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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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101
Law School Applications / Re: Just Getting Started
« on: May 28, 2014, 03:45:37 PM »
#1-Do you know if they take just my NCSU undergrad work alone of if admissions takes an average of all college work? I have about a 3.0 if they take the average. Regardless I realize this probably disqualifies me from the T14 schools.

LSAC will calculate your GPA based on all college courses taken before receiving your Bachelor's. So your community college work and NCSU work will both  be counted.

#2-I know some schools require a statement on why I didn't complete a legal program. I was enrolled in a Paralegal program but did not complete it. Actually it is part of the reason I decided to go to law school. But the reason I did not complete the program has other circumstances as well. Would it be a good idea to explain these circumstances in an addendum?

Well, if they require an explanation then you have to provide one. I don't think any of the schools I applied to required me to explain programs that I hadn't finished, though. If you are in fact required to explain, be completely honest and succinct. I seriously doubt if the fact that you didn't finish a paralegal program will much (if any) effect on admissions.

#3 I'm starting to brainstorm on my personal statement. To make a long story short, I am thinking about writing about my depression and what I learned from it.

This is a deeply personal topic, and only you can decide what to write about. That said, in my opinion it is best to steer your essay towards strengths rather than weaknesses. I know that writing about how you overcame an obstacle can highlight your personal strengths, but it almost seems a little too personal for an essay topic. Just my opinion. 

102
Distance Education Law Schools / Re: Did you apply to ABA and CBE?
« on: May 28, 2014, 12:48:02 PM »
I didn't apply to any CBE schools, but I did consider them initially. They were cheaper and offered more flexible part time programs. In the end, I did well enough on the LSAT to get a large scholarship to an ABA school so the decision to go to an ABA was easy.

If I hadn't gotten a scholarship, then a CBE degree for $50k vs. $150k at an ABA might have been much more attractive. Also, I already had numerous contacts within the legal market so finding a job wasn't really going to be a problem. If I had been younger and less experienced, accreditation would have been a much bigger issue.

103
Distance Education Law Schools / Re: July 2013 Bar Exam Results
« on: May 28, 2014, 12:13:43 PM »
With regard to the CA bar specifically,  it has one of the lowest pass rates primarily because it permits anyone to sit for the bar irrespective of whether or not they graduated from an ABA accredited law school. Most other states, by contrast, only allow ABA grads to sit for their respective bar exams. When you compare ABA stats to ABA stats, it becomes apparent that California is not the "hardest bar exam in the country" that most think it is.

Take look at the statistics available on Calbar's site. Non-ABA grads made up a whopping 6% of first time test takers last February. If every single non-ABA grad failed, the effect would only be 6%.

Fully accredited ABA schools from out of state often have pass rates in CA that are 20-30%, even though their in state pass rates are 80-90%. The fact that CA has a tougher than usual bar exam is evidenced not by the handful of non-ABA grads who fail, but by the thousands and thousands of fully accredited ABA grads who fail.

104
I don't think it will make much difference. One semester on academic probation isn't great, but it's not that big of a deal either. I suspect you won't be the only applicant who has spent a semester on academic probation.

Your cumulative GPA is far more important than what you got one particular semester. You have to disclose it when you apply to law school, and again when you apply to the bar. Be honest, and don't make lame excuses. Take responsibility, and move on.

The best thing you can do at this point is to get the best possible LSAT score. Start preparing ASAP, and Good Luck! 

105
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: ANXIETY!!!!!
« on: May 22, 2014, 02:42:51 AM »
So then if you got the job BEFORE law school, it didn't need a JD to get and thus not really a good comparison to what someone could do with just a JD.

No, at age 22 I was low man on the totem pole. My BOSSES had JDs. I was pushing paper while the JDs were negotiating $50 million distribution agreements. We were not on the same level. To move up in the organization a JD was considered a stepping stone, and would have been preferred over an MBA. 


