Law School Discussion


« on: December 18, 2010, 11:03:01 AM »
Hello, I've already started a forum elsewhere asking about some law school's admissions. I'm trying to apply for a LLM degree in a good university. I'm a US citizen living abroad and about to graduate from my LLB degree. I'm thinking about apply for a LLM program at a good (top-ish) Law School.

My college doesn't provide rankings, but I have a 2.88/3.0 GPA, have been Dean's List every year, very involved in community service (working on a project to educate poor women in their rights- trying to fight violence against women), involved in few EC's (internationally recognized, part of the board of directors), member of a college council aiming to evaluate the academic program/teachers/faculty/structure (I work with my dean and other authorities)..participated in a fair share of forums from international organizations, was awarded a scholarship for a certificate program offered by the national university and an international organization, etc. Have little work experience (like a year), but in non-law related jobs. I'm currently working on my senior thesis. Could have great rec's from teachers and college authorities. My college is very recognized and quite prestigious, so I hope that helps.
I do know people with similar stats attending great schools, but since everyone is different I'd like to know where my chances are? Also, what could I do to improve my chances?

Any opinions on schools I could have a shot at?

« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2010, 02:14:49 PM »
Why'd you choose to study abroad?

As long as the ABA is ok  with your degree you should be fine. I'd ask them.

« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2010, 07:35:44 AM »
I really don't know much about the LLM admissions process.  I did spend a lot of time with the LLMs at HLS and found it to be an awesome group of students - in many ways a bit tighter knit and more fun and definitely harder-partying than the JD class :) It was unusual, though not unheard of for an LLM student to attend straight out of college - most had been practicing for several years in their home countries.  I did know a few who came straight from college though. From what I've been told (by almost certainly biased sources) the HLS LLM program is one of the best and enjoys the widest international recognition.  I do know that the faculty that run the LLM program are truly passionate about the program and the nicest people you'd ever want to meet.

You should try to contact recent alums from your school who are attending or recently finished LLM programs in the states as they will have the most relevant insights for your situation. 


« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2010, 10:59:40 AM »
I studied abroad for personal reasons, related to my family. I did, however, want to study in the states. But untill now I've been able to settle things in a way that will allow me to leave home.

I do know many people that have been studying in the states their LLM's. But they don't really share much of their aces that got them in. That's the main reason I'm wondering if my cv is good enough to apply to a top 25 or better law school. My main handicap is no work experience.

« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2010, 11:32:19 AM »
Your admission will be based almost exclusively on (1) your prior work experience; (2) your LLB GPA / secondary school GPA; (3) the perceived status of your LLB institution / secondary school; (4) your proficiency in the English language.

In order to determine which LLM programs you have a shot at, we would need to know what schools you're going to / have gone to (did you go to secondary school before your LLB?) and how your GPA corresponds to grading systems within the US.  Do you think that you're at the very top of your class, or just average?

Also, I'd say the only thing that could improve your chances would be more work experience.

« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2010, 04:21:19 PM »
1. Lack of work experience is my problem. I did work for about 7 months for the most prestigious government agency in the country, it was an internship not law related. The thing is, we work on quarter system so we really don't have any time off from school. In order to get a job (such as my internship) I had to switch to classes at night. I did however help out an older friend, who is a lawyer, and that was kind of like a job. I've also been a tutor to highschool kids (all subjects).
2. My university is a catholic university, fully accredited and respected abroad. It has several international agreements with universities from the US and Europe (and some other regional schools).
3. In the country I'm living you go to college right out of high school and are able to major in law (LLB degree), is this what you mean? In order to register as an attorney (no bar exams are needed) all I need is to complete the four years of the LLB degree and take a course in ethics provided by the national bar association.
4. We use a 3.0 scale (instead of 4.0 in the States). My GPA is currently 2.88 (I'll be missing the final grade for my thesis, but this is pretty much it) It is quite high, I'd be graduating with Magna Cum Laude honors. I'm hoping to make Summa Cum Laude (which is done with a 2.90 GPA, but with very few grades left it's not for sure.) I've also recieved honors yearly, as I made Dean's List every year. My university doesn't like rankings, so we don't actually have an official ranking. I know for sure no one has a 3.0 GPA, and better GPA's than mine--probably 10 people or less. I am the only student in my class to have had consistent grades throughout law school without dropping any classes ever -hence the Dean's List. I know this not to be considered average in my law school, but not completely the top I guess.

I do know I could get great recs, for I'm highly regarded amongst my professors. And like I mentioned I've got few but good EC's and volunteer work. And although not part of the student government.. I do participate in university comitees (as I mentioned I'm part of the Academic Evaluation and Accreditation Comitee, we make sure the academic curriculum is structured according to international standards and so on).

My family is american, and english is one of my native languages (I have two). We speak both at home. I did elementary and middle school in DODs schools. So I think my english is quite good. I'm not against attending special legal english classes though, or improving my writting skills. But on a whole, I have good proficiency in English.

Most of my classmates did work through all law school as interns, but I wasn't that interested in night classes. Professors at night aren't the same, and they don't teach the same way (usually tired or in a hurry). So usually LLM programs accept graduates from my school right out of college since we work alongside classes.

Is this information good enough? I tried to address your questions as best as possible.

Thank you!

« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2010, 06:40:17 PM »
Work experience dosn't matter that much. It's mainly your degree and GPA. However it is nice frosting, but not the meat&potato's.
If you have volunteer experience that probably means more than work as far as they are concerned anyways.

A guy could have 20 years workexperience making trucks for GM, but that lifetime of work would mean less than a single week of volunteer experience at a legal clinic.

« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2010, 09:32:48 PM »
How do you figure that working as a grease monkey gives someone a heads up in a lawschool application over someone who worked(albeit unpaid) in a lawoffice?

« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2010, 02:39:47 AM »
This is largely true for the JD; your LSAT and GPA will matter most, though the longer you are out of school, the more your work experience and LSAT score will count.  For an international LL.M. candidate, your work experience (both quality and prestige of the position as well as your level of advancement over time), extracurriculars and other soft factors (publications?  government appointments?) will be hugely important to the top programs. 

This is the credited response.  I'll add a bit more:

LLMs are traditionally geared towards attorneys that have been practicing in a particular field for years and legal scholars.  Recently, as the economy went into the shitter, more new law grads started getting LLMs to hide from the economy and stand out from the masses (a stupid choice, IMO).  Nevertheless, LLM programs have ALWAYS put particular empasis on work experience in the legal field.

« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2010, 07:51:22 AM »
"since I'm not an applicant" says the person who isnt even an applicant for the JD yet.(wow!)

This may blow your mind princess, but they give LLM classes in the same halls they give the JD classes and many of my fellow students that I have class with are dual enrolled. That means that the school tells us how to apply and what is required to do so. You don't even need a full JD to be in it, let alone apply and your telling me how LEGAL work has SOME value on a resume for it still means jack for nonlegal work. How do I know this? Reread untill you get it. Dumbass.