Law School Discussion

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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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51
You have a few options. One is to retake the LSAT and shoot for a higher score, which would help you to gain scholarship money and increase your range of schools. This is something that only you can decide, however, since it may or may not be , and Brooklyn.worth your while. If you feel that you can increase your score, I would seriously consider this option.

As far as other schools in the NYC area, I would apply to all of the following and see if any offer a scholarship to help defray the considerable cost of attendance: Yeshiva, NY Law School, St. John's, Pace, Hofstra, CUNY, and Brooklyn.

Other Considerations

That said, there are some things you really need to consider. Don't take this as criticism, but with a 2.8/155 you may have a very hard time obtaining any scholarship offers. This means you will likely foot the entire bill yourself (probably $150,000).

Before you commit yourself to this kind of massive debt, take the time to research the job market in NYC, especially for graduates of lower ranked schools. It is very competitive, and you will likely not obtain a high starting salary. Paying back that kind of debt is no joke, especially on a low salary. With your background in biology you can try for jobs in patent law, but you will be competing with NYU, Columbia, and Cornell grads too.

It is important to be very realistic about your post grad options, and to have a Plan B. If you are happy with the idea that you may have to work as a family law attorney at a small firm, or defending DUI cases for a few years and hustling to get clients, then alright. But if you go to law school expecting a high salary and a big office, well, you may be disappointed.   

I want to stay in NYC because I support my mother and my younger sister financially, and its also why I am looking at part time programs.

This is a red flag. You need to think about whether or not this is the right time to go to law school. I graduated from a part time evening program and I can tell you from personal experience that it is brutal. Law school is far more demanding than undergrad, in fact it's not even close. You will be competing for grades against other students who are just like you: smart, competitive, and ambitious. Remember all the slackers in college? They never made it to law school. It's a different ball game and will require much, much more of your time and energy.

Attending law school while working and being responsible for a family that is dependent on your income is a very, very stressful scenario. In my experience, many people who have these kinds of responsibilities end up dropping out. I'm not trying to be negative, but as someone who has actually juggled law school and a family I can tell you that this is something you need to seriously consider. Law school is so expensive and so demanding that it doesn't make sense to try it out on a "trial basis"; you must be able to fully commit your time and energy to the process or you will not succeed.

Good luck with whatever you decide, and feel free to ask any questions on part time law study. 

52
Distance Education Law Schools / Re: taft law school
« on: January 05, 2014, 12:31:20 AM »
I think he said $8700, not $90,000.

I've met several DL law grads here in California. They have all struck me as exceptionally motivated, sharp individuals. I think they have to be, even more so than the average lawyer, because the majority of firms and government offices simply won't hire a DL grad. It's probably unfair and snobby, but that's just the way it is.

If you are a HIGHLY motivated, disciplined individual then DL may be the way to go as long as you take the time to inform yourself of any potential limitations. Ask yourself what you hope to accomplish with your degree, because as Jonlevy said you will almost certainly work as a solo practitioner. After you build up several years of experience you may be able to join a small/mid sized firm. Depending on what you want to do, that may or may not be an acceptable career for you.

You will likely be limited to CA practice, as the vast majority of states will not allow non-ABA grads to sit for the bar.

I think DL can be the right choice for the right student, but you've go to make that critical self-assessment: do you have the discipline to make it happen, and are you realistic about your post grad options? If so, then you can have a rewarding career.

53
Congratulations, 163 is a very good score and you should be proud.

One thing I noticed that you may want to consider is that while all of the schools you're applying to are fine institutions, they're really spread out geographically. If you're happy making your career in any or all of those states, then great. But if you want to live in a specific region I would focus more on going to a school in that region/city.

Once you get away from elite national schools, it's not very easy to show up in a new town after law school, pass the state bar, and get a job. You'll have to compete against local talent who have had the last three years to work at internships and make connections. It's also pretty difficult to score summer positions and internships (which are vital to getting a job) from out of state. So, for example, if you want to live in NYC it would make more sense to apply to more NY schools than to spend three years in Tucson or Denver. Just my two cents!

