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Messages - livinglegend

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Groundhog is right on now do not make any academic decisions based on the potential of going to law school. Do the best you can and be involved as possible, but even if you finish up with straight A's if you score poorly on the LSAT you are not going or you may get a 180 on the LSAT, but decide law school is not for you. Get everything you can out of undergrad unlike med school etc there are no per-requistese courses for law school.  The bottom line is law schools really could care less what your major is they simply care about grades and being involved which you should do whether you are planning on attending law school or not.

Law school admissions isn't that through they will see an F it will not look good, but they care about the numbers and LSAT. If you want to right an addendum explaining the F you can, but with a 3.3 you can get into numerous schools with a decent LSAT score.

I got a D and a W one semester went to law school, graduated, passed the bar, etc and there was no rough patch I was just lazy as a 19 year old sophmore in college. I was accepted to numerous schools despite that my LSAT and overall GPA were sufficient to get admitted.

Certainly avoid F's and W's they will not help you, but your chances of getting into law school are not ruined.

Transferring / Re: Transferring v. Reapplying
« on: January 10, 2013, 11:56:19 AM »
Yea I don't know where the information is coming from if your in the top 10% it is very easy to transfer up, but the question is should you? Aside from that it is January so your in the middle of your 2L year and I have only heard of transfers being accepted from 1L's who completed their first year, but once you start as a 2L it is done your option to transfer is gone.

A tier 2/3 school doesn't mean much either from the limited information you presented it sounds like you are putting far to much stock into U.S. News which is nothing more than a for-profit, unregulated, magazine offering an opinion. If you finished in the top 10% of your class at any ABA school you are likely to do fine and going to the 84th opposed to the 118th won't make any significant difference.

I am a lawyer and know that Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc are outstanding schools, but I could not tell you what the difference between Gonzaga or Wayne State was and I don't care they are both ABA schools and fine I wouldn't hire someone from Gonzaga  over a Wayne State gradue because it was 97th and Wayne State was 118th I would interview them, see their transcripts, writing sample, etc.

Startng over as 1L sounds like a terrible idea on any law school application you would have to disclsoe you attended law school and your reason for dropping out would be my schools U.S. News Ranking was not high enough? An admissiosn committe woudl think you had serious problem not to mention retaking your 1L woudl give you a tremendous advantage over the rest of the incoming class at whatever school you attended.

I think your putting way to much stock into U.S. News if you graduate from an ABA school and pass the bar you will have some options. You can drop out and let the dream of being a lawyer die, try transfering but going to a Tier 2/3 over a Tier 4 is not going to automatically grant you numerous options at graduation.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Where should I go?
« on: January 10, 2013, 11:45:07 AM »
First off everyone on this board and others myself included is nothing more than an anonymous internet poster and whatever is said here or by other anonymous internet posters should be taken with a major grain of salt. I could be valedictorian of Harvard Law School or some crackhead in a public library with a heroin needle stuck in my arm I could say anything about myself I want as could anyone else on this site so take it all with a grain of salt.

With that said Jack makes some good points and I would like to add a few more.

I really think there are a few things any potential law student should seriously consider when choosing a school. (1) Location (2) Cost & Scholarship Conditions (3) Personal Feeling About the School (4) Speciality Programs if applicable & Reality of Legal Education (5) If those fail then use U.S. News as a tiebreaker, but don't let a for-profit unregulated magazine offering an opinion make a life altering decision for you.

This factors applied to your circumstance.

1) Location
You are considering a school in Northern New York, Pittsburgh,  and Boston to name a few. These are very different areas and different legal markets. They are all East Coast so at least your not looking all over the country, but the reality is if you go to school in Pittsburgh you will make friends in Pittsburgh, get a girlfriend in Pittsburgh, an apartment you like in Pittsburgh, etc etc. Very few people particularly from schools of the caliber you are mentioning leave the geographic area the school is located in.

There are several reasons for this first off every internship you get in law school will likely be in the school you attend just because of practical circumstances if your attending Duquesne commuting to New York during the school year to do an internship would be impossible, but interning at the Pittsburgh D.A. is very possible. Furthermore, the schools have connections locally so that is probably where you will end up.

