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Low LSAT Very High GPA What Can I do?

nylawstudent

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Low LSAT Very High GPA What Can I do?
« on: September 24, 2003, 07:06:39 AM »
I currently took the LSAT twice in the last year and I got a 140 and a 142 on both tests.  I have a 3.6 GPA and I took the princeton review course.  I am just not great at these tests.  Even the SAT killed me...I scored an 1160 on the sat and I had a 98 average.  I am currently doing my masters and I have a 3.5 GPA in that...what are my options?  I applied to some NY law schools and got rejected but I never mentioned that I was doing my masters.  I want to apply to early decision in some schools in NY?  Am I doomed, I really dont want to take the test a third time, I believe that will hurt my chances?  Is that my only chance or is there hope for me on becoming a lawyer?  I am currently doing my masters now and I plan on applying early decision for fall 2004?  Any help and I feel like I am the only one with a high GPA and low scores :(  I am going for my masters in applied social research

PS - I already posted in another forum to get some differing opinions

Jennifer

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Re: Low LSAT Very High GPA What Can I do?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2003, 06:44:49 AM »
First off, I should probably mention that ALL of your LSAT scores are given to your prospective college(s), not just the most recent. I wouldn't suggest taking it a third time, it lends a sense that you're not capable of doing well the first time (though personally, I wouldn't have taken it a second time unless I knew I could score phenomenally better). Also, the LSAT is an aptitude test. It's not something for which you can study. Princeton Review, Kaplan, et al. can only show you the patterns in the questions. If you don't have what it takes, you don't have what it takes. Period.
You might want to reconsider whether you have the skills and the capacity to work within the legal field (which the LSAT measures). I don't mean to offend anyone or dash any dreams, but please look at this with a touch of pragmatism. There are enough deficient, ill-prepared lawyers (hour-mongers, ambulance-chasers, whatever you'd like to call them) in the world today.  Don't to add to their numbers.
Moving onto to the doom-and-gloom "Is that my only chance or is there hope for me on becoming a lawyer," New York is what many would consider to be Mecca for legal study/work. However, you have to remember, there are massive numbers of other schools and other firms through-out the United States. It is all just a matter of where you want to study and what type of law you would like to practice. Though, it does need to be clear that the larger, more prestigious firms aren't going to look at the statistics of the school to which you went; they are going to look for an Ivy name.
Now I know Iím going to sound like a snot-nosed brat, and I apologize for such, but the cumulative GPAs of 3.5 and 3.6 arenít that good. Iím certainly not saying that it is bad, but it is barely comparable to the median GPA of 3.89 of those whom Harvard accepted (I will use Harvard as an example most frequently because a) itís an Ivy League School, b) their students are sought after by some of the largest firms, and c) they are a stable example of which everyone knows).
As a final note, I know this will confirm my Ďsnot-nosed bratí status. If your post is an example of how well you write, Iím not terribly surprised that you werenít accepted. The ability to write and speak clearly, concisely, and competently (the all-important 3 Cs) is absolutely CRUCIAL to your success in not only law school but in the workforce as well.

Don't like what I had to say? Email me:coleman725@hotmail.com

gpv00

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Re: Low LSAT Very High GPA What Can I do?
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2003, 09:41:18 AM »
A score in the low 140's is not good and I would not suggest taking it again. If you want to be an attorney just look into schools located in the region you would like to practice and study hard. Your gpa is good and there is no need for someone to compare it to Harvard medians. There are many great schools outside the Ivy League. Many big firms recruit outside the Ivy League. All you can do is apply and hope for the best. I think the myth Jennifer is buying into is that IVY=guaranteed success and Big Law. False. The problem with the "saturated market for lawyers" is not because of people with low LSAT's. It is b/c too many people are jumping onto the "law school boat" during this slow job market and half of them are only doing it to prolong the inevitable: entering the real world.

Rmp1030

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Re: Low LSAT Very High GPA What Can I do?
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2003, 01:14:27 PM »
Hello,

Don't worry about your GPA or  LSAT score. I am in the same situation and have really similar stats (3.65 gpa and expect my lsat to be in 140's). I am currently applying to law school, and while I know my LSAT score will make the process challenging, I am certain I will prevail. I would suggest including an addendum noting your history of low standardized test scores despite continuous academic achievement.

