Law School Discussion

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Topics - kslaw

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General Board / Crap! I got an F! Freaking out!!!
« on: December 31, 2005, 01:44:14 PM »

My PR professor gave out 20 A's and 20 F's in a class of 65.  I was one of the F's.  Now I have to take it over and ... even worse ... that F will forever be on my transcript.  The rest of my grades aren't terrible (nor are they stellar) (I'm a B/C+ type) but this F is NOT helping any!!!! 

Any thoughts???  ANYTHING to make me feel better? >:(

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Law School Applications / Affirmative Action
« on: July 14, 2004, 12:31:04 PM »
I was reading the discussion from last week, and felt the urge to voice my opinion on this.

First of all, I'm white, female, and middle class. I consider my upbringing to be relatively priviledged. Far from wealthy, but access to a decent education and a safe environment.

For many years, I was against affirmative action. For many of the same reasons others are: that race should not make up for lower scores. Recently, I've been engaged in a number of discussions on the topic, and my views have changed radically.

From 1641 to 1865, approximately 95% of the blacks in this country were slaves. By the time the last slaves were freed, it had been several years since they had been promised freedom; several years since the famous "all men are created equal" speech. By the time they were freed, they had good reason to be skeptical and distrustful of white men and their promises and rhetoric.

From the time they were freed until 1954, they were treated as second class citizens. The life they lived was nothing like the life they were promised back in 1865. Though they were no longer legally anyone's property, it was still perfectly acceptable to rape, torture and murder them. They were denied access to the opportunities whites had, the same opportunities they had once believed they would have. They could now take jobs, but were not expected to be paid a decent wage. They were harassed and tortured by the  people who felt the jobs should've belonged to them. As of 1911, men were still writing books and making movies declaring blacks to be inferior.

When our grandparents were born, it was a very hostile environment for black people. Isn't it natural then, that those black people would teach their children to fear the white man? It's a survival instinct, they had to. They had to teach their kids that the white men could not be trusted, because to teach their kids otherwise would be poor parenting.

And their kids grew up with that fear, skepticism, distrust. Isn't that the natural reaction to that environment? Those children born in the forties had children in the sixties, and taught their children, too, to be wary. Though that distrust will fade with each generation IF WE GIVE NO REASON TO MAINTAIN IT, it will take more than two generations for it to disappear completely.

Look at current society, accept that the wariness still exists among today's blacks because they are only a generation or two away from those who did not enjoy the legal equality. There are still people who are racist. Not as many as there once was, but enough to cause the wariness to remain.

Because of that distrust, other actions with innocent intent are likely to be construed as racist. For example, my husband and I are the only ones on the block not invited to neighborhood parties. because we're white, we laugh about it. If we were black, we would likely think it was our differentiating factor (of being the only black ones) that resulted in our different treatment (being the only ones not invited to the party).

where does affirmative action come in? as a society, it is in our best interests to continue to see progress in the area of race relations. Besides being morally right, it will also benefit as all by alleviating the division, leading to more cooperative relationships, and in the end, creating a better society, advancing technology, etc.

As future lawyers, we all play an important role in this. our government and legal structure is set up in such a way to encourage the sharing of diverse ideas, the addressing of varying needs, and finding compromise or solutions to best meet the needs of all the people. since lawyers fill most of the roles in the legal system (lawyers, judges, lawmakers), it is important that as a community, our members are diverse, able to speak for a variety of populations, and willing to seek out and understand the other perspectives.

the bottom line: we need black lawyers and lawmakers. we need the best and brightest among those interested in legal careers. If the test scores and GPAs of the best and brightest don't measure up exactly to the test scores and GPAs of non-minority groups, it does not detract from the point that we need those people in our law school classes. Especially when you figure in the reasons those test scores and GPAs may be lower have a lot to do with the condition of black America. we know that black people have the same abilities, and given the same opportunities, can perform at the same level as white people. but we also know that black people are more likely to have less favorable conditions.

the history of black oppression is not 100+ year old. the legal oppression of blacks lasted until 1954. those grandparents and parents had less, thus less to pass onto their children and grandchildren. the wealth that accumulated among white families was not there for black families. the opportunities, the focus on education. black communities (thanks to white flight, etc, as recent as the 70s and 80s) had less money, since black families had less money. they had fewer teachers willing to work there. the school districts, relying on local taxes, couldn't afford decent materials or facilities, and still can't.

As long as these conditions still exist, where the living conditions and educational opportunities for black children are not equal that for white children, then we NEED more black lawyers and lawmakers. we need them there to help address the problem, help create the laws, help fight for the justices, and whatever it takes to get them into law school, we need to support. it's right, fair, and in everyone's best interest.

