Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

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squee116
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Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby squee116 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:11 am

I just wanted to start by saying, I understand everyone's emphasis on retaking, and the knowledge and sense behind it.

I'm in a particular predicament. My family, which is footing the bill, is fairly adamant about me choosing a school for this cycle. My GPA is really bad from a nasty first 2 years at school.
I currently sit at 2.85/162. When I was studying for the LSAT, I started from the first book of tests from LSAC, and worked my way forward to the most recent test books in the span of a month, while working about 35 hours a week. Halfway through, I was hitting 168 to 172, but in the newer books my score fell back to 162 to 165. I do want to retake, as I think I can improve my score, and I'm trying to convince my family it's the right decision for everyone. However, I applied to schools with my current score.

I won't have any debt at any school, but I don't want to throw money (mine or my family's) down the drain. I'm thinking about retaking in February just to see where the dice land, and requesting time off at work for month. My employer will likely give it to me. Those scores would likely come at the end of February, so I don't think I could make into the Fall 2014 apps.

In the mean time, I've been accepted at Santa Clara with 90k (and stips), Seattle University with envelope pending, Baylor for 27k (and stips), and University of Arizona with envelope pending.

I've read several times that regional schools should only picked with ties to the state. I'm not sure what "ties" really entails, whether it just be an interest in living in the state, friends/family, etc. I don't really care where I end up as long as I end up with a job (big law preferable). I understand that big law requires kicking serious ass outside of the t20, if not t14. I still have more applications pending, but I thought perhaps my current status might help paint a pattern to illustrate where I'm at right now.

Are these offers even worth entertaining (seriously), or is there an LSAT score minimum I should shoot for to break into the t14? Would I be better off taking the June LSAT at this point? My first LSAT practice test was 158, and a month of studying only raised my score by 4 points, which was kind of disheartening considering I was taking two timed practice tests a day, 7 days a week.

I understand there's already lots of knowledge to gain from reading through this forum. I'm doing that best as I can. I'm also not looking for what I "want" to hear. I understand, because of LSN and LST by way of TLS, that employment numbers are shaky at best for big law at those current schools. I reached for some higher schools, but I'd peg my odds at getting in to the likelihood of Reel Big Fish being higher on the Billboard charts than Lady Gaga.

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Clearly
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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby Clearly » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:20 am

Good post, and I like your attitude about the whole thing. Unfortunately deciding on whether to retake with your numbers comes down to just how badly do you want biglaw? If the answer is that its what you want to do, then the only way of making that happen is with a serious retake. I don't usually post all of my own details here, but I had a 2.8 gpa and a 164. TLS told me to retake and I did, because I wanted biglaw and it wasn't happen with those scores. But I only went up one more point to a 165, but I knew I could do better, so I buckled down and took a third time, and earned a 176 applied the next cycle and I'm going to my dream school that happens to place very strongly in biglaw. Did I have to sit out, Yes. Did I have to get parents off my back, Yes.. But looking back, I couldn't be any happier with how it played out. Best of luck!

BigZuck
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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby BigZuck » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:23 am

Sounds like you've done a lot of research (or at least reading TLS) and you have a pretty decent sense of the lay of the law school land. That's good.

Lets just look at the basics:
1. Where do you have ties? By that I mean places you grew up, went to school, close family lives there, etc.
2. Where do you want to live and work long term?
3. What do you want out of your legal career? Big law? Public interest? Working at a small firm doing family law, wills and estates, and the like?

squee116
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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby squee116 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:30 am

Clearly wrote:Good post, and I like your attitude about the whole thing. Unfortunately deciding on whether to retake with your numbers comes down to just how badly do you want biglaw? If the answer is that its what you want to do, then the only way of making that happen is with a serious retake. I don't usually post all of my own details here, but I had a 2.8 gpa and a 164. TLS told me to retake and I did, because I wanted biglaw and it wasn't happen with those scores. But I only went up one more point to a 165, but I knew I could do better, so I buckled down and took a third time, and earned a 176 applied the next cycle and I'm going to my dream school that happens to place very strongly in biglaw. Did I have to sit out, Yes. Did I have to get parents off my back, Yes.. But looking back, I couldn't be any happier with how it played out. Best of luck!


Thank you. I know my situation isn't probably all that rare, so I figured someone else's perspective might help. I appreciate your input. If I could break 170, I'd be a VERY, VERY happy man.

squee116
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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby squee116 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:37 am

BigZuck wrote:Sounds like you've done a lot of research (or at least reading TLS) and you have a pretty decent sense of the lay of the law school land. That's good.

Lets just look at the basics:
1. Where do you have ties? By that I mean places you grew up, went to school, close family lives there, etc.
2. Where do you want to live and work long term?
3. What do you want out of your legal career? Big law? Public interest? Working at a small firm doing family law, wills and estates, and the like?


1) I grew up and went to school in California. I have close family ties in South Dakota, California, and Hawaii.
2) I'd like to leave California to be honest. I'm interested in areas with jobs, plain and simple. I'd have a preference for non-intrusive state and local governments, but that goes on the backburner for the prospect of paying jobs. Of my current prospects, I most lean toward Texas, as it at least has a decently sized law market. (Apps at Houston and SMU pending, though I know UT would be the ideal)
3) My ideal would be big law. In particular, I want to do IP law (only litigation yet, but I'm asking what schools can do to accommodate getting the credits to take the patent bar), but I say that as a starry-eyed, not even 0L student.

