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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Studying for the LSAT / Re: Need advice, please
« on: November 25, 2015, 09:29:31 AM »
Hi Michelle,

I'm going to come at this from a different angle, since I didn't see it addressed in your original post. Before you even spend five minutes on the LSAT, have you identified why you ran into serious problems in law school, and are you confident that you have developed a plan to deal with them the second time around?

Remember, your low LSAT score was not the reason that you were dismissed. Something else happened once you got to law school that you were not able to effectively manage. Perhaps it was time constraints, financial worries, test anxiety, I don't know. The point is that law school has not gotten easier since 2010, and if you have not addressed the "why?" issue, then you're setting yourself up for another hard time. It is critical that you identify the problem and figure out how to deal with it first.

Please understand that I'm not trying to be overly harsh, but getting academically dismissed is a big deal and it indicates that you are gong to need to make MAJOR changes to your entire approach, not just a higher LSAT score. After law school you're going to have to face the bar exam, which makes the LSAT look like kindergarten. Get this issue figured out first.

If you score 165+, that's awesome. It will give you some options. With an academic dismissal, however, I don't know if you will be eligible for scholarships. Thus, you need to decide whether or not you are willing to accrue more debt to get a JD. That's a question that only you can answer, but be realistic about your goals and earning potential and let that guide your decisions.

Current Law Students / Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« on: November 24, 2015, 09:32:49 AM »
It depends on the particular job. Some places, like big firms, care A LOT about grades, others are more concerned with relevant work experience. A few years out of law school, however, nobody will give a crap that you won Best Brief in Trial Advocacy.

People pretend it doesn't matter at low ranked schools since they all plan to "go solo" and know that the average GED American client doesn't check. Truth be told, even then, any client who can pay up front still cares.

I dunno. Maybe my experience is atypical, but I've never had an employer pay much attention to grades during an interview. I once got asked about class rank, and the guy just sort of nodded and moved along. As long as I wasn't in danger of failing out he didn't seem to care. At other interviews it never even came up.

As far as clients, my experience at a small boutique firm was that most clients did not know the difference between a T4 and Harvard and did not care.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: 2.05 GPA/163 LSAT?
« on: November 10, 2015, 12:04:16 PM »
So if I'm reading it correctly, it looks like you take two or three classes per night? That's a very demanding schedule, but so are all JD programs. Good luck with your future studies, law can be a very rewarding career.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: 2.05 GPA/163 LSAT?
« on: November 09, 2015, 10:07:10 AM »
Thank you for the advice. Like I said before my cumulative GPA is not my degree GPA. There are numerous hiccups from when I first attended college close to ten years ago, as opposed to when I finally graduated last year. There is almost a gap of 7 years.

My transcript reflects an uphill evolution and not a down-whirl spiral towards the more 'difficult', senior classes.

And the night school that I will be attempting to go to only meets two nights a week, it is geared towards working adults.

That's good, it means you've already modified your approach to school.

Just curious, what is the schedule at your school like? My part-time program required classes four nights a week, with a different class each night, in order to finish in four years. So a typical first year might look like:

Monday: Contracts
Tuesday: Torts
Wednesday: Criminal Law
Thursday: Legal Writing/Research

You had to maintain a similar load all four years plus take one or two summer courses to graduate on time. Usually one of the classes was a two-unit class, and not as demanding, like "Mediation and Arbitration Skills" or "Juvenile Courts".

Again, just curious, how do they do it with classes only two nights a week? Do you take two classes per night? Or maybe TN requires fewer units to graduate?

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Why I picked an unaccredited law school
« on: November 09, 2015, 09:51:12 AM »
The fact is, the majority of state bars will be openly hostile to a non-ABA grad seeking entry. It may be unfair, but that's the way it is.

A handful of grads have spent considerable time and energy suing state bars and getting admitted, but this is an extremely laborious process and does not guarantee admission. I'm not even quite sure how they won, since state bars are permitted to restrict admission to the profession as long as the restrictions are legal. I suppose they made Constitutional arguments?

In any case, you probably should not attend a non-ABA school unless you are comfortable with the idea of practicing only in that particular state. California and a couple of other states will admit non-ABA grads, but you'll have to take that state's bar. 

Law School Admissions / Re: International degree equivalence
« on: November 09, 2015, 09:43:21 AM »
I don't think your three-year degree will be a problem, as many foreign students enroll in U.S. law schools with similar degrees.

One potential issue, however, is whether or not you will be able to enroll in a J.D. program as opposed to an LL.M. Most foreign students who already have a law degree enroll in LL.M programs. I might be wrong about this, but I believe that you cannot enter a J.D. program if you already possess a first degree in law.

Were you looking at LL.M programs?

I honestly never heard of anyone giving either of those schools a better rating than the other
I guess US News might have, but no one in real life even knows what those rankings are unless they look it up (and still don't care)

I live and work in LA, and UCLA is definitely viewed as the top dog in town. USC is a very close second. Pepperdine has a good local rep and the education offered at either school will be nearly identical. Generally speaking however, a UCLA grad will have better job opportunities throughout California.

There's a lot to address, so I'll try to keep it organized.

Retaking the LSAT

If you really want a shot at UCLA, then this is easy. You'll have to retake. Keep in mind that the simple act of retaking is unlikely to result in a significantly higher score. You're going to need to do something differently next time. More studying, a different program, different schedule, etc.

UCLA vs. Pepperdine

Obviously, UCLA has the bigger reputation. The question is, what do you want to do? If your goal is to be a prosecutor or public defender, or open your own family law office, then I'd say go with the option that leads to the least amount of debt. If your goal is Biglaw or a prestigious federal job (DOJ, judicial clerk, etc), then your school's reputation matters more and UCLA may be the better choice.

Keep in mind, however, that UCLA still isn't Harvard or Yale. You will still need to perform VERY WELL in law school, and will have to compete with plenty of other T14 grads for those jobs. If you graduate middle of the pack at UCLA, I'm not sure that the reputation alone is sufficient to land those types of jobs.

Graduating top 5%

Someone who graduates top 5% from Pepperdine will do just fine, but do not assume that will graduate in the top half, let alone the top 5%. Law school is much more demanding than undergrad. You will be competing against many very smart, very motivated people. I would say that you should always gauge your post employment opportunities from any given school based on the assumption that you will be an average student. Not trying to burst your bubble, it's just reality.

Other Stuff

Apply to other schools and see what happens. There is no reason to limit yourself to UCLA and Pepperdine. Check out Loyola, Irvine, even Southwestern. See what you get offered.

Scholarships are often easy to lose. You don't actually have a scholarship offer from Pepperdine yet, but most law schools will attach stipulations. Usually it's related to GPA/class rank. Pay close attention, as many people lose their scholarships in part or in whole.

Law School Admissions / Re: Cancer: Will it Affect Their Decision?
« on: November 04, 2015, 01:23:46 PM »
OP, I'm very happy for you that you're in remission. That is no small thing to deal with, and it says a lot about your character.

As to your specific question, no, I don't think it will hurt your chances for admission one bit. If anything, it shows incredible determination and fortitude on your part, both of which are highly desirable traits in a law student.

On a side note, my cousin was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic cancer. He was told that it was especially aggressive, and his chance for survival was slim. He beat it, it came back, and he beat it again. That was nearly 20 years ago, and he's doing just fine. There are many people out there who are beating the odds every day. Best of luck to you!

I wasn't going to respond this either, but the poster may want to look up the definition of "defamation" and it's potential consequences.

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