Law School Discussion

high rankings vs special interests

high rankings vs special interests
« on: September 23, 2008, 04:12:08 PM »
so i just graduated from a lower-tier uc in june and am prepping for the lsats to apply for next fall.  with a gpa of 3.4 and an lsat score looking to be 165-175 (fingers crossed, but ill probably land somewhere around 170) im feeling just out of the running for a top 20 school and am now wondering, should i go for the highest ranked school i can get into or take a lower ranked school that feels like a better fit for me?  specifically i am looking heavily at lewis and clark- i love the area and the programs it offers seem awesome to me- indian law, public interest law and a top ranked environmental law program all seem major pluses, but a low national ranking makes me think twice.  id love to get into a top school like cornell or ut austin, and feel like if i send out enough apps i might break into a top 30 school.  basically, should i go for the ranking and take the rep of a big name school or take my chances at my safety school even if i get into those higher ranked programs?  and, a follow up question, assuming a good lsat score, lets say 3.4/175, what would be my odds at the top schools in the country?

Re: high rankings vs special interests
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2008, 08:14:49 AM »
Based on my own research combined with the collective wisdom of this board, I don't think you should limit yourself the schools you mentioned. With a 3.4 and a 170 you should have a really good shot at T-25, and probably T-14--especially if you end up scoring higher than 170. How are your ECs? Work experience? I have a 3.67 UGPA/4.0 in my major, and expect to score a 168-170 on the LSAT. I am applying to some lower ranked schools, mostly as safeties. But even so, I think I'll be sticking to the T-25.

Of course, the other point would be that if you have a decent school in your region that is strong in the area of law you want to practice in, AND if you are planning to practice in your region, you should certainly apply. If you want to stay in the NW, Lewis and Clark seems like it could be a good fit.

Re: high rankings vs special interests
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2008, 11:38:24 AM »

Of course, the other point would be that if you have a decent school in your region that is strong in the area of law you want to practice in, AND if you are planning to practice in your region, you should certainly apply. If you want to stay in the NW, Lewis and Clark seems like it could be a good fit.
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I agree with this. If you want to study environmental law then Lewis and Clark is a good place if you plan to stay in the Pacific NW area. It is well known for environmental law studies in the NW region.

Re: high rankings vs special interests
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2008, 04:21:33 PM »
Based on my own research combined with the collective wisdom of this board, I don't think you should limit yourself the schools you mentioned. With a 3.4 and a 170 you should have a really good shot at T-25, and probably T-14--especially if you end up scoring higher than 170. How are your ECs? Work experience? I have a 3.67 UGPA/4.0 in my major, and expect to score a 168-170 on the LSAT. I am applying to some lower ranked schools, mostly as safeties. But even so, I think I'll be sticking to the T-25.

Of course, the other point would be that if you have a decent school in your region that is strong in the area of law you want to practice in, AND if you are planning to practice in your region, you should certainly apply. If you want to stay in the NW, Lewis and Clark seems like it could be a good fit.

thanks for the encouragement- i know if i study hard enough i should be able to break 170, but at the same time i feel that my sub-average gpa could really hurt me.  i have a good amount of work experience- ive been a volunteer teacher's aide since high school, i have worked consistently throughout college, and spent one year logging 20 hours a week at a non-profit in addition to going to school full time and holding another part time job.  my resume is long, however im no ivy leaguer and am intimidated going into the application process when i read about people working at law firms and investment banks while i spent time doing washing dishes, brewing coffee, cleaning hotel rooms, etc.  L&C is a good fit for me because it has programs i'm interested in, and a lower ranking makes me think i could more easily get a higher class ranking, and the regional hiring and reputation is a huge plus.  however, i dont want to limit myself.  i guess i was thinking, should i shoot for t25 or look at say, 20-30 more closely?  other schools im interested in are:
boalt (long shot obviously)
penn
cornell
ucla
ut
usc
gw
notre dame
washington and lee
georgetown
michigan
hastings- i have a lot of family in SF, this would be a good fit also i think

thanks so much for responding!  any positive encouragement makes me feel a lot better about this process which is really kinda overwhelming right now, as im trying to write my statements and study for the lsat so i can get out those apps asap.

Re: high rankings vs special interests
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2008, 05:22:08 PM »
Boalt weights gpa pretty heavily, but at most other schools a good LSAT score can make up for a sub-par gpa. And while some folks have been out of school for a few/several years, many many applicants are coming more or less out of undergrad. You can also include an addendum addressing your gpa; the fact that you've been working while in school is certainly a factor they will consider. At this point (ie, as we quickly approach Test Day) prepping for the LSAT should take priority. Then you can get up real early on October 5th and do everything else.  ;)

Re: high rankings vs special interests
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2008, 05:46:51 PM »
By the way, going to a lower-ranked school tends to make it MORE difficult to end up ranked highly in your class, not less. The lower the school's ranking, the more important it becomes to do well, which means more competition.

You should check out other threads. There's a lot of information out there already that addresses questions very like yours.