Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: I have 3 Years to Get Into Law School (Cross Posted in NTS)  (Read 1473 times)

Jennings7

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
OK. I have quite an odd situation. As the population of this forum seems to be quite knowledgable about all things law school, I figure I'd throw out my odd circumstances and see if I can't get some good guidance.

First, my vitals:
-26 year old male
-UG in Political Science and Public Admin from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (Dec-2009).
-3.18 UG GPA
-Will complete my Master of Science in Sports Administration from Western Kentucky University by early 2014.
-LSAT not taken or prepared for yet.
-I will be applying to law school while still Active Duty in the Army. I'm an infantryman.

It's July 2012 and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I want to go to Marquette University Law School. They have the exact program I'm looking for (Sports Law) and are located within 2 hours of where I'm from (Green Bay, WI). The only other schools I'd even consider are Kansas (Lawrence, KS) and Wayne State (Detroit, MI). Kansas because it's 45 minutes from where I currently live, and Wayne State because it's 30 minutes from where a large chunk of my family and friends live. All 3 schools have similar admissions standards.

My questions of you:

1) Knowing I have roughly 2 years before I even have to start working on admissions paperwork, how do I go about boosting my chances of acceptance at these 3 schools? Keep in mind that if I don't get into 1 of the 3, I simply won't be going to law school. Also keep in mind that I'm active duty Army infantryman until the day I attend law school in Fall 2015, so time restraints come into play.

2) How do I go about making sure I max out my potential on the LSAT? I took a practice LSAT I printed from the LSAC website under the worst possible conditions to establish a baseline. I took the test having exactly NO concept of what the questions were like, how to budget my time, or how long each section was question wise. All I knew is I had 35 minutes to complete each section. I also took it while sitting in bed with no writing surface while various soldiers were making noise within the building and distacting me throughout. Also, did I mention I'm in the middle of Afghanistan in a heavy combat zone? In these terrible conditions, I scored a 144. Median to get into Kansas, Wayne State, and Marquette is 157.

Please give me ANY advice you can on improving my LSAT and boosting my resume so I can maximize my chances of getting into 1 of these 3 schools. Thanks a lot.

FalconJimmy

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 684
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: I have 3 Years to Get Into Law School (Cross Posted in NTS)
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2012, 08:07:52 AM »
Oh, as for the LSAT, I'd say if you can't do a prep-course, get the powerscore books.  Take lots and lots of practice exams.  More than any other factor, this is the most important thing you can do right now.

The amount of scholarship $$$ out there for people with a high LSAT is insane.  Really, I was stunned to see how much $$$ is out there.  If I had known, I'd have prepared for the LSAT a lot more than just taking 3 practice exams.

Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 686
    • View Profile
Re: I have 3 Years to Get Into Law School (Cross Posted in NTS)
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2012, 12:37:49 PM »
Maximizing the LSAT

As FalconJimmy said, takes tons of practice exams and, if possible, a prep course. I wouldn't worry about the prep course until maybe a year or so before the LSAT. When you take practice exams try to take them under actual testing conditions if possible (I realize this may be impossible in your sitution.) Also, really take the time to go over your answers and understand why you got a particular question right or wrong. I marked the problems that gave me the hardest time and specifically went back to those after the practice exam in order to figure them out. When you take enough exams you'll start to see patterns and you'll be able to predict many of the answers. You have lots of time, so you're in a good situation.

Resume

I don't think there is anything you can do that will make your resume look better than it already does. You have great "soft factors", and that will help you. Nonetheless, admission to law school is based almost entirely on GPA/LSAT, so you should focus on scoring the highest possible LSAT.

One last point, OP. I don't know you or your situation, but I think that there are broad general concepts which are applicable to just about everybody when it comes to law school admissions. Among those broad generalities, I believe, is a need to be flexible and realistic. I noticed that you stated that if you don't get into one of three specific schools you just won't go at all. That's fine, but understand that such rigidity will severely limit your choices both during and after law school.  Also, you may want to think about whether or not you really want to be a lawyer after all. Law school is a difficult, expensive, life changing experience. If you really want it, then you may have to make some sacrifices in terms of geography. You might want to check out Detroit-Mercy, Michigan State, and maybe some Chicago schools as well.

