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Messages - Thane Messinger

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31
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Greece takes on the LSAT
« on: September 21, 2012, 03:53:52 AM »
Being disappointed because of a low score at home is way better than being disappointed in failing the actual LSAT. If you say you study 5-6 hours a day ...


I would second this.  5-6 hours of *serious* study for the LSAT is a good benchmark.  One test and 2-3 hours (or more) to dissect the answers and reasoning.*  If you can maintain that you will make progress!

Thane.

* No shortcuts here.  Most want to Just Take The Exam!  Instead, take apart each answer so that you know not just what was right, but also what was wrong--and for each and all, why.

32
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Greece takes on the LSAT
« on: September 21, 2012, 03:49:54 AM »
* * *
 To me, itís the ultimate challenge. LSAT it is, there is no going back now. Frankly, I believe that the LSAT is a good thing, here in Greece we have to study History, Latin, Literature, Ancient Greek, Composition and Biology to get into Law School. I mean, common ! Anyways, I got carried away.. Thank you again for the advice, much appreciated, I will take a test in about a week or so, I will post it right here (:

Pumba -

Excellent, and good luck!  Take the process seriously, and attempt to translate your energy into practical success.  Not least, focus, after each exam, on picking apart the questions.  Figure out, slowly, what the testers were looking for, and why.  What you'll find after about the 12th test is that you'll see the logical patterns again and again.  That's what you're looking for.  The English is a distraction in the sense that many tend to get caught up in that, rather than in the meaning behind the words. 

A radical question:  If you like the energy of America (and, yes, there is that), have you considered the MBA?  I'm not trying to dissuade you, but the MBA is focused in the types of practical business--the use of risk--rather than the management of risk (as in law).  Both are viable options, depending upon your desires.

Good luck!

Thane.

33
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Greece takes on the LSAT
« on: September 19, 2012, 05:17:54 PM »
To be honest I have not already done this since I am pretty sure I will most probably be disappointed , you see even though I have a Proficiency in English Degree from the University of Michigan English is not my mother tongue, so I thought about reading the two bibles I got ( LG RC from Powerscore - if I may , these books are awesome ) and then testing myself. Depending on the results, I can then reread more than once the respective bible(s) along with additional practice and actual tests. BUT since I am actually new here and to the entire LSAT state of mind , if you insist that I should do so, I will take an actual test. Thanks for the feedback


Pumba -

Your situation, while unique, is not unknown among LSAT-takers.  Indeed, the phrase among many (American) students is that the LSAT is like "reading Greek."  (No insult, as Greek, being along with Latin and German one of the linguistic progenitors of English, is used to indicate something difficult in English to interpret.)

First, a law program in the U.S. is one of nit-picky extraction from passages, cases, and occasionally statutes.  Your background in political science is not unusual, but leads to a basic question:  Why do you want to study law?  This is important as the training and practice are both technical.  This is only somewhat different at the tippy-top (Top 5-10) law schools in the U.S.  So, if you love big-picture policy questions, you might find a happier home in a Ph.D. program in political science.  (But careers in political science are quite limited, and as a rule require the Ph.D.)

The LSAT is a good test, and preparations for it should be extensive.  "Extensive" is measured in dozens of practice exams, and hundreds of exercises.  What you'll find after this is one of two things (not mutually exclusive):  (1) you get much, much better at the logical games that underlie all of the LSAT fact patterns; and (2) you really really don't love it. 

The second point should be a serious one.  Don't go to law school because someone else thinks you should, or because you think you should.  Go because you *have* to . . . you *love* it.  If, in the process of studying for the LSAT, you find that love . . . good for you.  Chances are your LSAT skills will improve substantially.  Toward that end, you'll need to focus not just on those two sources, but on many more, including the LSAC's past exams. 

Best of luck to you!

Thane.

