Law School Discussion

NYLS or Retake??

NYLS or Retake??
« on: May 30, 2013, 12:26:04 PM »
Hi all,

I graduated from from a Big East undergrad in 2012 with a 3.68 GPA (BA in political science/minor in history). Along with some decent softs, I have good work and internship experiences. Most recently I have been working as a legal intern for my county's prosecutor's office and have developed a true passion for the work. 

After taking some time off after graduation, I took the LSAT last December and scored a disappointing 149 . I did take a prep class, but admittedly was not as dedicated to the course as I could have been. Still applied and was accepted with some $ to NYLS and WNEC. While I am happy I have some options, I canít help but wonder what could have been if I scored higher on the LSAT.

Right now I am weighing sitting out another cycle and prepping with a tutor or accepting the NYLS offer ($15k top 50% stipulation). Many have encouraged me to avoid sitting out another year and to move ahead with my education. The prospect of transferring after my first year has also been mentioned, but I realize there are no guarantees when attempting to move up from TTT to a school like Rutgers for example. On the other hand, friends and others have told me to stay away from NYLS no matter what and retake.

I have vacillated so many times in my own mind and honestly do not know what to do, so I am turning to you guys/gals for some help.

I appreciate any thoughts you may have. Thank you in advance.

Re: NYLS or Retake??
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2013, 01:17:51 PM »
Hi there, take my 0L advice with a grain of salt. I do not know you and what your desires in life are, but I'm willing to give you my input on your situation. I think you should retake. You have a pretty high GPA and you should not waste it on a 149 and NYLS. You say you were disappointed in your LSAT score and my question to you is then, why would you accept the low score?

Another factor you need to analyze is what you want to do with your life/legal career. Do you want to live in New York? If not, then absolutely do not go to NYLS. How will you be financing your education? If you will accumulating a large debt at NYLS, then you should absolutely retake. If you can bring your LSAT score up a couple of points, just a couple, your options will be very different/better, especially with that GPA.

You mentioned the possibility of attending Rutgers. If you raised your LSAT to the high 150s, you could be looking at some significant money from a school like Rutgers, Seton Hall, or St. Johns (I'm merely mentioning them because they are in the NYC area). It is so important to limit your debt if you are attending a TT/TTT/TTTT school.

So in short, if you feel that your LSAT score was a disappointment, you should give it another go. If you feel you can do better, then retake. Good luck to you.

Re: NYLS or Retake??
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2013, 07:47:50 PM »
This is a complicated decision and I am an attorney, but take anything I say with a grain of salt along with anything else you read on anonymous internet poster boards. With that said I would like to make a few points.

1) First your 149 LSAT you say you took a course, but were not as dedicated as you could have been. I will tell you that almost every LSAT taker thinks they could have done better and were somewhat disappointed with their score after all 90% of people that take the test do not finish in the top 10%. I don't know how seriously you took the test, but even a 149 is tough that puts in the 50th percentile of LSAT takers and that is from a pool of college graduates that were motivated enough to take the LSAT. A 149 is not going to get you into Harvard, but it is good enough to get you into an ABA school, which is an accomplishment. 

If you went to the courses did what you were supposed to do etc and 149 is what you got that is probably what you will get next time around. Or maybe you just didn't stay focused enough, but will you be focused enough the next time around? I think all of us when we join a gym say we will go everyday, but that doesn't happen. I am sure you are telling yourself if you study for the LSAT again you will dedicate yourself and take a practice test everyday, etc but the reality is you probably will put in about the same effort you did previously.

2) Sitting out a year is a big decision realistically if you have been working in a legal environment and enjoy it and have a law school admission ticket you might want to go to school now. Life has a way of getting in the way and if you wait for a year of law school what is going to stop you from waiting again next year. Or perhaps you will get into a relationship, have a family issue, etc and I think if you wait for everything to be perfect you will never get anything done, but that is just me.

3) I also want to point out to you the fallacies of law school rankings etc. I can tell you the education at Rutgers is no different than NYLS, CUNY, Brooklyn Law, etc your first year will consist of Torts, Contracts, Property, Criminal Law, Civil Procedure and you will read Supreme Court cases from a textbook written by Epstein whether you are at Harvard or Touro. Then you will graduate and take Barbri or Kaplan once you graduate and pass the bar your a lawyer period.

