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Messages - Miami88

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And by
the $160k jobs are not really a sure thing.
I mean "fat chance." Certainly outside of the T20 you will need to be the top top top top top of your class - and even then you need to be lucky and well connected. As a loose general guide, here are the general minimum class ranks you will need in order to have some shot at a big law job...

Top 6 - Basically everyone has a real shot to some extent...
T14 - 25-50%
T20 - 50-75%

After T20, you will need to be either in the top 25% of your class if not valedictorian.

1) This is a lot. :) I'll try to get through this as concise as possible.

2) Law is not as bad as people claim. What is bad are people's expectations. People expect that by going into $200k worth of debt at a low tier school they will automatically start making $160k and have all the money and time in the world to spend it on fine wine and cured meats... or something like that. The reality is law is just another profession, weather you like it or not is probably more so dependant on you and your attitude.

3) That said, do your homework before you enroll. Find out employment statistics, debt repayment, what is the best case, worst case, and realistic case for you right after graduation, 5 years out, and even, to some extent, 10 years out of law school. The reality is that, unless you are in a top 6 school, the $160k jobs are not really a sure thing.

4) The LSAT is unlike any other test you have ever taken. Speculation is pointless. When the time comes, study your butt off and score as highly as possible. After that, let the chips fall where they will.

5) As far as majors are conerned, just do somethign that you really really enjoy. If you really wanted to just focus on something that is going to help you get into law school, it prob. wont work. That said, I would certainly reccomend coursework heavy in logic, reading, writing, and research. I would then augment that with interesting things like the arts, languages, etc. The LSAT heavily tests your logic and reading comprehension fyi.

6) The strong majority of financial aid comes from merit, not need based. The exceptions are harvard/yale/stanford where they only give out need aid. Other than that, you may get an extra few k for need, maybe.

I think that covers most of it. Anything else?

Law School Applications / Re: steps
« on: March 11, 2014, 09:47:17 AM »
1) There is no general timeline. Everyone has their own set of circumstances which will significantly alter any given "timeline." One person may not have any work/school and thus has all day everyday to study while someone else may still be in school, working part-time, have kids, etc. You will have to figure out what works best for you given your free time, study tendencies, financial circumstances, etc.

2) That said, you want to have enough time to properly prepare yet not too much where you will burn out. This, again, will be very different for each person. Maybe you are already scoring in the 165+ range and will get into the 175+ range within 3 months of prep (amazing!!!). Maybe you are scoring in the 140 range and need 6 months to get into the 155+ range. Find out what you goal is, where you are, and then figure out how to get there given #1.

3) Do not plan on re-taking the test. This is something you should only take once. Yes, there are plenty of times where re-taking the test may be the best idea, however, this should be a last resort decision AFTER you take the LSAT. You shouldn't schedule it in. That said, I understand your concern that, in the event of you needing to, you would like some wiggle room to study and then retake. This is fine to some extent, but leads to #4.

4) When do you know you are ready? This is partially going to be a feeling - you will know when all the extra studying in the world is not going to do anything for you. At the same time, you should be keeping track of your progress on PTs. If you studied correctly (PROPER un timed practice > PROPER timed practice > FULL test conditions), by the end of your prep, you should have a very strong idea of your average band. When that avg. band isn't consistently improving by more than 3 points, you are pretty much done.

5) When should you retake? Only if something horribly wrong occurs. If in the middle of your test you get a giant pain in your stomach that screws section 4 and 5 over for you. If all your pencils broke during section 2. Or, maybe you realize after the fact that you really didn't study correctly. That during your "full test conditions," you gave yourself an extra min. to bubble in, you gave yourself an extra 10 min break to go out and get coffee, etc. If you can identify specific and significant factors that heavily and negatively affected your score, then you can consider retaking the test. Other than this, however, it will be a complete waste of your time. Remember that any given score is statistically the same within +/- 3 points or so. And after 165, you are statistically more likely to score lower on a re-take than higher.

6) So what does all of this actually mean in real terms for you? It sounds like you are a freshman or sophomore in college. It also sounds like you want to go straight from graduation to law school (i.e. no grad school/work). I would strongly encourage you not to focus too much on the lsat until the end of your junior year. Between now and then, I would take a few sections just to see where you naturally are. I would also do all your studying on the test between now and then on any free time. This means setting up a study schedule for the end of your junior year. I would also slowly go through a study book on your free time (kaplan/powerscore). Again, only on your free time - instead of watching TV kinda thing. This way, by the time you hit the ground with your LSAT studying, you will be ready.

7) I would allocate between 3-6 months of prep prior to the October test. This way, you will have all the summer to hit the LSAT hard and will avoid running into finals/midterms during your prep. I would personally start sometime in april/may and pick it up big time during june or so. This way, if you did need a retake, you have dec. waiting for you, or even feb. if a school accepts it (they usually don't).

8) There are plenty of resources on this and other sites sa to how to properly study. At first you want to focus on un timed practice. This is not leisurely practice, rather you need to go through each answer choice, write down why each one is incorrect/correct, and double check it before you move on. Once you are scoring in the 175+ range un timed, you can move on to timed section(s) practice and then to full test conditions.

Good luck

Law School Applications / Re: old transcripts?
« on: March 06, 2014, 07:02:14 PM »
Haha! That is a bit unclear. Yes, I meant "all college level coursework, including college level coursework taken during (not at) high school."

