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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: I can't decide!
« on: February 08, 2013, 05:00:03 PM »
If Biglaw or Midlaw is your goal, it's stupid not to consider ranking.   Should it be considered above location or cost?  No.  But many employers do care about it.

Yes, I completely agree. Especially at big firms, prestige and national rank matter greatly. As you've shown, most attorneys at big firms went to prestigious law schools, and they like to hire from peer institutions.

In the handful of cases where someone is hired from a non-prestigious school, however, I wonder how much the rank of their law school really mattered.

For example, if Gibson Dunn, a huge firm, has only a handful of lawyers from non-elite schools, then I have to think that school rank had very little to do with those people getting hired. Someone like that gets hired based on other strengths. They'd have to compete against T14 grads with impress pedigrees, which leads me to believe that they have uniquely stellar resumes, both academically and professionally. Maybe they were valedictorians, federal clerks, or have graduate STEM degrees.

Those people are so few in number that I don't know if the general rules apply. I think you can say that in the context of big firms in LA/NYC a non-elite law school grad overcomes their lack of pedigree, and gets hired despite the snootiness.

I went to a T3 in CA, and our top grads scored biglaw jobs. Even though the school isn't prestigious, the local biglaw firms have dealt with enough grads to know that the top grads are a good investment. I suspect that's the same in most cities.   


Choosing the Right Law School / Re: I can't decide!
« on: February 08, 2013, 01:19:04 PM »
Living Legend:

I've read your posts about this several times, and you don't address the real question:  Do employers care about the rankings?

That's the question.  If employers do care, then all your argument about the best place to live is completely bogus.

I think the point here is that none of the schools the OP mentioned are nationally prestigious, but most probably have decent local reputations. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on the region in which the OP intends to live, and to pick a school that will offer the best opportunities within that region.

I completely agree that if you want to work in NM it makes more sense to attend Arizona than Cooley. Arizona has a better reputation and better alumni connections in the Southwest. That doesn't seem to be analogous to the OP's situation, though. The schools he mentioned are located in very different parts of the country, and I doubt if any one of them carries significant reputational weight outside of it's immediate locale. In that case, rankings matter very little.

For example, I live in Los Angeles, and I can safely say that a degree from any one of the schools mentioned by the OP would be viewed as roughly equal by most LA firms. At the big LA firms (where rankings definitely matter) none of those schools would be considered prestigious enough to get the OP an interview based on pedigree alone.

Therefore, if the OP wanted to live in LA, he could attend the highest ranked school on that list and realize little or no benefit. Of course, in Birmingham or Philadelphia, it's going to be a different story.

Transferring / Re: Admitted to Appalachian but I want to go to Uconn
« on: February 08, 2013, 12:37:57 PM »
Thanks guys, re-taking is not an option since the February exam is tomorrow and it would be a waste to take off a whole year. 

I understand the desire to get started and not waste a year waiting for another shot at the LSAT. But consider this: postponing for one year is a lot less expensive and difficult than spending three years at a law school you aren't happy with. As the above posters have said, it's not easy to transfer, especially from a low-ranked school to a higher ranked school. You'd probably have to be in the top 10-20%, which is difficult to achieve.

Wherever you go to law school, whether it's Appalachian or UConn, you'll be competing for grades with smart, motivated, disciplined individuals. The slackers are gone, they never made it past the LSAT. If a few did manage to sneak in, they'll be gone after the first year. Getting high grades in law school is infinitely more difficult than getting high grades in college. If you begin at Appalachian, understand that you will almost certainly graduate from Appalachian. You will have tough time returning to CT, taking the CT bar, and searching for a job when you've been gone for three years.

OTOH, you probably have a very good chance of improving your score if you spend the next six months preparing. Bottom line: only go to a law school that you are prepared to graduate from.

I don't know if you're GPA kills your chances, per se, but it definitely reduces your chances. I know someone who was accepted into LEOP with a 3.5/160. For Hastings the 160 was relatively low, and they had a very impressive public interest background.

