Law School Discussion

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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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31
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Stay local or move on?
« on: June 25, 2015, 02:44:24 PM »
That's a good point.

I went to law school at night with a family, and it was a HUGE strain on us even though my wife was very supportive. I was basically absent for four years. Every night was class from 6-10, every weekend was studying.

Law school is a million times more demanding of your time than undergrad, and your family has got to be on board in order for it to work.

32
Hi all,
I plan to take the October 2015 LSAT, when should I apply to law schools?

First off, I agree with Citylaw that there is no harm in applying early. In fact, you may even have a better shot at acceptance if the school reviews applications on a rolling basis. Each school will have it's own deadlines, however, so be sure to check with the individual schools.

Just remember that until you have an LSAT score to report they will not really consider your application. Personally, I am of the opinion that if you have limited study time (and with a family I assume you do!) you would be better off using that time to prepare for the LSAT rather than filling out applications. That can be done after the LSAT. Just my opinion.

Would there be any benefit in applying this early for schools that might have an accelerated or a weekend JD program?

Again, it depends on whether admissions are rolling. Maybe, so ask each school.

I'm only aware of one "accelerated" program (Southwestern), and I don't know of any ABA schools with weekend programs. There might be a few, but the vast majority of school will be traditional three year programs and maybe a four year part time option.

33
News Discussion / Re: POTUS
« on: June 23, 2015, 03:56:34 PM »
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that 2016 will be a little less predictable than 2008 or 2012. In 2008 the Republicans were doomed. Following the Iraq War and the economic collapse they were going to lose almost regardless of who the Democrats ran.

By 2012, some of Obama's lustre had worn off but he was still relatively popular. The combination of higher than usual minority/young turnout and Romney's general lack of appeal allowed him to squeak out a victory.

In 2016 the conventional wisdom is that demographic trends favor Hillary Clinton. I generally agree, but certain caveats apply.

First, minority and youth turnout will almost certainly be lower simply because Obama isn't running. This may be mitigated by higher than average female turnout, however.

Second, the last few years have not gone too well for Obama. This could result in a rejection of Democratic policies by swing voters. Registered Democrats and registered Republicans tend to vote along party lines no matter the candidate. But in states like Ohio, Colorado, Florida, etc., independent voters will make the decision. If the country is still puttering along economically, they will blame the Democrats.

Last, there is the issue of Hillary herself. She has any ardent supporters, but she also has many detractors. Among independent voters in swing states, she polls badly. Obama polled fairly well among these voters.

The Wildcard
If the Republicans nominate a nut (Ted Cruz/Rand Paul, etc), or can't control the dumber members of the party who make racist/sexist/xenophobic comments, then they'll lose regardless. I have a feeling, however, that they've already begun to reign that stuff in. The about-face by the Republicans in SC over the Confederate flag may be a sign of this. 

Summation
Clinton has an electoral vote edge going into the election, and will likely win. However, it will be closer (IMHO) than the last few elections.

34
I can't remember if the study questions were actual LSAT questions or not, but the practice exams were definitely released LSATs. They had the original exam's date of administration stamped on the cover. 

35
I took Kaplan. It was fine and it definitely helped. I can't really compare it to any other program because it's the only course I took. What I liked was that they had a test center near my house, so I could take tons of practice tests in a fairly realistic timed setting, and then talk to an LSAT instructor afterwards.

I know a lot of people don't like Kaplan, and recommend other courses. I think it just depends on your personal preferences ad what you prioritize. Check out several before deciding.   

36
I would take it now. That will give you time to take the course and take lots of practice exams. If there's time, some courses will let you repeat the program for extra practice.

37
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Stay local or move on?
« on: June 17, 2015, 07:27:59 PM »
To some extent you're putting the cart before the horse. Even though you've taken a few practice tests you don't know what your actual LSAT score will be. It might be 170, or it might be 155. Practice tests can vary quite a bit, and the conditions can approximate, but not actually replicate, real testing conditions. So, bottom line is that until you have an actual 170 (or at least a string of multiple practice tests consistently scoring that high) you can't assume you'll score that high.

