Calling any lawyers- especially with a background in Constitutional law


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Louisiana Carry
March 11, 2008, 11:31 PM
I am looking heavily at going to college. I am a 30yo entrepreneur in LA, FYI.

I want to put some teeth behind my 2A activism. I am not doing this for the money (I am happy with what my business makes, and I could make more at it if I tried). I am doing this a something of a civic duty. With all the bad laws being passed and bad precedents being set, we need people who will really fight for our rights and are not scared to 'rock the boat' and hold municipalities/etc. accountable for their actions, as well as the basic need of defense for the individuals accused.

Also, I am working towards starting a youth ranch for kids. It may be a tad controversial, in that we will take in troubled kids and there will be liability concerns, like teaching shooting, survivalist and equestrian arts. I will need a lawyer, and no one is going to take care of me better than me, I figure.

Anyway, I was just wondering what serious advice any of you may have. I was thinking of going to LSU in Shreveport for a Bachelor's degree (political science?), and then I need to figure out which college would be best for the law degree. I do not want to move, so that means something in E TX, S AR or Baton Rouge. Are there any colleges in those areas that anyone can recommend?

Just looking for any thoughts I should be considering at this planning stage in the adventure.

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Cosmoline
March 11, 2008, 11:52 PM
It can be done, but it's not easy and it costs a lot of money. A BA or BS takes four years generally, though you can do it in three if you're really smart. After that law school is set at three years. I'd suggest sticking with ABA approved schools. It's a stupid system but many states won't let you even sit for the bar if you come from a non-approved law school.

As a general matter, how academically inclined are you? I ask because law school was the most intense academic experience of my life. Far more intense than undergrad. There is a tremendous amount to learn and understand. I'd look to Tulane, Loyola, U Houston, etc.

I wouldn't go there to be your own attorney. You can accomplish all you need with some seminars on starting a non profit and a good insurance broker. But your other reasons sound find, provided you have the time and money to shift over to an academic path.

LawBot5000
March 12, 2008, 12:30 AM
Law school isn't that expensive if you go to a state school and get in-state tuition. My total debt is about a third of what most people pay to do law school.

About con law... IMO, every law student wants to go in to constitutional law. As a result, there are very few paying positions in the field and what few there are (typically law professor slots), are hotly contested and usually only go to graduates of the elite liberal schools (ie, yale, harvard, etc).

Don't let eagerness in excess of ability hurt the movement. This is how we get opinions like Silviera on the books. The last thing we need is inexperienced lawyers trying to engage in activist lawyering on behalf of the 2nd amendment. The guys who are doing heller right now have each been in the legal field for about 10 years and despite their admittedly great abilities, are considered relative novices.

The guys who typically argue big gun cases are more like Halbrook (of Seegar v Ashcroft fame) and have been doing this type of law for many decades (he argued and won the Thompson Center SBR case, US v Staples and a bunch of other big ones).

The average person isn't going to come out of law school and go right in to litigating big gun cases. You'll have to spend years establishing yourself before people are going to give you that kind of responsibility. Now, you could very easily end up doing trial prep or legal research at a public interest law firm that gets such cases and possibly rise through the ranks to arguing before judges, but you aren't going to start making a huge difference right away.

IMO, you should only go into public interest law if you are already independently wealthy.

Feud
March 12, 2008, 12:45 AM
If you want to go to law school consider a minor (or major) in English. So much of the law deals with very technical reading and writing that English majors tend to do very well in Law School.

Louisiana Carry
March 12, 2008, 12:45 AM
Wow, thanks for the replies, guys.

I am not looking for fame or big cases with national impact, as much as I am wanting to make sure that my fellow citizens of LA have an effective defense. There are a few LA LEOS (not all!) that are not scared to ignore the law and charge people with whatever they can think of, when it comes to the 2A. I know of judges who have admitted privately that, while they know that (for example) open carry is legal- they will give undue latitude to the prosecution because 'the mood of the court' (to put it in their words) is that it should not be legal. I want to set up an LA 2A defense fund that gets the word out that, even if there is a learning curve before reaching full effectiveness, there will be a cost to pay for stepping on gun rights in this State. Right now, it seems SAF and other out of State boys are having to come here and do that job for us. We should be doing that for ourselves.