Good luck and congratulations!

54
Law School Applications / Re: Will this hurt my chances?
« on: January 02, 2014, 11:16:56 AM »
As the above poster has stated, disclosure is the key. Full, open, non-equivocal disclosure. Don't try to spin it, just be honest. You may need to disclose this on both you law school apps and your bar app, because you do not want there to be a discrepancy between two applications (yes, the bar will compare them). 

When you get to law school you will take Professional Responsibility and you will learn that in these matters a cover up or even just a failure to disclose is worse than the actual crime. The bar takes honesty very seriously, and any perceived dishonesty could result in a rejection of your application.

The bar app will probably tell you whether or not you need to disclose juvenile matters. Contact your state bar now, before law school, and get the answers straight from them. They are the only source you should really trust in this matter.

Lastly, at least here in CA, people do get admitted with such problems as long as they are honest and take full responsibility for their actions.

55
Recommendations / Re: Submit 1 or 2 LORs
« on: January 01, 2014, 02:08:37 AM »
This is just my opinion, but I think you're overthinking this. If you have two good LORs send them in, it can't hurt. You numbers are what's going to get you into law school (or get rejected). Things like LORs play a very small role. If you do get waitlisted, then an extra LOR may or may not make any difference. My guess is that the vast majority of waitlist admits are simply those who had the highest GPA/LSAT profiles from among the waitlisted applicants. 

56
Where should I go next fall? / Re: European LLB...what now?
« on: January 01, 2014, 01:59:48 AM »
Well, your question has a lot of moving parts, but I'll try to address the main issues.

Let me start with a caveat: I'm just some guy on the internet, and this is just my opinion. I could be wrong about a lot of this stuff, and I don't know the specifics of your situation. Don't make important life decision based on what I (or anyone else here) says. Do the research yourself, contact the state bars, contact the law schools, and contact the employers. They can give you better information than anyone.

Working in the U.S.

If you plan to practice law in the U.S. you must become a member of the state bar for the state in which you intend to practice.
 
Most states will require an LL.B holder to complete a U.S. LL.M before they can apply to take the bar exam. A handful of states such as California and NY will allow LL.B holders to sit for the bar without an LL.M. An LL.M is two years, a J.D. is at least three. However, the J.D. is better preparation for the bar exam in my opinion, as evidenced by bar pass rates. (The pass rate for foreign degree holders here in CA is very low). 

For many legal jobs, the obsession over law school rankings is greatly overstated. (You don't need a Harvard J.D. to write wills in Little Rock, for example). However, there are certain fields of law in which prestige matters greatly and international law is one of them. Most of the big firms and international organizations are well stocked with graduates of elite institutions, and will usually only hire the same. If you are serious about this field, you really need to consider this. An LL.M from Unknown State U probably isn't going to cut it when everyone at the office went to Yale and Stanford. 

European LL.M

If you plan to work in the U.S., then I don't think a European LL.M is advisable. It will not qualify you to take the bar in most states, and will not prepare you for the bar in the few states that may admit you. A U.S. LL.M seems to make more sense.

Is taking the bar necessary to work in international law?

If practicing international law involves appearing in U.S. courts or giving legal advice, then yes, you must be licensed.

"International law" is a bit of a misnomer in my opinion, as there is very little truly international law. Typically, you are talking about countries which are signatories to trade agreements or treaties. The laws are applicable to those nations or entities. So, if the U.S. and Italy have an agreement as to how arbitration clauses in sale of goods contracts are to be handled, and your client is an American manufacturer doing business in Italy, then you are advising your client on American and Italian law and you are filing and arguing cases (probably) in an American federal court. Thus, you would need to be a licensed attorney.

Working at the U.N. or IGO

Depending on what specific work you do, I imagine that bar admission may or may not be required for this type of job. If you are filing cases in U.S. courts and dispensing legal advice, then yes. But if the job is more like a policy analysis/policy development position, then maybe not.

