Just do your best on the initial test. Hopefully, the course will identify any weaknesses you have and--with practice--you will get your score where you need it to be.
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Messages - MikePing
In addition to what has been said, the factors you have identified will reflect strongly on your application at any school who actually reviews it. So long as your scores don't put you in an auto-reject pile, this will help you.
Now, you wont be listed as an URM, but you will probably have an advantage over other applicants. If you live in Texas, UT considers those factors and is required to do so by its state legislature. Other state schools may do this for residents.
You background includes the type of diversity that is often lacking in law schools and is sought out. Work hard for your LSAT, and everything else will work out. I would apply to schools that are +3-5 on what you think your LSAT should be.
« on: April 20, 2011, 01:02:05 PM »
Your qualifications look great for all but the top 14 schools. But, even some of those are a legitimate reach for you.
IMO, the analysis of what school to attends begins with a determination of where you want to live/practice after graduation. Once you know that, identify the top feeder law schools for that market and check your chances at the best ones.
Sometimes a strong regional school gives you better opportunities than anything other than top 5. Spend some time chekcing it out, and then go to lawschoolnumbers.com to get an idea about your chances.
Your next big hurdle will be to decide whether to attend a lower-ranked school for cheap, or attend a higher-ranked one with debt. The answer to this question will also depend on where you want to live/practice.
Good luck!! And, please let us know what you decide. (it helps future readers of your post)
T1 (top 50) and T2 (51-100) schools are usually solid choices. Each place you want to live/practice has its own law school ranking in the opinions of local lawyers, and I don't know the Portland market. But, you can get a feel for it by researching the bigfirm websites and seeing where they are hiring from.
At either school, IMO, you will have little trouble finding a job if you can get into the top 25% of the class and get a little bit of law clerk experience under your belt (if you can make top 10%, your life will be much more easy). Your dilligence thus far suggests to me that it is an achievable goal.
The lower your class rank, the more important local contacts will be. If you find yourself outside of the top 25% consider working at a local law firm during school as well as the summer. I think that being in the top 25% of a top 100 law school, with legal experience, gives you solid odds in any economy.
The big caveat is that everyone thinks they will be at the top of the law class. But, you are light years above the average applicant. If you apply the same diligence to figuring out how to do well in law school as you have to admissions, I think you will do fine.
It looks like you probably have what you need to get into school right now. Scholarship would be a stretch (probably always will unless you are high 170's). Typically law schools put much more weight on the LSAT than the UGPA.
Plan on spending a lot of time getting your applications perfect. Even if you retake the LSAT and score a 180, I think you will be a discretionary applicant because of your UGPA. That means that the admissions committees will carefully look at your whole application.
But, that works in your favor due to the change of family status, realistic knowledge of law practice, and UGPA trend. Nail your PS, resume, and get at least one decent recommendation letter, and you should be fine.
Good luck! Let us know how it works out for you.
« on: April 19, 2011, 12:58:20 PM »
It also depends on what part of the country you want to settle down in. The top 5 do well anywhere. IMO, the next 9 don't fall regionally by thier ranking. For instance NYU will not do as well in CA as Berkely. If you want to live in TX, UT (#15) is better than 5-14.
Non-Traditional Students / Re: Please Help! Verbal "Ride at your own risk" and Non-Disclosure of safety issue« on: April 19, 2011, 12:51:44 PM »
Unfortunately, you will not get much advice here. Most of the posters on this site are either law students or people thinking about becoming a law student.
To give advice would be to practice law without a license, which could prevent them from ever becoming an actual lawyer. I doubt many people want to that kind of risk for you.
You should talk to a local lawyer about your rights.