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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Affirmative Action / Re: Time to End Merit Scholarships
« on: January 23, 2014, 09:45:06 PM »
Most law schools today do not offer minority scholarships.

Do you have any evidence to back that up? Or evidence that URM status is not considered when awarding merit scholarships? 

Take a look at the profiles on LSN. A URM applicant with a around a 3.5/165 can expect big $$$ at many T1 schools, and possibly even full rides at many others. Unless the people on LSN are lying, this seems to be the case. If students, URM or non-URM, lose their scholarships later that's their problem.

They are using minorities to fund the merit scholarships. This is racial exploitation.

They are using anyone who doesn't earn the scholarship to fund it, minority or otherwise.

You're making three huge assumptions: 1) The people receiving merit scholarships don't need them,  2) URM applicants aren't getting them, and 3) tuition for minority students would be lower absent merit scholarships. 

Affirmative Action / Re: Time to End Merit Scholarships
« on: January 23, 2014, 07:36:37 PM »
BTW, how do you suggest that lower ranked schools attract highly qualified applicants without merit scholarships? If it's going to cost the same to attend Columbia as it is to attend St. John's or CUNY, what high achiever will choose the lower ranked school?

Affirmative Action / Re: Time to End Merit Scholarships
« on: January 23, 2014, 05:23:39 PM »
URM applicants with even moderately impressive numbers are eligible for tons of financial aid, as well as admission to schools that non-URM applicants with similar numbers can only dream about. Most law schools will bend over backwards to attract qualified URM students with significant scholarship offers. Many of the people who receive those scholarships aren't exactly poor either, but qualify based purely on URM status.

Merit scholarships are different. They are available to anyone, regardless of race, as long as they have the numbers. I think you're probably right that many of the recipients of merit scholarships are from well-off backgrounds, but plenty of regular joes benefit from these scholarships too. And yes, attracting highly qualified students is a legitimate goal of any law school.

I was raised poor as hell by a single mother, and never had any educational advantages. I went to crummy, gang infested schools where nobody cared, and had to work at crappy jobs and go into debt to get through college. Because I'm white I couldn't qualify for AA or many scholarships even though I was poorer than many of the URM students at my college. (Poor white students get really screwed this way.)

The only way I was able to attend law school was because I scored well on the LSAT and obtained a merit scholarship. Even then, I had to attend a lower ranked school in order to maximize the scholarship opportunities.

My point is that it's not as simple as you'd like to believe, and it certainly isn't "racial exploitation". If you don't have the numbers to merit a scholarship and you're afraid of accruing debt, then drop out. No one forces you to go to law school.   

Where should I go next fall? / Re: European LLB...what now?
« on: January 21, 2014, 12:42:02 PM »
I think it is most likely I get into schools around the level of UIUC and UConn. Do you think these schools are still high enough in the rankings for my personal case?

I don't know enough about your personal case to make a determination. It's impossible to say "If you go to School X you will work in international law, and if you go to School Y you will not." I'm sure that there are graduates from just about every law school who work in international law, so I'm speaking in general terms only.

That said, there are some things to keep in mind, and which are applicable to any applicant.

1) Big Firms
Much of the international law market involves big firms with offices in LA, NYC, London, Shanghai, etc. These jobs are highly, highly competitive, and if you look at the firm profiles you will see that many of the lawyers are graduates of elite law schools. They like to hire graduates of internationally recognized schools like Harvard and Stanford because it impresses their international clients.

2) International Organizations/NGOs
Pretty much the same story. Highly competitive, lots of applicants, and a preference for elite pedigrees.

Now, does this mean that you can't practice international law unless you graduate from an elite school? Of course not! I know a woman who graduated from a lower tiered school here in CA and who is practicing internationally helping a foreign government to organize their own legal system. However, I think her case is exceptional. My point is simply that in any highly competitive market where the employer has the luxury of choosing from among many highly qualified applicants, pedigree can matter. As far as I can tell, this seems to be truer for some jobs than for others, and international law is one of those jobs.

I would contact the law schools you are interested in attending and ask them directly about international employment, internship opportunities, etc. Ask about alumni working internationally. Also research and contact firms and organizations that you are interested in, ask where they hire from and what they look for in applicants. Don't rely on anything you read here or elsewhere from me or anyone else, it's just our personal opinions. Get the information straight from the source. Your European LL.B is probably considered a very positive asset, and may give you a better chance of getting into international law than the average student.     

Recommendations / Re: No personal relationship with profs
« on: January 21, 2014, 12:16:33 PM »
Hi Alex,

Don't sweat the LOR portion of your applications too much. Yes, they are a necessary part of the application but in reality they will probably play very little role (if any) in the admission process. The decisions will be based almost entirely on LSAT and GPA. Many applicants are in the same situation as you are, and don't really know their professors. As a result, most applicants get very generic LORs which don't offer any real insight as to the applicant's abilities. "So-and-so will be a valuable addition to your law school, blah blah blah." The LORs that you receive will probably be very similar to what the vast majority of applicants submit.

Law School Applications / Re: Late Cycle Consequences
« on: January 15, 2014, 12:41:00 AM »
As Citylaw stated, you may have a hard time getting scholarships from most of these schools (save San Diego), but you've got a good shot at acceptance to all of them. Your numbers are about average for most of these schools.

One thing you need to consider is location, and where you want to live after law school. I suspect that you're basing your list on rankings alone, but beware. It's not as simple as that.

All of these schools are fine institutions and will offer a great education. But none are exactly what I would call "elite" national schools. They're more like very good regional schools. With the possible exception of Vanderbilt, they aren't really the kind of schools which you should expect to open doors out of state based on pedigree alone. Most of your internship and post grad job opportunities will be local, and it's actually quite difficult to show up in a new town after graduation and compete with the local talent.

