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Messages - livinglegend

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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.

Transferring / Re: STCL to SMU?
« on: January 02, 2013, 08:52:28 PM »
Well if Big Law is your goal then I think UT is the only option.  I really don't think SMU or Tulane will have much in the way of big law OCI. I would highly highly recommend calling Tulane as well as SMU and asking who came for OCI and who was actually hired through it.

When I was in law school a few big law firms would come by, but never hire anyone. I am in California so pretty much unfamilar with any of these schools, but can tell you big law is very rare and at a firm like Cravath there is nobody from Tulane/SMU/or STCL. I think many law students mistakenly believe that going from the 104th to the 72nd best school will somehow drastically improve their career options.

If BigLaw is your goal I guess go to Tulane/SMU, but I would not bet on you getting a big-law job from any of those schools. It could happen, but there is a very strong chance you will end up making a huge move and spending another 70k to end up exactly where you would be from STCL.

Just my two cents and remember I or anyone else posting on this board are nothing more than anonymous internet posters so take it all with a grain of salt.

Before making this decision really ask these schools specifics about who gets jobs where. Ask how many people from the 2012 class are working in big-law and what big-law means to them.  Is Big-Law 300 people, what is the salary you are expecting, etc, etc. There are a lot of direct questions you should be asking these schools before making this big decision. Anonymous people like me can only offer a little insight, but certainly make the decision with facts directly from the source good luck.

Transferring / Re: STCL to SMU?
« on: January 02, 2013, 04:25:42 PM »
First off I am a little confused have you completed 1L or have you been accepted as a transfer student to those schools one semester in? It just seems odd that any school would accept a transfer before 1L was complete, but if they did good for you.

With that said I know many people that transferred from my school and were miserable and others loved it so it is a highly personal decision. I think this are some factors to consider.


SMU is in Dallas and Tulane in New Orleans and STCL is in Houston as I am sure you are well aware. Now one thing many of my friends that transferred didn't consider was the reality of being in a new city for law school in an environment where they didn't know anybody. I know nothing about your life, but if you were born & raised in Houston have family, friends, and a whole support group there leaving that may be tough. Particularly when you attend a new school where all the 1L clicks have formed.

However, if you have a personality that is really outgoing or you simply don't really care about friends etc then it may not matter.  Also make sure those are cities you want to live in when you graduate. Odds are you will develop a lot of connections at whatever school you attend for the next 3 years and where your internships etc will be. If you do not want to live in New Orleans then going to Tulane might be a bad idea. If your gf lives in New Orleans, your a huge Saint's Fan, and your uncle has a huge law firm in New Orleans you could work in it would stupid not to go.

Point being is really think about the city you will be living in and how you will manage in it this will have a huge impact on your law school career.

STCL is 26k compared to Tulane at 42k & SMU at 40k. I imagine if your in the top 2% you can get a solid scholarship offer from STCL not to transfer and possibly save yourself 70-80k accruing interest. If you attend SMU or Tulane you will paying 14-16k more in sticker a year assuming STCL doesn't give you a scholarship. Over two years that is 28-32k accruing interest at an 8% clip. If STCL gives you a 20k scholarship then you would pay 12k in tuition over the next two years opposed to 84k or 80k at SMU. I am a lawyer now and I can tell you the loans are no joke and the interest accruing on it is awful minimize it the best you can.

I think this is extremely important it sounds like you are performing extremely well at STCL and if you have friends, connections with professors, etc then it may not be worth leaving. I went to STCL for a mock trial competition and really liked the feel of the school, but that was my personal opinion. If you hate it there and want to get out then you should do it.

However, I would recommend visiting Baylor and SMU from my experiences visiting various schools during mock trials I noticed that each school has their own vibe/culture to it. Some of the schools I loved others I hated and that is my own personal feeling. So if your going to transfer to either of these schools visit them interact with students, talk to professors, see how you feel there because once you transfer there is no going back.

I'm in California and I honestly don't know what any of these schools are ranked, but I can tell you in the real world law school rankings mean very little unless it your at Harvard, Yale, etc and even then it doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot. Go into a real courtroom and see how often the attorneys mention what school they attended in a murder trial, or multi-million dollar lawsuit. I have yet to see it happen, but maybe one day it will.

Also remember U.S. News is a for-profit unregulated magazine offering an opinion and you shouldn't make a life altering choice based on it alone. U.S. News ranks more than law schools as well according to them Albuquerque, NM is the best place to live right now and South Dakota will be the best place in 2032. I am not making this up either here are the links. I personally am not going to move to Albuquerque which is #1 or Auburn, Alabama which is #2 because U.S. News says so. I am sure there are some legitimate reasons for the cities ranks, but I am not going to make a life altering move based on what a magazine says I suggest you use the same logic when deciding whether to transfer.