03152016
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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby 03152016 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:41 am

Your parents think they're doing you a favor, shoving you onto the path of becoming a successful lawyer. My students deal with this all the time. Parents just want to see their kid in law school; they're not perusing LST to check job placement stats.

You have to ignore the pressure and make the right decision for yourself.

You said you'd prefer to work for a big law firm. You're probably not getting there with a degree from Santa Clara, Seattle U, or Baylor. If you accept one of these offers, you're greatly diminishing your chances of working for a big firm, and potentially devastating your future earning potential. If big law is your goal, retaking is mandatory.

Head over the LSAT forum and start planning for June. Then, with your 170+ score, blanket the lower T14. You won't lose anything you have now; you'll just expand your range of options and increase the likelihood of $$$.

squee116
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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby squee116 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:18 am

Max324 wrote:Your parents think they're doing you a favor, shoving you onto the path of becoming a successful lawyer. My students deal with this all the time. Parents just want to see their kid in law school; they're not perusing LST to check job placement stats.

You have to ignore the pressure and make the right decision for yourself.

You said you'd prefer to work for a big law firm. You're probably not getting there with a degree from Santa Clara, Seattle U, or Baylor. If you accept one of these offers, you're greatly diminishing your chances of working for a big firm, and potentially devastating your future earning potential. If big law is your goal, retaking is mandatory.

Head over the LSAT forum and start planning for June. Then, with your 170+ score, blanket the lower T14. You won't lose anything you have now; you'll just expand your range of options and increase the likelihood of $$$.


That is the general idea. I keep trying to get my dad to look through LST, but he isn't super interested. Out of curiosity, if I plan for a June retake, would I get my scores and apps in time before I had to commit to a school? Does it reflect poorly if I end up not accepting any of the offers this cycle and taking another go at it later? I remember reading there may be some kind questions along that line in the Ivey guide, but not sure if that plays out in most people's experience.

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Nova
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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby Nova » Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:06 am

youd probably have to eat a seat deposit

nbd in the long run

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rickgrimes69
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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby rickgrimes69 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:54 am

someone sticky this so future OPs can be this kool

Baylor's and UofA's stats aren't awful but you should accept that Biglaw probably won't happen from either

SC'sand SU's stats are really bad, neither is really worth attending IMO

Retake and show your parents those stats if they won't listen to logic

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LET'S GET IT
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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby LET'S GET IT » Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:20 pm

Some of the people above have nailed it, especially Clearly. Your parents think that you are taking a year off to be lazy when in fact, that is the prudent thing to do. What you should do really depends on what kind of law you want to do. If you are dead set on biglaw, you have to retake. Even at Baylor or SMU you would have to be top 5% of your class or better to have any shot at biglaw. If you are ok with small law, you should really think more about where you want to practice. It's easy to say you don't care but does that mean you would be fine in Albuquerque (sp?) or some other random small market? Nail down some places you would enjoy living (with ties if possible), look at the schools that place there and see if they have decent employment numbers. All that being said, if possible, reason with your parents and at least get them to read your thread. You could be costing yourself 10's or even 100's of thousands of dollars by not sitting out a cycle.

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georgej
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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby georgej » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:23 pm

OP, I think if you've scored a 170 on even 1 practice test it means that with time you could reliably score above that on the real thing. I took 5 years between my first and second take and almost forgot about being a lawyer entirely. Eventually though, I decided it was what I really wanted and I got committed to serious studying and got the score I wanted. But 5 years ago I was a hair's breadth away from accepting a full-ride (with crappy stips) to Cooley, no joke. I'm super glad I didn't make that mistake. I hope you don't make a similar one. Having a crappy GPA is very disheartening, but thankfully for people like us the LSAT gives us a chance at redemption. Please retake.

squee116
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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby squee116 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:32 pm

LET'S GET IT wrote:Some of the people above have nailed it, especially Clearly. Your parents think that you are taking a year off to be lazy when in fact, that is the prudent thing to do. What you should do really depends on what kind of law you want to do. If you are dead set on biglaw, you have to retake. Even at Baylor or SMU you would have to be top 5% of your class or better to have any shot at biglaw. If you are ok with small law, you should really think more about where you want to practice. It's easy to say you don't care but does that mean you would be fine in Albuquerque (sp?) or some other random small market? Nail down some places you would enjoy living (with ties if possible), look at the schools that place there and see if they have decent employment numbers. All that being said, if possible, reason with your parents and at least get them to read your thread. You could be costing yourself 10's or even 100's of thousands of dollars by not sitting out a cycle.


I suppose I should clarify. My interest in big law has to do with money. From what reading I have done, it would appear as though big law prepares associates for careers outside of its own firms, generally pays well, and generally provides an array of work to help build skill sets. Work at a big law firm, from what I've read, at least lends itself to helping someone get hired by another firm. I'm not a big fan of the term "job security," but I think people should try as hard as possible to develop themselves as much as possible to maintain "work security." The more attractive a choice or act makes me look as an employee, the more I'd like to do it, if possible.

