Law School Discussion

Specific Groups => Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students => Topic started by: Captain Graybeard on February 14, 2008, 11:31:16 PM

Title: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: Captain Graybeard on February 14, 2008, 11:31:16 PM
It's been simmering in the back of my mind for years.  When I was a teenager, I put it on the list of things I want to do before I die.  Then, I did a lot of stupid things.  A LOT of stupid things (nothing that resulted in any felonies, thank God).  I did start college at least, but dropped out after 34 hours.  Six years ago, I straightened out my life.  Last year, at 34, I started school again, and can graduate anytime between May '09 and May '10, depending on how hard I push it and whether or not I add a second major.  I have a 4.0 at my new school, and will keep it.  Combined with my previous work, that will give me a 3.75 (approximately) according to the LSDAS formula.  I test well, and based on the practice test I took the other day, expect to score in the 170's on the LSAT.  My past may trip me up, but I have this crazy idea that I'll get into a top tier school.  That's the goal anyway.  I guess I might be overcompensating for screwing it all up the first time around, but I'm okay with that.

Anyway, hi.
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: summerisnear on February 14, 2008, 11:38:22 PM
Hi.

Felony-free is a good thing, but think about the severity of your criminal history before investing in law school.  Talk with schools.  It's not being accepted to schools that you ought to worry about, it's being admitted to the BAR.
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: Pixies on February 14, 2008, 11:41:45 PM
^TITCR. If there is something on your permanent record it will probably decrease in significance depending on how long ago it happened.
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: Captain Graybeard on February 14, 2008, 11:55:19 PM
I have two misdemeanors, and that is all.  The incidents are 6 years old, and the convictions are four years old.  They were the wake-up call that made me straighten out my life.
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: summerisnear on February 14, 2008, 11:56:51 PM
Oh, and take way more than one practice LSAT before you expect to score in the 170s on the real deal, just saying...
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: Captain Graybeard on February 15, 2008, 12:12:08 AM
Oh, and take way more than one practice LSAT before you expect to score in the 170s on the real deal, just saying...

Unrealistic?  Probably.  Overconfident?  Absolutely! 

The truth is, my feelings on that are based on a lot more than one practice test.
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: Captain Graybeard on February 22, 2008, 05:40:27 PM
Oh, and take way more than one practice LSAT before you expect to score in the 170s on the real deal, just saying...

Unrealistic?  Probably.  Overconfident?  Absolutely! 

The truth is, my feelings on that are based on a lot more than one practice test.

what are they based on ?

Let's just say that my skills are perfectly suited to the types of questions that the LSAT covers and the format in which it is administered.  I have also taken a few more prep tests, and done well.
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: RobWreck on February 22, 2008, 05:48:56 PM
Don't let convictions from your past discourage you from applying... unless you were convicted of something that clearly calls into question your character and fitness, it shouldn't be a problem... especially if it was from years ago and could be chalked up more towards 'youthful indiscretion' rather than serious ethical weakness. The important part is to make sure to fully disclose the past convictions... because being anything less than 100% forthright WILL be an issue when it comes time to be admitted to the bar.
Rob
(who had two 'disclosables' (violations from 10 and 15 years ago, respectively) and still got accepted)  
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: Captain Graybeard on February 22, 2008, 06:18:14 PM
Uh okayyyy your ~skillzzzzzzz~

Do you have a problem with me or the fact that I choose not to be more specific?  ???
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: Pigeon on February 22, 2008, 07:20:02 PM
It just sounds a little far fetched.

I concur.

Not only that, I agree with you!!
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: Captain Graybeard on February 22, 2008, 10:38:10 PM
It just sounds a little far fetched.

Ummm, okay.  I get off on tricking Internet strangers into thinking I'm smart.  ::)  I do that by telling them how much of a screw-up I used to be.  Then, I have optimistic expectations, and work my butt off to try to make them happen.  I am proud of the person I am today and the changes I have made in my life, so forgive me for being hopeful about the future.  I thought I was posting in a community of mature people, it being the non-traditional board, and figured I may as well be honest about who I am and what my hopes are.  Thanks for the warm welcome. :(

Anyone else have any actual input?
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: saradsun on February 22, 2008, 11:06:45 PM
It isn't you. Truly, the standard response to someone asking about their chances without a real LSAT is "come back when you have a real score." If you go to the LSAT board today, for example, scores just came out and there are a lot of disappointed people who scored a lot lower than they had been practicing at.

I don't have any idea about the record aspect. But if you have a 3.75 and score in the 170+ range you should get into a t14 though.

I'm 39, and was only planning to go to my local law school (tier 2) until I started reading here, and seeing that my practice scores at least put me in range. I was one of the lucky (few) that scored right at or even slightly above my practice range. Adrenalin has always been very good to me and it didn't fail me on test day. Anyway, I'm uprooting my family, changing my whole life, and I'm gonna go for it. I'm in at Chicago, Berkeley and Virginia (in the t14) so far. I'm still holding out hope for 1 of the big three.

