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General Board / Re: Transferring T4 to T1 w/ top %3
« on: February 18, 2015, 12:08:41 PM »
First and foremost congrats on the great semester!

Before I say anything substantive realize that anyone posting on this board or others  my post included is coming from anonymous internet posters and should be taken with a major grain of salt. For all you know I am the Dean of Georgetown Law or a crackhead in a public library on anonymous internet forums either individual can post the same as the next.

With that intro Doctolaw's post is typically true to transfer up at all you need to be in the top 10-20% and to transfer to a T14 in the top 5% or higher.  Obviously 80-90% of first year classes do not finish in the top 10-20% and 95% don't finish in the top 5%. However, ranking in the top 3% after your first semester there is a chance of transferring assuming you keep your grades up, but the bigger question becomes do you want to transfer?

There are pros and cons to transferring. I went to a low-mid-level school the rankings have changed so drastically since I graduated I don't even know what it is anymore. Anyways,  I finished in the top 10% after 1L and could have transferred, but choose not to. Many of classmates transferred and many stayed some loved the transfer others hated it.  Below are some factors to consider when choosing to transfer or not and it is up to you analyze them and make the decision.

I think the following factors in this order are what any law student should consider when choosing a law school.
(1) Location; (2) Cost; (3) Personal Feelings about school and your network at current school; (4) Understanding the reality of legal education; (5) Last and least U.S. News ranking.  Here is a pretty good article explaining it, but it is more geared towards 0L's not transfers.

Things to consider as a transfer:

Ask for scholarship money:
You mention costs and one thing to definitely do with your class rank is negotiate scholarship money. Many of my classmates that stayed and myself said we would transfer if they didn't give us scholarship money and our school did. If you don't ask they won't give it to you, but if you are in the top 3% you are an excellent performer and they don't want to you leave. You should apply to the other schools and tell Widener you are thinking about transferring, but you can stay if they offer you scholarship money. If they don't budge then f em you can transfer to a new school.

Your current network at school:
One thing a lot of my classmates that transferred struggled with was adjusting to the new school. During 1L clicks are formed and you typically have your group and it makes law school enjoyable. If you don't have that then not really something to consider, but I know I made several really good friends in law school that I would have lost had I transferred after knowing them for just one year.

Also, just adjusting to a new school as the new person can be tough if you are a bit shy and reserved. If you are a super outgoing person then that is less of a factor, but that is a question only you can answer.

Being the Big fish in a small pond or normal fish in a giant pond?
If your in the top 3% there is a chance you could graduate as the number 1 student in your class, which is impressive at any ABA school. Odds are the students above you will transfer up making you the top 1%, which is more impressive than being in the middle of the pack at Temple.  You can basically be the star at a small school or be another guy at a better school, but schools like Rutgers, Drexel, Villanova aren't going to impress employers they are fine, but nothing special. I interview people and if I saw 1 at Widener or middle of the class at Villanova I personally would choose to speak with 1 at Widener. Obviously, other people might think differently, but that is the world some people will love Widener others hate it. Some will love Georgetown others will hate it so on and so on.

One other thing to realize is the importance of confidence particularly in preparation for the bar exam. If you are just killing it at Widener and doing a great job you are going to feel good and confident. If you transfer to Villanova and struggle 2L, which can happen you might lose confidence and think you should have stayed at Widener. Or you might be super motivated to be the best at Villanova or wherever you transfer, again I don't know you or how you will react and odds are you don't either.

One final thing to consider is that before you choose to transfer visit every school you are considering. I know as a 0L I visited a number of schools and some I loved others I hated. I can't explain, but they just me a feeling, but others might love it. Much like a City I live in San Francisco and I love it, but plenty of people hate it. I personally do not like Sacramento, but there are plenty of people that love it there. The same is true of law schools and you need to visit each and determine if it is a good fit for YOU.

Whether to transfer or not is a highly personal decision. Before even considering that you should focus on this next semester and keep your grades up. I knew several people that did well first semester and thought they had it all down only to get back second semester grades, so you are still a 1L with a lot to learn. Stay focused on the school you are at for the time being.

If you do great after 1L and have the option to transfer negotiate for scholarship money. I know several of my friends got $25,000 per year scholarships for not transferring. I do not know if Widener will do that or not, but there is absolutely no harm in asking.

Then consider how you feel about Widener do you like the professors, have friends, so on and so on is it worth it to transfer to some mid level school like Villanova? Maybe.

