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Author Topic: Going back - A little older, a little wiser?  (Read 6375 times)

LawDog3

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Re: Going back - A little older, a little wiser?
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2009, 02:08:28 AM »
I disagree that a second degree "won't help you much". Giving the committee something with which to look at you as a different student will always help, especially if you get all A's. Even if you just take two or three more semesters worth of undergraduate courses, where teachers don't so much practice the grade-inflation so prevalent in masters programs, it would help.

Take a year of killer courses like Philosophy; Economics; Accounting, Statistics; Calulus; History; English (Shakespeare and Greek Mythology courses are tough!), Psychology; a hard science like Biology; Physics; Chemistry; Comparative History of Ideas; Classics; or Musicology...and get straight A's. You mentioned that you had a bad first two years and recovered to do well in your final two (3.55 Congrats!). An upward trend in grades is always a plus. Highlight that for the committees.

If there are circumstances that caused you to drop out (illness, family tragedy, etc), and later get yourself back together and do well, tell them. Positioning is everything in a situation like that. I have a specific quote from Eric Owens' (Princeton Review) Essays That Worked for Law School, where the Dean from GWU says such a student can be viewed as "two different students". Of course, it will depend on your circumstances.

Otherwise, just say that you were immature and didn't really want to be there at first, but gained maturity and discovered what was important to you...thus, the better grades. Coupled with more evidence that you are a different student (the new courses I mentioned above, or a masters or Ph.D program), you can reinvent yourself a little.

How were your law school grades? Did you leave voluntarily? It sounds as if, as with law school, you weren't completely prepared for that endeavor. So, if your LS grades weren't that good, you will have another problem: explaining what might appear to be a patern of jumping into things before you're ready.

If you left school voluntarily, your problem is a little more manageable. But schools may be apprehensive because you have to explain your lack of readiness for both UG and LS. Their question will be, "Why should we believe this time will be any different?" But you will be answering it in 2011 or 2012...or 2013, so if your profile looks really good it won't matter as much.

The fact that you are willing to wait until the age of 31 to begin law school is a big plus for you...huge. As you pointed out, it will put some distance between you and your LS experience and erase that 149 LSAT.

A new, top-notch LSAT score will really be critical. Don't rush it this time. Get a tutor. Take and retake an LSAT prep course. Practice the LSAT for six months to a year. Take at least 30-40 practice exams before you sit for the real thing. BE READY!

The new grades won't count in your GPA calculation, but they will demonstrate to adcoms what kind of student you are NOW (not in the past)...which is what they're really after. 

Have you accomplished anything great in your jobs? That will also help. And you have time to get some real community service under your belt, as well.

You're still very young...26? Take the next four years and rebuild yourself. Get that stellar LSAT...Pick your new courses or masters program carefully and get nothing but A's. Get any academic help available to you and visit your profs often so they get to know you. Be a research assistant. You will need good LOR's.

Not only can you do well enough to get back into law school, you can get into a very good one if you do the work. I'm assuming you would prefer to attend at least a top-60. If low T-2 or TTT is okay with you, you may not need to do as much to get there.

LawDog3

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Re: Going back - A little older, a little wiser?
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2009, 02:19:41 AM »
and also

Does anyone disagree with my conclusion that my numbers wouldn't be workable to apply right now (even for tier 4)?

Thanks again. :)

I would strongly advise waiting...even in a normal application year, your circumstances warrant more courses, a little planning and a better LSAT score and two killer LOR's.

steelerfan82

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Re: Going back - A little older, a little wiser?
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2009, 02:55:03 AM »
If you can get your LSAT into the low-mid-160s, you should be able to get into a part-time program at a second-tier school in New York.  You'll also need to write an addendum explaining the difference in scores and why you want to go back to law school now, and I bet there are people around here who can help with that when the time comes.  Good luck, steelersfan. :)

True. I'll keep that in mind. I'd like to stay i NY, and I am considering that as a possibility. Thanks for the input.

Btw, I like your avatar. I am a Mets fan, and I live in Queens. :)


I would strongly advise waiting...even in a normal application year, your circumstances warrant more courses, a little planning and a better LSAT score and two killer LOR's.


