Law School Discussion

Law School Admission Chances

Law School Admission Chances
« on: March 26, 2004, 07:43:58 PM »
I am looking for some information on law school admissions to schools. Before I go further I would like to give the reader a better understanding to what I am eluding to. First off I am 38 year old male. I have two undergraduate degrees but my GPA was low when I graduated. After having spent 10 years as a police officer working in all areas of law enforcment including supervision, I decided to teach high school because I got burned out from law enforcement. I have enrolled into graduate school and am carrying over a 3.5 in my Masters of Education Program. The program I am in is considered to be in the top 25% so I have been told in the midwest. I am trying to raise my GPA even higher before the spring of 2005 when I am scheduled to graduate. What I would like to know is when a law school recieves my application for admission would they consider my GPA from graduate school and the fact I have a masters compared to an undergraduate degree and gpa? I am scheduled to take the LSAT in June coming up and I am wondering if I have false hope? I am busting my tail to try to achieve a 3.8 plus gpa in my masters before graduation. I am hoping it doesn't turn into an all for not situation.


Re: Law School Admission Chances
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2004, 08:08:25 PM »
Don't quote me, but as far as i heard, law schools focus almost exclusively on ur undergraduate career, and evaluate ur grad career somewhat as an extracuricular activity. This is because the "big" points that law shcools look for ( LSAT, UGPA) are major factors in the law rankings, which they are so obsessed about.

Re: Law School Admission Chances
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2004, 12:47:34 PM »
So that I get a better feel for things, you can graduate from a well respected graduate school with either your Masters or PhD and still be denied admission based on your undergraduate grade point average? I would think that would be counterproductive to the whole educational learning environment?

Re: Law School Admission Chances
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2004, 04:29:20 PM »
I wanted to add a follow up to my prior posting and shed light on some of my initial investigation surrounding the issues I have asked input on. Let me qualify my comments by stating my current experiences and my sample is limited to three interviews from deans of prospective law schools in addition to those I have conducted with second year law students. My finding are consistant with what I suspected.

I would like to tackle the issue of what is the acceptible standard they would use to accept a student and how do you handle an applicate that has a graduate degree in another core content area? My responses were simular and consistant in the sense that each deans interview stated law school was much more difficult than a graduate program. When I asked if they care to share how they could qualify that assumption and what their specific educational expertise do they have to justify there comments? I was told that in the case of these three deans they had not obtain and Masters or a Phd in any other field of study and in this case have not attended a graduate school per sa. So, they were not in a position to make the assessment they have. I then pushed them and asked them specifically what is the cut off point of where you accept a potential applicate or not? Again there was no change in the answers I recieved since they could not define subjectively what index or cut off would a student be in or out. They would continue to discuss undergraduate g.p.a., and LSAT score. When I asked each dean what is the relevance of the LSAT since it has no direct affact of how well a student will do in law school and whether or not a student is qualified to complete a legal education. Again each of these three deans did a very good job avoiding specifics. This lead me to believe that when someone has something to hind or can no speak in specifics then there is no real requirement as to who does or who doesn't get accepted into a law school. This also leads me to believe that quite possibly discrimination takes place. This in turn, makes me wonder how law schools can get away with this conduct and yet receive federal funding? I explain to each of these deans in graduate school you have to have demonstrated a level of achievement on GRE testing, recommendations, and grade point averages to be offered admission to a program. In some cases you can be admitted on probation into a program, with seat availability, and given an opportunity to compete in a program. You must however achieve a 3.0 or better GPA to stay in a program and to graduate as compared to a 2.0 in law school. This also tells me that the level of expectation is much higher and the level of difficulty is greater in graduate school than law school. So I am left with the impression it is politics who is accepted and who is not.

My interview with the second year law students left me with the impression that the expections are less in law school than compare to medical school or a quality Masters Program. I base my assessment on four contributing factors:

1) Most law students typically enter law school directly from undergraduate school. So they do not have any life experiences and lack the ability is deal with practical decision making. Sure these students can tell you what is in a book but lack the ability to take the book and put it to practice. A classic example was when I shared with each student my prior experience as a police officer, lead investigater in major crimes, and management experience with a police department. Clearly such subjects as criminal, constitutional law, and evidence I am light years ahead of these students. In fact I would look forward to press a professor that taught these subjects because I can tell you I would have no problem putting theory and application into practice.

2) The students I interviewed have taken courses where the class has to compete on a curve. This clearly tells me that some students are not fully equipped with the ability to function in the course content that meets a level need for achievement as compared to graduate school. In graduate school any testing or paper evaluation less than 86% is considered a failure. No acceptions to the rule.

3) Law students are not required to carry a 3.0 in there programs typically. This clearly shows me that only requiring an average level of achievement is the institutional norm not the exception. As I have stated before, any level of educational work attempted must meet the level of an 86% or better otherwise it is a failure.

4) Law students are not required to write and defend a thesis of a specific area of research as a part of graduation. They maybe required to write an upper level evaluation within a course but it typically is not published like a thesis or a disortation would be. So, there skills in writing and research does not meet the  measure of standards expected of a graduate degree candidate.

