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Law School Admissions / Re: A difficult application question
« on: August 13, 2012, 06:53:59 PM »
Nobody on here is likely going to be admissions counselor and even if they were not likely to be able to speak for the specific schools you are applying to. However, having gone through law school myself I can offer a little insight, but take it with a grain of salt as you should from anonymous internet poster like myself posting on this site or others.

You appear to understand you must disclose this fact. In my opinion the schools will not really care about some french classes. Schools care about your undergrad GPA that is what they have to report to LSAC and U.S. News having a 4.0 in a graduate program usually doesn't help and the same goes for having W's or even F's in graduate school. The 4.0 in the MBA wouldn't hurt you, but it wouldn't help much. Your situation is going to help you, but I doubt it will do much harm.

However, nobody can really say how it will affect, but you absolutely must disclose the fact. When you fill out your moral character application to become licensed for the bar they will look into what schools you have attended. If they find out you left something out your in a deep sh**. If you say I was young and didn't take my French Graduate program seriously nobody is really going to care, but if you lie about it to make yourself look good you have a problem, because the question becomes what else is this person hiding.

I have known people who have had DUIs, spent time in Jail, etc who have been accepted into law school and become licensed to practice law, but they came forward with their stuff. Not taking some graduate french course seriously will not be a big deal as long as you don't hide it. Furthermore, it will have minimal impact on your admission chances as the undergrad GPA is what really matters. Good luck to you.

Law School Admissions / Re: 3.34 GPA/150 LSAT Chances?
« on: August 13, 2012, 02:24:25 PM »
I would agree with that every ABA school is "competent." No matter what school you go to your first year will be Torts, Civil Procedure, Property, Contracts, etc. Whether your at Harvard or Cooley you will read the Palsgraf case and Justice Cardozo does not travel back in time to write a different opinion for Tier 2 schools. No matter where you read the case the firecrackers get dropped.

From what I can read you are making the all to common mistake of many 0L's and making a life altering decision based on an unregulated, for profit magazine, offering an opinion. This magazine is known as U.S. News and they are nothing more than a magazine don't make a life-altering choice based on what they think.

If you want to base your life on U.S. News then by 2032 you better be living in South Dakota, North Dakota, or Nebraska, because those are the best places to get Dental Visits. I am not making this up Dental visits made up one of the 13 categories used by U.S. News for best places to live. . I imagine you are not going to strive to get to South Dakota or North Dakota, because U.S. News says so.

 The law school rankings are no different please do not take them to seriously especially if you have a 3.34 and 155-160 LSAT nobody is really going to know the difference between the 84th or 111th best school and it certainly won't be worth moving across country for.

When choosing your law school consider location, personal feeling about the school, cost, and if you have to U.S. News, but if it is not Harvard, Yale, Stanford, or some place that everybody KNOWS is exceptional then it is not worth making a life altering decision.

However, I could be wrong I have gone through law school, but that doesn't make me an expert on anything and remember when reading anything on this board my post included or other boards it all comes from anonymous internet posters who could all be shooting heroin while posting.

Hopefully the LSAT turns out well, but if you get a 154 you will get a solid legal education. Good luck.

Before I say anything remember that I or anyone else posting on this board is nothing more than an anonymous internet poster that knows nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you so take anything you read on this board or others with a grain of salt.

I suppose an ABA school is generally better, but in your scenario particularly if you want to live in the Central Valley of California where there is no ABA school within 100's of miles and where very few people want to relocate to SJCL probably will open more doors. I graduated law school a few years ago and was offered a fairly high paying job in Fresno, but I can't live there I definitely considered it, but it is just not for me and that is my personal opinion. That firm had SJCL grads working along grads from Top 20 schools in many of the smaller towns in California all you need is bar passage and a sincere desire to live in the location and I wouldn't be surprised if you passed the bar that obtaining a job in Fresno or the Central Valley would not be to difficult. I know the head D.A. in Fresno went to SJCL, and simple google Fresno firms and look at attorney bios and you will find plenty of SJCL grads working.

