Law School Discussion

GPA 3.88 LSAT160

GPA 3.88 LSAT160
« on: January 02, 2013, 05:52:44 PM »
where should i apply? :-(
worked hard on my lsat but couldnt get it higher. already took it twice.

Re: GPA 3.88 LSAT160
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2013, 08:01:00 PM »
You will have many options, but Harvard, Yale, Stanford won't be one of the.

A 160 is a pretty solid score putting you in the 80th percentile of test takers nothing to be ashamed of at all. Something I think very few 0L's realize is that not everyone can be in the top 1% and if you attending law school there is a 90% chance you won't be in the top 10% of the class. I remember in my first day of law school 100% of people were convinced they would be in the top 10% and you don't need to be a math major to figure out how that goes.

I would recommend looking at to see what your options are.

For any 0L I this is a copy/paste of what I think should be considered when choosing a law school. It is quite long and I wrote it without checking the grammar so excuse the typos.

 I think any potential OL should consider the following factors (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal feelings about the school  (4) The realities of legal education (5) Any specialty interest you might have 5) If all else fails then use U.S. News rankings. I will elaborate on these points below.

1 Location
I think your situation is a perfect example of why this is so important your a single mom with two kids. Uprooting them out of your current location to attend law school away from everything they are familiar with might be a lot on them. Particularly if they are attending school taking them away from their teachers, friends, etc will be a lot and I imagine it is easier to stay in your current location with the current support structure you have.

Not to mention whatever law school you attend you will be there for 3 years and moving to a new location, with kids, while adjusting to a new apartment, being away from friends, family, etc is a lot to handle. You know better than anyone else how well you could manage that and how well your kids can handle it, but really think about that before choosing your school. Furthermore, odds are wherever you attend law school is where you will end up living again 3 years is a long time and you will make friends, possibly enter into a romantic relationship, etc during these years and transitioning to a new location will be tough.

2. Cost
Again you have kids if you end up getting a 170 with a 2.61 odds are Cooley will give you a full scholarship. Michigan State might give you a lot of assistance as well and clearly raising 2 kids with $150,000 in debt accruing interest is not ideal and I will tell you from personal experience money does not come flowing in right when you graduate law school it takes time to build a career and that is assuming you pass the bar on the first try which many people do not.

One thing to consider in regards to the scholarships you may get are the conditions attached. Many schools will say something such as you need to maintain a 3.0 or be in the top 35% of the class and as a motivated law student everyone who attends an ABA school is pretty certain they will be in the top 35% of the class, but 100% of people cannot be in the top 35% of the class. Also it is important to know that law school grading is very strict and generally to maintain a 3.0 you need to be in the top 35% of the class. So if scholarships end up coming your way pay EXTREMELY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE CONDITIONS.

3) Personal feelings about the school

Another thing few people consider when making this life altering decision is how they personally feel about the school. I was accepted into many different law school and participated in a lot of mock trial competitions nationally so I have seen quite a few different schools and interacted with the students, faculty, etc. I can tell you I loved some places and hated others, but that was my personal feeling. You may have loved the places I hated and hated the places I loved you need to visit the schools, interact with professors, and just get a sense of what you personally think about each individual school because nobody knows what a good fit for you is better than yourself.

4) Reality of Legal Education

I will let you in on a big secret it is all the same. Your first year of law school will consist of torts, civil procedure, contracts, property, and criminal law. Then you might have Con Law and Criminal Procedure in your first year or possibly second year, but you will take all those subjects. In these classes you will read Supreme Court cases that are exactly the same whether you are reading them in the Harvard library or Cooley's. In the famous Palsgraff case the firecrackers still get dropped nothing changes. Then at the end of three years you will pay a company like BarBri or Kaplan to help you pass the bar.

There are some minor differences by school such as course selection, quality of professors, etc, but the substance of what you are learning is literally identical.

5) Specialty Programs
This is something worth considering for some and is one of the differences I mentioned above. Some schools have more course selections and experienced professors often based more on location than anything else. For example if you wanted to be an entertainment lawyer then go to law school in New York or L.A. that is where entertainment law happens. Even if U.S. News says South Dakota Law has the best entertainment law program I can assure you not many actors, movie studios, etc are located there.