You also mentioned that Marquette has a sports law program. One of the funny things I've noticed about law school is that specialty programs usually matter less than you think. The fact is, if you go to Marquette specifically for sports law, there is still a very good chance that you won't end up practicing sports law. My guess is that the sports law market in the midwest is pretty limited (I think most jobs are probably in LA and NYC), and you may have to take another job. I'm not bringing this stuff up in order to be difficult or critical, it's just based on my experience.

If you are flexible and open to various opportunities you will have a better overall experience. Good Luck with everything!

Jennings7

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: I have 3 Years to Get Into Law School (Cross Posted in NTS)
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2012, 01:42:58 PM »
Maximizing the LSAT

Resume

I don't think there is anything you can do that will make your resume look better than it already does. You have great "soft factors", and that will help you. Nonetheless, admission to law school is based almost entirely on GPA/LSAT, so you should focus on scoring the highest possible LSAT.

One last point, OP. I don't know you or your situation, but I think that there are broad general concepts which are applicable to just about everybody when it comes to law school admissions. Among those broad generalities, I believe, is a need to be flexible and realistic. I noticed that you stated that if you don't get into one of three specific schools you just won't go at all. That's fine, but understand that such rigidity will severely limit your choices both during and after law school.  Also, you may want to think about whether or not you really want to be a lawyer after all. Law school is a difficult, expensive, life changing experience. If you really want it, then you may have to make some sacrifices in terms of geography. You might want to check out Detroit-Mercy, Michigan State, and maybe some Chicago schools as well.

You also mentioned that Marquette has a sports law program. One of the funny things I've noticed about law school is that specialty programs usually matter less than you think. The fact is, if you go to Marquette specifically for sports law, there is still a very good chance that you won't end up practicing sports law. My guess is that the sports law market in the midwest is pretty limited (I think most jobs are probably in LA and NYC), and you may have to take another job. I'm not bringing this stuff up in order to be difficult or critical, it's just based on my experience.

Thanks for the great reply Roald! Am I basically maxed out on "soft factors" with the military service and the Master's? If so, then I will just focus on the LSAT and not worry about boosting my resume further. I assume with a good effort in prepping for the LSAT starting about a year out from when I want to take it should yield anything from a 155 and up.

As far as the sports law field, it's important to me that a college such as Marquette would offer it, or else I'd look elsewhere for a school as prestigious but far cheaper that does not offer it. I definitely understand what you're saying as far as not using that specialty even if I do earn it. It just seems to fit perfectly with my Master's in Sports Admin, and would really make the education part of my resume pop. That being said, I'm mainly looking at the 3 schools I mentioned above because of the proximity they offer to family and friends. I'm married, and it's important to my wife we stay within a certain distance of her comfort zone. Michigan St is definitely a school I should have listed. Detroit Mercy...probably not. Any of the Chicago schools minus DePaul would be good. I've also thought about Indianapolis. Seems to be in my range of target schools. Thanks again.

Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 686
    • View Profile
Re: I have 3 Years to Get Into Law School (Cross Posted in NTS)
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2012, 02:23:52 PM »
I know where you're coming from. I went to law school with a wife, kids, and a mortgage. Moving out of the area wasn't an option for me, so I focused on getting the highest possible LSAT score and a scholarship. BTW, that's also something you may want to consider: if you have the option of going to school outside of your ideal geographic region but with a large scholarship, it may be worth it in the long run.

Schools tend to focus heavily on LSAT and GPA for the purposes of scholarships and admissions. Like I said before, your softs are great. They will mostly matter, however, when you are being compared to other applicants with similar numbers. That is why it is imperitive to get the highest LSAT score you can. A high LSAT is often more beneficial than a high GPA. With your GPA and softs, a high LSAT (say, 165+) could probably secure some huge scholarship offers at the schools you've mentioned. You've got a couple of years to prepare, and the LSAT is a learnable, standardized test.

