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Messages - Cher1300

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I have to agree with what has been said here.  I live in California and will be going to a school that wasn't ABA approved until 2009.  However, the alumni of working, successful attorneys and judges are numerous. 

At 41, I considered a state approved school, but wanted one with an ABA accreditation because I want to take the bar in another state where all my family and long time friends live.  This decision was also made because I'm considering moving back to my home state in the future. 

Choosing a law school really depends on your needs, age, and drive.  There are many people who really just want to work for someone else and can't imagine working out of their home or starting a general practice.  Many want to work for "big law."  Most of them are younger people who haven't worked professionally and will have three-figures in debt to pay.  For older students, they are more financially set.  Undergrad debt is paid, there is money in the bank, etc.  People working full-time and going part-time in the evening still have a job if they can't find a legal job, etc. 

If you want to be a lawyer, and you love what you do, you will be successful.  We are in a recession, so there are not many jobs out there.  You have to find a way to make your way no matter what your profession.

I'm not sure how much debt you have from undergrad, but it sounds like quite a bit since you keep deferring your loans.

I'm also starting law school at 41.  I didn't score high on my LSAT either and am going to a tier 4 school.  Financially, however, I am in a much better position and will be working with an attorney that already has a practice - so I know I have a job.  I'll be working full time and going to school at night so my debt when I graduate should be between 50 and 60K campared to 150K that many kids coming out of undergrad going straight to law school will face.

That being said, you'll need to have a high LSAT score to obtain scholarship money.  Since you are low income, there are grants you may qualify for that could help you, but I think the real issue is that you already sound defeated.   If taking the practice LSAT has you discouraged, I don't know if you'd be up for the challenge and stress of three years of law school and the bar exam. 

If you are determined to be a lawyer, keep practicing on the LSAT.  You should find a study group for it.  Many times working with other people can help you with the issues you are having.  Mastering the LSAT doesn't happen overnight - I certainly didn't MASTER it and have never been good at standardized tests.  However, you should be comfortable taking the test before signing up for the real thing.  Try to have fun with it and don't sign up for the LSAT until your practice test scores are consistently better. 

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Holy Frick, it's the middle of July!
« on: July 10, 2011, 03:44:55 PM »
Yes, very surprised.  I thought I'd be relaxing more before school but there's so much to do before I start.  My list is getting smaller though, and I plan on taking a nap every Sunday until then.  Best of luck to all the future 1L's. 

Not quite sure how to address this, but I will also be starting law school in the evenings.  The difference is, I've been at my job for over six years.  I did need to tell my boss because there are certain events, etc. that would require me to be here on an occasional evening and I probably won't be able to attend.  Also, I needed to change my hours so I can leave a bit earlier.  If I were just starting this job, however, I don't believe I would say anything unless/until overtime came up.  I don't know what type of job you have, but you'll probably be there for at least two - four years.  You could slowly work in the subject by casually mentioning school here and there without making it a big deal.  That way it's not really a surprise if they need you to stay, but I wouldn't make it a formal discussion.  Hope that helps. 

They are both Tier 4 schools so I don't know if it even matters that much.  I'll be going to Western State.  Even though they haven't been ABA approved for very long, they have a long list of alumni and it MAY help in finding employment.   The school had really dismal numbers in the past, but their bar passage rate for July 2010 was an impressive 83%.  I also heard the bar passage rate for February of 2011 is also above state average - around 76% or so, but I don't think official numbers have been released.  Just my 2 cents.   Good luck on your decision.

It is difficult to believe, but I wonder how many other graduates in 2008 entered law school in 2005 not knowing the recession was going to happen.  She was top of her class but ended up with 150K in debt?  I don't know the details of the case, but a lot can change in three years concerning employment stats.  I'm assuming the lawyer who took on this case has more information than we do.  Otherwise, almost any 2008 graduate from a mediocre law school who couldn't find a job may have a case against their school.

I have to agree unknownOne on this.  You have two strikes against you, first by not finishing high school, then slacking a second time in college.   Slackers can generally get by in undergrad.  Most people can work and party during college, but this will not be the case if you go to law school.  Joining the National Guard may help with getting you disciplined as far as study goes, but the first thing a law school looks at is your gpa and lsat score.   You really need to evaluate what it is/was that kept you from your studies and figure what needs to be done to change it.  If you get into law school and slack off, you won't be able to stay anyway.  You may want to start a study schedule for the LSAT and see if you are able to maintain it.  If you are disciplined enough to study and do well on the LSAT, then there's a chance you could get in to law school. 

I'll also be attending part-time in the fall.  I did speak with a part-time graduate who is now a judge.  Although she went to school about 20 years ago, she told me she did moot court, but not law review.   According to her, it's possible to do one or the other, but may difficult to do both unless you have no personal life to speak of.  Aside from that, she said it's really not possible to join any associations.  Most of my lawyer friends have told me that employers generally ask about your gpa, and whether or not you did law review or moot court.   I'm going to try for law review.  That's some writing I may be able to sneak in during work time.   Hope that helps!  I guess we really won't know until we start.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: La Verne, Whittier or Western State
« on: June 29, 2011, 11:09:47 AM »
Western State's bar passage rate for July 2010 was 83% and was among the top 6 schools and may have tied with UCLA.  From what I understand, the passage rate from February 2011 is also above the state average at around 76 - 78%, but I don't believe the formal numbers are out yet.  Don't know what Western State is doing differently, but it surpassed Whittier and even Southwestern that year.  If you google bar passage rates, you'll see where it ranked.  That was part of the reason I decided to go.  Not sure if it will stay that way.  Their history for bar passage rates was definitely horrid, but they appear to be overcoming this.  Just FYI.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Worth Going to Law School If...
« on: June 21, 2011, 05:33:47 PM »
Hamilton, I absolutely agree that the job market is tough.  I'm not saying it's not and this is not a feeling.  What I have found in the working world is people are not willing to take a job for less than a certain amount of money no matter how long they have been out of work.   People will ask me all the time if there is a position available where I work.  When I tell them yes, and they find out it pays, say $14 per hour, they are not interested.  Even if they've been out of work for over two years, and had move back in with their parents, they can't see past the $14 an hour.  They just don't see it as an opportunity to get their foot in the door somewhere.  I'll typically hear, "I was making $40,000 at my old job" when they don't realize that companies are cutting back salaries in addition to jobs!!  Instead they'll stay unemployed and complain and keep telling me how much they need a job.

As far as the legal profession, I'm also very aware that the market is dismal especially if you are a tier 3 or tier 4 grad, but everyone has individual goals.  As an attorney, you can start working out of your home and put yourself on the public defenders list if you can't find a job.  It may not be what you want to do and it may not pay much in the beginning, but what else can you do?  At least you'll be out there meeting and working with other attorneys who may help you get a job in the future.   In addition, you can volunteer time or intern at other firms to learn what you need to learn.  That's what happened to my attorney friend who lost her job in Ohio as a real estate attorney in 2008.  She was let go after only six months because the market was about to take a dive.   What seemed like a horror story has turned into a successful solo practice.  She didn't make much money in the beginning, but when she decided to go to law school, there was no recession in sight. 

My point is, you never know what's going to happen when you graduate.  You could have a job for a year and be let go.  There is no such thing as job security no matter where you graduate from.  If I had to wait tables and work a few hours for free at a firm to get experience to help support my solo practice because I couldn't find a job to help pay my student loans, then I would do it. 

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