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Thread: Questions About Planning School

  1. #1
    Dec 2009

    Questions About Planning School

    I'm a first year law student in L.A...I just finished up my last exam and perhaps the fact that I think I botched it is pushing me to think more critically about my career plans. I actually like law school, especially research and writing, but I can't stop thinking about whether I would have been better off in a planning program every time I walk past the policy school on campus. My question is, what is planning school really like?

    I minored in urban studies and planning in UG and I really liked the "studies" part, but I can't say I took many hands-on planning classes besides a land use planning class that focused on general plans. What kind of skills are important in planning? Is a design background important?

    Any guidance will be helpful. I can take a few planning courses for credit next year, but I have to make a case that the courses will be beneficial in some concrete way. So any tips on what classes might fit into that category would also be appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Jul 2011
    Encinitas, CA
    What do you want to do? Do you plan on pursuing a career in law, or in planning? They're two different fields requiring different skill sets. Taking courses in planning would be helpful to a land use attorney, but not so much for a family law attorney.

    It's a bit tough to answer your question without knowing what you want to do. For example, if you want to be a private sector land use attorney, then I'd say take a few courses in real estate finance, land development, and environmental planning (CEQA especially). Land use attorneys don't need to understand design, because the design is more or less irrelevant to what they do. However, you would want to understand the process of entitlement, a little bit about finance (to help understand what kinds of concessions may be acceptable to your clients), and the various laws (CEQA, SMA, Brown Act, etc.) that could cause your clients problems.

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