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51
Sorry for the endless typos I cannot help myself from posting on this board. However, I get a bit long winded and I simply do not have time to proofread it.

This is just my anonymous internet poster opinion, but if you want to live in Wisconsin then going to Marquette is probably the best option if the Degree Privilege still exists as this will save you 10,000-20,000 guarantee if not more.

As messed up as it is after paying 100,000 or more for law school you then have to pay BarBri, Kaplan, or some other organization another 5,000 or something like that to take their course and as you study for 40-50 days you can't really work or if you do it is sparingly. Then as you wait for results your not as marketable as you could be and there is a real possibility of failing the first time, second time, or never passing at all. The degree privilege is something to really consider if you want to live in Wisconsin not having to worry about the bar during law school and after would be amazing. (If that program is still around-call the schools to make sure.

SCHOLARSHIPS:
Almost all schools offer scholarships if your above the numbers, BUT there is a catch almost all of them have stringent conditions to keep for all three years. So even if you get a scholarship they may require you to keep a 3.0, which might sound easy, but in law school generally only 35% of the first year class can have a 3.0 and everyone in law school is pretty smart and 100% of people think they will be in the top 35%. This NY times articles does a good job explaining it. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/business/law-school-grants.html?pagewanted=all . People this out to be a fraud, but I just think law students need to be aware and if someone is offering you 100,000 there are probably strings attached general rule in life if there is 100,000 being offered to ask what does it entail. Don't be like the students in this article and just assume everything will work out.

IN-STATE TUITION:
At schools that offer In-state tuition there is no need to worry about the conditions and I know there are several that do it sounds like Kansas is one and almost any school offering in-state tuition minus the California ones (as they are more expensive than the private schools in California) is a good deal.

The reason is the cheap tuition is guaranteed unlike the scholarship scenario listed above where if you don't meet the condition year 2/3 are full price. One option I personally almost for savings was attend South Dakota Law school it is or at least was the cheapest law school in the country something like 7,000 a year in tuition and cost of living is minimal. It is an ABA school and therefore you could take the bar in any-state and South Dakota has something like 95% passage rate as well. If you could handle SD (maybe you can that is your personal opinion) then that is a good way to get out with minimal debt.

VISITING THE SCHOOLS:
You mentioned visiting Kansas and the answer in my anonymous internet poster opinion is always visit a school your interested in. Not only will give have an insight into whether the place is right for you remember it is a 3 year, 100k investment, that will have a significant impact on your legal career. Therefore, you should take the time to visit and see if you like it.

It also can't hurt your admissions chance by showing up as long as you act like a normal human being. Law schools receive thousands of applications and they want to fill their seats and extend offers to people they think are likely to come. That added effort might give you some brownie points it won't make or break your admission chances, but it certainly won't hurt.


NO SUCH THING AS BOTTOM FEEDER SCHOOLS IN MY OPINION:

I think this is one of the worst things about anonymous internet posters there is a great deal of negative comments towards particular schools. I personally know nothing about Cooley and I have ever been to Michigan so I won't speak about Cooley and most of the random stuff attacking it appears to come from people who know nothing about the school.

I see this kind of stuff on the internet all the time attacking particular schools, but in my experience when I am litigating a case I could care less where they went to school and I usually don't even know. There are good lawyers and bad lawyers and if you forget to file your complaint on time they are not extend the statute of limitations because you went to Harvard. It seems that law students, OL's, and anonymous internet posters are far more concerned about school ranks and so forth. I went to a mid-level school and it hasn't helped or hurt me. Clients care if they get a result they are not coming to hear you say that you went to the 48th best school etc.

Therefore, if Cooley does offer you full tuition and reasonable conditions it might be something to consider particularly if you want to live in Michigan. As I mentioned before legal education is essentially identical at every school. First year is Torts, Crim Law, Con Law, Crim Pro, Civ Pro, LRW, Contracts, Property, and some variation on that. Then your going to want to take Wills & Trusts, Tax, Corporations, Evidence, (Need to take Professional Responsibility everywhere I believe), Appellate Advocacy (generally good to know basics of writing an appeal-Citation etc) and Trial Advocacy (in my opinion just good to know the basics of trial) and that sums about 2/3 of your legal education. I imagine every single ABA school Cooley included would offer those courses.

What you learned in those courses would be the same anywhere you might have a more dynamic professor at Harvard, but there is only one way to explain Will Revocation, Personal Jurisdiction, Consideration, etc. The legal principles are identical no matter where you learn them.

My main point is never address any school as a bottom feeder. There is a good chance the judge your arguing in front of may have gone to some school you consider a bottom feeder and if they hear that it won't go well for you. In the legal profession treat everyone with respect it goes a long way and I don't know how many lawyers shoot themselves in the foot by thinking they are better because of X. Be nice to the court clerks, bailiff, law student interns, etc. In law school I worked for a couple judges and on issues behind close doors they woudl talk to the clerks, bailiff, interns, and a judge would listen to what these people had to say. One lawyer I still remember screamed at the court clerk and he just an a-hole every time I saw him and of course that day the judge asked the clerk what she though and she relayed the story of the lawyer being an a-hole to her that. He lost I have no idea what school he went to or anything maybe Harvard -maybe Cooley, it didn't matter he was disrespectful and it cost his client a lot of money.

 After seeing that I learned to be nice and courteous to everyone first simple because you should. Second you never know who those people are speaking to. They can certainly help you out and they have on many occasions when I didn't dot an I or cross a T entirely my fault, but by simply being nice and respectful people will help you. 

So point of that is don't refer to schools as bottom-feeders or think the law has some prestige element to it. Many law students and new lawyers think they are somehow special because they went to X school or got an A in contracts, but none of that matters when your trying to get a client a result.

CONCLUSION:
Again remember everything I or anyone else says could be complete B.S. so take it with a grain of salt, but if you want to be in Wisconsin the degree privilege is a phenomenal deal. Also consider scholarship offers from ALL schools, but be wary of conditions. Visit the schools and see if it is a fit for you. The point of my last rant is something I feel so many OL's, law students, etc don't understand is that the Law is a Service Industry and never degrade another school, attorney, or anyone else. It can really cost you in the long and your client won't know or care that you went to X school or got an A in Contracts.