Yep. I pretty much figured that. I was asking if people had heard of anything different. Thank you too :)
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steelerfan82

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Re: Going back - A little older, a little wiser?
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2009, 03:29:38 AM »
I disagree that a second degree "won't help you much". Giving the committee something with which to look at you as a different student will always help, especially if you get all A's. Even if you just take two or three more semesters worth of undergraduate courses, where teachers don't so much practice the grade-inflation so prevalent in masters programs, it would help.

Take a year of killer courses like Philosophy; Economics; Accounting, Statistics; Calulus; History; English (Shakespeare and Greek Mythology courses are tough!), Psychology; a hard science like Biology; Physics; Chemistry; Comparative History of Ideas; Classics; or Musicology...and get straight A's. You mentioned that you had a bad first two years and recovered to do well in your final two (3.55 Congrats!). An upward trend in grades is always a plus. Highlight that for the committees.

If there are circumstances that caused you to drop out (illness, family tragedy, etc), and later get yourself back together and do well, tell them. Positioning is everything in a situation like that. I have a specific quote from Eric Owens' (Princeton Review) Essays That Worked for Law School, where the Dean from GWU says such a student can be viewed as "two different students". Of course, it will depend on your circumstances.

Otherwise, just say that you were immature and didn't really want to be there at first, but gained maturity and discovered what was important to you...thus, the better grades. Coupled with more evidence that you are a different student (the new courses I mentioned above, or a masters or Ph.D program), you can reinvent yourself a little.

How were your law school grades? Did you leave voluntarily? It sounds as if, as with law school, you weren't completely prepared for that endeavor. So, if your LS grades weren't that good, you will have another problem: explaining what might appear to be a patern of jumping into things before you're ready.

If you left school voluntarily, your problem is a little more manageable. But schools may be apprehensive because you have to explain your lack of readiness for both UG and LS. Their question will be, "Why should we believe this time will be any different?" But you will be answering it in 2011 or 2012...or 2013, so if your profile looks really good it won't matter as much.

The fact that you are willing to wait until the age of 31 to begin law school is a big plus for you...huge. As you pointed out, it will put some distance between you and your LS experience and erase that 149 LSAT.

A new, top-notch LSAT score will really be critical. Don't rush it this time. Get a tutor. Take and retake an LSAT prep course. Practice the LSAT for six months to a year. Take at least 30-40 practice exams before you sit for the real thing. BE READY!

The new grades won't count in your GPA calculation, but they will demonstrate to adcoms what kind of student you are NOW (not in the past)...which is what they're really after. 

Have you accomplished anything great in your jobs? That will also help. And you have time to get some real community service under your belt, as well.

You're still very young...26? Take the next four years and rebuild yourself. Get that stellar LSAT...Pick your new courses or masters program carefully and get nothing but A's. Get any academic help available to you and visit your profs often so they get to know you. Be a research assistant. You will need good LOR's.

Not only can you do well enough to get back into law school, you can get into a very good one if you do the work. I'm assuming you would prefer to attend at least a top-60. If low T-2 or TTT is okay with you, you may not need to do as much to get there.

I'm definitely aiming for t-60, although there are some lower t-2 and even a few higher t-3 I'm looking at.

Your advice is quite helpful (I like detail :) ). You pretty much hit every nail on the head. I'll be following your advice to a tee, mainly because it's generally what I had in mind. There are some specifics I'll be picking up though, so thanks :)

As for my LSAT score, I was taking a course, but I think it was a result of setting my standards too low. I thought that I was virtually excluded from even some t3 schools. Instead of aiming for 180 and working my way from there, I was thinking  much lower - although the 149 was actually a steep decrease from my practice scores. I'll be practicing the LSAT for the foreseeable future, that's for sure. ;)
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Miss P

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Re: Going back - A little older, a little wiser?
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2009, 08:57:50 AM »
If you can get your LSAT into the low-mid-160s, you should be able to get into a part-time program at a second-tier school in New York.  You'll also need to write an addendum explaining the difference in scores and why you want to go back to law school now, and I bet there are people around here who can help with that when the time comes.  Good luck, steelersfan. :)

True. I'll keep that in mind. I'd like to stay i NY, and I am considering that as a possibility. Thanks for the input.

Btw, I like your avatar. I am a Mets fan, and I live in Queens. :)

You're welcome, and let's go Mets!
That's cool how you referenced a case.

