Law School Discussion

Greetings,

Greetings,
« on: March 28, 2015, 07:33:53 PM »
I am a senior with one more semester to go at a Texas University.  I should graduate with a 3.75, and I have been active in student organizations.

Of course my first choice is Harvard, no offense Yale, I just prefer crimson.  I have not yet taken the LSAT, but I plan to take a class, as I intern this summer.

If I don't get in, I am considering a Master's and then re-applying.  I mean if you have to go to law school, it might as well be the best right?

Then there's the cheap, local, easy to get into North Texas field: UT, SMU, UNT (unaccredited), A&M, or Texas Tech...?

Who's worth it?  Oh, screw Tech, they have too many cobblestones (wheelchair bound).

loki13

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Re: Greetings,
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2015, 07:48:20 AM »
king,

Not sure if you're serious. If you are, here's the thing. What you posted, unfrotunately, doesn't really matter absent your LSAT score. Try a few practice tests and score them to at least get an idea of what you might do (a range). Let me explain-

Yes, uGPA (undergraduate GPA) is important. But in this era of grade inflation, a 3.75 at an (unidentified) Texas school in an (unidentified) major, by itself, isn't all that when it comes to admission to Harvard Law. The *median* uGPA for an offer from Harvard is a 3.88. And that includes applicants that go to the few schools that do not have grade inflation or are in "hard" subject (some type of STEM). Put another way, you are below the median for offers from Harvard. Until you know your LSAT score, you have no idea if you're even competitive. If you're scoring in the 150s - 160s, you're just not. Period.

Next point- everything else you write is mainly worthless. This isn't undergrad. No one cares if you're active in student organizations. No ones cares if you went on and received a Masters (with a small exception that I will write about later). Almost every school has a matrix that consists of the LSAT + uGPA (weighted), and that's pretty much it. Almost all decisions are based on that. Yes, you can knock yourself out by writing the lyrics to "I want Money" over and over again as your personal statement. You can gain some advantage at some schools by being an URM (under-represented minority). If you're a borderline case, your application materials might push you one way or the other, since they do have to make more individualized calls. But, really, it's all LSAT + uGPA.

Next, there can be some issues with "splitters" (usually, lower than expected uGPA + high LSAT). That's not an issue for you. Then there's the issue of taking time off. This is something I almost always highly recommend! It's good for people to get some life experience. But getting a Masters is not going to help you get into a Law School. Now, if you *know* you're going to get into Harvard, and you know you're going to do the academic track (clerkship, law professor, for example), and this won't cause a debt issue, then by all means, why not? This would help you. But that's pretty specialized, and, again, don't do it because you think it will help you get into law school.

Finally, you mention costs. You might want to look up the costs of local Texas law school. Yes, the state schools are cheaper than Harvard- but I think you'll be surprised how "uncheap" they are. And the private schools, absent a scholarship, well.... a little knowledge can be a wonderful thing.

TLDR- Take a practice LSAT. Learn more.

Re: Greetings,
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2015, 10:00:18 AM »
Hi King,

As the previous poster has indicated, until you have an actual LSAT score on the board everything is pure speculation. The LSAT is such a huge part of the admissions criteria that it almost can't be overstated.

LSAT
3.75 is a very solid GPA and indicates that you probably have the potential to do well on the LSAT. To have a realistic shot at Harvard (or Yale) you'd need not just a good score, but a stratospheric score. 175-180, which is (I think) the top 1-2%. That's just to be competitive. Get a crazy high score first, then you can worry about Harvard.

Master's Degree
If you are definitely going to law school, I wouldn't waste the time and money on a Master's. It will make very little (if any) difference, and will be waaaaay behind GPA/LSAT in terms of importance. It's a soft factor. If the idea is to get a Master's in case law school doesn't work out, that's different. Just be sure it's in a useful field.

Other Schools
Chances are you won't get into Harvard, so it's good to consider other schools. Again, without an LSAT score it's all speculation, but for argument's sake let's say you score 165. With a 3.75/165 you would have some good options in TX. (BTW, most people don't consider UT "easy to get into.")

UT would be a possibility with those numbers, although certainly not a shoe-in. Places like Texas Tech, SMU, etc would be pretty much sure things, with the possibility of scholarship money at some.

The question at that point would be what do want to do with your degree? Those schools are all fine if you want to live and work locally, but it would be tough to go into Biglaw, academia, etc.

Take the LSAT, get a score, then you can assess your options.

Re: Greetings,
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2015, 11:15:37 AM »
Then there's the cheap, local, easy to get into North Texas field: UT, SMU, UNT (unaccredited), A&M, or Texas Tech...?

As a side note, I had to look this up.

Apparently, the University of North Texas (part of the UT system) has opened a new law school in Dallas. This is the first I'd heard of it.

Although it is currently unaccredited, they are seeking ABA approval. Law schools can't apply right away, they have to be I operation for (I think) at least one year then can apply for provisional approval. They have to maintain that for another couple of years then can seek full approval. The new UC Irvine just went through this process.

If I were a prospective law student in TX, this would interest me greatly. With the backing of the UT system, I think they will probably get ABA without any problems. It's also cheap and (at this point) easy to get into. A student with decent numbers might be able to get some serious scholarships as they are likely eager to boost their numbers.

Of course, there are caveats to attending a new law school: no reputation, no alumni, etc. The UT system, though, is well respected. Although this school may not rival UT-Austin anytime soon, it might be viewed quite favorably within the DFW area.

An example would be the aforementioned UCI. The school had a good reputation and high expectations in So Cal before it even opened it's doors because of the strength of the UC system. UCI grads are competing favorably with much more established schools, and the lack of an alumni base does not seem to have made much difference. Something similar could happen with UNT. 

Re: Greetings,
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2016, 03:24:55 AM »
ry a few practice tests and score them to at least get an idea of what you might do (a range).