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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Thoughts on law school?
« on: December 04, 2013, 01:00:06 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!

Law School Admissions / Re: What are my chances?
« on: November 24, 2013, 11:35:36 AM »
As the above posters have indicated, your entire GPA will be calculated.

All of your info will be sent to an organization called LSAC. They will calculate your GPA based on every college class you've taken, whether at a community college or four year university. When I applied I had a handful of individual summer classes I had taken at a couple of different community colleges, and those were required to be reported and were factored into my GPA.

LSAC will then "weight" your GPA, and it may go up or down a little. I'm not sure what formula they use to adjust your GPA.

As far as the LSAT is concerned, just shoot for the highest possible score. There is no magic GPA/LSAT combo you should strive for. The higher your score, the more options you'll have.

Lastly, as some of the other responses have said, law school admission is primarily a numbers game. People spend a lot of time obsessing over how to present soft factors like grade trend, volunteer experience, or study abroad, whatever. At the end of the day, the vast majority of decisions will be based on numbers, period. With a 3.19 GPA you can still get into many ABA law schools provided that you score well on the LSAT.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Is my major right in preparing for law school?
« on: November 24, 2013, 11:24:12 AM »
Agreed. No undergrad major will really help you prepare for the LSAT anyway, only an LSAT prep course will do that. A degree in Public Policy will be just as useful for the purposes of law school admission as a degree in Poly Sci, or for that matter, a degree in English or History. Your GPA and LSAT will dominate the process to a remarkable extent. Focus on getting high grades and (especially) the highest possible LSAT score. 

Online Law Schools / Re: Non-ABA approved Test Takers
« on: November 13, 2013, 04:14:03 PM »
So if I am hearing everybody correctly, those that are being approved to sit for the bar  from non-aba schools, attended brick and mortar schools and not on-line schools.  Do you think TN, MA and maybe AL will allow those who attended an online school to sit for their state bar exams?

Contact the state bar of any jurisdiction you're interested in, and get the answer straight from them. Don't take anyone else's word for it (including mine!). Each state will have it's own rules, and the state bar is the only resource you should trust.

Most state bars will not admit a non-ABA grad, period.

Some states (I don't know the exact number) will admit a state bar-accredited grad if they have been admitted to their own state and have practiced for a certain number of years. These are the brick and mortar schools you mentioned.

Online schools are a different story. Online schools are not accredited by either the ABA or any state bars. So far only CA and maybe one or two other jurisdictions will allow an online grad to sit for the bar. I think the distinction is not so much brick and mortar vs. online, as it is accredited vs. non-accredited.

Again, if you're contemplating any non-ABA school be sure to get your answers directly from the state bar. You don't want to spend tens of thousands on tuition only to find out you can't sit for the bar.

Online Law Schools / Re: Non-ABA approved Test Takers
« on: November 12, 2013, 01:59:18 PM »
What schools in Tennessee are you referring to?   I thought they all were in CA?

Nashville School of Law and Lincoln Memorial University School of Law are both non-ABA, but are accredited by the state bar of TN. Their graduates can sit for the TN bar, and maybe a few other states (although I don't know for sure).

Boston has the non-ABA Massachusetts School of Law, and used to have Southern New England School of Law, too, but they were absorbed by UMASS-Dartmouth and are an ABA school now. Finally, Alabama has Birmingham School of Law. I think that all of these schools qualify the graduate to sit for their state's bar, and maybe a few others. Check to be sure.

Most non-ABA schools are in CA, as you stated. CA is unique in that we allow ABA, CBE (state accredited), unaccredited fixed facility, and unaccredited distance learning schools. However, the vast majority of CA bar takers still follow the traditional ABA route. 

Online Law Schools / Re: Non-ABA approved Test Takers
« on: November 12, 2013, 12:44:11 AM »
Of course, CA had the most, but Massachusetts had over 500 and Tennessee had over 200 take the exam in 2012.  Does this mean that states are starting to become more lenient? 

No, I don't think so, and here is why:

California is not the only state that allows state-accredited law schools to operate within it's borders. Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Alabama also have non-ABA state accredited schools, and have been allowing their graduates to sit for the bar for decades. Therefore, this does not represent a new openness on the part of these states, but rather reflects what has been going for a long time.

