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Messages - Maintain FL 350
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« on: January 01, 2014, 02:08:37 AM »
This is just my opinion, but I think you're overthinking this. If you have two good LORs send them in, it can't hurt. You numbers are what's going to get you into law school (or get rejected). Things like LORs play a very small role. If you do get waitlisted, then an extra LOR may or may not make any difference. My guess is that the vast majority of waitlist admits are simply those who had the highest GPA/LSAT profiles from among the waitlisted applicants.
« on: January 01, 2014, 01:59:48 AM »
Well, your question has a lot of moving parts, but I'll try to address the main issues.
Let me start with a caveat: I'm just some guy on the internet, and this is just my opinion. I could be wrong about a lot of this stuff, and I don't know the specifics of your situation. Don't make important life decision based on what I (or anyone else here) says. Do the research yourself, contact the state bars, contact the law schools, and contact the employers. They can give you better information than anyone.
Working in the U.S.
If you plan to practice law in the U.S. you must become a member of the state bar for the state in which you intend to practice.
Most states will require an LL.B holder to complete a U.S. LL.M before they can apply to take the bar exam. A handful of states such as California and NY will allow LL.B holders to sit for the bar without an LL.M. An LL.M is two years, a J.D. is at least three. However, the J.D. is better preparation for the bar exam in my opinion, as evidenced by bar pass rates. (The pass rate for foreign degree holders here in CA is very low).
For many legal jobs, the obsession over law school rankings is greatly overstated. (You don't need a Harvard J.D. to write wills in Little Rock, for example). However, there are certain fields of law in which prestige matters greatly and international law is one of them. Most of the big firms and international organizations are well stocked with graduates of elite institutions, and will usually only hire the same. If you are serious about this field, you really need to consider this. An LL.M from Unknown State U probably isn't going to cut it when everyone at the office went to Yale and Stanford.
If you plan to work in the U.S., then I don't think a European LL.M is advisable. It will not qualify you to take the bar in most states, and will not prepare you for the bar in the few states that may admit you. A U.S. LL.M seems to make more sense.
Is taking the bar necessary to work in international law?
If practicing international law involves appearing in U.S. courts or giving legal advice, then yes, you must be licensed.
"International law" is a bit of a misnomer in my opinion, as there is very little truly international law. Typically, you are talking about countries which are signatories to trade agreements or treaties. The laws are applicable to those nations or entities. So, if the U.S. and Italy have an agreement as to how arbitration clauses in sale of goods contracts are to be handled, and your client is an American manufacturer doing business in Italy, then you are advising your client on American and Italian law and you are filing and arguing cases (probably) in an American federal court. Thus, you would need to be a licensed attorney.
Working at the U.N. or IGO
Depending on what specific work you do, I imagine that bar admission may or may not be required for this type of job. If you are filing cases in U.S. courts and dispensing legal advice, then yes. But if the job is more like a policy analysis/policy development position, then maybe not.
One thing to keep in mind when discussing organizations like the U.N. is the stiff international competition for these jobs. In the entire world, you're probably talking about a few thousand people (or maybe a few hundred!) whose job fits this description. People who get hired tend to have many years of legal and/or diplomatic experience, very impressive academic credentials (Harvard, Oxford, etc), and have worked their way up the ladder. Some are professional academics with numerous publications and others are internationally recognized judges. I don't think very many lawyers at the U.N. or the Hague are hired straight out of law school. Not trying to be negative, just something to consider.
« on: December 19, 2013, 04:41:47 PM »
My question is, why not attend law school in Singapore if you plan to live there? That would make the most sense.
Other than that, I think you'd be better off with a UK law degree regardless of whether or not the program is shorter, since the Singaporean system has more in common with the UK than with the US. Additionally, although I have no idea what your numeric qualifications are, getting accepted to Harvard, etc is no small feat.
I doubt if the time to complete the degree and begin practicing is all that different between the US and UK schools, maybe one year at the most. Even if you finish the UK law degree in two years you'll still have to prepare for the Singapore bar exams (I presume), and wait for results.
If you do in fact get accepted to someplace like Harvard, however, the degree has much more international cache than the vast majority of UK universities, save for Oxford/Cambridge. I've travelled all over the world, and elite US universities such as those listed are held in very high regard just about everywhere. That could be a huge advantage.
« on: December 19, 2013, 04:30:10 PM »
Think about what you want to do after school, and where you want to live, because you will most likely end up working in the city where you attend law school.
Both Marquette and Kent are essentially local/regional schools, and the connections you make during law school will be very important when it comes time to look for a job. When you're talking about local reputation schools, it's important to understand that most of the opportunities to make such connections, via internships for example, will also be local. Although both schools have decent reputations, they aren't the kind of elite schools whose name alone will open doors outside of their region.