I am not doing it for the money, and my school will be paid and all my bills paid while I go, if this is what I decide for sure on. I will not close my business, and it will also keep me afloat independent of my success as a lawyer.

As to aptitude- yes. Critical thinking, logic, etc. are something I enjoy and have a knack for. I was always the prodigy when I was in schools (like, taking college classes in 7th grade type thing), but I left home and school at 14. I will need to brush up on a few skills that I have not had to put to use, but I know I can handle this.

LawBot5000
March 12, 2008, 04:26 AM
LA Carry, just go to an affordable state school, work your ass off to get on to mock trial, take trial practice courses and get yourself a job with the local prosecutor. The vast majority of prosecutions have nothing to do with guns and you shouldn't see it as a betrayl of your principles. Do it for a few years to familiarize yourself with how the system works and most importantly, to get lots of good trial experience. After doing it for 2-5 years and becoming a skilled trial attorney, go off and forge your own path.

English major is the worst advice ever. There is no pre-law major. Everyone in law school is a poly-sci, philosophy or english major. Most of them are there IMO because becoming a lawyer is better than asking if people want fries with their meal. The only reason english majors are "doing well" in law school is because there are so damn many of them that there are a few at any point on the bell curve.

As a side note, there is a very peculiar type of person that does well in law school and it has little to do with how good a lawyer they become, what major they had or how smart they are. Take comfort in the fact that law school is typically graded on a curve and the vast majority of students at non-elite schools (about 70-80 percent) of the students do not have GPAs high or low enough to help or hurt them. About 10-20 percent of students have GPA's high enough that it helps them get a decent on campus interview and land a good job with a big law firm early on. The bottom 10 percent are a hiring risk IMO until they pass the bar, at which point they are pretty much indistinguishable from the rest of the bottom 90 percent.

Better to get a major that interests you. If it happens to be out of the ordinary, it will help to distinguish you from other law students. Economics is worthwhile IMO, as is history, business, etc. Anything rigorous really. And don't forget that anything in science or engineering puts you on track to take the patent bar and make double the money of your colleagues, assuming you can stomach working with the govt.

LawBot5000
March 12, 2008, 04:36 AM
The big benefit I get from law school is that I met a TON of people through federalist society and through hobnobbing with politicians and lawyers. I also learned a lot about how the legal system works and how political change takes place. None of it was on the curriculum, I just went out and found it out myself.

tackleberi
March 12, 2008, 08:18 AM
+10 on joining up with the Federalist Society, as well as everything else that has been said in this discussion.

As far as picking a pre-law major, pick one you are interested in and do well at it, whether it is one of the "traditional" pre-law courses of study or not. From my own experience, which includes "traditional" preparation (political science) as well as significant amounts of not-so-traditional coursework (physiology, chemistry, statistics), you'll find that almost anything you bring to the table from your undergraduate schooling will find a role in your legal studies.

The Federalist Society has a Pre-Law Reading List on its website....maybe a quick peek at it will give you exposure to a few different academic disciplines which you may wish to consider. See it here:http://www.fed-soc.org/resources/id.65/default.asp

RPCVYemen
March 12, 2008, 11:17 AM
Critical thinking, logic, etc. are something I enjoy and have a knack for.

That should serve you well. I have watched a sibling and several cousins go through law school, and critical thinking will serve you well.

As a kind of a personal self-test, can you identify the weaknesses in the various pro-RKBA arguments posted on THR, and how to exploit those weaknesses for a successful pro gun control argument?

One thing I have noted about about good lawyers is that they seem to be able to size up the weaknesses and strengths of any arguments, and argue for or against any of them with equal ease. Maybe that's what moot court is for.

For example, it is not unusual for a defense attorney to start a career working for the DA.

My guess is that developing the ability to see and exploit the weaknesses of an argument you personally agree with is one of the bigger challenges in front of someone seeking law school with an "activist" motivation.

Most of what passes for "critical thinking" on THR is pretty much second rate re-cycled cant. I hope there is not a single pro-RKBA argument on THR that is a challenge for you to demolish ...

Mike

gunsnmoses
March 12, 2008, 11:24 AM
Law school is a big time sucker, and the pressure is enormous. Not to mention it'll set you back about $90,000.

I would use the time and money to teach people who have never shot before to shoot. Get NRA trained, get a few .22 rifles and pistols and take the kids to the range. Offer safety classes for free, and encourage people to get concealed carry permits.
In the long run that's going to have more impact than another lawyer.

