Law School Discussion

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Messages - Citylaw

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31
Non-Traditional Students / Re: What are my chances?
« on: March 03, 2014, 01:16:56 AM »
I think before you start thinking about law schools or anything of that nature you need a real LSAT score. Practice is just practice and until the real score comes in you don't know your options. It is certainly exciting to speculate on where you might get in I know I did that plenty as a 0L, but other than for purposes of distraction and to keep excitement there is really no point to speculating what schools you can attend without a real LSAT score.

As to your schools something to consider if your 45 is looking at some of the lower ranked schools that can offer you scholarships. It is not right, but if your 45 you will not be a licensed lawyer until you are 49-50 and it is unlikely a big firm is going to hire you at that age. You can currently succeed as an attorney in a solo or small firm setting and you can do that from schools like Southwestern, Chapman, La Verne, etc and possibly get scholarship money. Opposed to racking up $200,000 in loans at Pepperdine, Santa Clara, etc.

You may also want to consider the California Bar Accredited Schools, which are more geared to someone in your situation and can allow you to work, keep costs down, etc. In my personal opinion the three solid CBA schools are Monterey College of Law, Cal Northern, and Santa Barbara College of law. There are a few others, but I know a number of practicing attorneys from those three schools.

Conclusion:
With a 2.8 GPA and a real LSAT score above 150 you will have some law school options. However, with your age you do need to realize there will be some doors closed and less time to make up your educational investment. If everything goes great and you graduate pass the bar first time around you will be 49-50 and have at most 20 working years left to recoup your $100,000+ investment.

Most recent law grads are between 25-30 and have 40-45 working years ahead so the cost is not as sensitive since there is so much more time.

Good luck on your law school journey it can be a very rewarding career.

32
Where should I go next fall? / Re: I need some help deciding
« on: March 02, 2014, 01:54:11 PM »
First congrats on your acceptances it is nice to have choices. As to your question I think any incoming law student should consider the following five factors in this order when choosing a law school.
 (1) Location
(2) Cost
(3) Personal Feeling about School (
4) Understanding the Reality of Legal Education
 (5) Last and Least U.S. News Rankings.

I will analyze why each of these factors are important below, but do remember anyone on this board or others myself included are nothing more than anonymous internet posters that know nothing about you, you personal situation, or what is best for you so take it all with a grain of salt.

Factors to Consider

Location:
It is important does not exist in a vacuum and you are going to spend a minimum of three years of the prime your life in the location you attend law school. On top of that where you end up going is likely where you will end up if you go to law school in South Carolina you will likely take the South Carolina Bar. Additionally ,you are going to make friends, possible get into a romantic relationship, have an apartment, etc and you will build a place for yourself over three years that will be hard to leave. Therefore, if you cannot stand a City/State do not attend school there because you will spend three years and moving from the state/city after school will be difficult.

You should also consider your own personality and personal situation. If your from Philadalphia will you be comfortable away from your family in South Carolina? Have you left home before? A myriad of things to consider it is nice to have people around outside of law school that can support you, but if you have a personality that can easily adapt to a new environment it will not be a big deal, but only you know that about yourself.

I knew a number of people in law school that came from out of state and some adapted great others grew very homesick.

Bottom line location is very important and Oklahoma City, Jacksonville, Philadelphia and D.C. are all very different places.

2) Cost
I see you have a number of scholarship offers, which is awesome, but two things to look at are (1) What are the actual tuition costs and (2) What conditions do you need to meet to retain your scholarship.

As for number South Carolina is only $21,000 per year if your a resident, but 42,000 per year for a non-resident. You should find out what is necessary to retain residency because $21,000 per year is actually cheaper than Oklahoma City with a scholarship.

Look up the actual tuition of each school here http://www.lsac.org/lsacresources/publications/official-guide-archives

Conditions are also important to understand typically a school will require you to maintain a 3.0 to keep your scholarship or rank in the top 35% or something like that. As an incoming law student you likely got a 3.0 without trying in undergrad or are certain you will easily finish in the top 35%.

However, law school is very different everyone is smart, hard, motivated, and truly believes they will finish in the top 10%, but you do not need to be a math major to see 90% of them will be wrong. Also law school is graded on a curve and typically only 35% of first year students can have a 3.0 GPA, which means there is a 65% chance in that situation you will not keep your scholarship for years 2 and 3.

This New York Times Article does a better job explaining the system than I can http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/business/law-school-grants.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

With that remember you can negotiate for more money, better scholarship conditions, etc remember law school is a business and your a customer. Get the best deal you can.

3) Personal Feelings About School
It is very important to visit the schools talk to professor, admin, students, get a feel for the campus, and surrounding area and see if it is a fit for you. When I was a 0L I visited a number of schools some I liked others I hated. Once I was in law school I participated in a number of mock trial competitions and visited and interacted with more schools. Again, some I liked others I hated, but you may love the places I hated and hate the places I loved.

How you personally about a school is something only you can answer so visit the schools and see what feels right. I am sure some of these schools will rub you the wrong way and others will feel right it is important to listen to those gut feelings.

4) Reality of Legal Education
It is important to realize legal education is the same at any ABA school. Your first year will consist of Torts, Contracts, Property, Civil Procedure and you will read Supreme Court Cases. The Supreme Court doesn't write separate opinions for different schools and for all intents and purposes you literally learn the same thing at every school. There are a few electives that might be different and a few state laws that differ, but BarBri and Kaplan the bar prep companies you will inevitably pay to prepare you for the bar accept anyone from an ABA school and then you learn the law of "X" state you are preparing for.

