I am trying to decide whether I should apply to law schools now or early next fall, relevant info and situation below:
LSAT 171, GPA 3.95 actual, 4.01 LSDAS. Just took the LSAT this month, letters of recommendation all either accounted for or have at least been sent by my recomenders. I initially intended to apply ASAP for fall 2007, but I realize its late in the cycle and my chances may not be the best. Also I did not expect to do as well as I did on the LSAT and originally intended to go to either GMU with UVA as a optimistic goal. Now based just on the stats it looks like UVA should be nearly a given (if its not too late already) and Chicago, Stanford and Harvard are perhaps possibilities worth thinking about.
What would you guess my chances of getting into those schools is now as compared to if I wait till next fall, then apply early (say September or whenever they start accepting apps)?
If I apply now (or within the next couple of weeks) and get rejected does that hurt my chances for getting in next fall? Would there be a big difference in the amount of $$ I can expect from schools if I apply now vs next fall? This is one that I really have no insight on and would make a huge difference, please comment if you can.
Other random thoughts......
On a personal note, I think that if I go to UVA I'd prefer to go this fall, for the others I could go this fall, but wouldn't mind an extra year to get things sorted here (I have a house to sell, lots of crap to move/sell/put in storage etc).
For school selection (based on what I've read, please add to, correct or comment as you see fit),
UVA Pros: Moderate political climate, good academic reputation and location. Its about an hour and a half away from where I live now and I'd probably keep the house I currently have and come home on weekends. Life would be fairly simple.
Cons: Perhaps I could do better, want to work somewhere other than DC or NYC once I'm out of school perhaps CA or even Denver or TX.
Chicago Pros: I'm a huge Law and Econ fan, was an Econ major for undergrad and have been working as an economist of sorts for the past two years. I really admire Posner and have read a lot of his work. National recognition and ability to get a job most anywhere.
Cons: I'm not terribly crazy about the climate or living in a big city, but I've grown up in the DC metro area and can handle it just fine if need be. Location isn't a huge deal to me. Might not be able to get in this admissions cycle.
Stanford: Pros: Laid back atmosphere, great reputation and the bicycling. Although I've never lived on the west coast I think I'd like it a lot. I'm into outdoor sports (bicycling, motocross, aviation etc) and always wanted to try life on the west coast.
Cons: Probably not a lot of like-minded students or faculty (I'm a free-market economist type), fairly small, might have a hard time finding classes in the fields I like (Law and Econ, Constitutional Law, Antitrust, International Trade law...). Probably won't be able to get in this admissions cycle.
Harvard Pros: Huge academic base with it seems experts in every field, name recognition, probably the best job prospects.
Cons: Seems it might be a bit impersonal and overly competitive, not crazy about moving to MA, but again, its not a big deal to me. Probably won't be able to get in this admissions cycle.
I'm 24, been working for the past 2.5 years as a junior economist at a federal think-tank. Econ major for undergrad at GMU, married to a wonderful lady and fellow GMU Econ grad, own a modest house in the outskirts of NoVA. I find Law very interesting and believe my personal strengths would allow me to do very well in the field. I enjoy life very much and have lots of fun out-door hobbies. Don't want to live in NYC or work 90 hours weeks. Particularly interested in careers that would leverage my knowledge and love for economics or my passion for freedom (i.e. constitutional law).
Thanks and have a great Christmas!