Law School Discussion

National Scholar

National Scholar
« on: July 02, 2012, 01:40:35 PM »

Re: National Scholar
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2012, 08:41:11 PM »
Im not saying this to be mean but re-take the lsat. You might as well try to get a higher score since it is too late to apply for the cycle that just passed. You have until October to prepare. While you have good softs, they dont really matter in the end. I got a full tuition scholly at the T2(tier 1 now I guess) school that I applied to. I have very poor softs. People with awesome softs, same GPA and 1 point lower lsat score received substantially less money at my school(half tuition). 1 fricking point lower. Its counter intuitive I know, but it is the way it is.

The lsat is simply the most important factor, followed by GPA(you have a good one), and then URM status. Maybe military service or staring a successful business gives you a small boost but outside of that most softs dont matter.

Re: National Scholar
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2012, 03:18:30 AM »
but their probabilities don't take softs into account

Are you a URM?  That might matter.  Beyond that, forget softs.  If you don't have the numbers, you're not getting in. 

National Scholar
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2012, 05:27:15 AM »
Thank you for your insights and comments.  Logically I knew what the responses would be to my post (I have already registered to retake the LSAT in October. Thankfully it's not that big of a deal since I'm a senior and wasn't planning on applying until the 2012-2013 cycle anyway), but emotionally I was hoping I would get lucky and find someone with insider knowledge on a particular school that would say "No worries, school X loves Trumans!" or "Given your resume and diversity, school X would love to have you!"  Ahh the wishful thinking of 0Ls!  :D

Seriously though, I know I can do better on the LSAT if I give myself ample time to study (this spring/summer has been crazy with scholarship applications and interviews, internships, leadership weeks, etc.). I just wasn't able to put in the effort I know I should have.  With that said, do any of you know if there are schools out there who still average multiple LSAT scores, or do they all simply take the highest score into consideration?

Thanks again for your responses!

Re: National Scholar
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2012, 10:09:50 AM »
You're a classic "splitter", just like I was, and that makes it difficult to predict where you might get in. My numbers were the reverse of yours, I had a high LSAT/average GPA. Check out the Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools, its available for free on LSAC's website. They provide grids for each school, and you can look at your approximate GPA/LSAT profile and see how many applied with similar numbers and how many were accepted. It'll give you a good idea as to what your chances are at a given school.

The thing about places like Berkeley is that they have enough highly qualified applicants with high GPAs, high LSATs, and impressive soft factors that they don't really have any incentive to lower the admissions criteria for a particular student. Your soft factors are good, and will mostly help you stand out among similarly qualified applicants. Remember, the question isn't "How does my application look in a vacuum?", it's "How does my application compare to the other applicants?". The reality of law school admissions is that GPA and LSAT scores dominate, and soft factors will be taken into account, if at all, later.

Re-taking the LSAT might be a good idea in your case. Try to figure out why you got 154, and realistically assess whether or not you think you can do better. Personally, I found practice tests to be more useful than just studying. If you take enough of them you'll start to see patterns and you'll be able to predict the answers. On the other hand, if you feel that you put your best effort into the test the first time you may want to forego re-taking it and focus on identifying schools that you can get into. If you really want a top 20 school you'll need to raise that score significantly, maybe around 165 for the bottom end of the top 20 and more like 165-170 for the higher end. Think about whether or not that's realistic.

Lastly, a word about rankings. Outside of a few truly elite schools (Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and maybe 5 or 6 others), the vast majority of law schools have regional or local reputations. The fact that a school is ranked Tier 1 by US News does not mean that it is necessarily a better choice than a school that is ranked lower. Plenty of T1 schools are essentially local. For example, Pepperdine is ranked T1. Do you think that a Pepperdine grad who shows up in NYC after graduation has a better shot at obtaining employment over a local St. John's grad just because Pepperdine is ranked T1?

My point is this: try not to get too caught up in rankings. Depending on what you want to do with your degree, there are probably local schools like Northeastern and UConn that will be just as useful to you as a random, non-elite top 20. If you get into Harvard or Yale, that's a different story. But if you end up confronted with a choice betweeen a scholarship at a local school vs. $150,000 of debt at a non-elite (but higher ranked) school, think seriously about the scholarship.