If the above is a misconception (it may very well be), then my attachment to big law wanes. In terms of where I'd like to be, I have no interest in any of the states I have family ties to (with the possible exception of extended family [AZ, PA, NC]). I have visited Washington state several times and, though I'm generally not a big fan of urban areas, Seattle has to be one of my favorite big cities (weather and all). However, I've gleaned that the area isn't really rich in legal jobs. I have a few friends in Texas that swear to me I'll love the state. That may be, but the weather doesn't sound that enticing. However, I am not repulsed by the state either. There are parts of it that sound genuinely intriguing, and others that are very off-putting. I really don't have an attachment to any area. I like the cooler climate of the Pacific Northwest, and have friends and family scattered throughout the PNW, the Midwest, the South, and the Coastlines. Certainly, I do require some amenities be available wherever I go: high-speed internet, clean water, access to parcel services, etc. I'm a bit of a food snob, which usually meshes well with large cities. And to be honest, the less driving I have to do, the better. What this says, I don't know, but I hope it clarifies things.

On a side note, my parents agreed that I should retake the test. Now only the time frame is in question. They think the February test would be best, so that if my scores don't improve, I can still accept the offers I've gotten. I was leaning more towards June.

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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby BigZuck » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:42 pm

Big law is almost certainly not happening from any of those schools. You have to be realistic and be totally ok with working at a small firm (if you get a legal job at all) when you're looking at schools like Baylor and Santa Clara.

squee116
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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby squee116 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:53 pm

BigZuck wrote:Big law is almost certainly not happening from any of those schools. You have to be realistic and be totally ok with working at a small firm (if you get a legal job at all) when you're looking at schools like Baylor and Santa Clara.


Yeah, I more or less had that impression. Not to over simplify things, but for big law, is there pretty much t14, then everything else (assuming I'm a median student)?

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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby timbs4339 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:25 pm

I think you generally have a good handle on the benefits of biglaw (I assume you are familiar with the negative aspects).

It's not that a non-T14 school can't offer a good shot at biglaw, it's that you really can't plan on it from those schools, and after biglaw the types of jobs that "prepares associates for careers outside of its own firms, generally pays well, and generally provides an array of work to help build skill sets" are limited (government would likely be the other big category). Then the question become: how much do you want to be a lawyer rather than just be a person in a suit who does an office job that involves a lot of thinking? If you go to a school with 25% biglaw+A3 for free or at very low cost it's a great deal, the problem is that you may not want to be a lawyer getting paid 60K if there were other options.

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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby PepperJack » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:34 pm

In this economy, big law requires kicking butt at the t-14 too. Maybe HYS get some slack because they carry prestige, but median at MVP isn't a great place to be.

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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby PepperJack » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:36 pm

squee116 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:Big law is almost certainly not happening from any of those schools. You have to be realistic and be totally ok with working at a small firm (if you get a legal job at all) when you're looking at schools like Baylor and Santa Clara.


Yeah, I more or less had that impression. Not to over simplify things, but for big law, is there pretty much t14, then everything else (assuming I'm a median student)?

Nah, the t-14 isn't safe. Maybe half the students who want it get it, and even then there's geographic distortions. If you're from the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic or California, you really should be comfortably above median to feel at all secure. The states around Texas do disproportionately well, because Texas with ties is relatively easy to break into from a t-14. The same can be said for Oregon, Nevada, etc. - basically any state with a moderately sized legal market, and a dearth of t-14 students from there. If you went to the types of schools you're thinking of, to even be competitive you would need to grade onto law review. Most big law firms aren't putting Santa Clara on their website unless it's accompanied by law review. I did notice one exception to this with one interviewer I had at one firm, but she was cover-girl caliber gorgeous and had a very easy going personality. However, I'm sure she still did well at her shit school.

If your parents are filthy rich then you can maybe make law school a viable option from a shit school. However, you're putting yourself in the position that the money would be better spent in a savings account waiting for your parents to die. If they just have "some money" and want to show off about their kids' successes then you're doing them a solid by retaking. Parents know what's best for their kids with regards to drugs and dating, because these things don't change (Crack is still bad for you, and marriage works the same way now it did then). With any industry in the post-2008 economy, your parents likely don't know what's best because it's their generation that made the situation a nightmare in the first place.

squee116
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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby squee116 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:57 pm

PepperJack wrote:
squee116 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:Big law is almost certainly not happening from any of those schools. You have to be realistic and be totally ok with working at a small firm (if you get a legal job at all) when you're looking at schools like Baylor and Santa Clara.


Yeah, I more or less had that impression. Not to over simplify things, but for big law, is there pretty much t14, then everything else (assuming I'm a median student)?

Nah, the t-14 isn't safe. Maybe half the students who want it get it, and even then there's geographic distortions. If you're from the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic or California, you really should be comfortably above median to feel at all secure. The states around Texas do disproportionately well, because Texas with ties is relatively easy to break into from a t-14. The same can be said for Oregon, Nevada, etc. - basically any state with a moderately sized legal market, and a dearth of t-14 students from there. If you went to the types of schools you're thinking of, to even be competitive you would need to grade onto law review. Most big law firms aren't putting Santa Clara on their website unless it's accompanied by law review. I did notice one exception to this with one interviewer I had at one firm, but she was cover-girl caliber gorgeous and had a very easy going personality. However, I'm sure she still did well at her shit school.

If your parents are filthy rich then you can maybe make law school a viable option from a shit school. However, you're putting yourself in the position that the money would be better spent in a savings account waiting for your parents to die. If they just have "some money" and want to show off about their kids' successes then you're doing them a solid by retaking. Parents know what's best for their kids with regards to drugs and dating, because these things don't change (Crack is still bad for you, and marriage works the same way now it did then). With any industry in the post-2008 economy, your parents likely don't know what's best because it's their generation that made the situation a nightmare in the first place.


