Law School Discussion

Specific Groups => Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students => Topic started by: army76 on May 16, 2008, 07:58:52 AM

Title: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: army76 on May 16, 2008, 07:58:52 AM
Hello,

Graduated class of '08 w/ a BBA in Management. My cum GPA is 3.12.  Have been in the financial world for last 8 years.  Do law schools put as much weight on grades with that much work experience?  Also, I have 14 years of service with National Guard with two deploymentsunder my belt.  I'm hoping this will be beneficial as well. Comments are greatly appreciated!!
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: J.A.A.N. on May 16, 2008, 08:05:50 AM
Hi. Your work experience and NG experience will probably be great "soft factors" and should work to your advantage (to an extent). The best thing you can do is arm yourself with a really high LSAT (assuming you want a T14 or even Tier 1 law school). The higher the better in your case.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: army76 on May 16, 2008, 08:21:26 AM
Thanks, J.A.A.N

Depending on my financial situation I would rather attend FT instead of PT. Working on paying debts down to accomplish this.  I will be applying in Fall '09 to start in Fall '10.  Does adding a minor after undergraduate help in cum GPA?
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: J.A.A.N. on May 16, 2008, 08:28:02 AM
Thanks, J.A.A.N

Depending on my financial situation I would rather attend FT instead of PT. Working on paying debts down to accomplish this.  I will be applying in Fall '09 to start in Fall '10.  Does adding a minor after undergraduate help in cum GPA?

I'm not sure whether adding a minor is really worth it since it takes so much to significantly raise a GPA. To answer your question, however, any college-level courses you take will be factored into your cum GPA by LSAC.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: Susan B. Anthony on May 16, 2008, 08:44:38 AM
Thanks, J.A.A.N

Depending on my financial situation I would rather attend FT instead of PT. Working on paying debts down to accomplish this.  I will be applying in Fall '09 to start in Fall '10.  Does adding a minor after undergraduate help in cum GPA?

I'm not sure whether adding a minor is really worth it since it takes so much to significantly raise a GPA. To answer your question, however, any college-level courses you take will be factored into your cum GPA by LSAC.

Not once an undergraduate degree is awarded they won't.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: mbw on May 16, 2008, 08:45:24 AM
Thanks, J.A.A.N

Depending on my financial situation I would rather attend FT instead of PT. Working on paying debts down to accomplish this.  I will be applying in Fall '09 to start in Fall '10.  Does adding a minor after undergraduate help in cum GPA?

I'm not sure whether adding a minor is really worth it since it takes so much to significantly raise a GPA. To answer your question, however, any college-level courses you take will be factored into your cum GPA by LSAC.

Incorrect.  Post-graduation, no classes are included in your LSAC UGPA.

By the time you're ten years post-UG, your UGPA is considered much less relevant.  However, adcomms still need to see that you have the academic ability to succeed in law school, and so will place much more emphasis on your LSAT.

Work experience is a great soft factor, as is military experience.  However, your LSAT will most likely be the determining factor as to which "tier" of schools you can successfully apply.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: J.A.A.N. on May 16, 2008, 08:56:08 AM
Thanks, J.A.A.N

Depending on my financial situation I would rather attend FT instead of PT. Working on paying debts down to accomplish this.  I will be applying in Fall '09 to start in Fall '10.  Does adding a minor after undergraduate help in cum GPA?

I'm not sure whether adding a minor is really worth it since it takes so much to significantly raise a GPA. To answer your question, however, any college-level courses you take will be factored into your cum GPA by LSAC.

Not once an undergraduate degree is awarded they won't.

Sorry for the m.i. Thanks for the correction!
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: dissident on May 19, 2008, 08:28:14 AM
Everybody on this board seems to rave about soft factors like work experience.  I would put all of my effort into getting a high LSAT score.  I finished my B.A. 8 years ago, have great soft factors inculding a 4.0 M.A. and several years academic work experience.