Just wanted to throw a couple of other possibilities out there: Toledo (which I think FalconJimmy mentioned), UW-Madison (depending on LSAT), and maybe some Minnesota schools. I have two friends who went to St. Thomas and had a great experience. I think you said you'll be in Kansas,so maybe Washburn, too.

legend

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 201
    • View Profile
    • legalmatch
Re: I have 3 Years to Get Into Law School (Cross Posted in NTS)
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2012, 02:34:40 PM »
Some good advice so far. However, remember when reading anything on boards like this that the advice is coming from anonymous internet posters my posts included so take it with a grain of salt. Some good advice does seep through, but it is often completely wrong and even when people intend to give advice they no nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you.

With that said I will attempt to give some advice from my own personal law school experience, but take it for what it is worth I am only an anonymous internet poster and for all you know I could be escaped from an insane asylum as could anyone posting on here. A little humor from Michael Scott regarding anonymous internet posters. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFBDn5PiL00

ADMISSIONS
As for the soft factors there really isn't much you can do. Law school is basically about the numbers this website does a better job showing your chances than LSAC in my opinion. lawschoolnumbers.com (you can scholarship money and so forth when decisions came). When I applied I got into Marquette with a 3.2 159 I didn't end up going, but I had roughly the same GPA granted that was years ago. Also like you I took a raw test with no concept of what was going on and got a 145 (I studied pretty regularly no class, but I got it up 14 points and I was working full-time while studying it, but any spare moment I had I would take a practice test. A course might be helpful I never took one maybe I could have done better, but whether you take a score or not you can certainly improve your score. I think most people improve my 10-15 points based on just a blanket practice test like you did.


SPORTS LAW  AND REALITY OF LEGAL EDUCATION
As Roald suggested the specialty programs are a factor to consider, but the reality of legal education is that you learn the same thing everywhere.

At any ABA school from Harvard to X school your first year courses will be Property, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Contracts, Torts, Con Law, and LRW, or at least some variation on that. In Civil Procedure you will read Pennoyer v. Neff, Contracts Hadley v. Baxendale, Torts Palsgraff, the first year curriculum is simply the same at every school you read Supreme Court cases that is law school and you learn the same thing school to school. Those are the MBE subjects, which is National Bar Exam Multiple Choice test, which I think all 50 states use on their state bars so everybody learns in.

In year 2 and 3 you will have some leeway in your course schedule, but I can't imagine to many sports law classes will be offered. Although I think Bud Selig teaches a class at Marquetee, which is awesome. However, I am sure it is extremely difficult to get into the class and Bud Selig's schedule will control he might teach the same time your internship wants you in or some required class for 2L's. Also even if you enroll in Bud Selig's class and get an A+ you probably won't get a job in Sports law or at least not right out of the gate. I personally got the Book Award in Sports Law at my school 2nd highest grade in the class, which is great. However, I was not immediately recruited by NFL, NBA, or MLB teams and I have still never worked a sports law case even though I graduated some time ago.

There simply aren't that many sports law jobs and the few that are there won't be that present in Wisconsin (I know Packers and Brewers), but I am sure every single person in Wisconsin is trying to work there. Not to say that it can be done, but don't base your entire law school aspirations on Sports Law. Furthermore, first year will change your thinking and law school in general. When I enrolled I thought IP law would be awesome and I ended up going to a school with a "ranked" IP program. I took one course in the subject did not enjoy it and then got really into Trial Advocacy, which I never though would have happened. I was pretty scared of public speaking when I was a OL and then I went on to do all kinds of National Mock Trial Competitions for my school and I do trial stuff mostly now. The point is your goals can change my situation is not unique and people often find things they never thought of before. So keep your eyes open.

LOCATION, COST
These are really the most important factors to consider in your education. It sounds like your from Wisconsin and therefore Marquette is a great choice.  No matter where you end up the reality is that where you live will play a bigger role in your law school and legal career than anything else. In law school you will have time to be a human being and you miss family, friends, and so forth. I imagine your experiencing that right now being Active Duty. Those emotions will be there during law school and it looks like you are looking at schools in a general location. Many incoming OL's don't think that through, but military service has probably opened your eyes a little bit.