This is a dose of realism I was half-expecting. Unfortunately, there's not much I can do about the California thing. I was born, raised, and went to college here. That's over and done with. The next part, I'm not sure I fully understand. Am I correct in understanding that big law is more interested in where you are from, rather than where you graduate from, when selecting associates? For instance, if I went to UPenn, as a California-born student, my ties would make employment options in California more viable than trying to get a job in Pennsylvania, or wherever else? And by "types of schools you are thinking of," are you referring to the schools I mentioned earlier that had accepted me, or the t14?

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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby Arcticlynx » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:26 am

squee116 wrote:
LET'S GET IT wrote:Some of the people above have nailed it, especially Clearly. Your parents think that you are taking a year off to be lazy when in fact, that is the prudent thing to do. What you should do really depends on what kind of law you want to do. If you are dead set on biglaw, you have to retake. Even at Baylor or SMU you would have to be top 5% of your class or better to have any shot at biglaw. If you are ok with small law, you should really think more about where you want to practice. It's easy to say you don't care but does that mean you would be fine in Albuquerque (sp?) or some other random small market? Nail down some places you would enjoy living (with ties if possible), look at the schools that place there and see if they have decent employment numbers. All that being said, if possible, reason with your parents and at least get them to read your thread. You could be costing yourself 10's or even 100's of thousands of dollars by not sitting out a cycle.


I suppose I should clarify. My interest in big law has to do with money. From what reading I have done, it would appear as though big law prepares associates for careers outside of its own firms, generally pays well, and generally provides an array of work to help build skill sets. Work at a big law firm, from what I've read, at least lends itself to helping someone get hired by another firm. I'm not a big fan of the term "job security," but I think people should try as hard as possible to develop themselves as much as possible to maintain "work security." The more attractive a choice or act makes me look as an employee, the more I'd like to do it, if possible.

If the above is a misconception (it may very well be), then my attachment to big law wanes. In terms of where I'd like to be, I have no interest in any of the states I have family ties to (with the possible exception of extended family [AZ, PA, NC]). I have visited Washington state several times and, though I'm generally not a big fan of urban areas, Seattle has to be one of my favorite big cities (weather and all). However, I've gleaned that the area isn't really rich in legal jobs. I have a few friends in Texas that swear to me I'll love the state. That may be, but the weather doesn't sound that enticing. However, I am not repulsed by the state either. There are parts of it that sound genuinely intriguing, and others that are very off-putting. I really don't have an attachment to any area. I like the cooler climate of the Pacific Northwest, and have friends and family scattered throughout the PNW, the Midwest, the South, and the Coastlines. Certainly, I do require some amenities be available wherever I go: high-speed internet, clean water, access to parcel services, etc. I'm a bit of a food snob, which usually meshes well with large cities. And to be honest, the less driving I have to do, the better. What this says, I don't know, but I hope it clarifies things.

On a side note, my parents agreed that I should retake the test. Now only the time frame is in question. They think the February test would be best, so that if my scores don't improve, I can still accept the offers I've gotten. I was leaning more towards June.


Ok, I find it really interesting that the TLS community likes you and thinks you have a good attitude, because the impression that I get from your posts is not good and frankly I think your attitude kinda sucks. A lot of lawyers and people I know who are in law school, are in the legal field because they want to help people, or save the earth, or improve education, or protect animals, or make a difference, or something. You come off like the only reason you are interested in law is money and that your parents are controlling you life (more or less), my gosh OP, do you have any passion or purpose beyond going to law school, getting into a big firm and making money.

Four comments on this:

1. If your interested in the pacific northwest and open to small law, why not apply to Willamette. Although the LSAT/GPA is lower then Seattle, the employment is better.

2. You really come off like the only reason that you are going to law school is for the money. I think that is a mistake in almost any profession.... In my experience people who go chasing after $$$, often find it, but at the expense of much more important and valuable aspects of life, they are rarely happy or healthy. Anyhow, if you want money a safer bet would be a degree in fiance, then a job as a CFA.

3. This is going to tie into chasing money, because I feel like people often go into IP law for that reason, and you talked in an earlier post about trying to get the credentials to take the patent bar. IP is not going to be as easy as you think. It's not just about checking off some list of hard science classes and then taking a test. You need to bring some kind of experience or specialized knowledge to the table in order to be competitive, and to be clear you will mostly be competing against people who have PhD's and Master degrees.

4. How old are you OP? And who is controlling your life, who is making decisions? If I told my parents I was going to move to a small village in Amazon in order to learn tribal languages, they would either support me or they would learn to live with it. Take ownership of your life, if you think that your should take a year off and re-take the LSAT then that is what you should do. A lot of people get on here and talk about what their parents think, are you going to law school for your parents or for yourself?

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PepperJack
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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby PepperJack » Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:35 am

squee116 wrote:
PepperJack wrote:
squee116 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:Big law is almost certainly not happening from any of those schools. You have to be realistic and be totally ok with working at a small firm (if you get a legal job at all) when you're looking at schools like Baylor and Santa Clara.


Yeah, I more or less had that impression. Not to over simplify things, but for big law, is there pretty much t14, then everything else (assuming I'm a median student)?