Everywhere I was accepted, I think I would have been accepted with no soft factors.  The only things that mattered were my undegrad GPA and my LSAT score.  In fact, no where that I applied with median LSAT and GPA scores accepted me.  I was well over in one or both categories in all the schools that accepted me.  I was waitlisted at two schools where I was median though.

Does anyone on this board have a story about soft factors helping him? 

Maybe you will have better luck with the process, but I think a great LSAT score is your best chance.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: mbw on May 19, 2008, 08:46:22 AM
Everybody on this board seems to rave about soft factors like work experience.  I would put all of my effort into getting a high LSAT score.  I finished my B.A. 8 years ago, have great soft factors inculding a 4.0 M.A. and several years academic work experience.

Everywhere I was accepted, I think I would have been accepted with no soft factors.  The only things that mattered were my undegrad GPA and my LSAT score.  In fact, no where that I applied with median LSAT and GPA scores accepted me.  I was well over in one or both categories in all the schools that accepted me.  I was waitlisted at two schools where I was median though.

Does anyone on this board have a story about soft factors helping him? 

Maybe you will have better luck with the process, but I think a great LSAT score is your best chance.

These may be strong soft factors, but are they actually that unusual, e.g., in the pool of your peers, do they make you stand out?  Many non-trads have advanced degrees, and academia is not an uncommon field of work.  Not to diminish your success in your previous accomplishments, but if soft factors do make a difference, it's typically because they're unusual.

And yes, there are quite a few soft factor success stories on LSD, including some in this cycle.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: jack24 on May 19, 2008, 08:49:06 AM
This is just my opinion and it may not hold true to your experience, but I come from a similar background.
I graduated in finance a few years ago with a 3.3 and I now have 5 years of successful full time experience in the lending world.  I'm fluent in mandarin and I lived outside the US for a few years.  My personal statement was read and edited by 5 people that knew me and a few people that didn't.  It wasn't anything spectacular but it wasn't horrible.

You may dominate the LSAT, so your schools might be completely different.  I'm stupid and I didn't study or take a practice test. I got a 159. Combined with my 3.3 I was pretty much instantly eliminated from the top 50.

Here were my results.
Top 50,  1 rejection
50-100:  2 accepted, 2 WL, 2 rejections
T3:  1 accepted, 1 wl, 1 rejection
T4:  2 accepted, 1 wl

This doesn't make any sense to me at all, but I got into the school I wanted to go to, so I decided not to retake the LSAT and I am very happy with my cycle.

So my point is that every school is completely different.  Your softs might help you at some schools but I guarantee you that there are schools out there who really don't care.
(Except your military background.  I would be surprised if any school didn't factor that in)

Good Luck! and congrats on graduation.



 
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: Alecto on May 19, 2008, 11:13:11 AM
I think it entirely depends.  My grad degree (once I finally finish it - aagh) is going to be in science, which I think sets me apart a little.  Also, my past work experience was for a law firm in the city in which I want to study law, and the legal community there is pretty tight.  Of course, it's possible they laughed themselves silly over my application and it could just be a good old-fashioned case of nepotism (my stepmom attended their school, but both she and my dad are really active in their bar-review program).

Anyway, I had a UGPA of 3.3 from a pretty high-ranked school, but my highest LSAT was a 162, and I didn't really have much in the way of extra-curriculars except working 15-25 hours a week.  Here's how my cycle played out (I just got the rejection today):

T1: rejected
T2: accepted 4/4 (three of those offered me $$)

my top choice was one of the T2 schools, so I am very happy with the way things turned out.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: weymo001 on May 26, 2008, 10:23:35 AM
Hi everyone,

Applied to four schools with 16 years experience, MS,5 scientific publications, and 3.6 graduate gpa. I am at a loss as to what law schools want. Waitlisted for one school. I think USNWR has changed things were the emphasis is on LSAT scores to improve rankings. Honestly, I get the impression that the only post-bac accomplishment which demonstrates intellectual potential for law school is the LSAT. This process seems a bit myopic. I have a friend who has a PhD and is the same boat as I am. The sheer volume of applicants, some from grade inflated schools/degrees, and rankings make it more difficult for a non-tradtional science applicant to get accepted. A fact that I found out recently was that graduate transcripts are not sent to the law school as part of your LSDAS report. Thus, the law school don't see those grades.

