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General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Paralegal to Lawyer?
« on: June 23, 2015, 01:15:18 PM »
Maintain is offering great advice.

However, like most potential 0L's you are putting the cart before the horse. Your only focus at this point is to get the best LSAT score you possibly can and as Maintain said odds are you will not get a 168-170, but I hope you do. However, even if you get a 153 there are plenty of ABA schools that will accept you. It is important to realize that 99% of lawyers/judges did not attend the top 1% of law schools or score in the top 1% of the LSAT.

This is also true when you enroll in law school whether you attend Harvard or Cooley there is a 90% chance you will not finish in the top 10% of your class. Most law students have a hard time accepting this, because at every ABA school 100% of the students are smart, hard-working, motivated people and 100% of them think they are finishing in the top 10%, but obviously 90% can't.

As to your specific question your paralegal experience won't hurt and it is good that you got your feet with the law before jumping in. However, most incoming law students have some legal experience prior to enrolling in law school and it is not something that will set you apart, but it certainly does not hurt.

However, first and foremost do the best you can on the LSAT and look at your options. Once you have an LSAT score this is a great article about choosing a law school.

Perfect post Loki.

As he said the LSAT is a test of aptitude and odds are you will not get a 170 no matter how much money you pay to the various test services. They might increase your score slightly, but you could probably also do it for self study.

To make an analogy Matthew Deladova a decent NBA basketball player could take all the classes, train with the best and spend millions of dollars he is never going to be better at basketball than Lebron James even if he sits on his ass and eats donuts all day. Lebron just has 100x more natural talent.

I don't know what your aptitude is, but if you take a practice LSAT odds and say you get a 151 with no study the most you could probably increase is to 160.  I think intense study at the absolute most can raise 10 points based on the factors Loki mentions learning a few of the tricks, but if you have a 3.1 UGPA and got an 1100 SAT the odds of you getting a 170 are extremely low. You could probably get a 155-160 and get into a number of ABA schools, but the chances of Harvard are slim to none.

So to sum it up as Loki says be wary of services that over promise you will have your natural limit. This is just one of the many steps during the law school process where using common sense is paramount.



Where should I go next fall? / Re: Stay local or move on?
« on: June 23, 2015, 12:20:01 PM »
I agree with Maintain what you should focus on first and foremost is getting an LSAT score. Plenty of people score far higher on the practice tests myself included, because I gave myself a few extra seconds or took a break here and there. Not to mention to the pressure of the real thing is harder than a practice.

I hope you get a 160 hell a 180, but until you have a real LSAT score there is not much point in thinking about schools. Focus all your law school admission energy on the LSAT now and once you have options really think about what is best.

To answer the question if your goal is to live in the area you are living in go to a school in the area preferably the cheapest option.

I never think it is a good idea to move from the area you want to live in for any school.

Once you have an LSAT score this is a good article outlining how to choose a law school.

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?
« on: June 16, 2015, 02:57:27 PM »
Again I agree with everything you said, but USNWR does have as much authority as the Cooley Rankings or any other magazines opinion. It is not an official document and it is nothing more than the opinion of people writing a magazine.  Is USNWR more important than the Cooley rankings? Yes without question.  If they said my school could jump to top 25 in the USNWR rankings or Cooley rankings would I prefer to it to rise in the USNWR rankings? Of course.

Would any of my current cases, clients, or anything else I do be impacted by my school raising in the USNWR rankings? No.

 At my hearing this morning, could I have said opposing counsel makes excellent points, but in the most recent publication of USNWR my school was ranked higher than his. Therefore we do not need to delve into this issue any further. No I could not do that.

As always the magic of common sense can go a long way. Does USNWR have some relevance and is Davis a "better" school than McGeorge? Sure.

However, would I pay $100,000 more to attend Davis over McGeorge? Probably not. However, If all things were equal in price and I wanted to live in Sacramento I would choose Davis over McGeorge based on the rankings, because they are both fine schools, but Davis has a far better reputation than McGeorge. Is that repuatation worth a $100,000 to me? No, but to someone else saying they went to the 48th best school instead of the 84th might be worth $100,000. 