Also, what do you want to do with your degree? That should help you decide where to apply.

I hope that helped, sorry if it was rambling. Good Luck!


Re: National Scholar
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2012, 03:33:44 PM »
This is a no brainer.  Retake. Don't waste that GPA.


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Re: National Scholar
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2012, 08:31:00 PM »
Before I say anything realize that I am nothing more than an anonymous internet poster as is everyone else that has posted. As anonymous posters  anything I or anyone else says can be 100% wrong and there is no consequence.  So the main thing I can convey to you is that when deciding what law school is best for YOU take everything you read on the internet under heavy scrutiny.

The reality is most people do not perform as well as they would like to on the LSAT. GPA might be some indication of LSAT performance, but the LSAT tests a very specific skill and you may not be in the top 10% of test takers. There is nothing wrong with that 90% of LSAT takers don't finish in the top 10% and that is what you would need to get int Boalt.

If you want to go to law school I would apply with your current score. The longer you put off law school the more likely life will get in the way. A new job will come up, you will start a relationship, have a kid, a parent will get sick, or you may simply not do as well as you would like on the LSAT the 2nd, 3rd, 4th time you take it. The reality is 90% of all lawyers did not attend T14 schools.

Therefore, this would be the best course of action in my anonymous internet poster opinion. Apply with your current numbers and schedule yourself for the October and February LSAT. If you pull a 170 then alter you plan, but if you come away with a 154 or 156 etc your applications are already out and you can enroll. I am almost certain schools have done away with averaging LSAT scores, but check with individual schools. If that is the case you are in an everything to gain and nothing to lose situation.

Again I am only an anonymous internet poster, but I have been to law school and most people have done some impressive things in their lives. At every ABA school there a lot of smart, hard-working, motivated people. I don't know what the Truman scholar is and I imagine most law school admissions committees don't either. It won't hurt you, but all 5,000 applicants to every school across the country have impressive academic credentials one award will not stick out more than the next.

Therefore, admissions really is a numbers game. The committee simply cannot sift through 1,000's of applications in great detail they might claim they do, but law school admissions officers are people and we all want to do great job and say we will, but when a stack of 3,000 applications is on your desk you have to sift through efficiently and looking at the numbers is the best way that.

When making your law school decision you should really consider location, cost, and your personal feeling about each school opposed to anything anonymous internet posters like myself, or for-profit, unregulated, magazines offering an opinion like U.S. thinks.


Law school does not exist in a vacuum and you will have time to be a human being in law school. If you move across country from your friends, family, and everything you know hustle into some apartment in a city your unfamiliar with all while trying to grasp the nuances of Covenants, easements, and RAP it is going to be tough on you. However, you might be the type of person that can handle that type of situation, but you might not be. Whether you can or can't is a question only you can answer.

Furthermore, if you go to school cross country odds are you will be stuck there the rest of your life even if you don't want to be. Over three years you will make friends, get a relationship, apartment, all that stuff and your roots will be established in X city. All your professors will have connections in that city, the internships you do will be in that city, etc. If you go to law school in California it will be difficult to get back to the Northeast. Some people manage it, but use your common sense and you can see how after 3 years it will be difficult to simply move across country.

Each school has a culture to it. When I was a OL I visited a lot of schools and some really rubbed me the wrong way and others I really liked. Does this mean the schools I didn't like are horrible places that nobody should ever attend? Absolutely not people have different opinions and what I hated you may have liked and vice versa.

So visit the schools you are interested in speak with students, professors, admins, and see how you feel about the people you interact with. If you can't stand a visit it will be a long three years.

Cost is a very real consideration and if scholarships are available consider them. However, if you are awarded scholarships be aware of the conditions that are imposed. Most schools will require you to maintain a 3.0 which generally means you need to be in the top 35% of the class. Individuals that enroll in law school were stars in undergrad and 100% of them are certain they will be in the top 35% of the class. You do not need  a degree in Advanced Mathematics to see what happens in this scenario 65% of students are wrong and there is a 65% chance you will not be in the top 35%. This is no insult to you, but simply the reality of legal education. This NY times article does a good job explaining it.