5) U.S. New Ranking
Remember U.S. News is a for profit, unregulated magazine, offering an opinion. Nothing more nothing less and this should not be the basis of a 3 year and $100,000+ commitment. Maybe if you were considering Harvard v. South Carolina the rankings might matter, but realistically all the schools are fine, but nobody is going to say wow a Catholic/South Carolina/Widener/ etc grad hire him ASAP.

It is important to realize whether you succeed in the legal profession will have a lot more to do with your drive, work ethic, and ability to get things done than the school you attend.

Conclusion:
There is no "right" answer as to what law school to attend, but you should visit each school and determine where you want to live. Also evaluate the costs and scholarship conditions to get out with as little debt as possible.

Congrats again your acceptances and good luck as you pursue a legal career.

33
Could not agree more it is not a profession you should do because you care about the Client, making a difference, etc if money is main goal, which there is nothing wrong with that then you probably will not enjoy your legal career. There are a frankly much better ways to make money than going to law school, but the knowledge, power, and ability to change things with a law degree is priceless if you really want to be a lawyer.

34
Law School Applications / Re: My Chances w/ Georgetown? Any advice?
« on: February 28, 2014, 01:47:58 AM »
Georgetown is a great school and I sincerely hope you get a 173 LSAT, but a practice LSAT is practice. I know many people in your position myself included as 0L get ahead of themselves and start thinking about the school they will attend etc. It is kind of exciting.

However, realistically what should focus on is getting an LSAT score once you have a real LSAT score and your GPA is officially done you will know your options. If you get a 173 LSAT and have a 3.81 GPA your chances are solid and just an FYI lawschoolnumbers.com is a great site to see what numbers will get you into what school.

With all that said something to really understand is that any ABA law school will teach you the law and give you the skills to become a successful lawyer. It is true schools like Georgetown, Harvard, Yale etc will open the door to Biglaw, but I know a number of Harvard grads who worked at Biglaw hated it and went on to work at a D.A., Public Defender, City Attorney etc where you don't need the Harvard Degree to work, but they have a lot more debt.

A lot of incoming and current law students get very racked up in the rankings and attending the "highest ranked" school, but the reality is no matter what school you attend you will read Supreme Court cases and learn the same thing the law is the law period. The Supreme Court does not write separate opinions for different law schools.

Anyways, just focus on getting your LSAT score then you can know your options. Once you have the score think about the location you want to attend school, consider the tuition costs, and visit schools to see, which one is a fit for you. When I was choosing I visited a number of schools some were great to me others sucked, but that was my personal opinion you could very well love the schools I hated and vice versa.

Good luck on the LSAT and your pursuit of a legal career.

35
These outrageous tuition rates are not limited to law school. Education everywhere has become so overpriced it's ridiculous, I think the ease with which Federal Student  Loan money is handed out is creating the problem. Schools are just doing what they can nothing wrong or even immoral about it. Every school and institution anywhere can stand to have more money so why not raise tuition rates if money will just be handed to the students.


36
Well plenty of people have found legal work and sorry things aren't being handed to you.

You can use the BYU Intercollegiate job bank, which is a great source to find legal work across America.

Username jobfind
password cougarjobs

As for graduating from a Tier 1 school that really doesn't mean anything no school anywhere guarantees you a job. You have to show why you are valuable to get hired the legal profession is not a charity.

Go out there and make it happen. People like Belva Ann Lockwood the first woman lawyer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belva_Ann_Lockwood and Macon Boling Allen the first black lawyer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macon_Bolling_Allen overcome a hell of a lot more obstacles than your dealing with.

About 5.9 Billion in this world would trade places with you right now, and whether you succeed has a lot more to do with you than the legal profession or the law school you attended. If you want to blame society, the legal profession, your law school, etc go ahead, but plenty of recent grads are doing fine, but they put in the work and deal with plenty of rejection.


37
Where should I go next fall? / Re: FIU VS FSU LAW
« on: February 26, 2014, 01:05:36 AM »
I would say a preliminary e-mail just to throw it out there. Say something along the lines of you are really trying to decide between FSU and FIU. See if they bite on that schools really want to fill their seats and if they can get you in for an extra 5k or something then great.

If they don't bite on that then schedule a school visit, which you should do no matter what and bring it up. You might also want to do a site visit at FSU as well if they offer you some additional scholarship money you can say FSU just offered me 5k extra, which has started to change your mind.

There is no "right" way to do it  or any guarantee you will get additional money. All you can really do is use your best judgment and be persistent.

Good luck.

38
Interesting info.

Is the $2,500 fee per student or the total amount for the school?


39
Nice chart.

It is crazy how much legal education and any form of education has risen. The CBA schools can work for the right person as can ABA schools, but 60 to 160k to read some law books is crazy.

I am curious CBA schools have to pay a registration fee to the California Bar?



40
Law School Applications / Re: REJECTED, ETC. TODAY
« on: February 21, 2014, 12:49:29 AM »
Well written post I think Monterey College of Law http://www.montereylaw.edu/ can work for the right student, but as CA Law Dean says do not expect Cravath to come recruit you and offer you $160,000k out of law school. If law students have realistic expectations it can be a great career.

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