In conclusion does USNWR have any more authority than me publishing my own rankings on LSD? No, it doesn't I could rank all the schools and create a formula, if I had time and money to burn. Hell, I could even print out 1,000's of magazines with my rankings, hire a programmer to build a website and go to local newsstands and pay them to sell my law school rankings.  My point is there is no regulatory body monitoring my proposed ranking system, Cooleys,  U.S News or any other magazine. We are all offering opinions, which we are entitled to do, but USNWR opinion matters more than my or Cooley's rankings. 

U.S. News is a very successful company and it has cashed in on America's obsession with rankings.   More power to them that and I will acknowledge it was a great business decision and I have no issue with what USNWR does. However,  for potential 0L's making the life altering decision of whether to attend law school and where I think they should realize USNWR is nothing more than a magazine. However, I even I acknowledge it has some utility and in all my posts I say use it as a tie-breaker, because it is great for that. My McGeorge/Davis analogy is a perfect for use the rankings. Those are the only two schools in the Sacramento area and Davis is higher ranked so if you want to be live and work in Sacramento and are accepted to both schools. Choose Davis if price etc is the same.

However, if you are accepted to McGeorge and Tulsa do not choose either of those schools based on rank.

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?
« on: June 15, 2015, 06:00:54 PM »
It looks like Cooley has now partnered with Western Michigan University so it is not officially Cooley anymore. see  it also looks like the Cooley rankings ended.

However, I loved the Cooley rankings, because it showed how ridiculous the U.S. News Rankings are.  The U.S. News Rankings has as much authority as the Cooley rankings do they are both magazines.

In my own publication I have been nominated as Trial Lawyer of the Year, been a Superlawyer, and have been given 10 out of 10 stars. I don't actually have my own publication, but I could buy a domain name and then put content up that says I have been ranked the highest of any lawyer. I could then go a printer and print out 100 magazines with a photo of myself saying I am ranked the highest and frame that magazine on my office law.

Or I saw this on a bus stop on the way to work.

Sealy Air Mattresses rated best mattress by a leading consumer magazine.  (Could Sealy Mattress create a magazine and say it sells the best mattresses? Yes.)

So again the point of the original article is rankings don't mean anything. They are opinions and have no actual meaning, but the Cooley rankings were awesome.


General Off-Topic Board / Re: Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?
« on: June 15, 2015, 01:00:49 PM »

I think we are in agreement and of course a Harvard Grad can get a job in California without issue, but my point was at a random DUI firm in California the Harvard Grad likely won't get hired and would not want the job to begin with. If a Harvard Grad wants a job in California they can get one, but if for whatever reason someone wants to be a DUI attorney in Yreka, California they would honestly be better off going to McGeorge than Harvard. However, if someone was capable of getting into Harvard law school I find it unlikely working in a small DUI firm in a po-dunk town is what they would want, but of course everyone is different.

Again, as you said be pragmatic and if some person with a 2.8 and 152 LSAT said I am going to go to Golden Gate and plans on getting job offers at White & Case, Cravath etc. I would say don't be stupid. Nothing wrong with Golden Gate, but if your goal is to work at a Big-Law Firm it won't just magically work out and I would bet significant sums of money against a GGU, USF, Hastings, etc grad getting a big-law job right out of law school. I would also recommend anyone considering law school to either have worked in a law office during undergrad or worked in a law office in some capacity before enrolling. It is not for everybody and it is not some golden ticket to wealth and happiness.

I think the issue after 2009 is everyone thought oh well I can go to law school and be rich. However, if your primary reason for going to law school is to make money then don't go. Plenty of lawyers from every tier of law school do well financially, but plenty of others don't and there are easier ways to make money than attending law school. However, if you love working as a lawyer then you will be happy whether your making $50,000 at some DUI Firm or $250,000 as a BigLaw Associate.

As for the issue of rankings your point about Maine Judges having gone to Maine law school is exactly on point. If you want to work in Maine there is honestly no better law school to attend than Maine. If you want to be in South Dakota there is no better school than South Dakota.

If you are capable of getting into Harvard and are not sure if you want to settle down in Boston, Miami, L.A. or New York then by all means go to Harvard and you will have opportunities in those cities if you want them.

The overall point is just apply common sense when using the rankings or anything involving the legal profession. Harvard is a great school and will open doors nationally we all know that. If your a decent law school candidate and want to be live in Maine and be a lawyer enroll in University of Maine Law School. 