Realistically whatever ABA school you attend you will learn the same thing. Your first year will be torts, contracts, property, civil procedure, criminal law, criminal procedure, con law, and LRW. There might be some slight variation on that, but those are the courses you will learn and that is the stuff that is on the MBE which is the multiple choice test of the bar administered in every state.

At whatever law school you attend you will read Palsgraff in torts, Pennoyer in Civ Pro, Miranda in Crim Pro, and Hadley v. Baxendale in contracts. It really is the same at every school granted you may have a more engaging professor at Harvard, but the law is the law period.

So many OL's think the rankings are some magical publication that should be listened to above all else, but use your common sense. The rankings are published by U.S. News which is a magazine offering an opinion they publish more than just law school rankings. . U.S. News has ranked Albuquerque as the best place to live should you alter your entire life and move there? Probably not.

Sure maybe Albuquerque is more interesting and consider U.S. News, but do not make a life altering decision based on what a magazine says. Furthermore, do not make life altering decisions based on what anonymous internet posters on this board or others say. You have no idea who is writing this stuff for all you know I could be recently escaped from an insane asylum as could anyone else posting on here. So talk to your friends, lawyers in your area, and people directly when making this life altering decision. I realize the internet is the easiest place to access information, but it is also the least reliable source there is. Michael Scott can explain why

The most important thing when choosing a law school is to realize wherever you go it will be 3 years of YOUR life, 100,000 or more of YOUR money, and YOUR legal career. Make decisions based on your personal experiences, use your gut, and apply common sense.

I would recommend applying as planned then scheduling October and February LSAT for the reasons above. Do not be discouraged if you don't get a 170 most people don't and if you end up enrolling in law school it will be the first of many times you do not perform as well as you expect.

However, everything I said could be 100% wrong I have good intentions when posting on here and I feel that I picked up a few things having gone through law school, but I am not some ultimate source and nobody is particularly on YOUR life. You know better than anyone else what is best for you. Trust yourself when making this life-altering choice.

Good luck to you.

Re: National Scholar
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2012, 11:51:52 AM »
@ legend. Very informative post. Thank you.

Re: National Scholar
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2012, 04:33:03 PM »
Thank you all for your time and sound advice.  Each of you have contributed to my inner debate and eventual decision and I appreciate the wisdom and experiences you have shared! 

I will be retaking in Oct. (I have an LSAC fee waiver, so why not?).  I will have the opportunity to study harder and take many more practice tests than I did previously.  If I get a significantly higher score, great! If not, I'm pretty certain I won't do worse so no harm, no foul.

As for the rankings, I agree with many of the posters and have re-evaluated my original desires.  I would still love to attend Berkeley (and I will still apply), but I know that I would like to stay in the Northeast and will be focusing my search for a law school here. 

Again, I thank you all for responding to my post.  Although, like Legend so eloquently put, you are all anonymous posters - I believe you offered your advice and opinions with the intention of being helpful and that is exactly what you each have been!



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Re: National Scholar
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2012, 06:15:50 PM »
Glad it was helpful and not to say the rankings mean nothing certainly Berkeley is a world-renowned school, but legal education is legal education and don't obsess about the rankings.

As for the anonymous internet posters some solid advice can come through and it did on this thread, but remember take everything you read out there with a heavy dose of reality and remember this phrase, "Those who know the least know it the loudest." When you see someone blabbering away about how THEY KNOW how it works, or X school is Terrible, or BUSH is a Terrorist, OBAMA is a Socialist(Muslim) Terrorist. The people shouting or posting those things know it quite loudly and I for one can see quite a few flaws in their reasoning, but that is my opinion.

Therefore, if one law student had a bad experience at Creighton law school they can't speak for everyone at Creighton school and they certainly shouldn't be telling someone in Maine that law school is a terrible, awful, choice. However, the internet allows one person to state that they know every nook and cranny nation & world-wide about everything and sometimes some valuable knowledge does seep through on these boards, but a lot of it is complete B.S. including a lot of what I post. I assure you anyone that has hours to spend anonymously typing on the internet this includes me should be scrutinized.

I personally sincerely want to help OL's, because I remember the fear of it all, but there is a very real chance everything I post is completely wrong.

Good luck on your decision and on the next LSAT administration.