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« on: October 04, 2009, 10:21:20 AM »
The workload at most schools is about the same. Most law school classes are set up so that your entire grade rides on one exam at the end of the semester. It's up to you to decide how to spend your time before the exam.
Legal Writing is different because there are a ton of deadlines for multiple assignments during the semester. Whether or not your LW prof decides to grade these assignments, it is still mandatory that you complete them. Then you have a big assignment, usually an appellate legal brief that counts as your final. It will either count for your entire grade or a large portion of your grade.
LW at law schools usually sucks because the profs are particularly bad. They all have their own pet peeves and little quirks. Doing well in LW isn't usually about being a good legal writer, it's about conforming to exactly what the prof wants. Most students find this frustrating so they don't like legal writing. Then when they get out in an internship or post-grad job they figure out that a lot of stuff their LW prof was total crap and they have to relearn everything on the job. Sounds fun, right?
I for one, would not have wanted to take 5 semesters of legal writing. Most schools only require one year of legal writing during the first year. Then, you are required to take 1 upper level writing course which usually involves writing a scholarly legal paper. The paper is completely different than the memos and briefs and such you do in first year LW.
If you're wondering about the workload at this particular school, my advice to you would be to talk to a mix of students in the part-time program. Find out when classes are held, go there, and talk to part-time 1L/2L/3L/4L students and see what they say. Another strategy would be to get permission from the school/profs to sit on on classes. Find out what the assignments are and do the work for a week or two. If you're having trouble keeping up, well, you just found out law school isn't for you and saved yourself a semester's worth of tuition.
« on: October 01, 2009, 10:06:33 PM »
ECs are usually a non-factor in admissions. They may come into play down the line when applying for certain types of jobs or internships (or special scholarships, like a public interest scholarship that you have to provide a separate essay for) but since most law students have similar and very typical ECs they generally don't mean a whole lot. Schools are basically focused on the numbers.
« on: October 01, 2009, 10:02:58 PM »
You will likely get some kind of minority boost. You may want to look at lawschoolnumbers.com or contact the Hispanic Law Student Associations at the schools you're interested in for a better idea of your admissions chances.
I'd imagine your chances of admission success will be greater at schools that are not constrained by anti-affirmative action laws like UT and the University of California schools.
If you think you can do better on the LSAT, retake.
« on: October 01, 2009, 09:55:44 PM »
Most part-time programs do not award merit scholarships. Even if you were to apply to full time programs, only schools with bottom of the barrel reputations are going to give a generous scholarship to an applicant with a 157. By that I mean unaccredited schools, or schools that are only provisionally accredited, or weeder/fail curve type schools like Cooley.
The big exception would be if you're black, native american, or hispanic.
« on: October 01, 2009, 06:59:29 PM »
Everyone is different but for me I found the cases unnecessary for the most part.
First year, I usually just skimmed them if I read them it all. If I did brief, my brief would be 2-4 quick sentences summarizing the facts and rule of the case.
I attended every class my first year because my school had a strict attendance policy.I think attending class can be very helpful if you have profs that actually explain the law and what the cases mean in terms of what rules and concepts you're supposed to be pulling out of them. Basically my approach was to take good notes, then make outlines for my courses based on those notes. I started outlining 2 weeks into school. However, if you have a bad prof, this doesn't really work and you have to teach yourself everything from scratch. I also did a lot of practice exams well in advance of the actual test date. A few weeks into law school, I was working through exam hypos for every class a couple times a week.
Caution: if you are totally lost in class, then you probably don't understand the concepts you're supposedly learning from the supplements. Either you're not using the supplements right (highly likely) or those supplements you have aren't very good. Additionally, with the current state of the legal job market for the foreseeable future, merely passing your courses won't be enough to land you a job.
« on: October 01, 2009, 03:59:59 PM »
First, if you plan on going into some kind of public interest law, minimize your undergrad debt. That means looking at your local public university or finding some way to fund your education with scholarships or grants. Do not think for a second that going to a private liberal arts college or university will somehow increase your chances of getting into any school. Law schools care about GPA and your LSAT score first and foremost.
I would definitely focus on getting good grades. Your major doesn't really matter, just do something you can get high grades in. And prep hard for the LSAT. LSAT scores matter a lot. Take a prep course for it if you can.
American is basically a terrible choice for public interest minded applicants and law students. They have no real LRAP program and the tuition is among the most expensive in the country. I'd suggest taking a hard look at your local in-state law school(s). Do not go to an out of state school with a scholarship banking that you'll be able to keep it all three years. If you have high grades and a high LSAT, apply to top schools with good LRAP programs. Oh yeah, you might want to spend some of your summers or free time doing volunteer work, especially if you can work at a public interest law related job. You might find that this type of work is not for you at all. At the very least, it will show interest and possibly commitment when you apply for jobs and internships in law school.
« on: September 23, 2009, 08:04:19 PM »
Worthwhile? Yes. If so, no one will look down on it. Getting the internship in the first place will probably be tougher than you think.
The Fed Public Defender Offices are actually quite prestigious. The only problem you might have is with DA's offices. Some DA's offices don't like people who've worked for PD Offices. Some PD's offices are just as bad in their treatment of people who did DA work. If you're trying to get a 2L summer internship, I'd think hard about whether you lean more toward being a DA or PD and go with the one that feels right in terms of what you want to do post grad. Another tactic would be to split your summer - say, 5-6 weeks at the DA, then 5-6 weeks at the PD. If you're going to try this, it's probably going to be a lot easier if you do it in two different states. Doing it in one state can create all sorts of ethical and conflict of interest issues.
« on: September 23, 2009, 12:55:11 AM »
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« on: September 17, 2009, 08:13:23 PM »
« on: August 25, 2009, 07:14:30 PM »
Check with UMKC about their fin aid and grant policies. Many schools do not give grant money or scholarships to part-time students period, minority or not.
As for whether it will be worth it, most young attorneys in this country right now should consider themselves lucky to make what you already make at your current job.
The high paying legal jobs are really only for a small percentage of law students right out of school, and your chances of making that kind of money coming out of UMKC are just about nil.
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