Law School Discussion

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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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91
I have a lot of respect for the above posters, both offer good advice.

However, when the discussion devolves into Cooley vs. Harvard we enter the theater of the absurd. How many students are actually faced with such a stark choice? Is anyone who has been accepted to Harvard actually contemplating Cooley, or any other school outside of the T14? Surely there are a handful of such cases, but it seems rather pointless to make such comparisons.

Personally, I think anyone who gets accepted to Harvard would be crazy to turn down the opportunity unless it was to take advantage of a full ride at another well known school. If you've read any of my previous posts then you know that I am VERY skeptical of the rankings and encourage people to examine all facets of their available options.

Nonetheless, a degree from Harvard/Yale/Stanford is so instantly recognizable as badass that it will be a boon to the job applicant regardless of geographic location. Even if your goal is to be a PD in Maine or Lansing, the Harvard degree will help. The debt is another issue.

A far more realistic scenario (and one which has the potential to adversely affect many more prospective students), is when someone is debating between Low Ranked School at Discount vs. Mid-Ranked School at Full Price. This is where the rubber hits the road.

How many of us know people who wanted to work as attorneys in say, California, but turned down a scholarship to the local T4 in order to attend a non-elite, out of state school because it was ranked higher? Huge mistake, IMO.

So, do rankings matter? Yes, especially at the top. But as others have stated, once you get into the great blurry mass of the other 190 or so schools that are not elite, you better prioritize cost and location over rankings.

92
Second, don't believe what law schools are telling you. No law school outside of the T14 or so is "national". Heck, some of the schools in the T14 aren't that national. If you go to a school in the T50, expect to practice in that region. If you go to a school outside of the T50, expect to practice in that locality. Does that mean you will? No. But chances are, you will.

Yep.

I live and work in the Los Angeles area and I cannot tell you how many times I've seen students pass up the opportunity to attend a solid local school on a 50% scholarship in order to attend a non-elite (but higher ranked) out of state school. They have been so imbued with the notion that rankings are infallible, that they cannot fathom that law firms in LA won't give a crap that you attended the #52 school vs the #67 school.

I've tried to explain that once you get away from truly elite schools (not just "good" schools), cost and geography should drive the decision  making process. Frankly, many of them are oppositional to the information. Oh well. They'll learn the hard way that a $150k debt is a far bigger obstacle to their success than the arbitrary nuances of law school rankings.

93
In most situations I think people should just take the cheapest degree possible. However, most people don't have the chance to attend a nationally recognized school like Penn.

This is one of the few times when I would at least seriously consider attending a certain school, even if it involves debt accrual. Penn is one a very limited number of schools whose reputation alone really can open doors throughout the country. This may (or may not) be worth the debt depending on what you want to do with the degree.

If you want to hang your own shingle and do family law, or become a local prosecutor, then I'd go for the free degree in a heartbeat. But if you are inclined towards Biglaw, federal jobs, or just aren't sure what you want to do yet, then Penn may be worth the investment. Keep in mind, however, that even as a Penn graduate you will still have to compete for the top jobs. Plenty of students from Harvard/Yale/Georgetown, etc are also after those positions.

Congrats! 

94
LSAC and LSDAS / Re: Question about LSAC transcript summarization
« on: March 12, 2015, 12:15:49 PM »
Yeah, I dunno. If the transcript lists the course grade and units attempted, I think it's going to be counted based on the quote you provided from LSAC. But I really don't know.

I think all you can do at this point is send your info to LSAC, get the report generated, and see what they do. If you believe that they count the coursework improperly, perhaps you can petition for a re-evaluation.

95
Law School Applications / Re: Need help applying
« on: March 11, 2015, 12:16:27 PM »
I'm applying like a scatter shot so I really need some help: let me know if this is a solid list. I really don't know what I have a shot at w/ a at least a little scholarship/aid.

University of Washington
Seattle U
Gonzaga
U of Iowa
George Mason
Denver Sturm
Penn State Dickinson
Florida State

I agree, you're applying like scatter shot. Generally, I think this is a bad idea. My guess is that you're applying based on rankings (unless you really want to live in Iowa for some reason).

That's fine if you're applying to nationally elite schools, but you should consider that among this list of schools you're talking about degrees that aren't necessarily going to open doors based on pedigree alone. They all have good reputations within their regions, but if you wanted to live in Miami after law school, for example, I'm not sure why you would go to law school in the Midwest or pacific northwest.

I would really spend some time thinking about what you want to do after law school, and let that guide the process.

96
LSAC and LSDAS / Re: Question about LSAC transcript summarization
« on: March 11, 2015, 12:07:07 PM »
Typically, LSAC will count all college level courses attempted. If I'm reading your post correctly, it sounds like your community college courses do not fall within the exemption since the transcript lists both the grade and units attempted.

Your best bet is to call LSAC. They can give you more precise information.

97
It's difficult to say because nobody on this board works for your school or knows what their particular definition of "serious hardship" means.

But, just looking at the situation you've described I would think that it certainly qualifies. I'm not familiar with the 3rd year visiting thing. Does that just mean that you take your last year of classes somewhere else?

Ask your school what they require, and apply. That's all you can really do. They'll be able to give you better info than anyone here.

One thing to consider might be taking a little time off from law school. I know you said you're doing well academically, but maybe you could use a break? After graduation you'll need to prep for the bar, which can be quite stressful. It might be a good idea to sort out any problems now, before that whole process begins.

98
If you have no interest I taking the bar, then I would probably look for the most affordable distance program with a decent track record.

Even though you don't plan on taking the bar, I would still look into each school's bar pass rate. Why? Because some distance learning programs have never produced a single lawyer and others have pass rates in the 5-10% range. I think this probably says something about the program and your fellow students.

You want to get a good education. Look for schools with at least consistent pass rates, even if they're relatively low (compared to ABA programs). Some schools that come to mind are Taft, Oakbrook, and St. Francis. (St. Francis is new, but their program seems a little more selective than average).

99
General Board / Re: In Need of Serious Help!
« on: February 26, 2015, 12:00:22 PM »
As long as you weren't on academic probation or expelled or anything like that, you'll probably be fine. The bar is mostly concerned with people attempting to hide disciplinary actions or bad grades. A mistake like this will probably require an explanation and may slow down the moral character process, but you should probably be ok.

As Citylaw said, when in doubt disclose. It is imperative that you be 100% honest with the bar and your law school. If there is a discrepancy in your records, the bar will likely find it. It's much better that they hear it from you first. In these situations, an attempt to cover up is often worse than the infraction itself.   

100
General Board / Re: Transferring T4 to T1 w/ top %3
« on: February 18, 2015, 11:47:12 AM »
I somewhat disagree. The chances of transferring to Penn or Georgetown are pretty low, but Villanova/Temple etc seems realistic. Top 3% is very good, and neither of those schools are incredibly competitive in the first place. I know people who made similar transfers from So Cal T4s to Loyola, and they weren't even top 3%. More like top 10%.

I think the bigger issue is whether you have reason to believe that transferring is worth it. You could graduate near the top of your class from Widener, or (probably) middle of the pack from Temple. I'm not sure that a average student from Temple or Villanova is necessarily better off than a high ranked graduate from Widener. The schools you mentioned (with the exceptions of Penn and Georgetown) are not elite. Are their employment prospects really that much greater than Widener? I dunno, but I'd look into it. Personally, I wouldn't make a decision like this based on rankings alone.

Another option is that you may be able to leverage your ranking into greater scholarship aid. Graduating higher ranked and with little debt from Widener may be more advantageous in the long run than mid ranked (this happens to many transfers) and in debt from another school. Something to consider.

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