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Messages - BikePilot

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As far as I am aware (and I haven't checked with any of those schools specifically) law schools generally don't offer language assistance and expect that you are already pretty good with the English language.  It might be useful for you to live/work in an English-speaking country for a year or two before starting law school.  Also, don't hesitate to call the admissions offices of the schools to which you've been accepted and simply ask them what they offer.  Note that competition can be quite stiff in US law schools and maintaining the GPA requirements for the scholarships may be very difficult - particularly if you must try to learn the language better while trying to learn the law as well.

good luck!

Off the top of my head I can't think of anyone I knew from law school who applied for federal appellate clerkships and struck out.  I certainly know many, many who weren't on LR and probably didn't have top grades who landed awesome federal appellate clerkships though of course grades and LR don't hurt.  The big deal is which judges you can get offers from - there's a huge range in competitiveness from one individual judge to the next (and between circuits as well). 

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Quitting my law clerk position
« on: February 02, 2011, 11:07:48 AM »
IIRC a lot of schools strongly limit how much work you can do during the semester - everyone at the firm has been in law school and knows what it is like.  I don't think you'd rock the boat by telling them you are overextended and need to focus on your studies.  Maybe cut your time in half if you don't want to quit all together.  Law school doesn't have to be miserable, suck it up and suffer stuff - its a bit of work yeah but should be an enjoyable time.  You've got your whole life to work 100hr weeks, might as well enjoy yourself a little in school. 

Acceptances, Denials, and Waitlists / Re: New England Law Boston?
« on: January 31, 2011, 05:48:20 PM »
Elite professors don't teach at all if they can help it - sad but true. I think you are more likely to get a larger number of practicing attorneys teaching at adjuncts at NESL than you are to get spill over from HLS etc.  This may well be a good thing though.

The ABA sets (very) basic minimum standards, this shouldn't be understood as the same thing as drafting a set 1L curriculum. For that matter even if two professors use the same casebook, they can easily have an entirely different approach and create a very different learning experience.

Big is totally right that you can usually appear in court as a student (true in Mass anyway) with various qualifications of course and, as I would hope would be obvious, it doesn't matter what law school you attend in that respect.  Most local state-court judges will come from schools well outside the T14 as will most advocates who practice in those courts.  Many, though maybe not most federal judges will come from T14 schools and most federal appellate judges and scotus justices will come from T14 (or even T3) schools. Like most careers, there's a huge variety in legal practice. Lawyers handle billion-dollar mergers between companies that impact hundred of millions of Americans and lawyers handle suits that arise from fender benders.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: laptop, macbook, or ipad?
« on: January 29, 2011, 10:19:09 AM »
I like PC's better, but even if you are typically a mac person a mac isn't the best choice for law school imho.  My law firm only uses PCs (as do most firms and most of the working world) and although mac's were supported in theory at school a heck of a lot more mac users had issues at the end of exams than pc users (casual observation), mac users often couldn't print to the network printers and whined incessantly about how crappy MS Office ran on their machines. Apple does have awesome customer service and lots of folks like them, but its added hassle you don't need when you'll be in a networked institution.

I think a lot of people get turned off of PC's because they buy really cheap crappy pc's and compare them to a $2k macbook.  Of course a $400 HP laptop is going to suck - it'd suck no matter what OS you ran on it.  Buy a quality business class machine and run an OS that works for you.  If that's a higher end mac fine, if its a lenovo or whatever runing W7 you'll enjoy wider compatibility.

You did lower your chances a bit I think, but I think you'll still get in (though probably off WL) at least where you are above medians.  I applied a little later and immediately got WL'd everywhere (even places where I was above 75% on GPA and LSAT).  The AdCom's all indicated something along the lines that they were full but liked me a lot and would put me in as soon as seats opened up.  Sure enough, seats opened up pretty quickly and I was in at my top choice (where I was above 75% for gpa and only a bit above median for lsat IIRC).  The bigger schools tend to have more WL activity than the smaller schools as you'd expect. 

To the OP, it does sound like an anxiety issue more than a knowledge issue - big might be right that some folks aren't capable of 160s no matter what, but everyone should score much higher after a bunch of study than they did when cold.  I taught LSAT courses for a bit and all of my students showed marked improvement and most were scoring 10+ pts higher by the end of my class than they did at the start of the class.