COST:
Scholarships are plentiful if your above the numbers at certain schools. Lawschoolnumbers.com will give you some insight on what you need to get for scholarships at particular schools. Your military service might help you in that department as well, but I am not an admissions officer so I can't say. Pay attention to the amount your incurring I know my friends in undergrad that served got a lot of tuition you could probably figure out if that applies for law school. (If so that would be phenomenal the outrageous costs are one of the few things I did not enjoy about law school.

PERSONAL FEELINGS ABOUT THE SCHOOL:
Also visit the schools your interested in. When I was a OL I visited a lot of schools and doing mock trial competitions I went to schools I never even heard of or considered and each place had a culture to it. Some I liked and some I did not. Those were my own personal  feelings and you will have your own opinions. What I liked about school X you may have hated Vice Versa. To figure out if a school is for you visit obviously, schedule office hours with a professor, sit in on their class, talk to admins, and see how students interact with eachother. Remember it will be a three year commitment if your turned off by a place during a day visit it will be a long three years.


GREAT THING ABOUT MARQUETTE DEGREE PRIVILEGE

Marquette and Wisconsin boast a 100% degree bar passage rate in Wisconsin. I am sure the faculty would like to say it is due to their tireless efforts, but the Wisconsin State Bar allows you to pass Wisconsin bar without taking it if you graduate from those two schools. This is the only state that does this I believe and when I was shelling out thousands of dollars for ruining an entire summer studying for BarBri I was really kicking myself for not going to Marquette. That is just a real pro about Marquette specifically ( I am almost positive this still exists, but again check it out the law school knows better than I do.)

ONE WAY TO SAVE 1,000 OR SO DOLLAR ON APPLICATION FEES WHEN YOU GET BACK:
I remember when I was applying LSAC held forums that each law school attended. I honestly just went to about every booth the Harvard, Yale, Stanford booths were packed full of people, but the other 197 or so booths were wide open and having a 3.2/159 I knew Harvard, Yale, Stanford were out of the question I talked to a bunch of schools Marquette included and many gave me fee waivers there, or sent me an e-mail (mass generated to anyone taht wrote their LSAC number down on the sign-in sheet) and I applied to 25 schools and didn't pay for a single application. I also wrote down that I visited their school at the forum in their applications, which may have given me a brownie point (and I got into almost all the schools I applied to even a few that were slightly above my range, but I was realistic with my applications.) If those are still around they are great way to save money on application fees. (Maybe the military will pay for those though and no need to worry just some extra advice)

CONCLUSION:
With a 3.2, military service, and a 144 (raw test) you can probably get into Marquette if you prepare for the LSAT. I am also pretty sure they have done away with averaging LSAT scores and even if you don't do as well as you want when you get back you can re-take even while your application is pending. Check with Marquette and the other schools you listed.

Hopefully some of this info was helpful, but everything I said could be 100% wrong my intent on here is good, but I can't possibly know all the variables in your life or what is best for you and neither can any other anonymous internet poster. Furthermore, anyone posting on this board or others (myself included) could be full of it (there are no repercussions for making stuff up on this board or others, or giving horrible advice, etc, etc. Always remember your law school decision is 3 years of YOUR LIFE, 100k or more of YOUR MONEY, and YOUR LEGAL CAREER. Use your gut and common sense when making this decision.

Good luck and thank you for your service. 

Jennings7

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: I have 3 Years to Get Into Law School (Cross Posted in NTS)
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2012, 01:05:10 AM »
ADMISSIONS
As for the soft factors there really isn't much you can do. Law school is basically about the numbers this website does a better job showing your chances than LSAC in my opinion. lawschoolnumbers.com (you can scholarship money and so forth when decisions came). When I applied I got into Marquette with a 3.2 159 I didn't end up going, but I had roughly the same GPA granted that was years ago. Also like you I took a raw test with no concept of what was going on and got a 145 (I studied pretty regularly no class, but I got it up 14 points and I was working full-time while studying it, but any spare moment I had I would take a practice test. A course might be helpful I never took one maybe I could have done better, but whether you take a score or not you can certainly improve your score. I think most people improve my 10-15 points based on just a blanket practice test like you did.


