4.0/163, considering retake

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seancris
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4.0/163, considering retake

Postby seancris » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:27 pm

I'm graduating this semester with a 4.0 in polisci from a top-tier public school. Took the LSAT once, last June, got a 163, slightly below my PT average. I prepped for about 3.5 weeks without using the bibles or traditional methods, just PT's and reviewing my mistakes along with some unhelpful kaplan books.

I'm confident that I could retake and improve my score to the upper 160s or possibly even low 170s.

I originally decided to keep my score because I thought it would get me a decent scholarship at a strong regional school and it would keep my debt in the 50k range. This seemed preferrable to me to retaking to get a T14 caliber score, seeing as I would acquire 150k+ debt from a T14.

Today I feel similarly about it. Why would going to the T14 be preferable, considering the debt? Obviously much greater access to biglaw but it's not necessary to have a biglaw job when the debt load is only 50k. What am I missing? I just need to see some evidence that T14 is the obvious way to go, it seems to be the consensus on TLS. Why is it worth the tremendous amount of debt?

timbs4339
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby timbs4339 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:30 pm

seancris wrote:I'm graduating this semester with a 4.0 in polisci from a top-tier public school. Took the LSAT once, last June, got a 163, slightly below my PT average. I prepped for about 3.5 weeks without using the bibles or traditional methods, just PT's and reviewing my mistakes along with some unhelpful kaplan books.

I'm confident that I could retake and improve my score to the upper 160s or possibly even low 170s.

I originally decided to keep my score because I thought it would get me a decent scholarship at a strong regional school and it would keep my debt in the 50k range. This seemed preferrable to me to retaking to get a T14 caliber score, seeing as I would acquire 150k+ debt from a T14.

Today I feel similarly about it. Why would going to the T14 be preferable, considering the debt? Obviously much greater access to biglaw but it's not necessary to have a biglaw job when the debt load is only 50k. What am I missing? I just need to see some evidence that T14 is the obvious way to go, it seems to be the consensus on TLS. Why is it worth the tremendous amount of debt?


What kind of career do you want to have?

T14 will give you a leg up for almost all legal jobs- and you never know, you could swing money from a T14 with a retake, you have a great GPA.

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Tadatsune
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby Tadatsune » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:31 pm

Do it.

Even if you don't want T14, why would you settle for a "decent scholarship" when you could potentially get a full ride?

Hell, you could even end up with a full ride from a T14 if you score high enough.

checkster
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby checkster » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:35 pm

The fact that your are able to consider retaking means you should retake. Even a few points higher would make such a difference.
Last edited by checkster on Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

062914123
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby 062914123 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:37 pm

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Last edited by 062914123 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bobbyh1919
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby bobbyh1919 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:47 pm

1. Don't waste a 4.0 with your current score and 2. you didn't even practice for a full month. The LSAT can definitely be learned and mastered, but not in 24 days. Also 3. there's no reason to think that you can't get money at the T-14. If you hit 170, you can probably get a couple of half rides at the lower T-14 and get a number of full rides at other T25 schools.

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seancris
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby seancris » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:49 pm

I wasn't so much asing "should I retake?" as "why T14 if I do retake?"

Not really sure what kind of career I want. Don't know what I want to specialize in, but probably not criminal or family law. I'd like to get involved in state-level politics, and that at least partially informed my decision to go after the flagship state school which produces a majority of our state-level politicians. I've already been admitted there but without a scholly, and retaking + working for a year + interest on investments would reduce the debt to 30kish (the state school doesn't give full scholarships, just 14k out of 21k). I may yet get a 20-24k scholarship this year which would put the debt around 60k, give or take.

Right now I'd like to practice for a few years and make connections with the state party and donors and prep for a run at state-level office in the next 10 years. That's generally where my mindset is.

Going to T14 would give me a gigantic debt load and probably have me working in the DC or NYC areas, far away from my home state. Probably would have to give up political aspirations in the homestate.

I'm just looking to be convinced T14 > UF argument, for my purposes and career goals. If I'm going to spend a year of my life waiting tables and prepping for the LSAT, I'm going to need some dream of going to T14 for x and y reasons or else I'll be pretty miserable.

tennisking88
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby tennisking88 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:56 pm

seancris wrote:I wasn't so much asing "should I retake?" as "why T14 if I do retake?"

Not really sure what kind of career I want. Don't know what I want to specialize in, but probably not criminal or family law. I'd like to get involved in state-level politics, and that at least partially informed my decision to go after the flagship state school which produces a majority of our state-level politicians. I've already been admitted there but without a scholly, and retaking + working for a year + interest on investments would reduce the debt to 30kish (the state school doesn't give full scholarships, just 14k out of 21k). I may yet get a 20-24k scholarship this year which would put the debt around 60k, give or take.