So, if you wanted to be a prosecutor in Chicago, for example, you'd probably be better off attending Kent which would give you the opportunity to effectively compete for internships at the DA's office. Could you still land such an internship coming from Marquette? Sure, but it will likely be harder, and you'll have to compete against local talent who have better access to the system. When I was a law student I scored a very competitive government internship because one of the head attorneys was also an adjunct at my law school. If I had just applied to the position blindly and as an out of towner, I would have had no chance. The same goes for most private law firms. It's crucial to make local connections in the city in which you plan to live.
« on: December 05, 2013, 01:20:54 AM »
I agree that a motivated, disciplined individual can succeed by going the DL route. However, I do think that someone considering this approach should thoroughly research the schools, bar admission requirements, and both FYLSE and bar exam pass rates. Not all schools are created equal, and some have produced very few (if any) lawyers.
Do your due diligence, and go into this process with your eyes wide open.
« on: December 04, 2013, 03:00:06 AM »
Law school admission is primarily a numbers game, dominated by LSAT and GPA. Soft factors are nice, but they exist in addition to numeric qualifications, not in lieu of them.
Your GPA is respectable, but you may want to consider retaking the LSAT. As City law has stated, you can get into some ABA law schools with your current numbers. Additionally, the education you receiver at any ABA school is going to be nearly identical. However, if you could increase your score by say, five to seven points you'd have many more options. BC, Tulane, and SMU are probably out of reach unless you can score in at least the 160 range (for BC more like 165).
Start by assessing why you scored 148. Did you dedicate the necessary time and effort to preparing, or did you wing it? Do you feel that you can score higher, or is 148 about where you plateau? Be objective, and do a critical self evaluation.
If you decide to move forward with your current numbers, think seriously about where you want to live after law school and what you want to do with your degree. With your current numbers you're looking at non-elite, local reputation law schools. Your post grad employment prospects will be most likely limited to the immediate region, and will usually be smaller firms and local govt offices. So, think about whether you will be willing to practice DUI defense and divorce cases in what ever city you go to school in for a t least a few years.
« on: November 24, 2013, 01:35:36 PM »
As the above posters have indicated, your entire GPA will be calculated.
All of your info will be sent to an organization called LSAC. They will calculate your GPA based on every college class you've taken, whether at a community college or four year university. When I applied I had a handful of individual summer classes I had taken at a couple of different community colleges, and those were required to be reported and were factored into my GPA.
LSAC will then "weight" your GPA, and it may go up or down a little. I'm not sure what formula they use to adjust your GPA.
As far as the LSAT is concerned, just shoot for the highest possible score. There is no magic GPA/LSAT combo you should strive for. The higher your score, the more options you'll have.
Lastly, as some of the other responses have said, law school admission is primarily a numbers game. People spend a lot of time obsessing over how to present soft factors like grade trend, volunteer experience, or study abroad, whatever. At the end of the day, the vast majority of decisions will be based on numbers, period. With a 3.19 GPA you can still get into many ABA law schools provided that you score well on the LSAT.
« on: November 24, 2013, 01:24:12 PM »
Agreed. No undergrad major will really help you prepare for the LSAT anyway, only an LSAT prep course will do that. A degree in Public Policy will be just as useful for the purposes of law school admission as a degree in Poly Sci, or for that matter, a degree in English or History. Your GPA and LSAT will dominate the process to a remarkable extent. Focus on getting high grades and (especially) the highest possible LSAT score.
« on: November 13, 2013, 06:14:03 PM »
So if I am hearing everybody correctly, those that are being approved to sit for the bar from non-aba schools, attended brick and mortar schools and not on-line schools. Do you think TN, MA and maybe AL will allow those who attended an online school to sit for their state bar exams?
Contact the state bar of any jurisdiction you're interested in, and get the answer straight from them. Don't take anyone else's word for it (including mine!). Each state will have it's own rules, and the state bar is the only resource you should trust.
Most state bars will not admit a non-ABA grad, period.
Some states (I don't know the exact number) will admit a state bar-accredited grad if they have been admitted to their own state and have practiced for a certain number of years. These are the brick and mortar schools you mentioned.
Online schools are a different story. Online schools are not accredited by either the ABA or any state bars. So far only CA and maybe one or two other jurisdictions will allow an online grad to sit for the bar. I think the distinction is not so much brick and mortar vs. online, as it is accredited vs. non-accredited. Again, if you're contemplating any non-ABA school be sure to get your answers directly from the state bar.
You don't want to spend tens of thousands on tuition only to find out you can't sit for the bar.
« on: November 12, 2013, 04:05:43 PM »
Except for a handful of elite schools, starting salaries have declined across the board. As Citylaw said, the Biglaw model is quickly going extinct. Combine that with a terrible economy and the inevitable result is going to be lower starting salaries. What drove up W & L's salary medians in the first place was lots of hiring in the WDC market. Those jobs have dried up, and there simply aren't enough high paying jobs in the VA/NC area to maintain that median. It's the result of a crappy economy rather than a failure on the part of W & L.
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