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Author Topic: In a holding pattern...  (Read 694 times)

wjo9522

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In a holding pattern...
« on: December 01, 2011, 09:57:34 AM »
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Background: I have served 18+ years in the US Marine Corps and was recently selected for one more promotion.  I can retire with a decent pension in two years, but for pay purposes, I'm sticking it out to the 22-year mark.  The next four years will definitely require me to move the family to the Mojave Desert of California, where I will leave them while while I deploy back to Afghanistan (for my fourth combat deployment).  You can probably imagine that the thrill and excitement of the job don't appeal to me as much as they used to; the writing is on the wall that it will soon be time to retire.  Nowadays, I find myself reading about, talking about, and researching my law school prospects.  Thanks to Thane Messinger, I now understand where I am going and how I will get there.   

Knowing what I do now, I'd hate to 'waste' the next four years twiddling my thumbs just waiting for that retirement date.  With this in mind, I looked into a couple of MA (Distance ED) programs, which I might be able to complete prior to my USMC--LS transition.  The one which stands out to me is the Legal Studies M.A. from University of Illinois, Springfield. http://www.uis.edu/legalstudies/curriculum/mastersonline.html  As an Illinois resident/veteran, all my tuition and fees for a state-funded university are waived.  So, my next 120 S/H of school are essentially FREE...including LS (if I go to one of the state-funded LS in Illinois).  UIUC is my target LS.

I realize that the UG GPA/LSAT are the most important admissions factors and I believe that my bases are covered there.  What I am wondering is if this or any type of MA program worth the effort in the long run (such as in LS/or in the career itself); or should I be focused elsewhere?  Recommendations?
William J. Orr
Chief Warrant Officer
US Marine Corps-Active
1993-2015
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jonlevy

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Re: In a holding pattern...
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2011, 11:13:10 PM »
I instruct at an online accredited MSLS (MS in Legal Studies) program at a well known university. Some students do take it as a prep for law school. Most for some sort of job or career advancement. It is not the same curriculum as law school but does introduce you to the law. If you can justify the time involved it may be worth it. In theory it might enhance your job prospects and/or admission to law school. The UIS curriculum looks about right to me.

Government employees and paralegals seem to get the most out of the Masters in Legal Studies programs. In the alternative you might look at a Masters in Criminal Justice or Public Administration online program.

wjo9522

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Re: In a holding pattern...
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2011, 10:07:25 PM »
Good enough; thanks Jon.  I definitely have the time to complete the program--and it is free!
William J. Orr
Chief Warrant Officer
US Marine Corps-Active
1993-2015
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FalconJimmy

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Re: In a holding pattern...
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2011, 10:21:35 AM »
In your shoes, one path I'd think about would be:
1.  Putting LSAT prep VERY HIGH on your priorities.  Maybe spend as much as 6 months to a year prepping for it.

2.  The other factor is that your grades, especially your 1L grades (plus maybe first semester of 2L grades) are going to be a huge part of your destiny.  It's possible for you to learn 80-90% of your first year material on your own.  Even just reading through all the E&Es would be huge.  Throw in some Gilberts, etc., and you could really be on to something.  Heck, if you're going to have the time to do it, why not get one of these distance JDs?  Or at least complete the first year's worth.  Use your military tuition reimbursement.

I think most JDs would say that if they could do it all over again, they could pull down much better grades the 2nd time.  I was able to get through the entire E&E on Torts before the semester started and it was my easiest subject this semester.  (Obviously no exam, yet, but we'll see when the grades come in.)  Subjects where I didn't learn it all prior to start of class?  Harder, much harder.

3.  Your deployment?  Will your family basically be at the same place prior to/after?  If so, look into part-time programs within driving distance.  Sometimes that's easier said than done.  There are gigantic swaths of metropolitan America that do NOT have a night program for law.  (Dallas comes to mind... they'd have to drive all the way to Fort Worth.)  Part of the difficulty of law school is the sheer volume of material covered.  If you could take, say, 2 classes at a time, that's a lot easier than taking 5.  Then, when you retire, you could have, say, only 2 years of law school to go, or maybe a year and a half.

Best of luck and thank you for your service.

Hamilton

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Re: In a holding pattern...
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2011, 06:52:22 PM »
Nothing to add but a heartfelt Thank You and God bless you for your service to this country.  We appreciate it.