Right now I'd like to practice for a few years and make connections with the state party and donors and prep for a run at state-level office in the next 10 years. That's generally where my mindset is.

Going to T14 would give me a gigantic debt load and probably have me working in the DC or NYC areas, far away from my home state. Probably would have to give up political aspirations in the homestate.

I'm just looking to be convinced T14 > UF argument, for my purposes and career goals. If I'm going to spend a year of my life waiting tables and prepping for the LSAT, I'm going to need some dream of going to T14 for x and y reasons or else I'll be pretty miserable.


You know you don't have to be a lawyer to go into politics right? A law degree could be a total waste of three years. In fact, if you're looking at state-level office, you should hit the ground running, do issue-organization or advocacy and spread your name throughout the community that way.

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seancris
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby seancris » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:14 pm

tennisking88 wrote:
seancris wrote:I wasn't so much asing "should I retake?" as "why T14 if I do retake?"

Not really sure what kind of career I want. Don't know what I want to specialize in, but probably not criminal or family law. I'd like to get involved in state-level politics, and that at least partially informed my decision to go after the flagship state school which produces a majority of our state-level politicians. I've already been admitted there but without a scholly, and retaking + working for a year + interest on investments would reduce the debt to 30kish (the state school doesn't give full scholarships, just 14k out of 21k). I may yet get a 20-24k scholarship this year which would put the debt around 60k, give or take.

Right now I'd like to practice for a few years and make connections with the state party and donors and prep for a run at state-level office in the next 10 years. That's generally where my mindset is.

Going to T14 would give me a gigantic debt load and probably have me working in the DC or NYC areas, far away from my home state. Probably would have to give up political aspirations in the homestate.

I'm just looking to be convinced T14 > UF argument, for my purposes and career goals. If I'm going to spend a year of my life waiting tables and prepping for the LSAT, I'm going to need some dream of going to T14 for x and y reasons or else I'll be pretty miserable.


You know you don't have to be a lawyer to go into politics right? A law degree could be a total waste of three years. In fact, if you're looking at state-level office, you should hit the ground running, do issue-organization or advocacy and spread your name throughout the community that way.


The question isn't whether I want to do teh lawz or not. I do. I've been involved in state-level politics and I know that at least in my area, being a successful lawyer would be helpful. But the decision to go to law school doesn't have a whole lot to do with my other career goals aspirations, it just complements them. I want to go to law school because I've worked with lawyers and enjoyed that experience, studied law at the undergrad level and enjoyed that experience, etc. etc.

Again, though, it's not really relevant to the "why T14" question. Not trying to be rude though, I appreciate the input.

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banjo
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby banjo » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:14 pm

"T14 or bust" is really just pithy investment advice. The reasoning behind it is simple:

(1) Law school is expensive and requires taking out significant debt.
(2) The primary ways to eliminate this debt are (a) to work at a firm that pays ~$160,000 OR (b) to take advantage of a good loan forgiveness program.
(3) Traditionally, about 15 schools in the US have offered the best chance to do (a) or (b). These schools happen to be ranked at the top of the annual USNWR rankings.

Now, if you have something that prevents you from doing (a) or (b) then this investment advice might not apply. But if you fit the profile of most law students and are willing to do whatever makes financial sense, it's really, really difficult to find a law school investment that is safer than one of these ~15 top schools.

In your case, I don't think anything is preventing you from doing (a) or (b) or in your home state.

lawyerwannabe
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby lawyerwannabe » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:18 pm

banjo wrote:"T14 or bust" is really just pithy investment advice. The reasoning behind it is simple:

(1) Law school is expensive and requires taking out significant debt.
(2) The primary ways to eliminate this debt are (a) to work at a firm that pays ~$160,000 OR (b) to take advantage of a good loan forgiveness program.
(3) Traditionally, about 15 schools in the US have offered the best chance to do (a) or (b). These schools happen to be ranked at the top of the annual USNWR rankings.

Now, if you have something that prevents you from doing (a) or (b) then this investment advice might not apply. But if you fit the profile of most law students and are willing to do whatever makes financial sense, it's really, really difficult to find a law school investment that is safer than one of these ~15 top schools.

In your case, I don't think anything is preventing you from doing (a) or (b) or in your home state.


Most subtle Texas-trolling . . . ever?

dixon02
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby dixon02 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:19 pm

You seem to be setting up this false dichotomy of either going regional with little debt or going T14 with $150k+ debt. That is simply not an exhaustive list of options. If you retake and hit 170, you can go T14 with limited debt.

062914123
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby 062914123 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:22 pm

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Last edited by 062914123 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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banjo
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby banjo » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:25 pm

lawyerwannabe wrote:Most subtle Texas-trolling . . . ever?


