biotech IP law. With a biotech background and summer internships at an IP firm you'll easily find a position when you're done with school, whether you finish at the top of your class or not.

As far as competition goes, I would say the UNL is pretty even keeled and close knit. You don't see any of the horrible overly competitive sabotaging types here. Granted, people are competitive, but its in a healthy manner. Again, because of my background and career plans I haven't immersed myself into that culture really. I'm a little older with a family and a job already lined up, so I don't feel the need to fight for the scraps with the rest of them. But really I don't notice any of the "ultra competitiveness" that you might find at other institutions.

I also agree on your Callahan take! One thing that you absolutely must do is go to a NU football game. It is very unique and there are only a few college environments that will compare. Definitely a must see!
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