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Messages - Pub. Interest gal

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1
That's right- there is the $12 charge for the report.  But, $12 for a school you would legitimately consider attending, and who might very well offer you money, is $12 well spent in my mind.  You can apply to 5 schools like that and it will still cost less than if you had applied normally to one more school.

2
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Are these realistic?
« on: July 12, 2004, 02:32:44 PM »
I think you have a pretty good shot at George Mason, as well.  Although not in-state, you are very business/economics focused which is George Mason's claim to fame.  GW is a toss up- they are almost like Stanford undergrad in that the numbers only tell you a little about who they let in and who they don't.  But, I definitely think it is worth applying.  If you like living in a big city, you will hate Washington and Lee.  Although you can make weekend trips into DC occassionally, you will be living in a town with three restaurants/bars and the closest shopping mall a half hour away.  The school is great and friends who go there really value their education, but don't discount the fact that clinical work, internships, etc won't be something you will have the ability to be involved in there.

3
I have to admit... I'm a little surprised at how many reaches you are going for.  I would spend a little bit of the time you would spend applying trying to narrow down what you are looking for in a school.  You seem to be applying to schools all over the country, in big cities and small towns, and with huge classes and small classes.  Take some time, even some money and visit a couple and get a better idea of what you want before you shell out the $3000 applying to all those schools will cost you. 

More specifically, I'd cut out two of your super reaches.  You don't want to always wonder, but your chances at a top 5 with a 165 aren't good.  They just care way too much about LSAT scores there.  I would add another actual true safety school as well.  From everything I can tell, to calculate your true chances for next year based on your number, you need to be adding 2-4 points for the LSAT range at all schools in the top 25.  Reconfigure and make sure you still have a least 2 or 3 that you have a better than 70% chance of getting into.  It would be awful for you to apply to all those schools, spend all that time and money, and end up on 15 waitlists and not in anywhere.

4
For those of you that asked, I am headed to the University of Denver as a part of their Chancellor's Scholar program.  The scholarship includes all tuiton, and the nice thing is that the only requirement is a "commitment to public interest" and in your 2L and 3L years to do 10 yrs of volunteer work a week.  They don't have income caps, or year requirements, and have a looser definition of public interest work, so working as a DA or for the government still counts.

Other schools that I know of that offer full tuiton scholarships for public interest law are Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Penn (only 4 though), Northwestern (only 3), Temple (3). An internet search will come up with a full list of schools that offer LRAP or Public Interest Scholarships.  I think there are about 12 schools that offer straight scholarships. A lot of the top schools offer LRAP programs, because it is very clear that you can not go into $100,000 debt (or more) and come out making only $40,000 a year.  The key when looking into these programs is to look for their income eligibility and years of qualifying employment.  For example- Stanford has an incredible assistance program- I think their income cap is over $60,000 (at least it was 2 years ago according to the book I read) and after 5 years of qualifying employment) they cancel 100% of your principle.  UCLA, on the other hand, has a wonderful public interest law program (PILS) that you have to apply to be involved in, but their loan repayment program isn't great.  I think they cap your income at $35,000 and only pay a very small percentage.

The other thing to do is to consider going to a slightly lower ranked school that will give you money straight out and hence decrease how much you owe.  While I would have loved to go to some of the top 20 schools I was accepted at, I just couldn't imagine being THAT much in debt for my entire life.  I would much rather be able to take a job a loved guilt free. 

5
Nope- not a URM.  Although what schools I got into and didn't wasn't really the point of the e-mail.  The point is that numbers aren't the only thing you can rely on.  As a side note, both UT and Michigan look very favorably upon the employment program I have been involved with for the last two years. 

