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Messages - lp4law

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721
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: loyola vs southwestern?
« on: January 19, 2004, 02:06:29 PM »
I work 8 hours/day (40 hours/week) as an engineer up in the Camarillo area.  I live in Ventura.  I generally start work at 7:00am and end at 3:30pm.  I then head down to school along PCH on Monday through Thursday.  Most of the time I make it to school by 5pm.  I freshen up on some reading and classes begin at 6pm.  I'm usually home by 10:30pm. 

I'm also involved in a start-up technology company on the side, but those hours are much more flexible.

I do most of my reading on the weekend, and some at my day job (when I can sneak it in).  So far I've been able to hold my own among my class peers.  I think the key is that I enjoy learning the material, because much of it is in some way applicable to my outside business activities.

Like anything, if you enjoy the material (or at least convince yourself that you do), then it's not really that difficult.  Unfortunately, many people see law school as just "paying their dues" for 3-4 years before entering the profession. That mindset just allows additional stress to build up when it's really unnecessary and counter-productive.

If you're relaxed and having good time, you think more clearly.  Clear thinking is an important asset in your readings, in class and on exams.  So don't listen to the horror stories.

Good luck. :D

lp

722
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: loyola vs southwestern?
« on: January 16, 2004, 02:14:57 PM »
I just completed my first semester (evening) at Southwestern.  My good friend and co-worker just completed his first semester (evening) at Loyola.  Needless to say, we frequently took the time to compare our experiences throughout the semester in some detail. 

Our comparisons strongly indicated that the schools are roughly equivalent in terms of the quality of the legal education offered. Interestingly however, Southwestern seemed to have a greater workload, as evidenced by the number of actual class hours (1-2 more per week), the length of the semester (about 1 week longer), and the greater number of graded writing assignments.  In fact, my co-worker frequently commented, "You guys are really getting your money's worth." ;D

With that said, had I been initially accepted at Loyola, I would have ended up going there.  Loyola's ranking relative to Southwestern's would have been the sole reason for that choice.

However, your case differs from mine in that I wasn't offered a [full?] scholarship to Southwestern.  So it really boils down to whether the actual difference in reputation between the two schools is worth an extra $100k over the next four years. 

Prior to my experience at Southwestern, I would have struggled with the same question if I were in your shoes.  However, in retrospect, there would be no struggle. I would pocket the $100k and go with Southwestern, easily.  If it was a difference between Southwestern and Harvard, or even UCLA, I might be inclined to spend the extra $100k. ;)

By the way, if you need a little more convincing, check out the library and newly completed courtroom at Southwestern in the Bullocks Wilshire Building.  The new courtroom is beautiful, and is one of the most state-of-the-art in existence.  It's enough to make you want to be a lawyer.

Good luck!  You can't go wrong with either choice.

lp

723
Studying for the LSAT / Re:lost in a sea of info
« on: October 28, 2003, 02:01:55 PM »
Probably the best starting point is the website for the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) at www.lsac.org.  It should provide you with a good overview of law school and where the LSAT falls within the bigger picture.

My only personal advice at this stage is not to let horror stories discourage you from pursuing law school.  As a 1L, I've noticed that most people emphasize the amount of reading required without mentioning how fascinating it is to learn and discuss rules and policies that influence all of our lives.  If you show up to each class prepared and enthusiastic, you can really enjoy yourself.  If you have common sense, enjoy discussing and debating issues, apply yourself to the material, and stay organized, you'll do fine.

Good luck.

724
Law School Admissions / Re: school classes for law school
« on: June 03, 2003, 03:24:56 AM »
Just about everything you normally take in high school can help prepare a strong application for law school.  That's because just about everything you take in high school requires some sort of reading, analysis or writing.  For your application to law school, you'll need the following:

1.  An undergrad degree (BS, BA).  You can major in just about anything, but keep in mind what you want to eventually do as a lawyer.  If you want to be in patent law, you might want to major in engineering, physics, etc.  If you want to be a general trial attorney (litigator), speech, debate, or communications might be nice.  Given that a good portion of law is created or argued based upon public policy considerations, a background in political science and public policy might be a great way to go.  Regardless of what undergrad major you eventually choose, do well with your high school grades so you can get into an undergrad school that specializes in that subject.