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General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Financial Aid
« on: March 24, 2004, 01:01:10 PM »
Does scholarship (need-based and merit-based) information always come with the acceptance letter? I was accepted into the only school I applied to (Pitt). I know some people with my LSAT score got scholarship money there, but don't expect to get any myself. I think they got money to offset the cost of out-of-state tuition. i'm in-state, plus applied late.

Just wondering if it's safe to assume that if I want to attend law school, i need to prepare myself for taking out loans to cover the entire thing.

if there are other sources of aid that I should be applying for, please share that information...it would be greatly appreciated.

4
Law School Applications / Admissions
« on: March 09, 2004, 09:59:42 AM »
So...I was trying to get an idea of how the admissions process would work at the school to which I applied. And I came to the process I would use if I was running admissions.

Top schools can afford to be very picky. Schools at the bottom of the top fifty, or below the top fifty, can't be as picky, yet have to find ways to raise their standings.

If I were running the process...I'd start each year taking into consideration what our weakness was the year before (median GPA too low, median LSAT too low). That would determine my criteria for starting out. So maybe in the beginning, I'm very LSAT heavy.

I'd take all the students who had both GPA and LSAT over my 75th percentile from the year before.

I'd take all students who had LSAT over the 75th percentile, and GPA between the median and 75th percentile.

I'd reject all students who had both LSAT and GPA under 25th percentile unless they had something really exciting to contribute.

Everyone else, I'd not make a decision on. I'd then evaluate the group of admitted students, consider what the 25th percentile, median and 75th percentile are for that group, and then re-evaluate my criteria. Maybe I put too much emphasis on LSAT and now my GPA numbers are hurting.

So now...I need LSAT scores around the median of the already admitted group, and GPAs above the 75th percentile of the already admitted group. At this stage, someone with a high LSAT and low GPA is probably not going to get accepted unless the median LSAT drops from accepted students deciding on other schools, or high GPA students having less than stellar LSATs.

once I got all stats to where I want them to be, I'd start to only accept students whose scores (both scores) were over the median.

So...what all this would mean is that schools that were LSAT-heavy in the beginning of the process may become GPA-heavy at the end of the process, and vice versa. Which could put those of us with split scores at a great advantage or disadvantae, while giving those with solid but not extraordinary numbers a slightly more than fair shot, but not until the end.

i guess i'm just babbling. does anyone know that I'm wrong?

5
Law School Applications / www.lsac.org
« on: March 04, 2004, 04:09:07 PM »
is it possible to read your letters of recommendation after they are processed? i can't seem to get to it.

Thanks.

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Law School Applications / feeling anxious...question?
« on: March 03, 2004, 01:20:02 PM »
So, I wasn't sure until I got my LSAT score if i was going to apply for this year or not. I turned my application in the day before the deadline (deadline March 1) for Pitt. They requested my report from LSDAS yesterday. LSDAS hasn't processed it yet.

How long does it take to process? Does it mean anything that they requested the report the very next day? how long will it take all together? i have a 2.98 gpa and 168 lsat, anyone have any idea what my chances are, knowing I turned my application in at the deadline?

I'm so anxious I'm getting a migraine.

thanks for any input.

7
Studying for the LSAT / Feb 7 LSAT
« on: February 25, 2004, 09:13:35 AM »
Anyone else really anxious for their score? I'd like to send in an application to the law school in my city, which is due March 1. I don't want to apply until I know if my score is high enough.

I just wish we'd get our scores early.

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Studying for the LSAT / LSAT as an indicator
« on: February 20, 2004, 12:21:56 PM »
I've seen many opinions expressed that the LSAT is too heavily weighted; that it should not be considered an indicator of law school success over GPA, which reflects 4 years of hard work.

I'm not necessarily denying the validity of this argument, but I am seeing another side of it.

I think most of us would agree that law school admissions is not meant to be a system of rewarding us for our past achievements. It's meant to be a system for screening candidates, selecting those who have the ability to be a successful attorney, and weed out those who lack the necessary skills and abilities or whose skills and abilities lend themselves to other fields.

With that said...a 4.0 in undergrad may be indicative of a person's work ethic. It may be indicative of the person's general intelligence and ability to succeed in America. It is probably very indicative of the individual's aptitude towards the field of undergraduate study they chose. it tells us nothing of their ability to "think like a lawyer" or whether, beyond their general intelligence, they possess the specific set of skills that make learning to be a lawyer easier.

