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Messages - lp4law

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Where should I go next fall? / Re: writing out of state bar exams
« on: March 26, 2003, 07:20:54 AM »
It depends in large part on what point in your career you expect to pursue an "out of state" job.  If you want to be able to take the bar exam in any state immediately upon graduation from law school, then you will need to attend an ABA (American Bar Association) accredited law school (See for a list).  If you go to a state-accredited law school, you are only guaranteed to be able to take that state's bar exam upon graduation.  Regardless, most states still allow you to take their bar exam once you have practiced law 3-5 years in any other state.

Most people will tell you that you should always go to an ABA accredited school if you can get into one.  This is not necessarily true.  Such a claim seems to rely on two fallacies:  the "quality of education" fallacy and the "bang for your buck" fallacy.  

One of the primary assumptions relied upon is that you will always get a better legal education at an ABA school than a state-accredited school.  This assumption apparently ignores the relatively undisputed fact that the quality of your legal education relies primarily upon how well you absorb and apply legal concepts and case law.  Legal concepts and case law are generally presented to you from the same books and in approximately the same manner from one school to the next.  

As far as the "bang for your buck" issue is concerned, consider the following example:  Going to a good Los Angeles ABA school part-time (4-year program) will cost about $18,000/year; whereas a nearby state accredited school would cost about $5,500/year.  Over 4 years, that comes out to a $50,000 cash difference.  Granted, by graduating from a non-ABA school you'll be essentially forced to work in-state for the next 3 years; but that's like an recruiter coming up to you on graduation day, handing you an $84,000 bonus check (pre-tax) for agreeing to work in-state for the next 3 years.  Most people would willingly grab that check and accept those terms on the spot.

So there are a number of things to consider.  This commentary is by no means a complete analysis of the options, nor is it intended to argue against pursuing an ABA accredited law school.  There are certainly advantages to ABA schools that I have not addressed here.  I just want to give the other options their due consideration, and encourage further input from all sides of the argument on this issue.

Where should I go next fall? / Re: Southwestern's SCALE program
« on: July 28, 2003, 02:33:49 PM »
I know that Southwestern does offer scholarship money, but I didn't apply for any because I felt that my incoming numbers didn't warrant the attempt.  My numbers/background were as follows:

LSAT: 156
UGPA: 2.61 (aerospace/aeronautical engineering)
Work:  6 years as spacecraft engineer for General Dynamics
Business:  Several years experience in the formation and operation of small start-up technology companies.
Military:  8 years Marine Corps Reserve
3 Letters:  Lead engineer, business associate, patent atty.
Other:  Father graduated from Southwestern

I listed all of these factors for you because any of them could have contributed to my chances.  As competitive as things are right now, and the fact that my LSAT wasn't stellar, I'm sure my GPA was rather deficient for me to be considered competitive for admissions on numbers alone.  So I would have to believe that one or more of the other factors came into play.

Southwestern has been around since 1911.  I believe they became ABA accredited around 1969.  Their website,, gives you a good overview of their background, faculty and facilities.  In addition, they list some of their alumni, which include a mayor of Los Angeles, members of the U.S. House of Reps and U.S. Senate, General Counsel for Miramax Studios, an LA District Attorney, owner of the Clippers (NBA team), lots of judges, VPs and CEOs of companies, etc...The list goes on.

As far as identifying the firms that hire from Southwestern, I started by going to and looking up the top law firm salaries for Los Angeles.  From the full list I was able to visit most of these firms through their individual web links.  Once you get to their websites, most of these firms allow you to search their attorneys by name, school attended, specialty, office, etc...

I haven't done an exhaustive trend analysis of Southwestern's ranking per U.S. News.  But everything that I've seen, read and heard convinces me that the school is a good fit for me in that it carries a solid reputation in Southern California, has a strong and diverse faculty, and top-notch facilities.

I've already completed a semester at a local California Bar Accredited law school, and was impressed with the quality of instruction I've received so far.  This school is right around the corner from my apartment and would only cost me a projected $25k over 4 years.  So if I'm going to spend the extra $75k and drive an extra 600 miles per week to switch to an ABA school, I need to feel that it will be worthwhile.  My research has convinced me that switching over to Southwestern will be worth the additional investment in time and money.