When someone is coming to a lawyer they have a concern and they want it resolved. If you get it done they are happy if you don't their not.

Good luck in your law school career and again thank you for your service.




52
Some good advice so far. However, remember when reading anything on boards like this that the advice is coming from anonymous internet posters my posts included so take it with a grain of salt. Some good advice does seep through, but it is often completely wrong and even when people intend to give advice they no nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you.

With that said I will attempt to give some advice from my own personal law school experience, but take it for what it is worth I am only an anonymous internet poster and for all you know I could be escaped from an insane asylum as could anyone posting on here. A little humor from Michael Scott regarding anonymous internet posters. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFBDn5PiL00

ADMISSIONS
As for the soft factors there really isn't much you can do. Law school is basically about the numbers this website does a better job showing your chances than LSAC in my opinion. lawschoolnumbers.com (you can scholarship money and so forth when decisions came). When I applied I got into Marquette with a 3.2 159 I didn't end up going, but I had roughly the same GPA granted that was years ago. Also like you I took a raw test with no concept of what was going on and got a 145 (I studied pretty regularly no class, but I got it up 14 points and I was working full-time while studying it, but any spare moment I had I would take a practice test. A course might be helpful I never took one maybe I could have done better, but whether you take a score or not you can certainly improve your score. I think most people improve my 10-15 points based on just a blanket practice test like you did.


SPORTS LAW  AND REALITY OF LEGAL EDUCATION
As Roald suggested the specialty programs are a factor to consider, but the reality of legal education is that you learn the same thing everywhere.

At any ABA school from Harvard to X school your first year courses will be Property, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Contracts, Torts, Con Law, and LRW, or at least some variation on that. In Civil Procedure you will read Pennoyer v. Neff, Contracts Hadley v. Baxendale, Torts Palsgraff, the first year curriculum is simply the same at every school you read Supreme Court cases that is law school and you learn the same thing school to school. Those are the MBE subjects, which is National Bar Exam Multiple Choice test, which I think all 50 states use on their state bars so everybody learns in.

In year 2 and 3 you will have some leeway in your course schedule, but I can't imagine to many sports law classes will be offered. Although I think Bud Selig teaches a class at Marquetee, which is awesome. However, I am sure it is extremely difficult to get into the class and Bud Selig's schedule will control he might teach the same time your internship wants you in or some required class for 2L's. Also even if you enroll in Bud Selig's class and get an A+ you probably won't get a job in Sports law or at least not right out of the gate. I personally got the Book Award in Sports Law at my school 2nd highest grade in the class, which is great. However, I was not immediately recruited by NFL, NBA, or MLB teams and I have still never worked a sports law case even though I graduated some time ago.

There simply aren't that many sports law jobs and the few that are there won't be that present in Wisconsin (I know Packers and Brewers), but I am sure every single person in Wisconsin is trying to work there. Not to say that it can be done, but don't base your entire law school aspirations on Sports Law. Furthermore, first year will change your thinking and law school in general. When I enrolled I thought IP law would be awesome and I ended up going to a school with a "ranked" IP program. I took one course in the subject did not enjoy it and then got really into Trial Advocacy, which I never though would have happened. I was pretty scared of public speaking when I was a OL and then I went on to do all kinds of National Mock Trial Competitions for my school and I do trial stuff mostly now. The point is your goals can change my situation is not unique and people often find things they never thought of before. So keep your eyes open.

LOCATION, COST
These are really the most important factors to consider in your education. It sounds like your from Wisconsin and therefore Marquette is a great choice.  No matter where you end up the reality is that where you live will play a bigger role in your law school and legal career than anything else. In law school you will have time to be a human being and you miss family, friends, and so forth. I imagine your experiencing that right now being Active Duty. Those emotions will be there during law school and it looks like you are looking at schools in a general location. Many incoming OL's don't think that through, but military service has probably opened your eyes a little bit.

COST:
Scholarships are plentiful if your above the numbers at certain schools. Lawschoolnumbers.com will give you some insight on what you need to get for scholarships at particular schools. Your military service might help you in that department as well, but I am not an admissions officer so I can't say. Pay attention to the amount your incurring I know my friends in undergrad that served got a lot of tuition you could probably figure out if that applies for law school. (If so that would be phenomenal the outrageous costs are one of the few things I did not enjoy about law school.

PERSONAL FEELINGS ABOUT THE SCHOOL:
Also visit the schools your interested in. When I was a OL I visited a lot of schools and doing mock trial competitions I went to schools I never even heard of or considered and each place had a culture to it. Some I liked and some I did not. Those were my own personal  feelings and you will have your own opinions. What I liked about school X you may have hated Vice Versa. To figure out if a school is for you visit obviously, schedule office hours with a professor, sit in on their class, talk to admins, and see how students interact with eachother. Remember it will be a three year commitment if your turned off by a place during a day visit it will be a long three years.


GREAT THING ABOUT MARQUETTE DEGREE PRIVILEGE

Marquette and Wisconsin boast a 100% degree bar passage rate in Wisconsin. I am sure the faculty would like to say it is due to their tireless efforts, but the Wisconsin State Bar allows you to pass Wisconsin bar without taking it if you graduate from those two schools. This is the only state that does this I believe and when I was shelling out thousands of dollars for ruining an entire summer studying for BarBri I was really kicking myself for not going to Marquette. That is just a real pro about Marquette specifically ( I am almost positive this still exists, but again check it out the law school knows better than I do.)

ONE WAY TO SAVE 1,000 OR SO DOLLAR ON APPLICATION FEES WHEN YOU GET BACK:
I remember when I was applying LSAC held forums that each law school attended. I honestly just went to about every booth the Harvard, Yale, Stanford booths were packed full of people, but the other 197 or so booths were wide open and having a 3.2/159 I knew Harvard, Yale, Stanford were out of the question I talked to a bunch of schools Marquette included and many gave me fee waivers there, or sent me an e-mail (mass generated to anyone taht wrote their LSAC number down on the sign-in sheet) and I applied to 25 schools and didn't pay for a single application. I also wrote down that I visited their school at the forum in their applications, which may have given me a brownie point (and I got into almost all the schools I applied to even a few that were slightly above my range, but I was realistic with my applications.) If those are still around they are great way to save money on application fees. (Maybe the military will pay for those though and no need to worry just some extra advice)

CONCLUSION:
With a 3.2, military service, and a 144 (raw test) you can probably get into Marquette if you prepare for the LSAT. I am also pretty sure they have done away with averaging LSAT scores and even if you don't do as well as you want when you get back you can re-take even while your application is pending. Check with Marquette and the other schools you listed.

