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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Southwestern vs. Kent vs. Depaul
« on: March 28, 2015, 12:02:49 PM »
Citylaw's advice is good. I would just add the following:

Since you're already carrying 65k in debt, you may want to make debt minimization your top priority. Accruing an additional 100k (which is ENTIRELY possible even though you've been offered scholarships) can impact your career choices as much if not more than your choice of school.

Since none of the schools you're considering are elite, you probably won't be competing for a high paying job straight out of law school. Thus, you really need to consider whether or not you will be able to service that amount of debt on a (probably) $50-70k starting salary.

Citylaw has already addressed this, but I will reiterate: if you go to school in Chicago you will likely end up working in Chicago. If you want to live in California, go to school in California. When you're talking about non-elite, local schools it really is that simple.

Other options
I understand that you are probably eager to start law school, but if I were you I would at least consider reapplying to other So Cal schools and seeing what happens. Frankly, (and don't take this as criticism) I don't think any of the schools you mentioned are worth racking up a $150k + debt.

Whittier has offered the most, but you could easily lose it and be stuck paying full freight after the first year. Whittier has also had some problems with high attrition and low bar pass rates which resulted in the ABA putting them on probation several years ago.

If you were willing to wait on more year, you could study like crazy and retake the LSAT, then reapply to schools like La Verne, California Western, Southwestern, Chapman and Western State. You employment options from any of these schools would be about the same as the schools you're currently considering. You might be able to improve your bargaining position and significantly reduce you overall debt. Something to think about.

I grew up in LA, went to law school in LA, and currently live and work in LA.

Regarding the need for a car, you have to understand that people refer to all of the greater Los Angeles basin simply as "LA". Thus, the area that folks are referring to includes pretty much everything from Long Beach to Malibu, and from Santa Monica inland all the way to the Inland Empire. It's a huge, flat, sprawling area. So when people say "You need a car" it's because they're assuming that you'll be commuting 30 miles a day or more.

Downtown and the Westside are more compact. You can definitely get around on public transportation. If, however, you ended up living in Long Beach and going to law school in Westwood you would probably need a car. Just my two cents.

LSAT test centers
I don't know anything about ones in the areas you mentioned, but I took the LSAT at the University of La Verne and it was great. Nice big room, probably sat around 150, but only had 20-30 taking the test. I had a whole table to myself. It was definitely worth the drive.

Incidentally, I took the bar nearby at the Ontario Convention Center and that was a good move too. Parking was easy, there was more than ample space, there were places to get breakfast and lunch on site. It just seemed a little less crazy than you might expect. My classmates who took the bar in downtown LA had to deal with terrible parking issues, overcrowding, etc. Something to consider.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Need help making a decision
« on: March 26, 2015, 11:05:11 AM »
Please keep in mind that my comments are based on your statement that you want to work in TX.

None of the schools were discussing are what I'd call elite. Wash U is the highest ranked, but I have no idea what kind of pull it has in TX. My guess is that it would be viewed as a good school, but not the kind of place where you can rely on pedigree alone to open doors in TX. The same would go for the other schools on your list. I'm not sure that it would necessarily carry any more weight than Baylor or UH.

Once you get away from the elite schools, you really need to consider location and cost. In my opinion, you would be far better off attending a TX school if you want to practice in TX.

Don't base your decision on this. It probably won't happen.

A huge factor. I know that you are probably eager to start school, but here is a thought. What about reapplying to schools like SMU, Texas Tech, Texas Wesleyan, St. Mary's, etc., and seeking a big scholarship? A free (or at least significantly discounted) degree from one of these schools may be more beneficial than huge debt from UH. Just a thought.

I have a lot of respect for the above posters, both offer good advice.

However, when the discussion devolves into Cooley vs. Harvard we enter the theater of the absurd. How many students are actually faced with such a stark choice? Is anyone who has been accepted to Harvard actually contemplating Cooley, or any other school outside of the T14? Surely there are a handful of such cases, but it seems rather pointless to make such comparisons.

Personally, I think anyone who gets accepted to Harvard would be crazy to turn down the opportunity unless it was to take advantage of a full ride at another well known school. If you've read any of my previous posts then you know that I am VERY skeptical of the rankings and encourage people to examine all facets of their available options.

