Law School Discussion

Specific Groups => Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students => Topic started by: nyzfinest28 on August 01, 2010, 09:45:16 PM

Title: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: nyzfinest28 on August 01, 2010, 09:45:16 PM
Hello all,

Well I'm actually new to this board, and I'm posting on here because I've read other discussions on here and found them to be really helpful. Starting off, I'm 22 yrs old, and this past year I completed my first year of law school. Unfortunately about 2 weeks ago I got a letter stating that I had been dismissed because I had a GPA of 1.99 and the school required a GPA 2.00. I had a valid reason as to why my GPA was so low, and that mainly comes from unforeseen family problems I had to deal with this past year.

These past 2 weeks have been really difficult for me because it feels like everything I have been working towards for all these years has just been taken from me, and I can't do anything about it. I'm at a loss about what to do with my life. I graduated with a BA in Political Science in 2009 and I had an LSAT score of 153. I know I want to go back to law school but am not sure about how to get there. I have considered enrolling in a masters program and working full time in the time being, but I want to get back into law school ASAP. What would I need to do to get back into school, and do I even have a chance?

Thank you all in advance.
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: bigs5068 on August 02, 2010, 12:49:26 PM
I think you could petition your school for re-admission if you have not already done so. Your school's handbook should have details about how to do that and if your family situation is terrible enough to explain your poor performance it is possible to get reinstated.

You should realize it is possible that failing out is the best thing that could happen to you. Schools don't want you to waste 3 years of your life and 100k to not pass the bar. I know a couple of people that went to higher ranked schools that don't really fail people out who finished near the bottom of their class and have now failed the bar 3 times.  They have no jobs and spent three years of their life to be 120k in debt and it would have been for them to have failed out.  Although it does suck to spend a year of your life and 30-40k with nothing to show for it could better to quit now. However, plenty of people fail at something in their life, but if you learned or matured from the experience you can still succeed.

Another thing you could to be reinstated is e-mail schools admissions offices and find out what is necessary to be admitted. I am sure people have failed out and come back, but it is difficult. Here is an uplifting website for your situation http://www.lawfficespace.com/2009/06/failing-out-of-law-school.html.  Well good luck and hopefully it works out.
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: passaroa25 on August 04, 2010, 02:19:33 PM
Try to get back in at all costs.  I left law school in Georgia in 1987.  I took the LSAT again in 2009 and when I went to apply to law schools in Florida, they said I was ineligible to even apply because I left law school.  The number of years did not matter.
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: barond on August 05, 2010, 11:25:00 AM
What school did you attend?  I would certainly check out the handbook, but it seems to me that the administrations these days are just ruthless about dismissals. If you got a 1.9999999 your gone- even a very good reason may not fly.  A professor at my school who strictly follows the curve must give 5 to 10% of the class a failing grade of 0.0 or 0.5.  That terrified me from day one- especially after my first ever law school grade being a 1.7.  I may have been lucky getting that. After that though- I tightened things up and got mostly 2.8's to 3.2's.
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: nyzfinest28 on August 05, 2010, 03:21:36 PM
Hey all, thanks for replying. Well there is an petition process which the school allows and I did do that but unfortunately they still found no reason to let me back in. I was not trying to make excuses during the meeting but I did tell them that I had to deal with unforeseen family problems which kept me traveling every weekend. I really do feel that this hampered my ability to study during the weekends and because of this I tried cramming as much as I could during the week. I even got letters from doctors and witnesses stating the situation I was in but I guess the appeals board didnt think I deserved another chance =/. And the sad part about all of this was that I literally had a 1.99 and the requirement was a 2.0.

So at this point I'm just trying to get a job and get experience and maybe do my masters or take some classes. But nothing is set in stone because this is all a very confusing time for me right now.
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: bigs5068 on August 05, 2010, 03:48:22 PM
Barond what school gives out mandatory F's? I didn't know any schools actually did that.
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: barond on August 05, 2010, 05:11:23 PM
No school that I know of explicitly does, but history shows some schools academically dismiss a small percentage of 1L's every year. Here at UDM, some professors do follow a curve wherefore F's do arise. Most professors give grades at their discretion.
This is what they list as the strict curve for mandatory classes:

Grade      Percent of Class
3.5-4.0                   5-15%
3.0-3.4                   20-40%
2.0-2.9                   35-55%
1.0-1.9      10%
0.0-0.5      5%
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: passaroa25 on August 05, 2010, 06:19:33 PM
I don't know if the question "what school did you attend applies to me or the person who started; but, I was accepted to the Mercer U School of Law in 1987.  I accepted a full scholarship on the condition that I maintain straight A's.  I only got an A in Con Law.  B's and C's in the other classes.  Nevertheless, my transcript reads academically dismissed.  Based on that, I am not eligible to apply to any law school in Florida.