Nah, the t-14 isn't safe. Maybe half the students who want it get it, and even then there's geographic distortions. If you're from the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic or California, you really should be comfortably above median to feel at all secure. The states around Texas do disproportionately well, because Texas with ties is relatively easy to break into from a t-14. The same can be said for Oregon, Nevada, etc. - basically any state with a moderately sized legal market, and a dearth of t-14 students from there. If you went to the types of schools you're thinking of, to even be competitive you would need to grade onto law review. Most big law firms aren't putting Santa Clara on their website unless it's accompanied by law review. I did notice one exception to this with one interviewer I had at one firm, but she was cover-girl caliber gorgeous and had a very easy going personality. However, I'm sure she still did well at her shit school.

If your parents are filthy rich then you can maybe make law school a viable option from a shit school. However, you're putting yourself in the position that the money would be better spent in a savings account waiting for your parents to die. If they just have "some money" and want to show off about their kids' successes then you're doing them a solid by retaking. Parents know what's best for their kids with regards to drugs and dating, because these things don't change (Crack is still bad for you, and marriage works the same way now it did then). With any industry in the post-2008 economy, your parents likely don't know what's best because it's their generation that made the situation a nightmare in the first place.


This is a dose of realism I was half-expecting. Unfortunately, there's not much I can do about the California thing. I was born, raised, and went to college here. That's over and done with. The next part, I'm not sure I fully understand. Am I correct in understanding that big law is more interested in where you are from, rather than where you graduate from, when selecting associates? For instance, if I went to UPenn, as a California-born student, my ties would make employment options in California more viable than trying to get a job in Pennsylvania, or wherever else? And by "types of schools you are thinking of," are you referring to the schools I mentioned earlier that had accepted me, or the t14?

You're construing what I said to match what you want to believe.

My point was it's not only that a place like Santa Clara is not sufficient to get big law, but that just being middle of the class at a t-14 has a very good chance of not netting big law.

    Santa Clara kids 95+% of the time won't get big law because the firms don't necessarily want clients to see Santa Clara too often when choosing which firm when their competition is hiring from Stanford, top of the class at USC/UCLA and other t-14s.

    Even if one had the credentials (school and stats in their range), the firm won't hire you if they at all suspect you'll leave the city either because you're just trying it out or if they think you're using them as a backup till you land something else. If you went to say Cornell, and tried to get a job in Detroit, even if you were top of the class it's likely not to happen. It isn't like applying to law schools where the numbers win out. I suspect if one did well at Santa Clara, and they were in the top 1% of interviewers then they might pull big law assuming they get interviews. However, this route is really only there if you have an extended resume in the corporate world, and are incredibly likable. Basically, if you wanted to be president of your frat in college and wouldn't win the vote unanimously, this route won't happen.

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PepperJack
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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby PepperJack » Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:39 am

Arcticlynx wrote:
squee116 wrote:
LET'S GET IT wrote:Some of the people above have nailed it, especially Clearly. Your parents think that you are taking a year off to be lazy when in fact, that is the prudent thing to do. What you should do really depends on what kind of law you want to do. If you are dead set on biglaw, you have to retake. Even at Baylor or SMU you would have to be top 5% of your class or better to have any shot at biglaw. If you are ok with small law, you should really think more about where you want to practice. It's easy to say you don't care but does that mean you would be fine in Albuquerque (sp?) or some other random small market? Nail down some places you would enjoy living (with ties if possible), look at the schools that place there and see if they have decent employment numbers. All that being said, if possible, reason with your parents and at least get them to read your thread. You could be costing yourself 10's or even 100's of thousands of dollars by not sitting out a cycle.


I suppose I should clarify. My interest in big law has to do with money. From what reading I have done, it would appear as though big law prepares associates for careers outside of its own firms, generally pays well, and generally provides an array of work to help build skill sets. Work at a big law firm, from what I've read, at least lends itself to helping someone get hired by another firm. I'm not a big fan of the term "job security," but I think people should try as hard as possible to develop themselves as much as possible to maintain "work security." The more attractive a choice or act makes me look as an employee, the more I'd like to do it, if possible.

If the above is a misconception (it may very well be), then my attachment to big law wanes. In terms of where I'd like to be, I have no interest in any of the states I have family ties to (with the possible exception of extended family [AZ, PA, NC]). I have visited Washington state several times and, though I'm generally not a big fan of urban areas, Seattle has to be one of my favorite big cities (weather and all). However, I've gleaned that the area isn't really rich in legal jobs. I have a few friends in Texas that swear to me I'll love the state. That may be, but the weather doesn't sound that enticing. However, I am not repulsed by the state either. There are parts of it that sound genuinely intriguing, and others that are very off-putting. I really don't have an attachment to any area. I like the cooler climate of the Pacific Northwest, and have friends and family scattered throughout the PNW, the Midwest, the South, and the Coastlines. Certainly, I do require some amenities be available wherever I go: high-speed internet, clean water, access to parcel services, etc. I'm a bit of a food snob, which usually meshes well with large cities. And to be honest, the less driving I have to do, the better. What this says, I don't know, but I hope it clarifies things.

On a side note, my parents agreed that I should retake the test. Now only the time frame is in question. They think the February test would be best, so that if my scores don't improve, I can still accept the offers I've gotten. I was leaning more towards June.


Ok, I find it really interesting that the TLS community likes you and thinks you have a good attitude, because the impression that I get from your posts is not good and frankly I think your attitude kinda sucks. A lot of lawyers and people I know who are in law school, are in the legal field because they want to help people, or save the earth, or improve education, or protect animals, or make a difference, or something. You come off like the only reason you are interested in law is money and that your parents are controlling you life (more or less), my gosh OP, do you have any passion or purpose beyond going to law school, getting into a big firm and making money.

