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Messages - FalconJimmy

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Law school questions
« on: December 19, 2011, 07:50:14 AM »
1.  Don't just take practice tests.  sounds like you're not independently wealthy, so maybe a prep course is out of the question.  At a minimum, get the powerscore books or something and learn genuine methods for acing the LSAT.  I can't emphasize enough that you don't want to do "well" on this test, you want the maximum possible score.

2.  With your GPA and an LSAT in the 170s, you should have quite a few schools across the country that will offer you a full-ride.  You should consider them if they are in an area where, ultimately, you would like to live.

3.  If you can get into a top 14 law school, I would say do it.  Hold your nose.  Take on the debt.  You'll be wearing this degree for 40 years or more.  You want it to be pretty.  Although a mountain of debt sounds unappealing (and it is), there are some instances where it's not such a bad idea.

Let's say you go $150,000 in debt.  Some people equate that to a mortgage, but that's a bit deceiving.  You don't have insurance, property taxes, etc., mixed in with your payment.  So, really, you might be looking at a monthly payment of $1,000 or less. 

However, with a T14 degree, you could get a job that pays $160K.  $12,000 a year debt payments when you're making $160K?  It can be done.  I don't care how expensive people say it is in NYC or San Fran.

So, you'll have options.  I'd say if you can get a full-ride to a 2nd tier (or maybe even 1st tier) school (tiers being roughly 50 schools per) and it's where you want to live, that would be worth considering.

If not, I'd advise to go top 14.  The value of those degrees is high and getting higher with time.  In fact, with a high enough LSAT, it may be worth looking at Harvard / Stanford / Yale.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: DON'T DO IT!!
« on: December 19, 2011, 07:43:52 AM »
Although you make a valid point, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss those who are self-employed as being unemployed.

Certainly, some of them fall into a very undesireable state.  They have huge student loans to deal with and they have very little income.  Maybe they're picking up a court appointment here or there for very little money, whatever.

You can see how a person like this could muddle along, but eventually make enough money to rent an inexpensive office space.  Then, maybe a slightly bigger one where they share a receptionist with a few other solos, etc.  Working their way up the food chain, until they build up an individual practice and manage to accumulate a few real, paying clients.

Especially for the grads who are 20-something, you're going to live a LONG time.  Taking 10 years to go worse than minimum wage employment, to the point where you are billing 30 hours a week at $150 an hour seems like a very long and hard road.  However, the folks who do it will eventually end up making a very, very good living.

Granted, it's probably not what they envisioned when they started law school, but it can happen.

Pursuing an LLM / Re: Is an LLM worth it?
« on: December 14, 2011, 09:57:12 AM »
Can you talk to some practicing tax attorneys through your school's alumi association? 

Anything you get from here is anonymous advice from the internet and should be treated as such.

Law School Admissions / Re: Patent Law - Prospects for an Engineer?
« on: December 14, 2011, 06:25:30 AM »
Thank you for the response, but your reference to the GMAT and GRE are not only irrelevant on a law school forum, but has nothing to do with my original questions. We are not discussing business school, it's law school admissions we are discussing.

Who are you responding to?

Second, it's not the difficulty of the undergraduate major which I discussed previously but rather the merit of the prestige of the school in relation to undergraduate vs. graduate studies. Your comments on what every applicant has (UG GPA, LSAT score) is definitely true.

No, but you discussed trying to see if you could leverage your graduate degree in the sciences at cornell for admission to a law school.  The answer is still the same:  your 1% will look phenomenal... so will half the class.

I'm asking whether it's worthwhile for students with non-traditional backgrounds to apply to law school if they have a potential career path in mind (in my case IP for biotechnology).

If that's your question, the answer is "Yes".

For example, you apply to medical school without clinical experience you will be rejected;

Patently untrue.
The decision is made almost entirely on MCAT and GPA.  Don't buy into the idea that all the other admissions requirements play much of a role in any of these decisions.  At best, they're tie-breakers.

you apply to PhD programs without research experience you will also be denied.

That may be true, expecially in some sciences. 

However, how are law school admissions reflected by this?

I can only reiterate:  law school admissions are based on LSAT and GPA.  That's it.  Yes, there are other factors and once in a while, they tip the scale, but again, they're tie-breakers at best.  LSAT and GPA.  That's what they're basing almost the entirety of the decision on. 

If you are not competitive for admission to, say, University of Virginia based on LSAT and GPA, you won't be just because you got a Ph.D. at Harvard. 

If you're on the bubble, at the point where they're deciding who to wait-list and who to admit, or deciding who to wait-list and who to decline, entirely, they might dig into the rest of your application a bit. 

I don't know how to make it any more plain:  the decision will be based on undergrad GPA and LSAT.