To the originator of this discussion thread:  what about becoming a paralegal for awhile?
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: bigs5068 on August 05, 2010, 06:25:58 PM
How did you get kicked out with A's, B's, and C's??????  I see Barond it is not mandatory to give F's or D's, but it can happen. I just wouldn't imagine any school would want to fail out students since you are paying them to be there and that is why no school would ever have a mandatory 25% cut rate.
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: barond on August 05, 2010, 08:08:04 PM
passaroa25 : I think you got some wrong information unless Florida is significantly different than Michigan.  I have bumped across 2 students at my school who had been previously academically dismissed. All you have to do is wait 2 years and your back in business.  You could possibly get back in 1 year. IF Florida schools have such a unfair rule to bar previously dismissed students you could always go to a school in another state and then relocate to Florida. I doubt this soo called rule you refer to even exists.

You seem to be pitching some sort of 'paralegal' program.  I don't know why anybody considering to be a lawyer would want to engage themselves in something like that. You went to law school in 1987 and still havent gave it another shot? You must not want to be a lawyer that bad.
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: bigs5068 on August 06, 2010, 01:10:52 AM
I also think you could take the baby bar in California and if you pass that then you can get into a CBA program and I would think an ABA tier 4 school might consider someone who passed the baby bar.
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: REALITY on August 06, 2010, 11:31:14 AM
with one your at an ABA school you'd be exempt from the CBE FXBExam. You could do the rest even self paced open book nonproctored at some CBE correspondence schools.
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: Denny Shore on August 06, 2010, 04:00:47 PM
Hey all, thanks for replying. Well there is an petition process which the school allows and I did do that but unfortunately they still found no reason to let me back in. I was not trying to make excuses during the meeting but I did tell them that I had to deal with unforeseen family problems which kept me traveling every weekend. I really do feel that this hampered my ability to study during the weekends and because of this I tried cramming as much as I could during the week. I even got letters from doctors and witnesses stating the situation I was in but I guess the appeals board didnt think I deserved another chance =/. And the sad part about all of this was that I literally had a 1.99 and the requirement was a 2.0.

So at this point I'm just trying to get a job and get experience and maybe do my masters or take some classes. But nothing is set in stone because this is all a very confusing time for me right now.

