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Messages - FalconJimmy

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641
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Law School/Grades
« on: March 25, 2011, 04:44:40 AM »
Bad GPA due to tough undergrad major?

Been there, done that.  Blogged about it.

http://lawgoround.blogspot.com/2011/03/quick-rant-about-undegrad-gpa.html


As for getting into law schoole?  Sure.  Are you going to change major?

If so, you can probably bring your GPA into the 3.0+ range.  Who knows maybe somewhere in the 3.3 range. 

There are law schools that will accept you with a GPA like that.  You're going to have trouble getting into a top law school, but 2T schools aren't totally out of the question.

Even if you are accepted to a 4T, if you go wild applying, you may be able to transfer into a top 25 school after 1L.  (Folks will advise you to not pin your hopes on transferring, though.  That's good advice, but it does happen.  I think it's not all that tough to transfer into a 2T school if you have good enough grades.  1T is possible, but obviously, competition is fierce.)

Best of luck.


642
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Nova Law School- Any good??
« on: March 24, 2011, 03:50:03 PM »
I am not applying to any schools with drop out rates in the double digits. Sorry I want to know that after all my hard damn work trying to get in, once I'm in I'd have to be actually trying to fail out to fail out.

But don't you think that wouldn't apply to you no matter where you go?  The lower tiered schools aren't booting out their best students.

I agree with your logic:  they're opening the doors wide, giving opportunities to people who otherwise couldn't go.  But if they can't hack it, they're sending them packing. 

If you're a person who could get admitted to better schools than that, if you went to the lower ranked school, you wouldn't be one of the folks they're weeding out, right? 

643
Law School Applications / Re: Advice Needed
« on: March 24, 2011, 09:59:53 AM »
1.) Will law schools look at the trend of my grades rather than just the cumulative GPA, since it is clear that when I got out of pre-med classes I started to truly excel? I'm worried that when looking at a 3.5 alone I will be thrown out at top law schools.

Yes, but tread lightly here.  I would emphasize the trend, but you might want to soft-peddle that it was the change of major that did it.  Will elaborate in a moment.

2.) Is this something to write about/explain in law school apps?

Yes.  Same caveats as above.  You will have a chance to write a personal statement and explaining improving grades and/or poor early performance is something many people write about.  Also, some schools let you add an addendum to your application for this purpose.


3.) Most, if not all, of my extracurriculars are medically-related. Is it a negative to not have any law experience when applying to law school?

Not a negative at all.

Okay, here's the word of warning. 

Law school does not require any particular undergraduate major.  Unlike med-school, there aren't even any prerequisites.  The folks who know they want to go to an elite law school have, in many cases, gone through their undergrad getting the easiest possible major.  Frankly, if you KNOW you want to be an attorney, you're foolish to do anything but chose the easiest major with the maximum number of electives.  You want to graduate with the highest possible GPA, period.  Doesn't matter in what or for what.

Now, you, me, and all sentient mammals may know damned well that a degree in the humanities and a degree in biochem are about as comparable as a picture drawn with a crayon and the ceiling of the sistine chapel.

However, you need to take your audience into account, here.  The admissions committee is probably a bunch of similarly brilliant JDs who may have fully understood how the game is played and got glorified basket-weaving degrees in undergrad.  It's not that they're bad.  It's that they understood how the game is played, and they played it.  And they won.

They do NOT want to read how your grades improved when you changed your major from something hard to something fluff.  That is saying, essentially, that the typical undergrad majors of most high-achieving law school students is a joke.  It is also implying that these brilliant JDs from top schools would have mostly been lost in the sauce without a spoon if they'd had to take a real major in college.

At this point in their careers, they've drank the kool-aid.  They will tell you up and down how their humanities degrees made them better critical thinkers, etc.  Also, they will tell you that a humanities degree is not easy to get and that getting good grades requires brains and hard work (and they're right.) 

I assure you this will NOT play well if you try to imply otherwise.  At this point, these guys are almost all relatively wealthy, successful, and worked their butts off to get where they are.  They are not willing or ready to acknowledge that their undergrad education was in any way inferior to anybody else's.  To them it was just as difficult, just as rigorous, and it prepared them for the tremendous success they had in law school.

They honestly believe that their 3.9 gpa in sociology would have been a 3.9 in petroleum engineering.  In a few cases, they are right. 

So, my advice?  Absolutely do NOT frame it as, "yeah, my grades sucked at first, but that's because I was taking a hard major with hard classes.  Once I started taking the typical pre-law classes, my GPA shot up."  The subtext of an argument like that is, "Well, I did okay when I was in school with smart people.  But once I started competing with dumbarses, I whipped them like the morons everybody knows they are."

644
General Board / Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« on: March 24, 2011, 09:40:57 AM »
I found quite a gap between my experience in the military (USMC, enlisted, served with 1st Battalion 3rd Marines in the early/mid 90s) and my time in the civilian world, where I have spent the last 14 years in the IT / infosec space. All told I am glad that I had the experience of being a Marine, but at the same time I am glad that I am not still there. Although I can see how others could have different experiences, especially those who opt to serve in other branches.