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SwampFox

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Re: Going back - A little older, a little wiser?
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2009, 12:55:38 PM »
I'm going to provide a little "healthy skepticism" to all the plans suggested here.
First, yes, a killer LSAT would be a real boost, but I doubt it's realistic.  Statistically, 90% or so of the people who take the LSAT can't break 160.  Given that you scored below the 50th percentile last time, I think 160 is a huge stretch, even with preparation.  It's not a knowledge-based test; I would expect you to be able to pull your score up a few points, but unless there was a specific circumstances beyond your control last time (like filling in the circles in the wrong spots), I doubt you can make it up.
I think the idea of a second undergrad or masters just for the sake of getting into law school is equally dubious.  What if, after all those years of taking other classes, you still don't get in?  And if you do, what if you end up making $50,000 a year for several years?  You'll have spent eleven years of school to make a mediocre salary.  And what if, after all those years, you really do get sick of school?
If I may make some other suggestions:
1) Try to convince your old law school to let you back in, without retaking anything.  It won't cost you years of school or lots of money.
2) Trying the rarely-used path of a lawyer apprenticeship, if your state allows it.  Instead of law school, you work with a lawyer firsthand.
3) Since you don't mind more school, why not get a second degree in something else you know you'll enjoy?
I apologize if I am "crushing dreams" or anything similar.

LawDog3

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Re: Going back - A little older, a little wiser?
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2009, 02:18:16 PM »
I'm going to provide a little "healthy skepticism" to all the plans suggested here.
First, yes, a killer LSAT would be a real boost, but I doubt it's realistic.  Statistically, 90% or so of the people who take the LSAT can't break 160.  Given that you scored below the 50th percentile last time, I think 160 is a huge stretch, even with preparation.  It's not a knowledge-based test; I would expect you to be able to pull your score up a few points, but unless there was a specific circumstances beyond your control last time (like filling in the circles in the wrong spots), I doubt you can make it up.
I think the idea of a second undergrad or masters just for the sake of getting into law school is equally dubious.  What if, after all those years of taking other classes, you still don't get in?  And if you do, what if you end up making $50,000 a year for several years?  You'll have spent eleven years of school to make a mediocre salary.  And what if, after all those years, you really do get sick of school?
If I may make some other suggestions:
1) Try to convince your old law school to let you back in, without retaking anything.  It won't cost you years of school or lots of money.
2) Trying the rarely-used path of a lawyer apprenticeship, if your state allows it.  Instead of law school, you work with a lawyer firsthand.
3) Since you don't mind more school, why not get a second degree in something else you know you'll enjoy?
I apologize if I am "crushing dreams" or anything similar.


Your points are well-taken, and they have validity. But I should point out a few things:

My first official LSAT was 145 (in the spring of 2003, when I was still a junior in college)...It is now off my record, and I have a 166. Through blood, sweat and tears, many people have significantly raised their LSAT scores. Besides, we are not telling him what is "likely", but what it "possible". Who are we to crush someones spirit when they have the vision to do something great? Who are we to tell someone they cannot do something or that they should limit that vision? He wants to go to a high T-2 or similar quality school, and I do not think it is out of reach. But he will have much work to do.

And, the facts that he finished rather strongly during undergrad and that he has been away from school for a little time, suggests that he would have the maturity and the savvy to pull of the reinvention. I did it, as have many others. The courses he takes will help him regardless. Adcom professionals from every top school have advocated, in print,for the taking of additional courses in situations like his. And a masters would be useful if carefully chosen.

Would going back to his T-4 school be a good strategy? Maybe...he could, after all, transfer to a more desireable school if he finishes in the top-5% of his class. I am not knocking your wisdom, because it is a sound piece of advice. but your concerns overreach just a bit. The guy is young and willing. Let's encourage him to follow his dreams.

Matthies

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Re: Going back - A little older, a little wiser?
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2009, 05:00:19 PM »
If you can get your LSAT into the low-mid-160s, you should be able to get into a part-time program at a second-tier school in New York.  You'll also need to write an addendum explaining the difference in scores and why you want to go back to law school now, and I bet there are people around here who can help with that when the time comes.  Good luck, steelersfan. :)

As Miss P correctly stated the easiest way to increase your odds and discount your UGPA is to retake and kill the LSAT. If you were willing to take four years to do another BA studying hard every day for six months for the LSAT is simple in comparison. Do that and you will greatly increase your odds.