If you want to be a lawyer in San Francisco and get accepted into University of San Francisco, which is ranked 130 or something right now, but also get accepted into Tulsa ranked in the mid 80's don't go to Tulsa expecting that it being ranked significantly higher than University of San Francisco to provide you any opportunities in San Francisco.  If you want to work in Tulsa and also get accepted into Hastings, which is ranked 40th I believe don't expect Hastings ranks to open doors for you in Tulsa.

All those schools are fine and if you attend USF and pass the California Bar odds are you will get a job in the Bay Area or Northern California. If you attend Tulsa and pass the bar odds are you will get a job in Tulsa or in Oklahoma. The ranks mean nothing and don't tell us anything we didn't know when we were in 4th grade. Harvard, Yale, Stanford etc are great schools and will provide a graduate with a ton of opportunities, but if someone with a 4.0 and 180 LSAT really wanted to live in Yreka California and become a Public Defender then they would be better off going to McGeorge debt free than Harvard. That scenario is unlikely, but it exists and that is why I say think about your own situation, but apply common sense.

Distance Education Law Schools / Re: taft law school
« on: June 12, 2015, 10:37:12 PM »
I am assuming he meant that Taft is not ABA accredited, which it isn't.

I know nothing about Taft, but I don't think you should expect great customer service from a law school.

It sounds like it is not a fit for OP, but if OP wants to pursue a legal education they should keep looking for a fit.

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?
« on: June 11, 2015, 03:08:34 PM »
Excellent point and yea GGU, USF and Santa Clara grads are not in competition with Boalt/Stanford.

UC Davis/Hastings grads might occasionally be in competition with a Boalt/Stanford grad, but also typically in competition with GGU, USF and Santa Clara Grads.

At every firm and agency I have worked with there have been GGU, USF, Santa Clara, Davis and Hastings Grads.

I have a lot of friends that went to Boalt Law, but I have never actually worked with a Stanford or Boalt Grad.

So the point is valid outside of the elite schools even locally people from the 45th and the 200th "ranked" schools will be competing for the same gig and nobody will care about the difference.

  I know Stanford and Boalt are extremely hard to get into and graduating from those schools is impressive. The rest I honestly don't even know what the schools are ranked anymore. I know USF was in the 80's when I enrolled in law school, but word is it is not in the top 150 anymore, but colleague just won a big hearing this morning and guess how many times the rank of USF Law School was brought up?  0.

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?
« on: June 11, 2015, 12:01:09 PM »
Pretty good article and I could even summarize it one sentence. Use common sense and trust your own judgement, don't look for someone or something to tell you how to live your life.

The article makes a great point about Cal-Western and West Virginia in that students from those schools do not compete with eachother. Cal-Western does great in San Diego and West Virginia does great in West Virginia.

Cal-Western were in the top 50 and West Virginia was dead last a West Virginia employer is going to hire from West Virginia. Very few people are willing to move to West Virginia for a job and therefore, any employers in West Virginia would like to hire people that already live there.

In the real world retaining attorneys is important and so is time. If someone from West Virginia University submitted a resume to my firm in San Francisco I would not interview them and frankly I would interview someone from Harvard or Yale either. These are all great schools, but we are not going to pay to fly someone out from Boston, Connecticut or West Virginia then have to wait a month or so for them to start and then have to worry about them possibly moving back. They also ask for airfare, hotel, etc and why would our firm pay for that when there are 9 ABA Law Schools in driving distance?

I imagine a firm in West Virginia would think the same about a Stanford, Boalt, Hastings grad why would they bother with all the hassle that comes with transporting grads from these schools to West Virginia? West Virginia is right there so hire from West Virginia.

Common sense really goes a long way, but for some reason people have a hard time using it.

Even if Oregon has reciprocity with Wisconsin actually doing all the paperwork etc for finalizing reciprocity is a pain in the ass and odds are you will have job offers and built a life in Wisconsin if you attend Wisconsin, which will be hard to leave.

You will likely not have any job offers in Oregon if you attend Wisconsin. You can move to Oregon and eventually get a job, but it will be a pain in the ass and you could have done all the legwork in law school in Oregon if you attend Lewis & Clark.

So as I think everyone agrees if your ultimate goal is to end up in Oregon go to Lewis & Clark.

I was admitted to Marquette back in the day and the automatic bar passage was temping, but realistically Wisconsin is not the place for me. However, if you have friends and love Wisconsin etc then there is no better school to attend than Wisconsin if you want to live in Wisconsin.

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