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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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411
As a general rule, I agree with Citylaw that if you want to live in Miami you should go to law school in Miami. I think this is true for the vast, overwhelming majority of students.

Additionally, I think the rankings scheme is a crock (as Supreme Court justice Alito recently said).

However, there are exceptions to every rule. Michigan is one of the very few law schools (along with Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and few others) that can legitimately boast about a national reputation. A law degree from UM will be carry weight in L.A., NYC, WDC, or Miami.

Is it worth the expense? That I can't answer, but I do think your situation is a little different from someone who is trying to decide between say, FIU/Miami and a higher ranked (but not elite) school. It's a tougher decision, IMO.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that after a couple of years your degree will be subordinate to your experience. No institution's name alone can carry a career indefinitely.

412
Maintain FL 350, I received a 2/3 tuition scholarship from University of Miami with the condition that I remain in the top half of my class. I tried to get more money or, at the very least, removal of the condition based on my other offers (which were the same amount of aid with no conditions from top 20 schools), however, they basically (and, sadly, somewhat smugly) said no. I in turn withdrew my application. I already have plenty of ties, education, and a few years of work experience in Miami, so I am not overly worried of trying to "break into the region/market."

Yes, that is somewhat surprising. I would've thought a 75-100% scholarship with easy stips ("good standing") was in order.

Look, Michigan has a huge reputation. There are very few schools that can truly claim national reputations, and Michigan is one of them. A good friend of mine went there and it definitely helped him land a Biglaw job in California. However, he once told me that he wished he had accepted a full scholarship from another school instead because his current job does NOT require an elite pedigree, and if switches jobs again his prospects will be based on his experience rather than his degree. So again, it really just depends on what you want to do.

If you already have solid connections in the Miami area, I have to think that a degree from Vanderbilt + connections is worth basically as much as a degree from Michigan + connections. At that point, the connections are the crucial factor and the degree is icing on the cake.

75k is lot of scratch and for me, personally, that would be the deciding factor. But you need to do what's right for you, and maybe the mythical siren's song of Ann Arbor is just too powerful!

 

413
These are all great schools, and I don't think you can really go wrong with any of them.

Location
Always a huge factor. Each of these schools has a big enough rep that you can probably score job interviews in Miami based on pedigree alone. However, even coming from these schools, big firms will still want high grades and at least some relevant experience.

Perhaps ten years ago a degree from any of these schools would have meant a nearly guaranteed high paying Big law position. Now, you will be expected to compete for those dwindling number of jobs with many other applicants who have equally impressive pedigrees. However, you will be able compete.

With smaller firms and government offices a degree from these schools can be a huge advantage.

Cost
Of these three schools, Michigan definitely has the greatest cache. Is that worth the extra money? I don't know, only you can answer that. It's important to understand that even graduating from one of these powerhouses it is still entirely possible that you won't be making $150,000 to start. You've got to do a cost/benefit analysis based on your own needs.

Other options?
It's always good to examine all possibilities. One thing to at least consider is that if you have the numbers to get into Michigan you might be able to score a full scholarship to someplace like UF or Miami. Depending on your long term goals, graduating from a solid regional school with zero debt may not be a bad plan.

Again, these are all very well respected schools. I tend to be very debt adverse, and always encourage people to think about what it really means to pay $2000 per month in non-dischargeable debt. Good luck and congratulations with whatever you decide!

414
Just to expand a bit on Citylaw's comments:

165 is a very good LSAT score, and you can definitely get accepted to a number of schools based on that score. If you need to stay in the Boston area, I would look into UMASS-Dartmouth and Roger Williams in addition to the schools Citylaw listed.

As a splitter you've got to be flexible, because admissions are a less predictable.

Lastly, before you drop over a $100,000 on law school you need to commit yourself to rebuilding your study habits. In undergrad you can put in minimal/non-existent effort and still get a passing GPA. That is NOT the case in law school.

