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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Re: Am I too old for law?
« on: January 18, 2013, 03:38:12 PM »
My questions is, what advice would you more experienced, or anyone with advice that would help, give to me in my current situation?

I was about the same age as you when I started law school, and my biggest piece of advice is this: minimize your debt, maximize your experience.

It sounds like you already have the debt part figured out, and that's good.

By "experience" I mean legal experience via internships, part-time jobs during law school, summer associate positions, etc. The job market is still likely be very competitive when you graduate, and it's imperitive that you bring some actual skills to the table. Good grades or a good pedigree alone don't really cut it anymore (unless you're graduating from someplace like Harvard). Many firms don't really have the time or money to train someone, and they look for people who can hit the ground running.

Many law students, however, focus almost entirely on grades, and perhaps complete one or two lightweight summer positions. As a result, there are plenty of newly minted lawyers pouring into the market, but very few who actually know what they're doing. (You'll find when you get to law school that practical skills training is usually minimal).

You can give yourself an advantage by finding positions at busy firms or govt offices where you won't just be a gopher or researcher. I had an internship during law school that allowed me to write motions, work on discovery, and make court appearances (including a civil bench trial). Instead of doing it for one summer, like most of my classmates, I stuck with it for the rest of law school. That kind of experience will allow you to effectively compete against others who have gone to bigger name schools, or who have higher grades.

As far as being a prosecutor, take all the criminal law and trial advocacy courses you can during law school, and intern or volunteer at the local DA's office. Personal connections are very important for those jobs. Hiring at the DA's in my state (CA) is very bad right now, but TX might be better. If you can't land an internship with the DA, look into criminal defense firms. You'll learn criminal procedure at either one.

Without an LSAT score it's tough to speculate about which schools to apply to, although all the ones you mentioned have good regional reputations. If possible, take an LSAT prep course. They're expensive, but I think they're worth it.

Hope that helped, and good luck.

Law School Admissions / Re: Fordham asks for "additional law schools"?
« on: January 17, 2013, 04:49:30 PM »
I suppose that's possible, it seems unlikely.

Here's the deal: you're not the only person who's applying to Fordham as a backup, they get this all the time. Plenty of people who are hoping for NYU, Columbia, Cornell, etc will apply to Fordham and Cardozo as safeties. If your numbers are high enough to legitimately consider Fordham a safety, you'll probably get admitted regardless. I don't really think the adcomms strategize as much as you think they might.

Law School Admissions / Re: Fordham asks for "additional law schools"?
« on: January 17, 2013, 09:01:13 AM »
That's very common. Almost every law school I applied to asked for that info. I think they use it for statistical purposes; they want to see who their competition is, which schools applicants choose over them, etc.

Would it harm you to not provide the info? I don't know, probably not. Why not disclose it, though? What's the reason?

I'm here to help.

Unlike TLS members, many people believe that law school isn't T14 or bust.

That's because unlike TLS, some of the people here are actually successful lawyers and have had sex.

I have no doubt that UMass is a good school, my main point was simply that it doesn't make sense to go to a relatively unknown law school in MA if you want to practice in Los Angeles.

I'm not sure what that particular administration of the exam indicates about UMass, if anything. Schools sometimes have "outlier" years where they score low, then recover.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Advice on Deciding Where to Attend
« on: January 16, 2013, 05:11:57 PM »
I would suggest first deciding where you want to live, then choosing the least expensive school in that region. Most of the places you've been accepted to probably offer similar post-grad employment prospects, with a slight advantage being given to U Miami. Assuming that you're a FL resident, I'd look closely at FIU. The in-state tuition is reasonable, and (unlike a scholarship) it won't be lost after the first year. I don't have personal experience with the south FL market, but I doubt if the slight reputational advantage enjoyed by U Miami outweighs the cheap tuition at FIU.

Scholarship stipulations are tricky, and it's very common to lose all or some of your scholarship. You'll quickly find when you get to law school that it's far more difficult than undergrad, and staying at the median is not as easy as it sounds.

My analysis would apply to the midwest schools, too. If you want to live in Chicago, then DePaul might be a good choice. But if you plan to live in south Florida I'm not sure that it makes too much sense to spend three years in Bloomington or East Lansing. Also, if you go out of state you're likely to accrue debt for living expenses, whereas maybe if you stick near home you can avoid that cost.

Trust me, it's easy to take out those loans but it hard to pay them back. Coming out of one of these schools you probably won't be making $150K right out of the gate, so do what you reasonably can to minimize your debt.

What are my chances of getting into a top 20 school without retaking the LSAT?

