Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Do you remember what you did to get into law school?

I am advising a current pre law student, and it has been yea trijocker09/01/17
Pay the application fee, qualify for government loans, and h therewillbeblood09/01/17
Whittier grad? trijocker09/01/17
Nah, technically tier 1. But while I did well on the LSAT, I therewillbeblood09/01/17
Why would they care? Schools are evaluated on a narrow set gilles09/01/17
Studied for the LSAT like mad when I was working. I sucked t kramer71609/01/17
I had a bad situation when I was studying for the LSAT, was notreallyalawyer09/01/17
If it is possible to change any of those factors you want, g jeffm09/01/17
I am not sure about state school. I know people in-state wh downwardslope09/01/17
URM, median LSAT, honors undergrad (high GPA), and straight isthisit09/01/17
One piece of advice I always give people is, stay the heck a wutwutwut09/01/17
I thought Barron's sucked. May I recommend instead any old e gilles09/01/17
Joined PAD pre and during law school. Got a killer letter o flyer1409/01/17
Study for the lsat like his life depends on it. Nothing else bucwild09/01/17
If the only concern is getting into a good law school, start thirdtierlaw09/01/17
This is excellent advice. kramer71609/01/17
If someone is hell bent on getting into law school, then tak notreallyalawyer09/01/17
If he wants to do patent law, he's much better served gettin bucwild09/06/17
This is all credited. Pre-law is a garbage major; in fac wolfman09/01/17
This is not a question of whether he can get in to law schoo onehell09/01/17
Grades are really important. The LSAT is important. Anythi bittersweet09/01/17
I know I'm coming off as a total douche, but you said advice notreallyalawyer09/01/17
Actually I looked and there are several hundred students in trijocker09/01/17
So what if mock trial is competitive? How many students part onehell09/06/17
Focus on what makes the person different and adds to the sch heythere09/01/17
This post reminds me of how olde, yet Wise I am now. That wi dopesmokeresquire09/02/17
It was all worth it. Being an attorney is the best job you'l trickydick09/06/17
repeat after me: Retake, retake, retake an additional dingbat09/06/17
This thread is stupid. Just obtain an undergraduate law d sanka09/06/17
lol bad idea. You could get an LLB and could probably qualif onehell09/06/17
get the LLB there, then an LLM and get licensed in NY dingbat09/06/17
The UK university will charge through the nose for the LLB, onehell09/06/17

trijocker (Sep 1, 2017 - 11:10 am)

I am advising a current pre law student, and it has been years since I went through this process.

Did you join PAD? Do Mock trial? Get great letters of recommendation? Take Testmasters for the LSAT? Any other advice you can remember besides getting good grades?

Also--do you think in state public law schools preference in state students or just pick anyone?

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therewillbeblood (Sep 1, 2017 - 11:14 am)

Pay the application fee, qualify for government loans, and have a pulse.

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trijocker (Sep 1, 2017 - 11:16 am)

Whittier grad?

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therewillbeblood (Sep 1, 2017 - 11:42 am)

Nah, technically tier 1. But while I did well on the LSAT, I didn't do any of the kinds of things you mention. I don't think schools care.

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gilles (Sep 1, 2017 - 7:17 pm)

Why would they care?
Schools are evaluated on a narrow set of criteria: rank, and money. Rank in turn is a function of a few, well delimited factors. The only of those that relate to incoming students are LSAT and GPA. Any pretense that anything else matters is hard to sustain.

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kramer716 (Sep 1, 2017 - 11:20 am)

Studied for the LSAT like mad when I was working. I sucked taking the practice tests, but it panned out when I took the real deal.

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notreallyalawyer (Sep 1, 2017 - 2:20 pm)

I had a bad situation when I was studying for the LSAT, was working overseas, only had one practice book and took the LSAT in a dark room in a foreign country with loud protesters outside of the room, only got mid upper 150s, so that's why I went to a crappy law school. My undergrad gpa was only a 3.2 because I started as an engineer and did poorly, had a 3.6 in my major though.

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jeffm (Sep 1, 2017 - 11:24 am)

If it is possible to change any of those factors you want, grades and LSAT are the top 2. The more exclusive schools use a formula for automatic admission.

If Weighted GPA + Weighted LSAT > Some Number, then, you're in without anyone having to review your application.

