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Author Topic: JMLS Academic dismissal: gripes and questions....  (Read 20904 times)

nachas

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JMLS Academic dismissal: gripes and questions....
« on: July 02, 2008, 07:00:47 PM »
Hi.  I was enrolled for my first semester at John Marshall in the spring and didn't do so well.  At midterms, my grandfather died (the morning of for K) and I thought I had overcome ADD, but didn't test well.  There is no question that I learned the material, I was active in class, and even received an email from a prof thanking me for working so hard and telling me that I will one day be an excellent lawyer.  Finals came, and I studied approximately 60-80 hours for each test.  When test day came, I was the first one out of the exam and my study buddies all called me to thank me for teaching them concepts that they didn't understand before we had set up our finals study group.  I got a B, a C+, and 2 D's.  I was academically dismissed for having a 1.713 gpa (the cutoff was 1.75).  I spoke to all my profs and the schools policy is that grades cannot be changed unless there was a computational error.  One prof personally spoke to academic services on my behalf because he believed in me.  Now I'm somewhat screwed.  The school has no appeals process and my best shot is to return to school in a year or wait 2, then apply to other schools.  Like other schools are looking for people who were academically dismissed...
SO, here are my questions:
1)  What do I tell friends and my girlfriends family?  How do I approach these conversations?
2)  Does anyone have any stories about being dismissed, coming back, being denied, what happened after they returned, etc?

John Marshall is a decent school (sort of) but they don't handle themselves professionally.  Per federal law, they are required to have an exit interview to explain federal loan programs and how they are now affected by dismissal.  Instead, they sent me a letter saying "Since it is inconvenient to set up this meeting, we sent you this form instead."  When I called, they said that due to security concerns, they aren't sure if I can come in for an exit interview.  This, of course, is horseshit.  I am no more a security concern now than I was when I was a ft student!  Plus, I will in all likelihood reapply.  The moron who wrote the letter put me through to the dean and I left a voicemail which has not been returned.
And one more thing, I met with the director of academic services who told me that if my K prof was willing to give me points for the midterm (due to my grandfathers death) and if that would change my grade, she'd be fine with that.  Then the prof went to speak to her and she told him that he couldn't change the grade. 
Don't be fooled, potential JMLS students, JMLS is a churn and burn law school that mandates at least a 10% attrition rate.  Presumably, this is to increase bar passage rates and up their USNAWR ranking (which, of course, it wont).  They aren't as rough as cooley, where the attrition rate is much higher, but this school charges as much or more as other schools and provides you with similar, if not deficient, education.
If you get accepted to JMLS, I feel compelled to warn you to reconsider another school.  Looking back, I should have gone to NIU, Kent or DePaul.
Most law schools have a lower threshhold for academic dismissal (1.6, 1.5, etc), give you a full year to turn around (most schools understand and care that the first semester requires a massive adjustment), or have an appeals process (for cases such as mine where a family member passes or there is an untreated learning disability).  JMLS is too lazy and confused to consider these possibilities.  The fact is that JMLS is ranked where it is BECAUSE of their insane policies, not despite them.
The worst part is that most schools don't dismiss students at all, especially higher ranked schools.  Med students are rarely dismissed as well.

TH14

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Re: JMLS Academic dismissal: gripes and questions....
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2008, 08:15:50 PM »
I feel for you...

My school (T2) has a two-step process of academic dismissal for 1Ls - (1)you are placed on probation if your GPA for the first semester is below 2.00; (2)if after the second semester, your cumulative GPA is below 2.00, you get dismissed.  In other words, you at least get a "warning" and a "second chance" before getting kicked out.  Petitions for reinstatement are available according to the student handbook, but only apply to extraordinary situations, such as having mental/physical disorders when taking the exams.

Being dismissed based on your first final exams seems really, really harsh.  In fact, I would have been dismissed if my school adopted the same policy as yours (I was on probation after the first semester, but thankfully, recovered sufficiently in the second semester).

You mentioned other schools you should have gone to - were you accepted at those schools?  Your best bet would appear to be to re-take the LSAT if need be, and re-apply to other schools.  They will no doubt have information on your dismissal, so to overcome that you may want to address the issues you experienced at mid-term in your personal statement.  You seem adamant on trying law school again, so give it your best shot.  Sorry I don't have any good answers to your specific questions.

Good luck. 

StrictlyLiable

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Re: JMLS Academic dismissal: gripes and questions....
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2008, 12:10:18 AM »
At midterms, my grandfather died (the morning of for K) and I thought I had overcome ADD, but didn't test well.