Now...many of us grew up with the idea that if you are of above average intelligence, you can do anything you want to do, and so we may resist the notion that some people who are of above average intelligence lack a certain set of skills that would lend themselves to the field of an attorney. But in my recent years in the workforce, I've really come to appreciate how individual talents and abilities, when applied to the right field, can predict success; and when applied to the wrong field, can prevent success.

example...I know engineers who think like engineers and while they are incredibly good at what they do, you can never get them into, say, public policy. Because their obsession with detail and order would hinder them in a field that required them to look at big picture of everything.

My point is...maybe the LSAT should be considered a favor to US, the students, rather than just the admissions council. Maybe if we find "thinking like a lawyer" to be the most grueling, irritating moments of our life, we should consider the test a wake up call that our talents/abilities/interests are better suited elsewhere.

I have several friends and family members who are attorneys. I've noticed something lately. They all either love it or hate it. The ones who hate it, hate thinking like a lawyer or have a hard time thinking like a lawyer. they were generally also the ones who hated the LSAT and didn't do well on it. On the other hand, I know quite a few people who thought the LSAT was fun, and starting buying books of logic games long after the need to take the test had passed. and they love being a lawyer, and have always thought like a lawyer.

I know there will always be some people whose scores on the LSAT are not even indicative of their own abilities for logical and/or analytical reasoning.  If that's because you don't test well, I would think carefully about your decision to go to law school. Because your success the rest of your life is going to depend on testing...law school exams, the bar exam...and if you want to do any litigation, every case is going to feel like a test.

Now I can see someone who doesn't test well, but does have strong analytical and logical skills being great at a job that requires behind-the-scenes legal work...but you still have to pass the bar.

and if you're upset now that the score on a test can determine your acceptance into law school...how are you going to feel after three more years of hard work, when your score on another test determines whether you can even practice in that field for the rest of your life?

I acknowledgethat there are certain flaws to my argument. I've discussed examples from my personal life that should not be generalized to the public because the people I know are not reflective of all attorneys.

Also: I do think there is a certain flaw to the logical reasoning section of the test. Because of the nature of the questions (pick the "best answer" though several could be correct) it allows for a certain subjectivity. One could be incredibly good at "thinking like a lawyer" but score poorly on the LSAT by always picking the second best answer, while someone else scores higher than them just from picking answers at random.

But...I'm trying to argue the unpopular side right now. So...anyone want to discuss?

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Where should I go next fall? / Some advice?
« on: February 10, 2004, 01:14:13 PM »
I have a low GPA, (2.99) due in large part to a traumatic brain injury incurred after my freshman year. the two years that followed, I remained in school (with a 1.9, 2.2) while engaged in cognitive and learning therapies to retrain my brain how to learn. I am going to address this in my personal statement. At the tail end of the therapies (in 1998), I took the LSAT and scored a 159, having not answered the second half of the reading comprehension because I completely zoned out.

I just took the LSATs again on Saturday, so i won't know how I did until March 1. timed practice exams, I scored between 166 and 171. I felt confident after the test on Saturday (I didn't run out of time, which had been my biggest downfall in practice tests)

As far as applying, I have two choices. One...I could put my application in now to the school in my hometown. the application deadline is march 1. I would be applying with no idea of whether my LSAT is high enough to make up for my GPA. The school is ranked in the 50s. (Tier 2, I guess).

Or..I could put off applying, plan to start law school next fall (2005), carefully choosing schools based on my LSAT score.

I think I will still end up feeling that the school in my hometown is the best choice for me. Waiting until next year would allow me to choose more carefully, but if I choose any other school, it would mean uprooting my husband from his career and selling our house.

Any feedback? My instinct is that it's better to wait, but logically, I don't see any great advantage to waiting. I don't think I have any chance of getting into a better school than the one in my hometown.

thanks.

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Law School Applications / Low GPA...address this?
« on: February 09, 2004, 04:37:12 PM »
My undergrad GPA was 2.99 in Sociology. freshman year, 3.5, that summer, pretty serious car accident, traumatic brain injury, doctors recommended i withdraw from school but i refused. i ended up with 1.9 to 2.4 for the next four semesters (memory, cognitive abilities, etc, greatly affected). did have some therapy in that time to relearn how to learn and have fully recovered now. last year of school, 3.5, final semester, all A's.

Should I address this ? If so, how and where? I'm afraid that if I don't, they'll look at my GPA and assume the worst, or that my transcripts will list the TBI status and they will not be aware that I have fully recovered.

any thoughts?

thanks.

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