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. RETAKE LSAT QUESTION:
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. SOFT FACTORS NOT REALLY AN ISSUE:
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. GENERAL ADVICE ABOUT LAW SCHOOL:
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. LOCATION:
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. PERSONAL FEELINGS ABOUT SCHOOL:
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:
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. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/business/law-school-grants.html?pagewanted=allREALITY OF LEGAL EDUCATION:
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. RANKINGS AND ANONYMOUS INTERNET POSTERS:
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. http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009
. 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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFBDn5PiL00
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.