Hopefully some of this info was helpful, but everything I said could be 100% wrong my intent on here is good, but I can't possibly know all the variables in your life or what is best for you and neither can any other anonymous internet poster. Furthermore, anyone posting on this board or others (myself included) could be full of it (there are no repercussions for making stuff up on this board or others, or giving horrible advice, etc, etc. Always remember your law school decision is 3 years of YOUR LIFE, 100k or more of YOUR MONEY, and YOUR LEGAL CAREER. Use your gut and common sense when making this decision.

Good luck and thank you for your service. 

53
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: National Scholar
« on: July 07, 2012, 06:15:50 PM »
Glad it was helpful and not to say the rankings mean nothing certainly Berkeley is a world-renowned school, but legal education is legal education and don't obsess about the rankings.

As for the anonymous internet posters some solid advice can come through and it did on this thread, but remember take everything you read out there with a heavy dose of reality and remember this phrase, "Those who know the least know it the loudest." When you see someone blabbering away about how THEY KNOW how it works, or X school is Terrible, or BUSH is a Terrorist, OBAMA is a Socialist(Muslim) Terrorist. The people shouting or posting those things know it quite loudly and I for one can see quite a few flaws in their reasoning, but that is my opinion.

Therefore, if one law student had a bad experience at Creighton law school they can't speak for everyone at Creighton school and they certainly shouldn't be telling someone in Maine that law school is a terrible, awful, choice. However, the internet allows one person to state that they know every nook and cranny nation & world-wide about everything and sometimes some valuable knowledge does seep through on these boards, but a lot of it is complete B.S. including a lot of what I post. I assure you anyone that has hours to spend anonymously typing on the internet this includes me should be scrutinized.

I personally sincerely want to help OL's, because I remember the fear of it all, but there is a very real chance everything I post is completely wrong.

Good luck on your decision and on the next LSAT administration. 


54
It might very well be a 2.0 requirement for the scholarship, but ask and confirm. You might as well if 100,000 is on the line. Schools can and do manipulate scholarship conditions maybe the recent attention on law school scholarships has changed conditions, but a five minute phone call is worth insuring 100,000 is secure. You may have confirmed everything, but it is important to make sure you understand everything your getting into.

Then this family situation that has impacted your financial situation is probably still present and will flare up while in law school. If you move to St. Louis and you need to be in Illinois resulting in you missing 2 weeks of class when all the other students are there you are going to be disadvantaged and do worse than everyone else.

This situation  goes to my overall point that you need to take everything into consideration. Your parents, siblings, friends, significant other, will be involved in your life whether your a law student or not. You know the extent of this "family situation," but neither me, U.S. News or anyone else here does. It has put you in a bad financial condition despite the fact you have been working for four years so I imagine it is a significant issue in your life. Therefore, take it into account when choosing what school to attend.

This is just an aside, but I am continually amazed at how people think law school is "different" than everything else. I was guilty of this myself as a OL, but there is no law school secret or anything like that. Law school is an educational experience a rigorous one, but it is education nothing more. No matter what law school you go to you will learn the law. In any Contracts course in an ABA school you will learn contracts period.

EXAMPLE ILLUSTRATING LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS IS NOT AS COMPLICATED AS PEOPLE MAKE IT OUT TO BE.

When you enroll you will likely make things more complicated in law school then they need to be, I know I did. However,  I will never forget this in my 3rd year when I heard 1L's stressing out about promissory estoppel. I remember doing the same thing myself, but the concept is so common-sense and yet law students (myself included) somehow manage to complicate it. All promissory estoppel consists of is a promise that someone would reasonably rely on and if the person breaks the promise the person who broke the promise can be sued.  . (That is really the gist of it) So if someone lies to you or flakes on a reasonable promise you can sue them.

That is not a hard concept yet I would not accept that it was that simple and neither could those 1L's I walked by, but that summarizes the law school selection process in my opinion. You already know location, cost, what you like are important factors. Yet like many OL's you are concerning yourself with rankings,  anonymous internet posters, and trying to figure out the exact best possible situation. The reality is some perfect answer doesn't exist and all you can do is use your own personal judgment it is quite simple and you know what is better for you than anybody else.

I was a OL once to and I look back at the things I thought and truly believed and can't believe how naive I was. I really was making it so much more complicated than it needed to be and I think it is a common trend for law students. However, I reiterate my point that I could be 100% wrong about everything  I have said, but if you think my reasoning above makes sense apply it to your situation.

Good luck to you and apply your common sense in making this decision and through your legal career. For some reason a lot of smart people leave it at the door when dealing with law school, but it can really take you a long way.

55
In response your request first and foremost remember everything here is from anonymous internet posters. For all you know I could be the crazy guy on the street corner shouting Repent God is coming and then walk into a public library and post on here. There is no license, credential, etc requirement to post on law school discussion or any other board. Read any Yahoo News story or Youtube video and read the comments below.  The people posting ridiculous things there could very easily be positing on these law school boards. I could claim to have graduated from Harvard or Cooley on this board I could have 1,000's of clients and millions of dollars or be homeless you simply do not know. So I cannot emphasize enough the flaws of making any type of life altering decision based on what an anonymous internet poster thinks.

With that said I will offer some general advice to make you think, but please use your personal life circumstances in making this decision.

RANKINGS:
I say it all the time on here, but remember it is just a magazine. Their main purpose is to make a profit and sell magazines they are not doing in-depth research as to what is best for your own situation. I'm sure you have been many lists that claim something is "TOP" case in point.


Best Movies Of All Time From Rottentomatoes something I myself check out. I don't think any of their top 20 movies would be on time Toy Story 2? That is what they say doesn't mean I am renting Toy Story 2 anytime soon. Same applies law school if U.S. News says something is 28th doesn't mean it is the 28th best school for you.