That said, if you have a family cost should be a major, major concern. Depending on your goals you may be better off going to a lower ranked school with little or no debt versus a bigger name school with a huge debt.

If you do score very high and have the chance to attend a truly nationally recognized, elite school (think Ivy League) then it may be worth the cost and the uprooting. But if you end up trying to decide between the #45 ranked school and the #60 school, focus on costs and employment opportunities.

At elite schools your GPA is going to hurt you, unfortunately. They want high GPAs and high LSATs. But plenty of good schools will happily take someone with a 3.0/160-something. Once you have an actual score on the board you will be in a much better position to figure out your options. 

BTW, are you looking at part time or full time programs?

38
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Paralegal to Lawyer?
« on: June 17, 2015, 07:14:52 PM »
Definitely try to bring up your GPA as much as possible, and focus like crazy on the LSAT. I really cannot emphasize that enough. The LSAT, in my opinion, is a bigger factor than your GPA. A high LSAT score can overcome a low GPA, but not the other way around.

Even if you don't score 168-70, which is like top 3-4% I think, you can still get into plenty of law schools. But yes, the higher the score the more options you'll have and the more scholarship money you can get. I would definitely look into a prep course when the time comes.

39
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Paralegal to Lawyer?
« on: June 17, 2015, 12:58:40 PM »
Hi Geeklawgirl (great name). I'll try to match my responses to your specific questions.

Admission
Your experience will help a little, but not much. Law school admission is a numbers game, and your GPA/LSAT profile will dominate the process. Work experience (even something highly relevant like paralegal) is a soft factor. It kind of helps, but that's about it. If your numbers are below median at a particular school, being a paralegal won't make up for that. If your numbers are average or a little above average, it might help.

Especially at part time programs, there are lots of paralegals attending so it's not especially unique.

In Law School
Your research experience will help and you will be more familiar with legal terminology, reading cases, and maybe understanding legal rules than your classmates. However, it may be less useful than you anticipate.

Law school is an academic process, and it's really REALLY different from the practice of law. For example, if you take a class on Bankruptcy your prior experience will definitely be useful. But, nothing that you've done as a paralegal will prepare you for engaging in a Socratic method grilling on Torts, or spotting a Rule Against Perpetuities issue on a Property exam. Law school has it's own culture and rules, and they aren't really parallel to the world of legal practice (as goofy as that may seem). There is a shared language, but the processes are fundamentally different.

Getting a Job
Yes, it will help you here. In fact, it might help a lot. You will have a better network than most new lawyers, be more mature, and understand what law firms/agencies are looking for. This is huge, and I think this is where your experience will pay off.

The degree to which your experience will help is somewhat dependent on your pedigree and the specific job your applying for, however. Certain firms/agencies are still going to want a pedigree and high grades. At those places your experience will probably not be enough to overcome a non-elite degree or low grades.

In other words, if a Whittier grad with paralegal experience and a Stanford grad with no experience both apply to a Biglaw firm, the Stanford grad will probably get the job anyway. At smaller firms and government agencies like the PD/DA, however, your experience will definitely help.

Paralegal experience can also help if you decide to open your own office. I had a friend who was a family law paralegal for years before and during law school. She opened her own solo practice straight away and was actually successful, which not common. Her experience in seeing how a firm runs and what needs to be done on a daily basis was crucial to her success.

When to Tell Your Bosses
Can't answer that. You know them better than anyone here does.


40
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?
« on: June 16, 2015, 12:00:04 AM »
The Cooley rankings were awesome. They used criteria like library square footage, but what the hell. Probably made about as much sense as USNWR. What was Cooley's highest rank? Top twenty, IIRC.

Seriously though, I think the Cooley rankings were a significant factor in accounting for people's derision of the school. USNWR is bad enough, but the Cooley rankings seemed so blatantly tailored to ensure a particular outcome. Maybe that was the point? To show how easily rankings can be directed towards a desired outcome?

There used to be a publication called the Gourman Report, don't know if it's still around. It played the rankings game too, but the criteria seemed a little better. I think it tried to avoid totally subjective, intangible stuff like prestige, so you'd see certain schools ranking way higher than on USNWR.

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