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Messages - louiebstef

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Non-Traditional Students / Re: Military
« on: September 22, 2010, 01:51:03 AM »
Guess I'm pretty LATE on this one!

Retired USN CWO4 here.  Will be applying to UF/FSU/Miami/Stetson/FIU/FAMU in 2012 cycle. 

Non-Traditional Students / Re: Military Retirement to Law School Transition
« on: September 22, 2010, 01:12:32 AM »


I'm a retired navy CWO4.  I retired back in 2006 with 22 years.  After spending a few years in upper middle management in the corporate jungle, i realized that I should just go on and pursue my long-held dream of practicing the law.

I earned my first degree back in the early 90s, and it was built on a foundation of really CRAPPY grades I got long before I joined the military.
Realizing that booosting my GPA would be a good thing, I went back to school to earn a BAS in Paralegal Studies at an ABA accredited program.  it has been a great entree to the law and has taught legal topics from a practical perspective.

I am currently working as an intern on a state regulatory/rules making project.  I will graduate, take the LSAT and apply for LS next year.

The deal for ALL of us non-trad folks (i.e. over age 40) is to keep debt to an absolute minimum.  You have the best deal in Illinois that I've ever heard of.  Go for it!

Here in Florida, I actually have all my undergrad and one year of LS covered by VA, ch. 33.  Hopefully, I can post good enough numbers to get some $$.  I am currently carrying a 3.95 and my timed LSATs are varying between 166 and 171.  I am crossing my fingers.

Okay.  I was an RP, attended ITS, was assigned to 1st MARDIV back in the 80's, etc etc.  Made CPO and got my warrant in '94.



Non-Traditional Students / Re: Is law school possible at 62?
« on: September 22, 2010, 12:57:37 AM »


Remember, we non-trad 0Ls are looking to you as an inspiration.  Please hang around and share your experiences with us.


Personal Statement / Re: GPA Addendum with no legitimate excuse?
« on: September 22, 2010, 12:31:38 AM »
I am far from expert about PSs/addenda, but I am a retired naval officer who used to read promotion board statements.

One thing I think I would stress is the "why" of your situation.  Your GPA is the proverbial "elephant in the room."  Simply face that up front and go on to explain WHY you now have changed and what is so compelling to you about "the law."  Also, focus on your "NEWLY ACQUIRED" skillset that includes much more self-discipline.  That is what (I believe) Cicero is referring to.  You have to put yourself in the admissions persons shoes.  They see an obviously intelligent individual who has exhibited a propensity for being a slacker.  Brilliant slackers rarely do well in LS.  Convince them that you are NO LONGER a slacker.  They also want to know exactly what you can bring to the table.

Tell them.

Where should I go next fall? / Re: How much should scholarships matter?
« on: September 21, 2010, 11:03:44 PM »
I agree that most schools are regional, but there is a ranking within each region that is important. In FL (in order): UF, FSU, UM, Stetson, T4s (total of 11 ABA approved law schools). UF/FSU can also do well in the bordering states and SE generally. The regional rankings do not change as often as the T2 rankings in USNWR. It is important to know where your school stands because employers to care. (I don't necessarily agree that it should be a big factor because I agree that people at T1s & T4s have both the potential to be great attorneys and the potential to be terrible attorneys, but unfortunately school reputation carries a lot of weight.)

You did it yet AGAIN, Cicero.  Completely agree with you on everything.  In fact, you have just called out my preference list, pretty much in order, LOL.

Where should I go next fall? / Re: How much should scholarships matter?
« on: September 21, 2010, 08:37:49 AM »

I respectfully disagree with Cicero, surprisingly.  I have agreed with many of his posts.

His logic is a bit faulty here.  So, let me get this right.  The student goes to say, Stetson (a decent T3), has his 35K scholly, and loses it by earning a whopping 2.7 for 1L.  Our intrepid student either: (a) is not quite as brilliant as he'd like to think, or (b) simply had adjustment trauma and in all likelihood will be successful in 2L/3L.   

