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Messages - lisak

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11
Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Re: June LSAT
« on: February 15, 2007, 07:11:22 PM »
Count me in as another non-traditional student taking the LSAT in June-07.  I plan on starting to study as soon as I finish my class that I am taking toward a professional certification (I plan on taking the final exam in that class by the end of February). 

So, I will have March, April, and May (as well as a few days in June) to study for the LSAT intensively (after working full-time, of course)...though I started studying for the LSAT eons ago...I will just be intensively focusing on it now.  I intend on applying very early in the cycle for the year 2008-2009.  Maybe we can all hold each other accountable for studying for the LSAT?  That would be great.  I need to create a plan (which is not my strong-suit) and stick to it...but where there is a will, there is a way.  Best of luck to everyone in studying for the June LSAT!!!

 :) Lisa

12
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: DoJ jobs...top school choices?
« on: February 05, 2007, 11:42:13 AM »
So, it sounds like you can interview for the DoJ as a law clerk for work during your 1L Summer?  Is that correct?  I only ask because it sounds like working for the DoJ during your 2L Summer is riskier for future employment.

Also, does anyone know if you apply for these summer clerk positions with the DoJ via OCI or do you apply through the more-traditional (and, dare I say, convoluted, not to mention slow, process of the USAJobs Board).  Any insights would be appreciated.

:) Lisa

13
Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: University of Washington
« on: January 19, 2007, 05:39:04 PM »
plus seattle is the most literate city in the US and has the highest percentage of college grads.  CostCo, Microsoft and Nintendo are all HQed there ... what else in life do you need?

though last night i was looking through my Udub book and their avg starting salary is significantly lower than their peer schools.  It wasn't different for those going to 250-500+ person firms, but everything else was real low, which kind of bothered me because it seems seattle is a pretty expensive city to live in. 

I live in Seattle and have worked with a bunch of the law firms (as a consultant) here in Seattle for quite a few years.  And just so you know, the Seattle legal market has some pretty big name law firms that are based and / or have huge offices here like Preston Gates & Ellis and Perkins Coie as well as satellite offices of other major firms like Graham&Dunn, Davis Wright Tremaine, Lane Powell Spears Lubersky LLP, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and Summit Law Group.  So, there definitely are law firms based in Seattle (and, as such, I would imagine that they recruit quite heavily from UW).

And there are a lot of corporations based here (who also need legal help) like the ones that have been mentioned above plus other big names like Safeco, RealNetworks, Expeditors, REI, Weyerhouser, Expedia, Boeing (okay, it used to be based here...but a lot of business folks are still here), Clearwire, Honeywell, not to mention a ton of startups who desperately need legal advice.

I think the real problem is that Seattle is such a beautiful place to live (with a great quality of life) so I don't think too many people who go to UW try to move elsewhere and that creates a situation where not a lot of people outside the PNW (or West Coast) know the high caliber of person graduating from UW. 

Also, since it is so beautiful here in Seattle (sans the recent snow and ice), lawyers in general don't tend to migrate too much (they kind of stay in Seattle, rather than move to other cities)...and I think this leads to kind of a saturated legal market (with slightly less prospects for graduates trying to enter the Seattle legal market).  Those are just my thoughts...I could be wrong, but I thought I would share...

 :)

14
Law School Admissions / Re: GPA Question
« on: January 19, 2007, 02:36:30 PM »
Ah, if I get this right, your school does have the +/- except when it comes to A's.  With the "A" grade, the school only has two options- an "A" or an "A-" otherwords no "A+"?  If that's true I would agree that it's completely unfair. 

Yep, oudidntno!!!  That is exactly the situation.  Thanks for agreeing with me that it is unfair.  :D

I am hoping that the adcoms will see that no one at my Univ got greater than a 4.0 (so that they can infer this unfair practice) and that only 16% who applied to law schools from my Univ even got above a 3.6 (which is a pretty small number IMHO), at least when I look at the average GPAs of people who post on this board and the percentiles of attending students at the T14 according to USN&WR.

Anyway, I would definitely echo other people's sentiments on this board that there should be some modicum of standardization in terms of grading policies between universities.  I know that this is not going to happen (at least, not anytime soon), but wouldn't it be great to live in a perfect world?  If only we could...

:) Lisa

15
Law School Admissions / Re: GPA Question
« on: January 19, 2007, 12:40:29 PM »
I guess the reason that I am opposed to the A+ is that it is literally something that does not exist at all schools (therefore, it is an impossible grade to get for some people and, as such, it does not seem fair to compare grades for people who can and cannot achieve those grades against one another).  Basically, in principle, I don't think it is fair to compare people who can receive those against those who physically cannot receive them.