Now as others pointed out getting a LSAT in the 140's is indicative that you are a poor test taker and the California Bar is extremely difficult surprisingly SJCL has a decent bar passage rate actually better than some California ABA schools, which is surprising. That is simply something to consider though although law school essays, which is the majority of law school and the California Bar have no resemblance to the LSAT so you might do fine. There are simply no guarantees of whether or not you will pass the bar from any school, but a low LSAT score might indicate an inability to handle test pressure, which the bar puts 200x more on you than the LSAT when all you have is 90 bucks on the line opposed to three years of work and 50-100k in debt.

I would like to point out that the reality of legal education is essentially the same wherever you go. I imagine at SJCL you will take Torts, Civil Procedure, Contracts, Property, Criminal Law, and Legal Writing or some variation on that and you will learn the exact same things in these courses as you would at an ABA school. I would imagine the professors at ABA schools would be more engaging and experienced, but the law is the law no matter what school you go to. Cardozo doesn't travel back in time to write a different opinion in Palsgraf for Non-ABA grads it will be the same case whether you read it at SJCL or Harvard the guy is going to drop the firecrackers. 

A final point against SJCL is there are some places that simply will NOT hire non-ABA grads, but these are generally not located in the Central Valley. Many states also will not let you sit for the bar, which can be a real problem if you want to move you know whether or not moving is a real possibility or not. Furthermore, life can throw something unexpected at you and you may end up having to move to another state and not being able to take the bar would or get licensed there would not be good. Assess that possibility as you know better than anyone how likely it is you will move to another state the higher the chance of that happening the worse of an option SJCL becomes.

Neither I or anyone on this board or others can possibly know what is best for you or how it will work out. Use your common sense, but I don't think SJCL is some terrible god-forsaken place. As I stated the lack of any ABA for 100's of miles will make competition less fierce than if you went to an ABA school in San Francisco, L.A, San Diego, etc. Good luck whatever you decide.

Law School Admissions / Re: engineer who wants to be a lawyer
« on: July 30, 2012, 08:12:12 PM »
Before I say anything realize that I or anyone else posting on this board or others is nothing more than an anonymous internet poster and therefore everything I or others say should be taken with a grain of salt. With that said I have gone through law school and can at the very least give you my opinion, which might give my post a scintilla of credibility, but this is just my view and one I could certainly be 100% wrong. I will give you a quick overview on your admissions chances and more importantly an analysis on what I think any potential law student should consider.

As for a T20-T30 school a 3.25 might not cut it although a 176 is impressive. Unfortunately, schools don't necessarily care about your master's etc or even work experience. U.S. News has kind of destroyed the common sense of law schools when it comes to admissions and often schools would prefer to have someone with a 4.0 in religious studies than a 3.2 in engineering, molecular biology, etc because U.S. News report doesn't the difficulty of the major they just report the Undergrad GPA and a 3.2 does not look as good as a 4.0 and U.S. News is a very cursory review that law schools have allowed

I personally believe these factors in order are what any potential law student should consider. (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feeling about the schools (4) Specialty programs and as a tiebreaker (5) U.S. News. I will also explain the reality of legal education and analyze each of those factors individually below.

This is far and away the most important thing unless you are going to Harvard, Yale, etc. Remember you are going to be spending 3 years of your life wherever the school is located and law school does not exist in vacuum. If your a highly conservative person going to Berkeley might be very difficult for you to deal with and if your really liberal I wouldn't recommend South Texas.

Also if for example you want to do IP law then the Bay Area is where most of that happens and going to a school that isn't as highly ranked in San Francisco or San Jose i.e Santa Clara, USF, Hastings, would open more doors to those type of companies than attending a higher ranked school like Iowa where no IP companies are located.

On top of that law school particularly 1L is very difficult and having friends, family, and so forth to support you will be far more important than attending a school that is ranked 10 spots higher that year especially considering that schools drop or jump 10-20 spots every year.


With your numbers you would certainly be entitled to some scholarship money at a number of schools. Getting an ABA degree debt free or with minimal debt is something to consider. No school guarantees you a job and the loan collectors will be coming regardless of what school you attend. If you only incur minimal debt you will have a lot more freedom in deciding what you want to do.

