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Messages - kslaw

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Current Law Students / Crap! I got an F! Freaking out!!!
« on: December 31, 2005, 10:44:14 AM »

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? >:(

here's my theory: your brain is trained from birth to think in certain ways. based in large part on your interests, your family, your teachers, etc. Some people learn some skills easily, in large part because those skills interest them.

When it comes to taking LSATs...a certain way of thinking, certain skills...will increase your score. If you are one of those people who have been developing your logical and analytical skills all your life, you can get a high score with little effort.

If you are one of those people whose mind works in a different would require a great deal of effort to retrain your brain to think in the way required for the LSAT. But it's still possible.

The key is to be able to make sure you're studying in a way that will affect those abilities. I think too many people just keep taking practice tests, when they'd be better off studying logic, doing brain teaser puzzles, increasing their vocabulary, whatever skill it is that relates the section with which they are having a difficult time.

If you doubt your ability to improve, consider how many people retrain their brains on a daily basis as a result of brain injuries. Considering the drastic improvements that can be made, a slight improvement in logic and analytical thinking should be possible.

Law School Admissions / Re: Affirmative Action
« on: July 14, 2004, 10:20:15 AM »
I should know better than to post something like that without revising it, I wasn't very clear.

What I was trying to say is that the point of Affirmative Action is not to make up for the past. It's to create a better future. It's not to say that we should give special priority to folks who didn't have the educational opportunities in the past.

It's to bring into this field people who will help fix the problem down the road.

Races are underrepresented because of the history of that race.

Affirmative action is not meant to reward individuals, or make up for the past. It's meant to fix the problem of underrepresentation.

The other stuff...the history stuff, is just our way of understanding why the race is underrepresented so that we can figure out how to fix it.

Law School Admissions / Affirmative Action
« on: July 14, 2004, 09:31:04 AM »
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.

Law School Admissions / Re: Letters of Acceptance
« on: April 13, 2004, 02:24:55 PM »
Louder than Bombs-

You mentioned that you think factors outside of the LSAT and GPA should only come into play when deciding between two candidates equivalent in numbers

I think this is illogical.

cal has mentioned personal hardships. We do not know what they were or how they may have affected her performance on the LSAT. We do not know if those hardships affected her GPA. What we do know is that her LSAT score is at the 80th percentile, that her GPA is high from a challenging undergraduate program.

Let's suppose for a moment that in her personal statement she revealed the following:

Her high GPA was earned while enduring hardship.
Her LSAT score was lower than she would've liked because, I don't know, she was undergoing chemotherapy and couldn't stay focused on the last two sections of the exam.

Let's add that she has since completed chemotherapy and is perfectly healthy. The problem that plagued her during the LSAT is no longer an issue.

If I were an admissions officer, and compared her application to someone who had the same GPA, but a much higher LSAT, who listed no work experience, no adversity, etc, I would probably take cal.

If someone has an extenuating circumstance that affected their GPA or LSAT score, that will naturally be taken into consideration whether they are a minority or not. And why shouldn't it be? If their lives had gone as smoothly as the next person's, they may have had much, much higher scores. Not to mention, the lower scores may not be a reflection of their ability to succeed in law school or as an attorney, but rather a reflection of the extenuating circumstances of that stage of his/her life.

It is up to the admissions office to select the best candidates for their school, and in doing their job, they frequently consider factors outside of scores. To say that GPA and LSAT alone should exclude someone from consideration when extenuating circumstances exist is just...well...crazy.

Law School Admissions / Re: Letters of Acceptance
« on: April 13, 2004, 11:24:41 AM »
I believe his growing frustration with AA practices has led Louder than Bombs to jump to a conclusion and vent his frustration on someone whose situation doesn't actually apply to AA.

Cal4ever has mentioned (as has her boyfriend) that she has experienced personal hardships that were mentioned either on her application or in her personal statement. I think many people underestimate the value admissions offices place on this aspect of the application. We don't know what that hardship is in Cal4ever's case, but we do know that there was something extraordinary about her application that made it rise above the numbers.

I've noticed those that don't have numbers are upset that numbers count too much, and those who have the high numbers gripe that the numbers don't count enough.

I think most of us would agree that an ideal candidate for law school is the person who has both the intelligence and the character to handle the rigorous curriculum. What we don't agree on is how to measure intelligence and character. cal4ever's personal hardships may have truly affected her LSAT score. and the admissions office, while looking at the rest of her application (esp. GPA and personal statement) may have been willing to forgive the lower LSAT score because the other factors were so strong. I can't believe that anyone would think that a law school wouldn't accept an applicant whose application was strong in all areas but one for any reason other than URM status, esp. when the applicant being discussed is not a URM, and the school being discussed is in a non-affirmative action state.

Anyway, though long-winded, the point I'd like to make is that while AA may be discriminatory and unfair, to assume that a minority was accepted due only to AA is narrow-minded and unfair.

One last thing I wanted to add. While I have, in the past, made the argument that LSAT is a good indicator, I've done so only to initiate the discussion and hear others' thoughts on it.

The truth of it is...the first time I took the LSAT, after months of preparation, I scored a 159.

The more recent time, with only a few weeks of preparation, then an illness and death in the family the week before the test, I scored a 168. That tells me that there are quite a few factors that can affect an LSAT score. Admissions offices are probably well aware of that.

Law School Admissions / Re: opinions on bargaining for money
« on: April 02, 2004, 07:50:51 AM »
I have a question. How do they calculate need-based stuff?

I received 10k in merit scholarship.

My EFC is $8400, according to FAFSA.

total cost of attending something over $30000.

How does all this work? Can I expect to receive any additional need-based aid? There was a form due on March 1 to be eligible for need-based scholarships. I turned that in, but didn't have my FAFSA on file yet. I have heard nothing as of yet about these need-based scholarships. Not even sure if I qualify as needy by their standards.

Can anyone shed some light on this? now that LSAT anxiety is over and application anxiety is over, I'm now having debt anxiety.

I heard that there was an unusually high number of applicants scoring between 164 and 168 on LSATs this year.

Which didn't make sense to me because I thought the numbers were based on percentiles. But it was explained to me that lsac actually uses test groups to assign raw scores to scores, so if the test group was not an accurate reflection of the actual test takers, the scores could be slightly skewed.

Not sure. But if it were true that there were a high number of scores in that range, that could make it much harder for people with LSATs under 164.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Financial Aid
« on: March 25, 2004, 04:55:57 AM »

168 LSAT, UGPA 2.98 (traumatic brain injury in college, so noticeable trend with my GPA, including a few Fs the year after the injury)

5 years work experience, half in marketing/communications, half in social services. Father an alumni of Pitt Law.

Not sure if you should try to gauge by me. I knew people with my LSAT score had received scholarships, but my GPA is so messed up, not sure how they would've viewed that. the head injury I mentioned briefly in the related questions.

Incoming 1Ls / Financial Aid
« on: March 24, 2004, 10:01:10 AM »
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 would be greatly appreciated.

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