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Messages - Maintain FL 350
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« on: March 31, 2014, 11:58:19 AM »
Funny, I was in the process of responding to this post the other night but we had an earthquake so I had to stop. Gotta love California!
As Miami88 has stated, don't spend a couple of years working as a paralegal just because you want a boost in terms of law school admissions. Only do it if you want to be a paralegal.
Soft factors such as employment can make a difference if they are truly unique, formative experiences. Stuff like Peace Corps, teaching in an impoverished district, working at a non profit public interest organization, etc. Working as a paralegal doesn't fall into that category. In fact, it's common law school applicants to have paralegal experience. It will make very little difference, and won't overcome a low GPA or LSAT.
Despite the lip service law schools pay to "looking at the whole applicant", admission is very much a numbers game. Once you have your final GPA and LSAT score you will have a very good idea of where you'll get in and where you won't.
If you're looking to maximize your chances I would suggest 1) maximizing your remaining GPA, and 2) maximizing your LSAT score by taking the time to really prepare, including a prep class.
If you feel that you want to gain some resume experience, I'd look at fields that law schools might actually pay attention to.
Also, (and please don't take this as snarky criticism) you may want to consider whether law school is the right choice for you. Law school is much, much more difficult than undergrad, and the exams you will be required to take in order to graduate and get licensed make college and the LSAT look like kindergarten. If you had a tough time with college and the LSAT, you may want to think about this before spending $150,000 on a JD.
Lastly, you should consider what you want to do after law school, and whether or not your goals can be realistically met. I say that because with a 2.5 GPA you won't be going to Harvard or Stanford, and it's statistically unlikely that you'll score 175 on the next LSAT. If you do go to law school it will most likely be at a lower tier school. That's not necessarily a problem, but you may need to modify your expectations.
So, if your goal is to be a partner at a major NYC firm, or to work at the United Nations, you may want to reconsider. However, if your goal is to open your own office and handle divorces, that's different.
« on: March 27, 2014, 06:21:56 PM »
Honestly, you need to really think about whether or not law school is the right choice for you, not just whether you can get in anywhere.
Law school is much, much more demanding than undergrad. It's not even close. If you had a tough time getting passing grades in college, then law school is going to be brutal.
If you have a tough time with tests, like the LSAT, then consider that the MPRE and (especially) bar exam will make the LSAT look like a joke.
Please understand that I'm not trying to be overly critical, but these are things you need to consider before you go $150,000 in debt to obtain a degree which you may not be able to utilize.
As far as getting into an ABA law school, I think your GPA is going to be a huge problem even if you retake the LSAT and score in the 160s.
If you do decide to attend a CBE or unaccredited law school, take the time to thoroughly research the requirements and potential limitations of such a degree. Do a realistic, critical self-evaluation and figure out what caused you to get a low GPA. Unless that issue has been resolved, I'd rethink my plans.
"Proceed with Caution".
« on: March 27, 2014, 05:23:37 PM »
If you are interested in practicing law in LA, neither of these schools are ideal choices. You'd be better off attending school in LA.
UM obviously has greater name recognition, but it's not what I would call "elite". UM is an excellent school, but I don't think its reputation is so prestigious that the pedigree alone will open many doors in LA. For example, I would ask UM how many LA firms interviewed on campus recently. I'll bet the number is very low. That's because the larger LA firms have their pick of UCLA, USC, Irvine, Stanford and Berkeley grads. If they look out of state, its at places like Harvard and Yale.
At smaller firms and government agencies they are less concerned with pedigree, but they want relevant experience. It's difficult to make connections and gain internships (both of which will be critical to gaining employment) from 1500 miles away. Simply showing up in LA after three years in Minneapolis and starting from scratch is very tough.
From what I've seen, a graduate from a school like Loyola or Pepperdine who has significant local experience is often in a better position than a graduate from a higher ranked school who lacks experience. The exception being if the graduate is from a truly elite school like Harvard.
Also check the CA bar pas rates for UM. Law schools in MN are not designed to prepare you for the CA bar exam.
As far as Cal Western, I can understand the attraction of a 90% scholarship. If you plan to go into business for yourself, there is no reason in my opinion to accrue $150,000 debt. Most of your clients won't know the difference between Cal Western and Yale, nor will they care.
The problem, again, is location. If you want to practice in LA why go to school in San Diego?
For both schools, be sure to check the scholarship's stipulations. It may have some tough requirements.
If you have the numbers to get scholarships at UM and Cal Western, then you might want to shoot for a scholarship at a local LA school. At this point it probably means waiting a year, but it might be worth it.
« on: March 20, 2014, 05:45:01 PM »
I think you need to provide a little more info, like your GPA/LSAT, goals, where you want to live, etc.
« on: March 18, 2014, 03:55:46 PM »
I think it simply means that federal law sets the constitutionally permissible parameters of due process, but state law need not exactly mimic federal law as long as it's still within those parameters.