We list the Top 100 movies ever based on their Tomatometer Score.
1.    Man on Wire (2008)
2.    Toy Story 2 (1999)
3.    Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)
4.    Toy Story (1995)
5.    The Wizard of Oz (1939)
6.    A Hard Day's Night (1964)
7.    The Godfather (1972)
8.    Deliver Us From Evil (2006)
9.    This Is Not a Film (2011)
10.    Waste Land (2010)
11.    Rear Window (1954)
12.    Citizen Kane (1941)
13.    North by Northwest (1959)
14.    Afghan Star (2008)
15.    Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
16.    Aruitemo Aruitemo (Still Walking) (2008)
17.    Poetry (2010)
18.    The Third Man (1949)
19.    Le Gout Des Autres (The Taste of Others) (It Takes All Kinds) (2000)
20.    All About Eve (1950)

Furthermore, these rankings change so much year to year. When I enrolled my school was in the 70's I graduated years ago and my school went to tier 3, back up, down last year it was in a 11 way tie for 84th place. I can tell you I do not care what the rank of my school is anymore. Sure I check out of curiosity, but I don't win or lose a case based on school ranking. I would encourage you to walk into a courtroom (you have constitutional right to watch a trial) and observe how often a law school name is mentioned. When someone is facing jail time, possibly losing a million dollars, going through a divorce, etc the client cares about a result. If you get it for them their happy if you don't their not if someone goes to jail for 5 years, because you didn't object properly saying I went to the 56th best school isn't going to stop them from filing an Ineffective Assistance of Counsel claim against you.

So many students focus on these rankings and they really don't mean much. There are a few top schools Harvard, Yale, Stanford, that are impressive, but aside from the few schools that really impress you I can't possibly know what is ranked over what especially since it changes year to year. I had no idea Illinois was higher than SLU and it's a very real possibility by the time you graduate that SLU will be ranked higher than Illinois.

I won't say don't consider them all, but it should be a secondary consideration not a primary one. Location, cost, personal feelings, and so forth are going to make a far more drastic impact than what some magazine thinks.


SCHOLARSHIPS:
Money is real unlike the rankings creditors will come after if you owe 150,000 they want the money. If you don't have it a tier 1, tier 2, tier 3, tier 4 school diploma won't help you. Money is very real and be considerate of it. Especially because this money is accruing interest if you spend 150,000 in tuition the interest is 8.5% on Grad-Plus I believe and that is 12,000 in interest alone annually. If you didn't spent a dime on yourself you would still lose 12,000. So minimize it the best you can.

As for the conditions ask questions. Maybe it is just a 2.0 GPA requirement, but ask. Law schools are businesses first and foremost and they don't like giving money away. It is not a sinister law school scheme just a fact they are businesses and they need to make money. If you don't ask what the conditions are they are not going tell you. So call and ask financial office what it means don't just assume everything is ok. There is 100,000 or more on the line and when that much is involved there are usually some strings attached. Maybe there isn't, but if you have 100,000 on the line you need to ask questions. Ask the source do not get info from here regarding the scholarship money I don't know what the scholarship policies of the schools are so ask the people who know not anonymous internet posters.

FINISHING IN TOP 10-25% QUESTION
First of there is a 75% chance you will not be in the top 25% and a 90% chance you won't be in the top 10%. People in law school are good students and everyone thinks they will be in the top of the class. However, even if you are in the top of the class it is no guarantee of a job. I did everything in law school top of the class, mock trial, professor relationships, journals, etc. However, I only did one internship and the only people I really interacted with were at school. I had other friends who got out there found internships etc and they had more success out of the gate than I did. Now all my awards and things look impressive combined with the experience so I am not saying one is better than the other, but it just the simply reality that there are no guarantees of a job from any school.

I am not sure if your just out of undergrad or not, but if you just finished undergrad I imagine employers are not knocking down your door to employ you. The same thing will happen when you graduate law school granted there are fewer J.D.'s than Poli-Sci majors, but nobody is going to come to you. Maybe at Harvard that happens I don't know I didn't go to Harvard, but almost every law school I'm familiar with grads are not inundated with job offers. I know the Tom Cruise movie the Firm makes it seem pretty glamorous, but that is a movie.

LOCATION:
I say this in every post, but Illinois and St. Louis are not in the same place. If you have friends, family, etc in one area then having a support system will be very helpful. First year is awful, stressful, and if your in a new city your unfamiliar with and have no support it could very badly. If and when you get through that you will be doing BarBri in a new city and if everything goes perfectly and you pass the bar first time around you will have studied for 2 months after graduation then wait 2-4 for results. So will be unlicensed for a minimum of 6 months and your not making money during this time. Having supportive people around will help and not mention you have the pressure of passing the bar while all that is going on.

It is very, very, very important you think about your own life and the importance of location. There is nothing magical about law school you will have time to be a human being during it.

PERSONAL FEELING:
I have said this numerous times on this board as well. See what you think about the school just because U.S. News says it is the 48th best school doesn't mean it is the 48th best school for you. Interact with students, professors, and so forth. Maybe the Contracts Professor went to your undergrad and you will get along with him at St. Louis. On the contrary the Contracts professor at UI might be an a-hole in your opinion believe it or not some of the professors I really liked others hated and the ones I hated others loved. Law school is not a one-size-fits all situation.

Visit the schools and see which one you enjoy.

REALITY OF LEGAL EDUCATION:
It is the same when I walk into a coffee shop and see law students I know if they are first year students based on the books they have. If they are reading Torts I know they are a first year student at X school. I don't know the school they are attending, but every ABA school I have ever encountered has Torts as a first year subject. You will learn duty, breach, causation, damages.  Battery, Assault, Trespass, conversion, blah blah and read the same cases at UI or Saint Louis.

CONCLUSION:
I don't know what is best for you and neither does anyone else anonymously posting on here. U.S. News doesn't know either.

This is a highly personal decision and you know the intricate details of your life far better than me or U.S. News does. So consider your life circumstances and apply to them your decision I really don't thin one school is any better than the other, but for all you know I am shooting up heroin while writing this post. So please take everything I or others say on this board or others with heavy scrutiny.

Good luck to you whatever you decide and congratulations on getting accepted into ABA schools. Many people in this world don't have an opportunity to get any form of education, many more are unable to graduate from college, then many cannot achieve a 3.0 or higher GPA, then half those people cannot score in the top 50% of the LSAT. You are in a very elite group of people and very lucky to be in this situation those who complain about law school don't realize how lucky they are. 

