Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: 2.9 GPA-Looking to get into ASU Law or USD  (Read 3560 times)

ConnorBringas

  • Guest
2.9 GPA-Looking to get into ASU Law or USD
« on: October 30, 2012, 01:29:28 PM »
Good Morning,

This is my first post in this forum. I am excited to start studying for the LSAT and would like to know my chances at getting into these schools. I have done quite a bit of research and have come to the conclusion that I need between a 160-165 to get in. Is this accurate? Can anyone tell me more about these two schools-law students or recent graduates.

Thank you in advance,

Connor Bringas

Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 638
    • View Profile
Re: 2.9 GPA-Looking to get into ASU Law or USD
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2012, 03:57:11 PM »
Check out LSAC's law school database, they have the numbers. According to LSAC, it looks like you'd have a decent shot at USD with an LSAT above 160. For ASU, however, it looks like your GPA is a bit low and you'd have to compensate with a much higher LSAT. Even with 165-169, only a few people with your GPA were admitted.

Again, don't just take my word for it, be sure to check out the admissions data on LSAC's site. Other factors could also affect your chances (URM status, etc.), but law school admission is primarily a numbers game.

Here's something else to consider:
San Diego and Phoenix are very different cities and your post-law school options will likely be very different depending on which school you choose. Both schools have good local reputations, but neither is so prestigious that you'll be able to easily pick up and move to another part of the country and find a job based on pedigree alone. Your opportunities for internships, clerkships, and networking will probably be within the immediate area, and you'll therefore likely end up working in that area after law school.

Take the time to really think about what you want to do after law school, and where you want to live. If, for example, your goal is to live by the beach in SD, then you're probably better off going to USD than ASU even though ASU might be ranked higher. For that matter, you may even be better off going to Cal Western or Thomas Jefferson (with a possible scholarship).

Law school is a huge investment financially, emotionally, and mentally. Try to pick a school that is going to help you realize your goals, whatever they may be.

Hope that helped, and good luck.

Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 638
    • View Profile
Re: 2.9 GPA-Looking to get into ASU Law or USD
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2012, 05:14:05 PM »
I want to take the BAR in California, and live in California.

Bottom line, going to law school in California will better prepare you for the California bar exam and help you develop contacts and market familiarity. It's always a good idea to go to law school where you want to live.

Is Thomas Jefferson a good school? I have read really negative reviews and your suggestion on attending that school confused me.


Well, I'm not suggesting that you attend TJSL (or any other law school, for that matter). I was just using that school to illustrate the point I made above, that you should go to law school where you want to live. My point is that if you want to live in SD you'd probably have better networking opportunities at a San Diego school than at an Arizona school, even if the Arizona school is higher ranked. You'll find that once you get away from the Harvard/Yale crowd, most law schools have local reputations.

I didn't attend any of the schools we're talking about, so I can't provide any personal opinions. All of those schools are ABA approved and have lots of alumni working in their respective areas. The education you'll receive at any one is practically identical. That's the primary effect of ABA accreditation: it creates predictable, standardized legal training.

Is Thomas Jefferson a "good school"? Personally, I don't think there are any "bad" ABA schools. The fact that they've met the accreditation criteria (which is no small task) speaks more to the quality of the education that whatever subjective BS a rankings scheme claims.   

Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 638
    • View Profile
Re: 2.9 GPA-Looking to get into ASU Law or USD
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2012, 06:01:48 PM »
Within the SD market, USD probably has a reputational advantage over TJSL and Cal Western. The employment numbers and placement statistics are probably slightly better, too. Outside of SD, I'm not sure that any of the three schools has a significantly higher profile than the others.

In 2011 (I think) TJSL had a low bar pass rate, around 35%. I think a lot of the negativity you see is probably related to that issue. IIRC, though, Cal Western's recent bar pass rates are better than both USD and TJSL.

Small local schools like TJSL can be a good choice or a poor choice depending on what you want to do. If you want to work at a big national firm or a prestigious federal agency, then you need to go to a big name school and graduate top of your class. But if you want to work at a small firm, as a prosecutor, or as a solo practitioner, a school like TJSL can be just fine. In fact, for many people a scholarship at a small local school probably makes more sense than a huge six figure debt from a higher ranked school (unless that school is elite: Harvard, etc.) 

livinglegend

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 343
    • View Profile
    • legalmatch
Re: 2.9 GPA-Looking to get into ASU Law or USD
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2012, 01:53:30 PM »
Remember when reading these law school boards that all the information is coming from anonymous internet posters so take anything you read including my post with a grain of salt.

