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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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221
General Board / Re: LSD Needs to Modernize Site
« on: September 03, 2013, 02:06:36 AM »
I'm not even sure that TLS has a better format, I just think the general tone of the discussion more in line with what your average immature college kid can relate to. Misery loves company, and you'll never be alone on TLS. There's nothing more unintentionally hilarious than a clueless kid who's never left the suburbs but thinks he has the world all figured out. It's like seeking career advice from the Kardashians.

There is a niche to be filled, and LSD could do it.

222
I got your point about the curve being manipulated, and I know that it can be done, I just don't see any real evidence of that.

Here's my logic:

The model answers provided by Calbar are presumably examples of average or better than average passing answers, which means they represent answers scoring comfortably above the curve. If a student can match those answers in terms of issue spotting and basic analysis, they should (I think) be alright. 

I suppose the best evidence would be from people who have failed the FYLSE. Did they correctly state the law, spot all the major issues and defenses and still fail (indicating a harsh curve), or were they significantly deficient?   

What strikes me is that the model answers aren't especially remarkable, they're just good. It makes me wonder if a significant number of test takers are performing significantly below par.

I completely agree with your point regarding the subjective nature essay grading. It can be unfair and arbitrary. I've known people who failed the bar by five points, which means they may have passed if a different grader had read their essays. On the bar exam, I think this is especially true regarding the PTs.   

 

223
I agree with the above comments and would merely add that the often unrealistic expectations of law students and recent grads fuels an already bad job market.

Clearly, the legal job market is in relatively bad shape right now, and I don't think anyone would deny that. However, a newly minted lawyer who is willing to adapt to the market's needs and diversify his experience will stand a much better chance of success than one who is rigid regarding job requirements.

I personally know several recent grads of lower tier schools who have very successful solo practices or who have formed small firms. In terms of income and experience they're beating the pants off of their unemployed upper tier counterparts, who apparently would rather remain unemployed than handle a child custody modification.

Many of the law students and young lawyers I meet are entirely unrealistic and snobby about employment. Just peruse any of the innumerable forum posts referring to "sh*tlaw", and you'll see what I mean. They still seem to think that they "deserve" a high paying firm position or prestigious federal job simply because they got good grades or graduated from a Tier 1 school, and disdain the notion of working in a small family law office or handling DUIs.

Unfortunately for them the market has changed but their expectations haven't, and that's a recipe for disappointment. There are still jobs out there, but they aren't the jobs that many students feel they're entitled to.

The bottom line is that if you go to law school with your eyes wide open, and if you set realistic, achievable goals you are far less likely to be bitter and disillusioned.

   

224
I also wonder if the State Bar stacks the deck, the pass rate never seems to go above 20%.  I wonder if the Cal Bar is purposely fiddling with the grading curve to maintain this low pass rate?

I don't see any evidence of that. If you look at the FYLSE questions and model answers, they don't seem any tougher than most first year law school exams. In fact, I'd say that my first year contracts exams were considerably more complicated. The answers provided by Calbar are pretty straightforward: general rule, applicable exceptions, brief analysis and conclusion.

I'm not saying it's an easy test, it's not. I think the high failure rate has more to do with the fact that online law schools have open admissions and will take most applicants, even those lacking adequate academic qualifications.

The low pass rate may also be evidence that Concord's program is not rigorous enough. If the Concord exams are comparable in difficulty and scope to the FLYSE (and they should be at least that hard), then you would expect a higher pass rate.

225
Capital's median GPA/LSAT are 3.16/150. Although your GPA is higher, your LSAT is significantly below median. Your good GPA will definitely help, but law schools seem to give more weight to the LSAT. I would suggest re-taking the LSAT if you really want to go to law school.

21 credit hours and a soon to be born baby made it difficult for me to study for the LSAT, which I made clear in an addendum.

This should be a huge red flag for you. If you had a hard time preparing for the LSAT with school and a baby, you have to ask yourself how you'll do with law school exams and a baby. Law school exams make the LSAT look like a joke, and you'll have four or five of them every semester. I went to law school part time with kids, and it was very difficult.

Before you drop $30,000 or $40,000 on a year of law school, make sure that you are in a position where you can succeed. Law school is brutal, and you will not be given one inch of slack because you're dealing family stuff, or a job, etc. 

226
Are you permitted to submit more than three to LSAC?

It sounds like the three you have are from good sources. You have a mix of employers and professors, which is good. Honestly, though, LORs will have very limited impact. Everybody submits them, and they all say the same thing: "So and so is a great person, and will no doubt be a valuable addition to your law school."

Your GPA/LSAT profile will completely dominate the process. If you are borderline admit/reject, then a truly unique or outstanding LOR might help. In other words, I wouldn't sweat it too much.