« on: March 15, 2014, 08:12:14 PM »
Maintain you are amazing. You say you don't know anything about these law schools, but you comment any way.
I said that there are certain considerations which are applicable to ANY law student, such as cost, location and future goals. Would you actually disagree?
« on: March 13, 2014, 05:59:40 PM »
Let me first say that I don't live in KY, and I'm not personally familiar with the market or any of these schools.
That said, there are some basic things which apply to everybody.
First, the actual education you receive will be nearly identical at any of these schools. You'll learn the same rules, study the same cases, and have a similar academic experience at just about any ABA law school. That's the point of ABA accreditation; to create a predictable set of standards.
Second, think about what you want to do after law school. UK may have a stronger local reputation than the others, and that might allow greater mobility (at least within KY). On the other hand, maybe NKU is in your hometown and you plan on practicing there. In that case, the ability to stay local is important and should be considered.
Last, think about cost. You likely won't be courted by big firms in LA and NYC coming from these schools, and you need to consider the likely starting income and the debt you will accrue. If one school is going to be significantly cheaper than the others, that would be a MAJOR consideration for me.
« on: March 11, 2014, 04:09:41 PM »
As Miami88 has already pointed out, your GPA/LSAT is pure speculation at this point. I'm not trying to be negative, but the reality is that most people do NOT achieve the high GPA and high LSAT that they think they will.
I've never seen any data which suggests a correlation between LSAT scores and SAT scores. They are very, very different tests. I mean, it makes sense that someone smart enough to score very well on the SAT would possibly do well on the LSAT too, but I'm suspicious of any point for point correlations.
At this early stage the best thing you can do is focus on getting the highest GPA possible. Your actual major won't make too much difference (unless it's in a hard science) as long as you have good grades. A history major might get a slight bump over, say, an art major, but most liberal arts majors will be viewed as roughly equivalent.
As far as the future of law, it depends on what you want to do. If your goal is to be an international policy development lawyer at the U.N., good luck. If your goal is to be a successful partner at a midsized firm, however, that's entirely possible. Think about your long term goals, be realistic, and let that guide your decision making process.
Hope that helps! Good Luck!
« on: March 10, 2014, 12:27:27 PM »
Let me first echo Citylaw's comment and thank Law Dean for posting here. It's a very helpful perspective to have.
A couple of points regarding MCL's bar pass rate:
0/11 is a poor performance, I don't think anyone disputes that. One bad performance, however, is not a trend. If you look at MCL's bar pass rates for the last five years it's much better. This cohort seems to be an outlier, and is not indicative of overall performance.
Now, if this continues then there is obviously a problem. But at this point there is no reason to suspect that it will continue. Past performance, in fact, suggests the opposite.
The size of the CBE law school cohorts is so small (often 10-20 students) that I'm not sure you can draw too many conclusions, either positive or negative. One individual student can affect the pass rate by 5-10%!
If a school has consistently low or high pass rates, that probably does mean something. But an individual cohort which performs below average (as is the case here) is not necessarily indicative of anything other than the specific issues faced by that specific cohort.
Which leads to my last point...
Part Time Programs
I went to law school part time, and I can tell you from experience that it is a brutal process. Trying to prepare for the toughest bar exam in the nation while working, or taking care of a family, or both is very difficult. Schools like MCL are taking students who have much more going on than the average 22 year old law student and are trying to prepare them for the California bar.
If anything, I'm impressed by that fact that MCL routinely gets 50-60% of their students to pass on the first attempt! Remember, Tier 1 out of state schools often have a CA pass rate of only 20-30%.
I would say the same for lower tiered CA ABA schools, too. Personally, I'm more impressed with a 65-75% pass rate on the CA bar than an 80% pass rate on a much easier bar exam. Again, lower tier CA schools often beat the pants off much higher ranked out of state Tier 1 schools.
All of these factors, especially the difficulty of the CA bar, have to be taken into account when evaluating bar pass rates.
« on: March 10, 2014, 12:06:16 PM »
I was told it most definitely matters. Anyone have any experience with this? Thanks.
I think it depends on what state you're in. Some will pay more attention to this issue than others. There was a recent Ohio case where a guy was declined admission to the bar because he had something like $300k in debt, but I think that's unusual.
In most states I think what they're looking for is any indication that you've acted in a fraudulent manner or that you are irresponsible. For example, running up huge bills and then simply walking away or having multiple bankruptcies could raise red flags. In most cases I think bad credit alone is not going to be much of an issue, but you may have to explain it and it could hold up your application.
I have been told that some states like Florida do pay more attention to this than others. In California I seem to remember that the Moral Character application only required a credit report of you were currently
behind on any bills. Be sure to check with your state bar, though. They are the only source you should trust on these matters.
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