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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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541
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Time to allot for studying
« on: September 10, 2013, 10:30:27 AM »
It's very difficult to predict what your LSAT score will be this early in the game. When you are a week or two away from the real test, and have been consistently scoring in the same range for a while, then you'll have a better idea.

It's unlikely that you'll increase 3-4 points with every administration of the exam. The thing about the LSAT is that it gets exponentially harder to gain points the higher you go. In other words, going from 155 to 160 is a big leap, but going from 160 to 165 is even bigger. Far fewer people will score 165 than 160, and only a fraction of all applicants will score above 170.

You would have to be making huge statistical leaps forward to consistently increase your score towards 170. In short, it's a lot harder than it sounds. 

Additionally, it seems that most people score lower on the actual LSAT than they did on practice exams. I think most people find that they plateau within a 3-5 point range. I had a friend who scored 174 on the LSAT, but even his diagnostic was something like 165.

I'm not saying it's impossible, just that you should understand the statistical improbability of going from 149 to 170, and make a backup plan accordingly. Think about other options just in case you don't score 170, and other schools you may want to apply to.

 

542
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Barry or Coastal?
« on: September 05, 2013, 03:52:01 PM »
Again I am not trying to say Barry is some elite institution or even recommending the OP attends, but to say you should run away as fast as humanly possible and say you will either be unemployed or stuck doing foreclosure defense is a little to extreme.

Exactly, and this is the crux of the issue. The same caveats that apply to any lower ranked school apply to Barry and Coastal. These schools may be good choices or they may be awful choices depending on what the OP wants to do with their degree.

If you want to work at a large firm in Miami then these schools probably aren't going to get you there. For that matter, I'm not even sure that UM or UF would be the best choice in that scenario. I'm sure there are plenty of Duke, NYU, and Harvard grads who would be happy to live on the beach and are looking for work in Miami.

However, if your goal is to open a family law solo practice or join a small criminal defense firm in the suburbs a degree from either school might be just fine, especially with a scholarship. I think the key to is be entirely realistic and informed about the market and your options. If you are unrealistic, you'll be bitter and disappointed. If you are prepared and experienced, however, you can do fine. It really does come down to the individual. 

I'm suspicious of blanket statements regarding what "all" or "most" graduates of a particular school will inevitably end up doing. I meet lawyers here in CA every single day who graduated from lower ranked (even non-ABA) schools and who are successful and content. It just depends on what you want to do, and whether you know how to get there.   

543
Don't you think the low bar pass rate is related to the sheer difficulty of the exam? Even many highly regarded out of state schools have significantly lower pass rates in CA. Maybe it's the curve, but the people I've spoken with who took other states' exams and then took CA found it to be significantly more difficult. 

544
Current Law Students / Re: LSD Needs to Modernize Site
« on: September 03, 2013, 12:06:36 AM »
I'm not even sure that TLS has a better format, I just think the general tone of the discussion more in line with what your average immature college kid can relate to. Misery loves company, and you'll never be alone on TLS. There's nothing more unintentionally hilarious than a clueless kid who's never left the suburbs but thinks he has the world all figured out. It's like seeking career advice from the Kardashians.

There is a niche to be filled, and LSD could do it.

545
I got your point about the curve being manipulated, and I know that it can be done, I just don't see any real evidence of that.

Here's my logic:

The model answers provided by Calbar are presumably examples of average or better than average passing answers, which means they represent answers scoring comfortably above the curve. If a student can match those answers in terms of issue spotting and basic analysis, they should (I think) be alright. 

I suppose the best evidence would be from people who have failed the FYLSE. Did they correctly state the law, spot all the major issues and defenses and still fail (indicating a harsh curve), or were they significantly deficient?   

What strikes me is that the model answers aren't especially remarkable, they're just good. It makes me wonder if a significant number of test takers are performing significantly below par.

I completely agree with your point regarding the subjective nature essay grading. It can be unfair and arbitrary. I've known people who failed the bar by five points, which means they may have passed if a different grader had read their essays. On the bar exam, I think this is especially true regarding the PTs.   

 

546
I agree with the above comments and would merely add that the often unrealistic expectations of law students and recent grads fuels an already bad job market.

Clearly, the legal job market is in relatively bad shape right now, and I don't think anyone would deny that. However, a newly minted lawyer who is willing to adapt to the market's needs and diversify his experience will stand a much better chance of success than one who is rigid regarding job requirements.

I personally know several recent grads of lower tier schools who have very successful solo practices or who have formed small firms. In terms of income and experience they're beating the pants off of their unemployed upper tier counterparts, who apparently would rather remain unemployed than handle a child custody modification.

