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Messages - Maintain FL 350
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« on: November 06, 2012, 12:37:44 PM »
I appreciate your candor. I was hoping I'd be awash in replies telling me that I should get in no problem, but I'm afraid that was wishful thinking on my part.
That depends on which school you're talking about. Take a look at the law school profiles on LSAC's Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools. It will give you a very good idea as to your chances at each school.
According to the LSAC profiles, you have a good shot at both Tulsa and OKCU. At the University of Oklahoma the bottom
25% of admitted students had a an average LSAT of 155. That doesn't mean you can't get in, but you can see the difficulty. According to LSAC, for the numeric range of 3.50-3.75 GPA and 150-154 LSAT, the U of OK had 57 applicants and 12 admits. That's about a 20% acceptance rate.
I will add a few things. I'm an alum of U of Oklahoma, with good extracurriculars (Student Congress, Academic Misconduct Council, etc.) and with what I would consider a relatively impressive resume (Taught overseas with Fullbright, accountant at fortune 500 company for 2 yrs). Will that have much, if any, sway? Could good recommendation letters have an impact? I know they say that admission depends roughly 90% on GPA & LSAT score, but I'm wondering if those extra intangibles could make up, in some part, for the 151?
Obviously I can't predict what the University of Oklahoma admissions panel will do, but I think that there are general rules which apply to most law school applicants.
First, law school admission is primarily a numbers game. This is clearly evidenced by the admissions profiles on LSAC. Take a look at them closely. At most schools there is an LSAT score below which your chances for admission are very, very low. Soft factors like the ones you've mentioned are good, but are most useful when you're being compared to similarly qualified applicants. In other words, if you're a borderline admit/not admit case, these factors can help. I'm not sure that a 151 is in that borderline territory, however (at U of OK). The fact is, there's very little incentive for law schools to admit students with lower LSAT scores. The schools want to report the highest numbers possible in order to raise their rankings. I think if you could bring that LSAT up to 155-157 you'd stand a much better chance.
Again, I have no knowledge of the inner workings of the U of Oklahoma admissions panel, this is just my opinion. You should do your own research too, and talk to the school.
Considering this, how would it reflect if I went ahead and applied for 2013/14 with my current 151/3.6, viewed the offers, and if I didn't like what I saw, retook the test and reapplied for 2014/15? Would they take note of that? Would it have any negative impact?
I seem to remember that the law school applications I filled out asked if I had applied to that particular school previously. I don't know what impact that has, but they do seem interested.
and I know plenty of people around here who made a good living with a law degree from OCU or Tulsa.
That's an important point to remember. I know lawyers here in CA who didn't even go to ABA schools and could buy and sell a biglaw partner ten times over. A million bucks is spare change to some of these guys. I also know plenty of graduates of small local law schools who may not be millionaires, but make a comfortable living as DAs, family law specialists, etc. The people who tell you that you're doomed if go to anything less than a top tier school are usually lacking in any real world experience. Be realistic about your options, try to avoid debt accumulation, make connections, and you'll likely be alright.
« on: November 05, 2012, 01:49:03 PM »
Sorry, I meant the solicitor's exam (the QLTT?). I take it the QLTS is for barristers?
My main question is, did you find it necessary to approach the QLTT as you would the bar exam, ie; several months of studying/practicing. Was it a question of primarily learning new vocabulary, or new substantive law?
« on: November 05, 2012, 12:16:41 PM »
How would compare the QLTS to the bar exam, in terms of difficulty?
« on: November 05, 2012, 12:14:54 PM »
Ususally, I don't think it makes sense to retake the LSAT unless you can identify a specific reason which you can legitimately link to a low score. Often people simply hope that they'll do better next time, and don't. Your case, however, might be one of those exceptions where retaking is a good idea.
First, you seem to have an identifiable obstacle that may have lowered your score. Although it's very speculative to gauge the impact of such external factors, it stands to reason that it probably had some negative effect.
Additionally, you have a good GPA and even a small score increase (say, to 155) would greatly expand your oppotunities. In other words, there is a potentially big payoff for a rather small investment. In order to have a shot at significant scholarship money, I think you'd probably have to score considerably higher, probably above 160. (I could be totally wrong, BTW. I can't speak for what any individual school might offer.)
You might be able to get into OKCU and Tulsa with your current numbers, but University of OK seems a longshot at best. Some other schools in your region like Loyola-New Orleans, AK-Little Rock, and maybe a few TX schools might take you with a 151.
If you have the time and money, by all means take a prep course and treat it seriously. Like any other academic endeavor, you will get out of it what you put into it.
