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Messages - Miami88

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Where should I go next fall? / Re: Considering Law School
« on: April 09, 2014, 10:44:11 AM »
As usual, I'm only an anonymous internet poster. You should assume that I and other posters on this forum are by no means qualified to comment. You should simply take our perspectives as just that, a perspective. Factor this in to your end decision with your own judgement...

FYI - mid 160s on the LSAT is hard. By no means is it impossible, but expectionally difficult. Further, these scores are typically attained by people with much higher GPAs (not always, but certainly more often than not). I'm not saying this to be mean, but I am trying to express reality so you can prepare accordingly. I'm sure you certainly can get a 165+, but I promise you it will be far more difficult than you probably think.

There are plenty of professions outside the scope of being a direct attorney that would benefit from a legal education. The ones you have expressed interest in are exactly those kinds of professions. Further, a JD will not in of itself make you seem wishy-washy if you don't pursue a career as an attorney. How you present your JD, and your perspective before, during, and after your JD will dictate this "wishy-washy"-ness. You should have strong, thoroughly researched and thought out reasons for your academic pursuits. So long as these are coming from an open, honest place, you will be fine (and probably in a better place than peers because of it).

One significant issue with a JD degree is that, if what you do afterwards will not benefit at all from a legal education AND it will not pay enough to cover your debt, then you are completely wasting your time, money, and energy. However, you are pursuing careers that would benefit from a legal education AND, from what is sounds like, won't have any real debt. You will be fine. But do some more research. What are the promotion/salary increases you could expect with a JD compared to without it. Is it worth it?

Depending on your undergrad degree and specific career prospects, I would look into JD/MBA programs. I would then supplement that with public policy courses and what not. I would also sit with people in hiring positions and/or positions you are interested in snagging to get their perspective.

Good luck!

Where should I go next fall? / Re: FIU VS FSU LAW
« on: April 08, 2014, 04:17:14 PM »
As usual, I'm only an anonymous internet poster. You should assume that I and other posters on this forum are by no means qualified to comment. You should simply take our perspectives as just that, a perspective. Factor this in to your end decision with your own judgement...

It's not that ranking doesn't matter - it's that ranking on its own is almost arbitrary. A school's US News rank is based on several factors, some of which are extremely legitimate (employment statistics) while other factors are extremely elitist and minimally impactful on a graduate's career (selectivity). US News ranking are a great place to start your research and could potentially be used as a tie breaker, but it should not be the primary basis of your decision - particularly if the difference in ranking is minimal.

If we look up the important things (employment statistics, debt load, and realistic salary expectations) we see that, although FSU certainly is a stronger university relative to FIU, it is really only nominally so. Here is a side by side comparison...

Full Time-Long Term Employment Rate: 65%
Underemployment Rate (part time, temp jobs, etc.): 18%
Unemployed and still seeking work 9 months out: 3%
Class Size: 187

Fed. Clerkship: 1%
Big Law: 6%
Public Interest/Gov.: 30%
Business: 9%

Starting Salary Range (25-50-75th Percentile): $45-55kish
Debt: Approx. $120kish


Full Time-Longer Term Employment Rate: 57%
Underemployment Rate (part time, temp jobs, etc.): 14%
Unemployed and still seeking work 9 months out: 3%
Class Size: 155

Fed. Clerkship: 1%
Big Law: 3%
Public Interest/Gov.: 16%
Business: 8%

Starting Salary Range Avg.ish: $45-55kish
Debt: $65k-ish (as you noted before, you have a $5k scholarship and will have minimal living costs)

As far as regional placement, FSU will help you out the most in Tallahassee, Florida cities on the Gulf Coast, and to some extent in some of southern states (GA, AL). FIU will help you out most (and really only) in Miami-Dade. As the employment and salary stats are extremely similar, the debt load is half, and you had mentioned you really are looking to work in Miami, FIU really seems like the go to school between the two. If you, on the other hand, really disliked FIU's environment and are looking to work in the state capital, and don't mind the extra $60k worth of debt, I would then lean more towards FSU.

Again, ranking is a good general guide, but not enough to base your decision on.

Also, did you get an extension on FIU's deadline? I think their's was on April 1. If you didn't, then your decision may be an easy one at this point. :)

Good luck!

General Board / Re: Where should I go in FL?
« on: April 06, 2014, 02:15:01 PM »
As usual, I'm only an anonymous internet poster. You should assume that I and other posters on this forum are by no means qualified to comment. You should simply take our perspectives as just that, a perspective. Factor this in to your end decision with your own judgement...


Thats great about UF! And Im glad you enjoy Stetson. In the end, as noted by lawschooltransparncy, the end careers are basically the same. UF does seem to have a little bit of an edge. I personally would go with the cheaper option. Given that the cheaper option is UF AND that has a stronger employment prospect, I would go with UF. However, if you really don't like UF's enviroment and love Stetson's, then maybe the higher cost is worth your psychological, emotional comfort. Your call... :)

Finally, unless you are at the top top of your class, class rank isn't really THAT big of a factor. In other worse, basically everyone between the 25-75th percentile class rank at these schools are basically in the same boat. Someone who is in the 60th percentile at Stetson is prob having a similar career prospect (if not worse) as someone at the 40th percentile at UF. The top 25% might have an edge while the bottom 25% might have a bit of a harder time. The lower the school is in general ranking, the more extreme these class ranks need to be in order to have an effect.

Regardless, unless you seriously predict you will be the valedictorian at Stetson, I don't see this speculative class rank as a significant factor. Of course, if the employment prospects and cost were exactly the same (like FSU v. UF) and you have a stronger shot at getting a higher class rank at one over the other, then ok. But UF and Stetson are not exactly peer schools.

