Law School Discussion

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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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1
General Board / Re: How Serious Is My Situation?
« on: Today at 12:06:43 PM »
I have a D average (1.4), but only because I had difficulty focusing on studying and exam taking.

A couple of points to address:

First, developing effective study and exam taking skills are absolutely crucial to law schools success. I'm not trying to be overly harsh, but when you say "only because I had difficulty" etc etc, it makes me think you're underestimating the problem.

You need to figure out what the obstacle is (anxiety, time pressure, distractions?) and come up with a plan to overcome it. Your law school probably has academic support programs. Look into them, they can be very helpful.

Until you get this figured out there isn't much point in worrying about internships or employment. You need to get a handle on this before the next round of exams and definitely before the bar exam.

Will I be able to get past this semester for internships and employment, if I do well?

This is tougher to answer because it depends on what you mean by "good employment" as well as your personal skills (networking ability, interpersonal skills, etc). If you're talking about big firms, prestigious federal positions and judicial clerkships, then yes, it's going to be a problem. Those jobs are very competitive. If you're talking about small firms, maybe local government offices, then it will be less of an issue as long as it is only one semester of low grades.

As far as post grad employment, one semester of low grades is not going to prevent you from getting a job. However, consistently low grades can be a problem.

As Citylaw said, lots of people stumble during their first semester. I know people who were disappointed with their first year grades and who went on to graduate and are now practicing lawyers. The factor they all had in common was that they went into overdrive to figure out and fix the problem .

Good Luck in your studies!

2
Yes, I think there was  post on the boards a few months ago about MASL closing down.

I'm not sure what the cheapest online law school is, but it probably depends on whether or not the student wants to take the bar. There are some non-bar qualifying degrees out there that are very cheap, but there's not much point unless you just want it for self enrichment.

As far as bar-qualifying degrees, I think that the California correspondence schools are much cheaper than Concord.

3
Law School Applications / Re: 2.39 GPA 151 LSAT Should I even try?
« on: Yesterday at 01:28:00 PM »
With a 2.39/151 you can probably get in somewhere, but there are a couple of things to consider.

1) Make sure that whatever obstacles held you back in college are resolved before you start law school. It's far more demanding than undergrad, and you won't be successful if you have major distractions or problems. The amount of work that would have landed you an "A" in undergrad might get you a barely passing C- in law school.
 
2) The schools you mentioned are almost certainly out unless you retake the LSAT and score significantly higher. This means that you will most likely be attending a lower ranked school (think Touro, Roger Williams, someplace in that range).

That's fine as long as it meshes with your goals and you understand the potential limitations. Big firms and federal positions may be VERY difficult to obtain (even as an IP lawyer), but solo practice, small firms and local government offices may be options.

Just think realistically and objectively about your goals, and let that guide the process. Also consider geography. At a lower ranked school most of your job opportunities will be local (at least initially), so be prepared to stay in the immediate area.

Good Luck!

4
Non-Traditional Students / Re: Input on JD vs MBA for retiring veteran
« on: January 15, 2015, 12:36:40 PM »
I would only advise you to spend some serious time researching what each career path actually entails. You're trying to decide between two very different academic programs, which will result in very different careers. Think bout what your long term goals are and what you want out of life and a career.

Practicing law and working in business management are each going to result in different stresses, challenges, and rewards. Look into the job market for each, be realistic, and let your goals steer you.

As far as where to go, without an LSAT score everything is speculative. Places like NYU and Columbia are probably out with a 3.3 GPA unless you score off the charts on the LSAT. Assuming however, that you score similar to your practice scores NY-area schools like Fordham, St. John's, Yeshiva, Seton Hall, and plenty of others would be within reach.

Honestly though, just focus on the LSAT right now. It is such a huge factor that until you have an actual score on the board there isn't much point in focusing on specific schools. Your life experience and military service are good "soft factors", but the LSAT and GPA will dominate the admissions process.

5
One of the reasons that Canadians come to the U.S. to attend law school is that Canada only has about a dozen law schools, and they are all pretty competitive to get into. Someone with say, a 3.0/155 would probably not get into any Canadian law school, but they can get into a number of American schools.

After graduation they can return to the province in which they intend to practice, take additional classes in Canadian law, and qualify to article after about a year and a half. So yes, it is a longer route but it can work out. One of my best friends from law school went to law school in California and qualified for the British Columbia bar this way.

6
Where should I go next fall? / Re: A WARNING about Phoenix School of Law
« on: January 13, 2015, 12:43:57 PM »
I know this is way late, but can we please talk about how Phoenix School of Law (now Arizona Summit...) is a private, for-profit school that costs at least $40,000 a year to attend, when right in the same city is Arizona State, a public school with much cheaper tuition and a much, much better reputation?

So basically, only people who can't get into ASU go to this reject law school. There's really no other reason you would attend this school instead of ASU unless you got a full-ride scholarship.

