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Messages - livinglegend

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: GGU Law vs. USF Law
« on: June 13, 2013, 09:39:35 AM »
First off realize anything you read from anonymous internet posters myself included should be taken with a grain of salt. With that said I am a bay area attorney and am very familiar with all of these schools and I believe you are making the very common 0L mistake of placing far to much emphasis on rankings. I tell any 0L to consider the following factors when choosing their law school and thankfully an attorney told me these factors when I was a 0L before I made a life altering decision based on a  a for-profit, unregulated, magazine offering an opinion.

The factors are these and in this order (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feelings about the school (4) last and certainly lease U.S. News rankings. Then you also need to understand the reality of legal eduation and I will analyze all these factors below.

1. Location
This is by far the most important factor in your decision, but it sounds like you understand that to some extent as all your school are located in the Bay Area. However, there is a big difference between going to law school in Santa Clara oppoesd to San Francisco I went to a law school located in San Francisco and I never interned with Santa Clara grads in S.F. simply because the 1 hour commute to the City and Back was to much and I never took a job in the South Bay for the same reasons. On top of that Santa Clara is a little more isolated than USF or GGU and you will be spending three years of your life at these schools if you want more of a University environment then USF or Santa Clara are much more isolated while GGU and Hastings are in the heart of a City what you prefer is your choice.

Thankfully you are at least looking in the Bay Area I see plenty of posters and talk to OL's who are considering a school in Michigan or California and they don't seem to understand law school does not exist in a vacuum and sub-zero temperatures, midwest mentality and so forth are very different from California. Neither is right or wrong, but they are certainly different.

(2) Cost
A nearly full scholarship is something to consider, but check the conditions GGU like almost ever other school requires you to maintain a 3.0 GPA, which sounds like a breeze to every 0L and you were accepted to USF and waitlisted at Santa Clara so I'm sure in your mind you expect everyone at GGU will not be able to compete with you. However, I will tell you at GGU, USF, or Santa Clara or any ABA school everyone is smart, hard-working, motivated and sincerely believes they will be in the top 10% of the class, but 100% of people cannot be in the top 10%.

Also I am sure you got a 3.0 with ease in undergrad, but every law school has a curve and I believe GGU has the typical curve where only 35% of the 1L class can have a 3.0. This means there is a 65% chance you will not keep your scholarship for years 2 and 3. However, I would encourage you to negotiate for better conditions if you can get a guaranteed scholarship for all three years or make the requirement that you not finish in the bottom 25% of the class GGU can be a great option at that cost. Don't be scared to negotiate as you saw GGU changed their offer as soon as you rejected them and all the schools will. You are a paying customer and you have all the leverage as a 0L, but when you enroll they don't have to do you anymore favors. I would highly recommend you negotiate favorable terms for yourself it is something I did not do a great job of as OL.

Paying full price for any of these schools will be tough combined with San Francisco cost of living you will probably end up with over $200,000k in debt accruing interest at a rate between 5-8%. If GGU can get you out a lot lower then that may be a better option I personally don't think paying an extra $100,000 to say you went to the 86th best school instead of the 114th best school is worth it.

3. Personal Feelings About the School
This is also a major consideration each school has a vibe and I have been on the campus of all three schools and they are all different. I honestly did not like Santa Clara at all everybody felt stuck up and the campus was isolated and it was just not for me. Plenty of people love Santa Clara, but I am not one of them.

USF has a beautiful campus and it is pretty cool part of San Francisco, but I still get somewhat of stuck up vibe from that school.

GGU the campus is in the heart of downtown SF, which is a fun place to be, but the campus is ugly. However, I feel like the professors and students are all very down to earth and I enjoy interacting with most people there.

That is my opinion and you may think the USF campus is tacky and people at GGU are a-holes so I highly recommend you visit each school and see how you feel. This is going to be 3 years of your life, 100k of your money, and your legal education make sure you choose a school that works for you.

