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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: Charleston School of Law
« on: August 31, 2012, 12:01:44 PM »
I think you have a good, workable plan. You're considering the right criteria (geography, future goals) and you seem to be very realistic about the legal market and the implications of attending a T4. That, combined with your work experience, vaults you well ahead of most law students.

If I could offer any advice, it would be this: do everything you can to minimize your costs. Since you will likely be going solo, and you want to have a family, minimal debt should be a primary goal. Here are two things to consider:

1) Get your B.A. at a cheap public school. I don't know the Charleston area at all, but if there is a state university nearby take advantage of wthe cheap tuition. When it comes to law school admissions, they really don't care where you went to undergrad. Try to get the highest possible GPA. Even though it's not required for admission to Charleston Law, it will help you get scholarship $$$.

2) Consider a cheaper public law school, like University of South Carolina. I don't know if that's an option due to it's distance from Charleston, but it's something to think about. Alternatively, start focusing on the LSAT now, and get the highest possible score. A high GPA/LSAT will likely get you a scholarship to Charleston. I don't remember Charleston's admissions profile, but I bet if you could score in the mid-160s you'd be in great shape. You have the time to do it, and you can start now.

As an aside, I'd probably drop the paralegal program and focus on getting a B.A. as quickly as possible. It's just my opinion, but if you want to be a lawyer focus your time and money on getting to law school.

Good Luck with everything!

General Off-Topic Board / Re: The Sunk Cost Fallacy: Help me!
« on: August 29, 2012, 04:11:33 PM »
I've considered teaching law, but it's incredibly competitive and mostly reserved for those with better educational credentials than I have..  There are far less law schools than there are undergrad institutions.

I've run into the same issue. I'd love to teach law, and I think I'd be good at it, but my J.D. is not from an elite institution. I have a couple of friends who graduated from the same law school that I did, and they've been able to pick up adjunct/clinical classes. Full time, tenure track positions, however, are another story. Even at many T4s it's not unusual to find Harvard/Yale/Columbia grads with federal clerkship experience. I've met a few full time profs who went to places like UCLA, Texas, and Washington, but they all had some other unique experience that made them marketable.

The vast majority of law students would be better served by law schools' hiring great teachers rather than great academicians. It's yet another example of the obvious disconnect between the academy's notion of legal education as a purely intellectual pursuit, and the reality of forging a career in law, which most grads will be confronted with. 

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: 2-3 years before 1L
« on: August 28, 2012, 07:07:27 PM »
Highly suspicious, but what the hell.

Assuming that you are who you say you are, an employee of a Tier 1 university, and that your university has some sort of admissions agreement for employees, it seems highly unlikely that the offer is totally unqualified. Are you saying that if you had a 2.0 GPA and 140 LSAT you'd still get in because you're an employee? What university are we talking about?

I'd re-read that policy carefully before blowing off the LSAT.

Definitely. When you're new and have no reputation, other attorneys are hesitant to send referrals your way. Often, the only clients brand new attorneys get are the ones nobody else will take. Sometimes that's because their case is a loser, sometimes it's because they have no ability to pay. Imagine trying to get your fee from a client who's house is underwater, who is in arrears on child support, or who is contemplating bankruptcy. It can be done, but it's an  art that requires experience.

I have a friend who worked at a small family law office for all four years during law school (part time program). She was the office manager/accountant/law clerk/filing clerk/client intake interviewer/collection agent, and anything else you can imagine. She was at the local family court every day filing papers and getting to know the system. She did this full time for four years, and felt competent to hang out her shingle after law school. I think you'd almost have to have that kind of experience to stand a fighting chance.

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Transfers and Drop Outs
« on: August 28, 2012, 11:14:19 AM »
I don't know what school you're at, so it's impossible to say. Generally, though, the number of students who transfer out is small. I'd bet that academic attrition/voluntary dropouts outweigh transfers.

Most (if not all) law schools offer practical skills, courses, trial advocacy, etc. My law school offered a few courses that were designed for small firm/solo litigators. That's not really the point, though.

The tough part of starting a solo practice straight out of law school is not managing the office, it's finding clients, getting paid by clients who are often broke themselves, and learning how to navigate the court system. The people I've known who successfully started solo practices had several years of hands-on experience working in small offices. The typical law school class is only 30-45 hours per semester, not nearly enough to prepare the average student.

Law School Applications / Re: CHANCE ME
« on: August 24, 2012, 02:01:12 PM »
You have a decent shot at Mid-Atlantic School of Law.

