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Messages - Roman815

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Lewis and Clark or California Schools?
« on: February 14, 2007, 10:17:35 PM »
I certainly understand that a scholarship would not be worthwhile if I would be stuck in a region that I was not interested in. Yet since most of my safety and target schools are in California, I assume that I could take a degree from any of them anywhere in the state. This may be inaccurate though because California is a pretty large and competitive state. So if I get into Southwestern or the University of the Pacific Ė McGeorge (which also sent me a nice letter and the link to their fee-free site) with some money then I will probably struggle in reaching a decision. Yet I am not likely to get into every single target and safety that I applied to. So maybe this will pan out by itself. If not, Iíll be reviving this post in April. I would like to hear from anybody who has had experience in choosing a school and looks back on it with confidence or with regret. Thank you all.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: No first choice?
« on: February 14, 2007, 09:02:40 PM »
I can definitely relate to what you're saying. After looking at all the law schools I was interested in on LSAC, I could not figure out which one would suite me best. This search did help me in applying though. Yet after applying to 12 schools I felt no special connection with any of them and chose my dream school based on rank (which is silly when used on its own). Throughout this whole process I continued to receive fee waivers from no name schools and several from pretty good ones. Some of the waivers that I received were to the University of Alabama -Tuscaloosa (with a signed note from one of their professors) and to Lewis and Clark. After looking into both schools I decided to apply to Lewis and Clark and not to Alabama because I wouldn't want to live there. Anyways, my top choice aside from UC Hastings and UC Davis, which I am most likely not getting into, would be Lewis and Clark. So maybe you'll get lucky and receive a fee waiver and some information from a school that you're really interested in but haven't seriously considered. I thought about moving up north for several years but now I can actually do it. So maybe if you extend your search or take some fee waivers seriously and apply, then you might discover you really like a certain school. You may also discover that you like a certain area of the country more than another part even though it has a better ranked school in it. Alabama is ranked 43rd and L&C is ranked 77th but Iím still choosing the one I would want to go to. Good luck and visit any school that you are seriously considering.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Lewis and Clark or California Schools?
« on: February 14, 2007, 08:30:53 PM »
Would anybody go to Loyola, USD, Indiana Bloomington, or Santa Clara over Lewis and Clark? I know that if I get accepted into UC Hastings or UC Davis that I will go but barring that miracle, I have to be realistic, and make my choice from those schools that remain. I know that financial aid will play a huge role in my decision so that may sway me one way or another but if that were not in play, where would you go?

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Kaplan test prep
« on: February 14, 2007, 03:14:26 AM »
My LSAT experience began 3 years ago when I decided to study for the test during my junior year in college. I signed up for the Princeton Review course ($1500) and received a 144 on my first practice test. I came to the second class and a good number of people were complaining about scoring in the high 150's and wanting a 165. At that point I knew that I was in the wrong class, especially when there were more people than seats in the room, and promptly withdrew. I lost a few hundred dollars for those two classes and it wasn't worth it. The books sucked too because the practice questions were all made up by the company.

After graduating two years later and finding a job as an assistant manager I decided that I hated working retail more than I hated school (I don't hate to study but I do hate not having the choice in subject matter) so I decided to give the LSAT another try using the logic games bible and real LSAT practice tests. I took the September LSAT and felt that I had done better than ever before but still not good enough. Several days after the test my girlfriend broke up with me and I was pushed to quit my job. So I decided to take the Kaplan Extreme course ($1575) and cancelled my September LSAT.

After missing the first practice test for this course I scored a 149 three weeks into my studies. I took that as a step in the right direction since it was 5 points higher than my 144 and I still had time to improve. I subsequently attended almost all of the 30 classes and test dates but could not make it to a few because I had a really severe cold for two weeks. I received a 154, 152, 153, and a 154 in the following weeks. Stuck at 154, I was extremely frustrated and confused. I had improved my score by 10 points but it would not be enough to compensate for my weak GPA. I kept trying and two weeks before the December test I scored a 157 on a very hard practice exam while others scored in the low 150's on it. I then spent the next two weeks taking my dog to the dog park for 2 hours a day to relax and doing very light LSAT work since I was pretty much burnt out. I planned out my day for the Thursday and Friday before the test and treated myself to sushi. I got lots of sleep this time and had scheduled the test area to be at my undergraduate school as well. I knew that my highest score would be on the actual test day because I had absorbed the test into my subconscious. I also believe that I perform well under pressure but could have done better with slightly less this time around.