2.  A good undergrad GPA.  Whatever major you choose in undergrad, do well at it.  Your selection chances for law school are weighted heavily on both your UGPA and LSAT scores.

3.  A good LSAT score.  You'll take the LSAT just prior to applying to law school.  It tests your logic, analysis, and reading skills.  Right now, learn to read and analyze everything with close scrutiny.  In fact, the more boring the subject is, the better.  You get this opportunity every day in high school.  The LSAT has a reading comprehension section that contains four passages; and the topics can be fairly mundane.  Also, you want to develop good reasoning skills. Any classes involving math, philosophy or debate is helpful.

If I could start high school over again, I'd probably elect to take more speech, debate and philosophy classes.  Also, make sure you maintain your social development throughout high school.  You'll see some people who study so much, they don't find the time to have some fun and make friends.  These people usually get into good colleges, but will end up working for people with more substantial social skills.  Learn how to interact socially with people from all backgrounds.  By understanding what motivates different people, you'll be a far more effective lawyer.

Good luck.

725
Law School Admissions / Re: Apply Online/ snail mail?
« on: March 20, 2003, 06:47:33 AM »
My question would be, preferred by whom?  I would imagine that there are two groups of individuals to be concerned with: those that prepare incoming applications for review in the selection process (i.e., admissions advisor), and those who actually sit on the selection committee.

I would submit that Dave is correct in his assertion that an admissions advisor would prefer the electronic application for the reason Dave stated above.  However, if the admissions advisor is not actually a member of the selection committee, or does not have "direct influence" (See relevant case law for applicable definition  ;)) over the selection process, then it could be argued that it shouldn't matter whether they type it or you send it electronically.

On the other hand, having a possibly underpaid and annoyed individual forced to read your horrible handwriting and type out your information does introduce the possibility of additional mistakes.

Since I trust pissed-off underpaid office workers more than my computer, I sent mine in by hand. ;D

Good luck.

lp

726
Law School Admissions / Re: JAG programs?
« on: July 08, 2003, 01:35:45 PM »
My recollection is that even the JAGs in the Marine Corps are required to complete OCS and The Basic School (TBS) prior to heading to their specialty.  Every enlisted Marine is initially trained to be a basic rifleman and fire-team leader, and every Marine officer is initially trained as a rifle platoon commander.

I was an enlisted Marine before entering the officer program as an aviation candidate.  After having been an enlisted Marine, I wouldn’t have even considered being an officer in any other service.  As enlisted Marines, we had the kind of respect for our officers that I generally didn’t see in the other services.  At OCS, I found out why Marine officers command such respect.  Recruit training was tough, but OCS cranks it up several notches.  Both experiences were extremely rewarding in a personal and professional sense.

After completing the first of two summer increments of OCS, I became involved in several entrepreneurial activities in the civilian world.  I eventually exceeded the age limit for an aviation candidate, so I never returned to Quantico to finish up my training.  However, I remain incredibly thankful for my experiences in the Marine Corps, which continue to pay off in almost every aspect of my life.

As a future law student, I suspect you are the kind of person who is drawn to a challenge.  At Marine Corps OCS, you will face challenges with physical, emotional, and intellectual elements combined.  Your ability to function effectively in the face of immanent failure will be tested and honed.  At the end of each day, you will be mentally and physically exhausted, but incredibly satisfied with yourself.  And make no mistake; just about everything you learn there is applicable in the civilian world.

Your Marine Officer Selection Officers are probably steering you toward PLC Law Option.  I encourage you to give this opportunity a second look.  Good luck to you!


727
Studying for the LSAT / Re: EXTREME URGENCY !!!!OCT 5, 2002 LSAT
« on: March 20, 2003, 04:06:11 AM »
The important thing is to get into at least a state-accredited law school and start kicking ass.  No one can keep you from becoming a great lawyer, even if you don't get into an "upper tier" law school.  It really comes down to how agressively you absorb and apply the material presented in class.  Additionally, the LSAT and your GPA do not measure one of the most critical elements of good lawyering: your ability to understand what motivates people and your effectiveness in VERBALLY communicating the merits of your case.