Four comments on this:

1. If your interested in the pacific northwest and open to small law, why not apply to Willamette. Although the LSAT/GPA is lower then Seattle, the employment is better.

2. You really come off like the only reason that you are going to law school is for the money. I think that is a mistake in almost any profession.... In my experience people who go chasing after $$$, often find it, but at the expense of much more important and valuable aspects of life, they are rarely happy or healthy. Anyhow, if you want money a safer bet would be a degree in fiance, then a job as a CFA.

3. This is going to tie into chasing money, because I feel like people often go into IP law for that reason, and you talked in an earlier post about trying to get the credentials to take the patent bar. IP is not going to be as easy as you think. It's not just about checking off some list of hard science classes and then taking a test. You need to bring some kind of experience or specialized knowledge to the table in order to be competitive, and to be clear you will mostly be competing against people who have PhD's and Master degrees.

4. How old are you OP? And who is controlling your life, who is making decisions? If I told my parents I was going to move to a small village in Amazon in order to learn tribal languages, they would either support me or they would learn to live with it. Take ownership of your life, if you think that your should take a year off and re-take the LSAT then that is what you should do. A lot of people get on here and talk about what their parents think, are you going to law school for your parents or for yourself?

The passion bit is irrelevant, and is a matter of degree. If you hate law less than other fields, and are passionate about making money I don't think it's an issue. The issue is that this is a bad goal to match OP's passion. I'm sure there are many a partner who are much more passionate about being a novelist, actor, teacher or football commentator.

03152016
Posts: 9189
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Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby 03152016 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:40 am

Arcticlynx wrote:
squee116 wrote:
LET'S GET IT wrote:Some of the people above have nailed it, especially Clearly. Your parents think that you are taking a year off to be lazy when in fact, that is the prudent thing to do. What you should do really depends on what kind of law you want to do. If you are dead set on biglaw, you have to retake. Even at Baylor or SMU you would have to be top 5% of your class or better to have any shot at biglaw. If you are ok with small law, you should really think more about where you want to practice. It's easy to say you don't care but does that mean you would be fine in Albuquerque (sp?) or some other random small market? Nail down some places you would enjoy living (with ties if possible), look at the schools that place there and see if they have decent employment numbers. All that being said, if possible, reason with your parents and at least get them to read your thread. You could be costing yourself 10's or even 100's of thousands of dollars by not sitting out a cycle.


I suppose I should clarify. My interest in big law has to do with money. From what reading I have done, it would appear as though big law prepares associates for careers outside of its own firms, generally pays well, and generally provides an array of work to help build skill sets. Work at a big law firm, from what I've read, at least lends itself to helping someone get hired by another firm. I'm not a big fan of the term "job security," but I think people should try as hard as possible to develop themselves as much as possible to maintain "work security." The more attractive a choice or act makes me look as an employee, the more I'd like to do it, if possible.

If the above is a misconception (it may very well be), then my attachment to big law wanes. In terms of where I'd like to be, I have no interest in any of the states I have family ties to (with the possible exception of extended family [AZ, PA, NC]). I have visited Washington state several times and, though I'm generally not a big fan of urban areas, Seattle has to be one of my favorite big cities (weather and all). However, I've gleaned that the area isn't really rich in legal jobs. I have a few friends in Texas that swear to me I'll love the state. That may be, but the weather doesn't sound that enticing. However, I am not repulsed by the state either. There are parts of it that sound genuinely intriguing, and others that are very off-putting. I really don't have an attachment to any area. I like the cooler climate of the Pacific Northwest, and have friends and family scattered throughout the PNW, the Midwest, the South, and the Coastlines. Certainly, I do require some amenities be available wherever I go: high-speed internet, clean water, access to parcel services, etc. I'm a bit of a food snob, which usually meshes well with large cities. And to be honest, the less driving I have to do, the better. What this says, I don't know, but I hope it clarifies things.

On a side note, my parents agreed that I should retake the test. Now only the time frame is in question. They think the February test would be best, so that if my scores don't improve, I can still accept the offers I've gotten. I was leaning more towards June.


Ok, I find it really interesting that the TLS community likes you and thinks you have a good attitude, because the impression that I get from your posts is not good and frankly I think your attitude kinda sucks. A lot of lawyers and people I know who are in law school, are in the legal field because they want to help people, or save the earth, or improve education, or protect animals, or make a difference, or something. You come off like the only reason you are interested in law is money and that your parents are controlling you life (more or less), my gosh OP, do you have any passion or purpose beyond going to law school, getting into a big firm and making money.

Four comments on this:

1. If your interested in the pacific northwest and open to small law, why not apply to Willamette. Although the LSAT/GPA is lower then Seattle, the employment is better.

2. You really come off like the only reason that you are going to law school is for the money. I think that is a mistake in almost any profession.... In my experience people who go chasing after $$$, often find it, but at the expense of much more important and valuable aspects of life, they are rarely happy or healthy. Anyhow, if you want money a safer bet would be a degree in fiance, then a job as a CFA.

3. This is going to tie into chasing money, because I feel like people often go into IP law for that reason, and you talked in an earlier post about trying to get the credentials to take the patent bar. IP is not going to be as easy as you think. It's not just about checking off some list of hard science classes and then taking a test. You need to bring some kind of experience or specialized knowledge to the table in order to be competitive, and to be clear you will mostly be competing against people who have PhD's and Master degrees.

