Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
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 31 
 on: September 16, 2014, 10:47:55 PM 
Started by almighty - Last post by almighty
This is going to be a long winded, rant like post of my jotting my ideas down as they come to mind, but I need some help. I know better than to bore you with a story about how I screwed up and seek refuge from law admissions. I won't go into great detail, but I didn't try very hard in school and partied too much. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology and am born to two immigrant parents (Palestinian). I was always interested in law and becoming a lawyer, but unfortunately I was more interested in partying into my undergrad. Since graduating in December, I've been thirsty for knowledge and experience and I believe I have matured a lot in the realm of academics and motivation.

I learned from people on other forums that law school is almost entirely a numbers game consisting of GPA and LSAT score. It seems almost everyone online doesn't believe in the strength of extracurriculars or experiences helping at all on an application compared to the former two requirements, but I am still curious. I don't really have any solid work experience or references due to me having to run my family business for personal reasons after I graduated. I am trying to find volunteer or career work and am looking into joining AmeriCorps NCCC and using that time to get some experience, references and study for the LSAT while I'm there when I can. Essentially, I'm looking for some gainful volunteer work that will strengthen me as an applicant (mainly because I can't find a job that would show the same kind of commitment and I'm not necessarily pressed for money right now).

Things I am considering:
Joining AmeriCorps NCCC
CASA (court appointed special advocate)
Volunteer at a district or municipal court (this is surprisingly hard to find)
Work in a law office

I understand and accept that admission is mainly a numbers game, but for someone like me who doesn't have the grades and absolutely no outstanding experience or references, I truly believe that extracurriculars will show my maturity and law admissions have no choice but to acknowledge those. When I return or stop doing volunteer work, I will be hopefully finding part time employment in the legal field and then taking a LSAT prep course, taking a few classes to show a current GPA capability.

I guess I just want some suggestions on ways I could strengthen my application, especially because literally all I have is a poor GPA and hopefully an LSAT score above 170. Am I doing this wrong? What should I do to ensure getting into a T-14 school? T-20? And are my ideas above a good idea?

Also, should I study on my own for the LSAT, take the LSAT, and then depending on my score, take a prep class then take it again? Again, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to have a shot at T-14. I want to take the most effective steps.

THANKS!


ALSO: I want to make PERFECTLY CLEAR that I know that absolutely rocking the LSAT is the single most deciding factor on if and where I go to school. But I am looking to see if there is anything else I can do, whether it is the volunteer options above, going back to school or anything else that will also help make a difference.

 32 
 on: September 15, 2014, 06:46:48 PM 
Started by teachflife - Last post by @_@
Humorous accounting of a day in the life: http://blog.credible.com/blog/2014/9/15/a-day-in-the-life-law-school-students

I take it that you are the author?

 33 
 on: September 15, 2014, 03:17:49 PM 
Started by teachflife - Last post by teachflife
Humorous accounting of a day in the life: http://blog.credible.com/blog/2014/9/15/a-day-in-the-life-law-school-students

 34 
 on: September 11, 2014, 05:09:44 PM 
Started by nreese - Last post by Citylaw
If you want to end up in Chicago go to law school in Chicago.

University of Chicago is obviously the best, but that is tough. Then Northwestern or Notre Dame will open more doors in Chicago than Stanford would, even though Stanford is number 3.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of location over the rankings. The rankings change drastically year by year and in the Bay Area you will find Stanford/Boalt grads they are connected in the Bay Area. You can find Stanford alum in Chicago, but University of Chicago or Northwestern grads will predominate in Chicago.

Realize wherever you attend law school will be three years of the prime of your life, and will likely where you end up residing long term. Also campuses are different Notre Dame is a college town and if you love Football, Frat, Parties, etc then Notre Dame is great, but if you hate small college towns don't move to South Bend.

Really consider location when you choose your law school I cannot emphasize it enough.

 35 
 on: September 11, 2014, 01:02:33 PM 
Started by nreese - Last post by Maintain FL 350
My much more realistic, but still reach, schools are what you recommended: Vandy, Texas, UCLA, and Georgetown, with my target schools ranging from George Washington, Minnesota, Notre Dame, USC, and Boston University to Boston College and Fordham.

Keep in mind that (with the exception of Georgetown) these are basically highly respected regional schools. Your employment opportunities are still going to be somewhat limited to the immediate region. 

Does that mean that a UCLA grad can't get hired in NYC? No, of course not. It just means that they're going to compete against many local grads, and won't really be able to rely on the reputation of the school to open doors. In California it's a different story. A degree from UCLA will open doors. For example, ask Minnesota how many Los Angeles firms interviewed on campus last year. Probably very few, if any.

Unless you attend a truly national school with a strong enough reputation to open doors automatically, I would really consider going to law school in a city/region in which you would be comfortable staying.   

