Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: What are my chances at a top 20 law school?  (Read 1458 times)

limegreen17

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
What are my chances at a top 20 law school?
« on: January 16, 2013, 03:27:14 PM »
Hi all,

Wanting to apply to school this fall and trying to decide whether or not I should retake the LSAT. I took the LSAT last October and made a 161. My GPA from undergrad is a 3.25, but I graduated from UNC Chapel Hill as a Morehead Cain scholar (comparable to the Rhodes program) and am currently employed at a top tier management consulting firm. What are my chances of getting into a top 20 school without retaking the LSAT? Will my job experience (including previous internships at prestigious places of employment) and scholarship outweigh my GPA and LSAT?

Thanks for your assistance in this matter!

Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 552
    • View Profile
Re: What are my chances at a top 20 law school?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 05:14:52 PM »
What are my chances of getting into a top 20 school without retaking the LSAT?

Pretty low. Please understand that I'm not trying to be harsh, I'm just answering your question directly. As I'm sure you've read here and elsewhere, law school admission is primarily a numbers game. GPA and (especially) LSAT are the two biggest factors in the process. For schools in the top 20, both your GPA and LSAT are on the low side. For elite schools like Harvard and Yale a GPA/LSAT combo of around 3.8-4.0/175-180 is common. Even at schools ranked in the 15-20 range I think you're looking at averages of around 3.5/165+.

Take a look at LSAC's admission profiles for more detailed info on individual schools. The conventional wisdom states that a high LSAT can help compensate for a lower GPA. In order to have a shot at the top 20 you'd probably have to retake and score very, very high (170+).

Will my job experience (including previous internships at prestigious places of employment) and scholarship outweigh my GPA and LSAT?

No, at top twenty schools your soft factors will generally not outweigh your GPA/LSAT. Your soft factors exist complimentary to, but not in lieu of your numeric qualifications. In other words, they're helpful, but not dispositive. The thing you have to keep in mind is that you will be competing against other applicants who have higher GPAs, higher LSATs, and amazing soft factors. These schools tend to attract the best and the brightest, and literally thousands of people will apply for a handful of slots.

Also keep in mind that there is a big difference in the level of admissions competition at a top 20 school like Stanford versus, say, USC. If you raised your LSAT to 170ish you might have a shot at a place like SC, whereas the Stanford would still likely be out of reach.

Lastly, although this is probably anathema to everything you've read on every other board, don't get too caught up in rankings. Remember, these rankings don't exist according to some provable law of the cosmos, they're just the subjective product of a magazine.

Some schools will always be elite because they possess a certain aura (Harvard/Yale/Stanford and a few others). Other schools that USNWR has deemed worthy of appearing in the "Top 20" are not really elite national schools so much as very reputable regional schools. Don't kid yourself into thinking that going to one of these places is going to open doors throughout the country based on pedigree alone. You may be better off going to a reputable local school instead.

With a 3.25/161 you can into plenty of good schools. Think about where you want to live and work, and go from there. If you want to stay in NC/Southeast region, it may make more sense to go to focus on getting a scholarship at a school like Wake Forest, NC State, UGA, or even Charlotte rather than a school that is simply ranked in the top twenty.

Good luck!   

Uschoolqb10

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: What are my chances at a top 20 law school?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 06:14:41 PM »
Well, you actually do have a slight chance if you happen to be a URM...? (Puerto Rican, Mexican, Black)

If you do happen to be a URM, you do have a chance; however, if you are admitted, I highly doubt you would get any scholarship money.

Give it a shot. Worst that can happen would be a "no", in which you would still receive $$ from some good regional schools. Unlike TLS members, many people believe that law school isn't T14 or bust.

Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 552
    • View Profile
Re: What are my chances at a top 20 law school?
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2013, 01:24:58 AM »
Unlike TLS members, many people believe that law school isn't T14 or bust.

That's because unlike TLS, some of the people here are actually successful lawyers and have had sex.

Uschoolqb10

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: What are my chances at a top 20 law school?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2013, 01:37:11 AM »
Unlike TLS members, many people believe that law school isn't T14 or bust.

That's because unlike TLS, some of the people here are actually successful lawyers and have had sex.

You made my day. Now, I'm going to wake up with a smile tomorrow morning.

Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 552
    • View Profile
Re: What are my chances at a top 20 law school?
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2013, 01:40:09 AM »
I'm here to help.

livinglegend

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 343
    • View Profile
    • legalmatch
Re: What are my chances at a top 20 law school?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2013, 03:12:19 PM »
Going to up on this one as well as everyone suggested your odds of getting into a Top 20 school with a 3.25 & 161 are quite low. However, believe it or not 90% of successful practicing lawyers did not go to the top 10% of law schools. I think OL's and those in law school think rankings mean far to much.

When your start practicing law you will need to file a complaint, argue in front of a judge, and get a result period end of story. If you don't get a result your client is not pleased and won't care that you went to Harvard. It is serious stuff when your out in the real world and saying I went to the X ranked school means very little. It would be cool to go to Harvard law of course, but only about 1% of the people in the world are even capable of graduating college with a 3.8 and scoring in the top 5% of LSAT takers.

So to OP just use your common sense when applying to law school think of where you want to live for three years and start your career. If you want to work in L.A. go to law school in L.A. don't go to Michigan State because it is "ranked higher" than Chapman. Also don't spend 100,000 more dollars to go to the 84th best school opposed to the 114th nobody cares. Furthermore, legal education is the same everywhere you will take Torts, Civil Procedure, Con Law, Crim Pro, and learn IRAC. What some for profit magazine thinks is better or worse really doesn't make a big difference in your ability as a lawyer.

Good luck to you.