You state you want to live in PA so you should really be considering Widener, Duquesne, or Pittsburgh go to school in PA you will have to take the PA bar to pratice in PA and you can intern etc in PA if you attend school in PA.

2) Cost
Having a full ride there are very few schools that have the type of pedigree that will give you instant credibility i.e. Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc going to the 84th best school opposed to the 118th doesn't matter nobody cares. So if you can pay 20,000 less for the 118th best you probably should.

A) Actual Cost of Tuition
However, there are few things to be wary of one is look at the cost of tuition I know Syracuse is one of the most expensive law schools at approximately 50k a year in tuition. Then there are some schools like Florida International that is only 12,000 per year so even if you had a 50% scholarship at Syracuse you would still be paying twice the amount there then at FIU. Go to LSAC and look at the tuition costs of each one.

B) Scholarship Conditions
Then also look at the conditions of any scholarship you are offered. Oftentimes it will say something to the effect of you will maintain your scholarship if you have a 3.0 at the end of first year, or finish in the top 35% of the class etc. As someone who was accepted into an ABA school you assume a 3.0 will be easy to get as it likely was in undergrad. However, law school grading is very different and only about 35% of people can have a 3.0 at the end of first year. Still like 100% of people who attend law school you are certain you will be in the top 35%, but you don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out what happens when 100% of people think they will be in the top 35%. If your not in that top 35% then you lose your scholarship for years 2 & 3 which could add up to 80k in tuition lost so CHECK THE CONDITIONS AND ASK QUESTIONS REGARDING THEM!

3) Personal Feelings About School
I was accepted to numerous schools and also participated in a lot of mock trial competitions and can tell you each school has a culture to it. You should visit these schools, meet with professors, talk directly to students who attended or attend the school, and just get a sense for the place. Whether you like it or not will be your own personal opinion there were several schools I visited that I loved and others that I hated, but it is very possible you will hate what I loved and loved what I hated.

After all I am a Yankees fan, Notre Dame Fan, etc you may hate those organizations or love them nothing wrong with it just my opinion and whatever law school you attend will be 3 years of your life make sure it fits your style.

4) Speciality Programs & Reality of Legal Education
I don't see any particular area of interest from your post and it doesn't generally matter, but if for example you wanted to be in entertainmetn law then you should attend law school in NY or L.A. that is where movie studios etc are.

If you wanted Maritime law then be close to the water don't go to school in Nebraska since there is no ocean near it just common sense stuff like that. If you don't have a particular interest then it is not a problem most lawyers and law students don't really know exactly what they want to do.

A) Reality of Legal Education
I will let you in a big secret at every ABA school it is all the same. Your first year will consist of Torts, Civil Procedure, Contracts, Property, and Criminal law they may also fit in Criminal Procedure & Constitutional Law into first year or require you to take some of those courses in second year. You will be reading supreme court cases like Palsgraff in Torts, Hadley v. Baxendale in contracts, Filburn cae in Con Law, Miranda in Criminal Procedure etc. Whether you read these cases at Harvard or Suffolk you are literally reading the same thing the Supreme Court doesn't write individaul opinions for each school.

Some professors may be better at explaining it etc, but genreally speakign you will be using outlines, the textbook, barbri lectures, etc you will be doing the same thing.

5) U.S. News Ranking
So many 0L's put so much stock into this, but it is such a bad idea. Remember it is a for-profit unregulated magainze offering an opinion. Schools jump 50 spots in 3 years for no particular reason. Many schools I considered when I was a OL jumped 30 spots by 2L or fell 30 spots there is no rhyme or reason.

To illustrate the point further U.S. News ranks more than law schools and they said Alberqueue, New Mexico was the best place to live and South Dakota is the best place to live in 2032. Do they have reasons for rating these cities to live in I"m sure there are some solid reasons, but I certanily am not planning on making a life altering decision such as moving to Alberqueue because U.S. News said to.  I imagine that makes sense to everybody, but somehow when U.S. News says this school is Kansas is 84th a kid born and raised in NYC will turn down the 99th best school to move to Kansas that makes no sense and rarely works out.

Point being use U.S. News as a factor, but the things I mentioned above such as location, cost, personal feelings about the school, etc should be considered because after all this is your life and nobody knows what is better for you than yourself.