 36 
 on: September 11, 2014, 01:18:27 AM 
Started by nreese - Last post by Miami88
FYI

http://www.law.miami.edu/academics/jd-music.php?op=0


 37 
 on: September 10, 2014, 11:33:43 PM 
Started by nreese - Last post by nreese
The truly elite schools (Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc) are probably out based on your GPA. For those schools a 171 is pretty average, but your GPA is low. For some of the still very respected but not exactly elite schools (UCLA, Texas, Vanderbilt, etc) a 171 may be enough to get in even with a lower GPA.

I definitely agree that the top 5 to maybe even 10 are out based on GPA so my reach is probably limited to Northwestern or Michigan  as the best I could possibly do (Michigan is #9 currently, but you know what I mean).  Even with that my odds are very low, but I might as well try.  For sake of argument I'll call them my "dream" schools because even though I moved to DC two months ago I would definitely leave for an acceptance letter.  I'm from the midwest and I imagine myself eventually in Chicago doing corporate law, but I could see myself staying on the east coast or possibly in LA or Miami (as a film studies minor and sports fan I have an interest in entertainment law). 

My much more realistic, but still reach, schools are what you recommended: Vandy, Texas, UCLA, and Georgetown, with my target schools ranging from George Washington, Minnesota, Notre Dame, USC, and Boston University to Boston College and Fordham.  I'm fortunate enough not to have to worry about paying for law school, however I'm sure my parents would appreciate not paying as much--regardless of their financial position.  A school like SMU, George Mason, Miami, Loyola Chicago and most definitely American may reward me for choosing them.  Besides, worse fates have become people that have graduated those schools  ;) However, I'm sure many of you would agree that those degrees don't travel quite as well.

I think a lot is going to depend upon the quality of the applicant pool this year, my personal statement, my overall resume, recommendations, and interviews.  I wouldn't be surprised to see accepts and rejects from each tier--even my "safety" schools.

Does anyone have any recommendations on how to broach the topic of my GPA? I've heard it recommended I submit an addendum with an explanation for the lower grades in my early years and the subsequent, drastic improvement, but avoid mentioning it in my personal statement.

 38 
 on: September 09, 2014, 07:59:13 PM 
Started by nreese - Last post by Citylaw
Awesome 171 is an amazing score.

As to your question with a 3.0/171 you are a major splitter and it is hard to predict if you would get into a T14 school. I encourage you to use lawschoolnumbers.com to see your chances.

With that said do not get to caught up in rankings remember these change year by year. Consider location, cost, personal feelings about the school etc.

From your orignal post it sounds like you want to be in the corporate or start-up world. To do that you really want to be in New York, Bay Area, L.A, and maybe Chicago.

Applying that logic to the rankings although University of Texas is a Top 15 school right now, if you wanted to be in L.A. attending U.S.C, which is ranked 23 this year would be far better to attend if you want to work in L.A. If you want to be in New York although Fordham is ranked 36th that will open more doors in New York than Texas, which is ranked 15.

Here is a list of the top 100 law schools and you can see how drastically school ranks change year by year. Remember U.S. News is a magazine offering an opinion nothing more nothing less, use common sense when choosing a law school and don't attend University of Virginia if you want to live in work in L.A.

Again, congrats on the great LSAT score.


 39 
 on: September 09, 2014, 01:15:33 PM 
Started by nreese - Last post by Maintain FL 350
Congratulations on a great LSAT score!

As a splitter it's hard to predict where you will get into. All you can do is apply and see what happens.

The truly elite schools (Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc) are probably out based on your GPA. For those schools a 171 is pretty average, but your GPA is low. For some of the still very respected but not exactly elite schools (UCLA, Texas, Vanderbilt, etc) a 171 may be enough to get in even with a lower GPA.

Here's one other option to consider: using your LSAT to obtain a full scholarship somewhere. I don't know where you are located or where you intend to practice, but this might be a really good option. For example, I live and work in southern California. If I had a choice between a $150,000 debt from UCLA or a free degree from Loyola, I would seriously consider the free degree. You have to consider your long term goals and whether or not a T14 degree is necessary to accomplish those goals.

Good Luck! 

 40 
 on: September 09, 2014, 11:30:20 AM 
Started by hgib - Last post by Citylaw
Roger Williams should certainly open doors for the career you want then.

If you said you wanted to make partner at Cravath by 30 then it would not, but that is why you should take anonymous internet posts with a grain of salt everybody wants much different things.

I personally have no desire to do family/juvenile law, but many people are passionate about it. If this was the path you wanted to pursue then going to Harvard wouldn't even make sense.

One of the most important lessons to learn in the legal profession is to not over complicate things, and selecting a law school is one of the first lessons in that.

It sounds like you want to be a lawyer in Rhode Island. 

There is no better way to accomplish that goal than attending law school in Rhode Island.

Don't start looking at magazine, internet posts, random statistics, etc if you like the school and want to be in Rhode Island it should work out.

Good luck as you pursue a legal career.

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