4. How old are you OP? And who is controlling your life, who is making decisions? If I told my parents I was going to move to a small village in Amazon in order to learn tribal languages, they would either support me or they would learn to live with it. Take ownership of your life, if you think that your should take a year off and re-take the LSAT then that is what you should do. A lot of people get on here and talk about what their parents think, are you going to law school for your parents or for yourself?

What a bizarre and needlessly aggressive post. It should not be surprising to any rational person that a prospective JD would be concerned about financial security in this job market and would want to put themselves in the best position to maximize their earning potential. That doesn't mean OP doesn't have other goals or aspirations; it means that he's trying to make a financially sound decision. He's doing the due diligence that thousands of 0Ls fail to do each year before entering law school.

Further, working in big law doesn't turn you into a money-grubbing automaton with no social consciousness. Many people work in big law to become financially stable and then move into other areas of the law that interest them. Some end up doing PI work once they've gained experience. Some stick around long-term but do amazing pro bono work. Who cares if OP didn't mention "improving education or protecting animals"? Do you think Roberta Kaplan joined Paul Weiss to be an LGBT advocate?

OP, don't go to Williamette. Retake in June. I don't think you're going to meaningfully boost your score in the time you have left. Maybe you'll get lucky, but it's more likely you'll end up using up a take in vain. Study as hard as you can for the next six months, kill it in June, then send me a postcard from NU.

squee116
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:18 pm

Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby squee116 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:43 am

Arcticlynx wrote:
squee116 wrote:
LET'S GET IT wrote:Some of the people above have nailed it, especially Clearly. Your parents think that you are taking a year off to be lazy when in fact, that is the prudent thing to do. What you should do really depends on what kind of law you want to do. If you are dead set on biglaw, you have to retake. Even at Baylor or SMU you would have to be top 5% of your class or better to have any shot at biglaw. If you are ok with small law, you should really think more about where you want to practice. It's easy to say you don't care but does that mean you would be fine in Albuquerque (sp?) or some other random small market? Nail down some places you would enjoy living (with ties if possible), look at the schools that place there and see if they have decent employment numbers. All that being said, if possible, reason with your parents and at least get them to read your thread. You could be costing yourself 10's or even 100's of thousands of dollars by not sitting out a cycle.


I suppose I should clarify. My interest in big law has to do with money. From what reading I have done, it would appear as though big law prepares associates for careers outside of its own firms, generally pays well, and generally provides an array of work to help build skill sets. Work at a big law firm, from what I've read, at least lends itself to helping someone get hired by another firm. I'm not a big fan of the term "job security," but I think people should try as hard as possible to develop themselves as much as possible to maintain "work security." The more attractive a choice or act makes me look as an employee, the more I'd like to do it, if possible.

If the above is a misconception (it may very well be), then my attachment to big law wanes. In terms of where I'd like to be, I have no interest in any of the states I have family ties to (with the possible exception of extended family [AZ, PA, NC]). I have visited Washington state several times and, though I'm generally not a big fan of urban areas, Seattle has to be one of my favorite big cities (weather and all). However, I've gleaned that the area isn't really rich in legal jobs. I have a few friends in Texas that swear to me I'll love the state. That may be, but the weather doesn't sound that enticing. However, I am not repulsed by the state either. There are parts of it that sound genuinely intriguing, and others that are very off-putting. I really don't have an attachment to any area. I like the cooler climate of the Pacific Northwest, and have friends and family scattered throughout the PNW, the Midwest, the South, and the Coastlines. Certainly, I do require some amenities be available wherever I go: high-speed internet, clean water, access to parcel services, etc. I'm a bit of a food snob, which usually meshes well with large cities. And to be honest, the less driving I have to do, the better. What this says, I don't know, but I hope it clarifies things.

On a side note, my parents agreed that I should retake the test. Now only the time frame is in question. They think the February test would be best, so that if my scores don't improve, I can still accept the offers I've gotten. I was leaning more towards June.


Ok, I find it really interesting that the TLS community likes you and thinks you have a good attitude, because the impression that I get from your posts is not good and frankly I think your attitude kinda sucks. A lot of lawyers and people I know who are in law school, are in the legal field because they want to help people, or save the earth, or improve education, or protect animals, or make a difference, or something. You come off like the only reason you are interested in law is money and that your parents are controlling you life (more or less), my gosh OP, do you have any passion or purpose beyond going to law school, getting into a big firm and making money.

Four comments on this:

1. If your interested in the pacific northwest and open to small law, why not apply to Willamette. Although the LSAT/GPA is lower then Seattle, the employment is better.

2. You really come off like the only reason that you are going to law school is for the money. I think that is a mistake in almost any profession.... In my experience people who go chasing after $$$, often find it, but at the expense of much more important and valuable aspects of life, they are rarely happy or healthy. Anyhow, if you want money a safer bet would be a degree in fiance, then a job as a CFA.

3. This is going to tie into chasing money, because I feel like people often go into IP law for that reason, and you talked in an earlier post about trying to get the credentials to take the patent bar. IP is not going to be as easy as you think. It's not just about checking off some list of hard science classes and then taking a test. You need to bring some kind of experience or specialized knowledge to the table in order to be competitive, and to be clear you will mostly be competing against people who have PhD's and Master degrees.

4. How old are you OP? And who is controlling your life, who is making decisions? If I told my parents I was going to move to a small village in Amazon in order to learn tribal languages, they would either support me or they would learn to live with it. Take ownership of your life, if you think that your should take a year off and re-take the LSAT then that is what you should do. A lot of people get on here and talk about what their parents think, are you going to law school for your parents or for yourself?


