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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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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. 

Law School Applications / Re: Low GPA, Moderate LSAT...take 3rd time?
« on: October 02, 2012, 04:34:56 PM »
I admit that I slacked off in college and I own up to it. Aside from that, I'm a TERRIBLE standardized test taker. I took the SATs multiple times and I've taken the LSATs twice so far (142, 152).

The bar exam is the ultimate standardized test, and is many magnitudes more difficult than the SAT or LSAT. If you had trouble with a one morning-long multiple choice exam, think about how you'll perform on a two or three day long essay/MC/performance test. Consider that before you accrue $100K+ debt to attend law school.

That said, you can probably get in somewhere with a 2.88/152. A small local school is fine as long as you're informed and realistic about your post-grad job opportunities. If you want to do biglaw or be a federal prosecutor, then you need to retake the LSAT, score off the charts, and get into a well regarded school. If you want to be a Main Street divorce lawyer, someplace like NSU might be fine. Do some research and approach law school with ypur eyes wide open. Think about where you want to live, what kind of work you'd be willing to do (you may not have a lot of choices) and assess whether or not it's worth the debt.

Black Law Student Discussion Board / Re: GPS 2.1 LSAT 169
« on: October 02, 2012, 04:22:01 PM »
I'm wondering would I still a have a shot at attend a t1 or t2 law school given my age and background.

The short answer is yes, you have a chance. You're a splitter (low GPA/high LSAT), and that makes things unpredictable. However, especially at age 40, you need to consider the cost/benefit of accruing $100K+ debt in order to attend a T1 or T2. With a 169 LSAT you may get accepted to a few lower-ranked T1s and several T2s, but you likely won't get much in the way of scholarships. Consider the fact that since you won't be attending an elite school anyway, you may be better off minimizing your debt and accepting a scholarship at a T4.

General Board / Re: Addicted to Student Loans
« on: October 02, 2012, 02:17:33 PM »
Plus (in theory) the extra degree will give an edge (somehow).

No, it probably won't. Unless your goal is to teach college, a Ph.D will only give you more debt. The starting salary for an assistant professor is less than that of a junior associate, and you'll max out at far, far less than an attorney. Most legal employers won't care a bit about a Ph.D (or M.A.), so outside of academia it will not give you an edge. Even if you do want to teach, you better get into a very well-regarded doctoral program. The job market for academics is even worse than the job market for lawyers.

I would advise taking any kind of legal work you can get, just get some experience. If you have to, move in with family or relocate to a cheaper part of the country. Believe me, I recently graduated and I know how crappy the market is. The first couple of years out of school might be awful, but if you can get some experience it will get better. Handling DUIs and insurance subrogation cases for $40,000 a year is still better than accruing an additional $100,000 debt for a degree that will not increase your earning potential.

One practice LSAT is nothing, don't worry too much about a single low score. What I'd be more concerned about is that the LSAT is not too far off and you've only taken one practice exam. You need to take dozens of practice LSATs, and if possible a prep course. If a prep course is not possible, use get some good study guides (Powerscore, etc). Take the time to comprehensively review each practice exam and understand why you got a certain answer right or wrong. Apply that knowledge to each new practice exam. Starting now you need to buckle down and dedicate every possible minute to prepping.

To have a good shot at SW you probably need 155-160. My understanding is that the SCALE program is far more selective, however. If your cumulative GPA is 3.2 that means your community college GPA must have been around 2.0-2.2? You might have to write an addendum explaining the discrepancy in GPA, especially for the SCALE program. Do everything you can to raise that LSAT, it's going to be the determinative factor in your law school admissions.

Good luck!

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