(4) U.S. News Rankings
When I was a OL I thought this was what you used to make your decision and if you were debating between Harvard and USF then use it. However, the rankings for schools outside of the top 10 or so do not matter particulary in San Francisco. You will be competing with Stanford and Berkeley grads locally not to mention plenty of Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and NYU grads want to move to San Francisco. If an employer really cares about prestige and rankings they will not hire you from Santa Clara, USF, or GGU for the firms like Cravath or O'Melveny & Meyers etc that truly care about rankings none of the schools you are looking at are even on their radar.

Not to mention U.S. News is a for-profit, unregulatd, magazine offering an opinion. They also rank more than law schools New Mexico is the best place to live according ot them here is the cite the reason is access to Golf Courses and Hot-Air Balloon Festivals etc. This is what the raters at U.S. News found to be important, but those things do not appeal to me and I am not going to move to New Mexico because U.S. News said to. I imagine you would not either so I highly recommend you use the same common sense when choosing your law school.

I see the mistake of putting rankings first and foremost far to often and I did it myself as a OL, but you will realize that not only are the rankings irrelevant, but they change year to year. For example when I was applying to law school USF was a top 100 school and U.S. News did not even rank past 100 then two years ago they started ranking to 145. USF in only a few years has dropped 50 spots, but nothing changed there and it has also gone up 50 spots.

Here is a graph to show how much these rankings change and remember they are based on nothing. Richmond for example went from 53 to 77 up down up down over 5 years. Nothing changes, but the rankings are based on people nationwide filling out a scantron that is it so please do not make a life altering decision particularly for schools of this caliber based on rankings.

5) Reality of Legal Education
My final point is this at GGU, USF, or Santa Clara you will recieve a quality legal education. Every ABA school teaches you the same exact thing your first year will consist of Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Property, and Criminal Law or Con Law. You will read supreme court cases Palsgraf in Torts for Example Pennoyer v. Neff in Civil Procedure and believe it or not the Supreme Court does not write seperate opinons for different caliber law schools and the law does not change if you attended a tier 4 or tier 2 school.

When you graduate from any of these schools you will then sign up for a bar review class either BarBri or Kaplan and study alongside GGU, USF, Hastings, and Santa Clara Studnets and all of these schoosl have approximatley the same bar passage rate. If you pass you get a bar card if you don't whether your from Harvard or Golden Gate you don't and the bar is anonymously graded so they have no idea what school you went to.

Once you get a bar card your a lawyer plain and simple with the ability to represent clients and there are plenty of great lawyers from Santa Clara, GGU, and USF along with plenty of bad ones. So I highly recommend you visit the schools see what is a fit and really do your best to minimize your debt because the debt collectors won't care that you attended a Tier 2 instead of Tier 3 law school.

Hopefully some of that helps and congrats on your acceptances any of these schools can lead you to a successful legal career, but how it turns out depends much more on you than the name on your diploma.

Well it sounds like you have a real passion for the law, which is something I do not see in a lot of the lawyers I work with. I will say it can be a very rewarding career, but it is difficult. As for law school admissions looking down on those who were dismissed I don't know if that is necessarily true across the board I am sure some schools think that way while others may respect your determination to come back and you could certainly address what you have learned in your personal statement.

As for the LSAT as you know that is nothing compared to a law school exam and the bar exam is the LSAT on Jose Canseco Steroids so be sure you are up to the challenge.

As for your questions?

1) Is it worth it financially
This is a big consideration law school is extremely expensive and you will lose three years of income. I am an attorney and I honestly believe I could have made more money had I pursued a different field, but I love my job and being a lawyer. I personally think loving what you do is worth sacrificing some higher numbers in your bank account, but everyone is different. 

2) Am I really meant to be a lawyer?
There is no answer to this you can't possibly know if your meant to be a lawyer. I know many practicing lawyers that are miserable and plenty that are happy. Failing out your first year is tough, but as an attorney you will need perseverance and if it is something you really want I would encourage you to pursue your goals. You only have one life and if you are passionate about being a lawyer go for that path.  If your not then don't waste your time.

3) Do I possess the required skills?
I have never met you or know anything about you and again being a lawyer is something you learn once your out in the real world. Law school gives you a foundation, but there are no multiple choice questions in the real world. Again you can't possibly know if you possess the skills unless you work as a lawyer and then it will be sink or swim.

