How do you beat a team by 10 points, come out ahead in combined results of Coaches and Harris (human) polls and get downgraded by the output from 6 computers/software? It is beyond belief.
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Regarding the class size: yes, it is certainly one of the largest law schools, but they do a PHENOMENAL job of not making it seem that large. My year, roughly 400 students were broken down into 4 sections of 100 each, then 2 societies of 50 each, and smaller subsections of 25 each. You have 1 small class, only with your 25 person subsection, and play intramurals with them, have lots of organized events only with them (boat cruises, bowling, etc, all on the school) which helps you get to know those 25 people really well. There are also society events, which helps you get to know the other subsection in your society much better. Hope that explains how well they break it down.
Regarding the friend of yours: I have little insight about the admissions process (or what they deal with character flaws, prior incidents etc), but the steps your buddy has taken seem to indicate that a school might even view this as a positive. I would advise him to apply to a LOT of schools where he is well qualified, surely one of them will understand how he has moved on and become a better person.
To my troubled colleague - life is filled with setbacks, some of our own making and some not. It doesnt matter. As hard as the hit may be when they occur (and it is often enormous), the key is to view them as an opportunties to better oneself. Like religion, though, military service is a calling of great honor. It is not the appropriate response to a personal setback. But one need only stand before the graves of Teddy Roosevelt Jr and the Niland (Private Ryan) brothers at Normandy to appreciate the capacity and sacrifice of ostensibly normal people. Be and always remain inspired and do the best that you can with the gifts you have been given. Godspeed.
Re Texas, how is it that the students are so well trained and regarded with a the law school experience seems so much less burdensome than other schools - is it the faculty?