Law School Discussion

Deciding Where to Go => Choosing the Right Law School => Topic started by: jonathanlee408 on June 14, 2013, 02:01:05 PM

Title: Can i get in to an ABA?
Post by: jonathanlee408 on June 14, 2013, 02:01:05 PM
Is it possible to get into an ABA in California with the following stats?:

149 LSAT
3.2 all college GPA including Community College
3.5 GPA from 4 yr university
3.75 in my Major

If so, to which would anyone recommend that i apply?
Many have recommended that i re-take LSAT but i am naturally a horrible test taker.
Title: Re: Can i get in to an ABA?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on June 14, 2013, 03:24:04 PM
Is it possible to get into an ABA in California with the following stats?:

149 LSAT
3.2 all college GPA including Community College

These two numbers represent the operative portion of your stats. Grade trend and university vs. community college credits won't really matter. Law school admission is primarily a numbers game, especially at lower tier schools, and your final GPA/LSAT numbers will almost entirely determine your chances. Law schools love to talk about how they "look at the whole applicant", but the statistics seem to indicate otherwise.

Take a look at the law school profiles on LSAC's site. You can find your GPA/LSAT range and see how many applied with similar numbers to each school and how many were admitted. This will give you a very good idea as to your chances.

That said, it is possible that you might get admitted to an ABA school. You could try applying to all of the lower tier CA schools, and you may get into one or two. If you look at the LSAC profiles, however, you'll see that very few students get admitted with sub-150 scores. You might stand a slight chance at the T3-T4 schools, some of which have good local reputations and have produced many successful grads.

Your chances of admission at any of these schools, however, is slight.

Many have recommended that i re-take LSAT but i am naturally a horrible test taker.

This is a huge red flag, and you need to proceed with caution.

If you are a "naturally horrible test taker" then you need to consider that law school is loaded with very difficult exams, all of which are much tougher than the LSAT. You will also have to pass the MPRE, and the bar exam. The bar exam is the toughest test I've taken, period. Many very smart people fail. In fact, many very smart people fail more than once. If you have a tough time with tests you need to really think this over before dropping $150,000 on law school. Many people seem to think that although they have a hard time with exams, three years of law school will help them develop their skills and pass the bar. Maybe that works for some people, but it clearly does not for many.

A low LSAT score is not necessarily a bar to becoming an attorney. There are definitely examples of people who had 149 scores, passed the bar and are successful. The question is whether you can overcome whatever obstacles get in your way when it comes to taking tests. You need to make an honest, realistic, and critical assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Do as much research as possible, and try to determine whether or not you can succeed at this endeavor.

Lastly, think about what you want to go to law school in the first place. Think about your long term goals, and whether or not this is really for you. Graduating from a non-prestigious local school, you almost certainly won't be working at a big firm making $160,000 or as a federal prosecutor. If you graduate and pass the bar you'll probably end up putting in long hours for low pay at a small firm doing unglamorous work like DUI defense or child custody modifications. After a few years of grunt work it will get better, and you'll have some options. I'm pointing this out simply because many law students (even those at top ranked schools) have very unrealistic expectations. Something to think about. 

Good luck with whatever you decide!

Title: Re: Can i get in to an ABA?
Post by: CA Law Dean on June 18, 2013, 09:44:28 AM
I think that MFL350 basically has provided sound advice and I agree that taking a review course and retaking the LSAT is your best alternative if you are serious about attending an ABA law school. It is easy to get several different views of your statistical chances by using one of the law school predictor web sites. They are described here: I would add that because of the lower application rates this year, your numbers could possibly still get into one of the lower tier California ABA law schools (Golden Gate, LaVerne, Whittier, California Western, Thomas Jefferson Law School). HOWEVER,you really need to pay attention to the discussions going on regarding cost vs. loan debt vs. employment opportunities.

If you haven't reviewed, you are not fully informed about the implications of your choices.

Although I am certainly not an unbiased opinion (as the dean of one of the CBE accredited law schools - Monterey College of Law), I would highly recommend that you at least consider whether a CBE accredited law school might better fit your learning style. I am particularly reacting to your comment about being a poor test-taker. Schools like MCL have small classes and also have specific academic support programs for individuals who need to improve their test-taking skills. Your profile (149/3.2) would be close to MCL's median, so you are much more likely to fit in at a law school like MCL than at the typical ABA program in which your profile would place you well below the entering median scores. MCL graduates have also shown success on the CA bar exam. Like most of the CBE law schools MCL has strong ties within our local employment market, which is of growing importance to law school graduates. This means that you should also consider where you would most likely like to live and practice law as part of your law school selection process.

If you are considering this cycle for enrolling fall 2013, you also need to move quickly. Since you already have your LSAT, most of the CBE law schools (including MCL) are still accepting applications, but you are within a few weeks of missing the cut off.

CBE law schools are not for everyone, but it certainly is worth some investigation as you consider options.