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Author Topic: Unique situation...  (Read 4689 times)

HoosGoin?

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Unique situation...
« on: December 11, 2003, 12:46:18 PM »
I am in a unique situation--I went to a top 20 undergrad school but ended up with a terrible UGPA (think 2.6).  Like everyone else with low grades, I steadfastly maintain that my GPA in now way isa reflection of my intellect or preparation for further study.  

Because of my interviewing and case skills, I scored a spectacular and competitive post-grad job at a Big 4 management consulting firm.  For the past 8 years I have done strategy work for public sector and manfacturing clients.  I am now a Senior Manager (the level below Partner) and desperately want to make the switch and go to law school.

My LSAT score is high (176) and my experience is impressive--my UGPA, though, seems to make admissions people become quesy, even at tier 2 and 3 schools (I have made appointments at some schools in the area to feel things out).  They seem to say that it alone is simply a deal-breaker.

I haven't yet applied (will be next Fall), but there must be something I am missing.  HELP!!!!!!

hartbc

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Re:Unique situation...
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2003, 01:48:50 PM »
There is no way you won't get into ANY law school with a 176...well, I'm pretty sure anyway...Which schools did you talk to about this?

The 176 will help break the 75th % LSAT...your GPA will be below most 25% marks, but if you apply at schools that are trying to raise their LSAT scores, I think you've got a shot. Put your numbers into the LSAC (lsac.org)calculator...You've got excellent work experience--apply at schools that really emphasize this.

I have read that George Washington automatically admits anyone with a 3.3 index. I don't know what your index number would be, but you could check it out on LSAC. I have heard of people getting into Duke and Georgetown with sub 3.0 GPAs and big LSAT scores (which is what you have!).

You can (and should) always write an addendum explaining the poor GPA.

If all else fails and you really want to go to law school, you could always start at a lesser school (but I think you'll get into a first tier school for what it's worth), prove that you can get the grades, and transfer...Just apply to a wide range of schools.

Hope this helps.

HoosGoin?

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Re:Unique situation...
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2003, 03:44:09 PM »
I spoke to folks at Georgetown and Univ of Virginia.  They both made it very clear that my UGPA was so sub par, that it would be a significantly uphill battle, even with my experience.  Both said I was articulate, bright, and clearly capable of success in law equal to that in consulting BUT my gpa made it hard for them to want to admit me over a 3.8 kid from an Ivy with 1 or 2 years of i-banking experience.  They were supportive and hoped I would apply, but made it clear my chances were slim.  I see there dilemma--from a numbers perspective, I would bring down their average GPA while not really helping their average LSAT (already around 170).  I have to say, though, that they were very respectful.

I also stopped by a beautiful little tier 2 school.  The admissions asst said law school was rigorous and on paper, I simply don't have what it takes.  I tried to remain positive and requested suggestions for strengthening my application.  She suggested I consider ultra-low tier or night programs, ideal for people with my "low level of previous academic achievement."  I was mortified.  I am not sure I had ever felt so stupid and out of my league, and I do high-intensity/high-dollar work.  She also implied I was bit older than most of their students and might not fit in al that well anyway (good god--I am 31!).  

Let's write that off as a fluke--she was clearly off base.  That said, I still get the feeling I am UN-ADMITTABLE.  I simply don't get it...  B-schools would be thrilled to get someone with my background.  Either I have run into unrealistic and snobbish admissions folks, or I am simply un-admittable.  Thoughts?

hartbc

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Re:Unique situation...
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2003, 04:03:25 PM »
I don't know what to say. That's rough. Look at www.lawschoolnumbers.com. There are a few people listed with low GPAs and super high LSATs. If they are being truthful, which they may not be, then I still say you have a shot.

Georgetown, it seems, can be kind of selective b/c they're the best law school in a giant legal market. You may be aiming a bit high, but I still think you should give it a try. Have you thought about Northwestern? They basically don't admit anyone without work experience, so it's a slightly older crowd and they seem to understand that real world experience can make up for a lot. In fact, I think it's almost impossible to get in there without WE. Just a thought. It still may be difficult for you to get in, but I think you should try!

Like I said, check out GWU. They claim to automatically admit people with the 3.3 index. 2.9-3.29 are maybes.
Okay. i just looked up the admission index for GW...
.044*LSAT+.443*GPA-5.502 is the formula. Unless I've miscalculated that gives you a ...3.39. You might want to retry that. I didn't have a calculator. That means you're in at GW and that is definitely not a bad thing!

I say apply and see what happens.


HoosGoin?

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Re:Unique situation...
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2003, 04:25:14 PM »
I know this is probably a ignorant question, but...  where did you find the index equation and cut-off?  I didn't see it on their site; I am guessing there exist books with the indices in them, right?  Is this 3.3 cut-off a real-deal, they admit to it thing or a rumor?