Remember that U.S. News is nothing, but a for-profit unregualted magazine offering an opinion and do not make life altering decisions based on it. I can tell you I worked for a government agency in New York and there were lawyers from NYLS, CUNY, Columbia, Penn, Yale, Harvard, etc all working side by side a lawyer is a lawyer. I cannot tell you how many 0L's myself included as a 0L take that magazine way to seriously.

On top of that you mention Rutgers as a better option than NYLS I can tell you nobody cares about whatever difference there is between Rutgers and NYLS I have no idea what there rankings are, but I know they are both well outside of the top 25 and nobody says Rutgers here is a job. If it were Harvard, Yale, or something like that it might make a difference, but nobody cares about the difference between T2-T3 schools particularly in a market like New York.

4) Transferring DO NOT GO TO LAW EXPECTING TO TRANSFER. To transfer you essentially need to be in the top 20% of the class at a minimum and no knock on you, but there is an 80% chance you will not be in the top 20%. Everyone at an ABA law school is smart, hard-working, and motivated and 100% of people on the first day are certain they will be in the top 10%, but you don't need to be a math major to see 90% of people will be wrong.

5) 15k a year scholarship at NYLS there is a 50% chance you will lose that scholarship as an FYI for the reasons mentioned above nobody on the first day of law school could fathom they would be in the bottom 50% of the class, but 50% of the students at every law school finish in the bottom half so be prepared to lose that.

6) I would also add you should look into CUNY they offer in-state tuition at only 10k a year or so, which would be cheaper than NYLS even with a 15k a year scholarship that you could lose years 2 and 3. Just an FYI.

7) I also strongly encourage you to visit any school you are interested and see how you feel about it. I used to work right by NYLS and I didn't like the vibe of it, but that doesn't mean you won't I know plenty of people that enjoyed their experience there and law school is a highly personal decision so visit NYLS and WNEC and see how you feel about the school.

8) Finally just go into law school with the appropriate expectations I think many people go into law school for the wrong reasons and with ridiculous expectations. You are working in a legal environment and it sound like you enjoy it and are seeing what lawyers do first hand, which is important to understand. Many people belive you graduate law school and automatically get handed a 6 figure job, which is just not true.

NYLS, WNEC, CUNY or many schools will give you a legal education and get you a law license what you do with it will be up to you. As far as retaking if you sincerley think things will be different then I guess go for it, but generally people do not improve that much and you will lose a year of your career as a lawyer. I knew many people that kept waiting for a better LSAT or better acceptances etc, but they never ended up going. I know one girl that kept retaking the LSAT for 5 years I graduated and passed the bar and she was still trying to get a higher score and as far I know she never went to law school.

If I was you, which I am not I would go for it if you really want to be a lawyer, but you know your personal situation and ability to improve far better than I or anyone else on posting anonymous on the internet.

Good luck to you whatever you decide.

Re: NYLS or Retake??
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2013, 01:52:58 PM »
Legend offers great advice on this site and he is a helpful poster; take what he says with more than a grain of salt. I wanted to add on to what I said earlier. I don't want to make it sound like I'm saying that Rutgers, St. John's, etc. are better schools because they are ranked higher by USNWR. Legend is right, outside the t14 schools or so, rankings really don't matter. The rankings inside the top 14 are somewhat pointless as well, as a JD from UVA isn't going to open more doors than a JD from Cornell. The rankings for the top 3 schools, Yale Harvard and Stanford, are pretty much the only USNWR rankings that matter. But what I've heard from people in the legal field is that there is such a thing as "local rankings." For example, if you wanted to work and live in Philadelphia, you should figure out what schools give you the best chance of doing that. UPenn is obviously the #1, followed by Temple, Villanova, Rutgers-Camden, Drexel, and Widener. So this is why it is vital to recognize what geographic location you'd like to live in. You obviously seem to be leaning on NYLS, but if you want to live in New Jersey, Rutgers-Newark or Camden would be a better choice. If it is NYC where you'd like to be, then NYLS would be an option.

