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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Law School Applications / Re: 3 year BA when applying?
« on: April 20, 2012, 11:23:02 AM »
I suppose it depends on the particular law school. Some ABA approved law schools (Tulane comes to mind) will accept applicants who do not possess a bachelor's degree but have at least 90 units. I can't imagine that a bachelor's completed in three years would present any problems.

As far as state bars, again it depends. California only requires 60 units of undergrad work to be completed, so they'd be ok there.

Law School Applications / Re: scholarship negotiation letter
« on: April 20, 2012, 01:35:31 AM »
It is possible to successfully negotiate a higher scholarship, I did. Please keep in mind that I have very limited experience with this, as I've only done it once. Anyway, here are some pointers:

1) Like any bargain, you need to have something that the other party wants. You mentioned that you will likely receive a large scholarship from this school anyway, so I assume your LSAT/GPA numbers are well above their medians. This is to your advantage. They want you because thay believe you will pass the bar and be a successful alum. Someone who is offered a, say, only a 25% scholarship probably has far less bargaining power. The school simply doesn't want them as much.

2) A comparable or higher scholarship offer from another school will give you leverage. I had a 75% offer from one school and something like 50% or 60% from my first choice (it's been four years, I honestly don't remember). After writing a letter explaining the situation my school of choice matched the 75%.

3) Be absolutely 100% honest, do not exagerate or embellish anything. If applicable, send a copy of the offer from another school(s) with your letter to show that you're for real.

4) Be positive. I wrote about all of the things that I truly loved about my school and why I wanted to attend.

5) Be humble. Remember, you're asking them for money, not the other way around. Don't try to convince them that you're the biggest badass in the world and that they're fools if they don't give you more money.

I hope some of this helps. Law school is absurdly expensive, and in my personal opinion many law students would do themselves a service by focusing more on scholarships and less on rankings. They usually have no clue how utterly crippling a $2500 per month loan payment can be. If you're talking about a truly elite school, yeah it might be worth it. But for the vast majority of mid to low ranked law schools, no way.

Good luck!

The last paragraph of legend's post is spot on. This is your decision, and only you can truly weigh the myriad factors. Personally, I opted for a huge scholarship at a lower ranked school vs. sticker price at higher ranked schools. It was the right decision for me, it may or may not be the right decision for you.

And yes, pay careful attention to the requirements necessary in order to maintain the scholarship. Mine required that I be ranked in the top 15% to maintain the full grant, not an easy thing to pull off at any law school.

Lastly, (and this is just my opinion) I sometimes get the impression that the minute, specific details in rankings matter more to law school applicants than they do to most lawyers. For example, many biglaw firms probably won't consider a graduate from either Pepperdine or McGeorge unless they're top 10%, law review, etc. anyway. Neither school really has a national reputation, so outside of CA I don't think it will matter.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that rankings don't matter outside of the T14, but I would try to be realistic about how much it matters. I also have no doubt that you'll receive a solid legal education at either school. They both have good bar pass rates and good local reputations.

If your goal is to practice in the Sacramento area, I'd take the 1/2 scholarship at McGeorge in a heartbeat. Pepperdine may be higher ranked, but (this is not meant as criticism) neither school is especially prestigious. McGeorge will probably offer you better internship opportunities and alumni connections in Sacramento, plus the reduced debt will allow greater flexibility when you graduate.

Where should I go next fall? / Re: Whittier vs. Cal Western
« on: April 19, 2012, 11:48:52 AM »
The previous posters have offered good advice.

One point I'd emphasize: consider scholarships. Both schools are probably equal in many respects and you should try to minimize your debt. The job market may be very tight when you graduate, and less debt will allow you greater flexibility.

Also, have you considered Western State, Thomas Jefferson, or La Verne? WSU and TJ are both in your preferred geographic regions and might offer scholarships. ULV is farther away, but also might offer a scholarship (depending on GPA/LSAT, of course).