Jimmy Dean
March 12, 2008, 11:41 AM
Me and LC talked the other day on the phone, one of the problems we have in La right now is that not many lawyers are wanting to take on the larger cases for illegal arrests for OC for example, rights violations etc.

RPCVYemen
March 12, 2008, 11:45 AM
Me and LC talked the other day on the phone, one of the problems we have in La right now is that not many lawyers are wanting to take on the larger cases for illegal arrests for OC for example, rights violations etc.

Why? Is it a matter of not getting paid enough for the litigation?

Mike

Beatnik
March 12, 2008, 11:45 AM
I wouldn't have put it the same way as gunsnmoses, but I agree with the sentiment.
I'm focusing on the idea of putting teeth into activism. What state activist group is there in LA? What do they accomplish? Do they primarily fight against bad bills or do they also get good bills passed? Is it a sportsmens group which picked up the activist torch, or is it an activist group primarily?

If you don't have a group that does the right things, start one. VCDL in Virginia is largely run by a bunch of computer programmers. You don't have to be a lawyer to be a lobbyist.

As far as your boy's camp, I'd say just hire a lawyer and give up on being one. I can't imagine you could go to law school, start a camp, and run your business, at least not if you need sleep.

Beatnik
March 12, 2008, 11:46 AM
Why? Is it a matter of not getting paid enough for the litigation?

Probably has something to do with the French system of justice they enjoy down there and unwillingness to lose cases.

tinygnat219
March 12, 2008, 11:48 AM
Here's a list of some good 2nd Amendment attroneys.

http://www.hkshooter.net/lawyers/

These guys practice in VA, but there's one on particular you might want to look into: Richard Gardiner. He represents some of the VA Gun companies that are being sued by Bloomie.

Another institute you will want to look at for your views on freedom is the Cato Institute: http://www.cato.org/

They should be able to assist you in possibly finding a mentor or something like that.

RPCVYemen
March 12, 2008, 12:08 PM
It may be a tad controversial, in that we will take in troubled kids and there will be liability concerns, like teaching shooting, survivalist and equestrian arts.

I read more of your post. My guess is that if you are going to be handing guns to troubled kids, insurance is going to be a bigger hurdle than legal issues. Let me make it clear that I don't doubt your intentions, and it sounds like a cool idea.

I would guess any insurance company is going to be very nervous about your handing weapons to kids you have already identified as "troubled". That's not to say insurance won't be available - but it might be pretty expensive.

I don't know whether it will be prohibitive or not - if you are on a mission, maybe you can figure out a way to make it work.

Mike

Louisiana Carry
March 12, 2008, 07:11 PM
"What state activist group is there in LA? What do they accomplish? Do they primarily fight against bad bills or do they also get good bills passed? Is it a sportsmens group which picked up the activist torch, or is it an activist group primarily?

If you don't have a group that does the right things, start one. VCDL in Virginia is largely run by a bunch of computer programmers. You don't have to be a lawyer to be a lobbyist."

I founded LA Carry. I talked to Mr. Van Cleave, and he was helpful.

Louisiana Carry Mission Statement (http://louisianacarry.org/misc/mission.htm)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Louisiana Carry has several goals. We seek to:

Promulgate and promote needed changes to Louisiana law as it relates to the rights of the citizenry to keep and bear arms. We are against gun control in all its forms.
To build a legal defense fund to ensure those legally defending themselves have an adequate defense in the court system.
Promote firearms safety and training.
Maintain an email alert network for individuals concerned about the right to keep and bear arms.
Raise awareness of the benefits and necessity of weapons ownership, for defense of people, property and State.
Raise awareness of our legal right to openly carry weapons and our prerogative as Louisiana citizens to obtain Concealed Handgun Permits.
Educate the public in regards to their actual legal rights and responsibilities under current law.
Positively impact the revenue of establishments in Louisiana that support our right to keep and bear arms.
Negatively impact the revenue of establishments in Louisiana that disparage our right to keep and bear arms.
Raise awareness of current events as they pertain to weapons ownership.
Raise the consciousness of the Citizenry in relation to the importance of liberty in all walks of life.

We plan to continue working to accomplish these goals as far into the future as we are able.

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