Also, your gpa is very good (despite what others have said)! It will definitely be an asset as it is above many school's criteria!

So, I suggest you write a killer personal statement highlighting your successes, get great letters of recommendation, and apply! While you may not get into an "Ivy League," dedication and determination is what will make you an excellent lawyer.

Ivy_Hopeful

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Re: Low LSAT Very High GPA What Can I do?
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2003, 07:36:30 AM »
I have looked over the several posts to the nylawstudents predicament. Let me lay a few things out for you NY,
first of all your UGPA and GGPA are commendable you should be proud of yourself. Secondly, although the LSAT is rather low (for most ABA approved law schools) that doesn't have to affect your decision to become a great attourney. Don't listen to Jennifer, LSAT does NOT measure aptitude and does not measure your intelligence (an IQ test doesn't en due this believe it or not but that's another topic). I have shared your situation in the past to the extreme. My first LSAT practice was (under test conditions and proctored) a diminished capacity of 124... Sad huh, my SAT was a 900. (was out of school for over two years with no academic prowess mind you when I scored this atrocity).  However there are extenuating circumstances that can account for these low (very low) scores of mine. If Jennifer just glanced at these scores without context she would assume me to be a total moron. Not the case fortunately for myself. I scored off the charts in my IQ test (fyi) retook the pracice test (through Kaplan mind, you) the proof is in the cards. You can most definitely study for this test (learn more than patters in Kaplan by the way you learn something called STRATEGY Jen). My last practice LSAT was in the 160's. So it is possible. But if you have already taken the LSAT (which you have) disregard the study talk and take everybody elses advice. A third write of this exam will look very bad unless you are confident to score at least 10-15 points better than the previous ones.
       
Just get very good letters of rec, perfect personal statement highlighting your achievements. And an addendum that explains you low standardized scores (SAT, LSAT etc...) remember two more things NY, once you get in the door to law school LSAT's aren't even the topic ever again. And last but not least your performance in law school (by the way the first year CAN be evident from LSAT scores but there ARE EXCEPTIONSPTIONS!) is key to your success, not performance on LSAT. Your GPA is a marathon that you triumphed the LSAT is a sprint (which would you be more concerned about? Keeping 1st in marathon for 10 miles or Inching your way to 1st in a tenth of that amount?). Hope this helps congrats on the scores (U and GGPA's). I wish you the best and will look for you in the great vat of successful lawyers to come!

there is hope

Re: Low LSAT Very High GPA What Can I do?
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2003, 11:46:33 AM »
There is hope. My brother went to Cooley law school in Lansing Michigan. He only scored a 140 on the LSAT but was hired by one of the big 5 accounting firms and is now a senior international tax expert making over $125,000 a year. Going to a tier three or four law school means you have to work that much harder.

nylawstudent

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Re: Low LSAT Very High GPA What Can I do?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2003, 08:27:52 PM »
thanks guys, I am actually working for a law firm now and they actually want me to work for them after I finish law school.  I expect to get good recommendations and write a killer personal statement.  On top of that, I will be applying early.  I think jennifer is being realistic, but jennifer you have to understand that I will be a lawyer regardless of what obstacles come to me.  Going to an ivy league school will allow me better opportunity, but did you ever think that I might have better potential than half of the lawyers out there and if I work hard, how can I go wrong?  Any law schools you guys recommend applying in NY?  I want to apply to Cuny and new york law school.  thanks again everyone for your help especially ivy hopeful :)

PS - I have a love for divorce law and I really want to do that, so I basically know what I want without even going to law school yet.

aitch

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Re:Low LSAT Very High GPA What Can I do?
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2003, 10:14:38 AM »
Best of luck to you first of all NY.  But to back up the others: Law schools look at a variety of factors outside of the LSAT and/or GPA.  While your GPA is fairly strong, there are other factors in your application that you can highlight to offset your LSAT score.
I think some of Jennifer's remarks were a little out of line.  If you're determined to go to Law School, then Law School is where you will go.  Also, a Third Tier school DOES NOT equal ambulance chaser, etc.  My cousin went to a third tier school, and had a starting salary of $97,000 doing Intellectual Property law in a reputable firm.  That was roughly 5 years ago.  Today, he makes $360,000+, and is currently doing major patent work for new Wi-Fi technology.
Just some words of encouragement for you.