Since you state you have been born and raised in rural PA and want to live in PA it seems like Duquesne or Widener would be ideal getting out debt free in the location you want to live in makes a lot of sense. I would like at the conditions on the scholarships and visit the schools to see which you like more, but based on the few facts you presented I think you should narrow it down to those two choices, but I am just some guy on the internet who has never even been to PA so make the choice that suits you best. There is simply no right answer.

First off realize not everyone gets a 160 that is the 80th percentile of test takers and 80% of people who are college graduates and motivated enough to actually show up for the LSAT don't score that highly. This will be the same when you go to law school when 100% of people on the first day of class firmly believe they will be in the top 10% just as the LSAT scenario described above displays you don't need to be a math major to see that 90% of people will not meet their expectations.

With that said is it possible to raise your score? Absolutely if you didn't study at all. The LSAT is a test you can raise your score by 10-15 points from your original diagnostic in my opinion. I took a practice LSAT cold came got a 144 not knowing what anything was. I studied for a few months received a 157 went to a law school, graduated, passed the bar, and became a lawyer. I didn't go to Harvard, Yale, or Stanford either and odds are neither will you again only 1% or so of applicants get in there. However, you don't need a 160 to get into law school or go to Harvard to become a lawyer.

As far as what to do in your particular situation the LSAT in it's current state is an everything to gain nothing to lose situation as I understand it. The vast majority of schools have done away with averaging scores and take only your highest. If you receive a 148 next time around it won't really hurt you as 151 will be your score. If you receive a 160 then you got you wanted. However, I would check with any schools you were seriously interested in before taking the LSAT to find out if me the anonymous internet poster who has no repercussion for being 100% wrong is in fact correct the schools will know far better than me.

One other thing I tell anyone considering law school is the longer you wait the less likely it is to happen. If you have a 151 and above a 3.0 you can get into a few schools and if the location, cost, and  your personal feeling about the school feel good go for it. The longer you wait to enroll the more likely life is going to get in the way of you ever going. That may be a good thing if you don't really want to be a lawyer, but a terrible thing if it is something you really want to do.

You could also apply to the schools you are interested in now and if they reject you bummer if you get accepted great. If you get rejected then retake the LSAT get a higher score and re-apply it shows sincere interest and desire to go law school which I imagine admission committees would like. However, I urge to check with the schools to make sure that is the case.

Good luck

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Best Summer Options
« on: January 03, 2013, 02:59:24 PM »
Realistically I don't think your 1L summer is that important you really know nothing of any practical use at the end of 1L. However, some states do allow you to become certified to appear in court if you have finished first year and enroll in evidence during the summer. I did that and was certified and got to do a full jury trial while working for the public defender it was an enticing shoplifting case :) not that interesting, but a good way to get some real trial experience. That was in California though and I know Louisiana is the only civil law state in the country and they may have very different rules regarding law student certification.

Many of my friends studied abroad and loved there experience I kind of regret not doing that personally. Once you graduate law school there will be no summers off and you can go to some pretty cool places through study abroad.

One thing to realize is that specialties do not really exist in law school. At any ABA school your first year will be Torts, Civil Procedure, Property, Contracts,Criminal Law, & LRW. Then you will also take Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure in second year or perhaps in first year depends on how the individual school structure is, but that will be 30 required units most likley.

Then almost every school requires or highly suggests you take Corporations, Wills & Trusts, Evidence, Remedies, Marital-Community Property/Family Law whatever your state has, then Trial Advocacy. That makes up 2 years of law school then you might be able to fit a few maritime classes in which will be helpful, but it will not make you a specialist.

Also many people change the areas of practice they want I remember when I started IP law sounded great, but after one class I realized it was not for me.

Hope some of that is helpful good luck.

As for maritime law if that is what you want to do then working for a maritime law firm would be ideal. You might also want to intern JAG Coast Guard or JAG Navy that might help you out.

I think it is a good personal statement although I personally am not a big fan of the occupy movement and there is a good chance an admissions officer may not be as well. However, that is who you are and you should own it as there will be plenty of admission officers in support of I am sure.

Also the reality is law school admissions is really about numbers the personal statement helps, but your GPA/LSAT will what gets you into law school. I think this personal statement helps and can get you in if your on the fence. Good luck.