I think you should start with some honest self reflection.  Do you generally have great difficulty performing under high-stress situations? If so, a legal career may not be a good fit for you.  If not, and this is just a test-specific anxiety, there must be a way of overcoming it.  Doing a bunch of simulated, protectored "realistic" practice tests followed by review and study of the tests later really seemed to help my students. Sounds like you've already been doing that though.

If you complete one section alone under timed conditions how is your performance?  You might try a self-administered practice test, but do only a section at a time, then take a good break and relax for a bit.  Then do another, then relax etc.  If this gives much better results then it may be an issue of concentration and endurance.  Build up by then doing two sections, then three etc. 

I don't think there's any point in taking the real lsat until your practice scores are at least in the range of what you want - especially if you tend to do worse as stress increases (I'm the opposite - I am mediocre in everything until really stressed, then I rock - just a weird quirk).  Also, a feb LSAT is really late in the cycle and as a general rule you'd have to be way above medians at your schools to get a spot by that point. This late in the game your best bet is targeting the june lsat.

Make sure you are still eating in a healthy manner, not consuming a ton of caffeine, getting some exercise and all that stuff - it really does make a difference.

Good luck!

Acceptances, Denials, and Waitlists / Re: New England Law Boston?
« on: January 25, 2011, 02:25:57 PM »
Just a note, location probably matters a lot for some types of practice and many schools.  Its essentially irrelevant to biglaw hiring from what I've seen.  DC firms hire Stanford grads, SF firms hire HLS grads and vice versa.  No one really goes to HLS 'cause they wanna practice in Boston (some do practice in Boston though of course) and I'd guess the same is true of Stanford and the bay area.  Bay area firms might chose Stanford first, but the rest of Big's ranking is way off base (for big law) because firms are totally happy to hire from anywhere geographically.  For example, I don't think anyone would dispute that an HLS grad has a better shot at biglaw in SF than a GGU grad. Big law is its own world though and maybe small-law or local government positions give preference to local students.

All that said, I haven't met a NESL grad in biglaw yet (but i am fairly new to biglaw) and if as a NESL student you'd be largely limited to the Boston area (I don't know if this is true) you might be in trouble as Boston is probably one of the most competitive legal environments in the country.  There are loads of good to great law schools in New England and other than NYC Boston is really the only other city worth living/working in for most people.  Its also a pretty awesome city.  Between BU, BC and HLS alone there are probably more qualified, new law grads right there in the city than the local market can absorb.

Acceptances, Denials, and Waitlists / Re: New England Law Boston?
« on: January 25, 2011, 12:43:13 PM »
Is this the school you are referring to?  New England School of Law (NESL - )?

I attended an event there once, nice location and facilities.  I don't know much about the academics.  I went to dinner afterward with a group of students from the school and most seemed to be having a lot of trouble finding work. 

Yes its ok as far as I'm aware.  I know some schools tend to WL people who don't as a means of protecting their yeild #s.

Legal academia is ultra-competitive (way more so than biglaw).  There are sites with great breakdown's by school.  The most common path at the moment is to go to a fancy school and do a bunch of writing while you are there, then do a fancy clerkship and do a bunch of writing in your spare time, then do a fancy fellowship for a year or two and do a whole lot of writing (publish 2+ law review articles and write, but don't publish a 3rd for your job talk paper), then you go to the AAALS meat market in DC and hope to get picked up by a school somewhere.

Do note that when you look at the statistics there's a big sample bias in that students inclined toward legal academia tend to be nerds who tend to get accepted to fancy schools and especially tend to like New Haven (i.e., Y) for incomprehensible reasons. :P  I'm told that even so, legal academia is especially snobbish with respect to your school's brand name.  I have known some professors who went to UVA and similarly ranked schools and did really well.  Off hand I can't think of any young, well known professors who went to schools outside the T14. 

Note, this is mostly for academia in T1 schools, though I'm told that the market is quite tough at all levels, though as a general rule as you go down in the rankings practical experience starts to matter and school prestige and written work becomes less important.  At the T14 level you don't have to have practiced, passed a bar or done anything useful with your life as long as you've got a shiny diploma with lots of Latin and have written a bunch of papers that other similarly situated academics thought were cool.

I do think being a legal academic would be an awesome job and have seriously considered that as a career path myself (and have not completely given up on the notion).

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