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Author Topic: Several questions from a n00b..  (Read 1537 times)

AynRand

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Several questions from a n00b..
« on: September 24, 2009, 07:11:58 PM »
First, some basic info. LSAT=172, GPA=4.0 (graduated last spring). I opted to work for a couple of years before attending law school, and I'm currently employed by a large global firm as a consultant. Well-rounded college activities list, I think (hope?).

Now, several questions that, quite frankly, I just don't have much of a clue on and I would love some opinions. Feel free to answer any or all of them.

1. All else equal, would it be better to attend a highly-ranked school and rank, say, in the top third, or to attend a tier twoish school and rank very highly? Or does it kind of depend on where you want to work and the nature of the work you want to do?

2. Does anybody get scholarships for law school that aren't need-based? The one conversation I ever had with a law advisor during undergrad made it sound like the prospects for merit-based scholarships are slim to none.

3. I'm working 60-70 hours a week...should I be expecting to ramp up that time committment for law school?

4. Would attending law school part-time be looked upon poorly?

As I said, any opinions would be greatly appreciated!

Recent LS Grad

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Re: Several questions from a n00b..
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2009, 08:57:39 PM »
First, some basic info. LSAT=172, GPA=4.0 (graduated last spring). I opted to work for a couple of years before attending law school, and I'm currently employed by a large global firm as a consultant. Well-rounded college activities list, I think (hope?).

Now, several questions that, quite frankly, I just don't have much of a clue on and I would love some opinions. Feel free to answer any or all of them.

1. All else equal, would it be better to attend a highly-ranked school and rank, say, in the top third, or to attend a tier twoish school and rank very highly? Or does it kind of depend on where you want to work and the nature of the work you want to do?

2. Does anybody get scholarships for law school that aren't need-based? The one conversation I ever had with a law advisor during undergrad made it sound like the prospects for merit-based scholarships are slim to none.

3. I'm working 60-70 hours a week...should I be expecting to ramp up that time committment for law school?

4. Would attending law school part-time be looked upon poorly?

As I said, any opinions would be greatly appreciated!

Initial question: if you graduated last spring, how did you opt to work for a couple of years?  Unless of course you mean you graduated in Spring '08 and will attend law school in Fall '10, which is what makes sense to me.

1. Depends on what you hope to do with your degree.  If you plan on starting out at a big firm, then top third at a top ten school will generally be better than ranking very highly at a tier twoish school.  Frankly, with a 172/4.0, you're probably looking at substantial grant money from schools well above tier 2.

2. Plenty of people get grant money not related to need.  I have friends who basically attended school for free, and that wasn't due to need-based scholarship aid.  Schools regularly use money to poach candidates with strong numbers from higher-ranked schools.

3. 60-70 hours is more than enough time invested for the academic demands, though depending on what other commitments you take on during law school, you may have to occasionally put in more.

4. By whom?  I know people who attended part-time programs and ended up with very selective employers, so I don't think it would be too much of a problem.  Depends on the program, of course.

All of the above is, of course, just one person's opinion, and should be taken with a grain of salt.

Good luck!  :)

nealric

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Re: Several questions from a n00b..
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2009, 10:17:29 PM »
Quote
First, some basic info. LSAT=172, GPA=4.0 (graduated last spring). I opted to work for a couple of years before attending law school, and I'm currently employed by a large global firm as a consultant. Well-rounded college activities list, I think (hope?).

Now, several questions that, quite frankly, I just don't have much of a clue on and I would love some opinions. Feel free to answer any or all of them.

1. All else equal, would it be better to attend a highly-ranked school and rank, say, in the top third, or to attend a tier twoish school and rank very highly? Or does it kind of depend on where you want to work and the nature of the work you want to do?

2. Does anybody get scholarships for law school that aren't need-based? The one conversation I ever had with a law advisor during undergrad made it sound like the prospects for merit-based scholarships are slim to none.

3. I'm working 60-70 hours a week...should I be expecting to ramp up that time committment for law school?

4. Would attending law school part-time be looked upon poorly?

As I said, any opinions would be greatly appreciated!
 



1. Much, much better to be at a top school in the top 1/3 than top of a lower ranked school. Plus, it is very hard to predict class rank. One fluke grade can put you out of the top of the class.

2. There actually are very few need-based scholarships. It's pretty much all loans unless you get merit aid.

3. Nope, 60-70 hrs a week is plenty.

4. GULC is worth looking into. Employers will treat you same as GULC day students. I wouldn't bother with anything less with those numbers.
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EarlCat

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Re: Several questions from a n00b..
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2009, 10:57:09 PM »
What nealric said.  And you'll probably be in with money at more than one T14 school, so don't sweat.  Get your apps in ASAP, including recommenders (if you don't have them lined up yet, that's your assignment for tomorrow).

