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Messages - loki13

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1
So, first some general thoughts.

The LSAT is, in part, an aptitude test. That means that no matter how much you prepare, no matter how much you study, there will be a ceiling to your performance. I say this with caveats; like any standardized test, you can get a few points by understanding test-taking strategies. You can be more comfortable with standardized tests. On the LSAT, in particular, people can increase their LG scores to a certain point by understanding how they work. But once you get past that point, you quickly hit diminishing returns. It's my experience (both having taken the test and done very well and having tutored individuals to take the test) that most people perform optimally, with preparation, the first time. Sometimes the second time. If you keep studying and re-taking the test, you'll burn out, because there is a limit to how much you'll prepare for it.

A 162 is a fine score. It's ... low for T14. But certainly doable for GULC (Geogetown) and the like. Apply to several and see what happens! As for the second test- it depends on your comfort level.

Please note that due to a nearly decade-old change in ABA policy, different schools have different policies regarding multiple LSAT scores. You can look them up! The usual rule is that they will take the highest score, but it varies ... and policies get a little wonky with some of the T14. I know that many top schools view taking the LSAT more than twice as a not-great signal.

2
First, don't worry about the long-term (politics) since that's a long-term, inchoate goal. Unless you're thinking of immediate entry into politics, that doesn't matter for school selection. Instead, concentrate on your short term- BigLaw.

Both schools will give you an opportunity for BigLaw, if you do well. The question is- where do you want to practice?

If you want to practice in NY (and/or NJ), Cardozo.

If you prefer DC (and/or VA), GW.

IMO, I'd take the full scholarship. That's the one definite. You can't count on either getting a BigLaw job or wanting a BigLaw job after you've been in law school, but law school debt will last a lot longer than you think. Try and avoid it.

3
On the most recent California Bar the overall pass rate was 34%.  Online and correspondence stacked up pretty well at 18% and 26% equivalent to fixed facility non ABA schools (accredited 18% and unaccredited 25%). If the trend continues that means distance learning is finally the equivalent of a non ABA fixed facility law school, a major development in my opinion.

http://abovethelaw.com/2017/05/californias-bar-exam-results-are-absolutely-abysmal/?rf=1

It's certainly interesting. Some things to note, however-

1. February always has lower passage rates than the June administration.
2. June 2016 was also the lowest on record (for Junes).
3. Even so, June 2016 was higher than February, because June has the most traditional (ABA accredited, on normal track) students taking it.
4. You should pay attention to the "repeater" stats- those are the people who failed the first time, and are re-taking it. In both the June and February administration, ABA-accredited schools have much higher repeater rates than all other schools. In addition to having much higher fist-time rates.

What to make of this? The quality of the incoming students is bottoming out. Overall. Which is to say that if you aren't qualified to get into an ABA school, you should seriously look at why you want to go to law school.

That said, it is increasingly apparent that there is little, if any, distinction between on-campus and other forms of non-ABA accredited schools.

(I would include the usual about California and the Baby Bar, portability of the degree, etc., but that's a dead horse by this point. If you want to be a practicing, bar-licensed attorney, your best chance for success is to attend the lowest-cost ABA accredited school in the jurisdiction that accepts you, with the exception of the very top schools (HYS).)

4
Law School Admissions / Re: Whittier Law School Closing
« on: May 01, 2017, 03:39:05 PM »
Another interesting article on the Whittier debacle. Honestly, I feel for these students. That is a bitter pill to swallow, and must make the law school experience feel very hollow.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/04/25/whittier-law-school-shutdown-raises-prospect-future-closures-and-access

Thoughts-

1. Would that make a Whittier JD a collector's item?

2. My heart does go to the students and faculty- they didn't deserve it. I hope they have the unwinding properly planned.

3. That said, the best thing that can happen is a good retrenchment. There are too many law schools, and too few good students. It's a supply and demand issue, and the best cure would be a reduction in the number of ... less than great law schools.

5
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Chapman law or USD law
« on: April 21, 2017, 02:05:44 PM »
By USD I think you mean San Diego, not Davis?

As between USD at close to sticker price and Chapman for free, I'd take Chapman in a heartbeat. Frankly, neither school can justify the obscene tuition they charge, so I'd go for the cheapest option. Your job prospects graduating from either school will be very similar, with an advantage to USD if you want to live in SD. I don't think many employers draw a big distinction between these schools, they operate on a fairly similar level. 

I'm surprised that if you had the numbers to get a full ride from Chapman, that you did not get a better offer from USD. Their admissions numbers are not too disparate.

Last note: be prepared to live and work in Southern California. I don't know where you are from, but these are not exactly the kinds of schools that will land you job interviews in NYC (or at big firms) based on pedigree. Not really a big deal, but something to be aware of.

Good catch- I must have immediately read that as UC-Davis (UCD), not USD, as you correctly note.

Agreed.

6
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Chapman law or USD law
« on: April 21, 2017, 06:50:34 AM »
Hello,

Just got accepted to both Chapman and USD law. Just wanted to hear everyone's thoughts on which school I should attend. While Chapman law is offering a full ride, USD is offering 5k a year.

Thanks,

Briefly-

UC Davis is a better school, with better employment prospects. BUT ... that's a lot of money to turn up. Review the terms and conditions of the free ride at Chapman; it is almost assuredly predicated on maintaining some type of class standing. Check to see what it is (minimum GPA, etc.) and review what the curve is at Chapman. Everyone assumes that X Gpa is easy because of undergrad, forgetting about the forced curve- law school GPAs are not the same.

Assuming the terms and conditions of the free ride are not too onerous, I would probably go with Chapman. The increase in quality of UC-Davis just isn't enough to pass up a free ride. IMO.

