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Author Topic: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience  (Read 6748 times)

Alecto

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Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2008, 02:13:11 PM »
I think it entirely depends.  My grad degree (once I finally finish it - aagh) is going to be in science, which I think sets me apart a little.  Also, my past work experience was for a law firm in the city in which I want to study law, and the legal community there is pretty tight.  Of course, it's possible they laughed themselves silly over my application and it could just be a good old-fashioned case of nepotism (my stepmom attended their school, but both she and my dad are really active in their bar-review program).

Anyway, I had a UGPA of 3.3 from a pretty high-ranked school, but my highest LSAT was a 162, and I didn't really have much in the way of extra-curriculars except working 15-25 hours a week.  Here's how my cycle played out (I just got the rejection today):

T1: rejected
T2: accepted 4/4 (three of those offered me $$)

my top choice was one of the T2 schools, so I am very happy with the way things turned out.

weymo001

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Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2008, 01:23:35 PM »
Hi everyone,

Applied to four schools with 16 years experience, MS,5 scientific publications, and 3.6 graduate gpa. I am at a loss as to what law schools want. Waitlisted for one school. I think USNWR has changed things were the emphasis is on LSAT scores to improve rankings. Honestly, I get the impression that the only post-bac accomplishment which demonstrates intellectual potential for law school is the LSAT. This process seems a bit myopic. I have a friend who has a PhD and is the same boat as I am. The sheer volume of applicants, some from grade inflated schools/degrees, and rankings make it more difficult for a non-tradtional science applicant to get accepted. A fact that I found out recently was that graduate transcripts are not sent to the law school as part of your LSDAS report. Thus, the law school don't see those grades.

Personally, I am going to place all my efforts in getting a better LSAT score. For my application fee, I wished they examined these applications with greater scrunity. Anybody have any thoughts on how to leverage significant work experience and post-graduate academic accomplishments to gain admissions to law school? It is difficult to explain to a law school admissions committee why the critical thinking and technical writing gained through post-bac experience are important for law school. Do you think having a diverse profession experience helps or hinders an applicant? Why do you feel this way?

Thanks,

NW 

mbw

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Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2008, 01:29:41 PM »
Hi everyone,

Applied to four schools with 16 years experience, MS,5 scientific publications, and 3.6 graduate gpa. I am at a loss as to what law schools want. Waitlisted for one school. I think USNWR has changed things were the emphasis is on LSAT scores to improve rankings. Honestly, I get the impression that the only post-bac accomplishment which demonstrates intellectual potential for law school is the LSAT. This process seems a bit myopic. I have a friend who has a PhD and is the same boat as I am. The sheer volume of applicants, some from grade inflated schools/degrees, and rankings make it more difficult for a non-tradtional science applicant to get accepted. A fact that I found out recently was that graduate transcripts are not sent to the law school as part of your LSDAS report. Thus, the law school don't see those grades.

Personally, I am going to place all my efforts in getting a better LSAT score. For my application fee, I wished they examined these applications with greater scrunity. Anybody have any thoughts on how to leverage significant work experience and post-graduate academic accomplishments to gain admissions to law school? It is difficult to explain to a law school admissions committee why the critical thinking and technical writing gained through post-bac experience are important for law school. Do you think having a diverse profession experience helps or hinders an applicant? Why do you feel this way?

Thanks,

NW 

NW, would you PM with your UGPA and current LSAT score?  I'm in a similar boat, but put off applying until this fall in order to better my LSAT score (retaking this June.)
I'm in a lynch mob?  I had no idea.  This is really worrying; I really don't have time for another extra-curricular activity.

space for rent.

weymo001

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Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2008, 01:44:30 PM »
Hi Frybread,

PM? Stats: 2.6 Undergraduate GPA, 3.6 Graduate GPA, and 157 LSAT. My point is with this post is that there are other indicators of intellectual potential. The question is how do I convince an admissions committee they are important?
I am seriously considering writing to law professor in patent law or contributing to his blog to get advice and support for my application.

Any thoughts?



mbw

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Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2008, 02:32:56 PM »
Hi Frybread,

PM? Stats: 2.6 Undergraduate GPA, 3.6 Graduate GPA, and 157 LSAT. My point is with this post is that there are other indicators of intellectual potential. The question is how do I convince an admissions committee they are important?
I am seriously considering writing to law professor in patent law or contributing to his blog to get advice and support for my application.

Any thoughts?

Do you mean Lessig?  If so, it couldn't hurt, and he's very approachable (he and my spouse correspond infrequently, as they sometimes work on the same issues.)  You could also contact directly the schools which rejected you and ask if there were other issues besides UGPA/LSAT which could strengthen your application in the future.  Maybe someone will be willing to provide further insight.

But having similar stats as you (slightly higher UGPA and GGPA, same LSAT, 20 years work experience,) I engaged the services of an admissions consultant (a former T14 dean) whose foremost recommendation was for me to get my LSAT above 160 (for T15-50,) with a 165 to put T14 within reach.  His rationale was that law schools really need to see some indication that an older student possesses the academic skill set sufficient for success in law school.  With undergrad so far removed, and graduate GPA not a particularly good indicator, adcomms are left with the LSAT.  It's a hard fact, but I don't know if it's one we can get around easily.  In fact, I know that if I don't hit that 165 mark this time, I probably will forgo applying at all.
I'm in a lynch mob?  I had no idea.  This is really worrying; I really don't have time for another extra-curricular activity.

space for rent.

weymo001

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Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2008, 03:09:43 PM »
Hi Lessig,

Do you really think the cost of an admissions consultant is worth it? Would a better investment of money be in a prep LSAT class?