I have some personal experience with this, so I feel compelled to help.
First of all, unless otherwise stated, you should be allowed to petition for readmit more than once.  Most schools don't consider petitions for readmission until the student has sat out at least one semester, with the earliest a readmitted student could begin classes being one full year from dismissal.  Are you sure you didn't have a hearing for reconsideration?  If you were dismissed after the end of the school year, this may not have been a petition to readmit, but rather a hearing as to the decision of the school.
When I was dismissed in 08, I talked to the Dean and he put me in contact with the person who handles readmission counseling.  I worked with her for about 6 months, formulating my essay, my readmission petition, and discussing strategies that would show the school that things had changed, that there was an explanation for my poor performance, and that I was committed to making the necessary changes.  Try to seek that person out.
Furthermore, if you were denied readmission, the ABA requires that you take 2 years off then you can apply to any law school as a new admit.  Naturally, you will have to discuss the fact that you were dismissed. 
I recommend you take some time to think about what happened that caused you problems and be honest with yourself.  If this is what you really want, there should be no doubt in your mind that you can do it, and do it better the second go around.  I didn't like people telling me that it was for the best, nor did I care to hear people tell me to do something else.  For me, it was law school.  If I couldn't get back in, I'd have to find something else.  Until I did everything I could, I wasn't willing to quit.
If you really did get denied readmission (and didn't mistake a petition for reconsideration for a readmission procedure), you have two years to kill while waiting for the ABA requirement to pass.  That's a long time, for sure, but also plenty of time to explore other opportunities.  For example, my plan, if I had been denied readmission, was to get my masters degree (either an MBA or something in marketing) in the interim.  You could accomplish this in two years with little problem.  Plus, then if you don't get admitted for some reason, you have another potential career just waiting for you to go kick butt at!  Truth is, an MBA or masters can get you a job with less work, less responsibility, less hours and similar pay.
Here's some basic stuff I learned that might be helpful:
1)  stay involved in the law.  Clerk, paralegal, volunteer - anything is better than nothing (even volunteering a few days a month at a free legal clinic is better than ignoring the field completely).  It shows you are dedicated, interested, and engaged despite any issues that should, if you didn't care, have made you disconnect from the law.
2)  let it go.  The most successful people have failed many times before they succeeded.  Think of it this way: thousands apply to law school every year and only a small percentage gain acceptance.  Hundreds of students 'fail out' of law school.  It doesn't make you stupid or worthless, nor does it signify that you are incapable.  We all run into periods of time in our lives that prevent us from attaining our goals.  Its what you do when you fail that makes you who you are.  Get over the pain and confusion and try to remember that you were smart enough to get in.  That automatically puts you in a category of intelligence and capability that exceeds a huge portion of the population.
3)  be honest with yourself and figure out if law school is right for you.  If you are readmitted, you are held to a higher standard.  People will be watching and the pressure will be higher than the average student.  Do you want to be a lawyer?  Did you apply to law school because you thought it was a big bucks profession?  Did you just want a degree?  I've met too many people who went to law school for the prestige, the title, or the money who quickly learned that none of it was worth it.  There is nothing sadder (to me) than when someone spends six figures to get a degree that they never use or use for a while only to realize that they hate it.
My story is simple.  I have ADHD and had major test anxiety, both of which contributed to me getting a B, a C+ and 2 D's.  I was dismissed.  I went to see my doctor, got rediagnosed, got properly medicated, and got readmitted.  I worked my ass off and got one C, a B-, and 2 B's first semester.  Second semester, I got one C and three B+'s.  The two C's were from the same professor, who I was forced to take twice, that writes terrible tests full of confusing wording, misspellings, and a total lack of clarity (he tought us general measure of damages so poorly that using the way he taught us, I was unable to answer a GM question using the choices provided).  At this point, I am in no danger of being dismissed again and look forward to a more successful 2L.
It can be done.  If you really want it, and for the right reasons, nothing can stop you.

Anyway, good luck to you.  Keep your head up. 
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” -  Arnold Schwarzenegger (it's better if you say it with his accent)
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: bigs5068 on August 06, 2010, 05:40:59 PM
Awesome post man you seem to have a great attitude and hopefully you will continue to do well.
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: barond on August 06, 2010, 06:20:24 PM
Hey Denny, do you happen to attend evenings at UDM?  Your story seems vaguely familiar.

How did you manage to get readmission without waiting 2 years?  Perhaps, this could help the OP.
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: Denny Shore on August 07, 2010, 01:42:19 PM
Hey Denny, do you happen to attend evenings at UDM?  Your story seems vaguely familiar.

How did you manage to get readmission without waiting 2 years?  Perhaps, this could help the OP.

Nope, sorry.  I go to JMLS and am in the day division.  My story can't be that unique.

The ABA has two sets of rules regarding readmission, as I understand it.
Rule #1 is that a student who has been academically dismissed may reapply no earlier than 1 semester after dismissal.  Readmission is at the discretion of the school, and if readmitted, the student may return no sooner than 1 year after dismissal.
Rule #2 is that any student dismissed who is denied readmission may apply to any law school after 2 years from the dismissal.
I met with the readmission coordinator at my school after meeting with a dean.  We met several times prior to filing my petition and she reviewed and gave feedback on my multiple drafts.  As a condition of readmission, I have higher requirements than other students for completion.
1) for the first semester, I was required to have regular meeting with the readmission coordinator (who is also the director of academic achievement).  Most of these meetings were 'check ins' to see if I had questions, was experiencing difficulties, provide outlining advice, etc.
2)  My GPA cannot fall below 2.25 cumulative, I am not eligible for academic probation, and if I fall below 2.0 cum, I am dismissed and not eligible for readmission at JMLS.