6
In answer to the poster's original question, I too am headed for a career outside of the mainstream focus of big law, or even law firm work in general.  I am headed to a Tier 2 school that has an incredible program in Public Interest Law (and has offered me a full scholarship for that purpose) and after graduation plan on doing direct services work as either a child advocate, or in the area of womens rights (not those inherentedly granted to women, but area's of the law that are arising now that deal more exclusively with women and family issues- including but not limited to employment discrimination, domestic violence, workplace fairness laws, etc.)  The idea being that after a certain number of years doing direct services to go work with larger organization that concentrates on impact litigation or with lobbying groups.  And while the details are all still liable to change a bit, my dedication to public interest law is here to stay.

Good luck to you and all others out there who are pursuing this line of interest.

7
Here is my advice for all of you who may be looking ahead to the application process this fall and are asking yourself just how many schools to apply to.

The best advice I received, and what I and many of my friends did was to apply to 2-3 "likely" schools, 2-3 possible schools, and a couple of "reach" schools.  A likely school being one that from all numerical calculations you "should" be admitted; meaning the admittees have substantially lesser credentials than you possess- your LSAT score being 4-5 points higher than the schools average, your gpa being a good point higher, etc.  Possible schools are where your credentials are about equal to the average for those admitted (not those applying keep in mind).  "Reaches" are obvious- the best advice being to apply to schools that are reasonable reaches.  If you score a 155 don't waste your money applying to Stanford- that is not a dream, that is being stupid.  Along those same lines... if you score a 170, don't waste your money applying to T4 schools when most likely T2 schools are "likely" schools for you. 

The exception being if you fall in that highly unpredictable LSAT range.  If you've got a good GPA from a good school, and get a score on the LSAT between a 162 and a 168 your chances of getting into a school in the top 50 are very hard to calculate.  You have a 50% chance at most schools #15-30 and so it is a good idea to apply to more than just 3 or 4, if you can afford it.  For example, I have a 162 and was admitted out of state to UT Austin (#15) but waitlisted at George Washington. 

Key things to keep in mind however is that the numbers you see posted are numbers from two years ago (this fall the numbers will be from the adademic year for 2003-2004) and with the astronomical amount of applications it is smart to add at least 2 if not 3 to the ranges for LSAT and GPA that the school has listed.  Meaning, if the school's 25%-27% LSAT is listed as 162-165, assume that those numbers are now 164-168, certainly for the top 50 schools, and most likely for the full top 100, and apply based on those calculations. 

2 main pieces of advice- First, take your LSAT early.  That way you can know what your scores are when you apply and can make better decisions about your chances at certain schools. This allows schools to get their information to you early, especially from schools that you might qualify for scholarships from, and allows you to get your applications in early. Second, do your research about schools before you apply.  Lots of people apply to 20 schools, spend $1000, and then get accepted to schools and realize they truly do not want to go there.  If you can figure that out before hand, you will be better able to direct your time and money.  If you can figure out what size of school you are looking for, what kind of law you think you might want to go into, an area of the country where you think you want to live.  More important than knowing what you do want though, is knowing what you don't want.  If you hate the cold, it would be silly to apply to Michigan (even though they are a fabulous school).  For you, it probably makes sense to apply to a sligthly less fabulous school in an area of the country you will find more enjoyable.

Finally, apply to all those schools you would actually consider that offer you fee waivers.  This costs you nothing and opens up your options. These schools are also more likely to accept you, and even offer you money.  I came very close to attending a school I hadn't given much thought to until I received literature and a fee waiver from them in the mail in October.

Good luck and as insane as this process is, don't let it get you too crazy.

8
Pre-Law in high school / Re: Am I doing the Right Thing?
« on: July 08, 2004, 01:52:33 PM »
Just a real quick answer to your paralegal question... no, you do not need to have any training as a paralegal to be a paralegal.  One of the newest/hottest jobs for young smart people coming out of undergrad and wanting to work for a year or two before going back to school is to be a paralegal.  Firms like highering bright people, who have no family, no significant time commitments, and who are willing to work crazy hours and travel a lot, all for the chance of making some money and getting some legal experience while trying to figure out what their next step in life is.  Firms know that most of these people will leave in 2-4 years but still see the investment as worthwhile.  And... in additon to large private firms doing this, the Department of Justice has an honor paralegal program that mirrors its Honors Attorneys program.  3.6 GPA requirement, several levels of interviews and application process, etc, but good pay, government benefits, and a lot less crazy of hours then you will work in the private sector.