With that said Roald makes excellent points and I want to expand upon a few of them. First I don't know if there is any such thing as a "bad" ABA law school the reality of legal education is that it is all the same. Your first year at any law school will consist of contracts, property, torts, criminal law, criminal procedure, con law, and civil procedure. You will read U.S. Supreme Court cases like Palsgraff, Hadley v. Baxendale etc and they are quite literally identical the Supreme Court doesn't write special opinions for different schools the curriculum is the same at all ABA schools. When you finally reach bar prep how you handle it is very personal to the individual a school can' t make you study.

Here is a list of the California bar exams from each school http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=PL6VLVgQEIM%3d&tabid=2269&mid=3159 8 people from Harvard failed the California bar that has nothing to do with Harvard much more the individual. That is how many form of education you have the ability to make it a good or bad experience and any ABA school will get you a ticket to a bar exam, which is really all you need law school for.

As for the 2.9 GPA you can get into plenty of ABA school particularly with a strong LSAT. I think lawschoolnumbers.com is one of the best sites to see what your chances are as well as scholarship opportunities. With a 2.9 and a 160-165 it looks like you would get between a 40 to 45,000 scholarship http://thomasjefferson.lawschoolnumbers.com/applicants/1112/

It looks like California Western might offer you an 80k scholarship or more http://calwestern.lawschoolnumbers.com/applicants/1112/

I also think these 5 factors are what any potential law student should consider

1 Location
In my opinion this is the most important factor when choosing a law school. If you want to live in San Francisco after graduation go to law school in San Francisco, if your from Idaho and want to be close to your family after graduation go to law school in Idaho. The vast majority of schools only have connections in their immediate area and on top of that you will get internships etc in the area your attending school. For example if your going to law school in L.A. you cannot do an internship in New York during the school year and since there are no shortage of law schools in New York or New Jersey there would be no reason to reach out to L.A.

Also law school doesn't exist in a vaccum and the day to day life will play a factor. For example if your ultra liberal, gay, etc going to law school in Arkansas is probably not going to go well and if your ultra conservative going to law school in San Francisco won't go well. If your a person that loves night life etc going to law school in East Lansing Michigan or Tulsa Oklahoma will be hard to handle. If your someone that likes a quiet atmosphere then don't attend New York Law School in the heart of New York's Financial District. These are all factors that are unique to each individual and really consider location.

2) COST
Almost every law school except for a few schools that offer in-state tuition like Florida International, South Dakota, North Dakota, and few others tuition is going to run you approximtely 100k and if your in a location like N.Y. or San Francisco the living expenses for 3 years will probably add on another 50-100k. All of which is accruing interest often at 6 or 8%. This means you can have 8,000 or so in interest alone a year so it is important to really consider cost.

Many schools offer merit scholarships that should be considered even if other schools are "higher ranked" for example if you can get a full scholarship at Gonzaga University compared to paying full tuition at Seattle University then it might be wise to take it since I would imagine most people do not consider either much school must better than the other.

Also as a sidenote each ABA law school quite literally teaches you the same thing your first year will be contracts, torts, civil procedure, legal writing, property, criminal law, criminal procedure, and constitutional law or some slight variation, but all those courses will be taken. In Torts you will read the Palsgraff case, Contracts Hadley v. Baxendale etc and all you do at any ABA school is read Supreme Court Decisions and the Supreme Court doesn't take time to write different opinions for different schools. Whether you read the Palsgraff case at Harvard or in West Virginia the firecrackers get dropped and proximate cause is established.

3) Personal Feeling about the School
I personally was accepted to several law schools and I visited a lot as well as participated in some mock trial competitions and I saw a lot of different law schools. There were some that I really liked and some that I really didn't like. My reasons were completely personal to me and what I liked you may have hated and vice versa. You can talk to professors, students, admins, etc and really see first hand what the school is like. I highly recommend doing that prior to making a 3 year 100,000+ commitment just make sure the school fits your personality.

