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Messages - Citylaw

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First and foremost realize that any anonymous internet poster on this board or others myself included knows anything about you, and for all you know I am a crackhead in a public library or I could be a partner at Cravath. So with that take any anonymous internet poster advice with a major grain of salt my post included.

With that said I think you are making one of the most common 0L mistakes, one I made myself, which is putting way to much thought into what a for profit unregulated magazine thinks. U.S. News is not regulated by anyone, and they are offering an opinion for entertainment and to make money. If you want to make a life altering decision based on that it is your choice, but I do not recommend it.   Also realize rankings change drastically year by year, because U.S. News has no real formula, just look at the two schools you are considering. 

Temple Ranking U.S. News 2009-2014
Present 61* 2013   56*   2012 58* 2011   61*   2010 72*   2009 65*    

Penn State Ranking
Present 51*   2013 64*   2012 76*   2011 60   2010 72*   2009 65*

Both schools were tied for the same rank in 65th along with a number of schools, then both fell to a tie for 72nd with a bunch of other schools. In 2011 Penn State was one rank higher, In 2012 Temple was 18 spots hight, in 2013 Temple was 8 spots higher, and now Penn State is 10 spots higher.

So to sum it up if you choose Temple based on rank over Penn State in 2011 the school that you graduated from would be significantly lower ranked even though it was 18 spots higher. So DO NOT CHOOSE a law school based on ranking.

Here is a link to show the drastic changes in law school rankings year by year. The top 10-20 schools are basically the same, but outside of that they change drastically and odds are if you choose Penn State based on rank today, Temple will be ranked higher by the time you graduate or vice versa, and it doesn't matter.

With that said I think any 0L should consider the following factors in this order when choosing a law school: (1) Location; (2) Cost; (3) Personal Feelings about school; (4) Understanding the Reality of legal education; (5) Last and certainly least U.S. News Ranking.  I will analyze each of these factors to your current decision between Penn & Temple, but I also encourage you to apply to other schools in the area to obtain scholarship offers and more leverage when negotiating with schools you really want to attend.

 (1) Location:
It looks like you want to be in Pennsylvania, which is good you narrowed it down to a state, but do you want to live in Philly or University Park. No right or wrong answer, but if you want to be in a big-city go to Temple if you want the college feel go to University Park. It will make a big difference, and whatever is more your style is the right choice there.

(2) Cost
Temple offers in-state tuition at $19,000 per year x 3= 57,000 in Tuition which is a great deal.

Penn-State does not offer in state tuition and is $40,000 per year x 3= 120,000 in tuition;

On that factor Temple certainly wins you will save $63,000 on tuition, which is something to consider.
(3) Personal Feelings About School
Aside from location and cost each school has a culture to it, and whether the school's culture fits you is something only you can determine. When I was visiting schools there were some I liked others I didn't, which is entirely subjective to my personality.

The only way to know if a school is a fit is to visit personally, talk to professors, walk around campus, walk around the surrounding neighborhood, talk to students, alumni, etc and you will feel better about one over the other, and listen to your gut it will guide you in the right direction.

(4) Reality of Legal Education:
Finally I know there are law school rankings, but the reality is at any ABA law school you will learn the same thing. You will receive a great education at Penn State or Temple or any other ABA school. In law school you read Supreme Court Cases, and the Supreme Court does not write separate opinions for different law schools, nor does the law change whether you attend Temple or Penn State.

Your first year will consist of Torts, Civil Procedure, Contracts, Property, and a LRW class. Schools differ on whether they offer Crim Pro/Crim Law/Con Law 1L or 2L, but you will take those courses in law school as well. In Torts you will read the Palsgraff case, Civ Pro Pennoyer v. Neff, Contracts Hadley v. Baxendale, Property the fox-hound case.

Conclusion:
I cannot possibly tell you what the right answer is, but really analyze the factors above to your personal situation. Good luck whatever you decide.

32
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Good Programs for Law Grads
« on: October 26, 2014, 12:58:36 AM »
With your military and law background a good degree might be a Master's of Public Administration, which opens the door to being a City Manager or Assistant City Manager etc.