SPORTS LAW  AND REALITY OF LEGAL EDUCATION
As Roald suggested the specialty programs are a factor to consider, but the reality of legal education is that you learn the same thing everywhere.

At any ABA school from Harvard to X school your first year courses will be Property, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Contracts, Torts, Con Law, and LRW, or at least some variation on that. In Civil Procedure you will read Pennoyer v. Neff, Contracts Hadley v. Baxendale, Torts Palsgraff, the first year curriculum is simply the same at every school you read Supreme Court cases that is law school and you learn the same thing school to school. Those are the MBE subjects, which is National Bar Exam Multiple Choice test, which I think all 50 states use on their state bars so everybody learns in.

In year 2 and 3 you will have some leeway in your course schedule, but I can't imagine to many sports law classes will be offered. Although I think Bud Selig teaches a class at Marquetee, which is awesome. However, I am sure it is extremely difficult to get into the class and Bud Selig's schedule will control he might teach the same time your internship wants you in or some required class for 2L's. Also even if you enroll in Bud Selig's class and get an A+ you probably won't get a job in Sports law or at least not right out of the gate. I personally got the Book Award in Sports Law at my school 2nd highest grade in the class, which is great. However, I was not immediately recruited by NFL, NBA, or MLB teams and I have still never worked a sports law case even though I graduated some time ago.

LOCATION, COST
These are really the most important factors to consider in your education. It sounds like your from Wisconsin and therefore Marquette is a great choice.  No matter where you end up the reality is that where you live will play a bigger role in your law school and legal career than anything else. In law school you will have time to be a human being and you miss family, friends, and so forth. I imagine your experiencing that right now being Active Duty. Those emotions will be there during law school and it looks like you are looking at schools in a general location. Many incoming OL's don't think that through, but military service has probably opened your eyes a little bit.

COST:
Scholarships are plentiful if your above the numbers at certain schools. Lawschoolnumbers.com will give you some insight on what you need to get for scholarships at particular schools. Your military service might help you in that department as well, but I am not an admissions officer so I can't say. Pay attention to the amount your incurring I know my friends in undergrad that served got a lot of tuition you could probably figure out if that applies for law school. (If so that would be phenomenal the outrageous costs are one of the few things I did not enjoy about law school.

PERSONAL FEELINGS ABOUT THE SCHOOL:
Also visit the schools your interested in. When I was a OL I visited a lot of schools and doing mock trial competitions I went to schools I never even heard of or considered and each place had a culture to it. Some I liked and some I did not. Those were my own personal  feelings and you will have your own opinions. What I liked about school X you may have hated Vice Versa. To figure out if a school is for you visit obviously, schedule office hours with a professor, sit in on their class, talk to admins, and see how students interact with eachother. Remember it will be a three year commitment if your turned off by a place during a day visit it will be a long three years.


GREAT THING ABOUT MARQUETTE DEGREE PRIVILEGE

Marquette and Wisconsin boast a 100% degree bar passage rate in Wisconsin. I am sure the faculty would like to say it is due to their tireless efforts, but the Wisconsin State Bar allows you to pass Wisconsin bar without taking it if you graduate from those two schools. This is the only state that does this I believe and when I was shelling out thousands of dollars for ruining an entire summer studying for BarBri I was really kicking myself for not going to Marquette. That is just a real pro about Marquette specifically ( I am almost positive this still exists, but again check it out the law school knows better than I do.)