4) Is that career even for me?
Again I have never met you and know nothing about you. If being a lawyer is something you are passionate about then I would say yes, but that is a question only you can answer.

Good luck whatever you decide.

Current Law Students / Re: HELP!!! Rising 3L... What should I do?
« on: June 12, 2013, 08:35:50 PM »
Law school is not a breeze for everyone and MC questions are tough for law students, but if you pass the bar you will never see a MC question again. It sounds like you didn't consider the location aspect of law school when you choose your first year school and struggled with moving away from home I saw it all to often in law school and see it happen to people all the time. Let it be a warning to any 0L's to really consider location when choosing a law school whatever the rankings say mean very little and real life happens when your in law school.

With that said I am going to respectfully dissent from Thane and say you have made it this far you might as well get a J.D. and try and get a law license. Remember once your licensed your an attorney whether you finished at the bottom of the class or as Valedictorian you have a right to represent clients and your bar card does not have your class rank on it. I know plenty of people from my law school that finished in the bottom half of the class that are doing fine as practicing attorneys and even a few that didn't pass the bar their first attempt.

If you absolutely hate the law and want nothing to do with it then you should quit, but even if your lukewarm towards a legal career at this point having a law license can be very beneficial as you never know what turns life will throw your way and if you leave now you won't go back.

As for transferring back I don't know if an ABA school would even take a transfer back and your 2L grades would stick with you. More importantly you are going to need to learn MC questions, because the MBE is on almost every state and if you want to take the Bar Exam you will need to learn how to handle a law school multiple choice question. These are very difficult at first, but can be learned.

If I were you, which I am not and I am just some random guy on the internet I would stay where you are and finish your legal education. However, if you have some great job waiting for you or some other passion you are dying to pursue then get out of law school, but if you don't have any other options I say finish your J.D. and hopefully you will pass the bar and have a law license.

Good luck.

Law School Admissions / Re: Top law school chances for an engineer
« on: June 12, 2013, 02:01:40 PM »
I think you are making the common mistake of putting the carriage in front of the horse. If you have a 3.75 and a 170 LSAT can you get into a top law school? I would bet substantial sums of money the answer would be yes, but until you take the LSAT you have no idea what your options are.

Instead of worrying about what schools you might be accepted to before getting an LSAT score focus your attention on taking the LSAT and doing as well as possible. Once you know your score you will know what your options realistically are, but until you have an LSAT score it is a waste of time to consider if you can get into a Top Law school.

I will also add that getting a 168-170 puts in the top 10% of test takers and people that actually show up for the LSAT are college educated individuals that are focused enough to want to go to law school and did not chicken out and cancel your score and I would guess people that show up for the LSAT are in the upper echelon of intelligence to begin with so finishing in the top 10% of that pool is unlikely and 90% of people don't finish in the top 10%.

This will also be true when you attend law school I know on my first day 100% of students were convinced they would be in the top 10% of the class. Almost everyone in my class was smart, hard-working, and motivated, but 90% of my class did not finish in the top 10% and half of my class finished in the bottom half of the class, but many still went on to have successful careers.

I personally also think rankings and other things are destroying law schools and students. The reality is that at any ABA school you will learn the exact same thing and once you graduate and pass the bar your a lawyer whether you attended Harvard or Cooley.

With all that said I hope you get a 180 on the LSAT, but I won't be betting on that happening. Good luck and please focus on the LSAT and don't worry about schools until you have a score.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: LSAT 2013
« on: June 12, 2013, 01:54:15 PM »
Could not agree more with LSAT Blogger getting a few questions right on an i-phone app means very little. The real difficult of the LSAT is staying mentally focused for 4 hours and finishing on time.

In law school and the bar 3 days in a row of 8 hour testing is even more intense. Also life will always have a way of throwing obstacles at you and everyone wants to do really really well and get a 170+, but 95% of test takers can't score in the top 5%. When you attend law school the same will be true everyone thinks they deserve to be in the top 10% of the class and will be, but 90% are wrong. Just be realistic as you move forward and realize you can have a successful legal career from any ABA school.