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downwardslope (Sep 1, 2017 - 11:32 am)

I am not sure about state school. I know people in-state who got rejected from my home state's good state schools but got scholarships to much higher ranked private schools as URMs. Meanwhile out of state white males with lesser stats got admitted to the same schools no problem.

I did very little to prepare. I applied for the lsat from a foreign hostel and studied full time for maybe a month. I was a out of undergrad for a while.

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isthisit (Sep 1, 2017 - 11:42 am)

URM, median LSAT, honors undergrad (high GPA), and straight cash homie got me into the greatest and grandest state law school in NJ.

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wutwutwut (Sep 1, 2017 - 12:00 pm)

One piece of advice I always give people is, stay the heck away from the Kaplans and Testmasters and other fear vampires until they've tested the waters on their own.

Instead, pick up a Barron's guide (etc.) cheap and go over its practice questions tips/tricks for a week or two. Then try one of the old exams available from lsac.org for $10 or whatever it is now, doing so under real-time conditions.

Go back through the guide book to see why they missed what they missed on that first test. Study some more with the guidebook questions for another week. Take a second lsac-provided old exam.

If after a solid few weeks working on their own like this, they're not scoring where they want to be, THEN spend the $2K or whatever on a prep course.

As for the in-state/out-state preference, if the person you're advising doesn't meet jeffm's criteria of GPA + LSAT > Number that gets you in without review, they probably shouldn't be going to LS right now.

I do believe it varies from state-to-state. I got an offer of full out-of-state tuition plus a healthy stipend at a then T-20 flagship state U where I was not a citizen. They warned me in the offer that if I transferred my legal residency to that state while in the LS, the scholarship would drop to about 75% of in-state tuition. Baffling to me, given it makes no economic sense. Maybe they just had a certain number of seats for non-residents.

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gilles (Sep 1, 2017 - 7:20 pm)

I thought Barron's sucked. May I recommend instead any old edition of Princeton Review? But I very much agree that the lsac old tests are the best for actual test prep. That's what I always recommend.

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flyer14 (Sep 1, 2017 - 12:34 pm)

Joined PAD pre and during law school.
Got a killer letter of recommendation from an undergrad polisci professor (who also had a law practice on the side) even though I was actually an econ major.
Got a mediocre LSAT... 154 on the second try.
Wrote a personal statement that included a Hootie and the Blowfish reference.
Got an excellent scholarship to a T3.
Profit?

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bucwild (Sep 1, 2017 - 12:42 pm)

Study for the lsat like his life depends on it. Nothing else matters, aside from his GPA.

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thirdtierlaw (Sep 1, 2017 - 12:53 pm)

If the only concern is getting into a good law school, start studying for the LSAT now. Drill it till he no longer improving.

As for advice to set him up for a productive future in law. Drop the Pre-law major. Pre-law won't make a difference for getting into law school. Instead, he should switch his major to either computer science or business if he won't be able to keep up with the math behind computer science. He should also double check that the computer science degree has been accredited to make him eligible for the patent bar. If not he should take enough classes to make himself eligible for the patent bar. It doesn't matter if he never wants to be a patent attorney or work in IP law. If he can get good grades in the classes, so as to not hurt his GPA, it'll make him more marketable come OCI time.

The business degree will be helpful if he were to end up doing transactional work. It's not a requirement by any stretch. However, if he gets a biglaw internship, he'll be able to pick up transaction work much quicker by already having the background in how corporations and businesses actually function.

As far as mock trial. That is a waste of time unless he enjoys it. Trying to get an internship or part time job with a local law firm will not only make sure he actually wants to be an attorney, but it'll provide a better of recommendation. Most importantly, it'll give him some connections in the legal community incase he strikes out/doesn't want to go biglaw.

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kramer716 (Sep 1, 2017 - 1:43 pm)

This is excellent advice.

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notreallyalawyer (Sep 1, 2017 - 2:22 pm)

If someone is hell bent on getting into law school, then taking the easiest major so you can have the highest GPA will be a benefit. If they don't want to be a lawyer, then having a more useful undergrad gpa would be a wiser move.. I started out as an engineer, got some pretty bad grades. I would have been better off with an A in a poli sci class than a C+ in Fortran.