Where should I go next fall? / Re: Southwestern's SCALE program
« on: July 25, 2003, 02:49:32 PM »
I live and work up in Ventura, California, and was looking for an ABA school that I could attend in the evening.  The closest possible options for me were Southwestern and Loyola.  I was well aware of the fact that Loyola had a longer-established reputation and was placed a good deal higher than Southwestern in the U.S. News rankings.  I applied to both, but only got accepted at Southwestern.

I wanted to be sure I was going to a law school that would be worth my $100k (and the crazy drive), so I did some general research on the school and the alumni.  Ultimately I verified that most of the local law firms, even some of the biggest, recruited at and hired from Southwestern.  In LA, the school seems to have a good reputation across the board.  My father was a 1968 grad from Southwestern (before it was ABA), and he and most of his classmates did very well for themselves, both in the public and private sector.  Additionally, Southwestern specializes in entertainment law.

I developed a personal appreciation for the school when I visited recently for an open house.  The library was gorgeous, being housed in the historic Bullocks Wilshire Building.  On the bottom floor of this building, construction of a state-of-the-art courtroom and conference area is nearing completion.  The older parts of the campus have been or are in the process of being modernized and upgraded, including the classrooms.  

With great schools like UCLA, USC, and Loyola in the L.A. area, it's easy for Southwestern to look like the little guy.  But I'm impressed by the fact that the school has worked consistently and aggressively to further develop its already very respectable reputation.  As a new Southwestern student, I'm looking forward to contributing to this effort.

Good luck.


Where should I go next fall? / Re: Loyola (CA) or Univ. San Diego
« on: July 18, 2003, 10:00:54 AM »
I'm still waitlisted at Loyola (fall, evening) with a 2.61 (engineering), a 156 LSAT, 6 years as an engineer, and lots of outside business development experience.  I'm in at Southwestern (but my Dad is alumni -- not sure how this effected my chances).

My coworker is in at Loyola (fall, evening) with 3.3 (engineering), 166 LSAT, 2 years as an engineer, and 1.5 years working with the US Patent Office.

Hope this gives you a couple of useful data points.  Good luck.


Great question on the PT vs FT.  I'm just now applying to night division at Southwestern and Loyola (Los Angeles).  If I'm going to shell out an additional $70,000 or so over the next 4 years, and drive 3 extra hours per night to go to an ABA school, I want to be sure that the "ABA advantage" isn't significantly diminished by the fact that it's part-time program.  Otherwise I might as well pocket the $70k and go around the corner to a California Bar Accredited school.

I'll be checking for answers on this one.  Thanks and good luck.

Where should I go next fall? / Re: schools who have spring enrollment
« on: October 13, 2003, 07:57:19 AM »
Ventura College of Law (in CA) has Spring enrollment.  It's non-ABA, but it's a good school.  I actually went there this past Spring semester while I was waiting on my LSAT results.

Good luck.

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Feb 8th LSAT
« on: February 10, 2003, 12:35:31 PM »
I concur with your assessments on the games and reading comprehension sections.  It looks like for those of us that had an experimental logical reasoning (LR) section, it's a bit tougher to figure out which two were graded.

I can't remember any single argument/question from any individual LR section; so I can't match any of my LR sections with any described by those individuals who only had 2 LR sections.  What I do remember is that the LR sections were 1-3-5, and that the first seemed much much easier than the last two (even considering the fatigue factor).  The last two LRs seemed to both be of equivalent difficulty, at what I would describe as between moderate and high.

If ya'll had only two LR sections, do you remember if one of them seemed much easier than the other?  All other things being equal, this might suggest that my easy LR section was one of the graded ones, which would be pretty cool. ;)

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Feb 8th LSAT
« on: February 08, 2003, 01:04:47 PM »
Not for my inquiry.  I only had one games section.  It was the one with the coaster/doctor/drug problems.  So all we can determine so far is that this is the graded one out of the two games sections your test had.

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Feb 8th LSAT
« on: February 08, 2003, 11:52:02 AM »
Yeah, one of the LR sections was experimental on my LSAT.  I'm just trying to figure out which one.  Since the first seemed so much easier than the other two, I'm figuring it's that one.  Wah.  :'(

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Feb 8th LSAT
« on: February 08, 2003, 10:46:52 AM »
I just took it at UCSB (Santa Barbara, CA).  There were 3 LR sections (1-3-5, I think), and I just blew right through the first.  The other two seemed to be of equal difficulty (not considering the fatigue factor). With my luck, the 1st was probably the experimental. :P

Anyone else?

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