However, be very careful of scholarship conditions that schools attach. You will often get a scholarship letter that says you will keep your scholarship if you maintain a 3.0. Almost every law student got a 3.0 without breaking a sweat in undergrad and of course law school will be no different. However, in law school generally only 35% of the class can have a 3.0 and with your engineering background I imagine you can figure out what happens when 100% of people think they will be in the top 35%. This N.Y times article does a better job explaining it than I can.

What many law students myself included as a OL don't realize is that each school has a culture. When I was applying to schools I was pretty certain U.S. News was the end all be all of what was best for me. However, when I started visiting schools some places rubbed me the wrong way and I loved other places. Then when I did mock trial competitions and later became a mock trial coach I really started seeing how different the cultures were at different schools.

It is pretty much like a company although Apple, Mozilla, Google, etc employ computer engineers the cultures are different and one person might have loved working at Apple and hated Google or vice versa. The same is true of law school. You might loved the Dean, Contracts professor, and Aesthetics of School X while everything about school Y gives you the creeps. You are going to spending three years at this school so go visit the ones you are interested in, talk to professors, observe how students treat each other and you can have an idea of whether it is a fit or not. What you like or hate is highly subjective and personal so check it out for yourself. I personally loved my law school, but there were plenty of people that hated their experience and you could find numerous people that either loved or hated their experience at every law school in America. So I urge you to really visit and make sure whatever school it is fits YOU.

The reality is that every ABA school teaches you the same thing more or less. Whether you attend Harvard or Cooley your first year will likely consist of Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Property, Criminal Law/Procedure, Constitutional Law or some variation on that. In these courses you will read famous cases in Torts-Palsgraf, Civil Procedure International Shoe, Contracts Hamer v. Sidway , and all you will be doing first year is analyzing Supreme Court cases and the Supremes don't write special versions for certain schools it is literally the same.

Then in your final two years you will probably take Corporations/Business Associations, Evidence, Wills & Trusts, Remedies, and a few more universal courses that may not be required, but you will take. Again you will be reading a casebook and the law will be the same. You might have a more dynamic professor at school X, but what you learn is literally identical and there is no special equipment for law school there is simply a book and a library. I imagine in engineering the equipment matters, but in law school your simply dealing with books and then every ABA school has the same deal with WestLaw & Lexis, which is the only real equipment you use.

If you do have a particular area of interest some schools may have an amazing professor in the subject area or may simply offer the relevant courses. I imagine Nebraska law school doesn't have much of a Maritime law program being landlocked and NYU probably doesn't have many professors with experience in agriculture law.

Then as I stated before if your interested in IP type law going to school in the Bay Area would be the best option since that is where all of that stuff is happening and where adjunct professors in those areas would be able to teach. If you wanted entertainment law then attending school in L.A or N.Y. would best. I would recommend looking at each school's course schedule and see if they offer what your interested in.

If you have no specific interest that is fine as well plenty of law students and practicing lawyers don't know what type of "law" they want to do. So if that is not a factor then don't worry about it.

The phrasing of your post makes me think this is a number one priority of yours, but what so many law students fail to realize is that U.S. News is a for-profit, unregulated, magazine offering an opinion, and they rank more than law schools. U.S. News decided New Mexico was the best place to live . I will admit it makes me somewhat more interested in New Mexico, but I am not going to pack up and move there, because U.S. News said it is the best.

Use the same logic when choosing law school the fact that U.S. News says school X is the 29th best doesn't really mean anything. My school has been up into the 60's and been in the 100's and last year was in an 11 way tie for 84th place. It makes absolutely no difference in my career now what rank my schools ends up in. However, the location, debt I incurred, professor relationships, and personal relationships I made impact my career. What U.S. thinks has little impact so that is why the things I listed above should be more of a factor than U.S. News in your decision.


Remember what law school you choose is a life altering decision and nobody can possibly know what is best for your better than yourself. Not U.S news, not some anonymous internet poster, and certainly not me. Each individual has a unique situation and don't leave your common sense at the door when choosing law school.

When I was a OL I still cannot believe some of the idiotic things I used in making my law school decision thankfully everything worked out, but I can tell you I let U.S. News and anonymous internet posters play more of a role in my decision than my common sense, but thankfully a few practicing lawyers that were friends stopped from making a terrible decision.