As for feedback I know space is tight on these things, but it might be helpful to explain how you fought for tuition freezes, increased janitor wages etc. It is kind of a list of things that occured, but no explanation of the details as you did in your intro which I thought was good.

Transferring / Re: No more beating around the bush
« on: January 03, 2013, 10:58:56 AM »

I responded to your prior thread and you also mentioned Tulane so I will include their information in this post. As the title of your posts suggest I will not beat around the Bush the odds of getting a biglaw job from any of these schools is minimal. SMU will give you more of a chance than STCL, but maybe a 5% increase and it is 14,000 more a year sticker price and as I mentioned you can likely obtain a large scholarship from STCL if you ask. If they don't give that to you then SMU might be worth 14k more. However, if STCL offers you free tuition the rest of the way that is a savings of 52,000 combined with the additional cost of SMU at 40,000 a year. So you would get out 132,000 less in debt. These are serious numbers considering your odds of big law out of SMU will not be much better than STCL. You also have to consider moving from Houston to Dallas this may or may not be a big deal to you, but the reality of changing cities can have a significant impact on how you perform in law school.

The simply reality is the life of a lawyer is not how T.V. makes it out to be. Firms do not wine and dine students for the 48th best school because they were on law review. Many recent grads from schools of the caliber you are mentioning start out making 50-60k and after a few years of experience often make in the six figures, but it takes time.

Many people strive for this few get it and those that do often do not enjoy it. I have several friends from Harvard who worked at Cravath for a few years and said it was awful. They went to work as in-house counsel at various tech companies and took a paycut, but love what they are doing. Simply put biglaw is not for everyone it could easily be for you, but before spending $100,000 and changing schools you way want to research more if you have not done so already.

This is a great site where you can essentially see the job postings that every law school is offering. Here is the link username jobfind password fall2012. South Texas, SMU, and Tulane are on there so it might worth looking at the jobs they are posting before spending 100,000+ more dollar accruing interest and changing from an environment you are doing well in.

Law school transparency is a really good site that shows actual reported salaries of students coming out of each school. You will notice most schools have huge gaps of unreported scores which I assume means unemployed, but I cannot say for sure. There is also a chart that shows student debt/salary ratio which might of help. I have attached the links for SMU, Tulane, and South Texas below. SMU does account for most of their students which is great, but it does not appear that one graduate made over $130,000. (SMU REPORT) Pretty good accountability, but not one graduate made more than $130,000. that is 2010 info nobody reported 2011 so that is a red flag)  (TULANE) (SOUTH TEXAS)

If you really know what biglaw entails and there is nothing else you want other than that then SMU will give you a better chance than STCL. However, it will be a 5-10% chance increase and you will be paying a lot more money for that 5-10% and you may not like the switch from Dallas to Houston and being away from the people you met during 1L. 

If the money and potential of not liking the new school are worth a 5-10% chance increase to work in biglaw then go for it. However, be prepared to spend a lot of extra money and end up working alongside people from STCL in the future. It is your call.

Good luck.

He can probably raise his score, but he could still get into a few ABA schools with 3.8/146. However, the LSAT is a joke compared to law school finals and then of course the bar exam. The LSAT is difficult, but your son score in about the top 50% of test takers and most people do not get 170. Everybody starts out thinking they will be going to a T14 school, but if it were that easy everyone would do it.

He should certainly retake and most schools only take your highest score so it won't be a big deal, but any potential LSAT taker should be ready to not get a 180.

Law School Admissions / Re: GPA 3.88 LSAT160
« on: January 02, 2013, 09:01:00 PM »
You will have many options, but Harvard, Yale, Stanford won't be one of the.

A 160 is a pretty solid score putting you in the 80th percentile of test takers nothing to be ashamed of at all. Something I think very few 0L's realize is that not everyone can be in the top 1% and if you attending law school there is a 90% chance you won't be in the top 10% of the class. I remember in my first day of law school 100% of people were convinced they would be in the top 10% and you don't need to be a math major to figure out how that goes.

I would recommend looking at to see what your options are.

For any 0L I this is a copy/paste of what I think should be considered when choosing a law school. It is quite long and I wrote it without checking the grammar so excuse the typos.

 I think any potential OL should consider the following factors (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal feelings about the school  (4) The realities of legal education (5) Any specialty interest you might have 5) If all else fails then use U.S. News rankings. I will elaborate on these points below.