EITHER WAY...he incurred minimal debt for 1/3 of his J.D.  Why would one think he would necessarily sail smoother academic waters in a low T1? This is especially true considering that he would be facing a potential $150K debt load upon completion.  If he stayed at Stetson he would be looking at half or less of that debt.  Reality check:  I do not believe those that say graduating deep in the middle of the pack of a T2/low T1 is a great advantage.  I just hear "BIG DEBT."

Cicero and I both know that MY logic is weaker when you throw a top VALUE school like Florida or Florida State into the mix.   I am personally probably looking at either Stetson getting $$$ or paying freight to UF or FSU.  Now THAT is a tough choice.

Acceptances / Re: Seat deposit due soon and I don't know where to go
« on: September 21, 2010, 01:25:37 AM »
As a Florida resident (and soon to graduate with a Legal Studies BAS), I can assure you that Cicero's advice is dead-bang on the mark.  Florida and FSU are tied for my top choice (FSU for govt networking opportunity/UF as I am a legacy and they are #1 in the state), with FIU behind them (CHEAP).  I would LOVE to stay home and attend Stetson, if they show me the $$$.  University of Miami is decent (I think #3 in the state), but the price tag is rather steep.

Good luck!

Where should I go next fall? / Re: Which school should I attend?
« on: September 21, 2010, 12:54:33 AM »
I may be able to help here.  I am a "local" in Stetson's area (Pinellas County, Florida), and some of my current professors are adjuncts at Stetson.  Stetson is clearly head and shoulders above Nova in almost every area.  Most importantly, for those of us that intend to practice in Florida, Stetson enjoys a much better reputation within the legal community than does Nova.

The absolute strengths of Stetson are its Trial Advocacy and Legal Writing programs.  The ALWD Citation Manual (the alternative to the Blue Book) was written/edited by Darby Dickenson, the Dean of Stetson Law.  I believe US News has Stetson ranked #1 for Trial Advocacy (if that's your thing).

If you have the numbers and soft factors, Stetson DOES in fact throw some $$$ around.  I believe they gave full rides to about 5% or so of the students.  Not bad in these belt-tightening times.   

As a non-trad (retired military officer) with pretty solid stats, the only way I would attend Stetson in lieu of paying full price at Florida(USNWR #47) or Florida State (USNWR #54) would be with a full ride.  I am crossing my fingers.  I would just love living at home and not having to rent my house out.  I am looking at next year's cycle (2012). I am definitely a proponent of assuming the absolute MINIMUM in debt for law school.

Where should I go next fall? / Re: Worst Law School?
« on: September 21, 2010, 12:36:52 AM »
I'm thinking just about ANY school that admits folks with 140 LSATs and 2.0 GPAs.  Usually those same schools have some VERY entertaining bar passage stats.  Check out the California online schools(Lincoln, Peoples, etc etc) average pass rate.  FUNNY STUFF. 

Where should I go next fall? / Re: question about california law schools
« on: September 21, 2010, 12:33:33 AM »
Although I am probably 25 years older than you, believe it or not, I am at the same exact place. I'm prepping for the June LSAT and law school admission in the 2012 cycle.

It sounds as if you have yet to find LSDAS.  You should at least register with their site now, as you will have to end up signing up the LSAT and use the Credential Assembly Service (CAS).  This is true because most schools work their admissions process via LSDAS/CAS.  They charge one fee to take the LSAT and one for the CAS.  You don't have to pay for these just to register with them.

Another benefit to this is that they have links to just about ALL ABA accredited schools, from Yale to "Tier 4 Town Law"  They also have a feature where you can plug in your GPA and LSAT numbers and you will see your basic (without soft factors, etc) admission profile for each school.
You can build a "My Schools" list as well.

Each school listed has a basic profile (think of the school's "marketing blurb), and the ABA profile.  Reading these can give some idea of schools you may be interested in.

These are just some basics.  My own state (Florida) has a law school that has a VERY strong program in Environmental Law (Florida State Law).
I believe US News also highlights schools that are strong in particular areas, i.e., Environmental, Advocacy, etc.

I think if you make your 170 plus LSAT and maintain your current GPA at Penn State, you'll do well in the admissions cycle.

Good luck in June!

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