I would say with a 3.25 your probably not  getting into a T20-30 school, but I have never worked in an admissions office so I could certainly be wrong. Also my entire post could be complete B.S. and for all you know anyone posting on this board or others could be homeless people that snuck into a public library to post about fictitious law school experiences.

Good luck whatever you decide and awesome job getting a 176!

Transferring / Re: JMLS (Chicago) to Northwestern
« on: July 26, 2012, 07:01:29 PM »
Before I give any advice realize that I or anyone else posting is nothing more than an anonymous internet poster that knows nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you so take whatever I or other posters say with a grain of salt.

First congratulations on being the top 3% that is an amazing accomplishment at any ABA school, and now I will give some anonymous internet poster advice, which I think any prospective transfer or OL should consideration location, cost, realities of legal education, your personal feeling about the school, and the lack of importance U.S Plays in the real world (at least in my limited experience having gone through law school.)

I am not familiar with Chicago, but I am assuming these two schools are in close proximity to eachother so you would be able to maintain your friends, apartment, and so forth. I have many law student 1L student interest think about moving cross-country to transfer and that is rarely a good idea considering law school doesn't exist in a vacuum and adjusting to a new city, being away from family, etc can be a difficult experience.

I am not familiar with either of these schools and I couldn't tell you which school is better than the other and nobody really can, but one thing is always certain cost will be there and if your going to accrue an additional 40,000 or 80,000 whatever is dollars which is accumulating 8% interest really think about whether or not is worth it. If a resume came on my desk from JMLS or Chicago-Kent I can honestly say I don't know the difference, but you will feel paying an additional 80,000 or whatever it may for two years while is accrues interest.

One thing I recommend anyone considering a transfer do is request scholarship money or an increase in scholarship money. I would recommend going through the process of applying as you seem to have done and see if JMLS will give you more money to stay. I received additional scholarship money by doing this and it may save you an additional 20k and it is a nothing to lose everything to gain situation, but be very wary about the costs.

I had the opportunity to transfer after 1L, but choose not to because I made a lot of friends, had good rapport with professors, and generally liked my school. Many of my friends that transferred went into a new school not knowing a soul, not knowing professors, and as you must know law school is a bit clickly and everyone that went through the 1L experience together will have formed their bonds and you will kind of be out of the loop.

You may think that is fine and hate law students, you have a very outgoing personality and meet people instantaneously, or this could be very detrimental to you it is a high personal opinion, but if you truly liked your school leaving it for a new one may be a bad decision. At the very least visit the other school talk to professors, students, and so forth and make sure it is a fit for you. You may have already done this, but really consider your own personal feelings. You have another two long years of law school and being in a place your comfortable is important.

Also as a side factor the other top students will likely transfer and your ranking may go up possibly to valedictorian. I was not in the top 3%, but the top 15% and after 2L ended I was suddenly I jumped several percentage points and I can only imagine this is because many of the people above me transferred. That is just a side though and being in the top 3% is pretty impressive regardless/

I don't know if this is a playing a huge role in your decision or not, but please remember that U.S. News is nothing more than a for-profit, unregulated magazine offering an opinion. They rank more than law school as evidenced by them deciding Alburquee, New Mexico is the best place to live. . That makes me think New Mexico might be a bit cooler than I thought, but I am not going to make a life-altering decision based on a magazine saying some place is great. You should use the same logic when deciding to transfer.

The rankings fluctuate so much year to year and when I was a law student I thought they meant something, but my school was tier 2 went to tier 3 one year and last year was in the amazing 11 way tie for 84th place. It has gone all over the place as every school essentially does except Harvard, Yale, etc. You might U.S. News is a factor, but do not make a life altering decision on it or do, but just remember it is a magazine nothing more.

So many people considering law school ask me if X is a good school. The reality is legal education across the board is really the same. I imagine at JMLS you took torts, contracts, property, con-law, criminal law, criminal procedure, civil procedure, and legal writing or some variation on that and you will take all of those subjects eventually. In Torts you read Palsgraff, in Civ Pro you read International shoe and so did everyone at Northwestern, JMLS, Chicago Kent it is essentially the same across the board.