dradic

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Re:Low LSAT Very High GPA What Can I do?
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2003, 05:56:14 AM »
Wow, Jennifer was a bit tough on you.
First of all, the LSAT is the test that measures your performance at that moment, not your overall capabilities.  It definitely cannot determine how well would you perform in law school.  My practice tests (32 of them) average was close to 165, and I scored 150 on the actual test.  I practiced for the LSAT under the actual conditions + noise.  Maybe it was too quiet for me at the test, maybe it was a strange environment, maybe it was a stomach flu that I just got over a day or two before the test...  Not sure, but obviously it was not one of my good days to take the test.
As for the MEDIAN GPA's, that is also relative...  I value my 3.34 UGPA with the major in Electrical Engineering (at fairly good school), and with 50 hrs/wk working all four years, better than 3.89 UGPA from a business school, and school paid by my parents.
I also value my 5 years of Lead Engineer experience in one of the top Florida's engineering firms, my super-diverse background, etc. better than someone else's numbers (lets say 3.89/172), and no life experiences.  It is all relative thing.  However, I don't make decissions here and it is all up to the Admission's Committee.  Therefore, if I were you I would document that you're a bad test taker and hope for the best.

Good Luck!

Dan

Jennifer C

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Re:Low LSAT Very High GPA What Can I do?
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2003, 09:40:54 AM »
NYLawStudent: I commend you for your determination, and I understand that you will try no matter what life places before you. I do wish you the best of luck where ever you may choose to go and whatever you choose to do. Perhaps I failed to include a bit of wishful-hoping in my last post, and I apologize for such. Here's a what a professor of mine from Case Western Reserve University said when I asked her if there was really room for another lawyer, "There is always room for a good lawyer." Remember that, if that's the only thing you take from what I have to say.

Dradic: I was tough for a reason (besides the fact that it simply comes naturally). Law school is going to be tough. The legal field, in general, is tough. NYLawStudent had better start getting used to it.  The LSAT cannot definitely determine one's success in law school, but it does a pretty good job of doing so. This quote was taken from LSAC's website, "The test is designed to measure skills that are considered essential for success in law school." (emphasis is mine)

Aitch: I never said that those who go to third tier schools would end up as ambulance-chasers, I said that those lacking the necessary skills become useless members of the legal field. I certainly hope that she gets into the school of her choice, she wins several history-making cases, and proves me wrong. Also, you need to consider that Intellectual Property lawyers are in HIGH demand and that their salaries tend to be much higher than the rest.

Ivy_Hopeful: See quote from LSAC above.

GVP: I am certainly not saying that Ivy League means guaranteed success. But if you plan to work at a large, prestigious law firm in New York, you had better have Ivy on your resume. Don't believe me? Check out the profiles of some of the most prestigious law firms from the web. You will see very few partners/attorneys from below a top tier school unless they have something extraordinary on their resume or they have some (unspoken) connection to the firm. Also, big firms spend a lot of time recruiting from the top schools. Clients don't want a lawyer from No-Name University (remember, in the courts it's a battle of who has the better lawyer ;) ). Ivy League schools are Ivy League schools for a reason (besides the fact that they are in the same sports leagueÖyes, thatís where the name originally came from).

They do not suffer as badly from grade inflation (key-phrase: as badly, there is a bit of grade inflation even there) and have proven repeatedly that they are on top for a reason. You have a better chance at employment (not to say that you canít completely blow your chances as well) if you have a prestigious name on your bill. Take a look at the statistics for employment at graduation for 2002 graduates (provided by the school): Harvard 98.9%, Yale 98.5%, New York University 98.1%, Stanford 98.9%, Columbia 98.9%. Want to know the expected median starting salary? Harvard $91,301, Yale $ 94,050, New York University $100,000; Stanford $94,200; Columbia $96,000. Of course, with these salaries, you need to remember that the price of living in some areas is higher than others. In Cleveland, making $100,000 is equivalent to making $800,000 in New York City. Itís even worse in the Silicon Valley where people making $70,000 are showing up in homeless shelters because itís too expensive to live there.

Alright, Iím done.