Many of the law students and young lawyers I meet are entirely unrealistic and snobby about employment. Just peruse any of the innumerable forum posts referring to "sh*tlaw", and you'll see what I mean. They still seem to think that they "deserve" a high paying firm position or prestigious federal job simply because they got good grades or graduated from a Tier 1 school, and disdain the notion of working in a small family law office or handling DUIs.

Unfortunately for them the market has changed but their expectations haven't, and that's a recipe for disappointment. There are still jobs out there, but they aren't the jobs that many students feel they're entitled to.

The bottom line is that if you go to law school with your eyes wide open, and if you set realistic, achievable goals you are far less likely to be bitter and disillusioned.

   

547
I also wonder if the State Bar stacks the deck, the pass rate never seems to go above 20%.  I wonder if the Cal Bar is purposely fiddling with the grading curve to maintain this low pass rate?

I don't see any evidence of that. If you look at the FYLSE questions and model answers, they don't seem any tougher than most first year law school exams. In fact, I'd say that my first year contracts exams were considerably more complicated. The answers provided by Calbar are pretty straightforward: general rule, applicable exceptions, brief analysis and conclusion.

I'm not saying it's an easy test, it's not. I think the high failure rate has more to do with the fact that online law schools have open admissions and will take most applicants, even those lacking adequate academic qualifications.

The low pass rate may also be evidence that Concord's program is not rigorous enough. If the Concord exams are comparable in difficulty and scope to the FLYSE (and they should be at least that hard), then you would expect a higher pass rate.

548
Capital's median GPA/LSAT are 3.16/150. Although your GPA is higher, your LSAT is significantly below median. Your good GPA will definitely help, but law schools seem to give more weight to the LSAT. I would suggest re-taking the LSAT if you really want to go to law school.

21 credit hours and a soon to be born baby made it difficult for me to study for the LSAT, which I made clear in an addendum.

This should be a huge red flag for you. If you had a hard time preparing for the LSAT with school and a baby, you have to ask yourself how you'll do with law school exams and a baby. Law school exams make the LSAT look like a joke, and you'll have four or five of them every semester. I went to law school part time with kids, and it was very difficult.

Before you drop $30,000 or $40,000 on a year of law school, make sure that you are in a position where you can succeed. Law school is brutal, and you will not be given one inch of slack because you're dealing family stuff, or a job, etc. 

549
Current Law Students / Re: Summer Earnings
« on: August 13, 2013, 12:00:56 AM »
Honestly, it's impossible to even guess what you might make during your 1L or 2L summer at this point. The range is very broad, and your options will largely be based on grades and connections.

That said, there are some general rules which are applicable to just about everyone. First, many summer internships (especially nowadays) pay little or nothing. There are so many well qualified law students competing for experience in big cities like L.A that employers don't have to offer high pay (or any pay) to entice good applicants. Most government internships will pay nothing, or maybe a small stipend.

I was fortunate enough to work at a very good, highly regarded government office during law school. Even though the internship was unpaid we had something like a few hundred applicants for three or four spots.

Big firms can pay well, but the competition to land those positions is intense. It helps that you're at UCLA, which has a great local reputation and strong alumni network. Nonetheless, the big firms will be inundated with applicants from UCLA, USC, Stanford and Berkeley, not to mention Harvard, Yale, etc.

I don't know if biglaw firms are still doing this, but a few years ago I knew 2Ls who were getting paid the same monthly salary as first year associates for the summer. I think they were making about $20,000-$25,000 total for the summer (10K per month, or so). Again, I would caution that these positions are highly sought after, and they will expect stellar grades to even be considered.

Obviously, small and midsized firms re going to pay a lot less.

550
Online Law Schools / Re: American Heritage University College of Law
« on: August 09, 2013, 02:32:08 PM »
I understand where you're coming from. For many people, a DL degree is the only option. Some employers will be suspicious, and others won't really care. As I said before, a DL law school can be the right choice for the right kind of student.

I would strongly encourage you to research whether your state has ever admitted a DL/non-ABA/non-state bar accredited grad. For example, KY may admit grads of the TN state bar-accredited schools next door (Nashville, Lincoln Memorial), but that doesn't mean they'll admit an unaccredited DL grad. Some DL schools hold DETC or some other form of accreditation, but that usually doesn't matter for the purposes of bar admission.

The point is, you don't want to spend $30,000-$40,000 on a JD and then have to take on the state bar to get admitted. Although your state may allow you to petition, that does not mean they're obligated to admit you. Some states are slowly warming up to the idea of DL, and others are flat out hostile. If your state does not admit unaccredited students, you need to understand the uphill battle you're facing, and decide whether or not it's worth the fight.

Again, before you drop tens of thousands of dollars on a DL degree contact your state bar. Get a clear picture of what they expect. They are the only source you should trust on this issue.   

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