ONE WAY TO SAVE 1,000 OR SO DOLLAR ON APPLICATION FEES WHEN YOU GET BACK:
I remember when I was applying LSAC held forums that each law school attended. I honestly just went to about every booth the Harvard, Yale, Stanford booths were packed full of people, but the other 197 or so booths were wide open and having a 3.2/159 I knew Harvard, Yale, Stanford were out of the question I talked to a bunch of schools Marquette included and many gave me fee waivers there, or sent me an e-mail (mass generated to anyone taht wrote their LSAC number down on the sign-in sheet) and I applied to 25 schools and didn't pay for a single application. I also wrote down that I visited their school at the forum in their applications, which may have given me a brownie point (and I got into almost all the schools I applied to even a few that were slightly above my range, but I was realistic with my applications.) If those are still around they are great way to save money on application fees. (Maybe the military will pay for those though and no need to worry just some extra advice)

CONCLUSION:
With a 3.2, military service, and a 144 (raw test) you can probably get into Marquette if you prepare for the LSAT. I am also pretty sure they have done away with averaging LSAT scores and even if you don't do as well as you want when you get back you can re-take even while your application is pending. Check with Marquette and the other schools you listed.

Hopefully some of this info was helpful, but everything I said could be 100% wrong my intent on here is good, but I can't possibly know all the variables in your life or what is best for you and neither can any other anonymous internet poster. Furthermore, anyone posting on this board or others (myself included) could be full of it (there are no repercussions for making stuff up on this board or others, or giving horrible advice, etc, etc. Always remember your law school decision is 3 years of YOUR LIFE, 100k or more of YOUR MONEY, and YOUR LEGAL CAREER. Use your gut and common sense when making this decision.

Good luck and thank you for your service.

Thanks for the great and detailed reply legend. I'll stay objective about the advice I'm getting, and make my own choices in the end.

As far as tuition and cost consideration go, I'm extremely conscious of that. I have a wife (no kids), and I do not under any circumstances want to saddle us with 100K or more in debt. 60-70K is pretty much my cut off when it comes to how much debt I'm willing to incur. Marquette is the exception simply because it's in the state I want to practice in, AND has the program I'd like to study (regardless of career relevance).

I'm less concerned about regional considerations. I absolutely would prefer to stay in the Wisconsin/Michigan/Minnesota/Illinois area, but I'd definitely consider a different area if the tutition and program were right. I very much want to be a lawyer, but I'm probably not going to allow myself to incur 100K in debt or attend a bottom feeder school like Cooley to do it. I'm not going to be super picky, but I do have certain standards I won't drop. More and more I'm leaning toward the University of Kansas. The admission standards are roughly the same as Marquette, Michigan St, Wayne State, etc...but the tuition is insanely reasonable. I believe it's something like 15-17K a year for resistents. Since I'm stationed at Fort Riley, KS when I'm not deployed, Lawrence is only 45 minutes away. I could be insanely familiar and comfortable with the school by the time I'd actually attend, and would only have to move myself and my wife a few miles down the road. Kansas is almost neck and neck with Marquette as far as where I'd prefer to go.

That being said, would you recommend my traveling to Kansas and meeting with any staff/admissions people, etc? It seems like it would be easy to do and may even increase my chance of admission if I turn out to be a marginal candidate.

legend

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 201
    • View Profile
    • legalmatch
Re: I have 3 Years to Get Into Law School (Cross Posted in NTS)
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2012, 01:39:54 PM »
Sorry for the endless typos I cannot help myself from posting on this board. However, I get a bit long winded and I simply do not have time to proofread it.

This is just my anonymous internet poster opinion, but if you want to live in Wisconsin then going to Marquette is probably the best option if the Degree Privilege still exists as this will save you 10,000-20,000 guarantee if not more.

As messed up as it is after paying 100,000 or more for law school you then have to pay BarBri, Kaplan, or some other organization another 5,000 or something like that to take their course and as you study for 40-50 days you can't really work or if you do it is sparingly. Then as you wait for results your not as marketable as you could be and there is a real possibility of failing the first time, second time, or never passing at all. The degree privilege is something to really consider if you want to live in Wisconsin not having to worry about the bar during law school and after would be amazing. (If that program is still around-call the schools to make sure.

SCHOLARSHIPS:
Almost all schools offer scholarships if your above the numbers, BUT there is a catch almost all of them have stringent conditions to keep for all three years. So even if you get a scholarship they may require you to keep a 3.0, which might sound easy, but in law school generally only 35% of the first year class can have a 3.0 and everyone in law school is pretty smart and 100% of people think they will be in the top 35%. This NY times articles does a good job explaining it. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/business/law-school-grants.html?pagewanted=all . People this out to be a fraud, but I just think law students need to be aware and if someone is offering you 100,000 there are probably strings attached general rule in life if there is 100,000 being offered to ask what does it entail. Don't be like the students in this article and just assume everything will work out.

