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Messages - danmcd

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Black Law Students / Re: URM question...
« on: March 08, 2009, 08:41:56 PM »
FWIW, I think you may identify as African American as you wish.  I know Arabic Egyptians who do, and certainly the term isn't reserved for people who descend from sub-Saharan Africa.  That said, if you have lived in Africa and the Middle East, you are probably more like African immigrants than like most people who identify as African American, regardless of your citizenship status.

That's interesting...I think a lot of it has to do with upbringing, personal identification, circumstance etc. It's also weird because there is so much discrimination along racial lines in the region that is completely separate from the American story, and it becomes difficult to translate those things into LSAC's particular classification system. Just as an example, about half my family is Black, but I have cousins consider themselves Arab while in Sudan and when they're in the States they consider themselves Black(there's huge discrimination between North and South Sudanese, even tho in the States both would be considered Black). I also know of plenty of Egyptians, esp Southerners, who will vehemently claim to be African AND Arab, and prioritize the African side even tho they probably wouldn't be "Black" enough for American definitions. Regardless, it's an interesting discussion...


Black Law Students / Re: URM question...
« on: March 08, 2009, 06:48:43 PM »
Actually, just went thru the Minority Topics thread, maybe you're right - that would have been the better place to post this question.

Black Law Students / Re: URM question...
« on: March 08, 2009, 06:41:28 PM »

It makes you Arab American or African American or whatever you choose to classify yourself as. The question asks what you identify yourself as. If you think you're African American, check it. If you think you're Caucasian, check it. It's only likely to become an issue for you if you identified as a Caucasian on official forms all your life, and now magically realize you're African American. That might come up during C&F for the bar. From the fact that you're only now asking whether you can identify as a minority, I'm guessing that you never have before and thus you'll probably get a nice committee meeting at the bar when they discover the inconsistency. Not sure why this was posted in this forum rather than the general forums. Nobody here has special insight on this aspect of admissions.

Thanks for the response. The reason I posted on this forum is because it's one of the more active URM sections and I would imagine that a lot of people who follow this section of LSD actually DO have a little more insight regarding this aspect of admissions. There are plenty of people who do not fit neatly into these racial categories, and while I'm not necessarily looking for someone with my exact family background, I'd expect to find a few people who have been thoroughly confused about what to mark down (and I'm not just talking about identity issues stemming from having a minority grandparent, for example). I did not realize that African American exclusively referred to Black people of sub-Saharan African descent, and that there was an official differentiation made between North Africans and sub-Saharan Africans.

Also, I did not "magically realize I was African American"...and I've always self-identified as a minority (and I've always selected "other" on all official applications etc). The "white" definition you posted was definitely an interesting's good to know that this is officially how the gov't sees racial divisions in the world, but I think you'd find very few Arabs who would go along with that categorization, right or wrong. If the issue is purely one of skin color/appearance, then I most certainly do not understand how Middle East/N Africa is categorized along with Germany and Ireland, etc.

Anyway, if this question was irrelevant or inappropriate somehow, my apologies. There's few places outside of LSD and TLS where I can ask these questions, and I appreciate both you guys getting back to me. I won't claim URM status as either African or Asian, but I'll definitely continue selecting "other".

Black Law Students / URM question...
« on: March 07, 2009, 04:41:32 PM »
I'm really confused about URM status, I was hoping to get some feedback from anyone/everyone...

OK this is probably going to confuse you, but bear with me...In one sense I am Caucasian - I am white, and am ethnically from the Arab Levant. The Arab Levant also qualifies as Western Asia in a lot of categorizations (Middle East, Near East, Western Asia are the most used terms, I believe). My family is part of a large community that emigrated to Africa from the Arab Levant a long time ago (over 4 generations), and most of my family is from and lives in the Sudan. Sudan is technically African, but most Northerners consider themselves Arab (and speak Arabic). I lived in the region (multiple African, Arab, and Asian countries), and I identify strongly with that part of the world. I have been American since birth, and thoroughly confused when it comes to ticking those stupid ethnic boxes.

