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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Online Law Schools / Re: July 2013 Bar Exam Results
« on: January 28, 2014, 01:53:27 PM »
Very interesting results.

I agree with livinglegend that personal motivation is a huge factor. But when I see the incredibly low pass rates of many of the unaccredited and CBE schools it makes me think that they are simply admitting too many people who should not be in law school. A significant number of unaccredited schools had zero first time passers, and that's after the FYLSE has weeded out quite a few. I don't know if the problem is with students, the program, or both but having consistently low pass rates indicates a problem.

I also think it's interesting that many lower ranked CA schools have significantly better pass rates than much higher ranked out of state schools. For example, La Verne beat schools like Boston College, Minnesota, and Notre Dame. Golden Gate beat American, ASU, and many others. Southwestern beat Vanderbilt!

I don't accept that this is necessarily due to the advantage of being able to study CA law. When I was in law school in CA I think I took one CA specific class (community property). All of the other CA law I learned in BARBRI along with the out of staters. Considering how difficult the CA bar exam is, I think it's pretty impressive that a school can take students with lower GPA/LSAT numbers and still beat top ranked schools on the bar exam. Maybe the well known difficulty of the CA bar makes the CA schools strive harder? I dunno, but it's interesting.   

I have no idea what the legal market is like in Scranton specifically, but here are some general rules that are applicable to just about everyone.

If you are realistic, motivated, and flexible you will likely find work. If you are unrealistic, inflexible, and feel entitled to a high starting salary you will unemployed for a long time.

It seems like many of the people who can't find work are unrealistic and inflexible. To them being a lawyer means working at a firm and making a big starting salary. They think that taking nickel and dime civil cases or DUI cases is beneath them. They don't realize that the litigation experience is invaluable and makes them far more marketable. They will be unemployed for a long time.

A lot of people also think they can rely on their pedigree to open doors. If you graduate from a truly elite school this is true. But don't be fooled into thinking that the #84 ranked law school is going to give you a significantly better shot at employment than the #103 ranked school. Once you get away from elite national schools, you really need to consider local reputation and local connections.

So, if you seek employment in a smaller market you have to understand that you will not be making big money (at least initially), and you will likely be doing stuff like child support modifications, possession charges, and DUIs. If you're OK with that, then it may be the right move.

You need to contact the individual schools you're applying to and ask them. If you voluntarily withdrew, as opposed to being academically disqualified, then there may be no issue. It might be just like transferring. However, each school will have it's own deadlines. Again, contact the schools for the best information.

The real question you need to ask yourself is whether you're ready to get back into law school. Are the obstacles that you faced resolved, or will they create problems at the new school, too? Only you can answer that.

Good luck with your decision!

Most law schools today do not offer minority scholarships.

Do you have any evidence to back that up? Or evidence that URM status is not considered when awarding merit scholarships? 

Take a look at the profiles on LSN. A URM applicant with a around a 3.5/165 can expect big $$$ at many T1 schools, and possibly even full rides at many others. Unless the people on LSN are lying, this seems to be the case. If students, URM or non-URM, lose their scholarships later that's their problem.

They are using minorities to fund the merit scholarships. This is racial exploitation.

They are using anyone who doesn't earn the scholarship to fund it, minority or otherwise.

You're making three huge assumptions: 1) The people receiving merit scholarships don't need them,  2) URM applicants aren't getting them, and 3) tuition for minority students would be lower absent merit scholarships. 

BTW, how do you suggest that lower ranked schools attract highly qualified applicants without merit scholarships? If it's going to cost the same to attend Columbia as it is to attend St. John's or CUNY, what high achiever will choose the lower ranked school?

URM applicants with even moderately impressive numbers are eligible for tons of financial aid, as well as admission to schools that non-URM applicants with similar numbers can only dream about. Most law schools will bend over backwards to attract qualified URM students with significant scholarship offers. Many of the people who receive those scholarships aren't exactly poor either, but qualify based purely on URM status.

Merit scholarships are different. They are available to anyone, regardless of race, as long as they have the numbers. I think you're probably right that many of the recipients of merit scholarships are from well-off backgrounds, but plenty of regular joes benefit from these scholarships too. And yes, attracting highly qualified students is a legitimate goal of any law school.

I was raised poor as hell by a single mother, and never had any educational advantages. I went to crummy, gang infested schools where nobody cared, and had to work at crappy jobs and go into debt to get through college. Because I'm white I couldn't qualify for AA or many scholarships even though I was poorer than many of the URM students at my college. (Poor white students get really screwed this way.)

The only way I was able to attend law school was because I scored well on the LSAT and obtained a merit scholarship. Even then, I had to attend a lower ranked school in order to maximize the scholarship opportunities.

My point is that it's not as simple as you'd like to believe, and it certainly isn't "racial exploitation". If you don't have the numbers to merit a scholarship and you're afraid of accruing debt, then drop out. No one forces you to go to law school.   

