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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Job Search / Re: Big Law GPA Cutoff
« on: January 23, 2013, 12:07:34 PM »
I'm not sure that there is a particular cutoff that applies across the board. Some firms are more selective than others, and some schools are more prestigious than others, so it depends. A Harvard student with a 3.3, for example, probably has better biglaw options than a Duke student with the same GPA. That said, I'd think that a Duke student in the top 1/3 or so should be fine for biglaw, especially in the South/Southeast.

Online Law Schools / Re: ABA approved LLM degree online?
« on: January 22, 2013, 01:20:55 PM »
Not to get too wonky, but the ABA doesn't actually accredit LL.M programs. They only accredit the first degree in law, the J.D. Therefore, if a state requires an ABA accredited law degree for bar admission, an LL.M from an ABA accredited school will not suffice.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Decisions-Decisions...<grumble>
« on: January 21, 2013, 12:51:50 PM »
I did very well at a school ranked around 50 at full price.  I was a law review editor, moot court guy, and top quarter of my class. (graduated in 2010)   The job search was brutal, but maybe things have changed now..   I passed up a full ride at a T3, and I really should have taken it.

Anyone who is contemplating law school should read this quote, and really let it sink in. I have heard this so many times, from so many lawyers, it isn't even funny. I've even had people who graduated from schools like UCLA and Michigan tell me that they wish they had just accepted a full scholarship at a lower ranked school instead.

I really believe that the vast majority of students would be much better served by minimizing debt than by focusing on rankings. Even at well respected (but not necessarily elite) T1s, most graduates will not obtain high paying jobs right out of the gate. In many cases the job that a graduate of a non-elite T1 obtains is probably not significantly better paying than the job that a lower ranked grad obtains. A few years down the road the expensive degree is worth even less, as experience begins to outweigh pedigree.

For some jobs a higher ranked degree is required, but people should be realistic about their chances.

Considering your age and existing financial obligations, you may want to focus on minimizing your debt. At some point you'll want to retire, and you don't want an additional $1000 per month payment to deal with. If you can score very well on the LSAT you may be able to secure a substantial (or even full) scholarship at Memphis State. I think Memphis' average LSAT is around 155, so a score of 165+ might yield some positive results.

Another option is to attend part time in the evening. This would allow you to continue working, and you wouldn't have to take out loans to pay your mortgage. I believe that Tennessee is one of the few states that has state-accredited law schools, and they probably offer evening options. I know there is one in Nashville, I'm not sure about Memphis.

When I graduate I'll be 51 years old. At this age does rank even matter considering how firms will likely ding me for being an old fart?

Whether or not rank matters depends on your goals. Unless you're willing to pick up and move to another city for law school, and unless your goals include large law firms, I wouldn't worry about rank too much. I think it is possible that larger firms would ding you for being older. They tend to hire young associates fresh from top law schools, it's just the industry culture. At smaller offices, though, I don't think it would matter too much. For those smaller firms (or if you go solo) Memphis State is probably fine.

I don't know what your current profession is, but you may also want to consider the fact that you may experience a drop in salary initially. A new minted, inexperienced lawyer in a secondary market like Memphis, especially at a small firm, isn't likely to command a large starting salary. This is also a factor when you consider whether or not to take out loans.

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.

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