Law School Discussion

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Messages - Citylaw

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1
Law School Applications / Re: QUICK READ! PLEASE RESPOND!
« on: Yesterday at 01:13:31 AM »
It will help and you can look at this website lawschoolnumbers.com to see how much it helps at various schools. With a 3.5 and 153 LSAT you could get into a number of ABA schools without URM status and the fact that you are a URM is just a boost, but there is no clear cut answer as to how much URM status helps.

I encourage you to apply to all law schools you are interested in and you should also consider attending an LSAC forum to get fee waivers and if you check in with schools at these forums it provides you with a slight boost in your application, because you went to their booth minimal, but a day can save you about $1,000 on law school applications and give you a slight boost. It will also allow you to talk to schools reps, which can give you a little insight into the school.

Here is a link to the LSAC forum locations. http://www.lsac.org/jd/choosing-a-law-school/forums-and-other-events

2
Acceptances / Re: Cal Western in SD or Loyola Law School in LA
« on: December 16, 2014, 02:40:33 PM »
Perfectly stated Gunner and so true.

What means absolutely nothing to one person can be a huge factor to someone else and anyone considering law school should take that to heart.

3
Acceptances / Re: Cal Western in SD or Loyola Law School in LA
« on: December 15, 2014, 08:38:58 PM »
Completely agree with Groundhog about not putting to many eggs in one basket with this firm.  It is very difficult for any firm to know what will happen in five years major clients could back out, another recession could occur, immigration reform could completely change how your firm operates etc.

If the firm was offering to pay for law school then the firm is putting it's money where it's mouth is, but of course they will tell any decent employee to stick around and pursue law school while working for them. You will be paying for own education making you more valuable while being paid the same rate. If you graduate, pass the bar, and it happens to be a good time I am sure they would hire you, but there is absolutely no guarantee that they will hold a position for you.

As to your overall question I always tell any incoming law student to consider the following factors in this order.

(1) Location
(2) Cost
(3) Personal Feelings about school
(4) Understanding the reality of legal education
(5) Last and Least U.S. News Rankings.


This article does an excellent job analyzing these factors to any incoming law student. http://www.legalmatch.com/choose-the-right-law-school.html , but I will analyze these factors to your current situation below.

I will also add some minor input about my thought on part-time law school, which I do not recommend, but to each their own.

(1) Location:
For all intents and purposes San Diego and L.A. are pretty similar, but during law school you will not have the time or financial resources to go between the Cities. However, you will have time to enjoy life a little bit and for three years wherever you attend law school will be the City you spend 95% of your life in. Additionally, after three years it is unlikely you will move. If you stay in L.A. and work for that firm part-time there is a good chance you will end up at that firm or another L.A. firm. Additionally, you will make friends in San Diego or L.A. and likely enter into a serious romantic relationship or solidify an existing one during law school and that person will likely get a job in the City you attend law school. So upon graduation again you will likely stay in San Diego or L.A.

On top of that during law school you might find an apartment you love and don't want to leave for at least few years. These are all things that ended up happening to me and I still live 1 mile away from my law school, which is in a City I didn't intend to live in when I enrolled, but things happen and during your mid-late 20's you really solidify where you will end up living so if you really want to be in San Diego attend law school in San Diego.

(2) Cost:
With your numbers I assume California Western would offer you a scholarship and if they haven't ask them to. However, be sure to negotiate your conditions and make sure they are fair. Many students get a 3.0 requirement and assume they will easily get that, but law school is a different animal with a steep curve and only about 35% of the 1L's can have a 3.0 and nothing personal, but there is a 65% chance you will not be in the top the 35%.

3) Personal Feelings about the school:
California Western and Loyola are fairly close to each other and I highly recommend you visit both schools. While there talk to professors, admins, walk around the neighborhood, check out the campus, and see, which one you like more. As a 0L I visited numerous law schools some I liked others I didn't, and whether you like something or not is a highly personal decision and the only way to answer it for yourself is to personally visit each school. After your visit you will likely have a gut feeling about both schools and listen to that feeling. 