56
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: National Scholar
« on: July 05, 2012, 08:31:00 PM »
Before I say anything realize that I am nothing more than an anonymous internet poster as is everyone else that has posted. As anonymous posters  anything I or anyone else says can be 100% wrong and there is no consequence.  So the main thing I can convey to you is that when deciding what law school is best for YOU take everything you read on the internet under heavy scrutiny.

RETAKE LSAT QUESTION:
The reality is most people do not perform as well as they would like to on the LSAT. GPA might be some indication of LSAT performance, but the LSAT tests a very specific skill and you may not be in the top 10% of test takers. There is nothing wrong with that 90% of LSAT takers don't finish in the top 10% and that is what you would need to get int Boalt.

If you want to go to law school I would apply with your current score. The longer you put off law school the more likely life will get in the way. A new job will come up, you will start a relationship, have a kid, a parent will get sick, or you may simply not do as well as you would like on the LSAT the 2nd, 3rd, 4th time you take it. The reality is 90% of all lawyers did not attend T14 schools.

Therefore, this would be the best course of action in my anonymous internet poster opinion. Apply with your current numbers and schedule yourself for the October and February LSAT. If you pull a 170 then alter you plan, but if you come away with a 154 or 156 etc your applications are already out and you can enroll. I am almost certain schools have done away with averaging LSAT scores, but check with individual schools. If that is the case you are in an everything to gain and nothing to lose situation.

SOFT FACTORS NOT REALLY AN ISSUE:
Again I am only an anonymous internet poster, but I have been to law school and most people have done some impressive things in their lives. At every ABA school there a lot of smart, hard-working, motivated people. I don't know what the Truman scholar is and I imagine most law school admissions committees don't either. It won't hurt you, but all 5,000 applicants to every school across the country have impressive academic credentials one award will not stick out more than the next.

Therefore, admissions really is a numbers game. The committee simply cannot sift through 1,000's of applications in great detail they might claim they do, but law school admissions officers are people and we all want to do great job and say we will, but when a stack of 3,000 applications is on your desk you have to sift through efficiently and looking at the numbers is the best way that.

GENERAL ADVICE ABOUT LAW SCHOOL:
When making your law school decision you should really consider location, cost, and your personal feeling about each school opposed to anything anonymous internet posters like myself, or for-profit, unregulated, magazines offering an opinion like U.S. thinks.

LOCATION:
 

Law school does not exist in a vacuum and you will have time to be a human being in law school. If you move across country from your friends, family, and everything you know hustle into some apartment in a city your unfamiliar with all while trying to grasp the nuances of Covenants, easements, and RAP it is going to be tough on you. However, you might be the type of person that can handle that type of situation, but you might not be. Whether you can or can't is a question only you can answer.

Furthermore, if you go to school cross country odds are you will be stuck there the rest of your life even if you don't want to be. Over three years you will make friends, get a relationship, apartment, all that stuff and your roots will be established in X city. All your professors will have connections in that city, the internships you do will be in that city, etc. If you go to law school in California it will be difficult to get back to the Northeast. Some people manage it, but use your common sense and you can see how after 3 years it will be difficult to simply move across country.

PERSONAL FEELINGS ABOUT SCHOOL:
Each school has a culture to it. When I was a OL I visited a lot of schools and some really rubbed me the wrong way and others I really liked. Does this mean the schools I didn't like are horrible places that nobody should ever attend? Absolutely not people have different opinions and what I hated you may have liked and vice versa.

So visit the schools you are interested in speak with students, professors, admins, and see how you feel about the people you interact with. If you can't stand a visit it will be a long three years.

COST:
Cost is a very real consideration and if scholarships are available consider them. However, if you are awarded scholarships be aware of the conditions that are imposed. Most schools will require you to maintain a 3.0 which generally means you need to be in the top 35% of the class. Individuals that enroll in law school were stars in undergrad and 100% of them are certain they will be in the top 35% of the class. You do not need  a degree in Advanced Mathematics to see what happens in this scenario 65% of students are wrong and there is a 65% chance you will not be in the top 35%. This is no insult to you, but simply the reality of legal education. This NY times article does a good job explaining it. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/business/law-school-grants.html?pagewanted=all

REALITY OF LEGAL EDUCATION:
Realistically whatever ABA school you attend you will learn the same thing. Your first year will be torts, contracts, property, civil procedure, criminal law, criminal procedure, con law, and LRW. There might be some slight variation on that, but those are the courses you will learn and that is the stuff that is on the MBE which is the multiple choice test of the bar administered in every state.

At whatever law school you attend you will read Palsgraff in torts, Pennoyer in Civ Pro, Miranda in Crim Pro, and Hadley v. Baxendale in contracts. It really is the same at every school granted you may have a more engaging professor at Harvard, but the law is the law period.

RANKINGS AND ANONYMOUS INTERNET POSTERS:
So many OL's think the rankings are some magical publication that should be listened to above all else, but use your common sense. The rankings are published by U.S. News which is a magazine offering an opinion they publish more than just law school rankings. http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009 . U.S. News has ranked Albuquerque as the best place to live should you alter your entire life and move there? Probably not.

Sure maybe Albuquerque is more interesting and consider U.S. News, but do not make a life altering decision based on what a magazine says. Furthermore, do not make life altering decisions based on what anonymous internet posters on this board or others say. You have no idea who is writing this stuff for all you know I could be recently escaped from an insane asylum as could anyone else posting on here. So talk to your friends, lawyers in your area, and people directly when making this life altering decision. I realize the internet is the easiest place to access information, but it is also the least reliable source there is. Michael Scott can explain why http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFBDn5PiL00.

CONCLUSION:
The most important thing when choosing a law school is to realize wherever you go it will be 3 years of YOUR life, 100,000 or more of YOUR money, and YOUR legal career. Make decisions based on your personal experiences, use your gut, and apply common sense.

I would recommend applying as planned then scheduling October and February LSAT for the reasons above. Do not be discouraged if you don't get a 170 most people don't and if you end up enrolling in law school it will be the first of many times you do not perform as well as you expect.