First and foremost realize that any anonymous internet poster myself included should not be a major influence in your law school decision. There is no licensing exam to post on this board and for all you know myself or Maintain FL could be bums in a public library bottom line take anything you read on this board or others with a major grain of salt when making this life altering decision

With that said Maintain offers solid advice, which I am going to elaborate on it and when choosing a law school I think you should consider the following factors in this order (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feeling abut the school (4) LASTLY not First consider U.S. News rankings and I will also explain the reality of legal education. All of these factors are analyzed in more detail below.

1) Location
This is by far the most important factor especially when considering a school in Syracuse, New York v. Los Angeles, California or San Francisco. Remember at a bare minimum you will spend three years of your life in the City you attend law school and law school does not exist in a vacuum. Syracuse is a small town in upstate New York that has nothing to offer except a University and it is freezing in the winter. I imagine you are from California based on your other law school selections and have probably never dealt with real weather.

On top of that you will be going away from Family and Friends. Now you may like the small college town atmosphere opposed to L.A., but that is really something to consider when choosing your law school because odds are wherever you attend is where you will spend the rest of your life. Of course there are exceptions, but if you go to law school in New York you will probably end up taking the New York Bar make friends in NY, get into a relationship in NY, have an apartment etc and it will be difficult to leave. When I was in law school many people thought they would end up moving back, but it just doesn't happen law school occurs during the prime of your life essentially and three years is a long time so just really make sure you are comfortable with the location.

Not only that if you attend law school in Syracuse, New York you will not be able to do an internship with the L.A. D.A's office during law school simply due to location. At Syracuse you could probably intern with whatever County D.A's are in upstate New York and I am sure Syracuse has connections in New York for employment, but not in California. Vice Versa for Southwestern.

2. Cost
Do not be sucked in by these scholarships to easily first off they are generally not renewable and you need to maintain a 3.0 generally, which requires you to be in the top 35% of the class in law school. No offense to you, but everyone in law school is smart, hard working, motivated and 100% of people think there is no way they will not be in the top 35% of the class, but you don't need to be a math major to see there is a 65% chance you will not be in the top 35% and you will lose the scholarship for years two and three. Syracuse is also the most expensive of the schools you mentioned at 45k a year although the others are not much cheaper Chapman at 42k per year and cost of living may be less in Syracuse, but don't move across the country for an 8k scholarship that is not guaranteed. It can be a factor, but 8k for law school tuition is just a drop in the bucket.

3. Personal Feelings about the school
This is going to be a three year, 100k investment, that will change your life I highly encourage you to visit all the schools you are interested in attending and see how you personally feel about the school. I know as a OL and having competed in mock trial competitions with other law schools that each school has a culture to it and I know some I liked others I didn't, but I am not you. You may very well have liked what I hated and hated what I liked.

For example I do not like Hastings it is in the Tenderloin the worst part of San Francisco, has giant class sizes, and it just gives me a bad vibe. Conversely I loved the Chapman Campus the campus was beautiful, it had an undergrad, and I liked the smaller town of Orange. However, you may love the bigger city and large class sizes and hate Chapman, but the only way for you to know if a law school is a good fit for you is to visit the school and make the determination yourself.

4) U.S. News Rankings
I see you mentioned the rankings in your post  and you are making the common mistake that many 0L's myself included make by basing a life altering decision on a magazine. It is very important to realize that U.S. News is a for-profit, unregulated, magazine offering an opinion. Furthermore, their opinion changes from year to year for no real reason.

Furthermore  U.S. News ranks more than law schools New Mexico is the best place to live . Are you going to move there because U.S. News says so? I imagine not surely there is something good about New Mexico, but I would not alter my life because U.S. News says New Mexico is a great place to live. Similarly I would recommend not making the life altering decision on where to attend law school based on this magazine.

If you were choosing Harvard over Southwestern it might play a role, but nobody will be impressed that Syracuse is the 96th best school and rankings are irrelevant for schools of this caliber.

