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Messages - Morten Lund

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Law School Admissions / Re: opinions please on felony for law school
« on: October 31, 2011, 05:19:25 AM »
You can admit into law school and pass the bar, you previous record will not problem. Because law is business, it is not job. I wish your success.

I suggest that you ignore this post, and instead take the advice offered by fortook. 

Criminal pasts are no small matter to shrug off under any circumstance, and certainly not when dealing with a regulated profession like the law.  You are right to inquire, and right to be a little concerned.  It will come up - many times, for the rest of your life.  Be prepared.  But it need not preclude you from pursuing a career as a lawyer.

Good luck.

Law School Admissions / Re: 3.7 GPA and 146 LSAT
« on: October 26, 2011, 12:57:07 PM »
I can't know all your facts, of course, but I don't see much of a decision here.  With a 147 you will not get into the kind of school that you are capable of, and you will spend a whole lot of money on a degree that will not be as valuable as it could be and should be.  Instead, you will get a degree that may not be of much help getting a job. 

And, of course, given the current economic climate for law school graduates: (1) a delay isn't a bad thing, as this will give the economy another year to recover before you graduate, and (2) it is more important than ever to attend the best law school you can.

Take the year, study properly, and score 165.  Then apply to T14 schools.  In the meantime, do something useful - other than studying for the LSAT, which you should take very seriously - that will help you both substantively and on paper.

Good luck.

Law School Admissions / Re: 3.7 GPA and 146 LSAT
« on: October 25, 2011, 04:02:03 PM »
A 3.7 GPA would indicate that you are capable of a drastically higher LSAT score than 146.  I would encourage you to study hard and retake.

What were you scoring on practice tests?

Current Law Students / Re: Starting your own solo practice after law school
« on: September 30, 2011, 09:08:17 AM »
Bottom line is that you can start a solo practice straight out of school, but the conditions have to be near-perfect and you have to be a special person. If I lived in an urban area that was saturated with lawyers, it would have never worked. If I didn't have the personal connections with mentor attorneys, I would have never made it. If I wasn't involved in politics, it would have never worked. If I didn't have a large family feeding me clients, I would not have survived. Finally, if I didn't have some ready made talent, I would have sunk. So, be cautious.

Good Luck.

Thank you, Strictly.  If Robert's Rules are in order, I'll second the motion. 

Indeed.  That was one of the finest posts I have read here, and the perfect entry in this particular thread.

Be forewarned:  cynical/grumpy late-night posting follows.

My concern is that the admissions committee won't see it that way and will say to themselves "well if that's what happened to this kid going from highschool to university, imagine how he'll adjust to law school" 

They won't think that.

What they WILL think, after reading the first couple of sentences in your personal-statement-that-resembles-your-post is "oh look, another applicant with a sob story about how depressed he was during college.  NEXT!" 

Heck, I couldn't even read it all myself.  I started skimming at "depress..."

Honestly, even though it was obviously unique and horrible from your perspective, versions of this story show up in a whole bunch of applications - not surprising, because a whole bunch of people had similar issues.  Sure, your situation might have been more extreme than most, but "srsly d00ds, I was WAY sadder than those other guys" is not only not convincing, but almost as standard as the underlying sob story.

This approach will not serve you well - not because it is too personal, but because it is too common and boring, and - perhaps more importantly - because it amounts to an excuse, despite your protestations to the contrary.  And if there is one thing lawyers (including law professors) dislike, it is excuses.

Or, as my old boss used to say:  "No whining!" 

Anything that has even a whiff of "woe is me" is a huge negative.  Don't do it.

Instead, own your screw-ups and turn them to your advantage.  The last part of your post starts to do this.  It didn't kill you; it made you stronger.  Summarize your travails as briefly as possible ("I faced some personal challenges during the first year of college that adversely affected my grades"), just enough to set up the powerhouse part of your statement, where you can talk about how a stint in the psych ward makes you uniquely prepared for the practice of law.  But make it positive, and no whining.  Admit that your GPA is bad, and there is nobody to blame but yourself - but suggest that your GPA perhaps does not fairly represent your capabilities, as shown by your 178 LSAT score.  (Because the best way to prove your point is by kicking the LSAT's ass.  So make damn sure you do really well on the LSAT.)