I honestly believe that you had a BETTER chance with no JD than if you had applied with one and without a license. That middle ground screams "there is something wrong with me, I'm either not smart enough or not trustworthy enough"

I think for many jobs that's probably true. I can only speak for the ones I've had personal experience with, and it wasn't really the case.

Here's the thing:

A lot of people already have a position and want to move up in the ranks.  Some jobs require an MBA to do that, for others a JD makes more sense. So they go to law school at night, and it helps them get ahead. It's a way of saying "I'm serious and I want to get into management." I saw LOTS of people in the entertainment industry who were working at studios, in marketing, distribution, lobbying, representation agencies, etc., who were going to law school at night. In a situation like that bar admission is less of an issue.   

106
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: ANXIETY!!!!!
« on: May 21, 2014, 07:58:00 PM »
No, we're talking six figure careers.

None of the positions I mentioned require you to dispense legal advice, so bar admission is not necessarily critical. Knowledge of the relevant law, however, is considered a huge asset.
But to clarify you WERE licensed when you applied right?

No, these were jobs I had before I went to law school (I had almost a decade between college and law school). When I worked in film marketing/distribution, most of my bosses had JDs. Some were licensed, some weren't, some were licensed in other states. It depended on what other qualifications they brought to the table.

In environmental consulting it's common for managerial level consultants to have a JD/M.S. in Environmental Science, Biology, Geology, whatever their specialty is. Same thing, some are licensed some are not.

The thing to keep mind is that in both situations people were not actually practicing law, so bar admission was secondary to knowledge. If someone did have experience practicing entertainment or environmental law, however, that would have been a plus.

107
The question isn't whether someone with a CBE degree can become President, Supreme Court Justice, or big firm partner. That's not what these schools are for.

The question is whether they have a realistic shot at passing the bar and practicing law. Are the bar pass rates lower than ABA rates? Yes, they are. Sometimes by a lot, sometimes by a little. I think this has more to do with the nature of the student body (working adults) than with some deficiency in the program.

Again, we're not talking about one or two individuals. Small firms, solo offices, and government offices in CA have lots of CBE grads. They only make up about 5% of all people taking the CA bar exam, but they are concentrated in those fields. In my area, probably 25% of the government attorneys are CBE grads.

I think you also have to distinguish between CA accredited schools and non-accredited schools. The non-accredited schools tend to have much lower pass rates, and much smaller classes.   

108
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Mercer vs FAMU
« on: May 21, 2014, 10:57:15 AM »
Personally, I would go for the least expensive option.

Mercer may be ranked higher, but it's not an elite school. Are the opportunities available to a Mercer student going to be significantly different from those available to a FAMU student? Is the Mercer "pedigree" going to open more doors?

You need to do a realistic cost/benefit analysis. If your choices were between FAMU and Duke, Emory, or even UGA it would be a tougher call. You need to do what's best for you, but seriously consider the implications of taking on a huge debt.

109
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: ANXIETY!!!!!
« on: May 21, 2014, 01:58:46 AM »
No, we're talking six figure careers.

None of the positions I mentioned require you to dispense legal advice, so bar admission is not necessarily critical. Knowledge of the relevant law, however, is considered a huge asset.

110
Distance Education Law Schools / Re: ABA online law schools
« on: May 21, 2014, 01:41:18 AM »
I agree.

Concord has greater resources than any other online law school, regional accreditation, and has been lobbying for a shot at accreditation. They are the only ones who have any realistic chance at pulling it off.

The problem they face is bar pass rates. They need to get within 15% of the CA statewide ABA average. With a current pass rate of only 19%, they've got their work cut out. They need to get up to about 60% before they can apply for provisional accreditation (substantial compliance), and present a plan to bring the school into full compliance within 3-5 years.

This requires either attracting better applicants or being more selective in admissions (or both!). Better applicants, however, will almost always choose an ABA school. And if they get too selective, they don't make money.

It's a Catch-22.

Established schools that already have successful track records might start offering these hybrid programs, but I still we're a long way from a purely online school getting ABA approval. I just don't see the ABA approving a school with a 19% pass rate.



 

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