Law School Discussion

Many Questions

Many Questions
« on: September 25, 2005, 07:42:14 PM »
I'm new to the idea of law school so please bear with me while I ask numerous questions.  I am currently working on my PhD in Art History, which I hope to complete within the next three years.  My undergraduate GPA was a terrible 3.1 and I have yet to take the LSAT.  I am married to an officer in the military and for numerous health related reasons we are planning to have a child as soon as the research phase of my PhD is complete.  Also, I have several prestigious fellowships and will soon have a stint with UNESCO on my record.  Considering all this here are my questions:

1) My choices for law schools are limited since I am only willing to attend one that is near a base where my husband would be stationed.  Would my GPA hinder such efforts?  Would the PhD and other related experiences help? I realize that LSAT scores are a huge factor.

2) How difficult would it be to pursue legal education with a really young child in tow?

3) I am not too worried about getting into a top-tiered law school.  Would attending a not-so-great school affect employment chances later?

4) My interest lies in the practice of law dealing with art and cultural heritage.  How important is it to attend a program that specializes in that? Would a general law background be adequate?

I probably have plenty of other questions but can't think of them right now.  I realize that there are many variables involved here, but I would appreciate any input regarding my situation.  In the meantime, I'll browse other threads for info.   :)

Re: Many Questions
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2005, 11:46:43 PM »

1)It is hard to say.  As I do not know the specific schools near the bases you would be considering. Besides the higher the LSAT score the less important the UGPA becomes.  Your graduate GPA will NOT matter.  Soft factors do matter some.   However, it seems you have no WE and will be staring law school immediately on the heels of your PHD.  Some adcoms may question your commitment to law versus the life long student... I am just assuming you realized academia (and quite possibly the salary) is not where you want to be and you dont want to quit a program. Over all, i think the fact that your PHD is directly related to your interest in law, culture, arts and antiquities will help.  However, if the schools near bases aren't offering courses in this highly specialized concentration they may question why you are applying.  I know several schools that hold conferences on the matters. but very few have classes in this area, atleast I think that's right.
2) Again I think this is a difficult question.  Only you can judge your ability to juggle a challenging courseload with family needs.  I think it would be vital to have a strong support network.  What would happen if your husband was deployed or sent somewhere else for a few weeks or months or even a year?  do you have help with the baby?

3) the easy answer is yes.  however, i think you need to find attorneys who do what you want to do and compile a list of schools they attended.  Are they all tier 1? top 20 programs?  are there one or two tier 2 or 3 schools that frequently appear? 

4) again the easy answer it will hurt your chances to not attend a program which speacilizes or at the very least has 2 classes on the subject. however, perhaps with a PHD in art history this is not as important?  I do not know.  the best bet is to examine the biographies of the attorneys from question 3.  draw your own conclusions.

Re: Many Questions
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2005, 09:15:33 AM »
Thanks, KayakAnyone. 

Except for William and Mary near Norfolk Naval Base, all other schools near other Naval bases do not seem to rank very high in the overall ranking of law schools, but I could be wrong about that.  My choices are Groton, CT; Norfolk, VA; Kings Bay, GA; Bangor, WA; San Diego, CA; and Pearl Harbor, HI.

You are right on several counts:

  1) I only have about one year's worth of work experience between my undergrad and grad careers.  The only redeeming aspect about that particular time (unrelated to art history) is that I worked on a contract basis in US Attorney's offices in several different cities.  Of course, that may not be worth much. 

2) I am not too satisfied with the mostly academic job options at the end of my PhD.  I'd rather do something that takes my education into account in a non-traditional way; however, of all the schools I am looking at, only William and Mary has a course or two offered on art and law.  I think Columbia has one of the best programs but that is out of the question for me.

I appreciate your advice on points 3 and 4.  Those are some things that I had not yet considered and sound like very good suggestions to me.