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Law School Applications / Re: Chances?
« on: October 18, 2012, 12:40:12 PM »
Do you have any other suggestions of where to apply? 

With a 3.6/156 you can probably get into something like half the law schools in the country, so it's really a question of where you want to live and what you want to do with your degree.

Keep in mind that once you get outside the realm of the elite nationally recognized law schools (Harvard, Yale, etc.), pretty much all other institutions have regional or local reputations. The specific differences in rankings become very muddled at that point. At such schools your internship/clerkship opportunities, alumni network, and ability to establish your own contacts are going to be local. For example, if you want to live in Colorado, the University of Denver is probably a much better choice than American even though American is ranked higher by USNWR. Although American might be ranked higher, it's not so prestigious that most employers are going to give you a job based on pedigree alone. A DU grad who has had three years to network and intern is going to be in a much better position to obtain employment in Denver.

You can extrapolate that example to other markets. If you go school at Michigan State and then show up in D.C. after graduation looking for a job, you're going to have a hard time competing with American grads who have already made their contacts. If you wanted to live in LA, for example, would a degree from the Tier 1-ranked University of Iowa open more doors than a degree from a local southern California school like Southwestern or La Verne? I doubt it. I live in LA and I think most lawyers here would say " that in Canada?"

There is a difference between the way that law students think about rankings, and the way that lawyers think about rankings. If you ask lawyers which law schools are the best, invariably Harvard, Yale, and Stanford come up. But if you ask which is ranked #36 and which is ranked #63, they don't know and they don't care. At that point they rely on past experience and local knowledge.

Think about where you want to spend three or four years, and what you want to do with your degree. Don't let some magazine's arbitrary rankings scheme override your common sense. Law school is an intense, often stressful affair, and you want to be somewhere where you feel comfortable and (relatively) happy. 

Elaborate on 1L is a year long standardize test??

Your grades in law school will usually be based on just one exam at the end of each semester. Law school exams are very difficult, comprehensive, stressful affairs for most people. You will spend the entire semester preparing for just one exam. They are nothing like the exams you took in undergrad, and you'll actually be competing for grades with your classmates. A level of performance that would have gotten you a solid "A" in undergrad might get you a C- in law school.

I suppose that law school exams aren't standardized in the strict sense, since each professor creates their own exam, but the format (essay) and topics don't really vary. The point is, if you have a tough time with standardized exams law school is going to be very challenging.

I almost forgot: you will also have to pass the MPRE to graduate, which is a standardized exam.

What LSAT score do the CBE schools usually require? I assume 140s? If so, you should be fine if you previously scored high enough to get into a T2.

However, they are requiring you to buy the Home Study Survival Kit which was written and put together by one of the professors at the school (Fleming). I find this somewhat shady.  I understand needing books, but why must I be forced to purchase something written by a professor at the school?  It is a bunch of items to help pass the baby bar. 

The entire law school book-selling complex is a scam. It drove me nuts when I'd pay $130 for a book (that the prof would barely even use), and the bookstore would then refuse to buy it back because an updated edition with two new cases was in print. I bought used online as much as possible, but sometimes had to buy new at the bookstore. It's a huge ripoff.

That said, the baby bar prep material seems like a good investment. Fleming has an excellent reputation for test prep, and $275 is nothing if it helps you pass. You'll waste a lot more than $275 waiting to retake the baby bar.

Among the DL crowd Northwestern California seems to have one of the better reputations. Anybody know why? Do they have a different program than other DL schools?

To prevent making the same mistake twice, I'd prefer a smaller, less expensive, and local alternative that I can attend while still holding my current job.  The tuition at my target CBE school is $5000/academic year (part time) while another 3rd tier school is $27,000/academic year (for part time).  Because student loans are not an option (due to my past defaults and wanting to pay my existing ones off before I retire) my only option are schools of this caliber.  Besides, if I am able to get into this school but then not able to pass the baby bar, my sunk costs would have been considerably less.  I am not being pessimistic here, just realistic.

It's actually nice to see someone with an intelligent, realistic plan. That's a rarity around here. The issues that you're considering are the exact ones that you should be considering: finances, goals, and debt. You're off to a good start.

I would defintely talk to the Dean in person and explain the situation. I don't know what Calbar's rules are, but a 14 year old disqualification shouldn't hold you back. When you asked them previously they may have assumed that you were just recently disqualified. $5000 per year is insanely cheap, I didn't know that any of the CBE schools were that inexpensive. The few that I looked at were more like $15,000 per year.

I know lots of attorneys who went to CBE schools. They work in small firms, solo, and government offices, and have successful careers. If you're aware of the potential limitations, an inexpensive CBE degree can be a better investment than a non-elite ABA degree. Personally, I'd rather have a $20,000 CBE degree than a $150,000 debt from someplace like Whittier or Chapman. Once you get a few years of experience under your belt your degree will be of secondary importance anyway, but that debt would still be with you. The big firms, some mid-sized firms, and federal jobs are out, but they aren't the only games in town. The lack of debt will allow you to be very flexible with your employment options, something that is incredibly valuable in this market.