In conclusion of my survey I think that there many students that end up reject by a variety of programs because of politics and in some cases political correctness. I feel I can make a compelling case that law school is a "good ole boy network." This again convinces me that if you want into a particular law program and are rejected file suit against the program based on discrimination. I have learned in the past when dealing with civil or criminal attorneys they tend to reinvent the wheel. So, use the same environment they operate in and use it against them. I know I will make application to five schools of my choice and if I am not accepted I plan on taking my own advice and bring action. Maybe there will be less politics and more achievement expected in the future?

Re: Law School Admission Chances
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2004, 07:38:03 PM »
In response to you questions about GPA - I believe *some* schools do take into account your graduate GPA, especially if you have been out of college a while.  This is probably not all schools but at least some.  I say this because I was accepted to two law schools (CU and DU).  My UGPA was so-so, but I held a very high graduate GPA.  For CU, especially, my uGPA and LSAT were okay, but I think the graduate degree helped.

Now to present some of my disagreements with your theories (and these are just my thoughts :-):

"Most law students typically enter law school directly from undergraduate school."

I do not believe this is true at all.  From most of my readings, the typical law school entering student is about 26-27.  If you figure someone goes straight from high school to college, completes the degree in four years, they graduate college at 22ish.  This leaves 4 years in between starting law school and graduating.  While this is not true of every student, it seems to be from the law students I have met they did not go straight into law school.  Personally, I have 4 years of work experience in between college and starting law school next fall making me the "typical" law student from what I have seen.
"The students I interviewed have taken courses where the class has to compete on a curve."

I am not sure where you went to graduate school, however where I went, some classes had curves, some didn't.  Some classes were hard, some were easy.  I believe this is the case in law school too.  It all depends on your school, your teacher, the subject matter, etc.

"Law students are not required to carry a 3.0 in there programs typically."

I think this is misleading.  From what I understand, it doesn't matter what your GPA is.  It is all about class rank.  Considering the "average" law student, especially at tier 1 schools, seems to be "above-average" (as in they had to both get a good GPA throughout school and a good LSAT), you are competing against highly qualified and highly motivated students.  To be in the top of the class, you aren't going to be skating by on your good looks.  Also, if you are going on scholarships, there are typically requirements for keeping them.  If you are getting $20,000 a year in scholarships, you might not have to have a 3.0 to stay in the school, but for that much money you are definately going to try to keep a 3.0.

"Law students are not required to write and defend a thesis of a specific area of research as a part of graduation."

While you may not have to defend a thesis, you do have to write and research.  Law review, working on journals, and working for firms during your second and third year are what get you a job after school.  If all you do is take the minimum, unless your dad happens to be the president, you probably aren't going anywhere.

"In conclusion of my survey I think that there many students that end up reject by a variety of programs because of politics and in some cases political correctness."

This may be true in some schools.  This all depends on the school I think though.  Sometimes, though, just the opposite is true.  If schools need a certain minority group, sex, or age, they might accept more blacks, women, older adults, etc.  For state schools, someone might be rejected because they have a certain quota of in-state residents they have to take.

"I feel I can make a compelling case that law school is a "good ole boy network.""

I agree with this to a certain extent.  I think, again, it depends on the school.

I am curious what schools you talked to?

Re: Law School Admission Chances
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2004, 08:21:20 PM »
 :o I am also curious whom you spoke with... And as the last poster said, most students do not go to law school right out of college-- the average age of a law student is 26.

As for graduate programs v law school, it does depend. i mean, if you are getting your Ph.D. in russian linguistics or molecular biology or cold fusion... then yeah-- that is probably harder than law school. And i certainly do not mean offense to you or any other grad student of a psych/education/normal liberal arts track... but i live in boston-- there are lots of law students, and lots of grad students (and lots of undergrads)... and i know a lot of them and many professors of a number of topics as well, i certainly do not expect people to be surprized that i would say yes, law school is more difficult than most liberal arts based graduate programs. if you want to go to law school, then i think you need to speak with more people, because it seems that your perceptions about the work load, the content, the professors, the environment, the grading, and a number of other issues related to law school are a little off kilter...

also, you seem very negative about professors and why they are doing what they do-- maybe this is a reflection of your personal experience with teaching, but i would never think that any of my professors do what they do because "they couldn't hack it out in the legal world" as you implied. i think my professors love the law--- they are academics, they like to inquire and investigate rather than apply, it is a preference, not a testament to their "failure" as you may have it. some people go to law school because they want to teach law and have no interest in BIGLAW or whathave you. i hope that if you do attend law school that you are able to change this view you have, because at this point it seems like you see law school as a means to an end. some of us actually like law school, we actually love the law and all that comes with it... for you to diminish those motivations is bordering on insulting...

i hope this didn't sound like a flame (i really am not attacking you) I just am concerned with the information you have been given and the perspective that has left you with...

best wishes

Re: Law School Admission Chances
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2004, 08:22:58 PM »
oh, and could you flush out your discrimination argument-- i don't think i am seeing exactly what you mean, you said in another post something about sueing if you don't get in (based on discrimination) and i am interested in knowing what the premise would be for such a suit.

thank you