Having said this, you are correct in countering that for some people (on the same token), it is impossible to get an B+ or a B-, but I guess my thought on that is that, for the most part, I think the + and - on the other grades probably would get washed out.  Of course, this does depend on how many + you get vs. - (if you get more + than -, you would effectively be penalized for only getting the straight letter grade, which is I believe what you are saying may have happened to you...this is unfortunate).  Conversely, however, if you get more - than +, you would effectively benefit from getting a straight letter grade.  The A+ is a bit of a different animal though (at least in my mind), since it does not get washed out with the -s for some people (like me).  That is, you receive the denegraded grade of an A- (3.67) but you do not have even the opportunity to receive the inflated grade of an A+ (4.33).  As such, it, in effect and in reality, cannot and will not get washed out in the GPA calculations.

As an experiment (completely non-scientific since it is based on a sample size of 1), I recalculated my GPA to only include letter grades (no pluses and minuses).  For all intents and purposes, my GPA remained the same (it decreased by 0.01, which most people would consider a rounding difference and, as such, would probably not swing any admissions decisions).  While it is possible that I could be in the minority (having, effectively, an equal number of +s and -s), I do not think that I am (but this is a presumption that could be wrong...like I said, I only had a sample size of 1).  Indeed, I talked with a friend of mine who goes to a school with straight letter grades and he said that he got a 4.0 this past quarter (which when I found this out, asked the question, "how is that possible when you did not even turn in all the assignments...he replied that since they use straight letter grades, while he was getting a low A, he still managed to pull out an A, which is counted at 4.0 at his school and on his transcript).  So, at least for him in this 1 quarter, he definitely benefited from the lack of + and -.

As I stated above, I think the key difference with the A+ is that people who go to schools that do not offer them but that do offer +s and -s, can and do receive A-s but cannot and do not receive A+s.  This disparity creates situations where grades cannot be comparable against institutions that do offer A+s and, as such, creates inequity (which is a pet peeve of mine).

You know, these types of discussions and questions are the reason I want to go to law school.  I am eager to be able to create coherent and logical arguments in support of a position and to hear opposing arguments.  So, I wanted to thank you and the other people who responded to my diatribe, as it allowed me to focus and be able to identify the primary reason I am opposed to the grade of A+ being included on the LSAC GPA.  Keep up the good questions, and I hope that my argument makes sense!!!  Talk to you soon.

 :)   Lisa

16
Law School Admissions / Re: GPA Question
« on: January 19, 2007, 12:34:16 PM »
Oh, You know my thoughts on this...I agree, but I ask you- why don't you support giving someone with a high A a better LSAC GPA number than someone with a low A.  You do for B's C's And D's.  I still oppose the current system totally and can't understand why they even try to claim its fair.  Under the current system at my school, I make an 89 in a course so I get a B on my transcript which means a 3.0 by LSAC.  Say you get an 87 from your +/- school which means a B+ on your transcript and a 3.33 by LSAC.  Simply due to the school you attend, your LSAC GPA is higher than mine even though I had the higher actual numberical score.  The only fair way to solve this situation is to have all schools keep their own means of listing final grades and also make them list the final numerical grade on the transcript as well.  So, in my case, my 89 and my B would both be listed on my transcript.  My school can calculate my GPA by their system using the B and LSAC can use the 89 to calculate theirs.  Until there is uniformity in the transcript system I still say an A+ from your school, an A from mine, and an A- from someone else's should all be calculated by LSAC as a 4.0.  The same holds true for the B's, C's and D's.  Its true that those with B+ will have the same LSAC GPA as those lower achievers with B's and B-'s, but thats less injustice than the status quo which has some "89" students actually below "87-88" students simply due to the schools' chosen grading system.   

I guess the reason that I am opposed to the A+ is that it is literally something that does not exist at all schools (therefore, it is an impossible grade to get for some people and, as such, it does not seem fair to compare grades for people who can and cannot achieve those grades against one another).  Basically, in principle, I don't think it is fair to compare people who can receive those against those who physically cannot receive them.