227
General Board / Re: Summer Earnings
« on: August 13, 2013, 02:00:56 AM »
Honestly, it's impossible to even guess what you might make during your 1L or 2L summer at this point. The range is very broad, and your options will largely be based on grades and connections.

That said, there are some general rules which are applicable to just about everyone. First, many summer internships (especially nowadays) pay little or nothing. There are so many well qualified law students competing for experience in big cities like L.A that employers don't have to offer high pay (or any pay) to entice good applicants. Most government internships will pay nothing, or maybe a small stipend.

I was fortunate enough to work at a very good, highly regarded government office during law school. Even though the internship was unpaid we had something like a few hundred applicants for three or four spots.

Big firms can pay well, but the competition to land those positions is intense. It helps that you're at UCLA, which has a great local reputation and strong alumni network. Nonetheless, the big firms will be inundated with applicants from UCLA, USC, Stanford and Berkeley, not to mention Harvard, Yale, etc.

I don't know if biglaw firms are still doing this, but a few years ago I knew 2Ls who were getting paid the same monthly salary as first year associates for the summer. I think they were making about $20,000-$25,000 total for the summer (10K per month, or so). Again, I would caution that these positions are highly sought after, and they will expect stellar grades to even be considered.

Obviously, small and midsized firms re going to pay a lot less.

228
I understand where you're coming from. For many people, a DL degree is the only option. Some employers will be suspicious, and others won't really care. As I said before, a DL law school can be the right choice for the right kind of student.

I would strongly encourage you to research whether your state has ever admitted a DL/non-ABA/non-state bar accredited grad. For example, KY may admit grads of the TN state bar-accredited schools next door (Nashville, Lincoln Memorial), but that doesn't mean they'll admit an unaccredited DL grad. Some DL schools hold DETC or some other form of accreditation, but that usually doesn't matter for the purposes of bar admission.

The point is, you don't want to spend $30,000-$40,000 on a JD and then have to take on the state bar to get admitted. Although your state may allow you to petition, that does not mean they're obligated to admit you. Some states are slowly warming up to the idea of DL, and others are flat out hostile. If your state does not admit unaccredited students, you need to understand the uphill battle you're facing, and decide whether or not it's worth the fight.

Again, before you drop tens of thousands of dollars on a DL degree contact your state bar. Get a clear picture of what they expect. They are the only source you should trust on this issue.   

229
I have tried to search for alumni or information about the current staff, but I can't find anything.

The info regarding faculty/FYLSE/general bar exam pass rates is available on AHU's website. According to AHU, the bar exam pass rate for 2007-2012 is 0%. 

The same caveats apply to AHU that apply to all online/distance/non-ABA programs. These programs can be a good choice for the right student, but you need to fully understand the inherent limitations of such degree. As jonlevy pointed out, most states will not admit non-ABA students. I know that everyone loves to point out the handful of cases to the contrary, but those examples are few and far between.

Additionally, most employers will be suspicious about the quality of an online degree. Maybe that's unfair, but it's true nonetheless. If your goal is to take the CA bar and open a solo practice, that may not matter.

I think the main thing is just to be realistic about the implications. In my experience, then people who were bitter and disappointed after law school were the ones who had unrealistic expectations in the first place. Understand that attending an online school is going to present obstacles that traditional law schools won't, and go from there. 


230
The difference between a 3.15 and a 3.29 is not huge. I seriously doubt if your options will change very much with either GPA. Schools that are willing to accept someone with a 3.29 are probably willing to accept someone with a 3.15.

The LSAT should be your primary concern right now. Definitely keep your grades up and do as well as you possibly can, but raise that LSAT score. Even if you get straight A's for the next year, scoring low on the LSAT will limit your options. Personally, I'd rather have a high LSAT/low GPA than the other way around.

I really want to go to a school that's at least in the Top 70. 

Why top 70? Seems like an arbitrary number.

Here's the thing: If you attend any school that is not considered prestigious, you won't be able to rely on your academic pedigree anyway. Whether you attend the #70 or the #100 ranked school will likely make little difference. There is a near obsession among 0Ls with the rankings scheme, but it's based on a very unrealistic view of the legal market in my opinion.

I've worked at private firms and government offices, and I've never seen someone get hired based on the fact that they graduated from the #58 law school versus the #77 law school. I've never seen a partner look up a school's rank before an interview. Offices that are willing to hire someone from the 70th ranked school are probably willing to hire someone from the 100th ranked school, too. At that level it all comes down to experience and connections. In my experience applicants from lower ranked schools are all pretty much viewed the same, and a slightly higher ranking will not make up for a lack of applicable experience.

You've also got to consider geography. Going out of state to attend a higher ranked school is not always a good choice (unless the school is nationally recognized and elite). When you're talking about lower tier schools, you're talking about places that have local reputations. Your opportunities for making connections, getting internships, etc will be much better in the school's immediate region.

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