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Author Topic: HELP!!! Rising 3L... What should I do?  (Read 1549 times)

Fishee21

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HELP!!! Rising 3L... What should I do?
« on: June 08, 2013, 03:27:51 PM »
   I am a rising 3L at a tier three school, I am almost last in my class with  cumulative GPA of 2.37.  The school requires that I maintain at least a 2.25 to graduate, which is not terrible but based on my 2L semester I am definitely at risk.  My question is what should I do, if I graduate with low grades like this from a tier 3, will I be able to find a job?

Background: 
My 1L Year:
     I started law school at a tier 3 school away from home, I had a relatively good first semester.  I put myself well into the top half of the class and things were good.  My second semester, I did drop a little but I was just below a 3.0 (maybe 2.9).  At this point, I wanted to transfer to a school closer to my home and help take care of an ailing family member.  Plus, I was paying rent so this would save me money.  Even though I slipped my second semester, I was accepted at the home town school.  This school was almost equal in rankings to the school I was transferring from.  Thus, I was not going up or down  in my transfer.  During this year, I did work a little on the weekends but I was able to maintain my studies and have a relatively good semester.  I was also able to obtain a Winter Internship.
My 1L Summer:  I was at a public defenders office for my summer internship and also continued to help the private attorney's office I worked for in the winter.  As a result, I was able to secure two recommendations and some contacts.  However, none of the contacts I know at this point can lead to a job after graduation.

My 2L Year:
    My transfer was a disaster from the start.  I registered for classes over the internet, I never had an orientation, and no one contacted me to help my transfer in anyway after my acceptance.  I pretty much had to deal with things on my own...  This took away from my studies to start the semester but I was able to get through and take my finals.  FINALS (Ugh!)  I am still nauseous about my first semester of finals at my new school because they were completely different from my original law school and unlike any law school exam I was told to be prepared for.  Keeping in mind, both of the institutions I have attended have been ABA accredited and are just barely above the top 100 law schools...(Something like 114 and 116).  The exams I took were a majority true/false, mixed with some multiple choice, and a few essays.  Mostly, the true/false were awful because in law school you learn that almost every absolute has an exception.  Therefore, multiple choice was awful!  I did terribly, not only that the questions were often based on definitions and not application of rules.  For example, when studying for Professional Responsibility, one question asked what the original rules were called? -The answer was Cannon, which I got right but the other questions followed similarly.  This was difficult because I studied the application of these rules and not the definition.  Further, I was unable to explain my knowledge of these rules because it was true/false with no explanations.  Needless to say, I am horrible at true/false and even worse at law school true/false.  I almost failed out as a result of these exams because I lost my good 1L GPA when I transferred.   These exams started my GPA at 2.17, which I need a 2.25 to graduate.

   After this semester, I went directly to the academic dean because I was mortified(I did not know what I did wrong?).  I realized many of the students had these Professors their first year, so they knew this was the type of exam they would conduct.  This put me at a disadvantage because I had never seen their exams because nobody told me they were accessible to me.  The dean assured me that she would check into the exams that were being administered and said she had no clue that professors even had true/false exams.  This did not help my GPA and I decided I would buckle down and take more essay driven classes.  My 2L second semester was slightly better, but I am still in academic peril.  I am barely above the 2.25 requirement (sitting with a 2.3).  Not only is this embarrassing considering my law school start, but now I am concerned I will graduate last in my class and never get a job.

   I do have a summer internship this year, although the supervisor is up for reelection and will likely not lead to a job after graduation.  Alternatively, it will most likely give me another recommendation.

Future?:
   I think I can tough it out and make a reasonable stab at the bar exam because I did do well my first year and those grades are not being considered because of my transfer.  If my grades were considered, I would be somewhere in the 2.7 range... Which is not great, but not awful.  However, I would not be taking a chance at failing out my 3L year.  This is where the problem arises, should I stick it out at my transfer institution knowing the highest GPA I can ever achieve without my good 1L grades is a 2.5 (assuming I get straight A's my 3L which is unlikely...based on my track record).  Plus, taking the chance I could fail out and waste the money because I am close to the not passing 2.25.  OR do I try and change this by transferring back to my starting institution.  Assuming I can transfer and not take extras semesters, the money would be almost the same.  I would have to make sure they would take the bad grades but if they do and I do well, I can transfer back and graduate with honors and in better class rank.  To make the decision even harder, I plan to take the bar exam in the state where I am doing badly in law school but the school tailors my third year to that bar exam.  If I transfer back to the other school, the bar prep is based on all states and not just tailored to the state in which I am taking the bar.

My goal:
  Assuming I just got caught up in the perils of transferring, I think I can take a strong attack on the bar exam and potentially pass with my bar prep class because I clearly have some law school technique (I am a 3L).  My issue is will I look better staying at my transfer school and barely making the grades to pass and even with an increase my 3rd year, barely getting above the graduation level.  Further, my class rank would be last or even close to last.  OR do I check into transferring back to my original school and taking a chance I will do better, maybe even graduate with honors and have a high class rank?  Even then, I have to consider the back and forth transfer and how that might be perceived.

-What should I do?  I want to pass the bar and get a job.  I do not expect a 6 figure job, but enough to pay my loan debt and not be unemployed...  Any advice is helpful...