Law school requires self discipline and motivation, and you cannot procrastinate. I don't know what factors led to your 2.02 GPA, but you need to get that issue under control before attempting law school. Your LSAT score indicates intelligence, but in law school that won't be enough. You'll need a very strong work ethic too, or else you will soon be far behind the curve trying to play catch up. In my experience, people in that position often failed out.

Something to consider.

415
You're a splitter, which makes such predictions more difficult.

Take a look at the Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools. For each school it will show how many people applied with numbers like yours, and how many were accepted. You'll get a good idea as to your chances, considering that most admission decisions are based on the applicant's numbers.

According to Suffolk's profile, an applicant with your approximate numbers falls into the "Unlikely" category. That doesn't mean impossible, though.

I'd say go ahead and apply to Suffolk, but make sure you apply to few other schools as well.

416
Law School Admissions / Re: Third Tier Admission
« on: April 16, 2014, 10:45:31 AM »
So here is the question: What do I need to do in order to get into West Virginia Law?

No one on this board (or any other board) can definitively answer that question. However, here's something to consider: according to WVU, their median GPA/LSAT is 3.36/154.

Although law schools love to fill the pages of their promotional materials with stuff about "looking at the whole applicant", the vast majority of law school admission decisions will be based almost exclusively on numeric qualifications.

Soft factors such as holding a graduate degree or volunteering at a soup kitchen are fine, but won't really make too much difference. If it's a choice between the applicant with multiple soft factors and a low GPA/LSAT versus the applicant with ZERO soft factors and high GPA/LSAT . . . , well you get the picture.

So what does that mean for you?

It means that for the purposes of law school admission your GPA is very low. Thus, the best way to mitigate that low GPA is with a very high LSAT score. Simply meeting the average 154ish range is probably not enough.

Take a look at the admission grids in The Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools. They are very helpful, and will give you a good idea as to your chances. It looks like only a couple of people were admitted to WVU with GPAs in the 2.0-2.24 range, and they had LSATs in the 160+ range.

My advice would be:

1) crack down on the LSAT prep. Take a course if possible, and truly dedicate yourself to getting the highest score possible.

2) Broaden your horizons. You may not get into WVU. Would you be willing to attend another school?

3) Don't take this as snarky criticism (I'm not one of these posters who gets a kick out of trashing people's dreams) but you should think about whether or not law school is the right choice.

The reason that law schools want solid GPAs is because law school is VERY challenging. Seriously, it makes undergrad look like kindergarten and you will be expected to compete with lots of very smart, motivated students.

If you had a tough time achieving a passing GPA in undergrad, law school may not be the best option. Success in law school will require a major change in your motivation, study habits, and personal discipline. Unless you get that straightened out law school will be a waste of time and money. 

417
Online Law Schools / Re: Did not get accepted to Concord Law School
« on: April 14, 2014, 10:13:13 AM »
In my opinion an EJD fails the cost/benefit analysis.

1) You can't practice law with it.
2) Does anyone take it seriously?
3) It's expensive.

If you simply want to learn something about the law without having to prepare for the bar exam, you can buy a few books on Amazon and save yourself thousands of dollars.

Lastly, you need to find out why you were rejected by Concord. Their admissions are pretty open, and this could indicate a major problem with your ability to study law. Figure this out before you drop thousands in tuition at another school, or Concord.

418
Law School Admissions / Re: Low GPA Questions
« on: March 31, 2014, 09:58:19 AM »
Funny, I was in the process of responding to this post the other night but we had an earthquake so I had to stop. Gotta love California!

As Miami88 has stated, don't spend a couple of years working as a paralegal just because you want a boost in terms of law school admissions. Only do it if you want to be a paralegal.

Soft factors such as employment can make a difference if they are truly unique, formative experiences. Stuff like Peace Corps, teaching in an impoverished district, working at a non profit public interest organization, etc. Working as a paralegal doesn't fall into that category. In fact, it's common law school applicants to have paralegal experience. It will make very little difference, and won't overcome a low GPA or LSAT.

