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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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401
Distance Education Law Schools / Re: Online LLB
« 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.


402
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Guidance Needed please 162 LSAT 2.58 GPA
« 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.

403
General Board / Re: 2.9 GPA-Looking to get into ASU Law or USD
« 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!

404
General Board / Re: 2.9 GPA-Looking to get into ASU Law or USD
« 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).

405
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Guidance Needed please 162 LSAT 2.58 GPA
« 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.

406
I hope to be licensed in 2 countries is my goal.  Once, I pass the bar in the United States, I plan to take the QLTT exams to become a solicitor in the UK. 

I think that's the biggest advantage to the LL.B. Once licensed in the U.K., you could probably get licensed in New Zealand, Australia, etc. Not bad at all.

407
Law School Applications / Re: Should I take the LSAT again?
« on: November 02, 2012, 02:15:49 PM »
Yes, I agree with you. The LSAT measures your aptitude at taking the LSAT, as obvious as that may sound. It does not measure overall intelligence.

Nonetheless, we all probably have a plateau score beyond which extra studying becomes an issue of diminishing returns. This is true in every academic field, not just the LSAT.

The purpose of undertaking a critical, realistic analysis of your performance is to attempt to separate your actual abilities from your hopes. It's extremely difficult to ascertain the degree to which particular life circumstances impacted your LSAT score. It's a speculative undertaking at best, and there's no reason to assume that other unforseen problems won't arise the second time around. For example, the pool of test takers could be slightly better prepared during the next administration, which could result in a lower score even if the OP's personal problems are not a factor.

I'm not suggesting that the OP avoid retaking, I'm just suggesting that the OP carefully consider the probability of acheiving a higher score.

408
Law School Applications / Re: Should I take the LSAT again?
« on: November 02, 2012, 01:20:56 PM »
With a 3.4/165 you can into plenty of law schools, and even get full scholarships at many.

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 165 and a 170, 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 objectively evaluate your performance, and assess the overall probability of acheiving a higher score.

409
That's good, always better to get your info straight from the source.

So, in other words, your foreign degree will be evaluated and a determination will be made as to whether it qualifies, it doesn't qualify, or if an LL.M is required. The point is, the bar does have latitude in accepting or denying a foreign degree (unlike an ABA/CBE degree, which is automatically accepted). Thus the degree evaluation form.

They lead me to the evaluation form online and said that you have to prove your LLB is a first law degree period plus you need  either ABA LLM or a state accredited LLM with the required Califorinia courses.

A U.K. based degree is obviously legit and should receive favorable treatment, in my opinion.

But would a six month-long online course from Jamaica or Uganda (also common law nations) be acceptable as long as it results in the first degree in law? I would be surprised if the evaluation ceases once it's determined that such a degree is the first degree in law.

I hope this info can be helpful to someone, because their are a lot of negativity on these boards, seek the knowledge for yourself and follow your dreams, when one door closes another open.

I agree, there is a huge bias against distance learning on these boards and in the legal profession itself. Some of the criticisms are fair, and others are based on ignorance. Here's what you have to understand, though: if you seek a path to bar admission which is somewhat circuitous and completely different from the path that 99.9% of your future colleagues follow, people are going to be skeptical. Maybe it's unfair, but that's the price of following such a route.

 

410
Like I said, I  might be totally wrong. Personally, I love the fact that CA offers alternatives to the traditional ABA-dominated route to bar admission. I think our state accredited schools are an especially good example, and one which other states would do well to emulate. I really do wish you the best of luck. 

Just curious, why not get a J.D. from one of the online or correspondance CA schools, which would definitely meet eligibility standards? The cost would probably be about the same if you factor in the LL.M, and some (like Taft) seem to have okay bar pass rates.

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