This statement tells me all I need to know about you. Maybe if you didn't make lame excuses for yourself, you'd have more success.  You kind of sound like one of those pre-laws from the other side of the house, "hey all, I earned a 2.1 UGPA and a 132 LSAT, but I have ADD, suffer from depression, have one malformed testicle, and prematurely ejaculate. If I put this in my personal statement, can I go T14?"

OConnorScribe

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Re: JMLS Academic dismissal: gripes and questions....
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2008, 11:20:57 AM »
Strictly liable's post is exhibit A as to why law school students have such a poor reputation. Worry about your own stuff and about yourself, jerkov.

For what it's worth, the mental stuff is a legitimate excuse. While I did fairly well, though not great (I AM the median) at my school this year, I take medication for depression and it inevitably does affect your concentration and day-to-day management, so that you can learn a great deal all semester but then be on the downslope on test day and subsequently watch everything implode. This is the major frustration of living with a legitimate physiological mental illness. My transcript is a real screwball -- good grades in the theoretical courses (Con Law Contracts, Torts, Property) and okay to bad in the two 3-credit suites (Civ Pro and the ridiculous Crim Law/Legal Research and Writing hybrid class. Some of this is inherent differences for me in comfort and confidence with specific subject matter and case law, but two of the grades (a Crim final and Civ Pro II) were directly blasted by a brain cloud that caused some silly reading and logic errors and anxiety and woe over multiple choice and short answer questions. In one class, Civ Pro II,. I finished in the bottom four among testtakers, even though my professor and a few of my peers acknowledged my knowledge the Erie doctrine and personal jurisdiction bodies of law was pretty sophisticated.  I could have played the illness card and received deferrals to make-up dates or be wisked away to the quiet room for the ADD and other depression cases, but I don't like to do that, because I'm stubborn and determined to make it through the cloud. My professor's line: "You had a bad day." No foolin' :-) 

Point is, this is a valid fear for many law students and it sounds like JMLS has unconscionable management. OP -- did JMLS even inform you of assistance options ... or did have any alternative arrangements at all? Is there an academic support or counseling system in place? Forced attrition without appeal is a terrible policy that serves no one well -- it besmirches the idea of education, and quality professors and renowned scholars suffer reputationally ebcause of the misddeeds of administrative meatheads.

My school just lowered its flunk-out cutoff to 2.0 from 2.3 in recognition of this. The school is certainly maturing and becoming really student-focused. Its days in T3 should end within five years -- only reasons it's there still are because the school is only 30 years old and is looked at nationally as *just* a NYC school rather than a Westchester/Bronx/Fairfield County one -- we're uniquely a two-pond operation.

JMLS, unfortunately, is solely in the Chicago pond, and you'd think they;d do everything to acknowledge this and step it up as an institution. Sadly, that doesn't look to be the case. Keep your chin up, dude. And don't quit on your dream. Work as a paralegal for a year or two, learn the Illinois procedural rules, get a better handle on the ADD and then give it another shot. Also, be aggressive in communicating your needs to wherever you land next.   

 
Pace '10

OConnorScribe

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Re: JMLS Academic dismissal: gripes and questions....
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2008, 12:11:42 PM »
One other note to StrictlyLiable. I saw on another thread that you mocked the notion of these concentration disabilities affecting outcomes in law school by pondering whether a judge would allow extra time, etc. Not the same darn thing. A timed three-hour hypo test written by Ivory Tower types, and timed tests that amount to professors whipping it out and crowing about their ability to write complex riddles, is not the same thing as a pre-trial hearing, or a deposition interview and tactical undertaking in real law. The prep process for these figures to be more focused, less mysterious and is built upon the creation of products, motions, scripts and contingent strategies. While there is improvisation and negotiation under pressure ... there is none of the guerilla, sight-unseen b.s. some law school exams present.

The one benefit of blowing an exam in law school as result of a lack of focus or the presence of extreme anxiety or instantaneous depression is this: You learn what subjects and tasks you will need to study further and carve out more study and prep time for in the future. You also learn what you can't fake your way through when you're treating and coping with depression -- THAT is incredibly valuable. The C- I got is the most valuable dungburger I'll ever eat.

PS -- Didn't you attend Widener? While it has a pretty good rep, from what I gather, isn't it the JMLS of the Philly market? The school for the ones who couldn't get into Temple or Villanova or Drexel? You're not at a T14, and a unqualified clown or two probably operate in your administration as well, as they do in mine. Your mocking superiority shtick is just not credible, even if some of your other posts on other threads stress that the bar is ultimately what matters. So knock it off.
Pace '10

nachas

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Re: JMLS Academic dismissal: gripes and questions....
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2008, 02:38:13 PM »
At midterms, my grandfather died (the morning of for K) and I thought I had overcome ADD, but didn't test well.

