Law School Discussion

Messy Application and Need Advice

Messy Application and Need Advice
« on: March 23, 2011, 09:58:54 PM »
This will be my first post, so hello.  I'm here because I'm in desperate need of quality advice.  Long story short, I have a somewhat messy academic record.  My lsac gpa is a 2.71 which puts me at a huge disadvantage, I also have 2 absences  from the LSAT because I missed the cancellation deadlines.  When I started college my transcript sucked!!  I racked up 12 w's, 2 F's, and 3 D's  :o.  During the spring semester of my junior I was caught with beer in my dorm room by an RA and I was put on disciplinary probation.  This was my only offense.  I graduated in December with my BA, and my last few semesters were around 3.0's.  My final semester I racked up 19 hours of credit and 6 hours of CLEP with a 3.05 gpa.  SO I know my record sucks so please don't feel the need to rub it in too much.  I'm writing this because I need some good, genuine advice from fellow pre laws and law students.  I'm would like to sign up for the June LSAT, but I don't know if it would even be worth it with my record.  I've spent the last 3 months since graduation trying to figure things out and the conclusion that I've reached is that I want to be an attorney.  I would like to try to avoid T4's mainly because of the employment prospects and ROI.  Would it be possible to gain acceptance anywhere decent, and possibly receive some scholarship money?  Is an LSAT attempt worth it?  I welcome all advice, thanks in advance 

BTW, I have no idea what to put in an addendum, other than that I was an unmotivated lazy a**, who had a hard time adapting to a city larger than 2000.

Re: Messy Application and Need Advice
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2011, 06:53:53 AM »
Well, the first thing I'd suggest is you try one of Kaplan's free simulated LSATs.  That would give you an idea of whether you'd be able to come up with an LSAT score high enough to offset your GPA.

The second thing I'd suggest is start putting into words the reason you decided becoming an attorney was the right path for you.  You might be able to use some of it as part of your personal statement.  From what I understand, it's not unheard of for someone who was unmotivated in undergrad to turn their life around and do well in graduate school.

Good luck!

Re: Messy Application and Need Advice
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2011, 07:04:30 AM »
Hmmm... not sure what to say, here.  It's going to be a fight for you, especially right now.

My first choice school is a 4T (due to location and my personal circumstances), and I was accepted with a 3.01/159.  However, they were wait-listing other applicants.  So, it's competitive now, even for T4s. 

Your GPA is really going to be a hindrance.  Your only shot is to beat the living snot out of the LSAT.  I mean, you will probably need to pull down like a 165 or better unless you can find a place that will read your personal statement.

I wouldn't count too much on that, though.  Admissions is pretty much all based on LSAT and GPA.  The US News Rankings have really reduced it to that and very little else.

As a side note, I applied to a T2 and just got my rejection notice.  I think during other times, I would have gotten in.  (I actually got into the MBA program at the same school, and at the time, the MBA program was #47 in USN&WR.)  However, with the crappy economy, EVERYBODY is applying to law school.  Not just all the recent baccalaureate graduates, but folks with 2 years worth of unemployment benefits, folks who just got let go but have a severance package, etc. 

Down economies produce an abundance of applicants to schools. 

There are certainly schools that will take a chance on you, but they're way down in the 4T.  If you're determined not to go to a 4T school, I don't mean to discourage you, but I don't think you have a realistic shot.

Now, that being said, 4T has a few things going for it.

First, if you graduate first in your class from any school, you will get opportunities.  Might even be able to work biglaw. 

Thing is, you need to graduate maybe 1st, 2nd or 3rd in your class to get those opportunities from a T4, where you might be able to get them with a top 10% from a T2 or a top 20% from a T1.

Second, you CAN transfer.  If you do well in 1L year, there is some T2 school, somewhere, that will let you transfer in.  For transfer applicants, LSAT and GPA are very small factors and sometimes they are complete non-factors.

Now, this only applies if you show up to your T4 school and kick some major butt.  However, if that's not what you're planning on doing, then it won't matter what school you graduate from:  you will not get a job in the law unless your dad's name is on the letterhead of the firm. 

Right now, Law School is a really dog-eat-dog proposition.  Graduate at the top? You'll do well.  If you skate on through and graduate middle of the pack, you're going to be screwed.  It'll basically much worse than a graduate degree in the humanities, because at least with a Ph.D. in Humanities, you can teach somewhere.

Re: Messy Application and Need Advice
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2011, 09:33:00 AM »
A few things:

1.  You will probably need LSAT in 170's for scholarship money at a T4 school.  I don't think you will be offered scholarship at anything higher.  Generally schools offer it to students who up both the LSAT and GPA averages.  You need to be at least 75th % on LSAT and above median GPA, but most require 75th % in both. 

2.  There is a lot of doom and gloom on law student websites about job prospects.  I would bet good money that the employment number for people who graduate in the top 50% of law class, pass the bar, and had at least 1 law-related job experience during law school, is close to 90% within 6 months.  Are they making 100K+? Probably not.  The people with jobs after law school don't have time to get on the internet and complain about job prospects. 

There are often huge disparities in job prospects for different T4 schools that are market specific.  You should identify these rankings before going to law school.  There are many T4 schools that are well respected in their legal communities.  It all depends where you want to live/practice.   

3.  Your addendums will be short and simple.  Your background won't keep you out of law school with an adequate LSAT, which should be your primary focus until you crush it.  Plan on taking a live prep course. It will be a great investment.   

4.  You didn't tell us why you think law school is a good idea for you.  Generally those who go into college thinking they want to be a lawyer do a little better.  Why now? 

5.  Law school applications are down in number by more than 10% right now.  But, the % of people coming in with their eyes wide open to the realities of law school is much higher.  So, even though applications are down, competition for those seats remains tough.