Law schools look for discipline, initiative and leadership.  Show them some.

(And then keep that personal statement handy for bar admission, when you will most likely have to discuss being committed.)

Law School Admissions / Re: Where should I go?
« on: September 19, 2011, 11:55:54 AM »
A friend of mine is a sniper for the FBI, attached to DoD SpecOps teams.  Before that, he was a BigLaw associate working on securities compliance matters.

Go figure.

People's careers take the darndest turns.  As for how to get there, I haven't the foggiest idea - I just wanted to throw my oddball story out there.  That said, my friend told me that his class at the academy was relatively lean on lawyers and accountants, but loaded with police officers.  I suspect the FBI alters their criteria depending on current needs, and for the moment anti-terrorist efforts are key. 

Five minutes on the Google found me some admission FAQs from a couple of states.  The theme in the "drug treatment" discussions appears to be a focus on CURRENT character and fitness.  So long as you can convince the committee that you are CURRENTLY not abusing or addicted to drugs you should be in good shape, and participation in treatment programs was mentioned as evidence supporting your position that you are a changed man/woman.

That said,

Whassup with the ganja, bro?  You got pinched for that just last month?  Get a grip.  I don't smoke pot, and I have nothing against it, but the fact that you can't live without it, even while it imperils your professional future tells me you have a problem.

Recent/current drug use pretty much completely undermines your "I have changed, I swear" position.  Seriously, just stop.  No "slip-ups," no "I didn't inhale," no "just one more" - just stop.  Period, full stop.

(And I swear I'm not stalking you, FJ.  Seriously.)

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Journalism and Law
« on: September 14, 2011, 10:07:44 PM »
I'm not sure who gave you that list, but they may as well have had monkeys throwing darts at a dartboard to do it.

I'm glad you said it, FJ, so I didn't have to.  That's pretty much where I was headed as well, although by way of a significantly more circuitous route.

Moreover, I would add that "legal writing" is absolutely and completely unrelated to any type of writing used in journalism.  I would not recommend going to a particular school to acquire mad legal writing skillz when your ultimate career goal is to be anything other than a lawyer.  If anything, being an expert at legal writing might harm your journalistic writing skills.

Quote from: FJ
["Legal feature writing"] is, from what little information I have on it, a very, very small field, which tells me that it's also probably highly competitive.  The only person I know of offhand who did what you propose to do is Emily Bazelon.  She graduated from Yale.  If you think you can compete in the same pool she swims in by going to Mercer, more power to you.

... and that's the other half.  That is not to say that graduating from Yale necessarily means you are brilliant, or a brilliant writer, but if the purpose of the law degree is to provide legal "street cred," as it were, then it is important to have as fancy a name as possible - if for no other reason than that the competition will.

There may, however, be an alternate route.  ("There is another")

I am still not clear on what exactly legal feature writing is, but if the career goal is the larger category of "legal journalism" - i.e., journalism on the legal beat, then what you really need is some actual experience practicing actual law.  Many/most of the talking heads on TV commenting on various legal stuff are former practitioners themselves, often in a criminal law context.  The same is true, I believe, of a large portion of the folks writing about legal stuff in newspapers.  And for that angle, I get the distinct impression that a few years of gritty practical experience will count more heavily in your favor that some ivory-tower sheepskin.

Of course, I could be wrong.  I don't even like writing.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Journalism and Law
« on: September 14, 2011, 01:45:52 PM »
You are going to have to fill me in a little.  What do you mean by "legal journalism" and "legal feature writing?"

Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Re: What is International Law?
« on: September 12, 2011, 04:00:23 PM »
"What is International Law?"

That is an excellent question.

The answer depends quite a bit on the context, of course, but my usual stock answer is that "international law" is like People's Court (or Judge Judy for you young'uns) crossed with a lynchmob.

Either that, or just a complete fiction.  One or the other.

Of course, that's just my opinion, and reasonable minds may differ.

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