However, everything I said could be 100% wrong I have good intentions when posting on here and I feel that I picked up a few things having gone through law school, but I am not some ultimate source and nobody is particularly on YOUR life. You know better than anyone else what is best for you. Trust yourself when making this life-altering choice.

Good luck to you.

57
There is some great advice above, but remember everything you read on this board or others comes from anonymous internet posters mine included so take whatever you read with a grain of salt. I enjoy posting to make people think and I have gone through law school, but remember nobody posting knows you, your situation, or what is best for you.

With that said I will offer some anonymous internet poster advice.

ADMISSION AT THESE SCHOOLS:
Check out lawschoolnumbers.com it gives you a more detailed description than LSAC although. As to the schools you listed I would say there is almost no chance of admission. You have listed some very hard schools to get into and the reality is at every ABA school from Harvard down to Cooley law students are smart, hard-working, and motivated. To get into any ABA school you need to finish in the top 50% of LSAT takers and that consists of people that earned a B.A. and got a 3.0 or higher generally. Your score puts in the top 60-65% of a pretty elite group, but there are people that simply did better than you.

LSAT RETAKE QUESTION:
I would not hold off your application to retake. This is for two reasons (1) odds are you will not improve. The LSAT is the first of many times on the law school route where you do not perform as well as you expect. If you end up enrolling in any law school  on the first day of class 100% of students think they will be in the top 10% and the LSAT was a fluke.  Each person will they think they have an edge over everyone else because they having worked in a law-firm, were a cop, a pro-athlete, went to Harvard for undergrad, etc whatever it is 100% of the students will think they have some edge that make them special and they will be in the top of the class. You don't need an A in first grade math to see what happens when 100% of people think they will be in the top 10%. This is why so many student are upset about their first year grades. So your performance on the LSAT is pretty good and probably won't improve and being somewhat disappointed is something all law students need to get used to.

With that said if you wait another year to retake the LSAT life will probably get in the way something at work will come up, you will get married, have a kid, or simply think you will get a 170 on the LSAT the third time you take it. Then you may never end up going.

-Recommendation-
So I would advise you to do this if you have just taken the July LSAT send out your apps as planned and then sign up for the October and February LSAT. If you end up scoring a 170 then alter your plan and I believe most schools no longer average your score so there is no penalty and your in an everything to gain nothing to lose scenario. Check with each school though. If you end up getting a 155, 157, etc then your applications are out and you can enroll and you have lost nothing.

LAW SCHOOL GENERAL ADVICE:
When choosing a law school many OL's take the rankings, opinion magazines, and anonymous internet poster advice far to seriously. In my personal opinion location, cost, personal feelings about the school, and any specialty program if you know what you want should take precedent over what a for-profit, unregulated magazine, offering an opinion thinks or what some random person on the internet tells you what is best for you. 

LOCATION IMPORTANCE TEXAS QUESTION?
I noticed you are from Texas and attended Texas Tech and are now considering California schools. Out of curiosity what is bringing this change. No matter what the National Jurist, Above the Law, U.S. News, etc thinks location is going to play a bigger role than anything in your legal education.  Law school does not exist in a vaccuum and if you go to law school in San Francisco it is going to be a lot different than Texas.  L.A. is massive sprawling city and you will need a car to do anything. These all considerations to take into account. So many OL's just move across country based on what a magazine says is  think everything will work out, but you will have time to be a human being in law school.

Furthermore, over 3 years your roots will get dug in. You will get an apartment, get a relationship if you don't have one already, make friends, and most law graduates never end up leaving the city they went to school in. 3 years is a long time and law school years particularly 1L could be counted in dog years it is a long haul. If California is where you want to end up then go to school there, but don't expect it to be easy to just up and move across the country somewhere else.

 On top of that if all your family, friends, and so forth are in Texas you are going to miss them. I don't know if that is the case, but as I stated above you will have time to be a human being while in law school. If you go to a new city, you don't know anyone, your struggling to find an apartment in an unfamiliar environment, you don't know your way around, all while trying to grasp the concepts of Covenants, the Rule Against Perpetutities, and so forth it is going to be very hard on you. 

 I could belabor this point even more than I have, but location is important.
 
PERSONAL FEELINGS ABOUT SCHOOL
I did a lot of mock trial competitions in law school and visited different schools. Furthermore, I visited a lot of schools as a OL. Each school has a culture or feel to it and there were some places I did not like and others I loved. However, that is my own personal feeling and what I liked you may have hated and vice versa. Neither I, U.S News, the National Jurist, and so forth could possibly know what YOU like. So I strongly encourage you to visit the schools, talk to students, talk to professors, admins, and see if YOU like it. This is a life altering decision so make sure you like the school you will be attending.

COST:
Despite location or personal feelings costs is important money is money no matter what. If you graduate 150k in debt accruing 8.5 interest it is something to think about. With your numbers you may be able to get scholarships at some schools and getting a debt ABA degree is something  to consider.

However, if you do get a scholarship be wary of the conditions on them this NY times article does a good job of explaining why. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/business/law-school-grants.html?pagewanted=all . Classic example of law students not understanding that not everyone can be in the top of the class. If you get scholarships  ask questions do not assume everything will just work out. All law schools are businesses first and foremost.

REALITY OF LEGAL EDUCATION:
Despite what these anonymous internet posters and opinion magazines say law school education is the essentially the same no matter where you go. First year will consist of Torts, Civ Pro, Property, Contracts, LRW, Crim Law, Con Law, and Crim Pro. Or some slight variation on that and in these courses you will read Famous cases. Pennoyer in Civ Pro, Palsgrass in Torts, Hadley v. Baxendale in Contracts, the mud-flap case in Con-Law and this is the case at almost every school I have encountered.

SPECIALTY PROGRAMS:

This does vary from school to school and if you know exactly what you want to do then consider it. If you want to do entertainment law then you should first consider location. Where does entertainment law happen? L.A or New York and therefore schools in L.A. or New York often offer courses in entertainment law and have adjuncts who can teach, because entertainment lawyers live in L.A. or New York.

If you want to do IP law then go to school in the Bay Area that is where the IP companies are and the adjunct professors teach. If you want to do Martime law do not go to Nebraska it's landlocked and therefore will not likely have courses in martime law. Point being again do not leave your common sense at the door when making your law school decision.