Although I do a lot of mock trial stuff now and did it while in law school and that is one of the few areas where different styles make a difference. If Chicago Kent fields numerous mock trial teams and that is your interest that is a consideration in their favor. Unlike the substantive law, which can only be taught in one way since there is only way to explain consideration trial ad is much more subjective and a school like South Texas dominates in competitions, but I'm sure most people I have never heard it, but they have an amazing trial ad program and I lost to them many times in mock trial competitions unfortunately.


As I stated I as a OL I remember being so caught up in rankings and even during law school and conintoually thinking X school was doing this or that. During my law school experience I got several internships and worked along people from all calibers of schools and in the end whatever school they went to didn't matter. If you don't finish a Bench Memo for a judge on time saying I was in the top of the class or I go to X school won't help you. The same is true in the real world try losing a client a million dollar contract and telling them, but I went to X school or I got in A contracts. I assure you they won't care or even know the difference.

You will probably come to realize this on your first day of BarBri when you see all the school sweatshirts appear and then after a week or two they slowly disappear as everyone freaks out and realizes they got to pass this test. Then you go out into the whole world and deal with clients and believe it or not most have no idea about any difference between School X or School Y. Think about when you go to a Doctor or Denist or whomever and they tell you they went to X school you generally have no idea. A few might be Harvard, UCLA, or something, but I really don't know anything about other medical schools or dental schools and I don't necessarily I like my dentist and my doctor I know they went to Med School and Dental School, but I have never heard of the schools, but they may be top 25 schools I just don't know what they are and most clients coming to a lawyer don't either they want their problem solved nothing more.


My advice might seem anti-transfer, but that is probably because I choose not to transfer and there are likely thousands of successful transfer stories and thousands of successful alumni from both schools. Remember above all else when transferring think of what is best for you don't listen to me, U.S., news, or any other anonymous internet poster. Your a person with your own unique circumstances and transferring or staying will have a tremendous impact on 2 years of YOUR LIFE, 40-80k of YOUR money, and YOUR legal career. Take all your personal factors into heavy consideration.

Good luck and congrats on being in the top 3%

@Jack not saying the work ethic is really a factor

The friend was taking another bar while working full-time. I imagine at Cornell many of the grads took NY bar the first time and it is a possibility that the individuals who failed were taking a 2nd/3rd bar while trying to make 1800 billable hours or something like that.

That is what happened to my friend I'm certain she could pass if she took the full-time to do it.

If the statistic indicated first-time takers of a bar period opposed to already licensed attorneys I would be curious to know if there is a discrepancy. There may not be, but this is only a theory.

California is an EXTREMELY difficult bar as well I am in no way negating that, but just trying to show there is often much more than goes into passing or failing a bar than the school someone attends.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: T Minus 4 Weeks
« on: July 19, 2012, 07:30:39 PM »
Jack offers some good advice and I have gone through the process myself, but remember anything on here comes from anonymous internet posters and what worked for Jack or for me may not work for you.

When you start the first two or three weeks 100% of people will be convinced they will be in the top 10% and what they are doing or what they did will give them the edge. All 100% of people will think that and obviously only 10% can be in the top 10%.

Learning the Erie Doctrine can't hurt, but it might not necessarily help plenty of people "KNOW THE LAW" , but every professor will explain IRAC and the "analysis" you will hear that 10,000 more times over three years. All you will have is that 3 hours on an exam to show what took months of study. Many students run out of time, get nervous, or a variety of things happen.

As Jack suggested improving your typing speed is a huge advantage I can personally type extremely fast and I  performed extremely well in law school and much of that had to do with me never running out of town at least IMHO.

To be be perfectly honest I finished near the top of my class and it took my until second semester to figure out a "system" that really worked for me. You will see every student making flashcards, writing giant outlines, taking pictures, highlighting every page, all kinds of different techniques and no specific one is full proof.

The point of that is your current studying OL studying may help you. If your the type of person that would freak out if they had cram some material in then it is better to get an early start. On the reverse you may burn out and be so sick of the law by the time the final comes around you can't take it. You may also overstudy and begin over thinking everything and as I stated there is "RIGHT WAY" to do any of this.

