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Author Topic: Environmental Science graduate struggling with LSAT prep course  (Read 2654 times)

Helix1

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Environmental Science graduate struggling with LSAT prep course
« on: September 24, 2010, 04:14:36 AM »
Hello, I recently graduated with a degree in environmental science and management.  During my years in college I'm proud to say I had several jobs in R&D researching viable alternative fuels and sustainable innovations for the near future.  I work with bio-fuel, hydrogen fuel, electric and hybrid technologies.  My course work included 5 semesters of upper level chemistry, 4 semesters of geology and calculus naturally.  I graduated an A student.  I was told by my professors and friends that Environmental science is very hot right now in law and that a rapidly expanding field right now is Environmental Law.  I took the LSAT in June without preparation and did poorly, 140.  I decided to take a Kaplan LSAT prep course of which I'm currently taking but am routinely humiliated for asking questions in class by students with degrees in philosophy and political science.  I seem especially targeted by them when I mention anything regarding a question based on a science itself.  Worse, this situation not only makes me feel like I'm back in high school but also, that I'm not "cool" enough to be a law student?  Perhaps my confidence is shaken by apparently being the only non-humanities graduate in class but I truly do want to contribute to environmental law and be an active environmental lawyer.  The fact is the LSAT is not coming easily to me and according to the majority of LSAT students in my class, science graduates are out of place in the law field altogether.  My question is, is this true?  I would like to acquire feedback from different sources than my classmates if possible? Do I have any hope as a lawyer with a background in science?  Thank you

marcus-aurelius

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Re: Environmental Science graduate struggling with LSAT prep course
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2010, 07:15:45 AM »
Relax.  The LSAT is a different beast to anything you have faced before.  Worrying may be impeding your progress and learning.  Keep asking questions.  If you are intelligent, you will come to grasp the concepts.  Everyone learns at a different pace.

Hamilton

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Re: Environmental Science graduate struggling with LSAT prep course
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2010, 08:51:40 AM »
I've got a MS in hard science, professional science-based experience, then went to law school - no, you are not out of place, and do not let that discourage you from law school (read my other postings for those reasons).  In fact, your education will make you better prepared to wrap your mind around many of the facts and cases you will encounter in law school.  Your LSAT performance and your undergraduate degree probably have very little to do with one another.  Sounds to me like you may be thinking of the facts/science BEHIND the question, and not the substance of the question, which will be annoying to others. 

You say "I seem especially targeted by them when I mention anything regarding a question based on a science itself."  If your comment has nothing to do with arriving at the right answer for LSAT purposes or the reasoning process, then yes, folks will be annoyed.  For example, if the question places cavemen with dinosaurs, focus on what the question is trying to extract from a reasoning standpoint - the fact that cavemen and dinosaurs never crossed paths is irrelevant.  Raising that point will get you some eye rolls and cheese people off b/c you are needlessly going off in the weeds and wasting precious time.  It can come off as drawing attention to yourself saying 'look at me, I'm not like most of you and know things most of you don't.'  I think one of the pitfalls on the LSAT and MSBE is overthinkng the question and underlying facts.

MeganEW

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Re: Environmental Science graduate struggling with LSAT prep course
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2010, 08:56:41 AM »
omg, I feel your pain on the first test.  I took the LSAT my senior year of college on a whim with no prep and got a mediocre score.  3 1/2 years later, I decided I want to go law school, signed up again, prepped (on my own, using the TestMasters books) and scored 15 points higher.

It is up to you to do better this time around.  You paid for that class; don't feel ashamed to ask questions.  You need to not repeat the mistake you and I both made by going in again unprepared.

Also, as a liberal arts kid married to a doctor, I must admit I feel a bit of schadenfreude when a science person struggles with concepts that come easily to me  ;), but your science background is an asset.  If you go into environmental law or intellectual property law, your understanding of science will be invaluable.  Don't forget that.
Acceptances: UIUC, IUB, Fordham, W&L, OSU
WL: Notre Dame
Rejections: NYU, Northwestern

Morten Lund

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Re: Environmental Science graduate struggling with LSAT prep course
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2010, 09:28:34 AM »
...I truly do want to contribute to environmental law and be an active environmental lawyer.  The fact is the LSAT is not coming easily to me and according to the majority of LSAT students in my class, science graduates are out of place in the law field altogether. 

Your classmates have no more experience than you with practicing law - that is to say, none.  Their opinion on the usefulness of a science degree in the practice of law is therefore completely and utterly worthless, and you should feel free to ignore it completely.

In this particular case, they are also completely wrong.  Science graduates are generally sought-after in the real world of legal practice, for a variety of reasons.  Lawyers with degrees in English/history/polysci/philosophy, on the other hand, are a dime a dozen.

The real question you should be asking is whether law school is for you, not whether it is for science graduates in general.  Here I have two observations:  First, determine why you are not doing well with the LSAT.  Law school will require you to learn a new way of thinking, much like the LSAT course is doing now.  Law school is harder than the LSAT.  You are obviously intelligent, and you should be able to do well on the LSAT with enough prep - but don't kid yourself.  Law school will be more of that - relearning how to think.

Second, you should be realistic about what you will be doing after law school, and what you want to be doing.  The practice of "environmental law," for instance, consists mainly of helping companies large and small to obtain their air permits, siting permits, Army Corps clearances, etc.  It sounds like you have a more activist purpose.  Nothing wrong with that, of course, but activist jobs are few and far between, and don't pay very well (if at all).

I by no means mean to dissuade you from going to law school - but I encourage you to consider seriously what exactly you plan on doing after.  Law school is very expensive, in more ways than one, and should not be undertaken lightly.

Hamilton

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Re: Environmental Science graduate struggling with LSAT prep course
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2010, 09:56:17 AM »
Morten makes a good point - generally speaking, the practice of environmental law has less to do with the environment and more to do with applying environmental regulations and navigating through the administrative process- it is largely property law, environmental regulations, and administrative law.  I think a law degree can help you be a much better environmental professional, not sure that having a science background makes one a better environmental attorney to the same degree.

Helix1

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Re: Environmental Science graduate struggling with LSAT prep course
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2010, 01:35:14 PM »
Thanks for your responses, I'm relieved to see that I'm not alone.  As far as my questions, they weren't intended to say "look at me" whatsoever but I do admit that it's hard to think of precise logic being used in a question with dinosaurs around cavemen asking me to find the most scientific explanation.  In my major I took three courses in Environmental Law and also admit that the majority of it seems to revolve around permitting (hardly an Environmental Science).  I was encouraged to see how Environmental Lawyers play a role at the EPA but maybe this is just a small group.  IP Law was my second choice but it doesn't seem to be useful in Environmental Policy and legislation.  Thanks for all of your advice and help again.

Morten Lund

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Re: Environmental Science graduate struggling with LSAT prep course
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2010, 01:59:33 PM »
You might simply consider a broader net of target practice areas.  Most of us change our minds several times during and after law school - my practice is certainly not anything like what I thought it would be when I started school.  Don't go in with specific expectations.

Similarly, just because your past studies are about environmental science, this does not mean that you have to go anywhere near permitting work or IP to put that education to good use.  For instance, my practice area might suit your background well.  I work in the renewable energy field, working on power purchase agreements, construction agreements, financing agreements, etc.  I don't do any permitting work, but environmental issues are central to my practice and prior knowledge would be quite useful.