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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Hofstra U School of Law / Re: Hofstra falls 113th in US News
« on: October 11, 2013, 01:28:36 AM »
I honestly believe that the USNWR rankings scheme is one of the worst things that ever happened to legal education. Talk to an older lawyer and they'll tell you that law schools used to be viewed like medical schools are now: there were a handful of elite schools that were recognized as such (Harvard, Yale, etc.), but all ABA law schools were more or less considered "good schools". There wasn't any silly posturing over who was ranked 98 and who was ranked 77.

One of the worst aspects of this scheme is that it has caused people to focus so much on the particular rankings that they forget that the education at any ABA school is virtually identical to any other ABA school. A student at Hofstra will receive almost exactly the same education as a student at Berkeley. In fact, that is the entire point of ABA accreditation and why it is considered the gold standard for legal education.

Instead, this scheme focuses on very subjective and fluid criteria. The fact that a school can rise or fall 20 spots in a few years should give any intelligent person pause.

The rankings often give prospective students a totally false sense of a school's perceived strength or weakness. For example, a student who wants to live in L.A. might be tempted to go to law school at New Mexico because it's ranked higher than any local school to which they were admitted. They don't realize that regardless of rankings most schools won't really help you outside of their own geographic region, and you're probably better off going to a lower ranked local school.

As Citylaw said, do not make life decision based on this flawed, subjective system.   

Distance Education Law Schools / Re: Distance Learning
« on: October 08, 2013, 02:24:16 PM »
Question for you.  Is your intent to finish this school and then sit for the US (pick a state) bar exam?

I think foreign law grads are typically limited to CA and NY. I believe that California has some kind of reciprocal agreement with the UK, which makes it possible for some UK law grads to sit for the CA bar exam. My understanding is that most states will not entertain the idea of a foreign law degree, period, and that even CA is unlikely to admit non-UK foreign lawyers. 

Distance Education Law Schools / Re: St. Francis Law
« on: October 07, 2013, 01:08:37 AM »
Concord is regionally accredited but not by the state bar.  That means a Concord JD in theory is marginally better because it also has some academic standing if one wanted to enter a non law graduate program later or try for a job based on the JD alone.

I suppose that might be true, but I doubt the advantage is more than minimal. For the purposes of law school accreditation only ABA or state bar accreditation matter. As far as non-law jobs, if they'd hire a Concord grad they'd probably hire a Taft/St. Francis/Cal Southern etc grad.

Distance Education Law Schools / Re: St. Francis Law
« on: October 04, 2013, 06:39:22 PM »
I just wanted to know any opinions and/or experiences with either Southern California or St. Francis Law Schools?

I don't have any personal experience with either school, but the same caveats that would apply to any DL program are applicable here. Think seriously and realistically about what you're trying to do with the JD and let that guide your decision making process. An online JD may be fine if you intend to be a solo practitioner in California, but you will not be able to get admitted to most other states regardless of the handful of anecdotal stories about people successfully petitioning various state bars. Even in CA most firms and government agencies are suspicious of online JDs, and it will be more difficult to find a job.

JonLevy has good advice, look at the individual schools' FYLSE and bar pass rates. Also look at how long the school has been around, and if their pass rates are consistent. I believe the Calbar website lists pass rates for the last five or six years.

Taft seems to be fully accredited with everyone EXCEPT ABA and cannot answer even dumb questions.  But they do get TITLE IV funds - and people wander what is wrong with the system. . . .

Concord is  the only school which has both accreditation with CA Bar and is regionally certified with US Dept of Ed.  Its policies mirror the ABA standards.

Concord is not accredited by the CA bar, in fact no DL program is accredited by any state bar or the ABA. This means that you will still have to take the FYLSE, and won't be eligible for admission to most states.

Taft is also not accredited by any state bar, same caveats apply. Taft does have a better record than most. They have a longer track record, better pass rates over a longer period of time, and are cheaper. (I'm not a Taft grad, this isn't a plug).

Bottom line: DL can be the right choice for the right person, but you really need to understand what you're getting into and the inherent limitations of the degree. That said, I've met successful attorneys from unaccredited schools. You just have to be realistic. 

Distance Education Law Schools / Re: Distance Learning
« on: October 01, 2013, 04:05:20 PM »
Wow, under 5k for a JD is amazing. Distance learning can be the right choice for the right student. I think the key is understand what you're getting into before you start and to be fully informed as to any potential obstacles. The people I know who went the DL route with their eyes wide open did fine. The ones who were either uninformed or simply refused to acknowledge the realities were usually disappointed. It just depends on the individual.

Miami's advice is solid. I would just add that at this point you just have to do the very best that you can and not get consumed by overthinking the test. I know that sounds simplistic, but it's true. Narrow each question down to two choices, pick one, and move on. Don't fall into the trap of spending too much time on any on question, and rack up as many "easy" points as possible.