General Off-Topic Board / Re: The Sunk Cost Fallacy: Help me!
« on: August 23, 2012, 03:41:11 PM »
A decision like this volves so many aspects of your life that it's difficult to offer any advice. My father is a college professor, and several of my close friends are full time tenured professors. Here are a few things I'd consider, however.

Employment prospects
Full time college teaching positions are very, very competitive to obtain. I'd say the market is even tighter than the legal market. My dad teaches at a non-prestigious state university. When positions open up, which is rarely, his department has the luxury of choosing from several hundred applicants. The people who get hired, even at his state commuter school, invariably have Ph.Ds from places like Columbia, Berkeley, etc., and are well published. One of my good friends got his Ph.D from UCLA and spent years teaching part time community college courses before landing a full time gig.

Like law school, your employability is tied to your pedigree, but it's worse. You can't be a solo practitioner college professor, and even small colleges can be very picky about hiring.

Do you like research and scholarly publications?
The Ph.D will not be enough. You'll need to publish like crazy in order to build up a reputation so that you can get hired. Many people like teaching but aren't thrilled with the peer review/publishing aspect.

Are you willing to live just about anywhere?
If so, you may have a better chance at employment. A small college in west Virginia  will be less competitive than, say, NYU, but it will still be far more competitive than most people expect.

My views on Ph.D programs differ somewhat from my views on JD programs. Based on what I've seen, a Ph.D from a so-so university is probably not worth it. The field is simply too competitive.

The good news is that it's quite common to get substantial or full scholarships for a Ph.D. If they accept you, they'll probably offer you money.

Yours is one of those rare cases where your soft factors may very well come into play. Usually they don't, and the numbers determine your admission/denial almost exclusively. Hence, it's pretty easy to gauge your chances. The funny thing about being a splitter is that your admissions chances can be very unpredictable depending on which schools you're applying to.

175 is a fantastic LSAT score, and is probably sufficient to get into just about any school outside the top 25. The truly elite national schools (Harvard, Yale, etc) are probably out of reach with 3.0. Thus, your "battleground" will likely be the schools in the 15-25 range: UCLA, USC, Notre Dame, etc. If you look at the admissions grids on LSAC, you'll see that at many of those places the statistical probability of someone with your numbers being admitted ranges from 25-75%, depending on the school. This means that in similar situations those schools are looking at factors other than just GPA/LSAT. Youmight have a big advantage with your background.

Another possibility: depending on what you want to do after law school, and considering any applicable financial/family/personal concerns, you may want to consider seeking a full scholarship at a lower Tier 1 or Tier 2. A 175 LSAT is probably enough to pull off a full ride at many such schools, and the lack of debt may be more beneficial to you in the long term than a higher ranked school with a hefty price tag. If you get into an elite school, the cost may be worth it. But if it's a choice between the #24 school at full price versus the #37 school for free, you may want to carefully consider factors beyond rankings.

Good luck and congratulations!

Then you can try to qualify for the New York or another Bar Exam without a JD.

Since this is an online degree, wouldn't the holder be limited to the states that accept distance learning degrees for bar admission? Typically, a foreign degree is evaluated by the state bar to see if comparable to an ABA degree. Since the ABA won't accredit distance learning JD programs, I would think this degree wouldn't qualify in most jurisdictions.

Any better ideas?

I think you may be better served by focusing your time, energy, and money on the LSAT. On a strict cost/benefit analysis, the LL.B probably won't produce dividends commensurate with the effort and money you'll expend.

Law school admissions is a numbers game, and your GPA/LSAT profile will dominate the process. Additional degrees will be considered soft factors, and may help if you are on the cusp of admission. Otherwise, the conventional wisdom indicates that a second B.A., M.A., work experience, etc., will not come into play in most situations.

Secondly, I'm not sure that the UoL External LL.B would be viewed with any more respect than the M.A. in Philosophy you mentioned. My understanding is that while a standard LL.B from the University of London is certainly well regarded, the External program is similar to that uniquely European institution, the Open University. The admissions are comparatively open, and let's face it, online degrees are simply not viewed in the same way. (The merits of this issue are the subject of endless debate, but it is a fact.) The U.S. equivalent to the External Programmes might be the Harvard Extension School: Harvard, but with an asterick.

With a 2.5 GPA what you really need is a very high LSAT score. If you can acheive this, an LL.B won't matter anyway. Schools will admit you based on the high LSAT. Conversely, if you score low, an LL.B won't really help you either. Everything hinges on the LSAT. If you want to earn the LL.B for reasons of personal enrichment, go for it. It's a cool degree from a globally recognized university. If you're only doing in order to boost your admission chances, however, I'd say simply focus on the LSAT.

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