« on: November 04, 2012, 12:41:13 PM »
3. February 2012 CalBar stats showed a 17% pass rate for applicants with foreign law degrees
17% is roughly equivalent to many online/correspondance J.D. programs. However, I imagine that the majority (perhaps the vast majority) of foreign applicants attended traditional brick and mortar universities. Presumably this statistic includes Canadian law students who took American J.D. courses through various programs as well. The pass rate for online foreign grads may in fact be significantly lower.
Although foreign online grads are permitted to seek admission, how many (if any) have actually succeeded?
Again, I'm not trying to be argumentative or overly critical, but this seems like such a circuitous route to bar admission. The statistical probabilities are stacked against the applicant.
« on: November 03, 2012, 11:56:46 PM »
I completely agree, it's absurd. If an individual can pass the California bar, isn't that a far better indication of their legal acumen than the fact that they hold a degree from an online foreign school? Pure snobbery, that's the issue. Bar associations tend to be archaic, fussy, and elitist. A British degree, even if it's from an online school, sounds better to the petit bourgeoisie than a non-ABA California school.
A few questions:
1) Does NY require that the applicant be a licensed solicitor first? California's rule on this particular aspect is still unclear to me.
2) Don't LL.B programs usually require some supervised training in order to earn the degree, a sort of practicum? If so, it would seem very difficult for an American to complete an LL.B online. Wouldn't they have to secure a training contract? Or is the training only required to qualify as a solicitor?
3) If an individual's only exposure to U.S. law is a one year long LL.M program, and maybe BARBRI, what are the chances of passing the CA or NY bars?
I ask these last two questions because I don't really understand why an American law student would choose to pursue an online LL.B rather than an online or correspondance J.D. (assuming they plan to practice in the U.S.). An American J.D. doesn't require the added expense of an LL.M to meet bar eligibility, and actually teaches American law (which you may encounter on say, an American bar exam).
I suppose if the individual holds dual citizenship, like my family does, and plans on eventually moving to the U.K., it might make sense. Otherwise, the chances of landing a job in the U.K. are pretty minimal.
« on: November 02, 2012, 10:32:57 PM »
For the most part, location is not an issue at all except we wish to stay away from the east coast. Other than that cost and scholarships are the most important factors for us.
There are quite a few schools you can get into with a 2.58/162, far too many to list here. If you had a geographic preference that would narrow it down.
As far as scholarships, there are many schools that might offer you anything from a 10%-50%. There may even be a few places that offer considerably more. Again, if you had a regional preference that would help you come up with a list.
Your best bet is to apply to schools which list a 75th percentile LSAT score below 162 (by a few points, at least). Your GPA is low, even for T3/T4, so you're going to have to rely on your LSAT. A school with an average/median LSAT around 150-155 might be willing to offer you some decent money.
A few schools that come to mind include Cooley, Phoenix, Charlotte, maybe a few of the Florida schools. I think each have 75th percentile LSAT scores around 155, so a 162 might be very attractive to them. Some California schools like Southwestern, La Verne, Chapman, and Cal Western might offer money, too. If you're interested in CA schools, I checked out many of them and can offer some observations.
« on: November 02, 2012, 07:24:14 PM »
Are there any success stories in this forum of people who have completed law school and are earning a decent living? I would be interested in hearing from them, and where they attended school, etc.
This is a huge issue and involves so many different factors that it's hard to distill it down to a succint answer.
Here's what I can tell you: as cliche as it might sound, I've known people who graduated from T4s and got great jobs immediately following graduation, and I've known people who graduated from T1s and had to pound the pavement for months and months. Everyone's story is going to be a little different, but there are broad general rules that apply to most people.Experience
Unless you graduate from an elite school experience and connections will matter more than rankings. In my experience, law students get caught up in rankings more than most lawyers do. It is imperitive that you gain as much meaningful experience as possible during law school. Do internships, work part time at a firm, volunteer at the DA or public defender, anything. I interned for a great, very busy office. They had me writing motions, interrogatories, observing negotiations, even making appearances. I went back to that internship twice and gained tons of experience. The attorneys there all helped me out after graduation with finding a job, wrote letters of recommendation, made introductions, etc. I was told that if a job opened at that office, I'd be first in line. That kind of stuff is worth it's weight in gold, and you'll be amazed at how many of your classmates don't take advantage of such opportunities.
(BTW, I went to a local non-elite law school. Some of the other interns were from big name national schools. Most of us reapplied for a second year of internship at that office, and I was the only one was asked back. I'm not saying that to inflate my ego, I'm just pointing out that once they got to know me it didn't matter where I went to school.)Expectations
It's important to have realistic, acheivable goals. If you begin law school expecting to be editor of the law review, landing a job a prestigious firm, and making a starting salary of $160,000, you'll likely be disappointed. The people I knew in law school who focused all their energy on obtaining those types of positions were usually frustrated and depressed.