Despite the lip service law schools pay to "looking at the whole applicant", admission is very much a numbers game. Once you have your final GPA and LSAT score you will have a very good idea of where you'll get in and where you won't.

If you're looking to maximize your chances I would suggest 1) maximizing your remaining GPA, and 2) maximizing your LSAT score by taking the time to really prepare, including a prep class.

If you feel that you want to gain some resume experience, I'd look at fields that law schools might actually pay attention to.

Also, (and please don't take this as snarky criticism)  you may want to consider whether law school is the right choice for you. Law school is much, much more difficult than undergrad, and the exams you will be required to take in order to graduate and get licensed make college and the LSAT look like kindergarten. If you had a tough time with college and the LSAT, you may want to think about this before spending $150,000 on a JD.

Lastly, you should consider what you want to do after law school, and whether or not your goals can be realistically met. I say that because with a 2.5 GPA you won't be going to Harvard or Stanford, and it's statistically unlikely that you'll score 175 on the next LSAT. If you do go to law school it will most likely be at a lower tier school. That's not necessarily a problem, but you may need to modify your expectations.

So, if your goal is to be a partner at a major NYC firm, or to work at the United Nations, you may want to reconsider. However, if your goal is to open your own office and handle divorces, that's different.   

419
Law School Admissions / Re: CBE School or Wait Another Year?
« on: March 27, 2014, 04:21:56 PM »
Honestly, you need to really think about whether or not law school is the right choice for you, not just whether you can get in anywhere.

Law school is much, much more demanding than undergrad. It's not even close. If you had a tough time getting passing grades in college, then law school is going to be brutal. 

If you have a tough time with tests, like the LSAT, then consider that the MPRE and (especially) bar exam will make the LSAT look like a joke.

Please understand that I'm not trying to be overly critical, but these are things you need to consider before you go $150,000 in debt to obtain a degree which you may not be able to utilize.

As far as getting into an ABA law school, I think your GPA is going to be a huge problem even if you retake the LSAT and score in the 160s. 

If you do decide to attend a CBE or unaccredited law school, take the time to thoroughly research the requirements and potential limitations of such a degree. Do a realistic, critical self-evaluation and figure out what caused you to get a low GPA. Unless that issue has been resolved, I'd rethink my plans.

"Proceed with Caution".

420
If you are interested in practicing law in LA, neither of these schools are ideal choices. You'd be better off attending school in LA.

UM obviously has greater name recognition, but it's not what I would call "elite". UM is an excellent school, but I don't think its reputation is so prestigious that the pedigree alone will open many doors in LA. For example, I would ask UM how many LA firms interviewed on campus recently. I'll bet the number is very low. That's because the larger LA firms have their pick of UCLA, USC, Irvine, Stanford and Berkeley grads. If they look out of state, its at places like Harvard and Yale.

At smaller firms and government agencies they are less concerned with pedigree, but they want relevant experience. It's difficult to make connections and gain internships (both of which will be critical to gaining employment) from 1500 miles away. Simply showing up in LA after three years in Minneapolis and starting from scratch is very tough. 

From what I've seen, a graduate from a school like Loyola or Pepperdine who has significant local experience is often in a better position than a graduate from a higher ranked school who lacks experience. The exception being if the graduate is from a truly elite school like Harvard.

Also check the CA bar pas rates for UM. Law schools in MN are not designed to prepare you for the CA bar exam.

As far as Cal Western, I can understand the attraction of a 90% scholarship. If you plan to go into business for yourself, there is no reason in my opinion to accrue $150,000 debt. Most of your clients won't know the difference between Cal Western and Yale, nor will they care.

The problem, again, is location. If you want to practice in LA why go to school in San Diego?

For both schools, be sure to check the scholarship's stipulations. It may have some tough requirements.

If you have the numbers to get scholarships at UM and Cal Western, then you might want to shoot for a scholarship at a local LA school. At this point it probably means waiting a year, but it might be worth it.

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