Law School Discussion

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1
The UGPA is going to make it difficult for you even if you have a very good reason for less than stellar academic performance in college. Especially if you are coming straight from UG. Plug your numbers into an admissions calculator and see what they say, that's your answer.

I can tell you that most of these schools are not going to like your UGPA and will probably reject or waitlist you based on that alone. You may even have trouble getting into many tier 3/4 schools, but will probably get into a couple tier 4s if you apply to a bunch of them.

Honestly your best bet is to get a job for a couple years and try to get a higher score than your current projection, then try applying to part-time programs at schools where your LSAT is over the 75th percentile.

2
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: Is Your Grade Always Determined By One Exam
« on: December 02, 2009, 02:02:23 PM »
You might want to take a look at some exams for first year courses as well.

3
Where should I go next fall? / Re: UDC vs Baltimore
« on: November 30, 2009, 10:46:15 PM »
Honestly, I would really hold off on law school at this point. You need to do more research on what kinds of internal promotions or job changes a law degree, and specifically a law degree from those schools will afford you. You need to get out there and talk to several people who are in the jobs you want to have when you finish the JD. Your plan simply might not be feasible or the JD may be entirely useless or unnecessary to accomplish your goals. If you have no contacts, you can start by cold-calling / emailing these people and ask if they'd agree to do a 20 minute information interview about the work they do. You can pick up some books at the library that explain how to do this.

For example, I knew a guy who was in his 50s and had worked for a state university as a tenured prof for a number of years. They promoted him to an administrative role within his department. His job was pretty demanding. He decided to go to law school at night(at a school that had a decent rep in the area, but no national rep) because he thought getting the law degree might make him a more competitive candidate for higher level administrative jobs at the top universities in his field. Turns out he was wrong. Those universities didn't care one iota about whether or not he had a law degree and were much more interested in his work experience. He eventually quit law school during his second year, I believe.

If it turns out law school really is the right decision for you after you've thorough research, you can go next year or the year after or whenever you feel like it. There shouldn't be any reason to rush into law school, especially if you are going PT.

Anyway, most schools do not offer generous scholarships to PT students. Where do you currently have residency, by the way? Why are those the only 3 schools that will work for you? GW, Gtown, GMU, and American also have part-time law school programs in the area. Not saying that any of those schools would change anything about what I said in the first paragraph, just curious as to why those 3 schools you mentioned are the only ones that you say will work for you.

As far as the bar goes, neither school will necessarily prepare you for the bar. Law school doesn't really prepare you for bar per se. That's why bar review courses like Bar/Bri and the like exist. You won't pass the bar without one. Some schools focus their curriculum on courses that will be tested on the bar and tailor exams to help students get in the basic mindset of how the bar works. That's why certain lower ranked schools have very high or very solid bar passage rates.

UDCs bar passage rates have historically been atrocious. They are getting better, but they are still below the state averages. My guess is that a lot of UDC students do not prep adequately for the bar, or the school still hasn't done enough to focus the curriculum on bar courses and bar focused exams.

See here:

http://officialguide.lsac.org/SearchResults/SchoolPage_PDFs/ABA_LawSchoolData/ABA5245.pdf


Compare to UBalt, which is not amazing but very close to the state average:

http://officialguide.lsac.org/SearchResults/SchoolPage_PDFs/ABA_LawSchoolData/ABA5810.pdf

Part of the reason UDC's reputation amongst the legal community is so weak probably has a lot to do with their historical bar passage rates. I believe at one point less than half of their graduating class was able to pass the bar. Not only that, but the region you're talking about is a very elitist place and UDC has a very poor rep as a university in general.  UBalt is not a heavy hitter by any means, but it's somewhat respectable, and has a solid rep in MD. Like I said, UDC is seen as bottom of the barrel throughout the area. Even if you pass the bar on the first try, you may find it impossible to find a lawyer job when your pass results come in because the rep of the school really is that bad.

4
Are you still in law school or working in the field already?

I am in my final year of law school.


Quote
Do have an interest in Estate Planning or do you know about the prospects from others who have tried to get into it?

No personal interest. I know a guy who fell into category 1) who was able to work in estate planning out of law school. I've also met a few big firm lawyers who fell into category 2).


Quote
It sounds like the picture you're painting might be worse than trying to get a corporate law position in a big firm. Is that true?