One final point I want to reiterate is the U.S. News rankings please do not let it be to large of a factor in your decision. Schools like Penn & Georgetown can open some doors, but Villanova or Temple etc change drastically year by year. See attached chart

Realities of U.S. News Rankings and their irrelevance
In 2009 Villanova was ranked 61st today it is in a 7 way tie for 93rd. In five years it could easily be back at 61. In 2009 Template was 65th in 2011 it got up to a three way tie for 58th now it is in a 3 way tie for 61st. The rankings aren't actually based on anything it is just a for profit magazine offering an opinion. Nothing wrong with them doing it, but they rank more than law schools. Alberqueue, New Mexico is the #1 place to live according to U.S. News . I do not see New Mexico on your places to transfer to, because it probably seems crazy to move to a new city based on what a magazine says. However, for some reason and I was no different when I was in the law school students make life altering decisions regarding their careers based on a magazine and it is not a good idea.

Georgetown and Penn are well known schools that even if U.S. News ranked them dead last people would still know and U.S. News would lose credibility by doing that. However, Villanova, Widener, Drexel they could be top 50 or 180 nobody would think much of it they are all fine schools that will teach you the law.

Good luck in your decision and congrats on your strong first semester.

Where should I go next fall? / Re: SLU vs Mizzou
« on: February 17, 2015, 12:03:47 AM »
Well first off realize that anything on this board or others comes from anonymous internet posters and it should be taken with a grain of salt, my post included.

With that intro congrats on your acceptances! As to the question of, which school to choose there is no "right" answer, but I always tell 0L's to consider the following factors in this order. (1) Location; (2) Cost; (3) Personal Feelings about the school; (4) Understanding the reality of legal education; and (5) Last and least U.S. News rankings.  I will analyze each factor to your situation below.

It sounds like your not to off base on location. I see a lot of people ask whether they should attend Iowa or UCLA, which are drastically different SLU v. Mizzou makes sense. However, if your family lives in Saint Louis it will probably cut on costs particularly if you can live at home, but living with parents can also be a pain.  Also consider the neighborhoods of both. I have never been to Missouri, but my understanding is that Mizzou is more of a college town, while St. Louis is more of a city. Nothing wrong with either one, but if you prefer college football small town living etc than Mizzou might be a better experience for three years.  If your more of an urbanite St. Louis might be more enjoyable. So really consider the surrounding neighborhoods.

Congrats on the full rides, but be very careful with the CONDITIONS! most law schools will require you to keep a 3.0 or do something to maintain your scholarship. Almost every incoming law student particularly one with a scholarship offer assumes getting a 3.0 will be easy or finishing in the top 35% is a given. However, everyone in law school is smart, hard-working, motivated, and 100% truly think they will be in the top 10% of the class, but 90% will be disappointed. The 3.0 requirement is a common one and it sounds easy, but law school has a strict curve and typically only 35% of  students can get a 3.0 and in those situations there is a 65% chance you will not maintain the scholarship. This NY times article explains the situation far better than I can.

I strongly encourage you to negotiate the best conditions possible so there are no surprises after 1L.

3) Personal Feelings about school:
It sounds like you visited both schools, but I encourage you to go back talk to professors, admins, students, walk around the campus etc. It is a 3 year $100,000 decision so get as much info as you can.

4) Reality of Legal Education:
At any ABA law school you will learn the same thing. Your first year will consist of Torts, Property, Contracts, Civil Procedure, and Legal Writing/Research. In these courses you will read Supreme Court Cases and the Supreme Court does not write seperate opinions for different law schools. In Torts you will read Palsgraf to learn about proximate cause, Pennoyver v. Neff in Civ pro to learn about notice, and Hadley  v. Baxendale in contracts to learn about contract remedies.

At the end of three years you will then sign up for BarBri or Kaplan in a room with students from all law schools. After three months of intense studying you will be in a room with 1,000's of other bar takers and if you pass your a lawyer if not you restart. If you pass the bar and become a lawyer what you do with your license has a lot more to do with you than the school you attended.

5) U.S. News
This is a for profit unregulated magazine offering an opinion, but if all else fails you can use it for  a tiebreaker, but you shouldn't use it as a basis for a life altering decision.