If like most law students and lawyers you don't know what you want don't worry about it. Only consider that if you do.

RANKINGS:
Use rankings in your decision, but do not make them a primary consideration.  Remember U.S. News is a magazine nothing more and they rank more than law schools. http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009 . U.S. News claims Albuquerque New Mexico is the best place to live should you move there? I will admit I am little more interested in the town than I was, but I am not loading up a U-Haul for New Mexico anytime soon. The same logic should apply to your law school decision sure look at the magazine and consider it, but don't make a LIFE-ALTERING-DECISION on a for-profit, unregulated, magazine opinion.

CONCLUSION:
Again remember no anonymous internet poster myself included can possibly know what is best for YOU. Neither can U.S. News, the National Jurist, Above-the Law, or any other source. The school you choose will impact a minimum of three years of YOUR life, 100,000 or more of YOUR money, and YOUR legal career. Use your personal experience, listen to people that know YOU, and here is a little humor as to why you should not take anonymous opinions to seriously. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFBDn5PiL00

Also remember I could be 100% wrong. I am nothing more than anonymous internet poster myself so take everything I have said with a grain of salt.

58
Law School Admissions / Re: Chances and advice?
« on: July 04, 2012, 03:59:14 PM »
Before I say anything realize anything you read on this board or others comes from anonymous internet posters that know nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you. So take everything you read on this board or others with a grain of salt including my post.

With that said here is some advice based on what I learned by going through law school. This might give me a scintilla of knowledge, but my post is more to help you think opposed to any concrete answer as to what to do.

FIRST ISSUE D+ and C+ CONCERNS:
To be honest if this is your biggest issue your doing alright. Schools don't really care about your major, a bad grade, they generally only care about your overall GPA. Although I have never sat in on admissions decision I know they receive 3,000 applications or more and likely do not go through each and every transcript in detail. They will see a 3.39 UGPA your Major GPA won't matter much. This is because the UGPA is what they report to LSAC & U.S. News and it is just easiest for them to look through.

I have known students who got DUI's, been arrested, and so forth and were still admitted to law school. I myself had one D and two W's on my undergrad transcript and it was not an issue. It is possible at some school it will be, but there are lot worse things to have than a few bad grades on your transcript.

CHOICE OF LAW SCHOOLS:
Best place to look to what schools you have a shot at are LSAC of course and lawschoolnumbers.com. I think lawschoolnumbers.com is better, because you can see what scholarships people were awarded.

Once you see your options consider location, cost, and your personal feelings about the school above anything else. 

It looks like you want to be in New York based on the majority of schools you have choosen. Hopefully, that is the case. Location is really more important than anything else at least in my opinion. Law school is 3 long years, you will make friends, get an apartment, start a relationship (if not in one already), and you will build roots wherever you attend school. If you already have roots in an area such as family, friends, etc in New York that is something to consider. Law school is a long journey and when you first graduate things don't go smooth. It takes a lot of time to build a legal career and when you graduate and are in BarBri sweating bullets about the outcome in your life it will be good to have friends and family around to support you.

I could belabor that point forever, but if you want to live in New York then go to law school in New York.

PERSONAL FEELINGS ABOUT THE SCHOOLS:
When I was in law school I did not a lot of mock trial competitions, and I visited a lot of schools when I was a OL. I have come to notice each place has a distinct culture to it. Whether you like that culture or not is highly personal there are number of schools I did not like and a number that I did. I had my own personal reasons for that and what I liked you have may have hated. So visit the schools you are interested in talk to professors, students, admins, and so forth and just see how YOU like it. I can assure you nobody knows better than yourself what you will enjoy. Not me, not U.S News, and not another anonymous internet poster that knows nothing about you. You may want to listen to parents, friends, etc that personally know you, but be wary of any anonymous internet poster telling you what is best for you.

COST:
Regardless of location, personal feelings, etc cost is a real concern. With your numbers you will have the option of getting a debt-free J.D. from a multitude of schools. Getting a free ABA J.D. is something to think about. However, be very wary of scholarship conditions if you choose that path.

This New York times article does a good job of explaining why. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/business/law-school-grants.html?pagewanted=all . Just remember law schools are a business and if you get scholarship offers ask questions regarding conditions don't be like these students who just thought everything would be great. If your smart enough to get into law school you need to be smart enough to ask questions when someone is offering you 100,000.

REALITY OF LEGAL EDUCATION:

The reality of legal education is that it is almost identical at every ABA school. Whether you attend Harvard or Gonzaga your first year will consist of torts, property, contracts, criminal law, civil procedure, LRW, Con Law or at least some variation on that. In Civ Pro you will read Pennoyer, In Contracts you will read Hadley v. Baxendale, Con-Law the Mud-Flap case, and Palsgraff in Torts. You will simply be reading Supreme Court cases and analyze them. This is what happens at every ABA school I am familiar with and these are the subjects on the MBE which is administered as part of the Bar in every state.

SPECIALTY PROGRAMS SOMETHING TO CONSIDER
The above is true at every ABA school, but some schools specialize in certain areas. If you happen to know exactly what you want to do then look at the course schedules. If you want to be a litigator see how many mock trial teams the school fields, how many trial-ad courses they offer and so forth. If you want to do employment law if they offer multiple courses in that area. The electives do vary from school to school. It is not a critical factor in your legal education, but certainly something to think about if you actually know what you want to do.

If you don't know then join the club of the majority of OL's and even lawyers that don't really know what area of law they want to practice in. It is not a big deal if you don't know, but if you do then consider the options.

RANKINGS:


If all else fails in your decision take this into account, but do not make this a deciding factor. So many students make life altering choices based on this magazine and within the rankings themselves they tell you that each individual has their own choices and should utilize them in making them decision. Remember U.S. News is nothing more than a for-profit, unregulated, private magazine offering an opinion. It might have some merit, but not enough to make a life altering decision.

Case in point U.S. News does not rank law schools alone they rank nearly everything. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/business/law-school-grants.html?pagewanted=all (They have stated Albuquerque New Mexico is one of the best places to live.) It makes me a little more interested in Albuquerque, but I am not going to move there or put it above Miami, New York, etc on my vacation list.