I believe the US government considers most of the Arab world as "non-Hispanic Caucasian", but I find it really weird to lump myself in with Europeans and the majority of white Americans....culturally, linguistically, etc my background is quite different to the norm. I have no idea whether Arabs are under-represented in law schools (judging by the lack of Arab-related threads on any online forum, I'm guessing we're not OVER-represented, but I could be wrong), and therefore I don't know if my claim is really legitimate in that sense. I personally have never had to qualify my identity as an Arab by choosing exclusively "African" or "Asian" status...but I've always ticked "other" and I'd like a little more clarity. For what its worth I was an active member of my undergrad's African, Arab, and Asian societies (probably not worth much :roll: )

I don't want to start a debate about the pros and cons of the URM system, and I don't want to offend anyone by making it seem that I'm treading on some sensitive ground (for example claiming African American status as a "white" guy). I understand that the reason the URM system exists is to help balance against the obstacles faced by African Americans (and other URMs) because of a general education system/society that is simply not balanced and retains certain prejudices and discrimination. I also realize that plenty of groups can claim discrimination in many walks of life...and as an Arab I am not exactly helped out by my ethnicity in a post-9/11 world (tho this never affected education, it certainly affected (and still affects) professional opportunities). If I can claim URM status legitimately, I will do so...but I just want to make sure my ass is covered and that law schools won't see me as some white kid who's trying to weasel his way into a better school by making a dubious claim.

So..I know I am Arab American....but does that make me African American? Asian American? Neither?

I'd appreciate your thoughts on what I should do

Incoming 1Ls / Re: What area of law do you want to pursue?
« on: March 03, 2009, 07:00:35 PM »

So don't be shy, let us know, what kind of law do you want to pursue, and why???

I like the flexibility law priorities may very well change, but right now I'm thinking civil rights/family law and relevant areas of public international law. I can also see myself bein really happy in more private sector-type work like international trade and international arbitration. I also like the idea of being able to move through a couple areas of law as you gain experience professionally (within reason..).

I know it's not technically "law", but I love the idea of judicial reform in the developing world...what is it, legal consulting?

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Feb. LSAT Roll Call! Who's in?
« on: February 04, 2009, 11:47:46 PM »
good luck everyone! I think I'm out til June....again

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Timed or untimed? lets settle this...
« on: February 03, 2009, 12:05:13 PM »
Most people don't do enough untimed practice, and I think that's where the most improvement happens.  OP sounds like he's got the hang of the questions, so its now just a matter of converting that to pattern-recognition, and killing the test under timed conditions.

Many tutors and classes require students to do a timed preptest (or show an actual test score) up front, so that there is a somewhat objective measure of improvement.  This has a lot to do with score guarantees, and general covering of asses.  It's also great advertising when you can say you helped someone improve 20 points.

Totally biggest improvements have come after periods of untimed tests following periods of timed tests. I wish there was another week or two (doesnt everyone) before the Feb LSAT. I feel like I'm ALMOST there - like a couple of you guys mentioned, I'm now pretty much hitting 178-180 level untimed. Even though there's a drop when I add in timing, it's not bad right now, but it totally depends on the test. If I get a hard LG section...uh oh

Law School Admissions / dual degree programs
« on: January 21, 2009, 09:08:21 AM »
Anyone out there doing a JD/PhD program? I'm interested in academia and possibly government consulting down the road, and I was wondering if anyone had any experience with any particular program, especially ones that combined law and poli sci. Is the workload ok, is there any reason to avoid this, any thoughts would be appreciated

edit: I would not, unfortunately, be attending HYS...I'm aiming at the mid to lower T14. Does this hurt my chances for an academic career? I'm planning to spend a good amount of time teaching outside the States, but I'd still like to come back here and get a job at a good university. I guess the question is how important is your PhD's institution "name" relative to things like publications, teaching positions etc?

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Plateauing right before the test?
« on: January 20, 2009, 04:08:21 PM »
Yeah you're right, I tend to get about -4 to -7 (RC), -5 to -8 (LR1+LR2), and -0 to -2 (LG)...some combination in there gets me to about -14, -15 each test. I guess LR is the most improvable in the short amount of time, plus as much practice on the RC as possible

Studying for the LSAT / Plateauing right before the test?
« on: January 20, 2009, 02:49:46 PM »
Anyone else getting stuck at levels they don't wanna be stuck at? I've been steadily improving over the past few months from the low 150s to 165-167 range. I got a random 171 last week, but otherwise I keep getting around a 166 for almost 3 weeks. I've got a 3.44 if I want anything in the T14 I have to break a 170, pretty much.

Any advice? Should I change up my study routine? I'm doin a test every 2 days right now...should I kick it up a notch and start doin 2? Do some thoughtful, untimed tests?

I'm slowly but surely starting to freak out over the Feb test, can you tell...

Good luck to the rest of you Feb testers

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