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bucwild (Sep 6, 2017 - 2:50 pm)

If he wants to do patent law, he's much better served getting an engineering degree (EE, ME, ChemE) than a comp sci degree.

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wolfman (Sep 1, 2017 - 1:51 pm)

This is all credited.

Pre-law is a garbage major; in fact, I am inclined to consider any undergrad that allowed a student to major solely in "pre-law" to be a garbage school. Even a degree in something utterly "impracticable" like art history or philosophy is much better than a degree in "pre-law."

I studied for the LSAT using both books and eventually a Kaplan class (that an employer paid for) and eventually ended up with a 99% LSAT score, up from like a 85% one I got initially with no studying whatsoever...for all good it did me.

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onehell (Sep 1, 2017 - 2:59 pm)

This is not a question of whether he can get in to law school. Anyone who can finish any BA can go to law school if they want. But to have any real chance at a good job, he's got to go to a top 14 school or get a very generous scholarship at a good regional school. Rec letters and extracurricular are largely irrelevant, he does indeed just need good grades and test scores. Sounds like he's already in an easy major, so GPA should be good. That leaves LSAT.

So: LSAT, LSAT, and LSAT. That's all that matters. Practice, tutoring, whatever. If he doesn't manage to score at least a 165, he's not going to get in anywhere worth going. Conversely, if he gets a great score he'll get in to a good school even if he never did a single extracurricular activity in all of undergrad. But he's got to understand that law is not like any other profession in that the prestige of the school he attends will be largely determinative of the entire course of his career. His first job out must be biglaw or a federal clerkship, or he is very unlikely to ever see a positive ROI from this investment unless he had a full or nearly-full ride.

There are plenty of places that will admit people with almost any score, but again, the question is whether he can get in somewhere worth going. The only prerequisite for law school if you don't care where you go is a BA in anything from anywhere. Time spent doing debate team or whatever is wasted time. From now until the next LSAT administration, prepping for that test should be pretty much his only focus. If he's not completely ready, delay it. He can take a year off, live at home, and make prepping for the LSAT his full-time job. But truly, nothing else matters really.

Also, I don't think it matters all that much where he gets tutoring from, as the primary value of the prep classes is the disciplined approach they impose and the opportunity to take practice tests under simulated conditions. Practice makes perfect, so his goal is to basically just keep practicing until he is reliably getting 165+ scores under conditions that mimic the actual test as precisely as possible. Because you can't just retake like the GRE (schools see all your scores from all your attempts AFAIK) he should not take the test unless and until he gets there.

If he's like most similarly-situated people, he'll ultimately end up with a score in the low to mid 150s and your job will switch to trying to convince him not to go. But maybe just maybe, you can steer him to focus on the only thing that matters and he'll do well enough to make it worthwhile.

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bittersweet (Sep 1, 2017 - 4:11 pm)

Grades are really important. The LSAT is important. Anything that can better these is worthwhile. Working as a para or legal assistant is a real good idea.

Realistically, I'd advice against going into the field completely. If they can't go without a full scholly, it's probably not a good investment.

That said, the philosophy major really isn't a bad choice - not so much for the historical stuff, but the philosophy majors I met really knew how to write an essay and construct an argument (like a law exam). That will be really helpful when they get in.

But unless the stars are REALLY in alignment for that person, I would recommend against it.

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notreallyalawyer (Sep 1, 2017 - 4:37 pm)

I know I'm coming off as a total douche, but you said advice when you meant "advise". Lawyers really care about that crap.. Make any typos and you are finished. My brother went to a much better law school than I did, got a summer associate position, but no offer, because he makes typos.

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trijocker (Sep 1, 2017 - 5:51 pm)

Actually I looked and there are several hundred students in their various pre law groups, and it is very competitive to do mock trial or PAD mock.
Evidently current students do not read JD underground, or just think they are going to be different and get some super high paying job.

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onehell (Sep 6, 2017 - 1:34 pm)

So what if mock trial is competitive? How many students participated in mock trial in UG does not factor in to a school's USNWR ranking.

The only thing law schools care about is whether admitting a student will help or hurt the USNWR data, which is basically just LSAT and GPA. All the liberal artists have a GPA in the mid to high 3s, so really it's just LSAT.

