Law School Discussion

Northwestern 1L, Taking Questions

Re: Northwestern 1L, Taking Questions
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2008, 10:03:00 PM »

Re: Northwestern 1L, Taking Questions
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2008, 10:37:18 PM »
Well, if they accept the premise that the LSAT measures anything, my LSAT is not typical of someone who does poorly at a TTT state school.  I feel like my burden is more to convince them that I'm not crazy, that I'm not a risk for hurting their statistics in some way even as my LSAT helps them.

There's probably a huge pile of people with GPA<25th and LSAT>75th who want to go to NU.  My guess is that they rank these candidates in order of desirability and then pluck them off the waitlist as need arises.  With all the money being thrown around at high LSATs this year from GW, WUSTL and the like, I can hope high LSATs will be scarce.  I can also hope that NU is trying to bump up their 75th a point or something, forcing them to take people like me.  (Although isn't it already 170 or so?  Do you think they can really have a 75th of 171-172?)

My LSAT is significantly above their 75th, whatever they want it to be this year.  Maybe that will count for something, but maybe it won't.  They would probably prefer a 3.0/172 over me, and because of this year's generous LSAT scales, there are plenty of those to go around.

Don't get me wrong, I think you probably stand a chance.  I just think, realistically, there are probably lots of other candidates who either have more work experience or a slightly higher GPA.  I'm pretty sure the LSAT 75th is 172 for my class.  When you're interviewing, they're not looking at the numbers.  Someone with a 3.3/173 will have the same effect on their medians and ranges as someone with a 2.2/180, so the numbers really aren't going to factor beyond causing the school to think about how successful you'll be as a law student. 

As for there being a "huge pile" of splitters - I really doubt it.  I think splitters are overrepresented on boards like this one because of the lack of predictability for our cycles.  In reality, there aren't very many 170+ scores, and I'm betting an awful lot of those go to people with decent GPA's.  This is good and bad.  On the one hand, there are probably better candidates (by the numbers), but on the other, they're probably choosing between more schools (or nice scholarships from lower ranked schools).  A school who wants to raise it's LSAT can look to us because, well, we don't have the options of someone with a higher GPA. 

While I agree that your LSAT score is probably not representative of how smart you are or how well you're able to do in law school, it's probably also not representative of how well you could have done in undergrad either.  This means that something besides your innate ability held you back from performing better in undergrad.  Nothing about your LSAT score says to the school, "I am willing to work damn hard for the next three years."  Your interview is your chance to express this to the school.  Is there a reason you did poorly in undergrad?  Is there something concrete you can point to do demonstrate that you'll do better?  These are the kinds of things the school will want to see.  Even though the numbers from the incoming class are really important for the school's ranking, the reputation scores count for a huge amount as well - if a law school admits and graduates students who aren't willing to do the work necessary to succeed in law school or as an attorney, these will suffer (so will alumni donations as the alumni do poorly). 

I don't think you're a bad candidate (I don't know anything about you other than your numbers), but you'll need to work to demonstrate that you're a good one.

By the way, I didn't have any good reason for my poor performance in UG.  I was honest, copped to my prior shortcomings, and pointed to my work to demonstrate that I can handle a lot of responsibility and succeed.

Re: Northwestern 1L, Taking Questions
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2008, 07:55:14 AM »
Thanks.  That's basically what I thought.

Re: Northwestern 1L, Taking Questions
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2008, 09:50:14 AM »
I'm confused... did a couple of posts get deleted for some reason?


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Re: Northwestern 1L, Taking Questions
« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2008, 12:25:52 PM »
You mention that NU has a strog focus on law/sociology. How so as this interests me because I am a soc major and I love my field and love studying it

Re: Northwestern 1L, Taking Questions
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2008, 12:42:50 PM »
You mention that NU has a strog focus on law/sociology. How so as this interests me because I am a soc major and I love my field and love studying it

I think my term of law/sociology might have been misleading. Law and social science is probably more accurate (it includes sociology, bot other fields as well).  There's a lot of the normal law & econ here, but NU has also been hiring a lot of prof's that focus on things beyond just economics in their analysis.  My crim law prof last semester is a psychologist in addition to a JD, and does a lot of research on psychological/sociological reasons behind criminal behavior.  It's really interesting stuff, and not a huge focus elsewhere.

From Brian Leiter (who doesn't particularly like NU Law in general):
[T]he school has re-emerged with a quite distinctive intellectual identity:   it may well be the legal academic center in the United States for social scientific study of law (though Berkeley, Cornell, and Michigan, among others, also have strong presences in these areas).  "Social scientific" here means psychology, sociology, and political science.  Northwestern's investment in these areas of research has, in recent years, exceeded that of any other law school, so much so that the school's future prospects are probably identical with the future prospects of these research programs.  Right now, interest in the legal academy in this kind of work is high, though it is striking that none of "the top five" law schools (Yale, Harvard, Chicago, Stanford, Columbia, NYU) have yet made extensive investments in these areas.  Law and economics remains, as it were, the coin of prestige in the realm (though a growing number of trained economist/lawyers are certainly doing empirical work as well).

There's more on it here:

Re: Northwestern 1L, Taking Questions
« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2008, 11:00:26 AM »
Spring break bump.


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Re: Northwestern 1L, Taking Questions
« Reply #27 on: March 26, 2008, 07:53:46 PM »
How about a perspective on international law? The course offerings look really slim to me....

Re: Northwestern 1L, Taking Questions
« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2008, 01:40:06 PM »
To be honest, I don't really know much about the international law curriculum; it's not something I'm particularly interested in, career-wise, so I haven't done a lot of research.  I know NU does offer an international law concentration, and 2L's and 3L's are encouraged to participate in an International Team Project (basically a student designed course focusing on a particular country's legal system, culminating in a 2 week trip to that country over spring break during which you get face-time with some of the country's legal bigwigs).

Sorry I can't be more helpful :/

Re: Northwestern 1L, Taking Questions
« Reply #29 on: March 27, 2008, 03:58:30 PM »

I was surprised by a one year deferall 135k scholarship from NU. I suppose they want me to get a year of professional work experience.  Essentially, I am deciding between NYU and NU barring HLS(doubtful) or CLS acceptances.  Looking into big law not academia not clerkship, and as such, it seems like NU is such a more practical choice. 

You have kind of addressed some of my concerns.  The students are not much older I see.  Furthermore, I presume you go out and enjoy yourselves on the weekends as much as the other law students do.  Lastly, I know your a 1L, but what are the employment prospects for 1L and 2L summers and eventual Big Law employment? 

Also, I think I'm going to the ASW in early April.  Do you recommend going up on a non-ASW day? What hotels do you recommend in terms of price and conveinance?

Congrats on the scholarship!

Prospects are decent for 1L's (usually around 1/3 of the class gets SA's) and really good for 2L's. Pretty much everyone gets a firm gig 2L summer, though because there's no ranking or any other such information disclosed, it's hard to say what cutoff, if any, there may be.  The vast majority of the students at the school end up in large law firms (See, making market.

I think the ASW is a great day to come, but the admissions office will make sure you get the opportunity to sit in on a class, etc. if you come any other day (though there are only 3 weeks of classes left, and people might start to seem a little off as finals loom...).  If it's possible to come for the admit day, though, that will probably be best (you'll have more interaction with students/faculty/administration then than you would if you just came on some random day).

I have no idea what hotels would be best; last year my wife and I stayed in a Best Western that's since changed names and gone up in price :/.  There are a ton of options near the school, but all are very expensive (the nearby hotels cater much more to the Michigan Ave. set than prospective law students).  You might still have time to get a free stay with a current student if you email admissions.