Personally, I am going to place all my efforts in getting a better LSAT score. For my application fee, I wished they examined these applications with greater scrunity. Anybody have any thoughts on how to leverage significant work experience and post-graduate academic accomplishments to gain admissions to law school? It is difficult to explain to a law school admissions committee why the critical thinking and technical writing gained through post-bac experience are important for law school. Do you think having a diverse profession experience helps or hinders an applicant? Why do you feel this way?

Thanks,

NW 
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: mbw on May 26, 2008, 10:29:41 AM
Hi everyone,

Applied to four schools with 16 years experience, MS,5 scientific publications, and 3.6 graduate gpa. I am at a loss as to what law schools want. Waitlisted for one school. I think USNWR has changed things were the emphasis is on LSAT scores to improve rankings. Honestly, I get the impression that the only post-bac accomplishment which demonstrates intellectual potential for law school is the LSAT. This process seems a bit myopic. I have a friend who has a PhD and is the same boat as I am. The sheer volume of applicants, some from grade inflated schools/degrees, and rankings make it more difficult for a non-tradtional science applicant to get accepted. A fact that I found out recently was that graduate transcripts are not sent to the law school as part of your LSDAS report. Thus, the law school don't see those grades.

Personally, I am going to place all my efforts in getting a better LSAT score. For my application fee, I wished they examined these applications with greater scrunity. Anybody have any thoughts on how to leverage significant work experience and post-graduate academic accomplishments to gain admissions to law school? It is difficult to explain to a law school admissions committee why the critical thinking and technical writing gained through post-bac experience are important for law school. Do you think having a diverse profession experience helps or hinders an applicant? Why do you feel this way?

Thanks,

NW 

NW, would you PM with your UGPA and current LSAT score?  I'm in a similar boat, but put off applying until this fall in order to better my LSAT score (retaking this June.)
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: weymo001 on May 26, 2008, 10:44:30 AM
Hi Frybread,

PM? Stats: 2.6 Undergraduate GPA, 3.6 Graduate GPA, and 157 LSAT. My point is with this post is that there are other indicators of intellectual potential. The question is how do I convince an admissions committee they are important?
I am seriously considering writing to law professor in patent law or contributing to his blog to get advice and support for my application.

Any thoughts?


Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: mbw on May 26, 2008, 11:32:56 AM
Hi Frybread,

PM? Stats: 2.6 Undergraduate GPA, 3.6 Graduate GPA, and 157 LSAT. My point is with this post is that there are other indicators of intellectual potential. The question is how do I convince an admissions committee they are important?
I am seriously considering writing to law professor in patent law or contributing to his blog to get advice and support for my application.

Any thoughts?

Do you mean Lessig?  If so, it couldn't hurt, and he's very approachable (he and my spouse correspond infrequently, as they sometimes work on the same issues.)  You could also contact directly the schools which rejected you and ask if there were other issues besides UGPA/LSAT which could strengthen your application in the future.  Maybe someone will be willing to provide further insight.

But having similar stats as you (slightly higher UGPA and GGPA, same LSAT, 20 years work experience,) I engaged the services of an admissions consultant (a former T14 dean) whose foremost recommendation was for me to get my LSAT above 160 (for T15-50,) with a 165 to put T14 within reach.  His rationale was that law schools really need to see some indication that an older student possesses the academic skill set sufficient for success in law school.  With undergrad so far removed, and graduate GPA not a particularly good indicator, adcomms are left with the LSAT.  It's a hard fact, but I don't know if it's one we can get around easily.  In fact, I know that if I don't hit that 165 mark this time, I probably will forgo applying at all.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: weymo001 on May 26, 2008, 12:09:43 PM
Hi Lessig,

Do you really think the cost of an admissions consultant is worth it? Would a better investment of money be in a prep LSAT class?