In my situation, my outlier is my undergrad GPA.  I have a 2.6 to deal with (from 6 years ago).  Everything else in my application is rock solid.  But instead of waiting on pins and needles to hear from the ABA schools I've just applied to, I've already started at a local California Bar Accredited law school.  I have to say I've been very impressed with the quality of instruction, and the benefits of sharing a classroom with people who bring decades of life and work experience to the table.  If I happen to hear good news from one of the ABA schools that I've applied to, wonderful.  If not, I'll just become a great lawyer from the school I'm at now.

So, don't freak out about your LSAT.  You'll have plenty of opportunities to prove yourself down the road, regardless of which path you take.

lp

728
Studying for the LSAT / Re: February Score Results
« on: March 04, 2003, 08:21:22 AM »
Yeah, if you attend a state-accredited law school, you will most likely need to practive 3-5 years in that state before most other states allow you to take their bar exam.  But the truth is most of us will at least initially practice in a specific state anyways.

My Dad went to Southwestern before it became ABA accredited.  He had a successful career in the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, retiring nicely as a senior Deputy DA.  A number of his classmates ended up in private practice and were very successful.

Don't get me wrong, if I get accepted to one of my ABA schools, I'll probably spend at least the first year there.  I can always transfer those units back into a non-ABA school.  But for me there's a lot to consider: I'm a good 1  to 1.5 hour drive from both ABA schools, have a full-time day job, and participate in another start-up company on the side.  Further, I've crunched the numbers for all my potential options.  Ventura (Non-ABA) will end up costing me about $25k over 4 years, whereas Loyola or Southwestern (both ABA) will be around $90k - $95k over 4 years.  This calculation takes into account additional fuel and wear-and-tear on the vehicle.  That's about $70k difference.  Now, wouldn't you spend the first 3 year of practice in-state if you were given an up-front bonus of $70,000 (after-taxes)?  You know what I'm saying.

Good luck!

729
Studying for the LSAT / Re: February Score Results
« on: March 04, 2003, 06:21:44 AM »
I take a different approach.  I believe the schools that reject me are arguably as important to my future success as a lawyer as the ones that accept me.  Any school that rejects me is saying, "Hey, based primarily upon your GPA/LSAT score, you're not good enough for us."  I see that as a personal challenge.  Whatever school I attend, I'm going to be extra motivated by the fact some day I get the priveledge of going head to head with graduates from those schools that I wasn't 'qualified' for.  I look forward to those times ;).  Although this sounds a little bitter, and I won't pretend it isn't, it helps ensure the most important aspect of my legal education: my personal motivation to agressively absorb and apply the material that's presented to me in class.  

Although I'm applying to two ABA schools that I've got a reasonable shot at for Fall, I've already started at a local California Bar Accredited school.  My first night of class was last night; and I was pleasantly suprised at the apparent quality of instruction.  All of my instructors are currently practicing attorneys and Judges.  Many non-ABA accredited law schools provide a high-quality legal education at 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of most ABA schools.  After practicing a few years in your state, your reputation will precede everything else, including what school you attended.  Remember that not all great lawyers came from top ABA law schools.  It's entirely up to you what happens as a result of your present circumstances.

730
Studying for the LSAT / Re: February Score Results
« on: March 03, 2003, 07:37:44 AM »
Have you sent your transcripts in to LSAC?  On the main web page, they provide a downloadable "transcript request" form that you fill out and send to each undergrad institution you attended.  These forms direct each institution to send an official transcript to LSAC.  LSAC takes these transcripts and calculates your GPA based upon their specific criteria.  Once LSAC has received all of your transcripts and has calculated your GPA, they send you a form in the mail indicating this GPA, the basis of their calculations, and your LSAT scores (if any).  These GPAs and LSAT scores are not available to be viewed on your online LSAC account. When you apply to most ABA schools, they look at the GPA/LSAT scores provided directly from LSAC.  You pay LSAC $12 to "release" the scores to each of the schools you've applied to.  I've already gotten a couple updates from LSAC indicating my GPAs/scores.  Have you received any such letters?

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