What the hell do I do?

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lostlawman
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What the hell do I do?

Postby lostlawman » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:45 am

So this is my first post on TLS and I am totally lost in figuring out what schools to apply to and where to go. I think I want to go into litigation/trial advocacy but not sure. I just want to be in the courtroom as much possible so I could also see myself being a judge in my future. I wouldn't mind practicing criminal law, I just know there isn't a ton of money to be made in that area so I feel like civil is where I will probably end up. I don't have that strong of softs, just an internship for a judge, mock trial and pre-law society. I also work 25 hours a week and if I didn't I could definitely have a higher GPA but not sure how much of a difference that would make or if it is worth mentioning. I have no idea where I want to practice law, so that is kind of a problem in limiting what schools to apply to. Should I just be basing my decision on tuition/scholarship and go where it is the least expensive? One thing I am looking for in a law school is a good clinic program so especially some type of litigation clinic. I would probably want to continue mock trial or something similar in law school to continue gaining skills and confidence inthe court room.

LSAT: 158
GPA: 3.4

Here are some schools I am looking into and will probably apply. They are all over the place and some of them are stretches so I don't know if I should be looking at lesser schools?

Case Western
Michigan State
Stetson
Baltimore
Rutgers - Newark
Seton Hall
University of Denver
Temple
Saint Louis University
University of Maryland
University of Connecticut
Texas Tech

Thanks for the advice!

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cinephile
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby cinephile » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:26 am

Where are you from and where would you like to practice?

Since it looks like you're looking at 2nd tier schools, go to one you can attend with in-state tuition (or where tuition is always low to begin with) so you can minimize your debt.

lostlawman
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby lostlawman » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:49 am

I am from Michigan so I wouldn't mind leaving Michigan given the economy. Especially considering if I went to Michigan State the tuition is private so it wouldn't make a difference. I am not sure where I want to practice so I guess I am not limited in that respect but then again that doesn't help me narrow down my choices. I recognize that I will practice in whatever region I go to law school in and most likely that state so I want to but a lot of thought into this decision. I was also looking at states where after the first year I can declare in-state for tuition purposes to minimize debt so I figure if I go to a school in a state where I can do that and get at least some scholarship money that would be nice.

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cinephile
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby cinephile » Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:44 pm

Well, then I guess it's up to you to figure out where you'd like to live in the future. In response to what you said about schools that give in-state tuition after the first year, I wouldn't count on it. I was interested in UW last year, and they supposedly had that arrangement, until it turned out they couldn't afford it anymore and got rid of it. I would also consider that certain markets are more insular and even though you may have gone to law school there, if you have no other ties it might be difficult to end up practicing there. Likewise, avoid 2nd/3rd tier schools in overcrowded markets.

If you have a fee waiver, by all means apply to a wide range of schools.

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mrtoren
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby mrtoren » Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:37 pm

Rutgers - Newark will offer in-state tuition to 1L's who provide a 12 month lease before school kicks off. That will substantially lower your costs and makes it the number one selection on the list. The employment figures are strong and it also has extensive clinical programs. All good things when it comes to a TT. You should also look at Rutgers - Camden, its basically the same school in a slightly rougher area. You can't be too picky if you want to find employment after graduation though..

Temple comes in 3rd because of its slightly higher tuition. It too has strong employment figures though. Beyond these three, base everything on employment at graduation and employment at 9 months. I focus more on the first of the two figures. Many law schools will provide temp jobs at the 9 month mark to skew the reported numbers...at graduation is usually a more accurate figure. You're probably not going to make six figures out of any school you can get into with your numbers. If you're in law for the money, either retake or don't go.

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Grizz
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby Grizz » Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:39 pm

Bro I hate to say this but you need to retake or don't go.

lostlawman
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby lostlawman » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:07 pm

Why do you say retake or don't go? I realize my numbers are not stellar and i will graduate with debt but just because i won't be going to a t-14 school is no reason to not go to law school

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Grizz
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby Grizz » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:10 pm

lostlawman wrote:Why do you say retake or don't go? I realize my numbers are not stellar and i will graduate with debt but just because i won't be going to a t-14 school is no reason to not go to law school

I'm not at one either. But seriously, you gotta get out of these schools at like $70k debt or less. You really need a full scholarship or close to it. Bad job prospects.

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JCougar
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby JCougar » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:13 pm

Just go to the cheapest one. If you can get tuition somewhere down to $10K/year, it might be a good idea. Anything more expensive than that, and don't go.

msuz
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby msuz » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:16 pm

My #s are very similar to yours so Ill let you know what Im doing. Im pretty sure I know where I want to work and what I want to do, and definately will not go to law school with a huge amount of debt. Since you have such a wide net of schools that you are considering, and you dont seem to know exactly why you want to get into law, I would take a step back to think about this. Do your research, retake if you can, and figure out where you want to practice/what you want to do. Because with numbers like yours and mine, if you dont plan ahead, your chances of suceeding are probably not going to be very high.

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crumpetsandtea
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby crumpetsandtea » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:17 pm

lostlawman wrote:Why do you say retake or don't go? I realize my numbers are not stellar and i will graduate with debt but just because i won't be going to a t-14 school is no reason to not go to law school

It's not because you won't be going to a T14; it's because the schools you will be going to are not going to put you in a position to get a job after graduation (ANY job).

Check out http://www.lawschooltransparency.com/ ; it gives you employment statistics for most of these schools. Here are some of the ones you're looking at:

Case Western - ~ 40% of graduates with a known job in the legal market
Mich State U - ~ 25% of graduates with a known job in the legal market
Stetson - ~15% of graduates with a known job in the legal market

(ETA: ok, linking directly to the schools' pages doesn't work, but you can find each of the schools' data by clicking them on the dropdown menu that's located on the URL i linked above.)