7
Law School Admissions / Re: Interview. . . what to expect?
« on: April 14, 2017, 07:29:51 AM »
My questions are:  Is this a good sign?  Does anyone have ideas on what I should expect to be asked[/i] (outside the logical  question "what do you contribute your low score to?")? What is the best way to prepare?

One of the universities called to set up a meeting to discuss my low LSAT score because everything else in my file looked really good.  I took the LSAT in February and (surprisingly) only scored 145 - which was a shock to me as my lowest PT was 150.  I am an older student with a strong GPA (3.61) and 20 years of management/leadership experience. My personal statement was good and I have strong letters of recommendation.

The other university put my application on hold pending the June LSAT stating if I scored 5-6 points higher I would get accepted for this fall.  Of course, I'd rather not take that again if I don't have to and the college wanting to meet with me is actually my #1 choice.

Also, any suggestions on questions to ask them are greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

I feel it's necessary to state the following- an LSAT score of 145 is at the extreme / very high risk of not getting through law school, and if you do get through law school, not passing the bar. But everyone is different- this is just in aggregate. LSATs don't determine your life, you do.

So here's the thing- I don't see you write any reason why you think your score came in low. There were no extraneous factors. That's not necessarily a bad thing. No one appreciates excuses. So if I were in your shoes, I would own it. Just explain that you put the work in, and you were disappointed with the result as it came in lower than you expected.

If they are meeting with you, I'd take that as a good sign. Concentrate on your positives (work experience, putting work in, strong GPA). Explain why that will help you succeed in law school.

8
Law School Admissions / Re: Should I Apply/Do I have a chance?
« on: April 14, 2017, 07:22:19 AM »
I'm a 23-year-old junior at Rutgers University.

I started my college career at the University of Rhode Island in the Fall 0f 2012. I suffered a series of strokes and other neurological issues that caused my grades to suffer. I finished my freshman year with an abysmal 1.85 GPA...I was told by multiple advisors that this should not affect my chances of admission since they are grades from years ago, and I have a legitimate excuse for my performance that I can explain in an addendum essay.

After my freshman year, I transferred to a local community college where I did fairly well and graduated after the Fall of 2014 with an associate's degree.

I then took 2 and a half years off to work and deal with some personal issues, including the ramifications of my health issues. I returned to school in the Fall of 2016 where I started at Rutgers University. During this semester, I enrolled in four classes. I got an A in my Journalism 201 class, a C+ in my Urban Political Systems class, I withdrew from an elective, and got an F in my Journalism 101 class. I retook the class the following semester and got an A in it.

Is the F and "application killer?" I got the F because I missed the withdraw date, and beyond rebounding from my strokes and other neurological issues, I was newly becoming clean and sober. As I was adjusting to my new lifestyle, it was incredibly difficult for me to gauge exactly how much I could handle. I believe my "self-appraisal system" was off, meaning, I thought I could handle more than I could at the time.

What are your general thoughts on the things I presented?

Please let me know when you get the chance.

Thanks!

Sam

Hey Sam!

I agree with what Maintain what, as usual. I am going to add a few things for you to consider.

First, I recommend trying to take a few practice LSATs and seeing how you score on them, just to get an idea. The LSAT score is going to be a huge factor in the process. To be honest, if you have a bad uGPA and a bad LSAT, it will be exceptionally difficult to get into even a mediocre law school. That would be useful information.

Next, think about where you want to practice. I noticed you said "clean and sober," in addition to your other medical issues. Different bars (different states) have different rules for admission; some states, to be honest, don't care much about a prior history of alcohol or drug dependency unless there is a criminal record associated with it. There are some states that care quite a lot, even absent a criminal record, and will require further information, disclosure, and perhaps some additional hurdles for you to jump through. And of course, you will be expected to be candid.

Finally, as Maintain points out, law school can be exceptionally stressful.

The long and the short of it is that nothing you wrote is an absolute bar to practicing law. But it is also true that past is prologue; make sure you take care of yourself and that you have established a good track record of being able to handle your personal and academic side before taking the plunge. Good luck!

9
Law School Admissions / Re: Personal Statement
« on: March 23, 2017, 07:16:55 AM »
Thanks again to those who offered advice a few months ago.

As an update, I did bomb the LSAT twice.  I came to the conclusion that I simply suck at the LSAT.  My apps were completed prior to any scores being released, but I put the idea of going to law school out of my head, threw away my LSAT materials, and continued on with life (other job interviews, looking into other grad school options etc...)

One random morning recently I received an email from a school back east that I had no business getting into, and got in.  A few minutes later I received an email from another school I had no business getting into indicating I was on the "priority wait list."

So I guess the lesson is that while the numbers are vital, they are not everything... I have decided not to move back east for school, so it's the waitlist school or bust.     

Well, thank you for the update, and kinda sorta congratulations? Many law schools are allowing in certain parts of the class with less-than-stellar LSATs due to the decline in applications, so your story isn't completely atypical, but bad news for law schools is good news for you!

Now, on the wait list, a few things.

Depending on the school, you might want to make sure that their admissions office is aware of your continuing interest. Give them a friendly heads up - especially if, as you say, that's the only school you are interested in attending.

10
Good Morning All,

I realized I never closed this thread, and I wanted to express appreciation for everyone's reasoned thoughts.

I have decided that I will be going to FSU. Now I just have to bide my time till August... So close and yet so far away...

Congratulation, and good luck!

Free advice - your first year is really, really important. So make sure you treat it appropriately. Do all the work, and do even more. And don't pay attention to the 1L rumor mill. All 1Ls are overworked, scared, and don't know what they are talking about.

(But a study group will be a good idea)

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