For example, if you wanted to live in LA then UCLA and USC are the obvious choices. However, you may also want to think about shooting for a  a big scholarship at someplace like Loyola or Pepperdine rather than going into serious debt to attend a higher ranked school out of state. Your job opportunities in LA may in fact be better, even though the schools are lower ranked. Is the Los Angeles County DA going to recruit in St Louis or Atlanta? I doubt it. 

Something to consider, and good luck!

Law School Applications / Re: Need help with ECs
« on: January 12, 2014, 01:48:58 AM »
Your EC's probably approximate the ECs offered by the vast majority of applicants. That is, they are not especially impressive but they aren't bad either. Most applicants have some generic ECs, and they usually don't play a big role unless they are truly unique and impressive. 

As Miami88 said, these types of soft factors pale in comparison to numeric qualifications. Regardless of what law schools may say about looking for well-rounded individuals and examining the "whole person", numbers dominate the process. Focus on getting the highest numbers possible, and you won't need to worry much about anything else.

Put it this way, an applicant with a 3.8/175 could probably write an essay about how they think ECs are a waste of time and they'd still get scholarship offers from 90% of the schools out there. Conversely, an applicant with a 2.0/140 could have the most amazing ECs imaginable and still be out of luck. For the majority of applicants who fall between these two extremes, ECs might play a role if you are a borderline case. Take a look at the admission profiles available from LSAC. If your numbers are significantly above or below a school's median, your chances for admission are very predictable. 

At highly competitive elite schools ECs and other non-numeric qualifications do matter more than at lower tier schools. I think this is because the expectation is that of course you have a high GPA and stellar LSAT, but so do all the other applicants. What else are you bringing to the table? In those cases, you will see applicants with truly impressive resume experience. 

You have a few options. One is to retake the LSAT and shoot for a higher score, which would help you to gain scholarship money and increase your range of schools. This is something that only you can decide, however, since it may or may not be , and Brooklyn.worth your while. If you feel that you can increase your score, I would seriously consider this option.

As far as other schools in the NYC area, I would apply to all of the following and see if any offer a scholarship to help defray the considerable cost of attendance: Yeshiva, NY Law School, St. John's, Pace, Hofstra, CUNY, and Brooklyn.

Other Considerations

That said, there are some things you really need to consider. Don't take this as criticism, but with a 2.8/155 you may have a very hard time obtaining any scholarship offers. This means you will likely foot the entire bill yourself (probably $150,000).

Before you commit yourself to this kind of massive debt, take the time to research the job market in NYC, especially for graduates of lower ranked schools. It is very competitive, and you will likely not obtain a high starting salary. Paying back that kind of debt is no joke, especially on a low salary. With your background in biology you can try for jobs in patent law, but you will be competing with NYU, Columbia, and Cornell grads too.

It is important to be very realistic about your post grad options, and to have a Plan B. If you are happy with the idea that you may have to work as a family law attorney at a small firm, or defending DUI cases for a few years and hustling to get clients, then alright. But if you go to law school expecting a high salary and a big office, well, you may be disappointed.   

I want to stay in NYC because I support my mother and my younger sister financially, and its also why I am looking at part time programs.

This is a red flag. You need to think about whether or not this is the right time to go to law school. I graduated from a part time evening program and I can tell you from personal experience that it is brutal. Law school is far more demanding than undergrad, in fact it's not even close. You will be competing for grades against other students who are just like you: smart, competitive, and ambitious. Remember all the slackers in college? They never made it to law school. It's a different ball game and will require much, much more of your time and energy.

Attending law school while working and being responsible for a family that is dependent on your income is a very, very stressful scenario. In my experience, many people who have these kinds of responsibilities end up dropping out. I'm not trying to be negative, but as someone who has actually juggled law school and a family I can tell you that this is something you need to seriously consider. Law school is so expensive and so demanding that it doesn't make sense to try it out on a "trial basis"; you must be able to fully commit your time and energy to the process or you will not succeed.

Good luck with whatever you decide, and feel free to ask any questions on part time law study. 

Distance Education Law Schools / Re: taft law school
« on: January 05, 2014, 12:31:20 AM »
I think he said $8700, not $90,000.

I've met several DL law grads here in California. They have all struck me as exceptionally motivated, sharp individuals. I think they have to be, even more so than the average lawyer, because the majority of firms and government offices simply won't hire a DL grad. It's probably unfair and snobby, but that's just the way it is.

If you are a HIGHLY motivated, disciplined individual then DL may be the way to go as long as you take the time to inform yourself of any potential limitations. Ask yourself what you hope to accomplish with your degree, because as Jonlevy said you will almost certainly work as a solo practitioner. After you build up several years of experience you may be able to join a small/mid sized firm. Depending on what you want to do, that may or may not be an acceptable career for you.

You will likely be limited to CA practice, as the vast majority of states will not allow non-ABA grads to sit for the bar.

I think DL can be the right choice for the right student, but you've go to make that critical self-assessment: do you have the discipline to make it happen, and are you realistic about your post grad options? If so, then you can have a rewarding career.

Congratulations, 163 is a very good score and you should be proud.

One thing I noticed that you may want to consider is that while all of the schools you're applying to are fine institutions, they're really spread out geographically. If you're happy making your career in any or all of those states, then great. But if you want to live in a specific region I would focus more on going to a school in that region/city.

Once you get away from elite national schools, it's not very easy to show up in a new town after law school, pass the state bar, and get a job. You'll have to compete against local talent who have had the last three years to work at internships and make connections. It's also pretty difficult to score summer positions and internships (which are vital to getting a job) from out of state. So, for example, if you want to live in NYC it would make more sense to apply to more NY schools than to spend three years in Tucson or Denver. Just my two cents!

Good luck and congratulations!

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