Current Law Students / Re: JD vs. MJ
« on: January 02, 2013, 03:56:36 PM »
If your dream is to be a lawyer then there is only one way to do it and that is by getting a J.D. and passing the bar. I am a practing lawyer and I honestly don't know what an M.J is I just googled it and it appears to be a degree dealing with health regulations. Perhaps this could help you land some administrator job at a hospital, but it will not allow you to represent clients in court.

Your post says you dream of being a lawyer and there is only one way to do that get a J.D. If you have any questions about law school admissions, what to expect in law school, etc there are some helpful posters on this site.

One thing I noticed was your concern regarding money and what I would recommend doing is taking the LSAT which costs $100 or so if you do really well many schools will offer you a substantial scholarship. I didn't break any records on the LSAT personally, but I received a half-tuition scholarship and they are not uncommon depending on your GPA/LSAT combination. You can get a sense of the scholarship amounts at law schools throughout the country on

Law School Admissions / Re: Law School
« on: January 02, 2013, 03:49:25 PM »
I think I just responded to this post in a different thread, but as I said before you need an LSAT score. Being in model UN and having a research proposal etc is great, but most law school applicants have similar experiences. The soft factors are of minimal help in law school admissions from what I saw when I attended law school although I have never worked in a law school admissions office. However, you can imagine when 5,000 or so applications come in a guy who worked in college, participated in model U.N., and did a research project is not going to jump off the page at anyone. It is all good stuff, but if you have a 140 LSAT your not getting in anywhere.

It sounds like your doing well academically and involved which is all you can do at this point. Next step is the LSAT and practice is not the real thing until you have an official LSAT score you cannot know what your options are. Back in my OL days my practice tests ranged from 154-163 and I noticed one of the four books I was using I always got a higher score, but when real test day came I got a 157. With my 3.3 & 157 I got into numerous schools, but not Harvard-Yale-Stanford surprisingly : ).

Anyways take the LSAT and keep doing what your doing.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Law School
« on: January 02, 2013, 03:32:53 PM »
There will be many options depending on what your LSAT score is. Whatever law school you apply to will combine all your undergraduate grades 3.0 and current 3.8 which I imagine would result in a 3.4 approximately which is pretty good. However, you will basically need to get a 150 or higher to get into any ABA school and 50% of LSAT test takers don't do that.

For the time being I would really focus on maintaining your GPA and getting an LSAT score until you have your official GPA and LSAT score there is no point in looking to in-depth at schools, because you really don't know what your options are.

As for the making money impacting your GPA etc when admissions time comes around I don't any admissions committee will give that much credit. People go through a lot during the undergraduate years and some don't is it unfair that some trust fund kid got a 4.0 and didn't have to worry about money sure, but there are also people that dealt with a lot more adversity than having to worry making money while attending college.

When you finally do get your LSAT score I think is a good place to see what your options are. Good luck.

Online Law Schools / Re: California to tighten bar admission rules?
« on: December 28, 2012, 06:45:32 PM »
Good point Groundhog after being admitted don't particularly care how tight they make the admission rules for others kind of selfish, but the way it is. 

Philosphically I think if someone can meet all the standards for admission to the bar they should be able to practice law, but selfishly I am more than open to less competition for jobs.

Online Law Schools / Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« on: December 23, 2012, 05:54:02 PM »
Cher's post is correct they simply would not let her work unless she was a resident of New Hampshire clear violation of P & I it had to do with her state residency and nothing to do with her competence as a lawyer.

In regards to the current setup I think it makes sense to have individual bar exams and there is a national test the MBE used by basically every state. However, in California it is important to understand California rules for community property & wills/trusts which might be different in Iowa.

One thing I think would be interesting is that both Washington D.C. and Minnesota grant you automatic admission if you have a certain MBE score. If a non-aba grad scored high enough on the MBE to be automatically qualified and they were not allowed to waive in like an ABA grad I think that would be an interesting case.

Don't think your doomed  with a  3.7 GPA numerous school will look very favorably at that number. Class rank might make a difference and more importantly than anything is your LSAT score when dealing with law school admissions. Take that test and see what your options realistically are and once you have your UGPA & LSAT you can check out to give you a realistic sense of your options.

 I want to point out that getting into a T14 school is tough and you will need to score roughly in the top 5% of test takers on the LSAT to even have a shot and there is a 95% chance you will not be in the top 5% of test takers. I think it is important for any 0L to understand that before starting law school. I remember on my first day of law school 100%  even at my non T14 school were convinced they would in the top 10% sounds like your major involves in some math and I think you can figure out 90% of people were disappointed. The same goes for law school admissions everyone when they start studying for the LSAT is considering Berkeley, Harvard, Yale, Georgetown then reality sets in once the LSAT score comes back .

Furthermore, do not simply set your sights on T14 schools there are lot of factors to consider when choosing a law school other than what some for profit unregulated magazine thinks.

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