34
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: 2-3 years before 1L
« on: September 19, 2012, 04:53:08 PM »
I was recently hired by a tier 1 university and will be permitted to study there for free (first to obtain a Bachelor's) after one year of employment. I have been briefing and reviewing some of the more famous cases (Sibron, Garner, Quarles, etc) in preparation. For those who've attended law school, what knowledge did you lack your first year and how should I go about acquiring the necessary skills that will help me succeed? I don't plan on studying for the LSAT because of the guaranteed admission policy for employees, so I'd like to spend my downtime on something that will help me out next year. I've been recommended "Getting to Maybe", any related literature would be greatly appreciated.

Noodles -

First (and for all), excellent move.  Not only is this a tremendous perk, but most schools within systems offer this anywhere within the system, and some have agreements with other schools that allow for such benefits.  For anyone at the bachelor's level and above, this just about doubles the salary one nominally gets.  (This usually applies to family members as well.)  The only other option along these lines are the post-911 benefits offered via military service.

Roald is correct; the benefit applies to tuition, not to admissions.  So you will still need to do very, very well.  Thus your focus is quite right.

Okay, as to prep:  What you're about to read is a "minority opinion" among those giving such advice.  You and everyone *should* prepare prior to law school.  Most of the advice you will read and hear is the opposite:  relax, get drunk, don't worry, be happy.

All right:  Now for the caveat:  The reverse is in agreement with Cooley, in that your immediate concern is to do exceptionally well in your college program.  SoCal is also correct in that your second concern is to prepare for the LSAT.  Those two factors will by far dominate in your application process.

As to the references:

Law School Undercover, by "Professor X."  A behind-the scenes look at law school and the admissions process.

Law School Fast Track (and for you College Fast Track), both by Derrick Hibbard, and both focusing on the importance of good habits. 

and, if I might:

Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold.  The focus is on cutting through the nonsense of law school towards better grades with less wasted effort and (much) less stress.

I hope this helps,

Thane.

35
Law School Applications / Re: Writing an addendum with a low gpa
« on: September 13, 2012, 10:15:18 PM »
I currently have a 2.74 (baylor university) and am terrified about having those numbers on my resume. How should I go about explaining myself in my addendum? I've worked all throughout college, sometimes even working 30+ hours a week. I also wanted to write that the topics didn't spark my interest, but I don't know if I should include that.

Help!


There's a book, Law School Undercover by a "Professor X," which goes over this from the perspective of the admissions committee. 

Roald is quite right: your best bet is a stellar LSAT.  Also quite right: don't give hints as to negativity.  The admissions committee, while reliant on the LSAT, is for soft factors looking closely at your UGPA.  What they're looking for is evidence that you can "cut it"; in other words, did you max out at your school, and if not, you need a really good reason why not.  Simply working is probably not good enough, unless there are specific reasons indicating so.  I would recommend that book for an inside look in the minds of the people who are reading your application.  Not least, there are tricks of the trade that are more likely to work.  If you can convincingly "sell" that, your chances rise significantly. 

Thane.

36
General Board / Re: Best Option
« on: September 08, 2012, 03:15:53 AM »
Here are my options:

Several opportunities/schools with ABA approved Paralegal Programs.
Cooley, Florida Coastal, Charlotte Law, Barry University Law, and Phoenix Law scholarship offers.
MBA Option (University of Phoenix)
MPA Option (University of Phoenix)

Thomas -

I suggest reversing the question:  You've got three very different career possibilities, which to a large degree are mutually exclusive.

Do you like . . . adore . . . fine detail work?  Not just "Sure, I like," but "I'm pretty much OCD about fixing typographical errors in tweets."  Much less and careers in law (whether paralegal or attorney) are a dicey bet, regardless of level of law school.  (To all, you might think I'm overplaying this, but as Professor X recounts in Law School Undercover, the top firms pretty much demand this, and so do most other firms now.  It's not just pointless but harmful to spend three years and one hundred thousand plus dollars on something you're not actually going to enjoy doing.)

