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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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To prevent making the same mistake twice, I'd prefer a smaller, less expensive, and local alternative that I can attend while still holding my current job.  The tuition at my target CBE school is $5000/academic year (part time) while another 3rd tier school is $27,000/academic year (for part time).  Because student loans are not an option (due to my past defaults and wanting to pay my existing ones off before I retire) my only option are schools of this caliber.  Besides, if I am able to get into this school but then not able to pass the baby bar, my sunk costs would have been considerably less.  I am not being pessimistic here, just realistic.

It's actually nice to see someone with an intelligent, realistic plan. That's a rarity around here. The issues that you're considering are the exact ones that you should be considering: finances, goals, and debt. You're off to a good start.

I would defintely talk to the Dean in person and explain the situation. I don't know what Calbar's rules are, but a 14 year old disqualification shouldn't hold you back. When you asked them previously they may have assumed that you were just recently disqualified. $5000 per year is insanely cheap, I didn't know that any of the CBE schools were that inexpensive. The few that I looked at were more like $15,000 per year.

I know lots of attorneys who went to CBE schools. They work in small firms, solo, and government offices, and have successful careers. If you're aware of the potential limitations, an inexpensive CBE degree can be a better investment than a non-elite ABA degree. Personally, I'd rather have a $20,000 CBE degree than a $150,000 debt from someplace like Whittier or Chapman. Once you get a few years of experience under your belt your degree will be of secondary importance anyway, but that debt would still be with you. The big firms, some mid-sized firms, and federal jobs are out, but they aren't the only games in town. The lack of debt will allow you to be very flexible with your employment options, something that is incredibly valuable in this market.

My understanding is that the CBE schools don't offer a lot in terms of internships and career services, so you need to start making connections immediately. (This is something ABA students should do, too, but often don't).   

Although the ABA allows reapplication after 2 years, no school is required to accept applicants who have been academically disqualified. In your case the local CBE school is operating under the Calbar rules, but it's probably a similar framework.

I'm actually surprised that an academic disqualification from 14 years ago would have much impact at all. I'd suggest contacting multiple ABA and CBE schools and seeing what they say. Have you taken the LSAT yet? A very good LSAT score and an expertly written addendum might go a long way towards overcoming your old disqualification, especially if you focus on schools for which your LSAT would be considered high.

As far as the debt goes, I get it. I chose a scholarship over ranking in order to avoid debt and it was the best decision I ever made. Your GPA is set in stone (and it's good), so your LSAT is the best chance at obtaining a scholarship. I don't know if someone with an academic disqualification can get a scholarship, but if you have a very high LSAT  it will sure as hell help you argue for one.

A word on CBE schools: I think they can be a great option for the right kind of student, but you really need to assess whether you're that kind of person. Think about your post grad goals, and whether or not a CBE degree will help you get there.

1L is a year long standardized test. If you can't take that, don't go.

That is absolutely true. And remember, after law school you'll have to tackle the bar exam, the mother of all standardized tests. The LSAT is a joke compared to bar. It doesn't mean that you can't do it, but the odds are not in your favor. Study as hard as you can, be disciplined, and take a prep course (if possible). After that, if you score very low, you need evaluate whether or not going $100-200k into debt is worth it for a degree that you may not be able to use. Here in CA it is not unheard of to meet people who never passed the bar.

To answer your question, however, you can probably get in somewhere with as low as a 145-49. Cooley, Nova, Southern, and a few others might take someone with those numbers. Become very informed about your post grad options if you choose one of these schools.

Minority Topics / Re: Should North African Arabs be considered URMs?
« on: October 15, 2012, 06:30:48 PM »
(no one in their right might would ever ask you to "prove" you had slave relatives, find one example anywhere if you want to prove me wrong)

A battle of wits against an unarmed opponent.

Of course no one has to prove "slave relatives", and no, dicta is not law. Your powers of perception are amazing. Yes, Obama (a black American of African descent) is certainly African American. That's exactly my point.

The answer is because "African American" has a specific meaning; it describes black Americans of African descent.


Please go back to preparing to fail the bar exam.

Minority Topics / Re: Should North African Arabs be considered URMs?
« on: October 15, 2012, 12:39:28 PM »
Many URMs may not be "decendants of slaves" (not of any importance one way or another)
And it's not meant to "make-up" for slavery or anything else.-Just to reflect that they are under represented.
Afterall if it were meant to mean that, then why would a fresh immigrant from Africa who is black be treated 100% the same as the decendant of a slave? Answer: It obviously has no impact in any way whatsoever.

You can't separate underepresentation from past discrimination, the two are not mutually exclusive. When affirmative action programs gained steam in the late 60's and early 70's the entire idea was to make up for past discrimination. There was a recognition that African Americans' underepresentation in higher education was directly tied to historical prejudices. (Check out the background info in Bakke.)

The idea of affirmative action as a means to promote "diversity" (that is, actively seeking to admit underepresented minorities regardless of past discrimination) is relatively new, and didn't get fully recognized until Grutter (2003). 