I need to get into a solid but not great school (eg University of Houston, SMU, Texas Tech, or University of Oklahoma). My goal is to become a patent attorney. I have an excellent technical background for this work but just need the legal education. Does the soft factors play an role at all especially if you know how you want to use your legal education and have an excellent non-legal background to accomplish that goal?

If you score >165, does writing a weak essay make any difference? Admissions recruiters don't have the expertise to assess whether someone's background is a significant intellectual accomplishment. If what you say makes a difference, how can I couch my experience in a language that might resonate with them?

Is it ok in an addendum to justify why you deserve a slot over the typical candidate undergraduate candidate with a liberal arts degree (with 160 LSAT) and no experience?

Thanks,

NW
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: DCLabor25 on May 26, 2008, 12:50:11 PM
NW --

Hey there, I am happy to offer my own bit of advice here. 

I have been out of school for about four years and while my WE pales in comparison to yours, I have done some interesting things in public policy research and writing.  The bottom line, unfortunately, is that schools only care about your WE if your LSAT score gets you into the ballpark.  That ballpark differs dramatically based upon what type of school you are applying to (T2, T1, T14, etc.) but you need a good LSAT score to get on their radars.  Without that, all of the WE in the world is not going to make a difference.

As far as a test course, a LSAT prep class is an excellent investment of money.  Look at Powerscore and Testmasters -- they are the best.  If you take the class seriously, that $1,000 will be very well spent --- my score went up double digits after taking the class.  An admissions consultant isn't a terrible idea either, but, if I had to pick, I'd take the LSAT prep class.

Honestly, I think if you raised your LSAT about another 5 points or so, you would get into most of the schools you want to.  A LSAT score above the school's 75% percent mark can make up for a lower GPA.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: qmmm on May 26, 2008, 01:07:47 PM
Actually, if your goal is to prosecute patents, you don't need a JD.  You could pass the patent bar and become a patent agent which allows you to do most of the work of a patent agent.  Or you could also start out as a technical specialist in a patent group before you pass the patent bar. 

In addition, you could also look to part-time programs what would allow you to work as a patent agent  or technical specialist during the day while pursuing law school at night.  If you start out as a patent agent/tech. specialist, there are some serious advantages: 1) many firms will pay some or all of your tuition for a commitment to work for them for a while after you graduate, 2) you'll have some experience in the field and will really get to know if this is what you want to commit to, 3) you'll be able to demonstrate excellence in the legal field since you'll be able to get a rec from an attorney at your firm who may have connections to the local school where you'd be able to go part time, and 4) it'll demonstrate real commitment to the adcom that you're serious about law school.

As a non-trad coming from science, I've learned one thing: many of the skills that made me a pretty good scientist don't help a damn in law school.  That's why your science experiences are soft factors to adcoms; it's possible to be an excellent scientist but a lousy law student.  Adcoms are really looking for non-trads to demonstrate the skill set that will correlate w/ law school success.  Namely, the ability to read and write quickly and w/ precision is huge.  It's the `quickly and w/ precision' part which makes the LSAT so valuable to adcoms.  So a higher LSAT score will never hurt. 

And yes, if you score >165 and write a terrible personal statement the adcom will notice.  It would signify that 1) the person doesn't care to write a better one (which indicates a lack of commitment) and/or 2) the person can't write a better one (which indicates a lack of ability). 

The way to talk about your experiences are to point out the significant overlaps w/ the skills that an attorney needs to succeed.

Moreover, most of the classes you'll be taking in law school will not be patent or IP related (and those will only deal w/ technical matter tangentially since they need to accommodate people w/ various technical backgrounds and those w/ no technical backgrounds at all); so the adcom has to consider whether you'll be able to be an asset to the class for all other classes.