1 Location
I think your situation is a perfect example of why this is so important your a single mom with two kids. Uprooting them out of your current location to attend law school away from everything they are familiar with might be a lot on them. Particularly if they are attending school taking them away from their teachers, friends, etc will be a lot and I imagine it is easier to stay in your current location with the current support structure you have.

Not to mention whatever law school you attend you will be there for 3 years and moving to a new location, with kids, while adjusting to a new apartment, being away from friends, family, etc is a lot to handle. You know better than anyone else how well you could manage that and how well your kids can handle it, but really think about that before choosing your school. Furthermore, odds are wherever you attend law school is where you will end up living again 3 years is a long time and you will make friends, possibly enter into a romantic relationship, etc during these years and transitioning to a new location will be tough.

2. Cost
Again you have kids if you end up getting a 170 with a 2.61 odds are Cooley will give you a full scholarship. Michigan State might give you a lot of assistance as well and clearly raising 2 kids with $150,000 in debt accruing interest is not ideal and I will tell you from personal experience money does not come flowing in right when you graduate law school it takes time to build a career and that is assuming you pass the bar on the first try which many people do not.

One thing to consider in regards to the scholarships you may get are the conditions attached. Many schools will say something such as you need to maintain a 3.0 or be in the top 35% of the class and as a motivated law student everyone who attends an ABA school is pretty certain they will be in the top 35% of the class, but 100% of people cannot be in the top 35% of the class. Also it is important to know that law school grading is very strict and generally to maintain a 3.0 you need to be in the top 35% of the class. So if scholarships end up coming your way pay EXTREMELY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE CONDITIONS.

3) Personal feelings about the school

Another thing few people consider when making this life altering decision is how they personally feel about the school. I was accepted into many different law school and participated in a lot of mock trial competitions nationally so I have seen quite a few different schools and interacted with the students, faculty, etc. I can tell you I loved some places and hated others, but that was my personal feeling. You may have loved the places I hated and hated the places I loved you need to visit the schools, interact with professors, and just get a sense of what you personally think about each individual school because nobody knows what a good fit for you is better than yourself.

4) Reality of Legal Education

I will let you in on a big secret it is all the same. Your first year of law school will consist of torts, civil procedure, contracts, property, and criminal law. Then you might have Con Law and Criminal Procedure in your first year or possibly second year, but you will take all those subjects. In these classes you will read Supreme Court cases that are exactly the same whether you are reading them in the Harvard library or Cooley's. In the famous Palsgraff case the firecrackers still get dropped nothing changes. Then at the end of three years you will pay a company like BarBri or Kaplan to help you pass the bar.

There are some minor differences by school such as course selection, quality of professors, etc, but the substance of what you are learning is literally identical.

5) Specialty Programs
This is something worth considering for some and is one of the differences I mentioned above. Some schools have more course selections and experienced professors often based more on location than anything else. For example if you wanted to be an entertainment lawyer then go to law school in New York or L.A. that is where entertainment law happens. Even if U.S. News says South Dakota Law has the best entertainment law program I can assure you not many actors, movie studios, etc are located there.

However, if you have a particular interest in something family law, litigatin, etc check the school's course schedule and see if they offer the non-mandatory courses. Granted you will probably only take between 2-4 classes in a particular area since almost everyone takes the courses I mentioned above combined with the highly suggested courses and often required courses such as Evidence, Wills & Trusts, Corporations, Trial Advocacy, Remedies, and a few others that are on almost every state bar exam. If you don't have a particular interest then don't worry about it most law students and lawyers don't really know what they want to do either.

6) U.S. News
If after all that research you don't know the best way to spend 3 years and 100,000+ of your money then consider the rankings, but remember it is a for-profit unregulated magazine offering an opinion nothing more. You would also be wise to look up how often school rankings change year by year for no apparent reason. Granted there are schools such as Harvard, Yale, and yes Michigan that are nationally known schools and will open more doors, but I don't know how much of a difference Cooley v. Michigan State would be. If cost, location, etc is the same then why not go to the higher ranked school, but uproot your kids and spend 100,000 more dollars because some magazine said X school is 29 spots better than the school that is cheaper and more convenient for your personal situation.

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