Look on lawschoolnumbers.com and you'll see basically see around a 5 point range between the 25th and 75th percentile of admitted students' LSAT scores. If you're around the 25th percentile you might get in but will pay full price, at the median you will get a modest scholarship, and 75th percentile and above will likely get a full or nearly-full ride. Below the 25th percentile and you'll probably get rejected. This bell curve will be adjusted a little bit to the left for an affirmative action candidate, but other than that it's really pretty much that simple.

Not disputing whether this guy's UG program was hard or not. It doesn't matter. Whether it was due to high achievement or grade inflation, most people coming in have good GPAs, and extracurriculars don't factor in for USNWR and therefore not for the admissions committee, except as rare tie breakers in extremely close cases. Yeah he's gotta get rec letters and such, but it doesn't much matter where they come from. They're just a formality to have a complete application.

I know he's proud of mock trial or whatever. But he needs to accept that it doesn't matter. LSAT is all that matters. At least, it's the only thing that matters over which he has much control at this point.

It would also, of course, be fair to tell him to ask himself whether he really wants to join a profession that bases its entire hierarchy on prestige and ignores pretty much everything in the application except the LSAT score. That's indicative of the profession's overall toxic culture, and one of many good reasons to once again, consider doing something else.

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heythere (Sep 1, 2017 - 11:37 pm)

Focus on what makes the person different and adds to the school's diversity.

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dopesmokeresquire (Sep 2, 2017 - 9:37 am)

This post reminds me of how olde, yet Wise I am now. That wisdom was not easy to get.

1.Tell them to major is something useful so they can fall back on it when they inevitably decide they hate being a lawyer and want to do something else. Obviously getting a good GPA is necessary but majoring in pre-law or humanities ties them to law FOREVERMORE.

2. As an undergrad, they should do an internship with a law firm so they can be somewhat exposed to the grind from the very start. That will also give them some good reputation points, and something valuable on their resume.

3. Tell them that they will not make 120k out of the gate no matter what anyone says. Is that still a thing no, or did the scamblogs destroy that misconception? 40k to 50K is more likely.

4. Unless they are Ivy league gunners, tell them to go to the cheapest in state (or out of state school, get residency second year) they can. Most private lawschools just aren't worth the cost.

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trickydick (Sep 6, 2017 - 2:35 pm)

It was all worth it. Being an attorney is the best job you'll ever hate.

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dingbat (Sep 6, 2017 - 2:43 pm)

repeat after me:

Retake, retake, retake

an additional point on the LSAT can mean more scholarship or a better school. Tell them to keep retaking.

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sanka (Sep 6, 2017 - 2:52 pm)

This thread is stupid.

Just obtain an undergraduate law degree in the United Kingdom. (England.)

E z peazey

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onehell (Sep 6, 2017 - 3:39 pm)

lol bad idea. You could get an LLB and could probably qualify as a solicitor, but you'd have a damn hard time getting the "training contract" which is prerequisite to a "practising certificate."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Training_contract

"To obtain a training contract a graduate must apply for an opening for such position at a law firm usually a year or two in advance of the start of planned employment. A concern of the profession is that each year the number of applicants exceeds the number of contracts available. Graduates unable to obtain a training contract will have accrued sizeable debts with no guarantee of being able to qualify as a lawyer."
--
Sounds like the situation in the UK is pretty similar to the US, and in some ways it's worse. At least in the USA being unemployed doesn't mean you can't get licensed. Plus you'd need to meet and marry a native before graduation to even get permission to live and work there at all.

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dingbat (Sep 6, 2017 - 3:40 pm)

get the LLB there, then an LLM and get licensed in NY

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onehell (Sep 6, 2017 - 3:43 pm)

The UK university will charge through the nose for the LLB, just as schools gouge foreigners here. Then you get bent over again for the LLM? You'd probably come out with just as much debt as you would if you'd just gone to law school here, and you'd be stuck in NY because there's no assurance other states would admit you.

The thing to do if you want to move abroad is sign up with one of those "teach English in asia" outfits or alternatively, enroll in some useless easy humanities MA (or better yet phd) at a foreign university and use the time to meet and marry a native. You won't be any more employable but the student lenders won't pursue you abroad and the fedgov will (laughably) cut the same blank check for a school in the UK that it would for a domestic school.

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