Reality of Legal Education

The realty is what you learn at an ABA school is pretty much identical. Your first year will consist of torts, civil procedure, property, contracts, and criminal law. In these courses you will read Supreme Court cases and they do write separate opinions for different schools. You will read Palsgraff in Torts for proximate cause, Pennoyer v. Neff in civ pro to learn about notice etc .

You might have a few electives here and there, but the majority of your legal education will be identical no matter where you go. As for your desire to be a prosecutor I suppose you would want to attend a school that has a large mock trial competition team as that can help, but still only minimally in your goal to become a prosecutor.

On top of that you can't really know what you want to do until you start law school. I honestly thought IP was what I wanted when I started, but after the one course I dropped it and really liked trial advocacy and became a City Attorney. You may hate criminal law and end up loving IP so just keep your options open in law school.

Bottom line is at any ABA school you will learn the same thing.

Do not let me or any other anonymous internet poster make the life altering decision of what law school to attend. It will be three years of your life, 100K of your money, and your legal career so listen to yourself when making the decision .Good luck!

Online Law Schools / Re: Current ABA Response to Distance Education
« on: June 08, 2013, 08:56:36 AM »
I am going to agree with CA Law Dean having been through law school I think brick and mortar is the way to go and I believe to become a MD you must also attend a brick and mortar institution as well. I think online law school can work and if you go through the California Online school and fight to sit for the bar in another state, which I believe a few aspiring attorneys have done and won you can, but I went to a school that offered both a full-time and part-time program and a significant number of part-time students failed out. I imagine the attrition at online schools would be even higher.

None of these people were stupid they were highly intelligent motivated people, but learning the law is a lot of work. I meet many people who say they can handle work and a part-time program and it does happen, but the majority of times it does not work out. I think the ABA is doing this for consumer protection purposes more than anything many people are intrigued by the legal profession it can be awesome gig if you put the time, energy, and effort into it, but it takes a lot of time, energy, and effort and a lot of it.

CA Law Dean is also correct that in the social aspect you learn a great deal. Just interacting with students and talking things through after class is very helpful. I cannot tell you how many times in class I literally felt like I had no idea what was going on, but then I would talk it through with friends and it would come together. I also think there is more accountability with a Brick & Mortar institution and more access to resources you need.

A final point my law school did a study on our Bar Exam Passage Rate with students using Barbri, which you can do entirely online or do in a classroom setting it is your option. Students who did the online option had a much higher fail rate than those who came to the classes. The content of what you learning was exactly the same , but when your by yourself it is a lot easier to take a 15-20 minute break that turns into a 4 hour break. Much the same way home gym equipment never seems to be get used, but if you go to the Gym you will work out.

Just my two cents, but I think Brick & Mortar is the way to stay for law school, but if you are fully focused on doing the online route and it does sound like your situation is unique you could get an online J.D. and challenge a State Supreme Court to let you sit for the exam it has been done.

Law School Admissions / Re: Good enough soft factor?
« on: June 08, 2013, 12:37:44 AM »
Well one thing to know is that there is no subpar legal education honestly at any ABA law school you learn the same thing. Your first year will consist of torts, contracts, civil procedure, property, and con-law, crim pro. In these courses you will read Supreme Court cases such as Pennoyer v. Neff in Civ Pro ,   Palsgraff in torts, Hadley v. Baxendale in Contracts, etc, etc. The supreme court does not write different opinions for different schools. I know as a 0L I put far to much emphasis into what U.S. News Rankings thought about law schools and there is no bigger mistake you can make than that. Obviously Harvard or Yale has prestige, but what you learn at any ABA school is for all intensive purposes is the same.

One thing to realize when choosing law schools is that U.S. News is a for-profit, unregulated, magazine offering an opinion nothing more nothing less. They ranked Alberqueue, New Mexico as the best place to live. Citation I don't see New Mexico as one of your options and I don't think U.S. News saying New Mexico is best place to live will change your life plans. Use the same common sense when choosing a law school I cannot stress that enough.

