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Author Topic: 169//3.64 -- Is this a decent list?  (Read 3020 times)

spencerdigby

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169//3.64 -- Is this a decent list?
« on: August 23, 2013, 12:21:52 PM »
Hi all,

I graduated from Davidson College in 2011, and I've been working as a writer at a Washington think tank for the past two years.  My statistics are: 3.64 GPA, and 169 LSAT.  I'm considering applying to the following schools:

Penn
UVA
Michigan
Duke
Northwestern
Cornell
Georgetown
Vanderbilt
Washington and Lee
University of North Carolina

I'm hoping you could provide feedback on the list.  Are there schools I'm considering that I shouldn't bother applying to? Are there schools that I should consider but are not on the list? I'm indifferent to location and am hoping to enroll in the best school to which I am accepted, although money, of course, will play some role in my decision.   Thanks in advance for your insights.

Spencer

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Re: 169//3.64 -- Is this a decent list?
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2013, 11:19:48 AM »
When choosing a law school there a number of factors to consider and there is no "right answer" all 200 ABA law schools will give you a solid legal education and a bar exam ticket, which if you pass will make you a fully licensed attorney.

When choosing a law school there are 5 factors I believe should be considered in the following order, but remember anyone on this board or others is an anonymous internet poster that knows nothing about you so take any advice on these boards with a grain of salt my post included.

With that said these are the factors to consider (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feelings about the school (4) Understanding the Reality of Legal Education (5) Last and certainly lease U.S. News Rankings. Below is an analysis of each factor.

1) Location/
Your list of schools are mostly  Midwest, the South, and the NY/Phil/DC and I imagine you are ok with living in all of these areas. It is important to realize that wherever you attend law school is likely where you will spend the rest of your life obviously there are exceptions, but if you attend law school in Northwestern you will spend a minimum of three years of your life in Chicago. Your internships will be in Chicago, your professors will have more connections in Chicago, you will make friends in Chicago, find a place to live in Chicago for three years at least. Then odds are you will take the Illinois Bar at the end of law school and once you go through one bar very few people take it in a second state. You can see why most people end up in the City or state they attended law school. Obviously there are thousands of exceptions to this, but you can see how all those factors add up and the majority people stay.

Also remember law school does not exist in a vacuum even if you do end up leaving the location your three year experience in Chicago will be much different than Durham, North Carolina intense winters, big City in Chicago,  Durham small college town in the South obviously different experiences and be sure you can handle the different locations. Life happens when your in law school so make sure the City is a good fit for you.

(2) Cost
With your numbers you could likely obtain a full scholarship from a number of schools for example if you wanted to attend law school in Chicago I believe you could get a full scholarship at DePaul for example or if you wanted Chicago or a full scholarship at Michigan State opposed to Michigan etc.

The schools you list give you a shot at Biglaw, but if that is not something your interested in you may be better of getting a full scholarship at a lesser known school. If you get into Georgetown for example is 46k per year in tuition 23k per year in living expenses 69,000 annually over three years 207,000 total for the J.D. and I assume you are taking out loans and they will be accruing at around 6% a year so 12,000 per year in interest. If BigLaw is something you want then you can afford paying that back assuming you even get into it.

However, if you want to be a D.A., Public Defender, City Attorney, Family Lawyer, or work in a small town then you are much better off getting out with minimal debt it really depends on what you want. However, one thing to be care about should you take the scholarship route is the scholarship conditions attached often they will require a 3.0 GPA or something along those lines and if you don't negotitae for better conditions there is a good chance you will lose the scholarship for years 2/3.

3) Personal Feelings about the School
Another thing to realize is that each school has a culture to it. When I was 0L I visited many schools and while in law school I competed in a lot of mock trial competitions and went to different campuses and interacted with various schools. There were some schools I liked and others I hated, but those are my personal feelings you could very like love the schools I hated. It is very important to visit the schools, talk to students, professors, admins and just see if the school feels right for you. I guarantee you on that list there will be some schools that rub you wrong the way and others you feel great about and making sure the school is a good fit for you personally is very important.

4) Reality of Legal Education
It is pretty important to understand that at each and every ABA school you will essentially learn the same exact thing. Your first year at Harvard or Cooley will consist of Torts, Contracts, Property, Civil Procedure, and Crim Law they may switch between Crim Pro or Con Law in first year, and require you to take the other courses in 2L.

Then in 2L and 3L you will take remedies, corporations/business associations, evidence, wills & trusts, etc. In all of these courses you read Supreme Court cases and they don't write separate opinions for different schools. In Civil Procedure you will read Pennoyver v. Neff to learn Notice and International Shoe to learn about personal jurisdiction. In Con Law you will read Marbury v. Madison and in Torts you will read Palsgraf for proximate cause. Etc, Etc there are more dynamic professors at certain schools and the caliber of students at Harvard are better at Cooley, but you will learn the same thing.


(5) U.S. News Rankings

Remember this is nothing more than a for-profit unregulated magazine offering an opinion. It has some value, but it is not something you should make a life altering decision on.

Conclusion
There is nothing wrong with your current list, but I think you should really determine where you want to live first and foremost then apply to all the schools in that region and see what type of scholarship offers you receive. LSAC usually hosts several LSAC forums and if you attend those stop by every law school both for two seconds and odds you will get a fee waiver that is what I did when I was applying and I got 20 fee waivers so I applied to each school that allowed me to for free and then got an abundance of scholarship offers and was able to negotiate for what I wanted.

I suggest you do the same, but be sure the school you choose is a fit for you and in a City you want to live in.

Good luck.