Well, it depends how you look at it. You're comparing apples and oranges here. Big firms focus on certain schools and students who got certain grades from those schools. Niche areas like estate planning require that you network your tail off, or be very well connected (see 1) in my previous post) in order to get the job you want. ANY legal job outside the traditional top school OCI route will require a lot of legwork on your part. That isn't specific to estate planning. There just aren't enough legal jobs to go around for the 40,000 law students law schools pump out every year. Some people find jobs out of sheer luck, but most do not.


Quote
Is there just a short supply of jobs in Estate Planning? That doesn't surprise me too much, but I would have thought there would be a fairly low number of people coming out of school with an interest in Estate Planning too. I figured most people interested in law would find Estate Planning a bit dry.

You're right that most law students aren't interested in estate planning.

There aren't that many jobs because the lawyers who work in this area, like a lot of attorneys, tend to have long careers. When they retire, the clients or the children of those clients aren't going to go to someone unknown that just set up shop. They will go to someone the attorney recommends. And small firms that do this type of work, when they need to hire, can afford to be picky about who they hire. That's why connections and networking are so important.


Good luck talking to the attorney. Don't forget to ask him to give you the names and contact information of other attorneys that might be able to speak with you.

5
For estate planning, there are two ways to get into it:

1) You're from a small town, you're very well connected, you have lawyers in your family and know lots of lawyers at small firms. Based on family connections, you have a job waiting for you somewhere when you get out. You go to a local school, rank of school and grades doesn't matter much, if at all.

2) You go to a top school or a strong regional school and get very high grades to land at a big firm or a large regional firm. You probably take a bunch of tax and estate planning related courses in law school. You get hired at a big firm. Out of sheer luck, they need someone to work in this area, so you get placed in the practice group.

Any other way into this field is probably going to require a ton of legwork on your part. You'll need to network very heavily early on (like starting during 1L over winter break) and will need to go to a school that has a decent rep very close to where you want to work. You'll need to find a small firm that will take you on as an unpaid intern or hourly law clerk while you are in law school.

The LLM from Miami is probably a waste of time.


6
Where should I go next fall? / Re: UDC vs Baltimore
« on: November 27, 2009, 08:05:06 PM »
Baltimore has a much better rep, but that rep doesn't extend outside of MD unless you are at the very top of your class. UDC is essentially seen as an east coast version of Cooley. Basically, it's a bottom of the barrel school and everyone knows it.

Another thing, I wouldn't go to Balt unless you can pay your tuition up front and avoid taking out big loans. Also, without in-state tuition, I wouldn't bother. Balt is a fairly big school for its market and there just aren't enough jobs for all the grads coming out of that school each year.

Public interest jobs in the region are also more competitive to get than you can possibly imagine.

If you don't like either of these choices get your LSAT score up.

7
You need to work on the LSAT. Take a prep class, get a tutor, study more, whatever. Do whatever it takes to get your scores on the PTs up. If you are getting low 150s on the practice tests, you will probably end up with a high 140s on the real thing. I know you don't want to hear that but it's the truth.

Also, I was a transfer student. Went from tier 2/3 to t14. It is possible to go from a tier 4 to a top 20 or even a t14 but you need to essentially be one of the top 3 people in your class. You can't bank on that kind of performance during 1L (or even being in the top half), so your plan to attend a t4 hoping to transfer to a higher ranked school is not a good one. Everyone on here is going to tell you not to plan on transferring and do not attend a school you wouldn't be comfortable graduating from. I agree with that advice. Do not take the LSAT if you are not ready, period.

8
General Board / Re: Grad Plus loan problems
« on: November 16, 2009, 05:18:40 PM »
You will need a co-signer each year. Who it is doesn't matter. What I was trying to say is that it's good to have someone you can rely on or multiple people who can cosign, in case the first person changes their mind and doesn't want to cosign for 2L and 3L.

Out of curiosity, were you able to get a GradPlus loan? Or did you have to get a private loan?

9
Transferring / Re: Rutgers or Seton Hall?
« on: November 12, 2009, 10:52:18 PM »
If you're an NJ resident, you'll probably save money by going to Rutgers. I'd worry about getting through your first semester at this point though. You can research transferring over winter break.

10
General Board / Re: How competitive is a judicial internship?
« on: November 10, 2009, 12:18:07 PM »
Check with your school career office. They should be able to let you know what judges take school year interns, and whether you'd be better off trying a federal or state judge. I don't think it's that hard to find an unpaid position with a judge somewhere depending on what region you are in. Post-graduate clerkships with judges are another story.

It seems like a lot of people I know at my school are working for judges during the school year.  How competitive is it to get these?  I'm middle of my class at a school ranked 40s to 50s. 

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