33
You can get into a number of schools with 2.something GPA and a 165 LSAT score.

With that said there is nothing wrong with a Tier 4 school, and they can open a lot of doors.

When choosing a law school it comes down to the following factors in this order (1) Location; (2) Cost; (3) Personal Feelings about school; (4) Understanding the reality of legal education; and (5) Last and Least U.S. News Rankings.
Remember U.S. News Rankings is nothing more than a for-profit unregulated magazine opinion offering an opinion, and you should not make a life altering choice of where to attend law school based on it.

Then if your ultimate goal is to attend an LLM in taxation the rank of your school does not matter at law, you just need to graduate then seek an LLM. If that is your ultimate goal attend a law school that offers a taxation in LLM. I know New York, San Francisco, and L.A. have schools that offer LLM in taxation.

With that said here is a great article to read when choosing a law school.
http://www.legalmatch.com/choose-the-right-law-school.html

34
Law School Applications / Re: Help with Diversity Statement
« on: October 20, 2014, 08:00:46 PM »
Agreed I do not think it necessarily shows diversity by the time you are a 2L you will be the same age as everyone else.

In the law certain things are considered a suspect class with more protections race, gender, etc, but age is NOT one of them.

If you have space for an addendum you can explain you got through undergrad in two years by cramming classes, etc, which might be impressive, but age is not diversity.

Good luck on the law school process, and feel free to use this board there are good posters that offer great insight on this board.

35
Studying for the LSAT / Re: I took the LSAT December 5th!
« on: October 14, 2014, 07:52:40 PM »
Awesome good work! It is a great feeling to get that license!


36
Studying for the LSAT / Re: SEPT 27 LSAT
« on: September 29, 2014, 04:06:37 PM »
Excellent to hear you took it as Woody Allan said 90% of life is just showing up and whether you get a 120 or 180 you took the LSAT. I cannot tell you how many people put it off, but you can literally start applying to law schools in three weeks, and there is no harm in signign up to take the December LSAT now.

As for the application fees one way to save a lot of money on that is attending an LSAC forum or just registering. Here is a link to the LSAC page for the forums http://www.lsac.org/jd/choosing-a-law-school/forums-and-other-events .

I registered and attended one of these and got more fee waiver's than I knew what to do with. Literally go up to every school's booth you even though of applying to write down your LSAC number and most will come back with a fee waiver, and in your application you can say you stopped by the admissions officer's booth. This can give you a slight bump on your application and at the end of the day it is a numbers game, but it never hurts to talk to school's directly and save hundreds if not thousands of dollars on applications.

Again, congrats on taking the LSAT it is a big accomplishment to put yourself out there and even if you did terribly at least you put yourself out there.

When I was going through law school, LSAT, etc this quote got me through all of it.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. "

You put yourself out there and whether you failed or succeed on this small test, you put yourself out there, which is something very few people do, and it is why I love the quote so much.

Good luck in

37
Studying for the LSAT / Re: SEPT 27 LSAT
« on: September 27, 2014, 11:35:57 AM »
As Freshlyminted said ramble on, but after reading your post I think there are several things to consider.

One thing is that a lot of curveballs can be thrown your way. It sounds like you lost your job, and are a little confused right now, but what is to say you will not lose another job in 2015, or obtain a job that requires you to put in 80 hours a week by June 2015, or your best friend will get married on the same ay day as the June LSAT etc.  The longer you put these tests off the less likely you are to actually take the test. Plenty of people put it off, and eventually take it, but most don't.

In June 2015, I guarantee you will feel unprepared as well. There is always more you can do or think you should do. Once your in law school however, when finals come around you will say "oh sh*t" I should have done X, Y, Z, but the final will happen. Same is true with the Bar so on and so on.

Additionally, the fact that the LSAT costs $100-200 bucks really should not be a huge concern. If you go to law school your making a $100,000+ commitment, if $100-$200 is causing you stress, then really think about the reality of the expense of law school.