I need to get into a solid but not great school (eg University of Houston, SMU, Texas Tech, or University of Oklahoma). My goal is to become a patent attorney. I have an excellent technical background for this work but just need the legal education. Does the soft factors play an role at all especially if you know how you want to use your legal education and have an excellent non-legal background to accomplish that goal?

If you score >165, does writing a weak essay make any difference? Admissions recruiters don't have the expertise to assess whether someone's background is a significant intellectual accomplishment. If what you say makes a difference, how can I couch my experience in a language that might resonate with them?

Is it ok in an addendum to justify why you deserve a slot over the typical candidate undergraduate candidate with a liberal arts degree (with 160 LSAT) and no experience?

Thanks,

NW

DCLabor25

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Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2008, 03:50:11 PM »
NW --

Hey there, I am happy to offer my own bit of advice here. 

I have been out of school for about four years and while my WE pales in comparison to yours, I have done some interesting things in public policy research and writing.  The bottom line, unfortunately, is that schools only care about your WE if your LSAT score gets you into the ballpark.  That ballpark differs dramatically based upon what type of school you are applying to (T2, T1, T14, etc.) but you need a good LSAT score to get on their radars.  Without that, all of the WE in the world is not going to make a difference.

As far as a test course, a LSAT prep class is an excellent investment of money.  Look at Powerscore and Testmasters -- they are the best.  If you take the class seriously, that $1,000 will be very well spent --- my score went up double digits after taking the class.  An admissions consultant isn't a terrible idea either, but, if I had to pick, I'd take the LSAT prep class.

Honestly, I think if you raised your LSAT about another 5 points or so, you would get into most of the schools you want to.  A LSAT score above the school's 75% percent mark can make up for a lower GPA.

qmmm

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Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2008, 04:07:47 PM »
Actually, if your goal is to prosecute patents, you don't need a JD.  You could pass the patent bar and become a patent agent which allows you to do most of the work of a patent agent.  Or you could also start out as a technical specialist in a patent group before you pass the patent bar. 

In addition, you could also look to part-time programs what would allow you to work as a patent agent  or technical specialist during the day while pursuing law school at night.  If you start out as a patent agent/tech. specialist, there are some serious advantages: 1) many firms will pay some or all of your tuition for a commitment to work for them for a while after you graduate, 2) you'll have some experience in the field and will really get to know if this is what you want to commit to, 3) you'll be able to demonstrate excellence in the legal field since you'll be able to get a rec from an attorney at your firm who may have connections to the local school where you'd be able to go part time, and 4) it'll demonstrate real commitment to the adcom that you're serious about law school.

As a non-trad coming from science, I've learned one thing: many of the skills that made me a pretty good scientist don't help a damn in law school.  That's why your science experiences are soft factors to adcoms; it's possible to be an excellent scientist but a lousy law student.  Adcoms are really looking for non-trads to demonstrate the skill set that will correlate w/ law school success.  Namely, the ability to read and write quickly and w/ precision is huge.  It's the `quickly and w/ precision' part which makes the LSAT so valuable to adcoms.  So a higher LSAT score will never hurt. 

And yes, if you score >165 and write a terrible personal statement the adcom will notice.  It would signify that 1) the person doesn't care to write a better one (which indicates a lack of commitment) and/or 2) the person can't write a better one (which indicates a lack of ability). 

The way to talk about your experiences are to point out the significant overlaps w/ the skills that an attorney needs to succeed.

Moreover, most of the classes you'll be taking in law school will not be patent or IP related (and those will only deal w/ technical matter tangentially since they need to accommodate people w/ various technical backgrounds and those w/ no technical backgrounds at all); so the adcom has to consider whether you'll be able to be an asset to the class for all other classes.

And no, you shouldn't write that addendum.  You'll come off as a jerk.  Depending on whether there's a compelling reason that your ugrad gpa was 2.6, I might consider writing an addendum for that.


Hi Lessig,

Do you really think the cost of an admissions consultant is worth it? Would a better investment of money be in a prep LSAT class?

I need to get into a solid but not great school (eg University of Houston, SMU, Texas Tech, or University of Oklahoma). My goal is to become a patent attorney. I have an excellent technical background for this work but just need the legal education. Does the soft factors play an role at all especially if you know how you want to use your legal education and have an excellent non-legal background to accomplish that goal?

If you score >165, does writing a weak essay make any difference? Admissions recruiters don't have the expertise to assess whether someone's background is a significant intellectual accomplishment. If what you say makes a difference, how can I couch my experience in a language that might resonate with them?

Is it ok in an addendum to justify why you deserve a slot over the typical candidate undergraduate candidate with a liberal arts degree (with 160 LSAT) and no experience?

Thanks,

NW


dissident

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Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2008, 04:39:32 PM »
Finally someone else besides me has experienced that grad degrees and work experience mean nothing in law school admissions. 

vjm

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Re: Non-Traditional GPA/ Experience
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2008, 11:34:12 AM »
I really think nontrads need to cast a broad net. Schools seem to vary on what they look at with us. I have a 3.4ish/ 158 and got into a T50 school, waitlist at another and waitlist at a T14.

Your best bet is to kill on the LSAT, and not to rely on soft factors to give you a boost. However, don't be afraid to apply widely and see what happens. It's a very unpredictable process.