Law School Discussion

Should I Consider a Paralegal Certificate be4 Law School? Help!

Hey ya'll, I'm a confused chicken right now.

Having graduated with a Bachelors in 06, I consider myself non-trad. My Cum GPA was 3.36, while my major GPA was a 3.6. I've been working since, with a concentration in the non-profit industry. Recently, I've gained minor legal work experience through the HR dept. at a major corporation. I REALLY wanna get into a top 15 law school, and (assuming I get a solid LSAT score) have been debating if my credentials are good enough for acceptance to the most selective schools? I'm really scared, hence am debating if I should enroll in a paralegal certificate program, work for a yr as a legal assistance & network, and then apply to law school in order to heighten my chances of getting into the school of my choice.

Q: will the paralegal certificate/subsequent work experience heighten my application at all? Will the admissions officers really care? Or should I only worry about getting an awesome LSAT score?

Any thoughts would be apprecited. Thanks!

Re: Should I Consider a Paralegal Certificate be4 Law School? Help!
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2009, 07:30:52 PM »
The LSAT is a thoroughly learnable exam... you'll get alot more out of your efforts if you took the time you would spend on some paralegal training and instead applied it to raising your LSAT score. When it comes down to it, LSAT and GPA are king and queen... and while GPA trails LSAT by a bit in significance, the value of any soft factors (such as being a certified paralegal) is even less important.
Good luck...

Re: Should I Consider a Paralegal Certificate be4 Law School? Help!
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2009, 08:52:25 PM »
Thank you so much for your insight!

I understand you suggested that the GPA trails the LSAT in significance... but how much emphasis do schools really place on it?
If I manage to score in the 98th percentile or above (say, a score of 171), will I have a reasonable shot at schools like NYU ..given my meager 3.3 cum GPA?


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Re: Should I Consider a Paralegal Certificate be4 Law School? Help!
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2009, 03:28:39 PM »
Right.  The cert won't make you any more desirable to schools or to firms, and it's generally agreed that it won't make you any better at law school exams.
Spend that time on the LSAT.

It’s been my experience this is not true, at least as a blanket statement. I had three classmates who were paralegals, all three landed in the top 15% at graduation. All three worked fulltime in as paralegals in law school and all three got offers as attorneys at their firms at graduation. One, a single mother of three graduated in 3 years PT as number 5 in the class.

However, they all had at least 5 years and in one case 20 years or more paralegal experience before law school. My hunch is that it’s the length of time they had working as a paralegal that helped them in do well in law school and not what they learned in the paralegal certificate programs. Hence while it may be “generally agreed” that it won’t help you I bet those that agree with that either where never paralegals or where such for a short time. It hasn’t been my personal experience that its true since all the paralegals I knew did very well. If there is anything you learn in law school there is an exception to every rule.

But I agree, unless you plan to do it for several years before law school your better off spending that time on the LSAT.