Having said this, you are correct in countering that for some people (on the same token), it is impossible to get an B+ or a B-, but I guess my thought on that is that, for the most part, I think the + and - on the other grades probably would get washed out.  Of course, this does depend on how many + you get vs. - (if you get more + than -, you would effectively be penalized for only getting the straight letter grade, which is I believe what you are saying may have happened to you...this is unfortunate).  Conversely, however, if you get more - than +, you would effectively benefit from getting a straight letter grade.  The A+ is a bit of a different animal though (at least in my mind), since it does not get washed out with the -s for some people (like me).  That is, you receive the denegraded grade of an A- (3.67) but you do not have even the opportunity to receive the inflated grade of an A+ (4.33).  As such, it, in effect and in reality, cannot and will not get washed out in the GPA calculations.

As an experiment (completely non-scientific since it is based on a sample size of 1), I recalculated my GPA to only include letter grades (no pluses and minuses).  For all intents and purposes, my GPA remained the same (it decreased by 0.01, which most people would consider a rounding difference and, as such, would probably not swing any admissions decisions).  While it is possible that I could be in the minority (having, effectively, an equal number of +s and -s), I do not think that I am (but this is a presumption that could be wrong...like I said, I only had a sample size of 1).  Indeed, I talked with a friend of mine who goes to a school with straight letter grades and he said that he got a 4.0 this past quarter (which when I found this out, asked the question, "how is that possible when you did not even turn in all the assignments...he replied that since they use straight letter grades, while he was getting a low A, he still managed to pull out an A, which is counted at 4.0 at his school and on his transcript).  So, at least for him in this 1 quarter, he definitely benefited from the lack of + and -.

As I stated above, I think the key difference with the A+ is that people who go to schools that do not offer them but that do offer +s and -s, can and do receive A-s but cannot and do not receive A+s.  This disparity creates situations where grades cannot be comparable against institutions that do offer A+s and, as such, creates inequity (which is a pet peeve of mine).

You know, these types of discussions and questions are the reason I want to go to law school.  I am eager to be able to create coherent and logical arguments in support of a position and to hear opposing arguments.  So, I wanted to thank you and the other people who responded to my diatribe, as it allowed me to focus and be able to identify the primary reason I am opposed to the grade of A+ being included on the LSAC GPA.  Keep up the good questions, and I hope that my argument makes sense!!!  Talk to you soon.

 :) Lisa

17
I was born and raised in CA.  I went to UCLA for undergrad and USC for grad school.

It is somewhat difficult to say how UCLA would be for grad school / law school, but I would have to say that at least for undergrad, you are a number (read:  there was very little professor, student interaction with 200+ students in pretty much every class...even upper division / major classes).  LS at UCLA may be totally different, but as an undergrad at least, I personally never really felt particularly taken care of at UCLA (there were games you had to play to get OCI, classes, parking, advising, etc.)...so my biggest skill that I learned was how to survive...everything turned out okay (I got a good job, etc. but it was because of my perserverance, not because of UCLA or alumni connections).  As such, I would say that at least for undergrad, the support system was not really there (LS may be different, however). 

The UCLA campus, however, is quite beautiful (many a movie has been filmed there including Calendar Girls) and the neighborhood (Westwood) is very nice and relatively safe (though you still have to be smart in where you walk, etc...it is still LA after all).  Parking is autrocious near UCLA, not to mention expensive (and there is pretty much no way to get a parking permit for the UCLA campus).  The price of housing when I went there (over 10 years ago) was crazy and has only escalated (I imagine).  I used to pay $1,600 for a 2 BR apartment a few blocks (about 1/2 mile) from school (I was poor so I shared it with 3 other girls...but that meant I paid $400 / month to share a room).  It was a nice / upscale apartment, but that is pretty pricey (at least IMHO)...especially considering that it was 10+ years ago.

At USC, however, I definitely felt taken care of (even though I was going part-time) and I really did get to know my professors (even though I was working full-time as well and lived 50+ miles away from USC).  Parking was not a problem, OCI was not too much of a problem (even though I technically could not interview due to being part-time...but I found a way around it), advising was good (though I didn't use it too much...not enough time), getting into classes was easy, etc.  Basically, USC was much less bureaucratic than UCLA. 