When I was a OL I really thought there was so much more to law school, but in the end you learn the law at every schoo. l I have worked with Harvard Law Grads and T4 Grads some are good some are bad, but it has a lot more to do with the person than the school they attended and any one that graduates and passes the bar knows the basics of Pre-Emption, Offer & Acceptance in a contract, Notice for a lawsuit, so on and so on. Bottom line is any ABA school will teach you the law just fine so if you really want to pursue a legal education and continue running a business you need to look for part-time programs in a location you can succeed in. In law school you will be in the City for the school is located for three years and spending three years in Houston, Texas will be a lot different than three years in Chicago.

Also realize that U.S. News law school ranking change drastically year to year. My law school was 78th when I started it went to 64th then dropped into an 11 way tie for 84th my third year. Then into the 100's then back into the 80's and I will tell you nothing changed at the school for better or worse.

I think knowing the law will be very helpful your business, but I can't stress enough the fallacies of making a life altering decision based on a for-profit, unregulated, magazine. Again good luck whatever you decide.

Law School Admissions / Re: Good enough soft factor?
« on: June 07, 2013, 08:37:21 PM »
Having a successful business is a solid soft factor, but law school admissions are highly geared on numbers. If you started a multi-million dollar company that is something that would catch the eye of an admissions committee, but again check out and you will just how much of a numbers game law school admissions is.

There are also no ABA two year programs law school needs to be three or more years. Southwestern law school in L.A. might have some specialty program and with your numbers you could probably get in there. You also probably will not be able to manage this large of a business and get through law school. I knew many people in law school that tried the part-time program and had just 9-5 jobs and failed out. They were not dumb, but law school is very time intensive probably more so than any other form of education.

I have to ask what your motivation for law school is as well. I loved law school, but I do not know how you could manage 30 employees and an entire company while learning the intricacies of interpleader or the rule against perpetuities. Feel free to prove me wrong, but I think you either have to choose law school or your business.

Good luck with your decision.

First you have to be honest yourself getting a 165 or 170 is unlikely. That puts you in the top 10% of test takers and people that take the LSAT in the first place are college graduates who are motivated enough to attend law school, which puts you in about the top 1-2% of people and 98% of us myself included did not get a 165-170 on their LSAT.

On top of that if you got a 149 on your diagnostic it probably means you won't score that high. With that said you if you show up and take the test you can likely get into an ABA law school and I will tell you only 5% of lawyers nationwide attended top 10 schools. There are 200 ABA law schools and only 10 in the top 10. This means 95% of lawyers nationwide did not attend Harvard, Yale, Stanford etc. I myself didn't, but am a lawyer and love my job. I also work with many other lawyers most of whom did not attend top 10 schools a few Berkley grads, but we are all licensed by the state bar to practice law and work in the same office.

On top of that what is really going to change in a few months? You have been prepping with Kaplan for months if you were saying you hadn't done anything to prepare then you should probably wait, but it sounds like you have been studying. In a few months you will feel the same panic and being unprepared. When you go to law school you will completely unprepared for finals every time and then when teh bar comes my god you will feel unprepared. Then when your a lawyer you will never feel fully prepared for a trial and that feeling of not being 100% ready is part of being a lawyer.

With that said it is your decision, but I am willing to bet if you wait until the October test this same feeling will come up. If you have taken courses and put in a good faith effort take your test and get a score then know your options. Also do not be disappointed if you don't get a 170 almost nobody does.

You will also need to be prepared for that realization when you attend law school in the same way only 10% of test takers can score 170 only 10% of any law school class can graduate in the top 10%, but on your first day 100% of law students who are the same people you are competing with on the LSAT are smart, motivate, and hard working and truly believe they will be in the top 10%, but 90% of those people are wrong and half of them finish in the bottom half of the class.

Bottom line I recommend taking the test you have taken the course and studied for months. There is not much more you can do, but if you truly believe you are not ready it is your call, but I don't think anyone that has ever taken the LSAT felt confident going in, but once it is done it will be a relief. The same feeling will be present throughout your law school career, the bar exam, and your career as a lawyer.

Good luck whatever you do.

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