Good luck!

Distance Education Law Schools / Re: Taft or Concord Law School
« on: April 19, 2012, 11:24:06 AM »
I'm not familiar with SCIF or CDCR, what agencies are those?

Certainly there is competitive variation among government agencies when it comes to hiring. A position with the Attorney General's office in San Francisco is going to be more competitive than a job with an unknown agency in a small town, for example. Nonetheless, recent law grads are struggling to find work right now. Any work.

My local PD's office recently had eight positions to fill. They received something like 300+ applications. When I recently interned a government agency we actually had "Volunteer Attorneys" who had passed the bar and were working for free hoping that a position would open up.   

Distance Education Law Schools / Re: Taft or Concord Law School
« on: April 19, 2012, 12:17:42 AM »
People leave private practice for the public sector all the time. Fewer hours, good benefits, predictable pay increases, a pension (possibly), no office rent, no secretary/paralegal to pay, no bar dues, no need to carry malpractice insurance, and no Westlaw/Lexis subscription are just a few of the reasons.

Depending on the particular government agency the salary may not be too bad, either. At most DA/PD offices in my area starting pay is $65-70K, reaching about $100k within five or six years.

Minus all the overhead I just mentioned, can the average solo practitioner really expect to make much more?

Non-Traditional Students / Re: Online Law School for Wisconsin Bar
« on: April 18, 2012, 03:33:16 PM »
Anyone who graduates from an online law school and passes the California bar on their first attempt, as Jon did, would likely have excelled at any traditional law school. The standard ABA approved methodology may not be the only way to learn the law, but for the majority of students it is probably the best way. The socratic method and mandatory classroom participation forces students to prepare. Is that paternalistic? Sure, but it seems to work.

The state bar approved law schools in California have essentially adopted the same methodology, and their bar pass rates tend to be higher than those of online schools.

BTW, I am not the least bit snobby when it comes to ABA vs. non-ABA. I believe that the ABA requirements can be absurd, and I know plenty of great lawyers who graduated from non-ABA schools. For MOST students, however, the traditional law school methodolgy seems to produce more favorable results.

Non-Traditional Students / Re: 37 yrs old and Stanford?
« on: April 18, 2012, 12:07:15 PM »
Your age will not limit your chances for admission at Boalt or Stanford. Very few attorneys have any training in hard sciences, and you will likely be employable no matter where you go to law school. For most (if not all) biglaw IP jobs, however, a degree from a prestigious school is pretty much required.

Consider this, however: if you can score 170+ on the LSAT you may get a full ride at Hastings, Davis, UCLA, or USC. If you are intent on staying in Silicon Valley it might be better to stay local, make connections, and graduate with no debt. Although none of these schools are T14, all they are well respected.

Here's my unscientific anecdotal evidence: I know a guy with a PhD in microbiology and a JD from Hastings. He was hired straight out of law school by one of the biggest firms in California (patent law), no problem. He actually had several job offers at graduation and got to pick and choose. The other new hires at his firm had JDs from Harvard, Stanford, etc., but his science background got him the job.

Good luck! 

Distance Education Law Schools / Re: Taft or Concord Law School
« on: April 17, 2012, 01:34:39 PM »
Most government legal jobs will probably not consider graduates of either school. I recently worked a government law office in California and all of the recent hires were either former interns from ABA schools or experienced attorneys from ABA schools. Hiring is so competitive right now that government offices have the luxury of being very picky.

If a Taft or Concord grad passed the baby bar, passed the bar, worked solo for, say, five years and built up lots of good trial and transactional experience, then applied to government job . . . well, maybe. Still a longshot. I would contact each school and ask how many graduates are working in government.

I don't know where the OP is located, but many ABA and all CBE school offer part-time programs for students who work full time. I started law school in my early thirties with a family, a mortgage, the works. I'll graduate from an ABA part-time program in a few weeks. It is a grind, but it can be done!

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