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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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111
Citylaw brings up some great points that definitely require consideration.

Here's the thing:

No matter what you've read, heard, or surmised, you are not prepared for how difficult the first year of law school is. You're just not. I'm not saying that as a criticism, nor is  intended to reflect on your abilities. The fact is you can't be truly prepared because it is unlike any other academic endeavor you've attempted.

Your life will pretty much be class, study, sleep, repeat. Your fiancÚ is also not prepared for how much of your time will be taken up with school. When you get home you won't be hanging out watching movies and chatting with her. You'll be reading and briefing 15 cases, pouring through a hornbook trying to get ready for the next morning. That's if you're not at the library until 10 PM.

I was married when I went to law school. Even though my wife is a lawyer and she knew what to expect, it was still a strain on our relationship. And that was living in a city with a support network of family and friends.

I believe that it is possible for people to do law school and a relationship, but you should have a very open, honest discussion beforehand about the ramifications. Make sure your fiancÚ understands the level of commitment that law school requires and is on board.

112
Are you serious? Larger classes are okay? Not getting the classes you need is okay? Do you think tuition is going down? When you lose a significant number of teachers the quality of the education goes down.

I think you're making some assumptions here.

There is nothing in the article to suggests that Hofstra students are not getting the classes they need. As far as class size, no, I don't think it's a big deal. This isn't kindergarten and you don't need the teacher to hold your hand. Law students should be intelligent enough to succeed whether the class has 100 students or 10. 

Tuition is a different story, as I think almost ALL law schools are insanely overpriced.

113
As a general rule, I agree with Citylaw that if you want to live in Miami you should go to law school in Miami. I think this is true for the vast, overwhelming majority of students.

Additionally, I think the rankings scheme is a crock (as Supreme Court justice Alito recently said).

However, there are exceptions to every rule. Michigan is one of the very few law schools (along with Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and few others) that can legitimately boast about a national reputation. A law degree from UM will be carry weight in L.A., NYC, WDC, or Miami.

Is it worth the expense? That I can't answer, but I do think your situation is a little different from someone who is trying to decide between say, FIU/Miami and a higher ranked (but not elite) school. It's a tougher decision, IMO.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that after a couple of years your degree will be subordinate to your experience. No institution's name alone can carry a career indefinitely.

114
That could very well be the case. But my point is, so what? That doesn't mean that Hofstra is now offering an inferior education.

Again, do you assume that U Chicago now sucks or that Cooley is now awesome?

Having fewer professors isn't necessarily detrimental. It might mean larger classes or fewer electives, neither of which is a big deal in my opinion. Then again, it might not. For example, there is no reason that a professor cannot teach Property and Wills and Trusts. Small law schools do this all the time and it works fine.

As far as electives, I think most of them are a waste of time anyway. Does anybody really need "Animal Rights Law" or "Water Law" to pass the bar? Electives mostly serve as a way to charge more tuition.

I don't think anyone would claim that Hofstra is an academic powerhouse, but you have to look at this stuff in context. For example, has Hofstra had a corresponding drop in enrollment? 

115
The University of Chicago topped the list, losing an even greater percentage of fulltime faculty than Hofstra. Thomas Cooley, on the other hand, added more fulltime faculty than all but two schools including Columbia.
 
Should I now assume that Cooley is a better school than Chicago?

That's the problem with these kinds of lists. People clutch their pearls and get the vapors without looking at context. I don't know why Hofstra reduced it's faculty and apparently neither does the article's author, as no reason is given. Two obvious reasons come to mind: the drop in law school applicants an the advent of part time faculty.

There is a huge trend (at all levels of academia) towards hiring part time faculty. Part timers are cheaper, don't get benefits, don't get tenure and (on the positive side) bring some real world experience to the classroom. When a fulltime professor retires now, they are likely to be replaced by two adjuncts.

Hofstra may very well be offering the exact same number of courses as before, taught by adjuncts instead of fulltime faculty. The article is incomplete and without context.

116
Maintain FL 350, I received a 2/3 tuition scholarship from University of Miami with the condition that I remain in the top half of my class. I tried to get more money or, at the very least, removal of the condition based on my other offers (which were the same amount of aid with no conditions from top 20 schools), however, they basically (and, sadly, somewhat smugly) said no. I in turn withdrew my application. I already have plenty of ties, education, and a few years of work experience in Miami, so I am not overly worried of trying to "break into the region/market."

Yes, that is somewhat surprising. I would've thought a 75-100% scholarship with easy stips ("good standing") was in order.

Look, Michigan has a huge reputation. There are very few schools that can truly claim national reputations, and Michigan is one of them. A good friend of mine went there and it definitely helped him land a Biglaw job in California. However, he once told me that he wished he had accepted a full scholarship from another school instead because his current job does NOT require an elite pedigree, and if switches jobs again his prospects will be based on his experience rather than his degree. So again, it really just depends on what you want to do.

