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Messages - MeganEW

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1
Acceptances / Re: Indiana $, Loyola, $$, UCLA $$$, USC $$$$, UT$$$$,
« on: March 07, 2011, 07:45:03 AM »
I think you can narrow it down to IU vs. UCLA. UCLA is going to be best for LA (at worst, tied with USC) and has in-state tuition, but graduating with minimal student loan debt will also provide you a lot of options if you want to do PI or even just take your time during your job search.

If you can make it out to Bloomington, definitely go visit and really try to get a feel for the school. Hopefully it'll be clear after visiting both. It might also help to talk to attorneys in LA and see what they think.  You might try to leverage your IU scholarship to get more money from UCLA and/or USC, too.

Congrats on the great options!

2
Law School Applications / Re: 168 LSAT 3.41 GPA - Where to apply?
« on: March 06, 2011, 10:31:43 PM »
I agree you should only go into law if you know what you're getting into and still want to do it.

That said, you don't really need to apply to any T2 or lower schools. There are T1 schools that give good scholarship money for that LSAT score. IU Bloomington and University of Illinois are the two on my radar, but there are likely others as well. Check out law school numbers to see what people are getting this year.

If you really want to do law, consider retaking (168 is a great score, but you want to reach your potential) and apply next year.

3
First, you can't assume the ease of being at the top of the curve is related to the ease of getting in.  There are so many variables, and often, since fewer get the top jobs from lower ranked schools, the students are even more competitive.  One school that's notorious for vicious competition is Cardozo in New York.  Maybe it will be easier to get in the top 10% at UB, but maybe it'll be easier to get in the top 10% at George Mason.  Think of it this way: you have a 10% chance of scoring in the top 10% at either. ;)

Anyway, after the T14, law schools are largely regional.  If you want to practice in upstate NY, hands down Buffalo.  It's cheaper, it's well regarded in the region, and it's where you want to practice.

If you want to practice in DC, GMU would probably be better than Buffalo, but then you really have to take the cost factor into consideration.  Especially because in DC you also have UVA, Georgetown, GWU, and American for job competition.  That'll be roughly $150k in student loan debt for a slight edge in an over saturated market.  If your heart is set on DC, though, try to get more money out of GM by telling them about your offer from UB.  It may not work, but it's worth a shot.  If it doesn't work, look into how well Buffalo alumni have done in DC.  See if there are any attorneys you can network with.

Good luck and congrats!

4
I find the gender issue to be a little silly, but that aside, since you already have one great academic LOR and have been out of school for a while, why not ask an employer?  It's better to have a well-written very personalized LOR from an employer than a generic LOR from a professor (and even though I think they'll remember you, if you haven't kept in touch, the letter will likely be generic).  Many schools do require one academic LOR, but after that, it can be nice to add a different perspective.
The only school I know of that requires two academic LORs is Yale.  If you're applying to Yale, suck it up and ask your favorite former male professor.  Otherwise, get a stellar letter from someone in your post-college life.

Good luck!

5

Yes, I'm very interested in BigLaw.  If the current economic situation continues, I will not give up my job just for an internship in any BigLaw without any guarantee of full-time employment.  I don't want to lose my seniority or vested interest on my 401k plans.  I also know a college mate who gave up his job in a big construction firm for a summer internship in a law firm back in 2008.  He graduated from Seton Hall and the law firm didn't hire him in the end.  So, he really got screwed and had to go back to work as an engineer again for another company.  In general, these days it is best to hang on to what you have. 

The greatest dilemma for me is that I do not hate my current career.  I think I'm getting good pay and regular work hours.  Overtime work also gets premium pay.

I really don't want to risk my current engineering career for an unknown nascent legal career.  I'm working for a major publicly traded company also.  Maybe, I can find a legal position in the corporate hierarchy while going to law school P/T.

Thank you for your thoughts.
If you want BigLaw, the easiest way to get it (by far) is through a summer internship.  Some BigLaw firms do interview 3Ls to join their fall associate classes, but it's a very small percentage of firms for a very small number of slots.  While getting "no-offered" at the end of a summer internship is always a risk, it's a much smaller risk at certain firms.  The V25 firm I worked at did cut the number of slots in their summer class when the economy went south, but they still had a 100% offer rate at the end.  They pride themselves on their 100% offer rate because it means they can attract top candidates.
Here's a list compiled by Above the Law:
http://abovethelaw.com/2010/04/summer-offer-rates-vault-top-25-are-hot/
(Actually, the firm I worked for has a sub-100% offer rate on that list because it lists all offices, but the NY office had a 100% offer rate).

If you can get a legal position in-house at your current company, that's great.  For many corporate attorneys, that's living the dream because the money is decent and the hours are much better than firm hours.  But, while it's somewhat common to go in-house from a firm as an associate, it's less common/more difficult to go to a firm from a company unless you're pretty senior.

As for schools to add for potential aid negotiation, I'd add BC and BU.  They're also not far from NYC.  You probably don't need to waste an application on Brooklyn.  Fordham doesn't view it as a peer school, so it won't help you with aid negotiations, and your numbers and w/e can get you money at much better schools (assuming you haven't murdered anyone and don't come off as a raging a-hole in your applications...and even then...  ;)).
I think the Cardozo app is good for aid negotiations with Fordham, but I would caution against going there even if your negotiations prove unsuccessful (Fordham can be a little stingy...).  Before the downturn in the economy, Cardozo used to feed into NY BigLaw, but now many firms have stopped hiring from there because they've cut their class sizes.  It is now notorious for a gunner atmosphere because the majority of the class is competing for only a handful of jobs.  While you'll have a huge leg-up on them because of your resume (particularly if you're interested in IP), that type of learning environment does not sound at all appealing.