IN-STATE TUITION:
At schools that offer In-state tuition there is no need to worry about the conditions and I know there are several that do it sounds like Kansas is one and almost any school offering in-state tuition minus the California ones (as they are more expensive than the private schools in California) is a good deal.

The reason is the cheap tuition is guaranteed unlike the scholarship scenario listed above where if you don't meet the condition year 2/3 are full price. One option I personally almost for savings was attend South Dakota Law school it is or at least was the cheapest law school in the country something like 7,000 a year in tuition and cost of living is minimal. It is an ABA school and therefore you could take the bar in any-state and South Dakota has something like 95% passage rate as well. If you could handle SD (maybe you can that is your personal opinion) then that is a good way to get out with minimal debt.

VISITING THE SCHOOLS:
You mentioned visiting Kansas and the answer in my anonymous internet poster opinion is always visit a school your interested in. Not only will give have an insight into whether the place is right for you remember it is a 3 year, 100k investment, that will have a significant impact on your legal career. Therefore, you should take the time to visit and see if you like it.

It also can't hurt your admissions chance by showing up as long as you act like a normal human being. Law schools receive thousands of applications and they want to fill their seats and extend offers to people they think are likely to come. That added effort might give you some brownie points it won't make or break your admission chances, but it certainly won't hurt.


NO SUCH THING AS BOTTOM FEEDER SCHOOLS IN MY OPINION:

I think this is one of the worst things about anonymous internet posters there is a great deal of negative comments towards particular schools. I personally know nothing about Cooley and I have ever been to Michigan so I won't speak about Cooley and most of the random stuff attacking it appears to come from people who know nothing about the school.

I see this kind of stuff on the internet all the time attacking particular schools, but in my experience when I am litigating a case I could care less where they went to school and I usually don't even know. There are good lawyers and bad lawyers and if you forget to file your complaint on time they are not extend the statute of limitations because you went to Harvard. It seems that law students, OL's, and anonymous internet posters are far more concerned about school ranks and so forth. I went to a mid-level school and it hasn't helped or hurt me. Clients care if they get a result they are not coming to hear you say that you went to the 48th best school etc.

Therefore, if Cooley does offer you full tuition and reasonable conditions it might be something to consider particularly if you want to live in Michigan. As I mentioned before legal education is essentially identical at every school. First year is Torts, Crim Law, Con Law, Crim Pro, Civ Pro, LRW, Contracts, Property, and some variation on that. Then your going to want to take Wills & Trusts, Tax, Corporations, Evidence, (Need to take Professional Responsibility everywhere I believe), Appellate Advocacy (generally good to know basics of writing an appeal-Citation etc) and Trial Advocacy (in my opinion just good to know the basics of trial) and that sums about 2/3 of your legal education. I imagine every single ABA school Cooley included would offer those courses.

What you learned in those courses would be the same anywhere you might have a more dynamic professor at Harvard, but there is only one way to explain Will Revocation, Personal Jurisdiction, Consideration, etc. The legal principles are identical no matter where you learn them.

My main point is never address any school as a bottom feeder. There is a good chance the judge your arguing in front of may have gone to some school you consider a bottom feeder and if they hear that it won't go well for you. In the legal profession treat everyone with respect it goes a long way and I don't know how many lawyers shoot themselves in the foot by thinking they are better because of X. Be nice to the court clerks, bailiff, law student interns, etc. In law school I worked for a couple judges and on issues behind close doors they woudl talk to the clerks, bailiff, interns, and a judge would listen to what these people had to say. One lawyer I still remember screamed at the court clerk and he just an a-hole every time I saw him and of course that day the judge asked the clerk what she though and she relayed the story of the lawyer being an a-hole to her that. He lost I have no idea what school he went to or anything maybe Harvard -maybe Cooley, it didn't matter he was disrespectful and it cost his client a lot of money.