The OPs question was why aren't North Africans considered "African American" for the purposes of law school admission? That's the specific question I was addressing. The answer is because "African American" has a specific meaning; it describes black Americans of African descent. Those Americans were denied access to education for hundreds of years, which resulted in underepresentation. That is why the term "African American" does not simply describe any person from the African continent who now lives in America.

Law School Applications / Re: Where should I apply? 178/3.11 AA male
« on: October 15, 2012, 12:12:05 PM »
I imagine it is hard to predict because I'm a URM splitter. Please give me some: reaches, safties, and targets. Thanks.

The fact is, almost every law school in the nation is a safety for you. It's easier to list the few schools where you might have an uphill battle because of your GPA: Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, and maybe Chicago and Berkeley. You'll probably get in everywhere else (and you might get into some of the schools I just mentioned).

I think the biggest issue you're going to have to face is deciding between paying $150-200k to go an Ivy/T14, or if a full scholarship at a lower ranked (but still highly respected) school makes more sense. Most people will tell you to simply accept the offer from the highest ranked school you get into. In my opinion, that's bad advice. Thinl about what you want to do with a law degree and where you want to live.

For example, you mentioned that you might want to live in CA or TX: a full ride at UCLA or Austin might make way more sense than a $200k debt from Penn. I live in LA and I can tell you that top UCLA grads have opportunities that are easily equivalent (or better) than any school other than HYS. Something to think about. Congrats on an awesome score, and good luck!

Minority Topics / Re: Should North African Arabs be considered URMs?
« on: October 12, 2012, 02:06:31 AM »
People seem to forget that one of the main goals of taking URM status into account is to attempt to "make up" for past discrimination. It is possible that a newly arrived immigrant from North Africa may experience discrimination, but it is the effect of multiple centuries of officially sanctioned discrimination suffered by African Americans that affirmative action programs have tried to alleviate.

African Americans, ie; the descendents of slaves, have been subject to particularized forms of discrimination that are not necessarily experienced by modern immmigrants who arrive in the U.S. voluntarily. It would therefore not seem to make sense to extend beneficial URM status to individuals who have not been confronted with same historical hurdles.

The other key aspect of URM status is the "underepresented" facet. Not all minorities are underepresented in higher education.   

If you want the joint degree, you have to make sure to have the right undergrad major (unlike the JD which allows any major, the medical majors tend to require specific undergrads) plus the admissions test for that program too apply.

Even the less competitive M.D. programs ususally require around a 3.5 GPA (hard science degree) and top 10% MCAT. Entirely different ball of wax than law school admissions.

Black Law Student Discussion Board / Re: GPS 2.1 LSAT 169
« on: October 03, 2012, 11:17:09 AM »
You can predict what will go on in a court room just by sitting there for a day or two with alarming accuracy. They have become victims of cookie cutter law!

It sounds like you had some bad experiences with PDs who were quick to get a plea, and I can understand your frustration. Most PDs I've known, however, are very dedicated to their clients and really want to help. If they think they can win at trial, they go to trial. If not, they look for a bargain.

One thing you'll figure out very quickly once you're a lawyer is that clients are terrible at estimating their chances at trial. They don't understand the system, the restrictions on evidence, and the elements necessary to establish a crime or liability. Your clients will routinely think that you're doing a bad job, even though you got them the best deal in the universe.

Black Law Student Discussion Board / Re: GPS 2.1 LSAT 169
« on: October 03, 2012, 12:03:10 AM »
It seems that cost is the issue and may people I've talked to have pushed the issue of $$$$ over quality of education. $$$ isn't an issue with me when it comes to my education.

The reason people talk about the cost is because it's a huge issue. Imagine all the costs associated with starting a law practice: office space, malpractice insurance, bar dues, Lexis/Westlaw access. Now drop another $1500 a month on top of that for loan payments. It can make or break you. I have a buddy who went to Michigan (top ten) and told me he wishes he had accepted a scholarship at local T2 instead, his payments are so high.
As far as the quality of education, legal education has been standardized to an amazing degree. The education you receive at one ABA school is pretty much identical to all other ABA schools. Places like Harvard and Yale focus more on policy, but that's about it. The whole point of ABA accreditation is to create uniformity and predictability in legal education. Most of your clients won't know the difference between a T1 and a T4, and won't care. As IrrX said, focus on getting into school in the city you want to practice in. If you can get a scholarship a local school, all the better.

I want the best education, one that will prepare me for the challanges to help other people, not as a will writer, or a DA or public pretender somewhere pleading every single case they come across because they lack 1. the balls and 2.the courage to fight for what is right.

Just so you know, the public defenders don't plea bargain cases because they lack balls. They plea bargain cases because their clients are usually guilty, have tons of evidence against them, know nothing about the law, and think that a Casey Anthony style miracle is gonna happen at trial. The plea is usually the best deal the client can possibly get. Some private practice attorneys go to trial because they get paid more for a trial, not because they have bigger nads. Often they end up negotiating the same plea bargain that a PD could've gotten for free. 

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