And no, you shouldn't write that addendum.  You'll come off as a jerk.  Depending on whether there's a compelling reason that your ugrad gpa was 2.6, I might consider writing an addendum for that.


Hi Lessig,

Do you really think the cost of an admissions consultant is worth it? Would a better investment of money be in a prep LSAT class?

I need to get into a solid but not great school (eg University of Houston, SMU, Texas Tech, or University of Oklahoma). My goal is to become a patent attorney. I have an excellent technical background for this work but just need the legal education. Does the soft factors play an role at all especially if you know how you want to use your legal education and have an excellent non-legal background to accomplish that goal?

If you score >165, does writing a weak essay make any difference? Admissions recruiters don't have the expertise to assess whether someone's background is a significant intellectual accomplishment. If what you say makes a difference, how can I couch my experience in a language that might resonate with them?

Is it ok in an addendum to justify why you deserve a slot over the typical candidate undergraduate candidate with a liberal arts degree (with 160 LSAT) and no experience?

Thanks,

NW

Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: dissident on May 26, 2008, 01:39:32 PM
Finally someone else besides me has experienced that grad degrees and work experience mean nothing in law school admissions. 
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: vjm on May 27, 2008, 08:34:12 AM
I really think nontrads need to cast a broad net. Schools seem to vary on what they look at with us. I have a 3.4ish/ 158 and got into a T50 school, waitlist at another and waitlist at a T14.

Your best bet is to kill on the LSAT, and not to rely on soft factors to give you a boost. However, don't be afraid to apply widely and see what happens. It's a very unpredictable process.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: weymo001 on May 27, 2008, 07:09:19 PM
Hi everyone,

I think both DC labor and qmmm raise some excellent points. I suspect that Adcomms are really hamstrung by this ranking BS and would like to consider other indicators of potential success. Further, I suspect that one's experience or soft skills might resonate better with certain schools (eg scientist applying to Franklin Pierce might get a better response than applying to Baylor....with specialization in litigation).
Which schools might have a better appreciation of applicants with a hard science background? Maybe schools with a strong IP program.

I have explored the patent agent route. It seems that in biotechnology you need a PhD to compete given the glut of post-docs in academic biomedical research. Firms want the advanced degree as way a to market the "scientific expertise" of their firm. Many post-docs go get JD/PhD combination to compete. There is not much emphasis placed on experience. Not many firms in Texas do biotech work and many don't pay the tuition. There is a firm in Austin that would like to hire me as a tech specialist if I get into law school in a city where this firm has an office. The senior partner understands the importance of my experience but feels the JD will insure that my options are not limited in the future. Her advice get your MS done and get a year of law school at SMU/Houston/or DC law school and we will talk seriously about options.

So right now I am in limbo or stuck until I can figure what might work. My options are somewhat limited because my wife would like me to stay in Texas. Have scheduled a meeting with two of the law schools that I am considering. I am just going to meet with any law school that I am considering and even the ones that denied my application. Don't know if my late applications hurt me...applied Feb 14.

Any thoughts? I am tired of having the absence of an advanced degree being the rate limiting step in my career. Presently, I am a fulltime graduate student and a fulltime employee at UT Southwestern Medical Center. I am doing everything I can do to get there but it is frustrating when you feel all you need is 5-8 more points on a 3 hr test and that's it. Plus, your success on the LSAT depends on how much time you spend practicing and how much money you invest in preparation....and all else is not considered. Just give them what they want?

Thanks,


NW

Lessig- What consultant did you use?

Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: qmmm on May 27, 2008, 07:37:13 PM
I really believe that the bolded is a problem.  By the time the adcom even looked at your application, most of the acceptances for the year would probably have been extended.  I suspect that you may have had a different experience if you applied in Oct. instead of Feb.  If you can raise your LSAT a couple of points and apply early, you'll likely see a different outcome.