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: European LLB...what now?
« on: January 21, 2014, 10:42:02 AM »
I think it is most likely I get into schools around the level of UIUC and UConn. Do you think these schools are still high enough in the rankings for my personal case?

I don't know enough about your personal case to make a determination. It's impossible to say "If you go to School X you will work in international law, and if you go to School Y you will not." I'm sure that there are graduates from just about every law school who work in international law, so I'm speaking in general terms only.

That said, there are some things to keep in mind, and which are applicable to any applicant.

1) Big Firms
Much of the international law market involves big firms with offices in LA, NYC, London, Shanghai, etc. These jobs are highly, highly competitive, and if you look at the firm profiles you will see that many of the lawyers are graduates of elite law schools. They like to hire graduates of internationally recognized schools like Harvard and Stanford because it impresses their international clients.

2) International Organizations/NGOs
Pretty much the same story. Highly competitive, lots of applicants, and a preference for elite pedigrees.

Now, does this mean that you can't practice international law unless you graduate from an elite school? Of course not! I know a woman who graduated from a lower tiered school here in CA and who is practicing internationally helping a foreign government to organize their own legal system. However, I think her case is exceptional. My point is simply that in any highly competitive market where the employer has the luxury of choosing from among many highly qualified applicants, pedigree can matter. As far as I can tell, this seems to be truer for some jobs than for others, and international law is one of those jobs.

I would contact the law schools you are interested in attending and ask them directly about international employment, internship opportunities, etc. Ask about alumni working internationally. Also research and contact firms and organizations that you are interested in, ask where they hire from and what they look for in applicants. Don't rely on anything you read here or elsewhere from me or anyone else, it's just our personal opinions. Get the information straight from the source. Your European LL.B is probably considered a very positive asset, and may give you a better chance of getting into international law than the average student.     

Hi Alex,

Don't sweat the LOR portion of your applications too much. Yes, they are a necessary part of the application but in reality they will probably play very little role (if any) in the admission process. The decisions will be based almost entirely on LSAT and GPA. Many applicants are in the same situation as you are, and don't really know their professors. As a result, most applicants get very generic LORs which don't offer any real insight as to the applicant's abilities. "So-and-so will be a valuable addition to your law school, blah blah blah." The LORs that you receive will probably be very similar to what the vast majority of applicants submit.

Law School Admissions / Re: Late Cycle Consequences
« on: January 14, 2014, 10:41:00 PM »
As Citylaw stated, you may have a hard time getting scholarships from most of these schools (save San Diego), but you've got a good shot at acceptance to all of them. Your numbers are about average for most of these schools.

One thing you need to consider is location, and where you want to live after law school. I suspect that you're basing your list on rankings alone, but beware. It's not as simple as that.

All of these schools are fine institutions and will offer a great education. But none are exactly what I would call "elite" national schools. They're more like very good regional schools. With the possible exception of Vanderbilt, they aren't really the kind of schools which you should expect to open doors out of state based on pedigree alone. Most of your internship and post grad job opportunities will be local, and it's actually quite difficult to show up in a new town after graduation and compete with the local talent.

For example, if you wanted to live in LA then UCLA and USC are the obvious choices. However, you may also want to think about shooting for a  a big scholarship at someplace like Loyola or Pepperdine rather than going into serious debt to attend a higher ranked school out of state. Your job opportunities in LA may in fact be better, even though the schools are lower ranked. Is the Los Angeles County DA going to recruit in St Louis or Atlanta? I doubt it. 

Something to consider, and good luck!

Law School Admissions / Re: Need help with ECs
« on: January 11, 2014, 11:48:58 PM »
Your EC's probably approximate the ECs offered by the vast majority of applicants. That is, they are not especially impressive but they aren't bad either. Most applicants have some generic ECs, and they usually don't play a big role unless they are truly unique and impressive. 

As Miami88 said, these types of soft factors pale in comparison to numeric qualifications. Regardless of what law schools may say about looking for well-rounded individuals and examining the "whole person", numbers dominate the process. Focus on getting the highest numbers possible, and you won't need to worry much about anything else.

Put it this way, an applicant with a 3.8/175 could probably write an essay about how they think ECs are a waste of time and they'd still get scholarship offers from 90% of the schools out there. Conversely, an applicant with a 2.0/140 could have the most amazing ECs imaginable and still be out of luck. For the majority of applicants who fall between these two extremes, ECs might play a role if you are a borderline case. Take a look at the admission profiles available from LSAC. If your numbers are significantly above or below a school's median, your chances for admission are very predictable. 

At highly competitive elite schools ECs and other non-numeric qualifications do matter more than at lower tier schools. I think this is because the expectation is that of course you have a high GPA and stellar LSAT, but so do all the other applicants. What else are you bringing to the table? In those cases, you will see applicants with truly impressive resume experience. 

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