Law School Admissions / Re: Patent Law - Prospects for an Engineer?
« on: December 13, 2011, 08:39:44 PM »
All I can do here is theorize.

1.  There's a reason that almost the entire admissions decision is based on undergrad GPA and LSAT:  everybody has them.  Start throwing in things that people may or may not have and you turn a relatively easily quantifiable process into an absolutely impossible process.

2.  I suspect that a degree in the quantitative sciences from Cornell is difficult to get a 4.0 in.  However, I also suspect that there are a lot of graduate degrees from various schools where if you didn't get a 4.0, it means you just didn't give a crap.  You're asking the admissions committees to evaluate the relative merit of one type of degree over another.

3.  Although you, me, and pretty much ever sentient mammal knows that a 3.5 in electrical engineering and a 3.5 in poli sci are about as analogous as launching a rocket and eating toothpaste, it's difficult for law school professors (who compose the admissions committee) to admit to this.  For one thing, most of them got into great schools by getting great GPAs in undergraduate study.  Most of them did not do this by finding the hardest major they could find.  They did it by majoring in something where it wasn't that hard to get a great GPA.

What you are doing, essentially, is hoping that they'll think that they, themselves, are dumbasses, and the people who majored in other things are smart.

They're not going to do that.  By now, they have all sorts of rationalizations about how majoring in basketweaving taught them how to think. 

OTOH, once you are in a law school and decide to practice in IP, advanced degrees factor into things.  One local patent attorney is going back to get his masters in EE because he can bill a higher rate for better work if he has that degree.

Best of luck, but again, my non-expert opinion is that 99% of the admissions decision is GMAT and GPA alone.  Your other 1%?  Looks great.  So does the other 1% for the guy who spent his summer rescuing guatamalan children from a typhoon or whatever. 

Current Law Students / Re: Law School Music Videos
« on: December 13, 2011, 08:32:40 PM »
Good stuff!  Keep 'em coming!

Law School Admissions / Re: Dealing with Unemployment
« on: December 12, 2011, 02:57:15 PM »
I have had fairly sporadic employment during my life, and have sizable gaps in my employment history; I have also been unable to find work since getting my undergraduate degree last May.  When writing the resume for law school, how should I address this, if at all?

For most schools, it won't matter a bit.  The vast majority of admissions decisions happen on LSAT and GPA, alone.  Everything else, IMHO, accounts for less than 1% of the decision.

Online Law Schools / Re: I passed the FYLSE
« on: December 12, 2011, 10:05:08 AM »

Pursuing an LLM / Re: Is an LLM worth it?
« on: December 11, 2011, 01:32:53 PM »
I can't see how a LLM IN Tax is going to make anyone much more employable unless they have some work experience as an attorney first. It might make you marginally more employable but you would have to give up two years of potential earnings  and I am not sure the math would make sense since Tax law does not come to mind as paying more than say litigation. In fact, LLMs have to compete somewhat with CPAs, CPA-Attorneys and Enrolled Agents.

Jon, a lot of time you make sense, but right now, you really don't.

First, an LLM in tax takes about 9 months, not 2 years.

Second, for most attorneys, it's exceptionally difficult to work in Tax without an LLM in Tax.  Some folks, I guess, could luck into it and start working tax right off the bat.  Never known of one, personally, but I won't say it's impossible.  I will, absolutely, state that if it's somebody's plan to work tax law without an LLM, that it's an unrealistic idea and that it borders on impossible.  I won't say, categorically, that it's impossible.  For all I know, NYU is strong enough, and close enough to Wall Street that they can place people doing tax work right off the bat, but for most people at most law schools, you will not work in tax law without an LLM.

Third, tax attorneys bill higher rates and get higher salaries than your typical garden variety attorney at similar firms.  Who do you think is doing tax litigation?  Labor attorneys? 

Fourth, Tax attorneys don't do anything remotely resembling the work of CPAs, and CPAs don't do anything that's even remotely the same as what Tax Attorneys do... well... actually, that's not entirely true.  Some CPAs try to practice tax law, and generally Tax Attorneys are glad they do because their clients end up needing representation when they get hauled before the IRS.  The majority of LLMs you know do not know much accoutning, and despite what most CPAs think of themselves, they know precious little actual tax law.  If you've got a CPA doing your tax planning, chances are you don't have that much in the way of income and assets to deal with.

And yes, $16-$18 an hour is what Intuit is offering licensed attorneys with tax experience I know because I spoke with them last week. I had to hold back the laughter but they would not have offered that rate unless there were takers.

Fantastic logic, there, Jon. 

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Embarrassing GPA, High LSAT
« on: December 11, 2011, 07:43:03 AM »
If I had to place a wager, I'd bet that you get into a top 50.  They place more emphasis on LSAT than GPA.  The other advice you got was spot-on.  Apply broadly and see what happens.

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