Seriously, PSL accepts EVERYONE - even people who get like, 140 on their LSAT! Being a lawyer is really difficult. I got a pretty good LSAT score and find myself decently intelligent, and seriously, it is really really difficult to practice law. You have to be pretty darn smart. So good luck to all the 140ers in their law careers.

I know, this post is mean, but I really don't think this school should exist.

Well, consider this: plenty of people at the T14 probably consider ASU to be a "reject" school, and wouldn't give an ASU grad the time of day. How many ASU students' first choice was the University of Arizona, but they didn't get accepted? I have no doubt that ASU is a fine school, but my point is that it's all relative.

Law schools like Arizona Summit exist for the reason you stated: not everyone is going to get accepted to ASU, or can quit their job for three years, or wants to work at a big firm. For those people a school like Arizona Summit might make perfect sense.

As for the cost, I think pretty much all law schools are overpriced and Arizona Summit's high tuition is comparable to other law schools. It's a legitimate criticism.

Seriously, PSL accepts EVERYONE - even people who get like, 140 on their LSAT! Being a lawyer is really difficult. I got a pretty good LSAT score and find myself decently intelligent, and seriously, it is really really difficult to practice law. You have to be pretty darn smart. So good luck to all the 140ers in their law careers.


And yet Arizona Summit's bar pass rate and employment statistics are roughly comparable to ASU. Yes, ASU is better in both categories, but not dramatically so. Regardless of what someone gets on the LSAT, if they can pass the bar they are probably smart enough to be a lawyer.

My guess is that ASU and Arizona Summit are probably filling different niches. ASU (and UA) are probably supplying most of the big firm/federal/DA etc. jobs, and Arizona Summit is probably producing small firm lawyers, PDs, solo practitioners, etc.

7
General Board / Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« on: January 06, 2015, 05:28:02 PM »
Do you think that a 3.0 will damage my chances at a 1L summer job and job down the road given how much emphasis is placed on the 1L grades?

Well, that question is subject to a number of variables. To a large extent it depends on what your goals are. If you have a 3.0 from Harvard, then no worries. If you have a 3.0 from Whittier, however, and are trying to get a prestigious and highly competitive federal internship, then it may be more difficult. Without knowing what your goals are it's hard to say.

As far as post-law school employment, again it depends. Big firms with 500+ lawyers and some federal agencies are going to be far more competitive than the local public defender's office (although those are probably more competitive than you think!). If the goal is a small firm doing family law and DUIs, it will be less of an issue.

Also while I have you here, I can't afford to do an unpaid full time internship, so if I don't get a paid internship or a part-time unpaid internship, would it be devastating for me to just work for a company I worked for in undergrad?

I don't know what the market is like where you live, but I can tell you that here in California paid internships are very competitive. The majority of students get unpaid internships. Sadly, firms and government agencies have figured out that there is a huge pool of talent willing to work for free.

I worked at a government office when I was in law school and we only budgeted for a small number of our internships to be paid. Obviously, the competition for those positions was especially high.

If you have to work at a non-legal job during the summer, so be it. However, it is imperative that you get some solid, marketable legal experience before you start looking for a job as a lawyer. The job market is very tight, and employers will be flooded with applicants who have experience. Those without experience will be at a serious disadvantage. Again, the caveat might be if you are graduating from a school with a huge reputation and you can simply rely on pedigree (Harvard, Yale, etc).

Otherwise you better have something else that the employer wants, namely experience.

8
General Board / Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« on: January 06, 2015, 02:19:12 PM »
To some extent it depends on the curve at your school, but generally that's not bad at all. In fact, it's good.

I think most people come into law school with high grades from college and expect that it will simply be repeated in law school. As you've already discovered, law school is much more difficult than undergrad and grades are generally lower. At my school the curve was brutal, and a GPA above 3.0 probably would have placed you in the top 15%. 

9
Both Jonlevy and Citylaw make very good points.

I agree with Jonlevy that it's a Catch-22. Until online schools can attract better students they will have low bar pass rates, but until they get ABA accreditation they won't be able t attract the students they really need.

I've said this before, but online schools are going to have to meet the ABA at least half way if they want to earn accreditation. It's not enough to complain that the ABA is unfair or behind the times, or whatever. The online law schools will have to show that they are committed to meeting ABA standards by getting more students to pass the bar. This probably requires amending their own standards to include the LSAT, an undergrad degree, maybe even some kind of specialized test to see if someone can handle the rigors of an online degree. Until then, I don't think anything will change.

10
So what's the latest news on online law school applying for ABA accreditation? Has any of these online law schools lately applied for ABA approval and what ones? A link would be helpful if you can provide one. Thanks.

My understanding is that the current ABA rules don't allow for purely online programs to apply for accreditation. The ABA would have to change it's rules first, then an online school could apply.

Even if the rules change however, the problem online schools will face is bar passage rates. The ABA requires a school's first time pass rate to be within 15 points of the state's ABA average. In most states this means an online school would have to achieve a 60-70% first time pass rate, minimum. Right now, I don't any online schools are above 35%. That is a TALL order.

 

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