Hi everyone,

I think both DC labor and qmmm raise some excellent points. I suspect that Adcomms are really hamstrung by this ranking BS and would like to consider other indicators of potential success. Further, I suspect that one's experience or soft skills might resonate better with certain schools (eg scientist applying to Franklin Pierce might get a better response than applying to Baylor....with specialization in litigation).
Which schools might have a better appreciation of applicants with a hard science background? Maybe schools with a strong IP program.

I have explored the patent agent route. It seems that in biotechnology you need a PhD to compete given the glut of post-docs in academic biomedical research. Firms want the advanced degree as way a to market the "scientific expertise" of their firm. Many post-docs go get JD/PhD combination to compete. There is not much emphasis placed on experience. Not many firms in Texas do biotech work and many don't pay the tuition. There is a firm in Austin that would like to hire me as a tech specialist if I get into law school in a city where this firm has an office. The senior partner understands the importance of my experience but feels the JD will insure that my options are not limited in the future. Her advice get your MS done and get a year of law school at SMU/Houston/or DC law school and we will talk seriously about options.

So right now I am in limbo or stuck until I can figure what might work. My options are somewhat limited because my wife would like me to stay in Texas. Have scheduled a meeting with two of the law schools that I am considering. I am just going to meet with any law school that I am considering and even the ones that denied my application. Don't know if my late applications hurt me...applied Feb 14.

Any thoughts? I am tired of having the absence of an advanced degree being the rate limiting step in my career. Presently, I am a fulltime graduate student and a fulltime employee at UT Southwestern Medical Center. I am doing everything I can do to get there but it is frustrating when you feel all you need is 5-8 more points on a 3 hr test and that's it. Plus, your success on the LSAT depends on how much time you spend practicing and how much money you invest in preparation....and all else is not considered. Just give them what they want?

Thanks,


NW

Lessig- What consultant did you use?


Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: OlderandWiser on May 28, 2008, 07:59:42 AM
I really think nontrads need to cast a broad net. Schools seem to vary on what they look at with us. I have a 3.4ish/ 158 and got into a T50 school, waitlist at another and waitlist at a T14.

Your best bet is to kill on the LSAT, and not to rely on soft factors to give you a boost. However, don't be afraid to apply widely and see what happens. It's a very unpredictable process.

I think this is an excellent point for anyone, but non-trads in particular.  Its so hard to know what will make an impression on a school.  They all look for different things.  I've got a 3.13, 163, 3.9 GGPA and 7 years WE and here's how my cycle went:

T14: 1 WL, 3 rejections
Tier 1: 4 acceptances, 2 WL, 1 deferral, 2 rejections
Tier 2: 5 acceptances

The school I am planning to attend in the fall (Washington) has a tendency to accept only very high GPAs.  But for whatever reason, they liked my application.  Same with the T14 WL.  Based on medians and such, there is no way I get waitlisted there.  But there was something in my application they liked. By the same token, I was dinged at UIUC almost immediately, a school that I thought I had a decent shot at the WL at least.  Obviously they didn't like my application, and WE and such didn't make up for what they felt were mediocre numbers.  I think researching schools and casting a wide net (if you have the means for all those application fees) is an excellent piece of advice.  It is incredibly hard to predict who any given school is going to accept or reject. All it takes is one adcomm who likes something about you and you're golden.   
 
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: weymo001 on May 28, 2008, 09:51:11 AM
Hi Older and Wiser,

I agree with you. There are some schools that seem to like certain types of students. I guess it depends on the adcoms at that school and whether your experience/background resonates with whoever reads it. I don't know if you can make anything out of how long a school holds on to your application and their interest. WashU/SMU/UT Houston held on to my application for 3.5 months before making a decision whereas Baylor rejected my application quickly for both terms within 6-7 weeks. Franklin Pierce took 4 months before WL me. Does anybody on this forum know which schools have a greater number of applicants with a hard science background applying to their school?

