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Messages - Denny Shore

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Seems that people have trouble understanding how things actually work.
First of all, you can ask your lender to reduce your payments for financial need.  Most not only will, but do.  Secondly, many students at said T3/4/5 schools have another option you seem to be ignoring - public service law, which allows (in many cases) for debt repayment/forgiveness.  Also it should be noted that the debtloads vary from student to student.  Not every student uses loans to pay for all of law school.  I'm lucky in that money was put away for me from various gifts I've received specifically for my education.  Instead of driving a new car in high school, I drove the family car and money was socked away - just in case.  The lesson there is simple: if you have kids, put cash away in case they want to go to expensive graduate school.  Many students will be burdened by heavy debt-loads after law school.  There are ways to make it manageable.  Though I agree that the debt for most will be high, I don't agree with the doomsday scenarios presented.  There are plenty of options out there for all, even if the best you could do was go to a lower ranked school.
It should be said that some low ranked schools have excellent local reputations that often result in better paying jobs than expected.
Stay optimistic.  I know a graduate of a T4 that, after graduating and working in a low paying gov't job, started her own business handling JUST expungements.  She makes around $175 k now and has no trouble paying her debt. I know another who went to a T5 and specializes now (in his own practice) in landlord-tenant cases.  He drives a new BMW 7 series and has no trouble making the bills anymore.  I know another lawyer who graduated from JMLS 8 years ago.  For 6 years he worked for the state's attorney's office (who helped pay down his debt) and took that experience to land himself a cush job in a criminal defense firm making a base of $125,000 per year plus health insurance, cell phone, car insurance, and auto allowance.  He's almost done paying down his debt.
The first few years are sure to be tough, but the longer you do it, the better money you make.  Patience.  A JD is not a golden ticket guaranteeing a 6 figure salary anymore.  It hasn't been for decades.  It takes time to build a reputation and the necessary skills to justify that monster salary.  If you went to law school expecting to be instantly rich, you've made a terrible mistake!
Keep your head up.  It isn't that bad out there.

Can you afford to wait for the next cycle to attend a law school that DOESN'T require you to screw up your life?
It isn't cowardly to say no, especially when you consider what life will be like if you say yes.
24 hours isn't enough time to find housing, get your loans in order, uproot your family, etc.
The truth is, the school that gave you 24 hours to make the decision did so (probably) because someone else dropped out and they are desperately searching for a way to fill the seat and avoid losing tuition.
If it were me (a single guy who can quit his job with no repercussions, assuming loans go through), I might take it.  Someone in your position, with a husband and a baby, can't just up and go.
I'd say wait until the next cycle (if you can), apply early, and explain to the school that admitted you that you have a husband and baby to worry about and can't make a decision like this with only 24 hours grace period.
On the other hand, you don't say if your husband works or if there is any relocation assistance.  If your husband has a good job that he would be forced to leave, he isn't likely to be very happy about it on such short notice.
I'm not sure what advice anyone can give you.  Personally, I find this sort of practice unethical (by the law schools who do it).  School starts in 2 weeks and they are trying to pressure wait listed students to make last minute, life changing decisions.  Uncool.

Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Re: low LSAT score
« on: July 27, 2009, 12:36:05 PM »
Matthies is right.
Every school has a waiting list full of borderline applicants.  As seats become available, they extend admission to those who are closest to their desired profiles.  A 120 is guaranteed not to be closest, no matter which school it is.
The advice given about waiting until seats fill up is a guaranteed fail.  Those who have been providing said advice have no idea what they are talking about and should be ignored.
Anecdotal evidence is garbage - we don't know if the 'friend' who got in with a 120 had strong soft factors, knew the director of admissions, had family connections to the school, or was from a family of uber-rich who wrote the alumni association a huge check or sponsored a new library.  All we know is that the faceless, unaccountable poster claims it happened.
A 120 wont do it.  Retake after doing some review.
There are currently too many applicants to too few schools, leaving thousands of potential law students out of a career.  If you like anecdotal evidence, I have a close friend who showed me his numbers and asked me to help edit his personal statement.  His LSAT score was 155 and his GPA was 3.00.  His personal statement was strong and he had 6 years of proffessional sales experience at a Fortune 500 company.  He applied to every school in Chicago that he thought he might have a shot at: JMLS, Kent, DePaul, Loyola, and NIU.  His application was denied at every school.  The point is: you never can tell.  All you can do is do your best to send the best possible application package.  As a side note, my friend was discouraged by the rejections and changed paths - now he is a director of business development at a very profitable technology company.
Don't listen to the dunder heads who think a 120 will get you into law school when they have seats open.  Few law schools run into this problem at all, and most simply let the seats go empty if they can't fill them with wait listed students.  A 120 will not get you on a waitlist.
Simple: the lowest score you can receive on any given LSAT is 120.  Fill out your name and refuse to answer any other questions?  You'd likely get a 120.  Why?  Because that's the scale used on the LSAT.  All scores are normalized on a scoring scale of 120-180.  You can't get better than a 180 and you can't score lower than a 120.
The median score on the LSAT is currently hovering around 151.  If you want to get wait listed or enrolled somewhere, that should be your target score.
Additionally, you should know that scoring a 120 means you have an uphill battle to face and should be thinking about whether or not you think you can increase your score enough as well as how you intend on explaining getting the 120.  Both will be reported to the law school and they will want to know why you got the score, then retook the test and scored so well.  My decent, but not particularly impressive score was explained as being a raw score that came about as a result of no preparation - I used my LSAT to determine if Law School was for me or if I should go in a different direction.  That's not to say that a good prep class can't help (or be the explanation of the score discrepancies).