(4) Reality of Legal Education:
At any ABA school you will receive a great legal education. Whether you attend California Western or Loyolya you will for all intents and purposes learn the same exact thing. Your first year will consist of Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, and Property. In these courses you will read Supreme Court cases and brief them. The Supreme Court does not write separate opinions for different schools and you will likely have the same exact textbooks for each of these courses at either school. At the end of three years you will sign up for the California BarBri or Kaplan Course and study for a** off for months then pack yourself into a room with thousands of other law school graduates wanting to be licensed to practice in California. If you pass that exam your an attorney if you don't your not regardless of what school you attend.


(5) U.S. News Rankings:

Remember this is nothing more than a for-profit magazine offering an opinion. U.S. News ranks everything form hospitals to best places to live. Albuquerque, New Mexico was ranked #1 place to live, but I imagine you will not make the life altering decision to move to New Mexico because U.S. News said it was #1. Here is the link showing New Mexico is #1 http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/best-places-to-live

Use the same logic when choosing your law school do not make a life altering decision based on what a magazine thinks.

(6) Part time law school and your employer:
The majority of people that fail out of law school go part-time. The reason is that first year is insane no matter where you go, and if you are dealing with the struggles of work your academic performance will suffer. Even if you don't fail out there is no way to will be able to compete with students going full-time and your class rank will not be as good as it could be.

I personally feel if you making the $100,000 life altering decision to go to law school go "all-in" . Don't dip your toe in the water, because odds are you will not do well academically, you will not make connections in law school, and you will simply not have the same experience.  There are people that can thrive in part-time programs, but the majority of people don't.

Again, as to your firm as I stated above there is no guarantee you they will hire you at graduation, but they might. However, a lot of doors will open once you are licensed to practice law unless this firm is where you want to work at graduation, which it might be don't settle. You are pursuing a J.D. to open doors don't put to much weight in this one firm if your not that into it. If it is a firm you want to work at and you are absolutely passionate about then perhaps part-time and working there is the best route, but only you can answer how interested you are in that firm. In closing don't sell yourself short and settle despite all the negativity from anonymous internet posters once you are licensed to practice law there are a lot of opportunities.

Conclusion:
I am some random anonymous internet poster along with everyone else on this board or others so take my post and everyone other anonymous internet poster's advice with a major grain of salt.  I have never met you, I know nothing about you, and I certainly do not know what is best for you and neither does any other anonymous internet poster.

What I do know is that either school will provide you with a solid education and an opportunity to be a licensed attorney. What you do with that license has far more to do with you than the school you attend and what the best decision for "you" is can only be answered by you. I encourage you to analyze the factors above to make your decision.

Good luck whatever you decide and congrats on your acceptances.





4
Personal Statement / Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
« on: December 08, 2014, 10:52:09 AM »
If you have time and money to spend on a personal statement advisor go for it. Also hire a personal trainer, nutritionist, personal stylist, so on and so on.

I am sure you could hire some former admission officer from Ex-School to assist you with your personal statement, but at some point why not just give a generous donation to the school. I have friends that have done that to gain admission to top schools.


5
Personal Statement / Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
« on: December 05, 2014, 04:04:03 PM »
At the end of the day everyone more or less agrees.

If your numbers are in the median to low end of a school you really want to get into spend a lot of time on the personal statement it will be reviewed. However, if you are applying to Whittier for example and have a 3.4 160, write a solid personal statement. Even those numbers if you write something like IMD says i.e. I wunt law school to be Prez one day and make some straight cash, then you might end up rejected event though your numbers were well above the median.

However, a cookie cutter personal statement with a 3.4 160 will get you into the schools your numbers are close to. I think a lot more time is spent on it than necessary, I look back at mine and I must have spent weeks maybe months on my personal statement. I got into all the schools I expected to, scholarships from safety schools, and rejected from my reach schools. Exactly as the numbers predicted.

After passing the bar I reread my personal statement for sh**ts and giggles, and it was fine. It talked about wanting to help people, my experience as a paralegal, etc probably the same exact story all my classmates wrote.

Basically I spent way to much time on it and actually applied to less schools, because I focused on drafting a "perfect" personal statement for each school. I would have been better off spending time applying to some additional schools for more options instead of drafting a perfectly competent and normal personal statement, which I kept trying to make perfect.

6
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Should I Cancel My LSAT Score?
« on: December 05, 2014, 11:40:14 AM »
Exactly advice from IMD.

