Law School Discussion

Just Getting Started

Just Getting Started
« on: May 28, 2014, 11:29:14 AM »
Hello,
Law school has always been something that was tossed around in my head but I finally made the decision to attend law school. I am planning on taking the LSAT in September (I'm reading a lot about it and going to get study books but any study tips would be appreciated) and applying to start in Fall 2015. I received my BA in History from NC State University in 2010. And I have been working this time and had some family issues. But I had some questions.

#1-For undergrad I went to community college for two years where my GPA was at least a 3.5. I don't recall the exact number. And when I transferred to NCSU, my cumulative GPA is 2.56, not including my transfer work. I also took some post-graduate work at the community college but did not complete (thats my second question) and that GPA is I think 3.0 roughly. My GPA at NCSU was greatly affected by a major depression my two worst semesters are the semesters where my depression was the worst. From my research so far on applying for law school, I think I should do an addendum. However, do you think that depression is considered an excuse or a legit illness/disability by admissions representatives? Do you know if they take just my NCSU undergrad work alone of if admissions takes an average of all college work? I have about a 3.0 if they take the average. Regardless I realize this probably disqualifies me from the T14 schools.

#2-I know some schools require a statement on why I didn't complete a legal program. I was enrolled in a Paralegal program but did not complete it. Actually it is part of the reason I decided to go to law school. But the reason I did not complete the program has other circumstances as well. Would it be a good idea to explain these circumstances in an addendum?

#3 I'm starting to brainstorm on my personal statement. To make a long story short, I am thinking about writing about my depression and what I learned from it. I think a lot of it was caused by childhood bullying and there may be some tabula rasa philosophy as well. Is writing about depression taboo or again is it considered just whiny?

I think that is it for now.
Take Care.

Re: Just Getting Started
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2014, 01:45:37 PM »
#1-Do you know if they take just my NCSU undergrad work alone of if admissions takes an average of all college work? I have about a 3.0 if they take the average. Regardless I realize this probably disqualifies me from the T14 schools.

LSAC will calculate your GPA based on all college courses taken before receiving your Bachelor's. So your community college work and NCSU work will both  be counted.

#2-I know some schools require a statement on why I didn't complete a legal program. I was enrolled in a Paralegal program but did not complete it. Actually it is part of the reason I decided to go to law school. But the reason I did not complete the program has other circumstances as well. Would it be a good idea to explain these circumstances in an addendum?

Well, if they require an explanation then you have to provide one. I don't think any of the schools I applied to required me to explain programs that I hadn't finished, though. If you are in fact required to explain, be completely honest and succinct. I seriously doubt if the fact that you didn't finish a paralegal program will much (if any) effect on admissions.

#3 I'm starting to brainstorm on my personal statement. To make a long story short, I am thinking about writing about my depression and what I learned from it.

This is a deeply personal topic, and only you can decide what to write about. That said, in my opinion it is best to steer your essay towards strengths rather than weaknesses. I know that writing about how you overcame an obstacle can highlight your personal strengths, but it almost seems a little too personal for an essay topic. Just my opinion. 

barprephero

Re: Just Getting Started
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2014, 04:33:45 PM »
Wishing you the best on your law school adventure. I agree with the other poster that the Depression is a very personal issue.  I wouldn't mention it unless you plan to mention it as a disability (in some cases it may qualify to do so)
There are a lot of things that you could do in your personal statement. Maybe discuss your history with the law or your ambitions on what to do with it?

Re: Just Getting Started
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2014, 10:55:33 PM »
I would recommend to not get ahead of yourself and instead focus on one thing at a time. The only thing to focus on at this point is your LSAT score. If you score a 180 your getting into a number of law schools if you score 140 your not getting into an ABA school.  If your somewhere in the middle, which is what will likely occur start worrying about the other factors, but you could have a 4.0, the greatest personal statement in the world, etc if you do not have an LSAT score your not getting into law school.

Many potential students in your position myself included put time and energy into irrelevant things and focusing on the other questions prior to taking the LSAT is irrelevant.

As for actual study tips again keep it simple and take as many practice LSAT scores under timed conditions as possible. The first few times your performance will not be great, but like anything else the more you practice the more you will improve.

I see many posters and potential incoming students ask the same question, but remember to not over complicate matters. Keeping things simple is very difficult, but it is how you succeed in the legal profession.

I think this quote sums it up. “Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.”

Good luck in your pursuit of a legal education.

One

Re: Just Getting Started
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2014, 12:14:29 PM »
Thank you so much for providing such kind and encouraging words. Some of my family did not have encouraging words when I told them of my intent to go to law school.

Thank you all for answering my questions. I was starting to get around that depression will not work for a personal statement.
NewlyMinted the idea of writing about history and law is a definite possibility. There are a number of topics that would work better. At this point, I have to get my thoughts organized and focused.

I know I am getting ahead of myself and I need to slow down. I want to be ready or close to ready to apply after I take my LSAT. I'm confident about it, hopefully no overly. I've been doing some practice questions and I am learning where I need to study the most.

Thanks again.


barprephero

Re: Just Getting Started
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2014, 01:21:11 PM »
Thank you so much for providing such kind and encouraging words. Some of my family did not have encouraging words when I told them of my intent to go to law school.

Thank you all for answering my questions. I was starting to get around that depression will not work for a personal statement.
NewlyMinted the idea of writing about history and law is a definite possibility. There are a number of topics that would work better. At this point, I have to get my thoughts organized and focused.

I know I am getting ahead of myself and I need to slow down. I want to be ready or close to ready to apply after I take my LSAT. I'm confident about it, hopefully no overly. I've been doing some practice questions and I am learning where I need to study the most.

Thanks again.
I know this is a personal question, but I am curious(if you are ok with sharing) what did your family say? What would they prefer to see you do and why?

Re: Just Getting Started
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2014, 09:34:50 PM »
At the OP be aware the legal profession is full of negativity and really whenever anyone tries to achieve anything it is often met with negativity, speculation or doubt.

The purpose of the post is to tell you a thick skin is necessary in the legal profession, but if you have that it can be a very rewarding career. Good luck in your educational pursuit.

barprephero

Re: Just Getting Started
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2014, 09:52:28 PM »
At the OP be aware the legal profession is full of negativity and really whenever anyone tries to achieve anything it is often met with negativity, speculation or doubt.

The purpose of the post is to tell you a thick skin is necessary in the legal profession, but if you have that it can be a very rewarding career. Good luck in your educational pursuit.
I agree with this, but only to a degree. The average lawyer that engages other lawyers in adverse proceedings, yes. To be sure.
But there are desk jobs (at firms mostly, but also some other places) that allow you to mostly have your own little bubble and either just do research or help prepare documents and stuff. Those jobs are out there.