Your Opinion on Law Schools

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cavtrpr
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Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby cavtrpr » Tue May 07, 2013 9:58 pm

Good evening, I'm Brandon and I am currently an officer in the army scheduled to get out (and will be doing so) on 28FEB14. I've spent my career thus far longing about law school and pretty much have my heart set on it at this point. Here is a brief profile to orient yourself to my situation.

1. Having grown accustomed to moving, I am not all too concerned with relocating, even long distances to a law school (I'm currently in Tennessee).

2. Because I've lived in multiple states over the past 4 years, I'm basically screwed regarding the cheaper rates for residents.

3. I am not currently in debt in any form.

4. I still have the GI Bill, post 9-11 GI Bill at my disposal. It won't do much, but it will take care of living expenses.

5. My wife is a nurse so she can win that bread while I'm in school (contingent upon her getting a job, of course).

6. I have an 8 month old daughter.

7. I have $80,000 saved from my time in the army.

8. I'd like to have full-time employment requiring admission to the bar, after graduation. I'm not going to begin trying to answer which type of law I'd prefer to go into, as I realize things could change based on my exposure to different types while in school. However, if I had to speculate, I like the idea of criminal law, with the goal of one day being a judge. Let's cross that bridge later, though.

9. I like the idea of living in Florida.

10. I wouldn't object to going back to California.

11. After I'm out of the army, you wouldn't catch me dead in West Tennessee, I'd only live east of Knoxville.

12. I had an undergraduate GPA of 3.1.

13. I'm taking the LSAT in June, but I have scored a 160 and a 161 on two diagnostics that I have taken, without study. I can reasonably assume that I can score much higher because my mistakes were densely concentrated in the logic games section.

What would you advise I do?
Last edited by cavtrpr on Tue May 07, 2013 10:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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ph14
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby ph14 » Tue May 07, 2013 10:01 pm

First, thank you for your service. Second, study hard for the LSAT and score a 170+. If you are scoring 160/161 without studying, you should be able to up your score to the 170+ range if you are really dedicated. Once you have your LSAT score go to http://lawschoolnumbers.com/ and see what schools you will be competitive at. Best of luck.

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dextermorgan
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby dextermorgan » Tue May 07, 2013 10:03 pm

cavtrpr wrote:What would you advise I do?

Study for the LSAT and make the decision once you have a score.

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cavtrpr
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby cavtrpr » Tue May 07, 2013 10:15 pm

Are there general trends that I should be aware of? For example, the consensus on this forum is that tier 3 schools aren't worth much more than the paper they are printed on, such as the University of Miami. What about tier 2 schools? What about transferring from a tier 3 school to a tier 2 school, or a tier 2 to a tier 1 school in the same state? I ask because regardless of my LSAT, it seems that with such a lackluster undergraduate GPA, I don't stand too great of a chance at getting into a tier 1 school.
Last edited by cavtrpr on Tue May 07, 2013 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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txdude45
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby txdude45 » Tue May 07, 2013 10:16 pm

160/161 are really good dry scores, but DO NOT take the LSAT without studying. It isn't a test that demands to be studied if you want to do okay, but if you want to get into schools worth going to, you're going to have to take the time to study. Don't go anywhere near the June LSAT. As far as you need to be concerned, it doesn't exist. Here are your prospects with those stats, although you'll probably do marginally better because of your officer status: http://www.mylsn.info/xt33kd

If you can get above 165, which is totally doable by the October test, you'll look more like this: http://www.mylsn.info/o3tjps
170+ and you really start cooking: http://www.mylsn.info/lldn0q

Even if you end up going to the same school you would go to with a 160, there may be more money in it for you. Since you're applying this fall, just study and get your application together. The October test is a totally appropriate move and rushing into June without prep is a really really bad idea.

After that, apply to schools in the market in which you want to work, or, since you aren't partial to any one place, apply to the best schools at which you stand a chance. Since you said the GI bill will basically cover COL, try to extract as much money as you can from the colleges you get into. If you can escape without eating up all $80k, you'll be in a choice spot. Just make sure the school you go to isn't leaving most of their graduates without JD jobs. Law schools are businesses and the seedy ones have no problem pissing on their students and telling them its raining.

Last bit of advice I'd give is to remain active on these forums. Even just casually reading other people's questions/responses will fill you in on all the pertinent information and dropping questions of your own will get you targeted advice at pretty much every stage of the process.