No need to cancel if you haven't taken it, and as IMD said most if not all schools take your highest score now.  To sum it up you are never going to be 100% ready, you will always feel like you could do more, but at some point you just have to take it. It sounds like you have put in a lot of work, and you should take the test.

I do not know how many people I know that have put off the LSAT/MCAT for years hoping to feel a bit more prepared, but instead they waste years of their life and sometimes never end up attending at all. The LSAT is step one in the process and after your first day of law school whatever you got on the LSAT will be an afterthought.

Take the test get a score. You can retake if your unsatisfied, but you one thing is for sure you cannot attend law school without an LSAT score, which you do not have yet.

Good luck.

7
Personal Statement / Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
« on: December 03, 2014, 07:50:08 PM »
I agree with everything you said, but I think what often gets lost in these discussions, law school books, etc is that the majority of OL's are not trying to get into Stanford, Harvard, Yale etc. I would estimate that more than 75% of law school applicants nationwide are realistic enough to know that they are not getting into an Ivy League school. However, these OL's who have no intention of going to an Ivy League school read these books and think they need to write a personal statement that meets Ivy League standards for admission to Washburn Law School, which is not true. A well over 100 ABA schools schools the admissions committee will look at the GPA/LSAT and read the personal statement to see if the individual can write competently. They will not need to be moved to tears by the personal statement, and it just needs to get done.

So again, I agree with everything you said, but I think there is bigger disconnect as the individuals writing about law school admission typically went to T14 schools and couldn't imagine not wanting to be partner at Cravath or sitting on the Supreme Court, but the majority of law students just want a J.D., bar admission, and a job that offers some personal satisfaction.

I have now taken the topic almost completely off point, but I do think the fact that many people writing about law schools etc impose their views and ambitions on those that don't care as much creates confusion. 

Conclusion:
The personal statement is important, and is the third most important beyond GPA/LSAT. If you are trying to get into Harvard Law School and that is your goal then hire someone to review your personal statement and spend days reviewing it, because the margin for admission there is that thin.

However, if your goal is to get a J.D., admitted to a state bar, and practice law spend 10-20 hours on a personal statement have a friend or two review it for grammar, and apply. I cannot tell you how many people I see never end up pursuing their fairly achievable goals, because they think everything needs to be perfect.


8
Personal Statement / Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
« on: December 03, 2014, 04:26:54 PM »
It made sense it is meaningless, but not that high of a priority. At the end of the day GPA/LSAT make up 90-95% of your LSAT, and again unless you have a great story to tell worrying about a perfect personal statement is not that important, and most people do not have that exciting of a story to tell.


9
Law School Applications / Re: Do I Have a Chance?
« on: December 03, 2014, 11:06:23 AM »
To some people yes. To others only an Ivy league school will do.

It is entirely up to the goals of the individual.  For example if OP wants to be a Public Defender in Whittier there is no better law school to attend than Whittier, and plenty of people want nothing more than to join a Public Defender's Office, and schools like Whittier, La Verne, California Western, etc can accomplish that goal, and therefore it is "good" for that student.

If the student wants to become a big law partner then Whittier, La Verne, California Western etc are "not good". However, many people have no desire to become a big-law partner.

For all intents and purposes you will learn the exact same thing at any ABA school, as all ABA schools have to follow ABA guidelines. Certain schools have far more prestige as far as employment prospects go, but as you know the majority of law consists of reading Supreme Court cases, and the Supreme Court does not write one opinion for Whittier students and another for Yale students.

To sum it up I do think any ABA school is "good", but you have to go whatever law school you attend with the appropriate expectations.

10
Personal Statement / Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
« on: December 03, 2014, 10:52:49 AM »
I think they matter as well, and as to the earlier comment agreed the conclusion I wrote will not win any awards, but I think it works. I think many applicants struggle for months on their personal statement, and that at the end of the day I think that is way to much time, because your numbers will make or break you, and you either have a truly inspirational story or you don't.

No matter how well you write about interning at X law office, or your desire to help people, etc admissions officers will likely roll their eyes, but at least you submitted a competent statement.  If you rescued orphans as a Navy Seal in Iraq spend time telling that story as well as possible, but 95% of law school applicants do not have a page-turning story to tell.


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