This may be a function of it being grad school (not undergrad), but I had a very positive experience at USC.  I learned a lot and really felt like the level of instruction was top-notch at USC, especially for entertainment and entrepeneurship (at UCLA, I felt that the profs were more focused on research than instruction...but that may be different in LS).  I also got involved in the alumni clubs, etc (the alumni connections are really top-notch at USC, especially if you stay in SoCal, so that is definitely something to consider...because many times it is who you know, not what you know that will land you jobs).  I went at night, so I can definitely attest to the fact that the school is not in a great neighborhood (in fact, it is pretty much the worst-neighborhood that I have ever been to...a lot of gang activity, etc.).  And there were definitely times that I was praying that I would make it home without getting car-jacked, assaulted, etc (note to the OP:  in LA, make sure that you lock your doors when you are driving...carjackings do happen, especially in South Central, and it is better to be safe then sorry...a professor of mine got car-jacked 1 quarter after I started there...it was crazy to hear the story).  I never lived near USC so I cannot say what housing is like, but I would probably recommend living at or near other LS students so that you don't have to travel at night for study groups, etc....but that may just be me being paranoid.  ;)

Anyway, based on my personal experience, I would say that I enjoyed and learned more at USC than at UCLA.  Both are good schools, don't get me wrong.  And I cannot tell you which is better for LS.  And if you want to work in LA or in entertainment law, you would probably be in great shape at either school.  I would really recommend visiting the 2 schools, sitting in on classes at both schools, and talking to current / former LS students at both schools.  Best of luck in your decision making process!!! 

:) Lisa

P.S.:  A general note about LA is that driving is a part of life in SoCal so I would definitely recommend you bringing your car...public transportation pretty much does not exist in SoCal (though it may have gotten a bit better than it used to be).  IMHO, if you do not have a car, you will definitely be at a disadvantage.

18
Law School Admissions / Re: GPA Question
« on: January 18, 2007, 02:59:44 PM »
Personally, I am fine with the + / - system and LSAC's conversion system of 4 = A; 3.67 = A-; 3.33 = B+; 3 = B; 2.67 = B-; 2.33 = C+; 2 = C, etc. (since my school used + / - in grading which was based on a bell-curve with a set / standard grade distribution (read: GPA) for the class mandated by the university...and, trust me, there is quite a difference between receiving a B+ and a B- in a class...at least there was in my school). 

Having said that, I do NOT believe that it is fair to put A+s into the mix (at 4.3) since that, by default, penalizes people who went to schools that either did not use them and / or did not believe in giving them out (I don't believe that my school used to give them out when I went there, which is evidenced, in part, by the fact that 0 people on my Academic Summary Report from my school received a GPA>4.0, but now my school theoretically gives out A+s...it is listed as a possible grade on my university's website now...but I do not believe that they used to be given out when I went to school...but, then again, I went to school eons ago...like over a decade ago...so times have a changed and grade inflation has occurred at my school and at other schools).

I guess I just don't understand the whole concept of getting more than a 4.0 in college (I could understand it in high school if you were taking AP / college level courses since your level of instruction was different) but in college, I just don't understand it (an A is an A, and an A+ is a solid A, which is a 4.0, in college level courses).  It makes no sense to me to give out above a 4.0 in college.  But I am old (and from the old-school / traditional school of thought), so what do I know. 

Anyway, the point I am making is that IMHO A+s should not be rated differently than As on LSAC's 4.0 scale.  I think that this would be one small step that LSAC could make to create slightly more equality between schools' GPAs.  In no way would this create a perfect system, but it would be somewhat more equitable than it currently is.  Just a thought / suggestion.  What do other people think about this change?  Is it too radical? 

 :o Lisa

19
For a few University of California schools back in the mid-1990s (e.g.  UCLA), the "GPA College Mean" (of those applying to LS only) was somewhere between 3.0 and 3.1.  Pretty low, I know.   ???

It kind of sucks that there seems to have been so much grade inflation in the last decade for those of us older folks thinking of applying to LS soon.  I sure do hope that the "soft factors" as everyone calls them (e.g.  significant work experience --> increasing the diversity of the class, very strong LORs, grad degrees, LSAC GPA being higher than the GPA College Mean even though the LSAC GPA is dismal compared to the ones on this board and the average GPA of most of the T14 schools now) count a fair amount in the admission process.  Otherwise, I guess the "non-traditional" students will still not be represented very well at LSs in the future, which I personally think is a disservice to the entire legal community.

But that is just my 2 cents.  Best of luck to everyone who is applying to LS this year!!!

;) Lisa

20
Thanks for the tip, Paralegal!!!  I appreciate it.

I heard that they are changing the reading comp section starting on the June LSAT...do you think that will change the predictability factor of the June test?  Let me know your thoughts...there doesn't seem to be too much info out yet about how it is going to change.  From what I can gather so far (based on the LSAC website), there will be 2 smaller reading comp sections instead of 1 of the normal reading comp sections and the questions will be to compare those passages.  That may actually be better for me, given that RC is my weakest area and the revised format seems to imply that it will be a bit more pattern driven and LR oriented...but I would welcome anyone who has found out more info about this change.  Thanks!!!

:) Lisa

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