I actually had Vanderbilt in mind when I wrote ~15, but whatever. There is no way to get around accusations of trolling on these forums. Everything is trolling one school or another.

tennisking88
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby tennisking88 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:53 pm

seancris wrote:
tennisking88 wrote:
seancris wrote:I wasn't so much asing "should I retake?" as "why T14 if I do retake?"

Not really sure what kind of career I want. Don't know what I want to specialize in, but probably not criminal or family law. I'd like to get involved in state-level politics, and that at least partially informed my decision to go after the flagship state school which produces a majority of our state-level politicians. I've already been admitted there but without a scholly, and retaking + working for a year + interest on investments would reduce the debt to 30kish (the state school doesn't give full scholarships, just 14k out of 21k). I may yet get a 20-24k scholarship this year which would put the debt around 60k, give or take.

Right now I'd like to practice for a few years and make connections with the state party and donors and prep for a run at state-level office in the next 10 years. That's generally where my mindset is.

Going to T14 would give me a gigantic debt load and probably have me working in the DC or NYC areas, far away from my home state. Probably would have to give up political aspirations in the homestate.

I'm just looking to be convinced T14 > UF argument, for my purposes and career goals. If I'm going to spend a year of my life waiting tables and prepping for the LSAT, I'm going to need some dream of going to T14 for x and y reasons or else I'll be pretty miserable.


You know you don't have to be a lawyer to go into politics right? A law degree could be a total waste of three years. In fact, if you're looking at state-level office, you should hit the ground running, do issue-organization or advocacy and spread your name throughout the community that way.


The question isn't whether I want to do teh lawz or not. I do. I've been involved in state-level politics and I know that at least in my area, being a successful lawyer would be helpful. But the decision to go to law school doesn't have a whole lot to do with my other career goals aspirations, it just complements them. I want to go to law school because I've worked with lawyers and enjoyed that experience, studied law at the undergrad level and enjoyed that experience, etc. etc.

Again, though, it's not really relevant to the "why T14" question. Not trying to be rude though, I appreciate the input.


TLS' T14 obsession stems partly from debt aversion. Ppl on here will tell you (correctly) that tuition (usually at sticker price, but even with a modest scholarship) is so high that the best way to relieve the massive debt burden is to take the highest paying job possible, usually as an associate at a corporate firm (or, as the poster above said, a very generous LRAP program for those who go into non-profit work). That's why the schools that get most of these jobs, typically in the T14, are held in such a high regard. If you do not have debt, are set on staying in the region of the school, and have ties/connections to said area, I think it's entirely appropriate, and correct, to stay in the area for school.

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seancris
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby seancris » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:23 am

dixon02 wrote:You seem to be setting up this false dichotomy of either going regional with little debt or going T14 with $150k+ debt. That is simply not an exhaustive list of options. If you retake and hit 170, you can go T14 with limited debt.


What would the debt picture look like at 4.0/170, and which schools in the T14 would be likely to offer scholarship aid? According to LSN it looks like possibly UVA, but then again there's a bunch of waitlists in the same area. Seems like the line between waitlist and scholarship recipient should be more obvious from the LSN data.

banjo wrote:"T14 or bust" is really just pithy investment advice. The reasoning behind it is simple:

(1) Law school is expensive and requires taking out significant debt.
(2) The primary ways to eliminate this debt are (a) to work at a firm that pays ~$160,000 OR (b) to take advantage of a good loan forgiveness program.
(3) Traditionally, about 15 schools in the US have offered the best chance to do (a) or (b). These schools happen to be ranked at the top of the annual USNWR rankings.

Now, if you have something that prevents you from doing (a) or (b) then this investment advice might not apply. But if you fit the profile of most law students and are willing to do whatever makes financial sense, it's really, really difficult to find a law school investment that is safer than one of these ~15 top schools.

In your case, I don't think anything is preventing you from doing (a) or (b) or in your home state.


TBH I've rarely met a person that makes $160,000/yr. When we say that T14 provides the best chance of earning that kind of money, what kind of a chance are we talking about? Where can I find out what percentage of Cornell (possibly one of the most attainable T14s) grads are able to make 100k+ at graduation?

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Flash
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby Flash » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:26 am

bee wrote:
dixon02 wrote:You seem to be setting up this false dichotomy of either going regional with little debt or going T14 with $150k+ debt. That is simply not an exhaustive list of options. If you retake and hit 170, you can go T14 with limited debt.


Very, VERY little debt if you get a high enough LSAT. Your 4.0 is already half the battle.

173+ and we're talking Hamilton/Ruby range.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:29 am

seancris wrote:
What would the debt picture look like at 4.0/170, and which schools in the T14 would be likely to offer scholarship aid? According to LSN it looks like possibly UVA, but then again there's a bunch of waitlists in the same area. Seems like the line between waitlist and scholarship recipient should be more obvious from the LSN data.