My understanding is that the CBE schools don't offer a lot in terms of internships and career services, so you need to start making connections immediately. (This is something ABA students should do, too, but often don't).   

Although the ABA allows reapplication after 2 years, no school is required to accept applicants who have been academically disqualified. In your case the local CBE school is operating under the Calbar rules, but it's probably a similar framework.

I'm actually surprised that an academic disqualification from 14 years ago would have much impact at all. I'd suggest contacting multiple ABA and CBE schools and seeing what they say. Have you taken the LSAT yet? A very good LSAT score and an expertly written addendum might go a long way towards overcoming your old disqualification, especially if you focus on schools for which your LSAT would be considered high.

As far as the debt goes, I get it. I chose a scholarship over ranking in order to avoid debt and it was the best decision I ever made. Your GPA is set in stone (and it's good), so your LSAT is the best chance at obtaining a scholarship. I don't know if someone with an academic disqualification can get a scholarship, but if you have a very high LSAT  it will sure as hell help you argue for one.

A word on CBE schools: I think they can be a great option for the right kind of student, but you really need to assess whether you're that kind of person. Think about your post grad goals, and whether or not a CBE degree will help you get there.

1L is a year long standardized test. If you can't take that, don't go.

That is absolutely true. And remember, after law school you'll have to tackle the bar exam, the mother of all standardized tests. The LSAT is a joke compared to bar. It doesn't mean that you can't do it, but the odds are not in your favor. Study as hard as you can, be disciplined, and take a prep course (if possible). After that, if you score very low, you need evaluate whether or not going $100-200k into debt is worth it for a degree that you may not be able to use. Here in CA it is not unheard of to meet people who never passed the bar.

To answer your question, however, you can probably get in somewhere with as low as a 145-49. Cooley, Nova, Southern, and a few others might take someone with those numbers. Become very informed about your post grad options if you choose one of these schools.

Minority Topics / Re: Should North African Arabs be considered URMs?
« on: October 15, 2012, 06:30:48 PM »
(no one in their right might would ever ask you to "prove" you had slave relatives, find one example anywhere if you want to prove me wrong)

A battle of wits against an unarmed opponent.

Of course no one has to prove "slave relatives", and no, dicta is not law. Your powers of perception are amazing. Yes, Obama (a black American of African descent) is certainly African American. That's exactly my point.

The answer is because "African American" has a specific meaning; it describes black Americans of African descent.


Please go back to preparing to fail the bar exam.

Minority Topics / Re: Should North African Arabs be considered URMs?
« on: October 15, 2012, 12:39:28 PM »
Many URMs may not be "decendants of slaves" (not of any importance one way or another)
And it's not meant to "make-up" for slavery or anything else.-Just to reflect that they are under represented.
Afterall if it were meant to mean that, then why would a fresh immigrant from Africa who is black be treated 100% the same as the decendant of a slave? Answer: It obviously has no impact in any way whatsoever.

You can't separate underepresentation from past discrimination, the two are not mutually exclusive. When affirmative action programs gained steam in the late 60's and early 70's the entire idea was to make up for past discrimination. There was a recognition that African Americans' underepresentation in higher education was directly tied to historical prejudices. (Check out the background info in Bakke.)

The idea of affirmative action as a means to promote "diversity" (that is, actively seeking to admit underepresented minorities regardless of past discrimination) is relatively new, and didn't get fully recognized until Grutter (2003). 

The OPs question was why aren't North Africans considered "African American" for the purposes of law school admission? That's the specific question I was addressing. The answer is because "African American" has a specific meaning; it describes black Americans of African descent. Those Americans were denied access to education for hundreds of years, which resulted in underepresentation. That is why the term "African American" does not simply describe any person from the African continent who now lives in America.

Law School Applications / Re: Where should I apply? 178/3.11 AA male
« on: October 15, 2012, 12:12:05 PM »
I imagine it is hard to predict because I'm a URM splitter. Please give me some: reaches, safties, and targets. Thanks.

The fact is, almost every law school in the nation is a safety for you. It's easier to list the few schools where you might have an uphill battle because of your GPA: Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, and maybe Chicago and Berkeley. You'll probably get in everywhere else (and you might get into some of the schools I just mentioned).

I think the biggest issue you're going to have to face is deciding between paying $150-200k to go an Ivy/T14, or if a full scholarship at a lower ranked (but still highly respected) school makes more sense. Most people will tell you to simply accept the offer from the highest ranked school you get into. In my opinion, that's bad advice. Thinl about what you want to do with a law degree and where you want to live.

For example, you mentioned that you might want to live in CA or TX: a full ride at UCLA or Austin might make way more sense than a $200k debt from Penn. I live in LA and I can tell you that top UCLA grads have opportunities that are easily equivalent (or better) than any school other than HYS. Something to think about. Congrats on an awesome score, and good luck!

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