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cavtrpr
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby cavtrpr » Tue May 07, 2013 10:27 pm

txdude45 wrote:160/161 are really good dry scores, but DO NOT take the LSAT without studying. It isn't a test that demands to be studied if you want to do okay, but if you want to get into schools worth going to, you're going to have to take the time to study. Don't go anywhere near the June LSAT. As far as you need to be concerned, it doesn't exist. Here are your prospects with those stats, although you'll probably do marginally better because of your officer status: http://www.mylsn.info/xt33kd


I appreciate the detailed advice. However, I should clarify. I will not be able to take the October LSAT due to some training that conflicts. I'm afraid I have to take the June exam to get into the 2014-15 admission year.
Last edited by cavtrpr on Wed May 08, 2013 10:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SemperLegal
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby SemperLegal » Tue May 07, 2013 10:31 pm

cavtrpr wrote:
4. I still have the GI Bill, post 9-11 GI Bill at my disposal. It won't do much, but it will take care of living expenses.



Post 9/11 GI Bill cover the full cost of tuition and fees at an PUBLIC law school, sir.

That means that your goals will be UVA, Mich, and Berkeley.

Berkeley seems especially good for you since a) its in Cali, b)its near a city so wife can get a job, c)there is a VA in Martinez if you have a service-connected.

However, they are known GPA whores, so that might be an issue. However, with a good narrative and LSAT you definitely have a chance.

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cavtrpr
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby cavtrpr » Tue May 07, 2013 10:41 pm

Thanks for that info, Semper. I didn't know that. Not to challenge you, but are you sure that that rule is not limited to undergraduate programs?

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby Doorkeeper » Tue May 07, 2013 10:51 pm

cavtrpr wrote:
txdude45 wrote:160/161 are really good dry scores, but DO NOT take the LSAT without studying. It isn't a test that demands to be studied if you want to do okay, but if you want to get into schools worth going to, you're going to have to take the time to study. Don't go anywhere near the June LSAT. As far as you need to be concerned, it doesn't exist. Here are your prospects with those stats, although you'll probably do marginally better because of your officer status: http://www.mylsn.info/xt33kd


I appreciate the detailed advice. However, I should clarify. I will not be able to take the October LSAT due to a rotation at the National Training Center, a month long field training exercise where I won't have access to civilization for 28 days. I'm afraid I have to take the June exam to get into the 2014-15 admission year.

If this is the case, you can take the June LSAT, but if you do not get a 170 or higher, you should strongly consider finding a job for a year and retaking the LSAT in December or February.

Law school is only worth it if you attend one of the top 14 schools, or you go to a very good regional school and you want to live in that region (For example, if you got into the University of Minnesota Law School with a good scholarship and you want to live in Minneapolis). As a rough guide, you do not want to take out more than $60,000-80,000 in debt for any school that is not in the top 14.
Last edited by Doorkeeper on Tue May 07, 2013 10:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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cavtrpr
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby cavtrpr » Tue May 07, 2013 10:54 pm

^ Thanks. Clearly law school is not the place to seek immediate gratification. Haha

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phillywc
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby phillywc » Tue May 07, 2013 10:57 pm

I'd consider taking the December test if you can't take October. Or at least being prepared to do so. If you can get a 165-170 by June, going now isn't the worst decision. With your work experience, NU is what I would be aiming for personally. Chicago is an easy enough place to get a job as a nurse (i assume), and it places really well into Big Law. Plus it's doable with your GPA.

Just my thoughts.

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cavtrpr
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby cavtrpr » Tue May 07, 2013 11:01 pm

NU?

SportsFan
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby SportsFan » Tue May 07, 2013 11:03 pm

cavtrpr wrote:NU?

Northwestern.

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elterrible78
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby elterrible78 » Tue May 07, 2013 11:03 pm

cavtrpr wrote:4. I still have the GI Bill, post 9-11 GI Bill at my disposal. It won't do much, but it will take care of living expenses.


I just ETSed myself, so I have spent some time looking at the post 9-11 GI Bill. Trying to figure out the ins and outs of military education benefits can be extremely frustrating and difficult. My understanding is that, as a previous poster mentioned, the bill will take care of the cost of tuition at a public school (and this applies to grad school as well as undergrad, as far as I know), but will also pay *up to* that amount at a private school. Many private schools participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which sets aside funds to make up the difference. And, in addition, you get a benefit for books, BAH, etc.

cavtrpr wrote:13. I'm taking the LSAT in June, but I have scored a 160 and a 161 on two diagnostics that I have taken, without study. I can reasonably assume that I can score much higher because my mistakes were densely concentrated in the logic games section.


How densely were they concentrated in the games section? Because games is probably the one section where I think you could make significant progress in just a month.

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cavtrpr
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby cavtrpr » Tue May 07, 2013 11:08 pm

I got only 5 correct.

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elterrible78
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby elterrible78 » Tue May 07, 2013 11:11 pm

cavtrpr wrote:I got only 5 correct.


So...you went 5/22 or 5/23 on logic games? You must have done extraordinarily well on logical reasoning and reading comprehension, then. Buy the PS Logic Games bible and see what you can do with it between now and June. I think you're potentially in damn fine shape to apply next cycle.