Different title.  SOMETIMES better pay.  It depends.
Why anyone would listen to a poster who writes things like "like or not." and spends most of their time slamming others and making ridiculous political statements is beyond me.

Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Re: low LSAT score
« on: July 22, 2009, 01:37:25 PM »
I politely disagree with the previous posts.
Law school applications are more than numbers.  You get a personal statement.  That statement can be a huge boost to an application, and spending some time in that statement talking about taking some college level courses post graduation to show that your UGGPA is not indicative of the sort of student you would be now can be helpful.

I wouldn't enroll as a full time student, but it just can't hurt to take a class and do well, especially if it has been a while since you were in academia. 

I don't disagree that GPA and LSAT scores are integral, nor do I think a retake is a bad idea.  You should retake.  I do think taking a course and doing well speaks volumes to an admissions board as to the type of student you can be.  Applying to law school straight out of college gives you very little wiggle room on an app.  Applying after you have a little real-world experience is a different story altogether.
Good luck.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: First Year Law Classes
« on: July 22, 2009, 11:51:02 AM »
I will be a 1L this fall and this rigid course load seems a bit overwhelming for me. I really feel completely clueless on this new journey. Anyone have any good advice?

First of all, relax.  It is overwhelming for most 1L's.
You are clueless (like every other soon to be law student is, whether they admit it or not).
The rigid course load is designed that way for a reason.  Taking basic law classes is a great way to teach you how to think about the law.  It also lays the foundation for the more advanced classes where an understanding of the basic legal concepts of tort law, contract law, criminal law, etc. will form the basis.
Don't worry - you'll feel clueless at least until you've completed your first semester if not longer. Try to enjoy the process.

Current Law Students / Re: Sotomayor Confirmation Hearings
« on: July 16, 2009, 05:11:25 PM »
I still get a good laugh when people try to say her 'wise latina woman' comment was taken out of context.  Why?  Because no one can explain the context where that sort of racial statement is appropriate.

Let's take her statement:
ďI would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasnít lived that life."

Now let's play with the words and switch them around to see if you who deny the racial inequality can understand the context upon which no error has been made.

"I would hope that a wise white male with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a latina woman who hasn't lives that life."

I'll concede that she isn't a radical leftist.  I'll concede that she is slated to replace a judge who leans further left than she has shown herself to lean.  What I refuse to understand is how so many people can claim this statement is unoffensive, misinterpreted, and taken out of context.  Here's the context: she was telling latina law students that she believes being a latin woman allows her (heck, ANYONE) to make better legal rulings.

I would love to see someone actually explain how this was taken out of context in light of the fact that this is not the only time she spoke similarly.

In conversations with some liberal leaning attorneys in my office, I have come to realize that we all pass information through the filter of our background and experiences.  However, an intelligent person hoping to be elevated to the highest court of the land doesn't display intellectual care if she says so. 

If Obama had said that he believed that a black man with the richness of his experiences would more often than not make a better President than a white man who hasn't lived that life, he would never have made it past the primaries.

That said, I find the argument that the Republicans shouldn't vet her through the process carefully because she is latina and not a radical leftist rather depressing.  This is America.  We should be careful about whom we select to be a judge on the highest court in the land, shouldn't we?

I seem to remember the Democrats full court press on Clarence Thomas.  And Justice Roberts.  Neither of whom came close to publicly saying anything as racially charged as Sotomayor.

I invite you to the debate and look forward to flushing out the 'context' argument.

what is the difference between a paralegal and legal sercretary?

A legal secretary and a paralegal have different responsibilities.  For example, a legal secretary does docketing and scheduling.  A paralegal will likely never be involved in such matters.

The legal secretary at my office works on expungements and basic motions with me (I usually do them, but when I'm not around, she does them all). 

Legal secretaries also answer phones, answer basic questions for clients, follow up on payments, bills, vendors, etc.

Legal secretaries are not paralegals and paralegals are not legal secretaries, though some of their functions and responsibilities may overlap.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« on: July 16, 2009, 04:46:31 PM »

"Expungement is often equated to the sealing or destroying of legal records. Each state offers its own definition of expungement, based on different rules and laws. Generally, expungement can be viewed as the process to "remove from general review" the records pertaining to a case. But the records may not completely "disappear" and may still be available to law enforcement."

"With limited exception, you may thereafter truthfully state that you were never arrested, charged, or accused of a crime. In the eyes of the law, the entire incident never occurred. In most respects, a sealing or expungement restores you to the status you occupied before being arrested or charged.
You should be aware that the federal government need not honor the expungement, nor does an expungement of a conviction necessarily relieve a person from having to disclose it in an application for public office or on some professional license applications."

everyone's opinion is really great....  :)  I'm sure i'll make a wise decision. 

I have another question...

I was thinking about taking the following courses at a local community college:  legal research and legal writing.  Will this help on my applications? 

Any class you take at the college level that you receive a good grade in will help, especially if it's been a few years since you took any college classes.

Law schools also look at grade trending, and if your grades went up during your last few semester and subsequently, it is viewed favorably.

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