One thing to keep in mind when discussing organizations like the U.N. is the stiff international competition for these jobs. In the entire world, you're probably talking about a few thousand people (or maybe a few hundred!) whose job fits this description. People who get hired tend to have many years of legal and/or diplomatic experience, very impressive academic credentials (Harvard, Oxford, etc), and have worked their way up the ladder. Some are professional academics with numerous publications and others are internationally recognized judges. I don't think very many lawyers at the U.N. or the Hague are hired straight out of law school. Not trying to be negative, just something to consider.

57
Non-Traditional Students / Re: UK or USA for post grad law degree
« on: December 19, 2013, 04:41:47 PM »
My question is, why not attend law school in Singapore if you plan to live there? That would make the most sense.

Other than that, I think you'd be better off with a UK law degree regardless of whether or not the program is shorter, since the Singaporean system has more in common with the UK than with the US. Additionally, although I have no idea what your numeric qualifications are, getting accepted to Harvard, etc is no small feat.

I doubt if the time to complete the degree and begin practicing is all that different between the US and UK schools, maybe one year at the most. Even if you finish the UK law degree in two years you'll still have to prepare for the Singapore bar exams (I presume), and wait for results.

If you do in fact get accepted to someplace like Harvard, however, the degree has much more international cache than the vast majority of UK universities, save for Oxford/Cambridge. I've travelled all over the world, and elite US universities such as those listed are held in very high regard just about everywhere. That could be a huge advantage.

58
Acceptances / Re: Marquette or Chicago-Kent
« on: December 19, 2013, 04:30:10 PM »
Think about what you want to do after school, and where you want to live, because you will most likely end up working in the city where you attend law school.

Both Marquette and Kent are essentially local/regional schools, and the connections you make during law school will be very important when it comes time to look for a job. When you're talking about local reputation schools, it's important to understand that most of the opportunities to make such connections, via internships for example, will also be local. Although both schools have decent reputations, they aren't the kind of elite schools whose name alone will open doors outside of their region.

So, if you wanted to be a prosecutor in Chicago, for example, you'd probably be better off attending Kent which would give you the opportunity to effectively compete for internships at the DA's office. Could you still land such an internship coming from Marquette? Sure, but it will likely be harder, and you'll have to compete against local talent who have better access to the system. When I was a law student I scored a very competitive government internship because one of the head attorneys was also an adjunct at my law school. If I had just applied to the position blindly and as an out of towner, I would have had no chance. The same goes for most private law firms. It's crucial to make local connections in the city in which you plan to live.


59
I agree that a motivated, disciplined individual can succeed by going the DL route. However, I do think that someone considering this approach should thoroughly research the schools, bar admission requirements, and both FYLSE and bar exam pass rates. Not all schools are created equal, and some have produced very few (if any) lawyers.

Do your due diligence, and go into this process with your eyes wide open.

60
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Thoughts on law school?
« on: December 04, 2013, 03:00:06 AM »
Law school admission is primarily a numbers game, dominated by LSAT and GPA. Soft factors are nice, but they exist in addition to numeric qualifications, not in lieu of them.

Your GPA is respectable, but you may want to consider retaking the LSAT. As City law has stated, you can get into some ABA law schools with your current numbers. Additionally, the education you receiver at any ABA school is going to be nearly identical. However, if you could increase your score by say, five to seven points you'd have many more options. BC, Tulane, and SMU are probably out of reach unless you can score in at least the 160 range (for BC more like 165).

Start by assessing why you scored 148. Did you dedicate the necessary time and effort to preparing, or did you wing it? Do you feel that you can score higher, or is 148 about where you plateau? Be objective, and do a critical self evaluation.

If you decide to move forward with your current numbers, think seriously about where you want to live after law school and what you want to do with your degree. With your current numbers you're looking at non-elite, local reputation law schools. Your post grad employment prospects will be most likely limited to the immediate region, and will usually be smaller firms and local govt offices. So, think about whether you will be willing to practice DUI defense and divorce cases in what ever city you go to school in for a t least a few years. 

Good luck!

Good luck!

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