This statement tells me all I need to know about you. Maybe if you didn't make lame excuses for yourself, you'd have more success.  You kind of sound like one of those pre-laws from the other side of the house, "hey all, I earned a 2.1 UGPA and a 132 LSAT, but I have ADD, suffer from depression, have one malformed testicle, and prematurely ejaculate. If I put this in my personal statement, can I go T14?"

Very nice.  Of course, the sad part is that I didn't make any excuses for myself, nor did I use excuses to justify slacking off.  I worked harder than everyone else.  Just so you know, I took some time off during undergrad (about 5 years) and when I returned, I was on the dean's list without medication.  Once again, dipstick - I worked harder than everyone else this semester.  I did not slack.  I attended every class.  I came prepared.  My profs all told me that my classroom participation and exhibited knowledge and understanding levels were not reflected in my test scores.  I received an email from a professor that says this, and I am quoting:
"It was a great honor and pleasure to have you in my Contracts One class here at The John Marshall Law School. Throughout the last several months, I have repeatedly observed certain students display an uncanny ability to decipher very complex issues of law and outperform their peers, as well portray an uncanny appreciation for professionalism, self discipline and personal accountability.  Indeed, you were one such student.  Although I am unaware of your specific exam scores, my class greatly benefited from your high degree of enthusiasm, preparation, demonstrated intellect and excellent communication skills. Moreover, I felt I could count on you to volunteer and perform well on very challenging questions regarding complex issues of law and theory as well as accept responsibility for your need to improve.

Your performance not only illustrates significant intellectual talent, but strong leadership potential. To that end, you are well positioned to win the respect and admiration of your peers should you continue to apply yourself as you have done in my classroom.  Your apparent tireless work ethic, keen appreciation for attention to detail, and consideration for others will serve you well in the legal profession and I'm happy to have been apart of your learning process. 

You would be an invaluable asset to virtually any organization and it is with great enthusiasm and regard that offer my thanks for your efforts in my class and advise you that your classroom efforts were duly noted and a credit to you.  "
So, once again, the virtiolic nonsensical a-holes like you prove to jump to conclusions and behave in a way that illustrates your own deficiencies.  Expected, but dissapointing.

What I wrote were explanations of mitigating circumstances.  I didn't test well, partly because of the death of my personal hero (a holocaust survivor who came to this country with a child, a third grade education, and no ability to speak english who retired a millionaire after starting his own construction business) and partly because I had relied on my work ethic and determination to overcome my add.  Since this had worked in college, I thought it would work in law school.  I was mistaken.  My ADD creates anxiety in testing conditions.  Imagine how anxious you might feel laying in a bed of slithering snakes, and you can get a sense of the type of anxiety I suffer during a 3 hour test that generates my only grade for a given law class. 
You sir, are a royal jerk.  Once again, this board proves to be chock full of grade A a-holes with a minority of calm, collected, helpful people.  Go play around in XOXO if you want to get your rocks off by being a jerk.  This is supposed to be the more mature, helpful, friendly board.

nachas

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Re: JMLS Academic dismissal: gripes and questions....
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2008, 02:45:34 PM »
At midterms, my grandfather died (the morning of for K) and I thought I had overcome ADD, but didn't test well.

This statement tells me all I need to know about you. Maybe if you didn't make lame excuses for yourself, you'd have more success.  You kind of sound like one of those pre-laws from the other side of the house, "hey all, I earned a 2.1 UGPA and a 132 LSAT, but I have ADD, suffer from depression, have one malformed testicle, and prematurely ejaculate. If I put this in my personal statement, can I go T14?"

And one more thing, jackass - the profs who gave me D's BOTH told me that had I been in the previous semesters class (my class did abnormally well), my same test scores would have given me C's.
Last year, the high score on the property final was 69%.  This semester the high score was a 92%.  The prof showed me the scores from both semesters.  As a matter of fact, my score would have been just off the curve.
I guess you forgot that the curve works that way - you aren't tested on your knowledge, but rather your test score versus your peers.
I've NEVER made excuses before and I'm not about to start now.  I have held several high responsibility jobs before and been met with a high degree of success.  Unlike you, I'm willing to bet, I've actually held a real job and had some actual financial success that hasn't required me to ask my family for money since I was 19 years old.  You keep using daddy's credit card to buy stuff and mommy's check book to pay for the rent.  I'll move on now, because people like you (pompous, friendless losers) are exactly the type of people folks like me avoid at all costs. 

mike4488

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Re: JMLS Academic dismissal: gripes and questions....
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2008, 02:54:16 PM »
Well, I think this post is pretty lame and I am not going to call anybody names but I wouldn't go around saying you worked harder than anybody else and got academically dismissed.  One you have no idea how hard the rest of your classmates worked and if you worked harder than everybody else and were academically dismissed well maybe law school isn't for you.