Thane Messinger

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Re: HELP!!! Rising 3L... What should I do?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2013, 07:01:13 PM »
   I am a rising 3L at a tier three school, I am almost last in my class with  cumulative GPA of 2.37.  The school requires that I maintain at least a 2.25 to graduate, which is not terrible but based on my 2L semester I am definitely at risk.  My question is what should I do, if I graduate with low grades like this from a tier 3, will I be able to find a job?

* * *

-What should I do?  I want to pass the bar and get a job.  I do not expect a 6 figure job, but enough to pay my loan debt and not be unemployed...  Any advice is helpful...


Fishee21 -

I wouldn't have written this before, but will now:

You have a summer internship, which for you might be the acid test.  After three weeks, ask yourself:  "Do I love this?" 

Not just "like," but "Do I really, truly, honestly love . . . LOVE! . . . this job?"

If the answer is anything less than an unreserved "Abolultely, this is fantastic, terrific, and I can't wait to get to the office in the morning!!!", the consider . . .

 . . . not returning in the fall.

I'm serious.  Consider other options.  Is there anything else you would love doing?  [Among other things, might this be an entre for you into the political-staff sphere?  You needn't be a lawyer in many circles there.]

Yes, loans loom large.  Yes, it's horrible.  But it's not as horrible as adding another $50,000+ to your debt, and still not having a good shot at *any* job, plus not liking what you do get (if anything).

Join the military.  Join the merchant marines.  Move to North Dakota and work in the oil fields.  (You'll make more in this last one than you will in nearly any law office.)  Go teach English for a year.

I hate to be a downer, but please do think in terms of what you're giving up.

If you'd be interested, I will buy you a copy of a new book, Con Law: Avoiding...or Beating...the Scam of the Century (The Real Student's Guide to Law School and the Legal Profession), by Charles Cooper, author of Later-in-Life Lawyers, and, ah, me.

Send me a private message with your email, and I'll gift you a Kindle or Nook copy.

Best of luck, sincerely,

Thane.

livinglegend

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Re: HELP!!! Rising 3L... What should I do?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2013, 11:35:50 PM »
Law school is not a breeze for everyone and MC questions are tough for law students, but if you pass the bar you will never see a MC question again. It sounds like you didn't consider the location aspect of law school when you choose your first year school and struggled with moving away from home I saw it all to often in law school and see it happen to people all the time. Let it be a warning to any 0L's to really consider location when choosing a law school whatever the rankings say mean very little and real life happens when your in law school.

With that said I am going to respectfully dissent from Thane and say you have made it this far you might as well get a J.D. and try and get a law license. Remember once your licensed your an attorney whether you finished at the bottom of the class or as Valedictorian you have a right to represent clients and your bar card does not have your class rank on it. I know plenty of people from my law school that finished in the bottom half of the class that are doing fine as practicing attorneys and even a few that didn't pass the bar their first attempt.

If you absolutely hate the law and want nothing to do with it then you should quit, but even if your lukewarm towards a legal career at this point having a law license can be very beneficial as you never know what turns life will throw your way and if you leave now you won't go back.

As for transferring back I don't know if an ABA school would even take a transfer back and your 2L grades would stick with you. More importantly you are going to need to learn MC questions, because the MBE is on almost every state and if you want to take the Bar Exam you will need to learn how to handle a law school multiple choice question. These are very difficult at first, but can be learned.

If I were you, which I am not and I am just some random guy on the internet I would stay where you are and finish your legal education. However, if you have some great job waiting for you or some other passion you are dying to pursue then get out of law school, but if you don't have any other options I say finish your J.D. and hopefully you will pass the bar and have a law license.

Good luck.

Fishee21

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Re: HELP!!! Rising 3L... What should I do?
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2013, 09:36:52 PM »
@ Thane:  I have started my internship and I know at this point, law is my passion.  I have wanted to be an attorney my entire life and at this point I am unable to imagine my future without it (as corny as this sounds).  I do appreciate your advice and I would probably take it if I could picture my future outside of the law field.  Thank you for the advice and reply, I do really appreciate it!

@Legend:  Again, Thank you for your advice as well.  I still have not checked into transferring back to my old school, however I think it is possible because I would still hold a majority of my credits from the transfer institution.  Either way, I will likely gain more experience with MC questions at my current law school and that will be the best bar prep. I appreciate your reply and hopefully I will continue to plug away through the wonderful world of law school.

Thane Messinger

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Re: HELP!!! Rising 3L... What should I do?
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2013, 10:53:29 PM »
@ Thane:  I have started my internship and I know at this point, law is my passion.  I have wanted to be an attorney my entire life and at this point I am unable to imagine my future without it (as corny as this sounds).  I do appreciate your advice and I would probably take it if I could picture my future outside of the law field.  Thank you for the advice and reply, I do really appreciate it!

@Legend:  Again, Thank you for your advice as well.  I still have not checked into transferring back to my old school, however I think it is possible because I would still hold a majority of my credits from the transfer institution.  Either way, I will likely gain more experience with MC questions at my current law school and that will be the best bar prep. I appreciate your reply and hopefully I will continue to plug away through the wonderful world of law school.


Congratulations, Fishee, as this is the key.  You will, at this point, have to re-double and re-triple your efforts in getting the skills and experience and contacts to maintain a toehold in a professional legal capacity.  Pay close attention to those contacts, and keep working no matter what.  Do excellent work, do twice as well as you think you'll have to, and you'll be okay.  Again, congratulations.

As to transferring, there's a book, Art of the Law School Transfer, that might help.  In particular, consider the impact on scholarships, both negative and positive.  This can make a huge difference to your overall costs.

Thane.