4. Specialty Programs
This ties in more with location rather than the school, but you can still use it as a factor. For example if you really want to do entertainment law then you should go to law school in New York or L.A. that is where movies, t.v shows, etc are made. Therefore, schools in those locations will have a lot of alumni in the area, adjuncts that work in the field will teach in the school, you can get internships at those places during law school and so on. If you want to do entrainment law then going to Idaho law school will not be an ideal spot.

Then there are a few schools that do mock trial competitions which are good and you can kind of see how seriously a school takes that by how many teams they have and how well they do. For example South Texas law school is amazing at Trial Advocacy competitions I have seen there courtroom and they almost won every competition I was ever win they are just good at it. If there is some area of law you are interested in you can look at to what programs they offer.

However, if you are not particularly interested in any area of law don't consider it and don't worry about it. Plenty of law students and even lawyers don't really know what they want to do.

5 Rankings
This is a factor, but remember U.S. News is nothing more than a for-profit magazine offering an opinion. They rank more than law schools and Albuquerque New Mexico is the best place to live now according to them and South & North Dakota will be the best places to live in 2032. One of the main factors for South Dakota being selected as a hot spot in 2032 is because they estimate dental visits will be easy to access. I am not making this up either straight from their website http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-best-life/2012/08/07/here-are-the-best-places-to-livein-2032 and http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009

I highly doubt you are going to make life altering choice and move to Albuquerque because a magazine says you should or start saving to move to South Dakota in 2032. Use the same logic when choosing your law school don't let some magazine be your main guide. No harm in considering it, but don't make a life altering choice based on a magazine.

Conclusion
Those are just some factors to consider and hopefully some of that info is helpful. Also remember I am nothing more than an anonymous internet poster and you should get info directly from people you can interact with face to face to assess their credibility. Good luck .


livinglegend

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 343
    • View Profile
    • legalmatch
Re: 2.9 GPA-Looking to get into ASU Law or USD
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2012, 09:00:59 PM »
There are plenty of successful lawyers from all schools and plenty of unsuccessful ones as well. However, if your solely looking to make more money then don't go to law school. Go to law school if you want to be a lawyer and for no other reason. It is a 100,000+ investment and it is accuruin interest as you mentioned. Furthermore, it takes several years after graduating and passing the bar to get any real experience and you have to pay your dues. Most lawyers who graduate pass the bar and can handle it for 3 or 4 years do just fine. However, the 3-4 years right out of law school are tough assuming your lucky enough to pass the bar the first time.

I know hundreds of successful lawyers from every level of school. Many love their jobs and being a lawyer, but there are plenty that regret law school it is a highly personal choice, but being a lawyer is nothing like T.V. portrays it to be and you don't get a J.D. and have people knocking down your door. However, the legal market goes up and down so perhaps when you graduate that is how it will be.

Here is the list of SuperLawyers from every ABA school and there are hundreds from each school. The reality is whether you make it as a lawyer is entirely up to you any ABA school gets you a ticket to the bar exam it is up to you to pass and up to you to make a name for yourself as a lawyer. A few elite schools i.e. Harvard, Yale, Stanford might open doors, but I have seen grads from those schools do unpaid internships right out of school to get experience.




livinglegend

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 343
    • View Profile
    • legalmatch
Re: 2.9 GPA-Looking to get into ASU Law or USD
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2012, 02:30:57 PM »
Questions like that are better served from the direct source. Call a military recruiter and they will be happy to tell you about all programs they offer. If the military is an option you can also start a career as a JAG lawyer fairly easily after law school. They would likely be able to discuss that with you as well.

An anonymous internet poster will only give you wrong or incomplete information regarding a specific question like that so go to the source. Good luck

livinglegend

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 343
    • View Profile
    • legalmatch
Re: 2.9 GPA-Looking to get into ASU Law or USD
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2012, 04:11:24 PM »
I have been to University of San Diego several times and find it to be a beautiful campus. I also really like San Diego, but I know nothing about the law school itself. I have never set foot in Arizona or gone to Arizona State.

It looks like ASU offers in-state tuition and it is only 21k per year and living expenses are ony 20k per year. So 41k a year for the J.D. 123,000 total

USD is 41k per year and also 21k per year for living expenses, but that will euqal out to 186,000 for the JD.

As I said before the education is basically the same at every ABA school so I won't claim one is any better than the other, but one is definetly cheaper. However, if you want to live in San Diego go to law school in San Diego. If you want to live in Arizona go to Arizona State.