Have you been LSN to check what kind of numbers combos go where? Any of the LSAT/GPA calculators? Those would be a great place to start.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: Phineas on February 22, 2008, 11:10:01 PM
It isn't you. Truly, the standard response to someone asking about their chances without a real LSAT is "come back when you have a real score." If you go to the LSAT board today, for example, scores just came out and there are a lot of disappointed people who scored a lot lower than they had been practicing at.

I don't have any idea about the record aspect. But if you have a 3.75 and score in the 170+ range you should get into a t14 though.

I'm 39, and was only planning to go to my local law school (tier 2) until I started reading here, and seeing that my practice scores at least put me in range. I was one of the lucky (few) that scored right at or even slightly above my practice range. Adrenalin has always been very good to me and it didn't fail me on test day. Anyway, I'm uprooting my family, changing my whole life, and I'm gonna go for it. I'm in at Chicago, Berkeley and Virginia (in the t14) so far. I'm still holding out hope for 1 of the big three.

Have you been LSN to check what kind of numbers combos go where? Any of the LSAT/GPA calculators? Those would be a great place to start.

Good luck!

Obama is a socialist.  I'd vote for him if I were poor or a pot-smoking hippie.
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: Captain Graybeard on February 23, 2008, 07:08:05 AM
Get a grip

 ???

Good luck at George Washington, and I sincerely hope you get into BC or BU.
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: rhombot on February 23, 2008, 02:01:40 PM
your past might work for you or against you. on one hand, you might have done something that would cause the bar to reject your application, or law schools to believe that the bar would reject your application. on the other hand, it may well give you "overcoming adversity" points. contact the bar of states where you're thinking of practising or going to law school to see about the former. on the latter, it sounds from your introduction like you know how to present your history favorably.  if i had to guess i'd say that, assuming you're representing yourself honestly, you're a shoo-in for T14 and competitive at the top schools, if that's what you're into.
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: Pigeon on February 24, 2008, 04:05:43 PM
. . . on the other hand, it may well give you "overcoming adversity" points.

DO schools view "overcoming adversity" in a favorable light, for the most part?  Or do they, instead, view applicants who've overcome adversity as "damaged goods," even if the applicant is not at all damaged?

I ask this for myself and others I know.  I'm not saying anything about anyone else being damaged.  I've heard both sides of this argument and I don't know what to believe.  I put my adversity in the best light possible but one never knows.  Maybe admissions people aren't really as nice (i.e., understanding and accepting of people who've been though difficulties) as they say they are in their literature and on their web sites.
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: Captain Graybeard on February 24, 2008, 05:46:19 PM
. . . on the other hand, it may well give you "overcoming adversity" points.

DO schools view "overcoming adversity" in a favorable light, for the most part?  Or do they, instead, view applicants who've overcome adversity as "damaged goods," even if the applicant is not at all damaged?

I ask this for myself and others I know.  I'm not saying anything about anyone else being damaged.  I've heard both sides of this argument and I don't know what to believe.  I put my adversity in the best light possible but one never knows.  Maybe admissions people aren't really as nice (i.e., understanding and accepting of people who've been though difficulties) as they say they are in their literature and on their web sites.

Great question!  Just a guess, but it probably depends on the school and the admissions official.

This issue is pretty important to me also, being that I have a checkered past, plus I have Multiple Sclerosis.  The past I will have to deal with, whether I like it or not.  The MS is another question.  It could make for a very powerful personal statement, but will admissions officials see me as having overcome a potentially debilitating disease, or will they see me as "damaged goods?"  Should I even bring it up?
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: rhombot on February 25, 2008, 07:36:37 PM
seriously? i don't think any school would penalize you for MS. i doubt it's relevant, and it may well be illegal.

overcoming adversity is a plus, but it usually means overcoming unfavorable circumstances beyond your control, like poverty or abuse, not screwing up and then correcting yourself. but i think for a lot of law schools screwing up and learning your lesson would be a plus.

you never know what a particular school or admissions officer will get hung up on. when i was applying, i disclosed that i had been placed in administrative withdrawal because i participated in some organized resistance to a discriminatory student fee. for most schools, that probably set me apart in a positive way. but cardozo freaked out about it and wanted for all kinds of documentation, with the end result being that they never made an admissions decision on my application.
i suspect that if you apply to a range of schools, and you spin your story right, it will generally be seen as a positive, though it might bite you in some particular schools.

all of this is said impressionistically, not authoritatively.
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: Captain Graybeard on February 26, 2008, 08:03:48 AM
seriously? i don't think any school would penalize you for MS. i doubt it's relevant, and it may well be illegal.

