The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 17, 1975, Page page 8, Image 8

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    Wednesday, septet iter 17, 1975
51
pags 8
daily nebraskan
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Small-to wn practice Is second career for graduate
' i ci1 "hut it is
By Marian Lucas
"Ten years ago if you told me I was gping to be a law
yer, I'd say it wasn't possible," said 35-year-old Gary
Gartner.
Today Gartner, a 1974 NU College of Law graduage, is
the sole lawyer in Palmyra, Nebr. He established his
practice five miles from where he was raised, making it
easier for him to become the town's only lawyer.
A skilled laborer before he entered the College of Law,
Gartner worked six years as a carpenter. After three years
in the navy, he said he decided to go to college despite what
he called inadequate high school grades.
When Gartner was a law school freshman, he said he
looked at law as an opportunity to be independent.
"I cnlr with it"
"After mv freshman vear. I began to think that law school to attend, he said
NU Law-enrollment increases;
we can place people anywhere'
might not have been what I wanted. But I stuck with-it,
because I had been selected," Iw said.
Pressure from friends and faculty prompted him to stay
in law school, Gartner said, because they considered the
field prestigious.
Gartner said he was interviewed for various job oppor
tunities but decided to follow his original plans of establish
ing a single practice. After he was graduated from NU, how
ever, he said he was disillusioned.
-' "I was tired of studying law and couldn't bring myself to
set up a practice because it would be like law school again,
said Gartner. '
No question in his mind ,
"Most law students are afried to start out," said Gartner,
"and many go into fields that are unrelated to law." .
There was no question in his mind about which law
"I went to NU as a conveneince," Gartner said, "but it is
a good law school." , .
NU College of Law graduates are able to compete with
other state university law graduates, Gartner said but they
can't compete with graduates from Harvard and Yale, he
added.
Didn'tlikeit
The NU Jaw school doesn't adequately prepare a pro
spective lawyer for general practice, Gartner said.
Gartner has been in practice for 8 months and said he
initially didn't like it.
"But now I think I am becoming more competent,"
Gartner said.
Gartner also said students contemplating law school
should gain an awareness of job possibilities by talking to
lawyers.
Don Shanevfelt. assistant dean of NU's
law college, said its reputation is "very
fine" nationally.
Shaneyfelt, who is responsible for plac
ing graduates, said, out of last May's 77
graduates, only 4 aren't placed.
This year, 471 students are enrolled in
the school compared to 439 in 1974. Even
though 900 people applied, Shaneyfelt said
4he number .of applicants was down be
cause of a'$25 application fee. Two years
ago when application, was free, there were
1,200, he said. Annually, the law school
takes 175 new students.
"In Nebraska we have no problem plac
ing our graduates though it is more dif
ficult than four or five years ago," said
Shaneyfelt.
Nationally, 53 per cent of all law school
graduates actually practice law, he said,
while the remainder usually enter related
fields such as government or social service.
In Nebraska, however, Shaneyfelt said 80
85 per cent practice law.
"Our graduates have proved we can
place people anywhere in the United
States," said Shaneyfelt.
Henry Grether, law school Dean, said
NU alumni earn starting salaries between
$8,000 to $12,000 each year. ...
Grether said it usually takes a year or
two before a lawyer gains the experience
he really needs.
"I, don't think the overall job oppor
tunities are really that poor, although those
at the bottom of the class will have more
trouble," said Grether.
He added that the problem exists on
both coasts where the job situation is
tough.
0
77
The size of the new law school, Including study areas, accomodated the increase in
student enrollment.
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