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cavtrpr
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby cavtrpr » Tue May 07, 2013 11:16 pm

5 for 23 in games, 22 for 26 on reasoning 1, 23 for 27 on reading comp, 22 for 25 on reasoning 2.

SportsFan
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby SportsFan » Tue May 07, 2013 11:17 pm

cavtrpr wrote:5 for 23 in games, 22 for 26 on reasoning 1, 23 for 27 on reading comp, 22 for 25 on reasoning 2.

:shock:

Study games (its the most learnable section) a LOT, and do light/moderate studying in LR and RC. You'll do great.

floydthebarber518
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby floydthebarber518 » Tue May 07, 2013 11:18 pm

cavtrpr wrote:I got only 5 correct.


First of all, if you only got 5 correct on LG and still got a 160, that means you're killing the LR and the RC.

LG is the easiest section to improve on, and I'd use:

http://7sage.com/logic-game-explanations/

Every logic game and how to approach them. The forms on LGs are very limited--that is, once you sub out colors for shapes, dinosaurs for zones, etc., many of the games are very similar and you can approach them the exact same way.

Good luck!

rawaldru
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby rawaldru » Tue May 07, 2013 11:19 pm

Air Force officer here...Post 9/11 will not cover full tuition for a public law school. At most (that is with full benefits) it will cover $18K p/year. That goes the same for private school tuition. Depending on the school you attend you may be able to tap into yellow ribbon funds offered from the school itself. Most if not all Ivy League schools offer substantial yellow ribbon packages, but only for a handful of applicants. Make sure to look into that as you peruse school websites.

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txdude45
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby txdude45 » Tue May 07, 2013 11:19 pm

cavtrpr wrote:I got only 5 correct.


This legitimately changes the game a lot. If you went -20 in LG and got a 160, you probably missed 6, or 7 question in the entire rest of the test. If you can get that -20 to -5 or so, you would probably break 170 in December. The December curve is usually the most generous, so -13 would get you high 160s and -10/11 is almost for sure a 170.

Being a first/second time test-taker with no experience means you probably made a lot of time wasting mistakes. Buy all the powerscore bibles for practice, but drill LG over and over.

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nickb285
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby nickb285 » Tue May 07, 2013 11:21 pm

FWIW, I have a similar GPA, similar weakness in games. I got a 160 on my cold diagnostics, 169 on the test. My offers can be seen here:

http://lawschoolnumbers.com/nickb285

Now, from what I understand members of the military tend to outperform their numbers slightly, so you will likely do a little better than me, though I can't say how much. But I was aiming for a regional school with low debt over a T14, which is why I didn't retake, so if you're going that route this may give you a bit of an idea what you'd be looking at.

If you want to go to a T14 school or thing you might want a high-paying/prestigious/niche kind of job, then you should definitely not settle for anything under a 170. But games are very learnable, and with your natural abilities in LR and RC you are in an excellent position. Good luck!

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elterrible78
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby elterrible78 » Tue May 07, 2013 11:21 pm

cavtrpr wrote:5 for 23 in games, 22 for 26 on reasoning 1, 23 for 27 on reading comp, 22 for 25 on reasoning 2.


On my first, cold PT I was 14/24 games, 42/50 LR overall, and 27/27 on reading comp, which turned out to be a 166. And, looking back, games should have been worse (I randomly guessed "C" as time ran out on the last five questions, and it turned out that 3 of them actually were C, which is ridiculous luck). I got the Power Score Logic Games Bible, spent about ten days with it before doing another test, nailed a 175 on it, and never really looked back. I think you have plenty of time to get to being able to break 170 by the June test, and if you can do that, you'll have some good options.

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cavtrpr
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby cavtrpr » Tue May 07, 2013 11:29 pm

No BYU for you Nick?

bananapeanutbutter
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Re: Your Opinion on Law Schools

Postby bananapeanutbutter » Tue May 07, 2013 11:42 pm

cavtrpr wrote:
txdude45 wrote:160/161 are really good dry scores, but DO NOT take the LSAT without studying. It isn't a test that demands to be studied if you want to do okay, but if you want to get into schools worth going to, you're going to have to take the time to study. Don't go anywhere near the June LSAT. As far as you need to be concerned, it doesn't exist. Here are your prospects with those stats, although you'll probably do marginally better because of your officer status: http://www.mylsn.info/xt33kd


I appreciate the detailed advice. However, I should clarify. I will not be able to take the October LSAT due to a rotation at the National Training Center, a month long field training exercise where I won't have access to civilization for 28 days. I'm afraid I have to take the June exam to get into the 2014-15 admission year.

Thank you for service, sir.

The June plan is dumb. You don't need to study every day to continuously improve. If you spend 1 hour a day consistently, you'll eventually start to think like it whenever you read anything. An hour day through December with 3 hours one weekend, you can get into Berekely. You worked hard to protect our country. Now get a good life because of it.




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