9
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Chances at top 14?
« on: July 08, 2004, 01:25:46 PM »
I'm sorry to say, but I disagree with Calguy.  Do I think you have a shot- absolutely.  Do I think you are guarenteed at the top 14- no.  Take a look at those schools in the Top 14 that you would actually like to attend, including things like location, size of the school, strength of programs in specific areas you might be interested and apply to a handful of schools.  But, also apply to schools in the top 20 and maybe even 1 or 2 lower than that.  Not only because you never know what can happen, but also because lower schools will offer you money that higher ranked schools will not- and you'd be surprised how important money becomes when $150,000 dollars in debt goes from a fantasy to a reality.

But good luck... keep your hopes high and fingers crossed, but also allow for the fact that you have no idea what the competition level will be like next year.

10
Where should I go next fall? / Re: advice please
« on: June 14, 2004, 01:19:50 PM »
The best advice I recieved, and what I and many of my friends did was to apply to 2-3 "likely" schools, 2-3 possible schools, and a couple of "reach" schools.  A likely school being one that from all numerical calculations you "should" be admitted; meaning the admittees have substantially lesser credentials than you possess- your LSAT score being 4-5 points higher than the schools average, your gpa being a good point higher, etc.  Possible schools are where your credentials are about equal to the average for those admitted (not those applying keep in mind).  "Reaches" are obvious- the best advice being to apply to schools that are reasonable reaches.  If you score a 155 don't waste your money applying to Stanford- that is not a dream, that is being stupid.  Along those same lines... if you score a 170, don't waste your money applying to T4 schools when most likely T2 schools are "likely" schools for you. 

The exception being if you fall in that highly unpredictable LSAT range.  If you've got a good GPA from a good school, and get a score on the LSAT between a 162 and a 168 your chances of getting into a school in the top 50 are very hard to calculate.  You have a 50% chance at most schools #15-30 and so it is a good idea to apply to more than just 3 or 4, if you can afford it.  For example, I have a 162 and was admitted out of state to UT Austin (#15) but waitlisted at George Washington. 

Key things to keep in mind however is that the numbers you see posted are numbers from two years ago (this fall the numbers will be from the adademic year for 2003-2004) and with the astronomical amount of applications it is smart to add at least 2 if not 3 to the ranges for LSAT and GPA that the school has listed.  Meaning, if the school's 25%-27% LSAT is listed as 162-165, assume that those numbers are now 164-168, certainly for the top 50 schools, and most likely for the full top 100, and apply based on those calculations. 

2 main pieces of advice- First, take your LSAT early.  That way you can know what your scores are when you apply and can make better decisions about your chances at certain schools. This allows schools to get their information to you early, especially from schools that you might qualify for scholarships from, and allows you to get your applications in early. Second, do your research about schools before you apply.  Lots of people apply to 20 schools, spend $1000, and then get accepted to schools and realize they truly do not want to go there.  If you can figure that out before hand, you will be better able to direct your time and money.  If you can figure out what size of school you are looking for, what kind of law you think you might want to go into, an area of the country where you think you want to live.  More important than knowing what you do want though, is knowing what you don't want.  If you hate the cold, it would be silly to apply to Michigan (even though they are a fabulous school).  For you, it probably makes sense to apply to a sligthly less fabulous school in an area of the country you will find more enjoyable.

Finally, apply to all those schools you would actually consider that offer you fee waivers.  This costs you nothing and opens up your options. These schools are also more likely to accept you, and even offer you money.  I came very close to attending a school I hadn't given much thought to until I received literature and a fee waiver from them in the mail in October.

Good luck and as insane as this process is, don't let it get you too crazy.

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