Lastly, go into the test with a clear, calm mind. There is no point in fretting about the score until you know what you actually got. Frankly, most people don't score as high as they thought they would. The LSAT can be a sharp reality check in that way. After you get a real score, you can weigh your options.

Good luck!

Law School Applications / Re: 2.3 GPA, strong work history, 160 LSAT
« on: October 01, 2013, 03:53:51 PM »
I don't feel too bad for you. With a solid application you have a chance to get into the lower T-14.

The chances of getting into a T14 with a 2.3/160 are next to zero. Those schools are inundated with applicants who have very strong soft factors and very high GPA/LSAT profiles. The incentive to take a chance on a less numerically qualified applicant just isn't there.

The OP mentioned NCCU and Howard, however. I think the OP would have a decent shot at both schools based on their LSAC admissions info. The OP could also consider seeking a scholarship at a T4, which might make more sense considering his family situation. Accruing a huge debt when you already a family is a serious issue.

I would encourage them OP to think about his long term goals, be realistic about what it will take to achieve them , and let that guide the process.

A couple of points:

First, it's not unusual to have most of your scores fall within a range of 4-5 points. You shouldn't expect that each PT will necessarily increase in score. For a multitude of reasons you may score higher on some than on others. You could just as easily score a 157 on your next attempt.

Second, most people do plateau within a range, and most people are disappointed with their range. It's just the way it is. Which leads me to the last point...

In my opinion (and this is only my opinion, feel free to ignore it) there isn't any point in postponing the LSAT unless you can specifically identify some reason that leads you to believe you will benefit from postponing. Most people think that postponement = more study time = higher score. That may or may not be true. If you didn't have time to adequately prepare, or something was holding you back, then maybe it makes sense to wait.

But if you worked hard, followed a schedule, gave it good faith effort then I'm not sure that going over the same material again will result in higher scores. This is only anecdotal, but it seems like most of the people I know who took the LSAT multiple times still scored with a fairly narrow range.

Law School Applications / Re: 3.2 GPA LSAT???
« on: September 10, 2013, 12:53:13 PM »
I took my diagnostic (Never checking out the LSAT before! Also, I took the sections right next to each other, no breaks between and within 35-36 minutes each section.) and I received a 149. I intend to take the October class and given my game plan, any advice if this 170+ goal is achievable?

I sort of addressed this in a reply to another of your posts, so forgive me for being repetitive. Is it achievable? The answer is yes, but it's statistically unlikely. Only a tiny fraction of those who initially score 149 on the diagnostic score 170 on the actual LSAT. I know we all like to think that statistical probabilities don't apply to us and that we'll be the exception, but that's the reality.

I would advise making a back up plan, and think about what you're going to do just in case you don't score 170.

Also, I do a lot of community volunteer work (I act as a Team Leader  in numerous civic projects here in NYC!) and I was hoping to get some scholarship in the top 14.

The competition to get admitted to T14s, let alone to get scholarships from T14s, is very, very stiff. Those schools are flooded with applicants who have high GPAs, high LSATs, and amazing soft factors. Right now, all wishful thinking aside, you have a 3.2 GPA and 149 LSAT diagnostic. I'm not trying to be critical or negative, but those usually aren't T14 numbers.

For the purposes of T14 admissions, a 3.2 GPA is low. The only way to really counter that is to score very high on the LSAT. Even then, admission is by not guaranteed.

The fact that you have a couple of M.A.s and do community work is great, but it won't really replace your GPA or LSAT score. Numbers dominate the process, and top schools have so many well qualified applicants that there isn't really any incentive to take someone with less than equal numeric qualifications.

As I said before, I would advise developing a Plan B. 

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Time to allot for studying
« on: September 10, 2013, 12:30:27 PM »
It's very difficult to predict what your LSAT score will be this early in the game. When you are a week or two away from the real test, and have been consistently scoring in the same range for a while, then you'll have a better idea.

It's unlikely that you'll increase 3-4 points with every administration of the exam. The thing about the LSAT is that it gets exponentially harder to gain points the higher you go. In other words, going from 155 to 160 is a big leap, but going from 160 to 165 is even bigger. Far fewer people will score 165 than 160, and only a fraction of all applicants will score above 170.

You would have to be making huge statistical leaps forward to consistently increase your score towards 170. In short, it's a lot harder than it sounds. 

Additionally, it seems that most people score lower on the actual LSAT than they did on practice exams. I think most people find that they plateau within a 3-5 point range. I had a friend who scored 174 on the LSAT, but even his diagnostic was something like 165.

I'm not saying it's impossible, just that you should understand the statistical improbability of going from 149 to 170, and make a backup plan accordingly. Think about other options just in case you don't score 170, and other schools you may want to apply to.


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