As to MBAs, that raises the importance of reversing the question:  Do you like pressing the flesh, meetings, energy, competition (in all its forms) as well as coordination (in even more forms)?  If so that would point to the very-different world of business. 

One might think that because most private lawyers (and a great many government ones) are dealing in commerce too much can be made of this, but in fact there is a real difference.  The role of the business manager is *very* different than that of the legal hired-gun.

As to the MPA, the same question is appropriate.  For someone in public administration the road is arduous, comparable to that of the senior partner, general counsel, or CEO.  Do you like what government types do?  If you're not sure, find one you know, or go to a local meeting and meet someone.  You're going to laugh, but I would recommend another book, the Slacker's Guide to Law School.  I'm not casting aspersions, but it has perhaps the best section of should-I-go that I've read.

Good luck,

Thane.

PS:  As others have stated, the rank of school does have a bearing on your decision.  Again, "X" has a good take on this in his book.

37
General Board / Re: A Little Advice!
« on: September 08, 2012, 03:00:17 AM »
Thoughts about the schools?  Which do you think is better?  Is there a handsdown better school or are they comparable?

There doesn't appear to be a hands-down winner in the same way as might be true between Yale and [pick your favorite], but there is a question that might apply to anyone with the same dilemma:

What do you want to be when you grow up? 

Seriously.  Where do you wish to live?  What lifestyle would you want to pursue?  And so on.  These might seem throwaway questions, but in fact they're central.  If, for example, you prefer the middle of the country, Ohio is probably the better choice.  If you cannot see yourself away from the East Coast, it would almost certainly be a mistake to attend a non-national law school away from Boston or Baltimore.  Clearly, the rank of the law school is not unimportant, but neither should it be determinative.  Also, wherever you do decide to go, attend law school with a purpose . . . and do not do what others are doing just because.   There's a good book on good habits, Law School Fast Track, that should be helpful wherever you do decide to attend.

Good luck,

Thane.

38
What if the law student is hired, signed contract and all that, what if he did not pass the bar, will he be dismissed?


The answer, as always, is "it depends." 

But, in the end the answer is "Yes."  At the very least, it is *extremely* embarrassing for a new associate to fail the bar.

39

You know, undergrad all have the same GE requirement and then differ in upper dips. Are law schools the same thing? Do they have the same requirements for 1L and then different areas and number of electives later?

Happy Fish:

Not only are all law schools consistent in their first-year courses (per ABA requirements), but law courses are almost exactly the same, covering the same cases in much the same way, regardless of law school rank, alma mater of the professor, you name it.  Moreover, law professors are themselves almost exactly the same, coming from just a handful of law schools.

There's a book, Law School Undercover, that addresses why this is so.  Well worth reading.

Thane.

40
Thomas M. Cooley / Re: Is it worth it?
« on: September 05, 2012, 04:47:04 PM »

Bottom line:  this is a very, very highly competitive hiring market.  Employers want a great law school and class rank.  Class Rank is not easy to come by in any ABA accredited school, including Cooley.  If you pick Cooley, you're probably going to feel some additional difficulty at graduation when it comes to get a job.

Personally, I have nothing against the school.  However, it's foolish to think that there isn't a stigma to it.


I too have nothing against Cooley (or against any law school or especially law school grad), but Falcon's points are worth considering.  The law is extremely status-conscious, especially when one is first starting.  (Once in practice, however, that consciousness is transformed into one primarily of reputation.)

For all, where you are is where you are.  The point is that you must focus your energies in useful ways.  This ought to be a throwaway statement, but given how poorly most students "study," it is not.  As the school year is just underway, now is the time to challenge yourself on how you go about everything you do, whether that's in the LSAT, applying to law school, or doing well in law school.

Also, simply going to a "lesser" school is not going to automatically help in class rank.  Some star applicants end up in the bottom half of the class.  This should reinforce just how serious the point is about one's approach *in* law school . . . which is and remains crucially important to the OP's question.

Thane.

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