Law School Discussion

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Messages - LawSchoolHonors

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Just for the record, I agree with every part of FalconJimmy's response.

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Your science background will make it easier to get a job out of law school.  Lawyers with technical backgrounds are in high demand for patent and IP law.  Also, if you do well in law school, the money will be great.  Starting salary at large firms in Manhattan is $160,000 (but you would have to do very well at a good law school to get there).  As to your criminal record, it might harm you in your law school applications and it might harm you in your bar applications after law school (i.e., the Character and Fitness Committee will ask you about it before admitting you to practice).  It's by no means insurmountable, but it's a potential problem.  You can definitely work around it, and I would be happy to give you more specific advice if you share more details about the conviction.

All that said, think long and hard about whether law school is the right decision for you.  Forget the fact that people say you would make a good lawyer -- most people have NO idea what lawyers do all day. Before you make any decision, talk to a bunch of lawyers.  Ask what their day is like, ask what kind of hours they work and ask how often they appear in court.  More importantly, ask whether they would go to law school if they could do it all over again. 

While arguing in court seems glamorous, it's not what most lawyers do every day (at least not the lawyers who work at large firms).  If you work at a small firm, you can appear in court more, but the money is not very good.  Also, law is a very detail-oriented profession, and much of your job as a young lawyer will involve boring minutia rather than big picture issues.  I suspect it's not very different from engineering in many respects.

In short, talk to a bunch of lawyers before making any decisions, and only decide once you're well-informed about what it means to be a lawyer.  Don't go to law school because people tell you that you argue well.  That is not a good enough reason.


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Non-Traditional Students / Re: Admissions chances...
« on: April 12, 2011, 02:48:35 PM »
The highest scorers on the LSAT are math/physics majors, followed closely by philosophy majors.  Presumably, these are also the highest achievers in law school.  You have to study a lot for the LSAT, but you're in a good position to do very well.  The LSAT is a very learnable exam, and the more you study, the higher your score will be. 

When evaluating your chances for admission, keep in mind that your GPA is very impressive, especially for a math major.  Admissions committees know that math is a much harder major than political science or English, so that will weigh in your favor.  Another consideration is that, once you take the LSAT, the LSAC will send law schools a score report that includes the average GPA of all students in your undergrad.  The lower that average, the stronger your 3.74 will appear.   

As to performing well in law school, I wouldn't worry about your limited writing experience at all.  On law school exams, you will have to resolve legal puzzles using terse logic.  Exams are definitely not an exercise in eloquent writing, especially due to time constraints.  Once you're a 2L and 3L, you might take some seminars that require more writing, but that will be your choice.

Math majors are in a very strong position to do well on the LSAT and in law school.  I really believe it is one of the strongest majors you can apply with.  The key, once you take the LSAT, is to learn everything you can about law school before it begins. It defintely makes sense to read as many books about law school as possible so you know what to expect once you start.  You can also watch the Planet Law School DVD series -- the videos are very informative. 

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It is a VERY good idea to take a course like this before law school.  I can also suggest Wentworth Miller's LEEWS program, which I took during first year and found very helpful, and the Planet Law School DVDs, which are not a course but still informative.  You should also read as many books about law school as you can before starting.  Finally, there are a number of prelaw tutors out there who work with students to get them ready for one-L year. 

The goal of these efforts should be to know exactly what to expect before you set foot in the door.  Many of the top students in my class weren't smarter than anyone else -- they simply came to law school knowing exactly what to do.  Feel free to e-mail me if you have any more questions.   

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Law School Applications / Re: hi everyone! :) request your advice!
« on: April 12, 2011, 12:12:25 AM »
In light of how many cookie-cutter applicants are out there, I think your story could make for a great personal statement. It would definitely distinguish you from the pack. The tricky part is to make sure it distinguishes you in a positive way -- which is definitely possible, but hard.  Out of curiousity, can you submit an application without telling that story?  That is, were you formally sanctioned by the school, or did they just ask you to leave voluntarily? If you weren't formally sanctioned, you might consider holding back the details and playing it a little safer. You can still talk about your drug policy reform aspirations, but you might present it a little differently. If you have to disclose what happened, then you should 100% own it and proudly tell the whole story in your personal statement, explaining how the experience solidified your resolve to become a lawyer.  In any event, you sound like a very interesting applicant!

By the way, I was also in SSDP as an undergraduate...

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