AynRand

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Re: Several questions from a n00b..
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2009, 10:35:34 AM »
"Initial question: if you graduated last spring, how did you opt to work for a couple of years?  Unless of course you mean you graduated in Spring '08 and will attend law school in Fall '10, which is what makes sense to me."

Actually what I meant was, I just graduated ('09) and have decided that I will work for a couple years before law school...I intend to enroll in fall of 2011 or 2012 at the latest. Sorry for the non-clarity.

And I actually already have recommendation letters taken care of - I had three professors write them during my senior year. On a related note, should I be thinking about having someone from the workplace write one for me, or are the academic references sufficient?

Thanks for the help, all...I imagine I'll probably consult this forum several times in the next couple years.

EarlCat

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Re: Several questions from a n00b..
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2009, 04:19:33 PM »
If you're going to work for a couple years, an employer recommendation would be good to have.

BikePilot

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Re: Several questions from a n00b..
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2009, 10:11:50 AM »
First, some basic info. LSAT=172, GPA=4.0 (graduated last spring). I opted to work for a couple of years before attending law school, and I'm currently employed by a large global firm as a consultant. Well-rounded college activities list, I think (hope?).

Now, several questions that, quite frankly, I just don't have much of a clue on and I would love some opinions. Feel free to answer any or all of them.

1. All else equal, would it be better to attend a highly-ranked school and rank, say, in the top third, or to attend a tier twoish school and rank very highly? Or does it kind of depend on where you want to work and the nature of the work you want to do?

2. Does anybody get scholarships for law school that aren't need-based? The one conversation I ever had with a law advisor during undergrad made it sound like the prospects for merit-based scholarships are slim to none.

3. I'm working 60-70 hours a week...should I be expecting to ramp up that time committment for law school?

4. Would attending law school part-time be looked upon poorly?

As I said, any opinions would be greatly appreciated!

Your stats are essentially identical to mine.  The top three schools do not have any merit-based scholarships directly, but there are a few programs that will give you a few bucks (Olin fellowship in law and econ for example), don't expect much though. 

Outside of the top 3, schools will pay you to try to convince  you to attend their institution instead of the better ones you could have gone to.  Whether this is worth it or not is debatable, but you could likely go to say UVA or an equivalent school for free (well, little to no tuition, opportunity cost will still be quite high).  I suspect that for most people over the long run paying for a T3 school will be well worth the up-front expense, but at least initially, the money from a lower T14 could be pretty attractive, especially in this economy.  At the lower T14's its pretty critical to be at the top of your class, everyone knows this and the environments seem to be a bit less collegial from what I've seen. Still, a student at the top of her class at a lower T14 will start at the same sort of firms and same pay as a typical HYS student, but will typically have minimal debt - that's a nice way to start a career.  If you are interested in academia go to HYS, no contest there. As best I can tell career prospects for a lower-half, lower T14 student are not great, so there is additional risk involved there.  Pretty much all students at HYS end up with biglaw offers (yep, even in this economy).  After vising several schools I chose HLS b/c I was interested in academia and was extremely impressed with the student body - this latter aspect is imho one of the most critical (and probably oft overlooked) factors in choosing a school. A large portion of law school learning is peer-based and the connections, relationships and networks you generate in law school will be a major asset throughout your career.
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AynRand

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Re: Several questions from a n00b..
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2009, 01:12:44 PM »
With the stats I have (factoring in that I am your average middle class WASP demographically), what chance do I have of getting into a Harvard or Stanford? I've kind of been approaching my research into law school under the premise that I would be very, very unlikely to gain admittance to the top 3 schools, but obviously I'd be thrilled to have a chance to attend them, and your post got me thinking about it, BikePilot.

Is there anything I could do to boost my chances at those schools, or should I be concentrating on schools outside of the highest echelon?

AynRand

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Re: Several questions from a n00b..
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2009, 11:01:34 AM »
So, I just realized the the LSDAS recalculates your GPA to account for the difference between A's and A-pluses...my LSDAS GPA is 4.19. Will that make any difference in my chances, or do law schools pretty much look at anything above a 4.0 as all the same?

nealric

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Re: Several questions from a n00b..
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2009, 02:40:03 PM »
Quote
Will that make any difference in my chances, or do law schools pretty much look at anything above a 4.0 as all the same?

Couldn't hurt. FWIW I resent the fact that LSDAS does that. My undergrad did not award A+, but many of my As would have been A+s if the transcript could have recorded them. It seems like it goes against the "leveling the playing field" goal of the whole credential assembly service.
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