After taking the December test and deciding not to cancel no matter what score I received, I was very grateful to receive a 161 on it. While Kaplan Extreme certainly helped because of my extremely experienced and generally excellent teacher, I did well on the test because I learned to adapt to it. I rested when I needed to rest and tried not to burn myself out 2 weeks prior to the exam. I adjusted my focus. I knew that I was aiming for low the 160's so I understood that I did not have to get all the games correct, just enough to get my desired score. What's important is aiming for a score and creating a strategy around that and not just doing your best. This was not part of the class but part of what I believe is necessary for success. I'm sure that taking the test in a room that I had spent many hours in as an undergraduate helped. Yet there were down sides to this as well such as the contempt I had for one Kaplan classmate in the room, my unease, and the need to go pee during the exam.

Although we had less than 10 people (5 showing up on any given day) in my class, most were rude, ignorant, and unhelpful. If not for my teacher, Kaplan books (with real questions), and prep tests under timed conditions it would have been a waste. After having one of the biggest jerks from my Kaplan class sit just a few feet away from me on test day and having the first section as experimental games, I performed well but not at my best. I could have easily received a 165 if I had just guessed E instead of A on the last section and if I had not freaked out for the first half of the test due to the experimental section. So while Kaplan did help, it also cost a bunch of money and did not get rid of my anxiety at all. I definitely recommend Kaplan Extreme if your teacher is experienced but if he or she is not then I do not recommend the course. We had a substitute come in several times and he could not teach at all. If I had to do it all over again I would take the class but would study more outside of it. I only put in 10 hours of study time outside of class in the span of seven weeks due to a relentless cold that lasted two weeks and the general stress that people get from being unemployed. I learn fast but I was not prepared for the pressure on test day even though I had taken the LSAT in September. I did find the December test easier overall (except for the experimental) because the class had given me enough experience to be confident in my answers. The December test had a slightly easier curve because it was a harder test than the one in September but after the class it was a piece of cake for me. So take the class but recognize that your score is based on environmental conditions, your work ethic and your level of intelligence. Kaplan is a tool and not an easy way out. Good luck on your choice in finding the right method of study.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Lewis and Clark or California Schools?
« on: February 13, 2007, 09:11:59 PM »
- zack

PS:  The US government did plan 9/11, wake up.

Thanks again for the great responses. Yet let me make clear that anyone who believes that the United States had anything to do with the 9-11 attacks is going to get a low LSAT score. Why you ask? Not just because I think you are wrong. It has everything to do with faulty logic. Now, when choosing an answer on the LSAT, the thing to remember is to choose the correct answer, not the answer you want to be correct. I actually had this problem at the beginning considering that I got a 144 on my first practice test but after 7 weeks of Kaplan, I got a 161 on the real thing. It had everything to do with how I organized my time and in how I perceived the answers. So the LSAT is not just a silly test. It tests logic and if you are an illogical person, then you are likely to choose a faulty response such as what you have said about 9-11. Once again, not to be rude but is it possible that there is a correlation between my relatively high LSAT score and my logical reasoning skills? Maybe I should put it this way, is there a correlation between your relatively low LSAT score, your logic skills, and your perceptions about 9-11? I think so. You may disagree with me on this but that doesnít mean youíre right, youíre just choosing the invalid response.

I agree with tjm600 but I want to know why you are considering these schools seriously if you got into USD. It seems that USD is the way to go unless you want something specific from either Santa Clara or McGeorge such as money, location or a specialization. I know that this may not be the response you wanted but in my book, unless you fall in love with a school, which I have thus far (Lewis and Clark), then you should go to the highest ranked institution. This is especially clear-cut for me if the school is located in beautiful San Diego.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Lewis and Clark or California Schools?
« on: February 13, 2007, 04:15:24 AM »
Iím surprised that this post has received quality answers and I thank everyone for taking the time to respond. I found both tjís and zackdeblancís responses extremely helpful. That does not mean that the conversation is over though. I have tons of questions left to ask but first I will respond to calirestinpeace. Yes, I have looked at the University of Oregon but I do not think itís for me. First, they did not send me a fee waiver. Yet that is not why I chose not to apply. It seems that they are extremely liberal and that is likely not going to sit well with me just as being conservative wouldnít. I prefer a balanced view of the world and it seems I could not get that from them. I hope that Lewis and Clark is more moderate because I am politically a left wing moderate and do not like conspiracy theories from either extreme. I read that many people at the University of Oregon believe that the U.S. government planned the 9-11 attacks and I think that this perception is insane. I hope that this is not the case and was either posted as a joke or is a lie. Anyways, the last reasons for not applying to the University of Oregon was that they would likely have less job prospects than L&S, a worse faculty, and I would not receive in-state tuition. I may be totally wrong on all of my reasoning but this is the same viewpoint I have seen on this site and others given by University of Oregon students and applicants.