Massachusetts did recently admit a Concord grad after he passed the bar and filed suit to gain admission, and perhaps that will open the door for others in that state. Most state bars remain openly hostile to non-ABA graduates, especially those graduating from unaccredited correspondence/online programs.   

As far as the P&I argument, it will be played out over the next few years as online grads challenge state bars for admission. I don't think it will work in most cases, however, since state bars are likely to be viewed as acting within their permissible scope to set educational standards for admission. Historically, state bars have a lot of latitude in controlling admission, and the argument may fall on unsympathetic ears.

Lastly, the discussion surrounding ABA/non-ABA often focuses on the exclusivity and snobbiness of the ABA and the various state bars. While I think there are legitimate criticisms to be made in that arena, at some point the non-ABA schools are going to have to meet the bar associations halfway if they want to be taken seriously. It's not enough to just demand respect, they've got to earn it, and that means turning out students who can pass the bar. It's not just elitism that makes people suspicious of schools that have 10% bar pass rates.

Online schools are going to have to start requiring college degrees, the LSAT, and other basic admissions criteria along with serious academic support and attrition of underperformers. Until then, I don't think much will change. 

Hi Zanardin,

Interesting essay, I enjoyed reading it and I'm sure the admissions committee will, too. But is this actually a diversity statement? I was under the impression that diversity had more to do with racial, ethnic, or perhaps socio-economic factors. As you said, choosing the lifestyle for a short period of time is not the same as being born into it. This seems like a good topic for a standard essay, but I'm not sure it's a diversity essay, per se. 

Pursuing an LLM / Re: LLM in tax without a JD
« on: November 05, 2013, 08:07:34 PM »
Out of curiosity I did a quick Google search to determine if the ABA even regulates LLM's, but came up with varying results  does anyone know if the ABA regulates LLM's?

I think the ABA only accredits JD programs, "the first degree in law" as they say. As far as LL.M programs, it seems to be left up to the individual school to determine the requirements, standards, etc.

I suppose a school certainly could accept a non-JD if they wanted. Anything to keep that tuition rolling in. I'd be curious as to how a non-lawyer perceives LL.M level legal studies? I've never studied tax law at that level, but I assume that a foundation in civil procedure, evidence, and con law would  be helpful to really flesh out the meaning of the statutes? Then again, maybe LL.M programs are different from JD studies and don't necessarily require the broader foundation.

Pursuing an LLM / Re: LLM in tax without a JD
« on: November 04, 2013, 10:18:06 AM »
As far as I can tell, UF currently requires a JD for admission to the LL.M in Taxation program. It's listed as a basic requirement.

Villanova, the school the OP asked about, appears to draw a clear distinction between LL.M admissions and M.T. (Master's in Taxation) admission. I do not believe that an LL.M in taxation can be earned by a non-JD, but an M.T. is a possibility.

Not to get too caught up in definitions, but I think that LL.Ms are specifically limited to JD holders, whereas MTs are more open.

Law School Admissions / Re: Biology Major Law Student
« on: October 31, 2013, 12:57:11 AM »
I really enjoy Biology and I would like to continue pursuing a degree in it, but will this hinder me for law school acceptance?

No, a degree in biology will not hurt in you when it comes to law school acceptance. If anything, it may help you stand out from the sea of English/Poly Sci/Business majors. Law schools don't seem to care much about your undergrad major. I suppose a degree like Dance or Landscape Architecture might not be considered especially good preparation, because there is very little reading, writing, and logical argumentation involved. Even then it might not matter much.   

Should I switch majors to get a higher GPA? Any help would be appreciated!

This is a somewhat different question, because law schools do care about your GPA. I can't tell you what you should major in, but whatever you decide you've got to get high grades. Your GPA and LSAT will almost entirely determine your law school options. It is very much a numbers game, and they care more about the actual numbers than they do about specific majors, grade trends, major vs. overall GPA, etc. People worry about these things, but in most cases they make very little difference.

Personally, I wouldn't drop something I loved just to boost my GPA. It's difficult to divine the future, and you may end up doing worse than you think. The upper division humanities seminars you'll take in your junior and senior year are considerable more demanding than the intro lecture courses. I think most people do better when they study something they like. Just my two cents.   

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