OTOH, the people I knew who focused on gaining good experience, acted with maturity and professionalism, and were good at marketing themselves all seem to have landed jobs. They may not be making great money right now, but eventually they will. If you can accept an initial salary of $45-65,000, you're probably being realistic. You may also have to be willing to move, at least initially. Cities like LA, SF, and SD are more impacted than outlying areas. I also know a few people, even from my non-elite school, who did in fact land high paying big firm jobs. It does still happen. (This is where a scholarship can come in handy, too. Imagine how much easier it is to take a lower paying job when you don't have those huge payments? Lack of debt allows for great flexibility, a huge advantage.)
I don't know how much you make in IT, but there is a good chance you'll make less as a new law grad. However, in a few years you'll be doing better, and long term you can do very well. I met a guy recently who's been practicing for about twenty years. He started a small family law/divorce firm that now brings in a million dollars a year. Not bad, but he probably struggled right after law school.
My point is that if you go into law school with your eyes wide open and with a finger on the pulse of the market, you won't be taken by surprise. In this market you've got to be adaptable and willing to go where the work is. Maybe your dream is to be a prosecutor, for example. Well, if the prosecutor's office isn't hiring, but family law firms are, then you better start learning community property.
Hope that helped!
« on: November 02, 2012, 04:25:30 PM »
I've been to both campuses, and have spent a decent amount of time in each city. SD is beautiful, on the beach, and has great weather. Tempe is a cool college town, but the weather is ungodly hot for a good portion of the year. I mean, like 115 degrees during the summer. I think you mentioned that you're from CA, so you'd presumably be paying out of state tuition as well.
USD's campus is nice. Spanish style architecture, palm trees. ASU is much, much bigger and more modern (lots of 1960s architecture). Have you thought about any other CA schools (if that's where you want to live)? Santa Clara, Loyola, Pepperdine, USF, etc are all options.
If you're concerned about debt, consider shooting for substantial scholarships at lower ranked schools, too. I opted for a 75% scholarship at a local school instead of sticker price at a higher ranked school. It was the right decision for me, and worked out just fine. It may or may not be the right decision for you (depending on your goals).
« on: November 02, 2012, 03:45:26 PM »
I am wondering if it is worth retaking the LSAT when my average PT was a 168.
It's important to understand that practice tests simulate
, but do not replicate
, actual LSAT testing conditions. Practice tests cannot account for your mental state on test day, personal life circumstances, or even the scoring matrix which will be used to determine your percentile rank. For one administration of the exam a score of 160 might be the 80th percentile, and for another it might be the 85th percentile.
Retaking the LSAT is a calculated risk. Unless you have some very specific, identifiable reason which leads you to believe that you'll perform better the second time around, I'd be careful. There is a big difference between a 162 and a 168, and you could easily go a down a few points, too.
Honestly, I think the LSAT is a reality check for a lot of people. We all like to think that we're smarter than a standardized test would indicate. When we get a disappointing LSAT score we think "Oh, that's wrong. I must have had a bad day. I can do better." Maybe, maybe not. The fact is, your LSAT score doesn't just represent your individual aptitude. It measures your aptitude against thousands of other takers, and there are lots of very smart people in the world.
My view is that absent some catastrophic event on test day, the LSAT is fairly accurate at defining the outer parameters of the taker's abilities. I don't mean that to sound critical towards you personally, it's just my opinion. Try to critically, objectively evaluate your performance, and separate your hopes from your abilities. That will help you assess the overall probability of acheiving a higher score.
My objective originally was to attend U. of Minnesota if I had a 168-170, but due to this score my reach school is U. of Illinois. I have several target and safety schools: U. of Houston, Chicago-Kent IIT, U. of San Diego, Case Western Reserve, Loyola Chicago, U. of Tenn., LSU, Michigan State, and Seattle University.
All of those schools are in very different regions, and your opportunities at graduation will also vary accordingly. Generally speaking, I think it's a good idea to go to law school in the region in which you want to live. All of the schools you mentioned are good schools with good local/regional reputations, but none are so prestigious that you'll be able to land a job anywhere in the country based on pedigree alone. Your opportunities for internships/clerkships/summer associate positions etc. are primarily going to be within each school's immediate area. Unless you attend an elite school with a national reputation (Harvard, etc) most law schools are local institutions.
It's actually not very easy to go to law school in say, California, then show up in Minnesota after graduation and effectively compete for jobs with local students who have had three or four years to build up connections and experience. Also, you'll be better prepared to take the bar exam in the state in which you plan to live if you also go to law school in that state. For example, I went to law school in CA and had to learn the community property system, California evidence, California professional responsibility, and California civil procedure. Someone who goes to law school in Michigan and learns Michigan's property system and other rules is therefore going to be at a disadvantage taking the CA bar. Something to consider.
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