I guess my point here is that in the military, the screaming and yelling is overt and frankly, it is very unpleasant.  However, in the corporate world, I found that the higher up I got, the more common it was to be involved in political games that you weren't aware of until it was too late.  Basically, once you reach middle management and are in the ballpark of six figures, things get sorta cutthroat very quickly.

Contrast to military officers, where you are making about $80,000 a year once you make O-3 (usually 4 years in, 2 years for Jag), and well over $100,000 once you're 10 years in.  Those promotions aren't that political.  By the time things get very, very political, you have your 20 years in and can retire if you want.  (Or sometimes you retire even if you don't want.) 

Unlike a mid-level manager or lower level executive in a corporation who might be elbowed out after 20 (usually without any sort of golden parachute... if you're lucky, you get a few weeks severance, that's it), a military officer who is pushed out at 20 years is retired with a lifetime pension and medical benefits. 

Just saying that there are obvious disadvantages to a military career, but there are advantages, too.  I'm not necessarily saying I'd have done an active-duty career if I had it all to do over again.  Just saying that there are things to dislike about a civilian career, too.

645
Law School Applications / Re: Low GPA and LSAT
« on: March 22, 2011, 10:20:19 AM »
According to the LSAT/UGPA search at https://officialguide.lsac.org/release/OfficialGuide_Default.aspx, you have a 12% to 25% chance of being accepted at South Texas.

I could be totally wrong about this, but when I see chances that low, I'm thinking that if you're not a URM, you may really need to re-think it.

646
Acceptances / Re: Hamline or Phoenix School of law (Please no flaming)
« on: March 22, 2011, 09:13:33 AM »
Received big scholarship to Hamline, or I could stay home and attend Phoenix School of Law with a medium scholarship. Is anybody here considering either school? I would like to hear more and share my experiences with you too. If you are are concerned about flaming, please PM me.

Thanks!

I am not attending either school, but wish I could go to Phoenix.  (Personal reasons, unrelated to law school.)  It is what it is.  It's 4T reality.  Just get in there and fight for your class rank.  If you do well enough after 1L you can consider transferring. 

I probably don't need to tell you that if you don't do very well your only real shot is probably going to be to start your own practice.

 I'd say go with the school that's in an area you want to live in, and where you want to practice afterwards.  If you ask me, I'd much rather spend 3 years, or the rest of my life, in Arizona versus Minnesota. 

Student loan debt sucks, but if you're young enough, inflation nibbles away at it a little bit and if you don't take too much, it's just like a large car payment.  So, you have to drive a hoopty for a while.  Lots of folks do that.

Your life will be defined by the people you meet, the places you live, the things you experience.  In the end, it will not be defined by how much coin you have in the bank.

Best of luck.

647
General Board / Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« on: March 21, 2011, 04:25:40 PM »
I have. Military strategy is a bit of a hobby of mine and I have a great mindset for an officer. I put my name on the dotted line at my local recruiting office though and they own my ass for the next 4-8 years. It would help me get federal jobs, would be  very good pay etc but I'm not much of the conformist type. I'd really hate Sgt. Mcgraw yelling in my face to do a barrel roll or whatever and unlike other jobs, you quit, you go to prison. 

It has its downsides to be sure.  However, the amount of "in your face" I experienced (and experience) in the military isn't that different than what happens in the civilian world.  It just takes a slightly different form.  It's more out in the open, which is more of a blessing than a curse, IMHO.

648
Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« on: March 21, 2011, 03:27:38 PM »
Hi FJ:

Thanks for the scoop.  I was surprised at Toledo's fall b/c the school was starting to make inroads in the Detroit area.  In the last year or so I've heard from three partners at mid-sized Detroit firms that they had hired Toledo clerks for the summer and were impressed w/ their work.   I suppose Toledo's drop is good for law grads in the Detroit area, since the market here is already bad.

Maybe.  I think things just sorta suck everywhere.  The Detroit job market has a lot more problems than people coming up from Toledo to take their jobs.  It's just bleak all over.

649
I don't see how any of those three is a bad move.

I would think about where you want to live.  All three are top national law schools, but all three are going to have a lot of local opportunities, too.  Maybe the top of the class will have offers that relocate them to NYC, boston, DC, LA, SF, but the rest of the class will likely be competing in the local market for jobs.

You sound like a really smart person, but you never know.  Compared to the average student at those schools, you might just be average.  A whole lot of somebodies with monster LSATs and undergrad GPAs are going to be in the bottom 30%.  Not saying that will be you, but it might be. 

If it is, you will probably have to look for jobs, regionally, unless you have some sort of special connections somewhere.  In that case, you want to go where you wouldn't mind living afterwards. 

650
General Board / Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« on: March 21, 2011, 02:10:43 PM »
A) like to work for my country

Have you considered a hitch in the military, either before or after law school? 

Just a sort of WAG, but if you joined the military as a linguist (they'll train you up in any language in the world), got a TS clearance, then got out with your history degree, you'd be a great candidate for foreign service, etc.

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