Your LSAT is good, but still only average for Hastings. Your GPA, however, is below their 25%. Working for well-known firm is good, but those kinds of soft factors won't usually make up for lower numbers. Those attributes usually only matter in tie-breaker situations. Although law schools love to say that they look at the whole package, admission is primarily based on the numbers.

You might want to take a look at USF, Santa Clara, maybe GGU. You'd almost certainly get into at least two, and might even get some scholarship offers from GGU. I used to live in SF and I understand the attraction of Hastings, but you've got an uphill battle.

Current Law Students / Re: How freaking long .... ?
« on: February 06, 2013, 10:47:12 AM »
Attending schools of this caliber is fine, but really consider where you'd be most happy living and working. At smaller local schools such as these your best opportunities for post-grad employment will be within the school's immediate region. If you go to school in Idaho, for example, and then decide that Florida would be a nicer place to live, it's going to be tough to move.

I completely understand the financial concerns you have, and it's good that you're paying attention to debt (many people don't). Livinglegend has already said this, but it's important enough to repeat: choose a place where you wouldn't mind living longterm. It makes a huge difference in your overall wellbeing if you truly like your city and school. If you don't like either one, it's going to be a long three years. Good Luck!

Law School Admissions / Re: GPA: 3.82 LSAT 169 URM Chances Anyone?
« on: February 06, 2013, 10:35:49 AM »
but I personally think there is a lot more to life than potential job propsects, which is something I think many OL's don't consider until it is to late.

Well said, I agree. Admittedly, I'm biased in favor of California. If I had those kind of numbers I wouldn't spend three years slogging through the snow in Chicago or Boston. I'd soak up the sun in Palo Alto.

Law School Admissions / Re: GPA: 3.82 LSAT 169 URM Chances Anyone?
« on: February 05, 2013, 10:10:37 PM »
I agree that, as a general rule, it makes sense to go to law school in the state in which you intend to practice. That said, I think a Yale degree (or Harvard/Columbia/Stanford etc) is nationally portable. There is probably some advantage to a Stanford or Boalt degree in the Bay Area, just as there is probably some advantage to a Penn degree in the Philadelphia area. Nonetheless, all of those degrees are considered elite, and an applicant with such a J.D. will likely be able to find employment anywhere.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: License Lawyers Without JDs?
« on: February 04, 2013, 10:00:33 PM »
In California 60 units plus a J.D. is the minimal requirement. That could be accomplished in just five years, only one more than the English LL.B. The issue, of course, is that most ABA approved law schools won't take an applicant without a bachelor's (with a few notable exceptions). The applicants are usually limited to CBE or correspondance schools.

Nonetheless, if one took 60 unit local community college then obtained a CBE degree they could get it done quicker and cheaper. The option exists, I just don't think too many people are interested. They want the recognition of the approved degrees.

Law School Admissions / Re: GPA: 3.82 LSAT 169 URM Chances Anyone?
« on: February 03, 2013, 09:29:05 PM »
You'll get in just about everywhere, with scholarships at many. If you're AA, you have a decent shot at Harvard.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: What are my chances?
« on: January 28, 2013, 12:47:06 AM »
Much of this depends on your LSAT, and without a score everything is pure speculation. The LSAT can be a weird test, and it's very difficult to predict your score unless you've taken multiple practice exams. I don't think a 3.2 for one year is going to make too much difference, as long as your overall GPA/LSAT/class rank are high.

I will say this, however:

At elite institutions (which I assume you mean by "amazing") high numbers alone are often not enough. They have so many well qualified candidates to choose from that they seem to pay more attention to things like impressive work experience, social justice/non-profit experience, graduate work, the prestige of your undergrad institution, etc. I remember reading somewhere that the average age at Yale was something like 27, which means they're taking people with quite a bit of post-grad experience.

So, if you really want to shoot for the top, keep your grades up, score very high on the LSAT, and try to develop some other aspects of your application that will help you stand out among the sea of over-achievers.

Also remember that even if you don't score in the top 1%, there are still plenty of good law schools that can provide you with a solid education. Don't get too caught up in the rankings like so many others. 

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