So far, so good.  I am not close to 2.25 and don't see any reason why, moving forward, I would run into that problem.
Thanks for the kind words (all).  My attitude comes directly from my drive.  I have always been a driven person, which has helped me attain success to this point.  I am a non-trad student (I turned 35 this year - just after completing my 1L) who has had 2 successful careers (one in the restaurant business and one in healthcare focused technology sales).  I honestly believe that my life experiences give me an advantage in terms of work ethic and, well, life experience.  However, there is no reason that I can understand why someone who experiences difficulty and is dismissed can't return with success, assuming there was something identifiable and correctable that contributed to their difficulty.  It does not mean they should give up, it does not mean they should find something else to do, and it does not mean they can't do it.
I'm happy to be living proof that most of the bashing I endured on message boards proved to be nothing more than nonsense spouted from the mouths of people who think they know it all.  The most important lesson I learned through all of this is to not beat myself up too badly.  And that's what I try to impress on others who are going through the foggy darkness that seems unavoidable and can be oppressive. 
Stay positive, work hard, be honest with yourself.  Don't be afraid to fail. 
"Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently." - Henry Ford

Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: Denny Shore on August 07, 2010, 01:45:28 PM
As a side note, when I was readmitted, I was very open about the fact that I was a readmit.  I didn't hide it from my classmates.
And I didn't succeed in my coursework because I remembered everything.  I made a very serious attempt to learn everything I could as if it was fresh information.  My second semester (which was made up of coursework I hadn't seen before) was more successful (in terms of grades) because I carried that drive forward.
So to all those students who get readmitted:  work twice as hard as you ever thought you could.  Don't think that since you've been through it once, you'll do better automatically.  I learned the repeated material far better the second go through because I treated it all as brand new material.  I didn't look once at old notes. 
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: jreeve12 on April 22, 2016, 06:07:40 AM
I'm very sorry to say that-- at least in the case of the University of Florida Levin College of Law-- passaroa25 is correct: UF won't even consider the application of a formerly academically disqualified applicant. This remains the case EVEN THOUGH the ABA has completely waived any required waiting period before reapplication and simply requires the would-be second round law student to make "an affirmative showing" that they possess the requisite intellectual and academic skills to complete law school and contribute to the diversity, prestige, and talent pool of the class. Seems incredibly narrow-minded to me, but here's the rule. We don't have to like or even respect it (I'm glad to hear that Michigan is more open-minded toward second chances): "INELIGIBILITY FOR ADMISSION
........
Applicants who have attended another law school and are ineligible to return as a continuing student or are not in good standing (including, but not limited to, having been academically dismissed), are not eligible to apply to the Levin College of Law."

https://www.law.ufl.edu/admissions/apply/standards-for-admission
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: loki13 on April 22, 2016, 11:53:08 AM
I'm very sorry to say that-- at least in the case of the University of Florida Levin College of Law-- passaroa25 is correct: UF won't even consider the application of a formerly academically disqualified applicant. This remains the case EVEN THOUGH the ABA has completely waived any required waiting period before reapplication and simply requires the would-be second round law student to make "an affirmative showing" that they possess the requisite intellectual and academic skills to complete law school and contribute to the diversity, prestige, and talent pool of the class. Seems incredibly narrow-minded to me, but here's the rule. We don't have to like or even respect it (I'm glad to hear that Michigan is more open-minded toward second chances): "INELIGIBILITY FOR ADMISSION
........
Applicants who have attended another law school and are ineligible to return as a continuing student or are not in good standing (including, but not limited to, having been academically dismissed), are not eligible to apply to the Levin College of Law."

https://www.law.ufl.edu/admissions/apply/standards-for-admission

Holy thread necromancy!

Well, since this was brought up, individual law schools can, of course, have admissions requirements that are more restrictive than the ABA minimum. So the lesson, as always, is check with the school you will be applying at. It shouldn't be hard.

Regarding UF, it makes more explicit what is implicit at some other schools (cf. FSU - "Applicants must be in good standing at all institutions attended to be eligible for consideration."). The reason why the Florida schools, as opposed to some other schools, might have a more ... selective approach here is because Florida has one of the most demanding character and fitness (if not the most) applications in the nation. Seriously. I've gotten my bar license in multiple jursidictions, and while some jurisdictions are a rubber stamp, Florida is more like a proctological exam.
Title: Re: How do you get back into law school?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on April 22, 2016, 03:51:01 PM
First, as Loki stated, individual law schools are free to make their admissions requirements more restrictive than the ABA standards. For example, the ABA does not require law schools to insist that applicants hold a bachelor's degree, but most law schools will not accept applicants without one.

Second, and more importantly, it's not a bad idea for schools to refuse to admit applicants who have been academically disqualified. The chances that the applicant will not succeed the second time around are high.

When you have plenty of well qualified applicants, what's the incentive to give a seat to one who has already attempted and failed at law school?