Nonetheless, a degree from Harvard/Yale/Stanford is so instantly recognizable as badass that it will be a boon to the job applicant regardless of geographic location. Even if your goal is to be a PD in Maine or Lansing, the Harvard degree will help. The debt is another issue.

A far more realistic scenario (and one which has the potential to adversely affect many more prospective students), is when someone is debating between Low Ranked School at Discount vs. Mid-Ranked School at Full Price. This is where the rubber hits the road.

How many of us know people who wanted to work as attorneys in say, California, but turned down a scholarship to the local T4 in order to attend a non-elite, out of state school because it was ranked higher? Huge mistake, IMO.

So, do rankings matter? Yes, especially at the top. But as others have stated, once you get into the great blurry mass of the other 190 or so schools that are not elite, you better prioritize cost and location over rankings.

Second, don't believe what law schools are telling you. No law school outside of the T14 or so is "national". Heck, some of the schools in the T14 aren't that national. If you go to a school in the T50, expect to practice in that region. If you go to a school outside of the T50, expect to practice in that locality. Does that mean you will? No. But chances are, you will.


I live and work in the Los Angeles area and I cannot tell you how many times I've seen students pass up the opportunity to attend a solid local school on a 50% scholarship in order to attend a non-elite (but higher ranked) out of state school. They have been so imbued with the notion that rankings are infallible, that they cannot fathom that law firms in LA won't give a crap that you attended the #52 school vs the #67 school.

I've tried to explain that once you get away from truly elite schools (not just "good" schools), cost and geography should drive the decision  making process. Frankly, many of them are oppositional to the information. Oh well. They'll learn the hard way that a $150k debt is a far bigger obstacle to their success than the arbitrary nuances of law school rankings.

In most situations I think people should just take the cheapest degree possible. However, most people don't have the chance to attend a nationally recognized school like Penn.

This is one of the few times when I would at least seriously consider attending a certain school, even if it involves debt accrual. Penn is one a very limited number of schools whose reputation alone really can open doors throughout the country. This may (or may not) be worth the debt depending on what you want to do with the degree.

If you want to hang your own shingle and do family law, or become a local prosecutor, then I'd go for the free degree in a heartbeat. But if you are inclined towards Biglaw, federal jobs, or just aren't sure what you want to do yet, then Penn may be worth the investment. Keep in mind, however, that even as a Penn graduate you will still have to compete for the top jobs. Plenty of students from Harvard/Yale/Georgetown, etc are also after those positions.


Yeah, I dunno. If the transcript lists the course grade and units attempted, I think it's going to be counted based on the quote you provided from LSAC. But I really don't know.

I think all you can do at this point is send your info to LSAC, get the report generated, and see what they do. If you believe that they count the coursework improperly, perhaps you can petition for a re-evaluation.

Law School Admissions / Re: Need help applying
« on: March 11, 2015, 10:16:27 AM »
I'm applying like a scatter shot so I really need some help: let me know if this is a solid list. I really don't know what I have a shot at w/ a at least a little scholarship/aid.

University of Washington
Seattle U
U of Iowa
George Mason
Denver Sturm
Penn State Dickinson
Florida State

I agree, you're applying like scatter shot. Generally, I think this is a bad idea. My guess is that you're applying based on rankings (unless you really want to live in Iowa for some reason).

That's fine if you're applying to nationally elite schools, but you should consider that among this list of schools you're talking about degrees that aren't necessarily going to open doors based on pedigree alone. They all have good reputations within their regions, but if you wanted to live in Miami after law school, for example, I'm not sure why you would go to law school in the Midwest or pacific northwest.

I would really spend some time thinking about what you want to do after law school, and let that guide the process.

Typically, LSAC will count all college level courses attempted. If I'm reading your post correctly, it sounds like your community college courses do not fall within the exemption since the transcript lists both the grade and units attempted.

Your best bet is to call LSAC. They can give you more precise information.

It's difficult to say because nobody on this board works for your school or knows what their particular definition of "serious hardship" means.

But, just looking at the situation you've described I would think that it certainly qualifies. I'm not familiar with the 3rd year visiting thing. Does that just mean that you take your last year of classes somewhere else?

Ask your school what they require, and apply. That's all you can really do. They'll be able to give you better info than anyone here.

One thing to consider might be taking a little time off from law school. I know you said you're doing well academically, but maybe you could use a break? After graduation you'll need to prep for the bar, which can be quite stressful. It might be a good idea to sort out any problems now, before that whole process begins.

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