I guess I might just start with the top IP programs and find any school that might have a range (25-75%) which includes a 157. I am leery of this general advice: apply to the best regional school. I don't think Baylor would welcome my application if I had a score at the top of their LSAT range....guess not a good fit. Several people who I know have suggested that I apply to Duke and UT-Austin. Their thoughts were that UT-Austin has a strong IP program and will look at state residents closely. Since I worked at Duke University for ten years and their IP program is quite strong. I told them my numbers are way off for those programs and thus I didn't apply. They feel that my background might resonate better with the adcoms at those schools despite my numbers.

When I spoke with the admissions dean at WashU, she ask what I thought was the problem with my application. I replied LSAT! Her response was I disagree.....it's late! This rolling admisions approach is quite different than graduate school. Hey if you guys have suggestions on law schools for applicants with a technical background.

Need all the help I can get.

Thanks,

NW

   
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: Martin Prince, Jr. on May 28, 2008, 11:56:49 AM
Everybody on this board seems to rave about soft factors like work experience.  I would put all of my effort into getting a high LSAT score.  I finished my B.A. 8 years ago, have great soft factors inculding a 4.0 M.A. and several years academic work experience.

Everywhere I was accepted, I think I would have been accepted with no soft factors.  The only things that mattered were my undegrad GPA and my LSAT score.  In fact, no where that I applied with median LSAT and GPA scores accepted me.  I was well over in one or both categories in all the schools that accepted me.  I was waitlisted at two schools where I was median though.

Does anyone on this board have a story about soft factors helping him? 

Maybe you will have better luck with the process, but I think a great LSAT score is your best chance.

Gonna have to agree with this guy. Like the OP I have military experience, and while I think it played a role in financial aid offers, as a soft factor it seemed to play little to no role in admissions decisions, as they seemed very numbers-oriented. Like another poster said, take an LSAT prep course if your own self-study isn't paying dividends. A 4-6 point improvement in your score opens up another tier of schools, as well as increasing aid offers from former-target-turned safety schools, making it worth every penny.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: qmmm on May 28, 2008, 07:50:12 PM
Hmmm... That advice sounds familiar. 

Honestly, the play is: 1) retake the LSAT and hope to get a few more points, 2) apply early, and 3) apply to schools w/ some sort of IP presence as well as the TX schools that you hope to attend.  W/ respect to (1), the low 160's make you a candidate for almost all schools.  W/ respect to (2), take the WashU adcoms advice and apply early next year.  W/ respect to (3), if you get into one of those and a TX school, you can always use that to leverage money even if you don't really want to go there.

For an IP presence look for an IP journal, student organizations w/ an IP focus, IP classes offered, schools in regions w/ a significant tech businesses, and look at firms and IP boutiques in IP heavy regions and see where their IP attorneys went to school.


When I spoke with the admissions dean at WashU, she ask what I thought was the problem with my application. I replied LSAT! Her response was I disagree.....it's late! This rolling admisions approach is quite different than graduate school. Hey if you guys have suggestions on law schools for applicants with a technical background.
   

Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: TimMitchell on May 28, 2008, 08:05:21 PM
In my experience soft factors mean nothing. Law school admissions is completely a numbers game with the exception of URM status. I have five years work experience and come from a poor background plus tons of other softs, but my LSN stats did not vary significantly from anyone else with my numbers, including people right out of UG.

Now, I know this is 100%. I have read stories of people getting accepted at schools out of their range with greats softs + great PS. However it is very rare. If I were you I would apply to a bunch of schools to increase you chances of that happening.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
Post by: SingleGirl on June 21, 2008, 12:35:19 AM
To the people interested in patent law:  I have a friend in the US Patent Office and he says that they are constantly trying to get him to go to law school and the govt picks up the full tab.  So, combined with the advisement of others that you don't even need your JD to become a patent attorney.  I'd get on @ the office first and then, have them pick up the bill for your JD.

Best of  luck!