I had a 2.9 (including numerous Fís followed by 100 credits if straight Aís eight years later, but the Fís did their work) and a 150 (five years ago). There is another way to show you can handle law school without getting a second BA, or even retaking the LSAT. But itís a HUGE risk, it involves likely moving and spending about 50k. I donít recommend going this route unless it your only hope of law school and you want to be a lawyer really, really badly.

There are a few law schools out there that offer Master of Law Studies degrees, these are often identical in requirements for the Master of Laws degree (the LL.M or the post JD degree) but that allow people without the JD to enroll (hence the Studies designation rather than Laws designation). Basically you take 24-36 credits in the law school, of law classes, against second and third year law students without you having had the first year law classes. Your are graded exactly the same, and your thrown to the wolves. BUT, if you do well, and get good grades in these classes then you have good and recent law school grades to show law schools that you can do the work despite your LSAT score. Of course if you do bad, then your screwed no LSAT score is going to save you then. Itís a last ditch, expensive, gamble that takes balls of steel to pull off.

But thatís what I did. Iím severely dyslexic, I suck balls at standardized tests, the worst thing you can do to a dyslexic who transposes letters and numbers was to ask him to put eight people named A-H around  a table numbered 1-8 with lettered answer choices. 150 was as good as I was going to get, and I could not change my Fís from my stupid youth.

So I took this route and I rocked the curve against law students, even taking the top grade in two classes Environmental Law and Natural Resources Law without having a clue what law exams where like, how to read cases, or what a tort was. I taught myself all those things, and it paid off, when I re-applied I had 12 credits of law school classes (24 by the time I got some accpatances), LORs from law profs who taught me and an addendum that (along with my having dyslexia) was believable when I said my LSAT score was not indicative of my ability to do well in law school. I got into a bunch of T2 schools, a school ranked in the 30s and even got a scholarship.

But itís a hail marry if you have no other shot deal, studying for the LSAT for six months is much, much easier, cheaper, and faster than my route.

Good luck with your retake.
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steelerfan82

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Re: Going back - A little older, a little wiser?
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2009, 02:56:39 AM »
I'm going to provide a little "healthy skepticism" to all the plans suggested here.
First, yes, a killer LSAT would be a real boost, but I doubt it's realistic.  Statistically, 90% or so of the people who take the LSAT can't break 160.  Given that you scored below the 50th percentile last time, I think 160 is a huge stretch, even with preparation.  It's not a knowledge-based test; I would expect you to be able to pull your score up a few points, but unless there was a specific circumstances beyond your control last time (like filling in the circles in the wrong spots), I doubt you can make it up.
I think the idea of a second undergrad or masters just for the sake of getting into law school is equally dubious.  What if, after all those years of taking other classes, you still don't get in?  And if you do, what if you end up making $50,000 a year for several years?  You'll have spent eleven years of school to make a mediocre salary.  And what if, after all those years, you really do get sick of school?
If I may make some other suggestions:
1) Try to convince your old law school to let you back in, without retaking anything.  It won't cost you years of school or lots of money.
2) Trying the rarely-used path of a lawyer apprenticeship, if your state allows it.  Instead of law school, you work with a lawyer firsthand.
3) Since you don't mind more school, why not get a second degree in something else you know you'll enjoy?
I apologize if I am "crushing dreams" or anything similar.


No problem. realism is healthy. It keeps me from floating into the clouds at times.  :D

Option one is feasible, but I'll only use it as a last resort.  I DO NOT want to go back there at all. If I had to do it all over again, I would have deferred my decision for a year until all of my other schools have responded. Theoretically, I could try and jump a few hoops and try to go there again. Then again, it would behoove me to try to put myself in a better position than I was when I went there.

Option two is actually feasible. In my state, NY, you could take the bar while being an apprentice. The problem is that you must complete one year of law school.

Option three is kind of what I'm doing. I just want to go to law school afterwards  ;D

My LSAT score was 149, mainly because I aimed way too low. For the schools I was applying for (because of my UGPA),  my LSAT didn't need to be too high. Instead of trying to succeed I was trying not to fail. Not surprisingly, I also was not willing to spend a year studying for the LSAT (yes, I know, shocking). I only took the October 2005 LSAT because I missed the previous deadline - I had no time to study for the June 2005 exam. I also wanted to go right away and get it over with.