To answer you question more directly, I don't think law schools are actively doing background checks on each applicant they accept, let alone each applicant that applies. If, for whatever reason, the law school does find out that you withheld/slanted any information - be it purposefully or not - you risk not only getting kicked-out/denied from the law school, but getting black listed from the legal profession entirely. Also note that the undergraduate school you graduated from may have the information from your JC. It may not be explicitly stated on your transcript, but if there is even an illusory reference to it (i.e. a line that says "Transfer Credit GPA: 1.3" - UH OH!!!), law schools/LSAC could quickly find out something is up.

Say you did with hold this information and made it through law school - you sneaky ninja you. Although, as I said, I doubt law schools are conducting these background checks, I am sure the bar will conduct basic background checks on you. They will cross reference all this information with your law school application. Any information that is different/odd will raise red flags. At this point, you will have 3+ years of lost work experience, $100k+ worth of debt, a worthless piece of paper that says JD and your name on it, and will be black listed from working in the legal profession. Sad day.

So, if the ethical perspective isn't enough to deter someone, this practical perspective (hopefully) should. Don't lie on your application. Don't omit information. If anything, you want to over disclose information. And if you seriously have questions, ask the law school(s) you are applying to - they will be able to answer these questions in even better detail than any of us.

Good luck!

Law School Applications / Re: old transcripts?
« on: March 06, 2014, 02:52:27 AM »
Yes, you need to report all college level coursework - including courses taken in high school. LSAC will average together all courses up through the completion of your first bachelor's degree. There is no ethical way around this. I was in a similar position as you - but the drop wasn't that bad, just about .08 of a point.

If there is a significant difference between your regular GPA and your LSAC GPA, you can write an addendum. You should highlight things like upward grade trends and why X GPA is a better indicator of your potential in law school. This won't make up for a stinky LSAC GPA, but if your are borderline, it may push you over the edge.

Good luck!

Minority Topics / Re: Proof?
« on: March 03, 2014, 09:53:55 AM »
1) There is no real background check when it comes to this... ie. they aren't going to require a swab of your mouth or urine sample. Haha - that would be an interesting law school application... gross! :) This is really just based on the honor system. Now, I have no idea what the bar does - but I'd imagine they will do some sort of basic background check. They will cross reference information from this with your law school app. Again, I'm not sure if they go into detail of your heritage though.

2) That said, the general consensus is if you typically mark "hispanic" or "mexican" or something similar on random forms, then go ahead and do it here. If not, tread lightly. You could be viewed as a stinky person who plays the system (again - I don't think anyone would ever even be able to find this kind of information - but I'm sure there's some ethical dilemma here).

3) My opinion... your mother is almost entirely from a mexican lineage - period. This is close enough for me to consider your heritage significantly Mexican (you are basically 50% Mexican!). And whether you realize it or not, the journey that your immediate ancestors took to get to you is a unique and, more than likely, difficult one. Moreover, your specific ancestry (Mexican) is one that our social structure, for whatever reason, has significantly alienated from the legal profession. This is precisely what law school are looking to correct for (and also be able to boast about their high diversity population - but thats besides the point). So... yes, mark URM-Hispanic/Mexican status!

Good luck!

Law School Applications / Re: W's question
« on: March 02, 2014, 06:39:39 PM »

To be honest, I don't know the answer to this question. But regardless of the answer, there isn't much you can do about it. If you can't do anything about it, there's no need to waste time worry about it. Just continue getting amazing grades, absolutely kill the LSAT, and invest the appropriate time into your essays. Let the law schools figure out the rest.

Good luck (and sorry for such a non-answer)! :)

Where should I go next fall? / Re: I need some help deciding
« on: March 02, 2014, 02:30:08 AM »
We really need way more information.

1) Where do you want to live/work after you graduate?

2) What kind of law are you interested in practicing?

3) What is your total debt going to be at each school? This is the ( total cost of attendance ) MINUS (Your own personal financial situation + Scholarships)

Rankings at these lower levels really don't offer much difference, and these schools are all located in different regions. So, if you don't care where you live/work, and don't care about what kind of law you practice, then I'd strongly consider the school that offers you the lowest total debt. 

Law School Applications / Re: My Chances w/ Georgetown? Any advice?
« on: February 28, 2014, 10:01:04 PM »
1) As an AA, and thus a URM, you are looking at a pretty strong LSAT boost. This can be anywhere between 0-10 points.

2) Especially as a URM, if you are within a schools average band, you will have a very real shot.

3) Therefore, if these end up being your real hard factors, not only would you be a shoo in for GTown, you would have a very very very real shot at Harvard.

4) As a URM, I highly recommend applying to as many schools as possible. In personally applied to the top 14 (generally considered the schools that have national pull) plus all the top schools in the cities/regions I wanted to live and work in long-term. You never know how a school will treat your URM status. One school may give you a huge LSAT boost/big scholarship while another competing school may just flat out reject you.

5) Be on the look out for fee waivers. If you don't get any, be sure to contact the school to see if they can give you one.

6) Make sure to rock your essays/resume/LORs/etc. Since you are a URM, if you are just under a schools numbers, these soft factors will end up swaying the decisions.

7) In sum, rock the LSAT. Take as many as you possibly can under full test conditions. Keep this GPA up. And invest the time into how your present your soft factors.

Good luck!

Where should I go next fall? / Re: FIU VS FSU LAW
« on: February 26, 2014, 12:20:56 AM »
I'd say, it depends. It depends on your financial circumstances and, most importantly, how you handle negotiations. If you can negotiate on the spot and leverage pathos, go for it. If its not something you are used to, I'd say email. This way, you have more time to formulate exactly how you want to phrase something.

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