6
Apply to schools that appeal to you* as well as Fordham's PT program.  With those numbers and your work experience, there's a good chance you'll receive good scholarship money from places like UIUC and BC.  You can then weigh those options against going to school part-time and/or use them to negotiate aid from other schools.

As for job prospects out of Fordham... if you're interested in BigLaw, it's one of the best outside of the T14.  Lots of top firms participate in OCI there.  One thing to consider, though, is that your last summer, if aiming for midlaw or biglaw, you will want to be a summer associate.  The pay will be decent, but I imagine once you leave your current job (for the summer gig), you won't be able to come back.  Just something to keep in mind when you're crunching the numbers.

I don't think your #3 con to a T14 is really relevant.  While legal employers do seem to like previous work experience, they don't expect you to work during law school.  In top legal jobs, PT programs are the exception, not the rule.  I imagine many non-legal employers recognize this as well.  You will, however, want to work/hold internships in the summers.

*seems like you're interested in staying in the Northeast, but you might want to throw Northwestern on your list.  It might be a bit of a stretch with your LSAT, but they pretty much require work experience and seem to love engineers.  They also placed a higher percentage of their class in BigLaw spots than any other law school last year.

Good luck and congrats!

7
Law School Applications / Re: Thoughts on Multiple LSATs
« on: January 08, 2011, 10:32:23 AM »
I saw a 15 point jump in my LSAT, and so far my decisions have lined up with my higher score.  Of course, in my case there's a 4 year gap instead of a 6 month gap, but write a concise addendum explaining the jump and apply as if you have just the 165.  The only schools I know of that average are T14; most just take the highest.
You should have a good shot at most schools in the 20-30 range assuming the usual softs.

8
Where should I go next fall? / Re: OSU v. UIUC v. Fordham
« on: January 07, 2011, 07:24:56 AM »
Thanks!  I'm definitely talking to my former bosses.
Since posting this, I actually got a little bit of game changing news.  I received one of the $40k/year scholarships to IU-Bloomington.  My husband is okay with that distance (since it's a pretty easy drive from here), and I really love the school.  It'd also be really close to my parents.  That said, now that I feel I have the freedom to move, I don't really want to.  The logistics just seem awful.
So, I'm going to try to negotiate a better (as in, less I owe after the scholarship as $40k is more than in-state tuition) scholarship from OSU.  If that doesn't work, I'll head to Bloomington. 

Having minimal student loan debt will allow me to have options.  Yes, I'd like BigLaw, but I don't want my only choices in 3 years to be BigLaw or Live in a Box. :)

As for working for my old firm...
I was actually hired as part of a program where they hired individuals from respected schools (Columbia, Cornell, NYU, Howard, etc.) to be legal secretaries.  The idea is that we'd learn from the attorneys we assisted and then go on to law school (and come back?).  A number of attorneys preferred the ambitious fresh graduates because we typically cared more about the content of the work.  This type of hiring stopped, though, when they stopped hiring secretary classes altogether.  Most decided law wasn't for them after all and pursued other careers.  However, a few did return as attorneys. 
I think if I had remained as a secretary and hoped to return to the NY office, it could be a bit awkward.  I mean, one of my friends could end up as my secretary!  Awk-ward.  As it is, though, I left after a year and a few months later returned to a role that was a combo of research, attorney training, and client development.  I interacted primarily with partners, and some of my assignments were akin to the non-billable assignments given to associates.  Plus, I want to go to a different office than the one where I worked, which helps.

Anyway, sorry for rambling and thanks again!

9
Law School Applications / Re: When to Send Applications?
« on: December 28, 2010, 09:58:38 AM »
I imagine the data is true overall.  However, I'd guess that earlier applicants are, on average, applying to more competitive schools.  Many of the top 50 don't even accept applications after early to mid-March, so those 20% are likely applying to a greater proportion of lower ranked schools than the 40% who apply by early January.
I'd be interested in seeing the data broken out that way.

Regardless, it's most beneficial to apply as early as you can compile a strong application.

10
Law School Applications / Re: Low LSAT score.
« on: December 28, 2010, 07:08:18 AM »
Definitely retake.  I took the LSAT on a whim in college with very little prep (one practice test, not under test conditions).  I was cocky because I love logic games.  I didn't even bring a watch to the exam (I kinda wanna shake the 21 y/o version of myself).  I scored a 151.

3 1/2 years after that, I decided to pursue law.  So, I prepped for the LSAT, retook, and scored a 166.  Unfortunately, that 151 is still on my transcript for this one last year.  However, because the jump was so great and it has been so long since that awful 151, adcomms seem to be looking past it. 

Point of story, retake after actually preparing.  Write a nice addendum to your application on why your score jumped 20+ points (mine basically just states that the first was with very little prep), and raise your standards a little. ;)

There are some exceptions (Yale, maybe NYU), but most schools will overlook an old, low score if you have a new, high score.

Granted, I'm a 0L, but I really get the impression that it's much easier to retake the LSAT than to transfer law schools.

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