Those are just the first 3 on your list--I didn't pick them because they're the worst employment stats of the lot. Do you really want to spend 3 years of your life and thousands of dollars on the off chance that you're one of the 15% of your entire class to get a job?

If you get an upper-160s or lower-170s score, you could be getting into T25 schools with $$$$ or T14 schools sticker. You're really doing yourself a disservice to settle for a 158.

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BeerMaker
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby BeerMaker » Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:21 pm

I'm with grizz. I would not go to law school at any of those places and pay a dime. You can do so many other things with your life. You're intelligent enough to make it into law school. I hear bankruptcy sucks!

lostlawman
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby lostlawman » Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:52 am

I feel like if i were to retake it i could only increase a few points at best. That's what i was getting on my practice tests and i feel as though i would have to take a year off just to retake it so i wouldnt have school and work and have enough time to study. I mean I already increased 7 points from my diagnostic so taking a year off just to get another point or two doesn't seem worth it to me

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IAFG
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby IAFG » Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:00 am

Then going to law school isn't worth it at all.

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Gecko of Doom
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby Gecko of Doom » Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:07 am

lostlawman wrote:I feel like if i were to retake it i could only increase a few points at best. That's what i was getting on my practice tests and i feel as though i would have to take a year off just to retake it so i wouldnt have school and work and have enough time to study. I mean I already increased 7 points from my diagnostic so taking a year off just to get another point or two doesn't seem worth it to me

Did you take a prep course? I didn't (and I regret it), but I know people who swear by them. Increase by another 7-10 points, and you're in infinitely better shape. More than that and you're golden.

Seriously, it's more than worth it to take a year off if it means the difference between T25 (or maybe even T14) and sticker at T2/T3.

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BeerMaker
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby BeerMaker » Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:56 am

I went from a 151 to a 166 so that's hogwash. You can always do better!

ahnhub
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby ahnhub » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:31 am

I agree you should seriously consider what you're getting into, especially since you don't seem to have a clear idea what you want to do with your law degree. But if you do your research, and still really do want to be a lawyer and think you can succeed at it, and you truly think 158 is close to your max score, I don't see why anyone should stop you.

You should look at Wayne State in Michigan. I know LST makes every Tier 2-3 school look exactly the same employment-numbers wise, but there are important differences. Wayne State has historically dominated the legal market in Michigan. Look at any local mid-size law firm's attorney register, it will have Wayne State grads all over the place. It has significant local pull. That said, numerically employment still looks pretty brutal, so you will most likely have to hustle to find work.

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mrtoren
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby mrtoren » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:44 am

crumpetsandtea wrote:
lostlawman wrote:Why do you say retake or don't go? I realize my numbers are not stellar and i will graduate with debt but just because i won't be going to a t-14 school is no reason to not go to law school

It's not because you won't be going to a T14; it's because the schools you will be going to are not going to put you in a position to get a job after graduation (ANY job).

Check out http://www.lawschooltransparency.com/ ; it gives you employment statistics for most of these schools. Here are some of the ones you're looking at:

Case Western - ~ 40% of graduates with a known job in the legal market
Mich State U - ~ 25% of graduates with a known job in the legal market
Stetson - ~15% of graduates with a known job in the legal market

(ETA: ok, linking directly to the schools' pages doesn't work, but you can find each of the schools' data by clicking them on the dropdown menu that's located on the URL i linked above.)

Those are just the first 3 on your list--I didn't pick them because they're the worst employment stats of the lot. Do you really want to spend 3 years of your life and thousands of dollars on the off chance that you're one of the 15% of your entire class to get a job?

If you get an upper-160s or lower-170s score, you could be getting into T25 schools with $$$$ or T14 schools sticker. You're really doing yourself a disservice to settle for a 158.

What graph and figure are you using? 74% of Case grads, 49% of MSU grad, and 55% of Stetson grads were in bar required positions. I'm not defending the latter two, but Case places decently. RU-N places about 70% of its grads into bar required positions. Do they compare to T14 schools? Absolutely not. Is the the debt load overwhelming? Depends. Retaking will always better one's chances. However, if the OP cannot raise his/her score and has a burning desire to go into law, there are options.

The risk should be noted though.

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BeerMaker
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby BeerMaker » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:33 am

It's inconceivable to think that a person could never not improve. It's selling yourself short. I dont consider myself genius material, yet I somehow scored in the 93 rd percentile of all test takers. Trust me; hard work pays off. If you dont want to improve, that's fine, but never underestimate the human brain. It is far more capable than what even us overachievers will ever realize.

WSJ_Law
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby WSJ_Law » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:45 pm

South Carolina might be a good option with those numbers due to how insular the SC state legal market is. Even though it is TTT now.

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Grizz
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby Grizz » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:48 pm

WSJ_Law wrote:South Carolina might be a good option with those numbers due to how insular the SC state legal market is. Even though it is TTT now.

If you're not from SC, don't bother. It's that insular.

WSJ_Law
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby WSJ_Law » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:51 pm

Just make up ties bro

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Grizz
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby Grizz » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:51 pm

WSJ_Law wrote:Just make up ties bro

Make up that you're from there?

lol no

WSJ_Law
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby WSJ_Law » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:55 pm

Then killself bro

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IAFG
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Re: What the hell do I do?

Postby IAFG » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:57 pm

Grizz wrote:
WSJ_Law wrote:Just make up ties bro

Make up that you're from there?

lol no

Being a lawyer is not nearly awesome enough to move to SC in the off chance you can break into that market




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