Pretty low. Please understand that I'm not trying to be harsh, I'm just answering your question directly. As I'm sure you've read here and elsewhere, law school admission is primarily a numbers game. GPA and (especially) LSAT are the two biggest factors in the process. For schools in the top 20, both your GPA and LSAT are on the low side. For elite schools like Harvard and Yale a GPA/LSAT combo of around 3.8-4.0/175-180 is common. Even at schools ranked in the 15-20 range I think you're looking at averages of around 3.5/165+.

Take a look at LSAC's admission profiles for more detailed info on individual schools. The conventional wisdom states that a high LSAT can help compensate for a lower GPA. In order to have a shot at the top 20 you'd probably have to retake and score very, very high (170+).

Will my job experience (including previous internships at prestigious places of employment) and scholarship outweigh my GPA and LSAT?

No, at top twenty schools your soft factors will generally not outweigh your GPA/LSAT. Your soft factors exist complimentary to, but not in lieu of your numeric qualifications. In other words, they're helpful, but not dispositive. The thing you have to keep in mind is that you will be competing against other applicants who have higher GPAs, higher LSATs, and amazing soft factors. These schools tend to attract the best and the brightest, and literally thousands of people will apply for a handful of slots.

Also keep in mind that there is a big difference in the level of admissions competition at a top 20 school like Stanford versus, say, USC. If you raised your LSAT to 170ish you might have a shot at a place like SC, whereas the Stanford would still likely be out of reach.

Lastly, although this is probably anathema to everything you've read on every other board, don't get too caught up in rankings. Remember, these rankings don't exist according to some provable law of the cosmos, they're just the subjective product of a magazine.

Some schools will always be elite because they possess a certain aura (Harvard/Yale/Stanford and a few others). Other schools that USNWR has deemed worthy of appearing in the "Top 20" are not really elite national schools so much as very reputable regional schools. Don't kid yourself into thinking that going to one of these places is going to open doors throughout the country based on pedigree alone. You may be better off going to a reputable local school instead.

With a 3.25/161 you can into plenty of good schools. Think about where you want to live and work, and go from there. If you want to stay in NC/Southeast region, it may make more sense to go to focus on getting a scholarship at a school like Wake Forest, NC State, UGA, or even Charlotte rather than a school that is simply ranked in the top twenty.

Good luck!   

Online Law Schools / Re: Mid-Atlantic School of Law
« on: January 15, 2013, 08:06:02 PM »
They're definitely not accredited, but California allows students from unaccredited schools to sit for the FYLSE and bar. The problem is that they're not registered with Calbar, either. I just took a look at Calbar's summary of requirements for admission. As far as I can tell, the only unaccredited law schools whose degrees qualify one to sit for the bar are those which are registered with the State. I assume the requirements for the FYSLE are similar, since what would be the point in allowing someone to take the FYLSE if they can't sit for the bar?

So to answer your question, Financialandtaxguy, no, I don't this is a good option for FYLSE prep either.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: I want to be a...
« on: January 15, 2013, 09:43:08 AM »
I am very interested in obtaining either a judicial clerkship or getting a job as a prosecutor right after graduating from law school.

I don't have any personal experience with either the NYC market or the schools you're referring to, but I can offer some general observations.

Judicial clerkships are very competitive, and usually go to people who were top 10-20%, on law review, and maybe did a judicial internship during law school. There are only a handful of clerkships compared to the number of law grads who would like to obtain them, and you'd definitely be competing against the NYU/Columbia/Cornell crowd as well as top students from the other local T2-T4 schools. That doesn't mean you can't do it, just understand that it's highly competitive. 

As far as the prosecutor's office, check to see if they're still doing any real hiring. State and local government budgets have been hit very hard the last few years, and many prosecutor's nd public defender's offices simply aren't hiring. The best bet for maximizing your chances at getting hired is to intern at the prosecutor's office during law school. Making personal connections in incredibly important, and will go a long way towards landing a job later. Take all of the crimlaw/crimpro classes you can, do well, and try to squeeze in some trial advocacy classes. Even if you can't get an internship, volunteer at the D.A.'s.

Generally, I think you should go to law in the area in which you want to live (unless you're attending an elite, nationally recognized school). If you want to live in California, for example, you'd be much better off going to school in LA or SF than NY. At most schools the post-grad employment opportunities, alumni network, and reputation are going to be local or regional. It's very difficult to show up in a new city after law school and to compete with the local talent for jobs. All of the schools you're looking at have good local reputations, and will offer the best opportunities within their immediate geographic region.

Lastly, view any law schools' post-grad employment and placement data with a skeptical eye. Law schools will sometimes include unpaid positions, non-legal positions, etc. Frankly, I'd be surprised if any school was acheiving "amazing" public service placement right now, since many government offices are laying people off. Call the school, ask how old the data is, whether that includes unpaid positions, etc. Set your BS detector to "stun" when you view this information.

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