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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Studying for the LSAT / Re: Took 1st Practice LSAT Today
« on: December 02, 2014, 11:17:24 AM »
There's no way to predict what your LSAT score will be based on one practice test. There are too many variables at work: your own intellectual abilities, time, your approach, the specific test you get, etc.

Study hard, prepare as much as possible, take the test and get a real live score, then evaluate your options.

A word about specialty programs:

Put some serious time and effort into researching the international law field before you choose a school based on a sub-ranking. Although such course offerings may be helpful, you'd be surprised how little weight employers attach to such things.

International law is often the province of big firms, government agencies, and NGOs. They tend to want graduates of elite schools, regardless of the school's specific sub-ranking in international law. If you attend a non-elite school there is a very good chance that you will not end up working in international law. I'm not trying to be negative, but this is a possibility that should be considered when evaluating your options.

In other words, think about whether you would be happy working as a family law attorney or public defender in central California or suburban DC, in case the international law route doesn't work out.   

Law School Admissions / Re: Do I Have a Chance?
« on: December 02, 2014, 09:02:31 AM »
Short answer: yes, you can get into a "decent" law school with a 3.27 GPA.

However, it depends on your LSAT score and your definition of "decent". Don't get too caught up in rankings when you evaluate schools. With a 3.27 places like Harvard are out of the picture anyway, so you're looking at local schools. Whether a particular school is right for you should depend more on finances, goals and location rather than USNWR rankings.

Secondly, without an LSAT score everything is speculation. The LSAT is such a huge part of the process that your score will basically determine where you can go. The difference in options between a 3.27/165 and a 3.27/155 is huge. Study for the LSAT, see how you do, then you can evaluate your options.

Online Law Schools / Re: LLB (Graduate Entry)
« on: November 23, 2014, 07:57:51 PM »

I was under the impression that UK law degrees were generally accepted in CA without an LL.M. For example, a friend of mine has his LL.B from an English law school and qualified for the CA bar without having to take an LL.M.

Is the determinative factor whether or not you are already licensed in the UK?

58,000 minutes? Are they trying to be annoying?

Anyway, my school required 88 which was increased from 84 a few years before I matriculated. I think less than 90 is relatively common.

Law School Admissions / Re: letters of recommendation
« on: November 12, 2014, 10:45:27 AM »
Don't stress about the LORs. They will likely have little (if any) impact on your chances for admission. LORs are one of those boxes you have to check, but they are of miniscule importance when compared to LSAT/GPA.

The vast majority of LORs will say the same thing: "So and so is a great guy, and will make a fine lawyer." Follow the rules, find acceptable people to write them, and don't stress. 

Current Law Students / Re: Am I On the Right Track
« on: November 07, 2014, 08:05:10 PM »
No, a fifth year won't make any difference.

The single biggest thing you can now do to increase your chances of getting accepted is to focus on the LSAT. An extra few points on the LSAT is worth more than all the internships in the universe.

What about the Bar?

Indeed. The above post pretty much answers the law school portion of your question, but what about the bar? The moral character application (at least here in CA) involves a FAR more thorough background check.

The law schools pretty much take you at your word that you haven't done anything wrong. The bar does not. They will check your records, contact people, and note discrepancies. Also, I seem to remember that some states will ask a catchall question, something like "Is there anything else that you feel you should disclose?"

Remember, the bar will compare your law schools apps and your bar app.

The general rule is disclose, disclose, disclose. The bar can be forgiving of previous mistakes, but not of attempts to cover them up. Actions which indicate dishonesty are taken VERY seriously.

Nor will they have much patience for excuses. Lot's of people have a tough time at home, and yet they manage to get through college without cheating. As a bar applicant you are asking to be entrusted with people's lives and livelihoods, and they want to know that you are mature and honest.

Are you required to disclose? I don't know, check with your state's bar.

As the previous posters have stated, a 165 LSAT is enough to get you into many law schools even with a lower GPA. Top ranked schools will be out, but it should be sufficient for lower ranked schools.

As far as whether or not you should take additional classes to raise your GPA, it depends on much it will actually change. I doubt if eight additional classes would make much difference. The fact is, a school that isn't going to accept someone with a 2.5 (regardless of LSAT) probably isn't going to accept someone with a 2.7 either.

165 is a good LSAT score, and I'd be wary of retaking unless you really believe you'll do better. You may score lower on a retake.

Here's something you need to consider, no matter where you go:

I was a non-trad student and went to law school while juggling kids and a mortgage. It is an unbelievably difficult grind. Law school makes undergrad look like a joke. The amount of work you will be required to do just to maintain a C average (especially the first year) is overwhelming at first. Your LSAT score indicates that you have the intellectual capability to succeed, but you need to make sure that the obstacles that interfered with your undergrad GPA are resolved before you start.

If you can't dedicate yourself 100% to law school, it won't turn out well. I'm not saying this to be negative, but I have first hand experience with the rigors of balancing law school with other competing obligations. It's something to consider before dropping $30-40k on year's tuition.

You may want to look at part time programs. I went to law school at night and completed my JD in four years instead of three. It's more like 3/4 time instead of part time, but it helps.

Make sure your family is totally on board with the idea, and understands the time commitment you will be required to make. I think a lot of people think they understand what it means, but really don't. Your weekends, holidays, and every spare minute you have will be spent preparing for class and exams. Having a supportive family is very important.

Good Luck with your decision and feel free to message me if you have any questions.   

I'm not sure what will happen to each school's ranking, but I don't think it will matter anyway.

Firms and government agencies that currently hire from Penn State/Dickinson will continue to do so even if the school's ranking drops. Once you get away from the handful of elite schools near the top of the rankings scheme, a school's reputation is pretty much local. Local reputations are based more on alumni networks and the school's profile within the immediate region, and less on rankings.

My guess is that Penn State/Dickinson probably has a good local reputation, and that it probably won't change because of USNWR. Honestly, who cares if a school is ranked, say, #64 instead of #51? Most lawyers know that this is a meaningless distinction.

Geography, however, does matter. It matters especially when you are talking about non-elite, local schools. If you want to live and work in Philly, Temple might be a better choice. You'd have much better access to the local market. If western/central PA is your goal, Dickinson might be a better choice.

I would think more about that aspect and less about rankings.

BTW, didn't Dickinson used to be a separate law school which merged with Penn State? I guess they decided to get a divorce.

Law School Admissions / Re: Help with Diversity Statement
« on: October 20, 2014, 10:39:47 AM »
Yeah, I agree with the previous posters. You can write about your age if you want to, but I don't think it will make any difference. Being one year younger than average isn't that unusual.

My understanding is that the only diversity statements that carry significant weight are those associated with URM status. And even then, certain URM groups can benefit more than others (African American, Native American). I'm not even sure that socioeconomic or sexual identity status matters much, either.

All of these are soft factors and with the exception of the above mentioned URM classifications, will pale in comparison to GPA/LSAT profiles. 

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