Also, even if I get a 180 (unless I'm going to be aiming for lower t3 and t4 schools), I'd still have to show that I'd be ready for the work. One test score is not enough to change things overnight. I mean, I haven't done anything spectacular at work. I don't think that my LORs from 2005 will apply in 2010 or later. The classes will help, even a semester will. I mean, I got a 149, there's no way but up from that.

Believe me, I'm not high on drugs, in thinking that I'll get a 180 just like that. Remember, it's what your objectives are that will determine the outcome.  It's like a foreign language - you determine the proficiency you want do you want. If you want to speak a few phrases (a 130),  conversability (a 160), or achieve natural mother-tongue proficiency (a 180) it is up to you.

Even if all this does not work, I'd still have another bachelors. I have a bachelors in Political Science. You'd need to get a Ph.D in it before it's of any use (to teach in college) - a master's in it is just a space-filler.  Considering that my best grades are in Political Science, I'd be foolish to apply for a master's program in much else and expect to get in. Actually, if I were to provide the proverbial backup, the bachelors would be the next best thing. Besides, making $50,000 upon graduation is not a a bad thing - mainly nurses, and some engineers make higher.  (All others need higher degrees).


I'll keep what you said in mind. Considering that not too many people break 160, it'll be all the sweeter.

Thanks for the advice though, I really do appreciate it :)
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steelerfan82

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Re: Going back - A little older, a little wiser?
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2009, 03:00:02 AM »
If you can get your LSAT into the low-mid-160s, you should be able to get into a part-time program at a second-tier school in New York.  You'll also need to write an addendum explaining the difference in scores and why you want to go back to law school now, and I bet there are people around here who can help with that when the time comes.  Good luck, steelersfan. :)

As Miss P correctly stated the easiest way to increase your odds and discount your UGPA is to retake and kill the LSAT. If you were willing to take four years to do another BA studying hard every day for six months for the LSAT is simple in comparison. Do that and you will greatly increase your odds.

I had a 2.9 (including numerous Fís followed by 100 credits if straight Aís eight years later, but the Fís did their work) and a 150 (five years ago). There is another way to show you can handle law school without getting a second BA, or even retaking the LSAT. But itís a HUGE risk, it involves likely moving and spending about 50k. I donít recommend going this route unless it your only hope of law school and you want to be a lawyer really, really badly.

There are a few law schools out there that offer Master of Law Studies degrees, these are often identical in requirements for the Master of Laws degree (the LL.M or the post JD degree) but that allow people without the JD to enroll (hence the Studies designation rather than Laws designation). Basically you take 24-36 credits in the law school, of law classes, against second and third year law students without you having had the first year law classes. Your are graded exactly the same, and your thrown to the wolves. BUT, if you do well, and get good grades in these classes then you have good and recent law school grades to show law schools that you can do the work despite your LSAT score. Of course if you do bad, then your screwed no LSAT score is going to save you then. Itís a last ditch, expensive, gamble that takes balls of steel to pull off.

But thatís what I did. Iím severely dyslexic, I suck balls at standardized tests, the worst thing you can do to a dyslexic who transposes letters and numbers was to ask him to put eight people named A-H around  a table numbered 1-8 with lettered answer choices. 150 was as good as I was going to get, and I could not change my Fís from my stupid youth.

So I took this route and I rocked the curve against law students, even taking the top grade in two classes Environmental Law and Natural Resources Law without having a clue what law exams where like, how to read cases, or what a tort was. I taught myself all those things, and it paid off, when I re-applied I had 12 credits of law school classes (24 by the time I got some accpatances), LORs from law profs who taught me and an addendum that (along with my having dyslexia) was believable when I said my LSAT score was not indicative of my ability to do well in law school. I got into a bunch of T2 schools, a school ranked in the 30s and even got a scholarship.

But itís a hail marry if you have no other shot deal, studying for the LSAT for six months is much, much easier, cheaper, and faster than my route.

Good luck with your retake.


Thanks :)

You idea scare me, I'm a risk taker, but that's too risky.

Nice to see that you made it though.
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