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Author Topic: Very non-trad. here ... is night school worth it?  (Read 1983 times)

phreejazz

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Very non-trad. here ... is night school worth it?
« on: March 02, 2009, 01:39:45 AM »
Hey all, I stumbled across this board and would love some input, my thanks in advance for any help.

Here's my situation: I'm 35 and never received my BA.  Beyond being undisciplined, I just wasn't interested in traditional careers and went to school solely for interest and education.  That has changed.  Ive found a passion for the law, and am interested in pursuing it.  As far as my academic record, here is the good: I received my undergrad school's "philosophy student of the year" award, and I took the LSAT last year, scoring in the top 1% (174).  That's it.  The bad: I dropped out of school the year after receiving said award (13 years ago), and my GPA was an earth-shattering 1.9 .

So, my delimma: do I go ahead and attend night law classes, knowing the opportunity won't be as great when I'm done, or do I go ahead and basically "re-start" my whole academic career in order to get a full BA with a better GPA in order to get into a top-tier school?

I'm tempted to do the former, as I don't relish the idea of adding three years of undergrad work to everything.  BUT, will there really be that much opportunity if I go that route?

Netopalis

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Re: Very non-trad. here ... is night school worth it?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2009, 06:53:22 AM »
There's actually no dilemma.  You HAVE to have the BA in order to attend law school.  The ABA requires it, and even with your LSAT, no school will waive that requirement.   Starting completely over wouldn't help either - you'd dilute your grades, but since they're so old anyway, it probably wouldn't matter.  Just shoot off an addendum showing that you've changed your life since your first undergrad experience, show really strong grades now that you're back in and you're there.
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Matthies

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Re: Very non-trad. here ... is night school worth it?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2009, 07:32:01 AM »
There's actually no dilemma.  You HAVE to have the BA in order to attend law school.  The ABA requires it, and even with your LSAT, no school will waive that requirement.   

This is acutally not true, the ABA does not require it, the schools do. There are a few school who will admit applicants w/o a degree, Tulane is one, Cooley is anouther and I think a few CA schools. You will have to earn the BA while you get the JD. As well severl schools have started offering 3/3 programs where if you do good enough in the UG part your admitted to the LS. So that's anouther option. You need 3 years of credits to graduate right? If you did really well you could pull that 1.9 up by the time you start law school.
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Netopalis

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Re: Very non-trad. here ... is night school worth it?
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2009, 07:37:55 AM »
Well that's interesting...I always thought it was an ABA requirement.  Still, your chances of getting decent scholarships without the JD is fairly low - I would go get the UG degree if you're serious about your legal ambitions.
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linquest

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Re: Very non-trad. here ... is night school worth it?
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2009, 09:12:42 AM »
More importantly, you may not qualify for admission to the bar or even be permitted to sit for the exam without completing your undergraduate work.  Massachusetts' bar exam qualifications rules state:
"Rule 3.2 - College. Each applicant shall have completed the work acceptable for a bachelor's degree in a college or university, or have received an equivalent education in the opinion of the Board." 
On the other hand, IL requires a high school diploma and a JD from an ABA accredited school, but does not explicitly require a bachelors.  So you need to check the bar admission rules of the state(s) you are interested in practicing in.

I would be worried about how your lack of a college degree would affect your job prospects as an attorney.  Not having an undergrad degree on your resume or application form would be a huge red flag to employers.  Considering the over-abundance of lawyers on the market and decreasing job opportunities, you don't want something like this that might prevent you from even having a chance at an interview.  If you do get an interview, expect to be grilled on it.

I definitely understand that it would suck to go through an additional 3 years of undergrad at this stage in your life.  Suck it up ;)  Most lawyers/law students have, you can too!  In this day and age, I think a bachelors would improve your job prospects vastly, whether or not you end up trying the lawyer route.  Good luck on your endeavors.

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