Good luck!

Where should I go next fall? / Re: Duke (90k) v. Chicago (45k)
« on: April 02, 2014, 02:37:43 PM »
According to law school transparency, both Duke and UChicago have approx. the same placement stats for clerkships and big law.:

Duke Fed. Clerk: 13%
Duke BigLaw: 51%

UChic Fed. Clerk: 14%
UChic BigLaw: 56%

If you really want to live in Chicago or elsewhere in the mid-west, then I would lean more towards UChicago. If you don't really care where you end up and/or are interested in the east coast, it seems like Duke is the better offer (less debt, and you said you prefer the environment).

That said, I am just offering a cursory opinion. Your decision should be much more thorough than my three sentence one...

Good Luck!

Law School Applications / Re: Low GPA Questions
« on: March 30, 2014, 12:36:02 PM »

I would highly recommend meeting with a law school advisor at your university. These people will be able to sit down with you, address all of your concerns, and steer you in the right direction.

I would also strongly evaluate the legal profession. Unless you are going to a top top top school (like, say, Columbia or Harvard), the employment prospects and salary expectations are pretty equal to that of a CPA (if not worse). This is not to say the legal profession is bad, but if you have the CPA thing in your pocket and unless you are attending an elite school, the debt you go into for law school reallly has to balance out with your future job AND surpass that of what you would be getting on your current track. Therefore, I would highly recommend looking at the cheapest school possible (or the one that will give you enough scholarships to make it the cheapest) AND in the region you want to live/work in after. I would also look into part time programs, this way you can continue working, gaining experience, and not going into debt.

So in sum..

1) Meet with a law school advisor
2) Strongly compare your current career v. future legal career (realistically)
3) If you aren't going to a top school (and with a 2.5, it is sadly unlikely), research the cheapest schools in the regions you want to work in.
4) Also research part time schools in the region you want to work in.

Good luck!

General Board / Re: Where should I go in FL?
« on: March 29, 2014, 04:50:26 PM »
I have no idea. You will have to ask and find out. But I would speculate they won't budge. Both schools are ranked evenly, cost the same, and are in similar regions. Further, Stetson is not a peer school with either FSU or UF. Their scholarship will have little weight if you bring it to them - particularly given that those are higher ranked schools and will cost the same. So, you don't really have any bargaining power here. The only legitimate pull you have to get more money right now is with Stetson and other lower ranked schools. There's no reason Stetson wouldn't up their offer. And if they don't, then your decision should be pretty easy. :)

That said, again, I still encourage you to at least try in a respectful, courteous tone. You never know - maybe FSU/UF really like you. But, as you said, you are already in a good position no matter what happens.

As for wanting to work specifically in St. Pete... Look up various law firms/places you would like to work in there. Find where those people went to law school. If you see that the majority of them went to FSU over UF, that may help you in your decision. In the end, though, I would speculate both schools would get you where you want to go about equally well. You could always call up the admissions dpt. at both FSU and UF and let them know your situation. That you are torn between FSU and UF, want to work somewhere near St. Pete, etc. They may shed light and offer perspectives that none of us have. As of right now, you are in a position of considerable power. These schools want you to matriculate, if not, it is going to (somewhat) hurt them (sorta). So, let the courting begin!

Congrats and good luck!

Where should I go next fall? / Re: Cardozo vs Temple
« on: March 29, 2014, 11:38:06 AM »
Cardozo COA: $235kish.
Cardozo COA after scholarship: $150kish

Temple COA: $130kish
Temple COA after scholarship: $100kish

That means the difference is about $50kish. Not that this is an insignificant figure, but it is, in the long term, workable. I do strongly believe you can negotiate for more money out of Cardozo. Even if you don't get any more, though, since you want to work in NY, Cardozo is the place to go given your current situation.

Good luck!

Law School Applications / Re: Low GPA Questions
« on: March 29, 2014, 11:23:51 AM »
Work experience certainly is a soft boost, but a minimal one. I highly doubt that 2 years of minor paralegal work will significantly offset a low GPA. If the main reason you are wanting to take a few years off is just in the hopes that it will help you out in law school apps, I would reconsider. If I were you, I would finish your degree as strongly as possible (upward grade trend is also a soft boost). I would then invest as much time as possible into studying for the LSAT, and write phenominal essays/addendums. Apply as soon as possible, and see what comes of it. If you don't get in to the schools you want right away, continue your work pursuits and apply the following year.

Now, if you want to work as a paralegal for other reasons, then ok. Like, if your personal situation for the next few years requires you to work full time and not go to school. Or if you are not 100% sure of the legal field and want to see if you like it... things like that.

Good luck!

General Board / Re: Where should I go in FL?
« on: March 29, 2014, 11:15:05 AM »
Just be upfront with them. They are expecting applicants to negotiate. Don't be rude about it.. like "WTF?! Why didn't you give me more money!?!?" Just tell them your situation..

"I really like your school because of x,y,z. You offered me X$, making your COA Y$. This other school COA is Z$. This other school offers me all of this, making me more torn in my decision. I'm hoping I qualify for more money to offset these considerations. Thank you so much and your school is amazing."

Or something like that... :)

General Board / Re: Where should I go in FL?
« on: March 27, 2014, 06:51:14 PM »
Also, have you negotiated with the schools for $? For example, you could make a strong case to stetson for way more money using FSU's offer, even with no schoalrships from them. As I pointed out, with your scholarship, Stetson is the same cost. However, FSU is faaarr stronger than Stetson in almost every way. You could probably squeeze out serious cash out of them.

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