If I was you I would find out what school offers the best scholarship conditions. Also, if you can live at home during law school you can save $10,000-$30,000 on rent over three years, which could be awesome. No matter what you decide you will always wonder what if you choose the other one, but that is normal. Good luck in your pursuit of a legal education.

Personal Statement / Re: Please critique my ps
« on: February 10, 2015, 11:48:09 AM »
I think you have a very compelling story, but it could be tightened up a little more. You have quite a few extra words that take away from the story.

One example is

Your words
I did not know then that my experience would follow me throughout my journey in life, and help me make decisions.

Less words to say the same thing
I did not realize my experience would influence my life journey and impact my decisions.

A skill you learn in law school is using less words and I think if you try to tighten your statement up it will improve drastically although it is quite good now.

With that said it is important to realize 95% of law school admission decisions are based on LSAT/GPA. Your personal statement is really more of a tie breaker than anything else. It is worth spending time on, but if you have a 135 LSAT and 2.1 GPA you could write a personal statement that is published in books about writing personal statements you are still unlikely to be admitted to any law school.

I think your story is very interesting and wish you the best in your pursuit of a legal education. When it comes to choosing a law school this is an excellent article to read to help you select one.

This board also has a lot of very helpful posters and I encourage you to continue using it during the law school process. Again, good luck on your pursuit of a J.D. and I really do think you have a good personal statement, but it could be great with some tightening up.

Law School Applications / Re: Very Confused, Interesting Scenerio
« on: February 09, 2015, 11:58:20 AM »
As Maintain says don't assume you will get a 176. If you got one already great, but everybody thinks they will get a 170+ however, 95% of LSAT takers don't.

If you haven't taken the LSAT yet then that is the next step until you have a score it is all speculation and means nothing. Once you have a score you will know what your options are.

As to the forcible hospitalization if undergrad is causing this much stress you may want to reconsider law school. For all intents and purposes undergrad is a joke compared to law school and you can't just withdraw in law school. The ABA requires that you graduate in 5 five years and you just pop in-pop out etc. In addition to that if you think undergrad or even law school is stressful wait until the bar.

I think forcible hospitalizations are a red flag to you personally as to whether you want to pursue this or not. If you have a 176 LSAT and great GPA you can get into a good law school, but will you be able to handle law school is the question you will need to answer for yourself.

I would also not get to concerned with T14 schools. These are often more stressful and it sounds like you are having trouble in your current situation. I would imagine you would want to stay close to the L.A. so might want to consider a school like Chapman or LMU  and obtain substantial scholarship money and get a license to practice law in a less stressful environment.

So at the end of the day your GPA will not be impacted be these transfer, but you need a real LSAT score and more importantly you need to figure out your mental health, before embarking on the rigorous path of law school. I wish you the best.

As an FYI here is a good article about how to choose a law school.

Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: Seeking for Financial Aid for My LLM
« on: February 06, 2015, 03:57:24 PM »
You should reach out to the schools you are interested in and see what if any scholarship packages they offer. Most LLM programs will offer substantial discounts if you ask as schools have very requirements to follow when granting them. 

I don't think anyone recommends pursuing an education at that school, but it doesn't get much cheaper than free.

Doesn't get much cheaper than free.

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Mods, please help?!
« on: January 31, 2015, 11:38:07 PM »
Yea it is crazy.

The site is awesome, but every once in awhile this happens. Hopefully, the invasion is stopped!

I wouldn't choose online law school because you are low on cash.

Your legal education is a life-long investment and if you are going to pursue spending money for an ABA accredited law school or at least California approved law school is worth it. If there is some physical or personal reason why online law school is necessary and you want to be a lawyer then online law school works, but savings a few thousand now is probably not worth it and you can likely get scholarships at a number of ABA schools. Just my two cents as an anonymous internet poster.

Law School Applications / Re: 2.39 GPA 151 LSAT Should I even try?
« on: January 27, 2015, 04:47:01 PM »
Excellent advice and "lower ranked" schools can open many doors, but many law students go to them with highly unrealistic expectations, which lead to disappointment.

If you attend Touro, Roger Williams, UMass-Dartmouth etc you are not going to be flooded with Biglaw job offers and if you attend Roger Williams your first job will probably be in a small firm or government agency in Rhode Island. That would be a fine job, but with a 2.39 GPA and 151 LSAT don't expect the legal world to be your oyster at least not right out of law school.

With your numbers you can be a lawyer and if that is what you want to do go for it, but it is very important to have realistic expectations.

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