I don't think you can really understand first year until you go through it. That is what everyone told me and it obviously was not comforting I wanted to know, but you can't know until you go through it. I personally found it really exciting and I hope you do as well. GOOD LUCK!

To me it is a bit misleading bar-review is highly individual the #1 student at Harvard could fail if they don't put in the adequate time. However, there does need to be some standard I remember some good students from my school failed the first time because they didn't take it seriously enough.

They easily passed the second time, but they got good grades in law school and assumed it would be easy and by the time they realized it wasn't it was to late for them the first go-round. That goes to Jack's point of bar review is highly individual and I don't think anyone can quite understand it until they go through it.

As to the California pass rate the main reason likely has to do with 8,000 or so people taking that is an insane number and large amount of circumstances. I have a friend a Harvard grad that passed the D.C. bar, N.Y. bar and was working full time and tried to pass the California bar, but they failed. Not because Harvard did an inadequate job or she is incapable of passing the bar she was working in a large firm trying to learn the California nuances and simply didn't have the time. So this will go down as a first-time taker in California from Harvard failing.

Point being there are a infinite number of circumstances and these stats might stand for something, but there are online grads that pass while Harvard grads fail and more often than not it has to do with the individual more than anything California Northwestern or Harvard taught them at least in my anonymous internet poster opinion.

Well first throughout your application process law school realize that anything you read comes from anonymous internet posters my advice included. So take it all with a grain of salt remember anyone can writing anything about any subject and say anything they want without repercussion myself included. (Michael Scott Humor on the subject) Really take it to heart whatever you read on this board, TLS, or anywhere else is from anonymous internet posters and more often than not they have no idea what they are talking about or are crazy. So I cannot emphasize the importance of taking everything you read from anonymous posters with a grain of salt and this applies to my post as well.

First I am not a law school admissions officer I finished law school awhile ago, but I am not an authority on law school admissions all 200 ABA schools likely have some various criteria so I couldn't possibly speak as to what would work better at School X or Y.

Your current law firm internship is helpful it won't hurt to have some exposure to the law and more importantly you actually get to see what the practice of law is about. Some law students who have never seen it think it is going to be Law & Order, Franklin & Bash, type fun, but you have likely seen the law can be quite boring at times, which although not necessarily helpful for law school admissions purposes  well at least prevent you from being surprised when you find out the law is not all fun and games.

As to what you specifically write about your experience that is up to you. Your personal statement is yours and yours alone as stated by Irrx and myself law school admissions is mostly a numbers game and I am guessing with each school receiving 3,000 or so applications they are reading very few personal statements in great detail. Remember admissions officers are human beings and when 3,000 essays are placed on their desk they probably aren't going to read them to in-depth if your numbers are below or above their expectations they will probably just to you in auto-reject or auto-admit.

If your on the cusp they might take a glance and maybe Bob at Y school will be really impressed with your law firm internship. While Sara at Law School Y thinks your supervising attorney is an a-hole. You just can't say what to put in use your common sense and might as well mention your legal internship, but I doubt it will do much more than be a brownie point at best.

Again good luck

Of course and you are right the anxiety is just beginning. Law school is a constant feeling of I should be doing X, Y, Z and then you see Bob over there doing A and you think he must have it right. Meanwhile Bob is looking at you doing X and he/she thinks they were doing it wrong.

As I have stated nobody really knows what they are doing. Every final I had I left with a feeling of "was that right" and I basically got straight A's through law school and I never came away with a feeling of I nailed it. The one time I had that feeling got a C+. 

Then the bar comes same anxiety and nobody can know everything. You watch people and think what are they doing, but as I have said before everyone is stressed out.

I personally know Harvard grads and some of said we didn't have that at our school or maybe that got rejected from Yale and are bitter. I imagine you continually feel like others must know what they are doing and somehow you missed the memo, but the further you get the more you come to realize everything in the law is a constant struggle and even when your out practicing your hoping for the best.

You don't "KNOW" if a jury is going to buy your opening statement, if a judge will accept your evidence argument, you just go for it and hope for the best. Be professional, use common sense, and be respectful, but Law is much more ART than SCIENCE.

Again good luck to anyone online, CBE, ABA, that chooses the law school path.

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