Finally, again 160-165 is a pretty solid score, and I hope you get hell I hope you get a 180, but scoring a 160 puts you in the top 20% of LSAT test takers, and people that take the LSAT are smart are college graduates, motivated enough to attend law school, and possess the fortitude to actually take the LSAT. There is 80% chance you will not score in the top 20%. 

This reality is something you also need to consider if you go to law school. At any ABA law school even ones that accept 3.0 and 145 GPA's as you refer to them as contain smart, hard-working, and motivated individuals that all think they are special and are certain they will finish in the top 10% of the class. However, 90% of these students end up disappointed.

Again, I really urge you to take the LSAT this Saturday, and if you feel like you terrible cancel the score. However, odds are you will probably score in the 150-155 range, and you can start applying for law school Fall 2015 instead of Fall 2016, which will give you one more year to work as an attorney and start your career. Additionally, almost every school simply takes your highest score so even if you score a 120 every question wrong, which is unlikely you can retake in 2015 and they will take the highest score.

Conclusion:
The biggest thing standing in most people's way is themselves. I can see you are putting a lot of thought, and stress into this, but it is really not that complicated. All you need to do is take the test this Saturday. If you absolutely hate the experience you are out $100-$200 and a Saturday afternoon. Odds are however, you will get a decent score and be able to start applying to law schools right now.

Or you can wait around for your another year and in June 2015 you will have this same feeling, and then either take the test or put it off for more time.

I am just a random internet poster so take my advice with a grain of salt, but one of the most important things you learn in law school is how to not over complicate things.  In your first year of law school I guarantee you all your textbooks will be highlighted to no end you will read case after case and be freaking out, but by the time third year rolls around you will skim a case and know the important things to look for, and think to yourself what an idiot you were 1L spending so much time on something that really was not that hard.

Once you take the LSAT whether it be this Saturday or next year, I am sure you will feel great once it is done. However, if putting it off the stress and frustration can be overwhelming, and there is no worse feeling than knowing you didn't try for something you wanted.

Good luck whatever you decide.

38
Studying for the LSAT / Re: SEPT 27 LSAT
« on: September 23, 2014, 07:53:05 PM »
Excellent additional point, yes almost every school takes the highest score so you really have everything to gain and nothing to lose by taking the LSAT.

39
Studying for the LSAT / Re: SEPT 27 LSAT
« on: September 23, 2014, 10:42:03 AM »
I see many people do this and continually put off the LSAT, which puts their whole life on hold. It sounds like you have put in a lot of effort for the LSAT. If you really think you put in a good faith effort on the LSAT then take it this Saturday.

Or you can put it off until 2016 and you will likely have the same pre-test jitters and put law school off until 2018. So many people I went to undergrad with put off the LSAT for years and I graduated and pass the bar while they were still putting their life on hold waiting to take the LSAT.

If you do not perform well then maybe law school is not for you, and there is no shame in that. If you get a 150 you will have a few options. With a 3.0 150 there are between 10-20 ABA law schools you can get into. Harvard is not an option, but 99% of lawyers did not go to Harvard.

Basically, just ask yourself will you really put in your more effort next time you take the LSAT or will this situation be the same? If your parents divorced, your girlfriend/boyfriend broke up with you, and were getting evicted from your apartment then you might have enough distractions to put the LSAT off, but from your post it sounds like none of those factors are present.

That is the other thing to consider life throws a lot of curveballs your way, and all those things may come in 2016 even if your really prepared, and put the test off longer.


Conclusion:

Don''t make life complicated take the LSAT and get a score. Once yo have a score you can know whether law school is an option or not, and more importantly you will feel relief taking the test. Even if you do poorly it takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there, and actually take the LSAT. Many people spend years talking about it, but never get score, which is really sad in my opinion.

Good luck whatever you decide.

40
L.L.M. Board / Re: Applying to an LLM with a Misdemeanor
« on: September 20, 2014, 07:48:55 PM »
True law schools have a lot of regulations for J.D.'s, but almost none for LLM's so if your goal is to get a LLM you could probably have a felony, but if you are using the LLM to get into a state bar those regulations will not matter.

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