I remember when I was a 0L thinking with enough research I could find the "perfect school" the one that would guarantee everything would work out, but I can tell you that doesn't exist. Just use your common sense and gut. There is no right answer any ABA school will get you a ticket to a bar exam what you do from there is up to you.

Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 638
    • View Profile
Re: 2.9 GPA-Looking to get into ASU Law or USD
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2012, 04:25:30 PM »
I've been to both campuses, and have spent a decent amount of time in each city. SD is beautiful, on the beach, and has great weather. Tempe is a cool college town, but the weather is ungodly hot for a good portion of the year. I mean, like 115 degrees during the summer. I think you mentioned that you're from CA, so you'd presumably be paying out of state tuition as well.

USD's campus is nice. Spanish style architecture, palm trees. ASU is much, much bigger and more modern (lots of 1960s architecture). Have you thought about any other CA schools (if that's where you want to live)? Santa Clara, Loyola, Pepperdine, USF, etc are all options.

If you're concerned about debt, consider shooting for substantial scholarships at lower ranked schools, too. I opted for a 75% scholarship at a local school instead of sticker price at a higher ranked school. It was the right decision for me, and worked out just fine. It may or may not be the right decision for you (depending on your goals).

Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 638
    • View Profile
Re: 2.9 GPA-Looking to get into ASU Law or USD
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2012, 07:24:14 PM »
Are there any success stories in this forum of people who have completed law school and are earning a decent living? I would be interested in hearing from them, and where they attended school, etc.

This is a huge issue and involves so many different factors that it's hard to distill it down to a succint answer.
 
Here's what I can tell you: as cliche as it might sound, I've known people who graduated from T4s and got great jobs immediately following graduation, and I've known people who graduated from T1s and had to pound the pavement for months and months. Everyone's story is going to be a little different, but there are broad general rules that apply to most people.

Experience

Unless you graduate from an elite school experience and connections will matter more than rankings. In my experience, law students get caught up in rankings more than most lawyers do. It is imperitive that you gain as much meaningful experience as possible during law school. Do internships, work part time at a firm, volunteer at the DA or public defender, anything. I interned for a great, very busy office. They had me writing motions, interrogatories, observing negotiations, even making appearances. I went back to that internship twice and gained tons of experience. The attorneys there all helped me out after graduation with finding a job, wrote letters of recommendation, made introductions, etc. I was told that if a job opened at that office, I'd be first in line. That kind of stuff is worth it's weight in gold, and you'll be amazed at how many of your classmates don't take advantage of such opportunities.

(BTW, I went to a local non-elite law school. Some of the other interns were from big name national schools. Most of us reapplied for a second year of internship at that office, and I was the only one was asked back. I'm not saying that to inflate my ego, I'm just pointing out that once they got to know me it didn't matter where I went to school.)

Expectations

It's important to have realistic, acheivable goals. If you begin law school expecting to be editor of the law review, landing a job a prestigious firm, and making a starting salary of $160,000, you'll likely be disappointed. The people I knew in law school who focused all their energy on obtaining those types of positions were usually frustrated and depressed.

OTOH, the people I knew who focused on gaining good experience, acted with maturity and professionalism, and were good at marketing themselves all seem to have landed jobs. They may not be making great money right now, but eventually they will. If you can accept an initial salary of $45-65,000, you're probably being realistic. You may also have to be willing to move, at least initially. Cities like LA, SF, and SD are more impacted than outlying areas. I also know a few people, even from my non-elite school, who did in fact land high paying big firm jobs. It does still happen. (This is where a scholarship can come in handy, too. Imagine how much easier it is to take a lower paying job when you don't have those huge payments? Lack of debt allows for great flexibility, a huge advantage.)

I don't know how much you make in IT, but there is a good chance you'll make less as a new law grad. However, in a few years you'll be doing better, and long term you can do very well. I met a guy recently who's been practicing for about twenty years. He started a small family law/divorce firm that now brings in a million dollars a year. Not bad, but he probably struggled right after law school.

My point is that if you go into law school with your eyes wide open and with a finger on the pulse of the market, you won't be taken by surprise. In this market you've got to be adaptable and willing to go where the work is. Maybe your dream is to be a prosecutor, for example. Well, if the prosecutor's office isn't hiring, but family law firms are, then you better start learning community property.

Hope that helped!