Tj, thanks for giving me a reality check. I know that there is no perfect place but I believe that there must be someplace more perfect than LA (a.k.a Portland, San Diego, or Santa Clara). I know that if I choose to study environment law or to live in Oregon that I would choose Lewis and Clark in a heartbeat. My initial response to both of these questions is yes. Yet I have never been to Portland and I have a narrow understanding of environmental law. So it would be very foolish of me to make any presumptions on where will eventually go but I am definitely leaning in Lewis and Clarkís direction. I am here primarily to get a better perspective of what Lewis and Clark is all about. However, I would also like to know what environmental law is all about, what job prospects in Oregon are like for an environmental law attorney, and what the lifestyle of Portland is like as compared to that of California. Also, is the curve really bad? I know that the professors can't have it above a 3.0 the first year but can lower it. So if it were much harder to get a good GPA as compared to another school then that would definitely sway my decision.

Zack, why do you say that if you get into Lewis and Clark that you MIGHT go? I read some of your posts and your scores seem to be below what L&C averages. So, not to be rude, but why are they not good enough (my assumption) for you? Also, itís obvious that ďPortland has a distinctly "Portland" feel to itÖĒ because if it was not the case then the feel would not be named after the city. That sentence just made me confused because you know that I have never been to Portland since I am asking these questions. So this seems to be an irrational comment. Nevertheless, I donít want to offend you or anyone else since your post has been the single most helpful response thus far and I thank you for that. In addition, what do you mean when you say that LA and San Francisco feel more alive than Portland? Are you saying that the nightlife is better in those cities? If that is the case, then I would be fine with that since I am more of a homebody anyways. Yet if I moved to Portland that would probably change because I would actually want to venture outside. Try walking the streets of LA or Riverside; it will drive you insane. At the very least, if I move to Portland, I would just be one more ex-Californian so at least Iím not alone on this. About the dog (Shadow), itís not like I want to take my dog everywhere but I do expect to find a place that accepts dogs since California is extremely anti-dog (and cat) if you rent, especially if they are larger than tiny.

One last issue that I have to consider is my family. They are not going to be around forever and I donít want to leave them but on the other hand I want my own life and I do not want that life to be in LA (where my family has chosen to reside perpetually). What makes this worse is that my mom just had twins in August and I donít want them to not know me, not that I would have much time to spend with them going to Loyola or Southwestern (only if they grant me huge amounts of $$$). So this is a very complex situation already and I have yet to receive my first acceptance letter. I know Iím not unique in having any of these concerns so please speak up people.

P.S. I apologize for my dissertation sized comments.

Choosing the Right Law School / Lewis and Clark or California Schools?
« on: February 12, 2007, 07:26:45 PM »
Hi everyone, I'm thinking about moving to Portland, Oregon if I get into Lewis and Clark for law school (with some money). They sent me a fee waiver and they are ranked 77th, which is higher than half of the schools I applied to in California. Plus they have a monopoly on Portland externships, and have the number one environmental law program in the country, so that is a major plus. Environmental law includes animals as well. So since I am interested in animal rights and the way we use our natural resources this would be a top choice (although I might want to do criminal law so Loyola might be better). Still, even if I get into Loyola Law School, the University of Indiana Ė Bloomington, and the University of San Diego, I might still go to Portland because I always wanted to move up north to get away from the California hustle and bustle. Clean air, green trees, nice people, and animal friendly environment are what I am looking for.
The law school is actually located across the street from a 645-acre wilderness state park and is in the forest basically (I can hike, bike, go camping, and fishing anytime). You study in the law library while looking down from the canopy. Plus dogs are allowed in class and in the library according to what I have read from students on Vault. I really like their stance on this. Plus many of the other law schools in California come from a religious foundation and do not appeal to me. So is California really the best place to live in? Since the Pacific Northwest legal market is very hard to get into if you come from out of the region and did not go to a top 14 school, this may be my only chance to go there. How drastic would this change be and would I have a culture shock from the state next door? It seems to me that I have been complaining my whole life about traffic, bad neighborhoods, an unclean environment, the high cost of living, and just recently about not being able to take my dog to places I go to.
Now I can probably get into this tier two school with a decent scholarship and have the privilege to learn from the #1 school on environmental law while having my dog in class on occasion. Is this a dream come true of am I missing something like the weak Oregon job market? Any suggestions or comments? I know I am making some serious life choices that will last for at least the next 5 to 10 years. So it is it worth going to a good school but not the highest ranked one you can get into and have worse job prospects in a place you really want to live in? The salary may be lower but I can practice the law I really want to. Plus cheap living costs and a cheap housing market offset the lower salary. So I am most likely going to be stuck choosing between a place that I would be happy at but financially poorer in and a place like LA where I can keep living close to my family and make a lot more money but probably hate it. You must be making similar choices. Please indulge me if you have the will and time. Thank you for your responses.  :)

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