Here are the applicants to Penn with a 3.9+ and a 170 last year:

http://penn.lawschoolnumbers.com/applic ... ,8&type=jd

You can switch between schools to get the picture elsewhere.

seancris wrote:TBH I've rarely met a person that makes $160,000/yr. When we say that T14 provides the best chance of earning that kind of money, what kind of a chance are we talking about? Where can I find out what percentage of Cornell (possibly one of the most attainable T14s) grads are able to make 100k+ at graduation?


--ImageRemoved--

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seancris
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby seancris » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:42 am

Tiago Splitter wrote:
seancris wrote:
What would the debt picture look like at 4.0/170, and which schools in the T14 would be likely to offer scholarship aid? According to LSN it looks like possibly UVA, but then again there's a bunch of waitlists in the same area. Seems like the line between waitlist and scholarship recipient should be more obvious from the LSN data.


Here are the applicants to Penn with a 3.9+ and a 170 last year:

http://penn.lawschoolnumbers.com/applic ... ,8&type=jd

You can switch between schools to get the picture elsewhere.


You sir, are a badass.

How do the Art. III clerkships pay? And how do we know that this info is accurate?

Thanks, this is all awesome information.

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banjo
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby banjo » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:43 am

seancris wrote:TBH I've rarely met a person that makes $160,000/yr. When we say that T14 provides the best chance of earning that kind of money, what kind of a chance are we talking about? Where can I find out what percentage of Cornell (possibly one of the most attainable T14s) grads are able to make 100k+ at graduation?


160k per year is the standard salary for first-year associates at large law firms, not including bonus. There is some debate about what constitutes a large law firm, but the NLJ250 list is very commonly used. You can get a good idea of placement into NLJ250 firms here: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 1&t=150004. Federal clerkships are included because these students probably had the grades to obtain a market-paying offer. You can find even more information, including my sources for the 160k figure, here: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 2&t=152447. As you can see, the percentage of graduates getting these associate positions significantly decreases as you leave the elite schools.

Cornell places well into market-paying firms, especially in NYC. In the event that you fail to find high-paying firm work, you could begin to consider their protection plan: http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/admiss ... pilipp.cfm.

Edit: Seems others beat me to posting this information, but I'll submit anyway.

ahnhub
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby ahnhub » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:57 am

If you think you can do significantly better, retake. It doesn't hurt, and it could help MASSIVELY. Consensus seems to be that T-14 grads generally have a very good shot at getting Biglaw--60%-80%+ if you want it. Even if you really think you'd be happy at Florida you could get a full ride and maybe a stipend if you get a 170.

Outside of Biglaw, one of the historical strengths of T-14 is that usually 90%+ of their students secure jobs before graduation, while at Florida it's usually around 60-70%. The Employed at 9 months number closes the gap (in a normal year 90+% of Florida grads are employed at 9 months), but I think the jobs you can secure before graduating are generally better. So there is just overall stronger job security at T-14, regardless of whether you want to make a ton of money.

timbs4339
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby timbs4339 » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:07 am

A T14 school will not confine you to NYC or DC. You will have a great shot at regional firms especially if you network and reach out to people to let them know you are interested. If you do have to stay in NYC (DC is very hard to get) you can always lateral within a few years.

Additionally, the best jumping off point for state politics is usually the state AG office. These places may not be hiring very many entry level grads depending on your state, so going into biglaw will allow you to transition in a few years after graduation. I know a lot of future politicians at my T6 who are starting in biglaw and planning a move to the state AG office or other state agency before politics. If you want to immediately begin in state government, the T14 will help you get there for those positions that are open as long as you build a government oriented resume in law school.

Becoming successful as a small time private sector lawyer is extremely difficult. It's possible with a lot of years of work, good business acumen, and a ton of luck.

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Dr. Filth
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby Dr. Filth » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:11 am

Northwestern has a full scholarship Early Decision program that I assume a 4.0 with a 171 would put you in contention for.

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Tom Joad
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby Tom Joad » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:14 am

Get a 170 and you will be close to getting a full ride at the lower T14. Quite an envious position.

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Perdevise
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Re: 4.0/163, considering retake

Postby Perdevise » Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:22 am

Just to play devil's advocate for a moment, maybe going to the local school would be the better choice if the goal is state level politics. Going to the local school lets you network for 3 years with pols and donors. You can practice privately after graduating and get to know local clients, or work for state government. Maybe you'd be better off doing well at the local school than trying to bring back a degree from NYU/Northwestern (although I don't know if Duke/UVA do well in Florida). The stipulation, of course, is that you would have to do very well with grades.

If you do retake and do better, you could maximize your scholarship and thus minimize debt and get a lot of time to meet locals.




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