I urge you to ignore the rankings published by USNWR, but to research which schools give you the best employment options in the area you'd like to live. I know it's easy to fall into the trap of placing emphasis on a school's ranking, but they really are pointless. If you wanted to work in NYC, going to Pepperdine University in California (just a random thought) because it is a Tier 1 school rather than NYLS would be a terrible decision. BUT, if you have the ability to attend a school that places better into your desired market, that is the better route to take. For what it's worth, I chose to not attend a Tier 1 school in another state and to go to a Tier 2/3 school in my desired market. For the financial aspect of your decision, I trust that you've done the research on how big of an investment law school is.

Once again, good luck

Re: NYLS or Retake??
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2013, 12:05:06 PM »
De finitely retake. NYLS does not have good job placement. Take an LSAT review course.

Re: NYLS or Retake??
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2013, 09:54:00 PM »
I am copying what I said on another thread regarding the flaws of placement statistics.

Law school transparency and employment statistics are not a great indicator of anything. Although I am all for law school transparency and their mission the reality is that tracking each student is impossible especially since it is not mandatory. If look on law school transparencies website typically the vast majority of students are unreported. This does not mean they are unemployed I know that when I graduated, passed the bar, and got a job I never reported. It was nothing personal I just didn't get around to it the same way I didn't get around to mailing a birthday card to a friend or some other inconsequential thing that occurs.

Bottom line is it doesn't hurt to look at the stats, but realize these come nowhere near painting an accurate picture of what the outcome of your law school career will be. There are Harvard grads that never passed the bar and Cooley grads who are doing quite well for themselves.

On top of that realize that each person is unique and has their own life circumstances for example several people in class got pregnant right after graduation they were married etc and dealt with 9 months of pregnancy opposed to 9 months of job searching. You cannot assume everyone graduates law school at 25 and is looking to go straight into working. On top of that by the time bar results get released it is 7 months after graduation at least in California and they are released a week before Thanksgiving and the majority of law firms do not hire anyone during the holidays.

I can tell you my law school has a law school transparency placement rate of about 50%, but almost everyone I know from my class is employed as an attorney now. I will admit I do not know everyone, but I surrounded myself with somewhat competent people and most of them did quite well. I also know there are several people who did not find jobs, but it had a lot more to do with them than school on their diploma. For example one of my friend's got hired as a D.A., but he failed his drug test and his offer was rescinded and it turns out he has a cocaine problem that is his own deal not the school's again that just shows the individuality of each person and why these law school stats are so flawed.

With that info use your common sense NYLS is not Columbia or Harvard, but it will teach you the law and you can have a successful legal career, but make sure it is the right fit for you. For the same reasons the employment statistics are flawed since they are highly individual your satisfaction with your law school decision will depend heavily on what is important to you so visit the school, make sure NY is what you want, talk to alumni, professors, etc and see if the school fits your personality.

Good luck whatever you decide.

Re: NYLS or Retake??
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2013, 11:37:51 AM »
Thank you all for your thoughts!

I tend to agree with LivingLegend and Shoreman2 in that USNWR and employment stats are not the best indicators when considering a law school. Outside the top tier, no one really cares, but for an individual, like myself, who wants to practice in northern NJ, a school like Rutgers or Seton Hall has obvious tactical advantages. Granted, nothing is guaranteed no matter where you go.

That being said, for me it is more a matter of fit. As you note if one is not comfortable, they are not putting themselves in a position to succeed. I've heard it a million times, do not go to a law school expecting to transfer. In my particular case, I know I want to work in this field and see the merit in
the "get a year under your belt" argument. I just cannot get over the feeling that I would be settling and going just to go.

Thanks again!

Re: NYLS or Retake??
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2013, 04:38:16 PM »
Yes I think if you will not be comfortable attending NYLS then do not attend it is a highly personal decision and if you want to live and work in New Jersey attend law school in New Jersey. Do not go to law school just to go my point is many people say they want to go to law school, but they never end up going instead they are waiting for the perfect situation and if you wait for everything to be perfect nothing will ever get done.

It is entirely your choice and there is no right or wrong decision hopefully you get into Rutgers or Seton Hall next year.