My situation may be irrelevant to the practice of law, and weighing it negatively in admissions decisions may be illegal, but discrimination is a fact, and I have been a victim of discrimination for having MS.
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: insomniac on February 26, 2008, 10:03:44 AM
seriously? i don't think any school would penalize you for MS. i doubt it's relevant, and it may well be illegal.

My situation may be irrelevant to the practice of law, and weighing it negatively in admissions decisions may be illegal, but discrimination is a fact, and I have been a victim of discrimination for having MS.

Sadly, you are probably correct. How has your course been? Are you relapsing/remitting or progressive? Particularly if your MS is behaving more like the former, I think you could write a great personal statement without jeopardizing your admissions too much (sure one or two programs might feel you're a risk, but do you really want to go to a school which is so unaccommodating?). You can really highlight the ways in which managing a frustrating and chronic disorder has influenced you positively, while (semi-subtly) showing that it has not, in the whole, slowed you down. Heck, you can probably link this to your relatively recent life changes (no more misdemeanors)/career direction changes, if you want. As long as you are able to reassure them that you can handle the load, I really don't think it will hurt you. It is probably very useful that you are finishing school right now- clearly you are managing an academic workload without major exacerbations of your disease. That may be better than had you finished college at 22. If you have had an interest in health policy/ADA/etc sparked by your experience, I'm guessing they would love to hear it also.
Cynically speaking, look on the websites- they ALL love to point out their classes' diversity. Whether or not you will end up as a poster child, I would think your age, unusual career path, and medical difficulties will, in combination, be pretty attractive to a lot of schools.
Wow- that could really be a fantastic statement....
Best of luck to you, and keep us updated
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: Captain Graybeard on February 26, 2008, 11:18:00 AM
How has your course been? Are you relapsing/remitting or progressive?

I have relapsing/remitting MS.

(sure one or two programs might feel you're a risk, but do you really want to go to a school which is so unaccommodating?).

You are absolutely right, and that has been something I have thought a lot about.

You can really highlight the ways in which managing a frustrating and chronic disorder has influenced you positively, while (semi-subtly) showing that it has not, in the whole, slowed you down. Heck, you can probably link this to your relatively recent life changes (no more misdemeanors)/career direction changes, if you want.

They are directly related, so that is pretty much what I plan to do.

(As long as you are able to reassure them that you can handle the load, I really don't think it will hurt you. It is probably very useful that you are finishing school right now- clearly you are managing an academic workload without major exacerbations of your disease. That may be better than had you finished college at 22. If you have had an interest in health policy/ADA/etc sparked by your experience, I'm guessing they would love to hear it also.
Cynically speaking, look on the websites- they ALL love to point out their classes' diversity. Whether or not you will end up as a poster child, I would think your age, unusual career path, and medical difficulties will, in combination, be pretty attractive to a lot of schools.
Wow- that could really be a fantastic statement....
Best of luck to you, and keep us updated

Thanks, and I will.  I am at least a year and a half away from applying, assuming I try for ED, but have started working on the personal statement already.  Right now it is in the brainstorming phase, but I have some pretty good ideas that follow your line of reasoning, and I think I can write a pretty powerful statement.
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: insomniac on February 26, 2008, 11:38:01 AM
Don't do ED. If your course follows mine, your numbers will largely dictate your acceptances; however, the fact that you have an interesting background will make you much more likely to be offered scholarship money. And, in your late 30's, I'm sure you appreciate how much difference 60,000 or more can make! Particularly when looking towards retirement saving, etc. ED REALLY limits your options. Again- my attitude has been that I want to go to a school that wants me, particularly, and appreciates my unique non-trad-ness (facetious, but true). ED is only useful if you think they may be on the fence about you, and knowing you will come can tip the scales. Coming straight from undergraduate, without a lot to distinguish you from others, this can make sense. Not so much later on...It'll be weird enough being old- I'm willing to defer to a certain extent to the ad-coms' determination if I would be a good fit there.
If you get your stuff in early enough, you will quite possibly hear from schools before most of the ED decisions go out- look at LSN for your schools of interest to get an idea.
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: trudawg on July 28, 2008, 08:59:34 AM
Can someone tell me exactly what kind of convictions excluding felonies would prevent someone from taking the BAR exam?
While I have no felonies myself, I do have a few misdemeanors from my youth such as disorderly conduct and possession of MJ. The last one being about 7 years ago. Who should I talk to before investing in this academic path?
Title: Re: Just Decided To Go To Law School Last Week
Post by: brianwithani on July 28, 2008, 09:33:41 AM
Trudawg,
The first place to ask is the admissions dept at a school in the state where you want to practice.  Or you can contact the bar association in that state.  It would be unethical for a school to admit you if you can't be admitted to the bar because of something they know about but I've heard that some of the lower ranked, degree mills can be misleading.  The most important thing is to be over-zealous in revealing every single thing that could be a problem in the past.  Don't even omit that silly parking ticket.  If you are honest, they seem to be more forgiving (if the offense is forgivable).
Good luck.