If you already have solid connections in the Miami area, I have to think that a degree from Vanderbilt + connections is worth basically as much as a degree from Michigan + connections. At that point, the connections are the crucial factor and the degree is icing on the cake.

75k is lot of scratch and for me, personally, that would be the deciding factor. But you need to do what's right for you, and maybe the mythical siren's song of Ann Arbor is just too powerful!

 

117
These are all great schools, and I don't think you can really go wrong with any of them.

Location
Always a huge factor. Each of these schools has a big enough rep that you can probably score job interviews in Miami based on pedigree alone. However, even coming from these schools, big firms will still want high grades and at least some relevant experience.

Perhaps ten years ago a degree from any of these schools would have meant a nearly guaranteed high paying Big law position. Now, you will be expected to compete for those dwindling number of jobs with many other applicants who have equally impressive pedigrees. However, you will be able compete.

With smaller firms and government offices a degree from these schools can be a huge advantage.

Cost
Of these three schools, Michigan definitely has the greatest cache. Is that worth the extra money? I don't know, only you can answer that. It's important to understand that even graduating from one of these powerhouses it is still entirely possible that you won't be making $150,000 to start. You've got to do a cost/benefit analysis based on your own needs.

Other options?
It's always good to examine all possibilities. One thing to at least consider is that if you have the numbers to get into Michigan you might be able to score a full scholarship to someplace like UF or Miami. Depending on your long term goals, graduating from a solid regional school with zero debt may not be a bad plan.

Again, these are all very well respected schools. I tend to be very debt adverse, and always encourage people to think about what it really means to pay $2000 per month in non-dischargeable debt. Good luck and congratulations with whatever you decide!

118
Just to expand a bit on Citylaw's comments:

165 is a very good LSAT score, and you can definitely get accepted to a number of schools based on that score. If you need to stay in the Boston area, I would look into UMASS-Dartmouth and Roger Williams in addition to the schools Citylaw listed.

As a splitter you've got to be flexible, because admissions are a less predictable.

Lastly, before you drop over a $100,000 on law school you need to commit yourself to rebuilding your study habits. In undergrad you can put in minimal/non-existent effort and still get a passing GPA. That is NOT the case in law school.

Law school requires self discipline and motivation, and you cannot procrastinate. I don't know what factors led to your 2.02 GPA, but you need to get that issue under control before attempting law school. Your LSAT score indicates intelligence, but in law school that won't be enough. You'll need a very strong work ethic too, or else you will soon be far behind the curve trying to play catch up. In my experience, people in that position often failed out.

Something to consider.

119
You're a splitter, which makes such predictions more difficult.

Take a look at the Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools. For each school it will show how many people applied with numbers like yours, and how many were accepted. You'll get a good idea as to your chances, considering that most admission decisions are based on the applicant's numbers.

According to Suffolk's profile, an applicant with your approximate numbers falls into the "Unlikely" category. That doesn't mean impossible, though.

I'd say go ahead and apply to Suffolk, but make sure you apply to few other schools as well.

120
Law School Applications / Re: Third Tier Admission
« on: April 16, 2014, 12:45:31 PM »
So here is the question: What do I need to do in order to get into West Virginia Law?

No one on this board (or any other board) can definitively answer that question. However, here's something to consider: according to WVU, their median GPA/LSAT is 3.36/154.

Although law schools love to fill the pages of their promotional materials with stuff about "looking at the whole applicant", the vast majority of law school admission decisions will be based almost exclusively on numeric qualifications.

Soft factors such as holding a graduate degree or volunteering at a soup kitchen are fine, but won't really make too much difference. If it's a choice between the applicant with multiple soft factors and a low GPA/LSAT versus the applicant with ZERO soft factors and high GPA/LSAT . . . , well you get the picture.

So what does that mean for you?

It means that for the purposes of law school admission your GPA is very low. Thus, the best way to mitigate that low GPA is with a very high LSAT score. Simply meeting the average 154ish range is probably not enough.

Take a look at the admission grids in The Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools. They are very helpful, and will give you a good idea as to your chances. It looks like only a couple of people were admitted to WVU with GPAs in the 2.0-2.24 range, and they had LSATs in the 160+ range.

My advice would be:

1) crack down on the LSAT prep. Take a course if possible, and truly dedicate yourself to getting the highest score possible.

2) Broaden your horizons. You may not get into WVU. Would you be willing to attend another school?

3) Don't take this as snarky criticism (I'm not one of these posters who gets a kick out of trashing people's dreams) but you should think about whether or not law school is the right choice.

The reason that law schools want solid GPAs is because law school is VERY challenging. Seriously, it makes undergrad look like kindergarten and you will be expected to compete with lots of very smart, motivated students.

If you had a tough time achieving a passing GPA in undergrad, law school may not be the best option. Success in law school will require a major change in your motivation, study habits, and personal discipline. Unless you get that straightened out law school will be a waste of time and money. 

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