 After seeing that I learned to be nice and courteous to everyone first simple because you should. Second you never know who those people are speaking to. They can certainly help you out and they have on many occasions when I didn't dot an I or cross a T entirely my fault, but by simply being nice and respectful people will help you. 

So point of that is don't refer to schools as bottom-feeders or think the law has some prestige element to it. Many law students and new lawyers think they are somehow special because they went to X school or got an A in contracts, but none of that matters when your trying to get a client a result.

CONCLUSION:
Again remember everything I or anyone else says could be complete B.S. so take it with a grain of salt, but if you want to be in Wisconsin the degree privilege is a phenomenal deal. Also consider scholarship offers from ALL schools, but be wary of conditions. Visit the schools and see if it is a fit for you. The point of my last rant is something I feel so many OL's, law students, etc don't understand is that the Law is a Service Industry and never degrade another school, attorney, or anyone else. It can really cost you in the long and your client won't know or care that you went to X school or got an A in Contracts.

When someone is coming to a lawyer they have a concern and they want it resolved. If you get it done they are happy if you don't their not.

Good luck in your law school career and again thank you for your service.




Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 686
    • View Profile
Re: I have 3 Years to Get Into Law School (Cross Posted in NTS)
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2012, 03:22:30 PM »
That's some of the best advice I've ever seen on this board.

The fact is, legal education has been standardized to an astonishing degree. The classes at Harvard and Cooley, for example, are almost identical, especially during the all-important first year. That's the entire point of ABA accreditation. It allows potential students like yourself, OP, to rest assured that a school has met minimum requirements ranging from bar pass rates, to long term financial stability, to faculty hiring practices. Acquiring ABA accreditation takes years of planning, making constant improvements based on ABA site-evaluation team reports, and costs millions of dollars. It's not like getting your driver's license, and it's hardly the stuff of "bottom feeder" institutions.

I've worked at offices where graduates of Ivy League law schools worked alongside grads from T4s. The only thing anyone cared about was skill and performance. Most actual attorneys I've met, as opposed to law students or 0Ls, seem to have mellowed out on the whole rankings/prestige kick. They work with other lawyers from a variety of educational backgrounds and realize that there are good and bad lawyers from all ranks. The first judge I ever appeared in front of graduated from an unaccredtited law school.

This is why I believe that the USNWR rankings scheme has been so detrimental to legal education. Non-scientific, subjective criteria are used to rank schools which leads students to spend tons of money on degrees from schools that are not elite anyway, but are simply ranked higher than another school. Trust me, going to the #74 school will not impress anyone more than going to the #136 school. The rankings utterly fail to take into account the uniformity of the education offered at each. Places like Harvard and Yale will always be in a class by themselves, they were long before USNWR came out. The absurdity, however, is drawing tiny, minute, meaningless differences between non-elite local schools and then proclaiming that one is better than the other. Ridiculous.

OP, just remember two things:

1) You may not do as well as you'd like on the LSAT, and may have to attend a school that's not as prestigious as you'd like. Would you consider yourself a "bottom feeder"? I wouldn't.

2) You may do just fine on the LSAT, get into Marquette and spend three years working your ass off to get that JD. After all that hard work, there are snobs who will brush you aside because they consider Marquette a "bottom feeder" school. I think that's absurd.

Jennings7

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: I have 3 Years to Get Into Law School (Cross Posted in NTS)
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2012, 02:07:54 AM »
Thanks for all the great advice legend and roald. The stuff you guys are contributing is exactly what I was hoping for when I created this thread.

That being said, I shouldn't have called out "bottom feeder" schools. I should have been more eloquent in what I was trying to say. What I meant was I'd probably not settle for going to an expensive school that also has little or no prestige. I understand prestige is super subjective when it comes to law schools, so I'd have to be careful in my assumptions. My goal is to get 160-165 on the LSAT and get into a school ranked anywhere from 75-125. I'd be just as likely to go to a school ranked 115 as I would the 76th ranked school if the cost, tuition, or location were better. I'm not overly picky on rankings. I just have a very broad range. I'd rather not go out of that range if I can help it.