However, sorry for your situation and best of luck to you in the future whether that be law school or other endeavors.
Boalt Hall '10

StrictlyLiable

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Re: JMLS Academic dismissal: gripes and questions....
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2008, 03:09:46 PM »
Strictly liable's post is exhibit A as to why law school students have such a poor reputation.

I am not a student, I am a graduate.

Quote
For what it's worth, the mental stuff is a legitimate excuse.

No, its not. Let me give you a background, I have worked in the mental health field for over a decade as a counselor and supervisor at a residential treatment facility, a crisis worker and mental health delegate, and a manager of a group home. I know and understand mental illnesses better than nearly anyone on this site.

ADD/ADHD is a bull diagnosis for hyperactive and unfocused people who need an excuse for their life's failings. Yes, there a some biological diferences between a normal functioning person and one who has ADD/ADHD, but it is nothing that hasn't been overcome in the past and the symptoms are not anywhere near debilitating. Lack of attention span, inability to focus for long periods of time, and restlessness are all things that can be overcome with discipline and willpower WITHOUT the aid of medications. Have you ever noticed that the only people on this site who mention they have ADD are applicants making excuses for their poor numbers and students making excuses for their poor grades? I am sure that there are more who have been diagnosed with it, but because of theor work ethic and discipline, it didn't effect their performance and isn't a prominent player in their life (thus, it doesn't get mentioned). Others, like the OP, who lack any sort of discipline or composure, use it as a crutch not to excel and an excuse when they fail. ADD/ADHD has become a generation's built in excuse to fail, plain and simple.

As for depression, Major Depression Disorder is one of the most over-diagnosed illnesses in the DSM-IV. Do you know what you have to do to get a diagnosis of MDD? Go to your county MH/MR intake specialist and tell them that you have thoughts of self-harm. That's it. It has become a dorrway for slackers and deadbeats to receive disability funds, instead of being a productive member of society. Now, there are some people out there with the real disorder. Those people who have such chemical imbalances in their brain, that their mood is in a constant state of depression. Those people need medications just to reach a normal baseline. They are the ones who truly have it tough. For most though, they are merely experiencing a depressed cycle due to certain environmental factors, lack of coping skills, obesity, bad nutrition, substance abuse, etc. These people are the ones  who largely reject traditional therapy that can bring them out if it in favor of being prescribed medications that sometimes exacerbate the problem and allow them to take advantage of the system and using "depression" as a crutch.



StrictlyLiable

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Re: JMLS Academic dismissal: gripes and questions....
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2008, 03:19:11 PM »
What I wrote were explanations of mitigating circumstances.  I didn't test well, partly because of the death of my personal hero (a holocaust survivor who came to this country with a child, a third grade education, and no ability to speak english who retired a millionaire after starting his own construction business) and partly because I had relied on my work ethic and determination to overcome my add.  Since this had worked in college, I thought it would work in law school.  I was mistaken.  My ADD creates anxiety in testing conditions.  Imagine how anxious you might feel laying in a bed of slithering snakes, and you can get a sense of the type of anxiety I suffer during a 3 hour test that generates my only grade for a given law class. 
You sir, are a royal jerk.  Once again, this board proves to be chock full of grade A a-holes with a minority of calm, collected, helpful people.  Go play around in XOXO if you want to get your rocks off by being a jerk.  This is supposed to be the more mature, helpful, friendly board.

*yawn* more excuses. Again, most law students suffer some sort of difficulties during school and work through it just fine. For me, during first year my grandfather also passed away. He did so, 2 DAYS BEFORE FINALS. He too, was one of my personal heroes (immgrated here with his family in the 70's, worked in a factory his whole life to support them, etc. etc.). In addition, I too have the ADD diagnosis, along with explosive anger. The difference between me and you is that I am disciplined as a result of military training, have a bastion of effective coping mechanisms at my control due to my training in mental health, and just flat out refuse to allow myself to fail. I do not use my issues as excuses.