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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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241
Law School Applications / Re: 3.2 GPA LSAT???
« on: September 10, 2013, 12:53:13 PM »
I took my diagnostic (Never checking out the LSAT before! Also, I took the sections right next to each other, no breaks between and within 35-36 minutes each section.) and I received a 149. I intend to take the October class and given my game plan, any advice if this 170+ goal is achievable?

I sort of addressed this in a reply to another of your posts, so forgive me for being repetitive. Is it achievable? The answer is yes, but it's statistically unlikely. Only a tiny fraction of those who initially score 149 on the diagnostic score 170 on the actual LSAT. I know we all like to think that statistical probabilities don't apply to us and that we'll be the exception, but that's the reality.

I would advise making a back up plan, and think about what you're going to do just in case you don't score 170.

Also, I do a lot of community volunteer work (I act as a Team Leader  in numerous civic projects here in NYC!) and I was hoping to get some scholarship in the top 14.

The competition to get admitted to T14s, let alone to get scholarships from T14s, is very, very stiff. Those schools are flooded with applicants who have high GPAs, high LSATs, and amazing soft factors. Right now, all wishful thinking aside, you have a 3.2 GPA and 149 LSAT diagnostic. I'm not trying to be critical or negative, but those usually aren't T14 numbers.

For the purposes of T14 admissions, a 3.2 GPA is low. The only way to really counter that is to score very high on the LSAT. Even then, admission is by not guaranteed.

The fact that you have a couple of M.A.s and do community work is great, but it won't really replace your GPA or LSAT score. Numbers dominate the process, and top schools have so many well qualified applicants that there isn't really any incentive to take someone with less than equal numeric qualifications.

As I said before, I would advise developing a Plan B. 

242
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Time to allot for studying
« on: September 10, 2013, 12:30:27 PM »
It's very difficult to predict what your LSAT score will be this early in the game. When you are a week or two away from the real test, and have been consistently scoring in the same range for a while, then you'll have a better idea.

It's unlikely that you'll increase 3-4 points with every administration of the exam. The thing about the LSAT is that it gets exponentially harder to gain points the higher you go. In other words, going from 155 to 160 is a big leap, but going from 160 to 165 is even bigger. Far fewer people will score 165 than 160, and only a fraction of all applicants will score above 170.

You would have to be making huge statistical leaps forward to consistently increase your score towards 170. In short, it's a lot harder than it sounds. 

Additionally, it seems that most people score lower on the actual LSAT than they did on practice exams. I think most people find that they plateau within a 3-5 point range. I had a friend who scored 174 on the LSAT, but even his diagnostic was something like 165.

I'm not saying it's impossible, just that you should understand the statistical improbability of going from 149 to 170, and make a backup plan accordingly. Think about other options just in case you don't score 170, and other schools you may want to apply to.

 

243
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Barry or Coastal?
« on: September 05, 2013, 05:52:01 PM »
Again I am not trying to say Barry is some elite institution or even recommending the OP attends, but to say you should run away as fast as humanly possible and say you will either be unemployed or stuck doing foreclosure defense is a little to extreme.

Exactly, and this is the crux of the issue. The same caveats that apply to any lower ranked school apply to Barry and Coastal. These schools may be good choices or they may be awful choices depending on what the OP wants to do with their degree.

If you want to work at a large firm in Miami then these schools probably aren't going to get you there. For that matter, I'm not even sure that UM or UF would be the best choice in that scenario. I'm sure there are plenty of Duke, NYU, and Harvard grads who would be happy to live on the beach and are looking for work in Miami.

However, if your goal is to open a family law solo practice or join a small criminal defense firm in the suburbs a degree from either school might be just fine, especially with a scholarship. I think the key to is be entirely realistic and informed about the market and your options. If you are unrealistic, you'll be bitter and disappointed. If you are prepared and experienced, however, you can do fine. It really does come down to the individual. 

I'm suspicious of blanket statements regarding what "all" or "most" graduates of a particular school will inevitably end up doing. I meet lawyers here in CA every single day who graduated from lower ranked (even non-ABA) schools and who are successful and content. It just depends on what you want to do, and whether you know how to get there.   

244
Your cumulative GPA is the one that will be primarily considered, since that's what is reported for statistical purposes. Regardless of what you majored in, where you went to college, or whether you had a rising grade trend, soft factors, etc., the vast majority of admissions decisions will be based on numbers, period.

There is nothing you can do about your GPA at this point, so focus your energy on the LSAT and don't look back. 

245
Don't you think the low bar pass rate is related to the sheer difficulty of the exam? Even many highly regarded out of state schools have significantly lower pass rates in CA. Maybe it's the curve, but the people I've spoken with who took other states' exams and then took CA found it to be significantly more difficult. 

246
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.

247
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.   

 

248
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.

   

249
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.

250
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. 

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