« on: June 08, 2013, 01:27:51 PM »
I am a rising 3L at a tier three school, I am almost last in my class with cumulative GPA of 2.37. The school requires that I maintain at least a 2.25 to graduate, which is not terrible but based on my 2L semester I am definitely at risk. My question is what should I do, if I graduate with low grades like this from a tier 3, will I be able to find a job?
My 1L Year:
I started law school at a tier 3 school away from home, I had a relatively good first semester. I put myself well into the top half of the class and things were good. My second semester, I did drop a little but I was just below a 3.0 (maybe 2.9). At this point, I wanted to transfer to a school closer to my home and help take care of an ailing family member. Plus, I was paying rent so this would save me money. Even though I slipped my second semester, I was accepted at the home town school. This school was almost equal in rankings to the school I was transferring from. Thus, I was not going up or down in my transfer. During this year, I did work a little on the weekends but I was able to maintain my studies and have a relatively good semester. I was also able to obtain a Winter Internship.
My 1L Summer: I was at a public defenders office for my summer internship and also continued to help the private attorney's office I worked for in the winter. As a result, I was able to secure two recommendations and some contacts. However, none of the contacts I know at this point can lead to a job after graduation.
My 2L Year:
My transfer was a disaster from the start. I registered for classes over the internet, I never had an orientation, and no one contacted me to help my transfer in anyway after my acceptance. I pretty much had to deal with things on my own... This took away from my studies to start the semester but I was able to get through and take my finals. FINALS (Ugh!) I am still nauseous about my first semester of finals at my new school because they were completely different from my original law school and unlike any law school exam I was told to be prepared for. Keeping in mind, both of the institutions I have attended have been ABA accredited and are just barely above the top 100 law schools...(Something like 114 and 116). The exams I took were a majority true/false, mixed with some multiple choice, and a few essays. Mostly, the true/false were awful because in law school you learn that almost every absolute has an exception. Therefore, multiple choice was awful! I did terribly, not only that the questions were often based on definitions and not application of rules. For example, when studying for Professional Responsibility, one question asked what the original rules were called? -The answer was Cannon, which I got right but the other questions followed similarly. This was difficult because I studied the application of these rules and not the definition. Further, I was unable to explain my knowledge of these rules because it was true/false with no explanations. Needless to say, I am horrible at true/false and even worse at law school true/false. I almost failed out as a result of these exams because I lost my good 1L GPA when I transferred. These exams started my GPA at 2.17, which I need a 2.25 to graduate.
After this semester, I went directly to the academic dean because I was mortified(I did not know what I did wrong?). I realized many of the students had these Professors their first year, so they knew this was the type of exam they would conduct. This put me at a disadvantage because I had never seen their exams because nobody told me they were accessible to me. The dean assured me that she would check into the exams that were being administered and said she had no clue that professors even had true/false exams. This did not help my GPA and I decided I would buckle down and take more essay driven classes. My 2L second semester was slightly better, but I am still in academic peril. I am barely above the 2.25 requirement (sitting with a 2.3). Not only is this embarrassing considering my law school start, but now I am concerned I will graduate last in my class and never get a job.
I do have a summer internship this year, although the supervisor is up for reelection and will likely not lead to a job after graduation. Alternatively, it will most likely give me another recommendation.
I think I can tough it out and make a reasonable stab at the bar exam because I did do well my first year and those grades are not being considered because of my transfer. If my grades were considered, I would be somewhere in the 2.7 range... Which is not great, but not awful. However, I would not be taking a chance at failing out my 3L year. This is where the problem arises, should I stick it out at my transfer institution knowing the highest GPA I can ever achieve without my good 1L grades is a 2.5 (assuming I get straight A's my 3L which is unlikely...based on my track record). Plus, taking the chance I could fail out and waste the money because I am close to the not passing 2.25. OR do I try and change this by transferring back to my starting institution. Assuming I can transfer and not take extras semesters, the money would be almost the same. I would have to make sure they would take the bad grades but if they do and I do well, I can transfer back and graduate with honors and in better class rank. To make the decision even harder, I plan to take the bar exam in the state where I am doing badly in law school but the school tailors my third year to that bar exam. If I transfer back to the other school, the bar prep is based on all states and not just tailored to the state in which I am taking the bar.
Assuming I just got caught up in the perils of transferring, I think I can take a strong attack on the bar exam and potentially pass with my bar prep class because I clearly have some law school technique (I am a 3L). My issue is will I look better staying at my transfer school and barely making the grades to pass and even with an increase my 3rd year, barely getting above the graduation level. Further, my class rank would be last or even close to last. OR do I check into transferring back to my original school and taking a chance I will do better, maybe even graduate with honors and have a high class rank? Even then, I have to consider the back and forth transfer and how that might be perceived.
-What should I do? I want to pass the bar and get a job. I do not expect a 6 figure job, but enough to pay my loan debt and not be unemployed... Any advice is helpful...