Point being if all else fails use consider the rankings, but don't let it be a primary reason for your decision it is a magazine nothing more.


CONCLUSION:

These are just some factors to consider and things I have noticed after going through law school. I have good intentions, but it is possible everything I have said is 100% wrong. If I am then I have no repercussion and neither does any other anonymous internet poster.

So most important of all when choosing your law school and whether or not to attend at all remember it is 3 years of YOUR life, 100,000 or more of YOUR money, and YOUR legal career. Use your gut, your personal experiences, and your own situation when making this life altering decision.

Good luck to you whatever you end up deciding.

59
Law School Admissions / Re: do majors with "honors" matter?
« on: July 03, 2012, 02:40:17 PM »
Some good advice above and as others stated take anything you read on this board or others with a grain of salt. Everyone who posts myself included doesn't actually know the answers and I doubt even the admissions officers at these schools could accurately tell you what the better option is.

With that said having gone through law school in my opinion it does seem that schools care about numbers above all else. I have never worked in an admission office though and I could be wrong, but that seems to be the basis and it makes sense. The reality is if your shifting through 1,000's of applicants the only way to even start is by looking at the numbers. LSAT you can't manipulate, but GPA you can and if they see a 3.8 in an easy major that will probably look better than 3.1 in Nuclear Physics. They are not really going to look at the majors just the numbers.

Furthermore, schools really care about what U.S. News thinks it is unfortunate for legal education, but U.S. News looks solely at the GPA number it doesn't care what your major was in and a 3.8 in a easy major will look better to U.S. News than a 3.1 in Nuclear physics. Since all U.S. News will see is a 3.8 opposed to a 3.1.

On top of that Honors history will likely not be much of a soft-factor. Most people that go to law school did some pretty cool things and having a Honors History opposed to non-honors likely won't make you stand out much.

CONCLUSION:
If your soley focused on going to law school then get the best UGPA you can. That would be my advice however I am an anonymous internet poster, who has never worked in an admissions office, but my reasoning is set forth above although I could be 100% wrong.

However, I don't know how old you are and if your only 19-20 you might not end up going to law school and if your making all kinds of changes based on something you don't know will come to fruition it might be a mistake. Especially if you have not taken the LSAT yet. Reality is you could have a 4.0 in Honors History and if you don't score about a 165 no T14 will touch you. That is in the top 90% of test takers I believe and very few people end up satisfied with their LSAT score and there is 90% chance you won't be in the top 90% of LSAT takers. Not a knock on you just a fact. If you give up Honors history and get a 154 on the LSAT you may not end up going to law school and you will have give up Honors History for something that never came to fruition.

If Honors history is really something you want to do then I would recommend that path and see where it takes you, but only you know how important or unimportant that it is to you. In my experience a great deal of people PLAN on going to law school and very few end up actually going. Just something to think about.

Good luck whatever you end up doing and remember what I or anyone else says is nothing more than anonymous internet poster advice so treat it as such. I am typing in between breaks to kill time and there are no repercussions for me if I am completely wrong.

60
Law School Admissions / Re: 3.49 GPA, 162 LSAT
« on: July 02, 2012, 10:37:07 PM »
Before I say anything realize that everything you read here including my post comes from anonymous internet posters that know nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you. Therefore take everything you read with a major grain of salt including my post below.

First off congratulations on getting through the LSAT with your numbers you can get into a number of ABA schools.

LSAT RETAKE QUESTION:
A 162 is a solid score and the reality is many people do worse in the pressure of the real scenario and if you end up enrolling in law school it will be the first of many times where you don't do as well as you expect. On the first day of school everyone is pretty convinced their LSAT score was a fluke and they will certainly be in the top 10% of the class. 100% of students sincerely believe this, but you don't need to get past first grade math to see how that works out and then 90% of students end up worse than they thought. Do you not be disappointed by your score it is quite good and not doing as well as you expect is something all law students needs to get used to.

As to whether or not to retake I would encourage you to apply to schools as planned. If you put off law school until the next cycle odds are life will get in the way. You will start a job, get married, have a kid, or simply think you will do better on the next LSAT. So apply as planned and then schedule yourself for the February LSAT if your score improves dramatically then weigh your options. If it comes back about the same then you got the ball rolling. Then as I understand almost all schools have gotten rid of the averaging of LSAT scores, but I could be wrong check with individual schools on that. If that is the case you are in an everything to gain and nothing to lose scenario. If you pull a 172 in February then it may be worth waiting to apply, but odds are you won't and then your apps will already be sent out and everything will go as planned.

-RANGE OF SCHOOLS-
There is no range of schools you should consider find what school suits you best. Consider the location, cost, and how you feel about the school. Do not let U.S. News or anonymous internet posters tell you what range of schools you should go to. At every law school across the country you will learn the same exact thing. Your first year will be torts, property, criminal law, criminal procedure, contracts, Con-Law, LRW, or some variation on that.

When you choose your school think about where you are going to live, your personal life family, friends, and the costs you are accruing. Law school does not exist in a vacuum and you will have time to be a human being during law school. I don't know if this is your situation or not, but so many students will go to school across country because U.S. News said X school was 84th while Y school was 93rd and truth be told it doesn't make much of a difference. It certainly isn't worth altering your life for the location of your school will play a bigger factor than almost anything else.

Furthermore, each school has a culture to it. Make sure it suits your style when I was choosing schools there were a few that I really liked and others just felt off to me. However, that was my own personal feeling and what I liked you may have hated and vice versa.

-COST-
With your number you will have the opportunity to get numerous scholarships at a variety of schools. Getting an ABA degree debt free is something to consider particular if it is located in the location you want to practice in.

CONCLUSION:
My main point is there is no range of schools you should be considering. See what suits YOUR personal needs with location, cost, and culture. No magazine or anonymous internet poster can possibly know what is better for you than yourself. Remember wherever you go is a 3 year commitment of your life, 100,000 or more of YOUR money, and YOUR legal career. So listen to your gut and realize a lot of things you read on the internet or in opinion magazines should not be taken that seriously.

However, I could be 100% wrong in everything I have said, but I do think it is important to remember this is YOUR life and nobody knows what is better for you than yourself.

Hopefully some of this is helpful and congrats on the LSAT and good luck in your future endeavors.   

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