Thanks for the info, it makes me feel MUCH better.

hartbc

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Re:Unique situation...
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2003, 04:48:32 PM »
I believe the book is called How to Get Into the Top Law Schools, by Richard Mantouk? (I think that's his name??).

A bunch of different admissions people talk about admissions policies (including GW's). The book is 3 or 4 years old, so it may not be accurate, but if this was once their policy, I'm thinking it may still be...

Don't worry so much. You will get in somewhere! And probably somewhere pretty decent--maybe not top 10-14, but I bet you can go first tier...GW is a good school!

Make sure you apply early next year--this will probably help.


P.S. The index equation is on LSAC.org. You may not be able to access the index formulas until you've registered for LSDAS. But if you click on the ABA guide icon on LSAC.org's homepage, there is a LSAT/GPA calculator that will tell you your chances at varying schools--this will make you feel much, much better--once you see that your chancesare quite good!

HoosGoin?

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Re:Unique situation...
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2003, 09:27:44 AM »
I was able to get access to LSAC and the admissions index info.  I imagine schools are rather loath to printing any absolute cut-off, so how was the GW 3.3 determined?  Where would I find other similar guidelines, if only to guide me in the application process?  

I think we all realize that these cut-offs and indices are just one component of the process.  Someone with high grades and a stong LSAT who comes off as an idiot in an admissions essay that is also riddled with typos and whose LORs all say he is at best a mediocre employee/student isn't getting in to any decent schools--I just want something to guide me.  With an UGPA like mine, the traditional 25/75 split charts simply don't help  :).

The few trusted peers I have mentioned my goals to are struck by the insane opportunity cost of the endeavor (leaving a $165k/yr job to rack up $125k in debt in order to get a $80k/yr job (and that's just hopefully!)).  Thoughts?  Clearly the old, you have to do what makes you happy argument comes in, as does, if you don't do it, you'll regret it.  I really want to hear some con arguments.

hartbc

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Re:Unique situation...
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2003, 10:50:12 AM »
Well, I am sure any glaring mistakes in an application would decrease your chances of being admitted. As far as I know, GW is the only school that has ever openly admitted that they have an index number cut off (I believe it may b/c they get like 15,000 apps a year). Obviously, only choose people that you trust to write your LORs. If you're really moving up where you work, I would imagine your boss is happy with you...

Certainly, don't go to law school if you don't want to. If you like your current job and it pays well, why leave it?
Perhaps you should get an MBA? Once you run the place, you can just hire lawyers to work for you!

Your friends make a good point about the money, but money isn't everything. It sounds like there's money in what you're doing now, so an increase in salary shouldn't be the reason you're going to law school.


I'd suggest buying some books about the subject to see if law is for you or not...or talk to some lawyers you know to see what they say about it.

I would imagine that no one is 100% sure that law school is for them. I certainly don't. I think I will enjoy school, but I don't know what actually practicing will be like...and I'll have to wait for 3 years to really find out.

As far as your job goes, I'm imagining you're working crazy hours? You could think about going to school part time...I don't know if it's possible, but it's an option.

Well, good luck. Do what you think is right...

Marnet

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Re: Unique situation...
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2004, 09:23:42 AM »
Hope I can help with my contribution here...
sounds like the real question is WHY have you decided to change careers and head for law? I am hearing the money is not really a major concern. Also-- I am an older applicant and have researched this issue --there are schools that embrace and seek older applicants. In fact, more and more do because they want life experience brought to the courses and find maturity and diversity are also key factors in successful law practice.It always bugs me that just one admissions rep can injure the spirit of a driven and committed applicant.
Much of this sounds like a matter of more self-seeking -- what is the bottom line reason -- the 'draw' to becoming a lawyer.Somewhere, somehow, we have to be in deep touch with ourselves and believe we, as individuals, have something REAL important and worthwhile to contribute to society through law, rather than money or winning the approval decisions of admissions reps at costly competitive top tier schools pumping out molded power monger graduates with high numbers. Some of the best attorneys around went to less competitive schools, and through their own drive and self-belief, have built their own entrepreneurial practices doing the best work in law. And I have witnessed attorneys from the "top schools" lose BIG TIME in important cases and initiatives because their approaches were way off base.
Much of any career choice is based on lifestyle decisions and determining what their own  true inner mission, self-worth, and sense of purpose is -- how and where they want to fit in the puzzle of society.
So...relax...and reflect...and rely on yourself more than what Ms. or Mr. X says at the XYZ school on top of the hill.
Hope this presents a fresh new idea...   

lawschoolafterdark

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Re: Unique situation...
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2004, 06:27:26 PM »
I think the issue in your situation is do you want to practice law or do you want to have a degree from a top law school.  If you scored a 176 on your LSAT you are obviously smart enough to learn enough to pass the bar.  If you really want to practice law just find a school you will enjoy for three or four years. If you are only intersted in the prestige schools, I would say apply and if you don't get in move on to the next thing in your life.

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