However, if you have a particular interest in something family law, litigatin, etc check the school's course schedule and see if they offer the non-mandatory courses. Granted you will probably only take between 2-4 classes in a particular area since almost everyone takes the courses I mentioned above combined with the highly suggested courses and often required courses such as Evidence, Wills & Trusts, Corporations, Trial Advocacy, Remedies, and a few others that are on almost every state bar exam. If you don't have a particular interest then don't worry about it most law students and lawyers don't really know what they want to do either.

6) U.S. News
If after all that research you don't know the best way to spend 3 years and 100,000+ of your money then consider the rankings, but remember it is a for-profit unregulated magazine offering an opinion nothing more. You would also be wise to look up how often school rankings change year by year for no apparent reason. Granted there are schools such as Harvard, Yale, and yes Michigan that are nationally known schools and will open more doors, but I don't know how much of a difference Cooley v. Michigan State would be. If cost, location, etc is the same then why not go to the higher ranked school, but uproot your kids and spend 100,000 more dollars because some magazine said X school is 29 spots better than the school that is cheaper and more convenient for your personal situation.


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Re: GPA 3.88 LSAT160
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2013, 11:17:12 AM »
where should i apply? :-(
worked hard on my lsat but couldnt get it higher. already took it twice.

I haven't been on this site in a long time.  People give such comprehensive and informative answers.

You can find all the advice in the world.  I'll just say this, if I were you, I'd pick a region, and then go somewhere on a full scholarship.   Those would be my only considerations.  Location and cost. 

I had a chance to go to a T3 for no tuition plus a large stipend, but I went to a T2 (60-80) because it had better numbers and a better rank.  I have a good firm job now, but I'm heavily in debt and it's not like I have my dream job.

Let's say you wanted to live and work in Missouri, and you could get into WUSTL for full tuition or the lowly UMKC for free.  I would probably advise you to take UMKC.

Re: GPA 3.88 LSAT160
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2013, 12:30:49 PM »
Both Livinglegend and Jack24 have provided excellent advice, I'll just add a couple of points.

You're a splitter, which makes it a difficult to predict where you'll get into. I was in a situation similar to yours, with the numbers reversed (average GPA, high LSAT). I was told by almost everyone that I should apply to a ton of schools, see where I got accepted, and attend the one with the highest ranking, period. I chose instead to accept a large scholarship at a locally/regionally respectable school, though not a prestigious one. It was the right decision for me, and it may or may not be the right decision for you.

Spend some time thinking about what you want to do after law school, whether it's big firm work, the prosecutor's office, solo practice, whatever. Be realistic, and objectively evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. I think most of my classmates started law school with the intent to become biglaw associates, federal prosecutors, judicial clerks, etc. The fact is, only a fraction of law school grads get those coveted positions. You'll face very well qualified competition, and you should have a backup plan.

Next, consider what type of school you need to graduate from in order to accomplish that goal. If you want to work at a 500 lawyer firm in LA or NYC, you better find a way to translate that 3.88/160 into an acceptance letter from Yale. If you want to work as a county prosecutor, the local law school might be just fine. 

Now think about how finances will affect your goals. Will a $150-200k student debt prevent you from going solo, or from taking a job with the public defender? Alternatively, what if you rack up that debt with the hope of obtaining a biglaw job and simply don't get hired? It's a very real possibility. Will that $2000 per month payment prevent you from buying a house, or a new car, or saving for retirement?

Finally, although the above posters have already mentioned this, think about location. Very few schools have the kind of elite reputation that will get you hired based on pedigree alone. The vast majority of schools have local/regional reputations, and your job connections, internship possibilities, etc will be local. The law school rankings, in my experience, matter less the further away you get from the elite schools. A local T3/T4 may have better post-grad opportunities in it's immediate area than an out-of-state, non-elite T1 or T2.

Good luck!


Re: GPA 3.88 LSAT160
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2013, 08:19:42 PM »
You can get a guesstimating  of which schools  you may be admitted to by plugging your gpa and LSAT into the top,left  box on the below linked website.

Goof luck.