I'm sorry you got that impression. I could see how I put that out there.

1) I do like the PNW. But for me, liking something is not important enough for me to follow it. If I don't assess the likely outcomes, worst-case-scenarios, etc., then I've done myself a disservice. For instance, let's say I move out to the PNW, go to Willamette, and get a job as a lawyer. My parents are aging, and if one of them gets sick, I may have to move back to California to take care of them. What does my degree do for me now?

2) Whether or not I want to spend my time focusing on money, it's a crucial part of living life. I have many things I enjoy doing, that make me happy: building computers, tinkering with game engines, testing out hi-fi headphones, and various other expensive hobbies. To do the things I want to do which make me happy, I need money. I'm excluding the social element of happiness which is unpredictable and uncontrollable. I can't pre-determine the people I meet in life, other than controlling the environments I enter into. Certainly I could find more money at the end of some other rainbow. I've read the articles, the posts, and heard the opinions of how Law School is a mine field. But surprisingly, it is what I want to do.

3) My interest in IP law isn't just about money. There are personal factors tied into the decision, and it is something I genuinely want to do. That said, I can't see anything wrong with doing what I want to do, and wanting to make money at it. I do see your point about the competition, and in that respect, you are right. I'm being a bit of a hypocrite for choosing a field I will inherently be at a disadvantage in, while simultaneously saying I want to maximize my chances at making decent money. However, as far as I know, technical backgrounds are only required for patent prosecution. I understand that a technical background is a bonus for all IP law, though.

4) I'm 25. Certainly I'm capable of making my own decisions, and running my own life. Please allow me to clarify: Any decision I make is mine, and I own the result of whatever happens. Decisions, however, aren't made in vacuums. Despite working, I live at home rent free, and as I said earlier, my school financing is coming from my parents. While I may disagree with my parents about how to proceed with the application process, I can't be anything but thankful for the opportunity and support they have provided me with. I'd prefer to get them to understand the reality of the situation, and get us all on the same page if at all possible.

*Edit* I forgot to include my UG degree, which is Business Management. That was after 2 years spent as a Computer Science major.
Last edited by squee116 on Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

squee116
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:18 pm

Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby squee116 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:52 am

PepperJack wrote:You're construing what I said to match what you want to believe.

My point was it's not only that a place like Santa Clara is not sufficient to get big law, but that just being middle of the class at a t-14 has a very good chance of not netting big law.

    Santa Clara kids 95+% of the time won't get big law because the firms don't necessarily want clients to see Santa Clara too often when choosing which firm when their competition is hiring from Stanford, top of the class at USC/UCLA and other t-14s.

    Even if one had the credentials (school and stats in their range), the firm won't hire you if they at all suspect you'll leave the city either because you're just trying it out or if they think you're using them as a backup till you land something else. If you went to say Cornell, and tried to get a job in Detroit, even if you were top of the class it's likely not to happen. It isn't like applying to law schools where the numbers win out. I suspect if one did well at Santa Clara, and they were in the top 1% of interviewers then they might pull big law assuming they get interviews. However, this route is really only there if you have an extended resume in the corporate world, and are incredibly likable. Basically, if you wanted to be president of your frat in college and wouldn't win the vote unanimously, this route won't happen.


I was honestly just trying to clarify. I see what you were saying now. I know that taking the June test would put me into the c/o 2018. I've heard tale that people move to cities they are interested in practicing in before starting law school. Would there be enough time from this coming June test to the start of classes to try and start developing ties to a particular city or area? I haven't looked too far into the process of creating ties with areas if those ties don't already exist.

I can pretty much nix the 1%er option for Santa Clara. I don't think I could feel comfortable to presume to be in the top 1% anywhere, and I'm definitely not the recipient of any Mr. Popularity awards.

squee116
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:18 pm

Re: Choosing a law school, retaking, oh my

Postby squee116 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:00 am

Max324 wrote:
Arcticlynx wrote:
squee116 wrote:
LET'S GET IT wrote:Some of the people above have nailed it, especially Clearly. Your parents think that you are taking a year off to be lazy when in fact, that is the prudent thing to do. What you should do really depends on what kind of law you want to do. If you are dead set on biglaw, you have to retake. Even at Baylor or SMU you would have to be top 5% of your class or better to have any shot at biglaw. If you are ok with small law, you should really think more about where you want to practice. It's easy to say you don't care but does that mean you would be fine in Albuquerque (sp?) or some other random small market? Nail down some places you would enjoy living (with ties if possible), look at the schools that place there and see if they have decent employment numbers. All that being said, if possible, reason with your parents and at least get them to read your thread. You could be costing yourself 10's or even 100's of thousands of dollars by not sitting out a cycle.


I suppose I should clarify. My interest in big law has to do with money. From what reading I have done, it would appear as though big law prepares associates for careers outside of its own firms, generally pays well, and generally provides an array of work to help build skill sets. Work at a big law firm, from what I've read, at least lends itself to helping someone get hired by another firm. I'm not a big fan of the term "job security," but I think people should try as hard as possible to develop themselves as much as possible to maintain "work security." The more attractive a choice or act makes me look as an employee, the more I'd like to do it, if possible.

If the above is a misconception (it may very well be), then my attachment to big law wanes. In terms of where I'd like to be, I have no interest in any of the states I have family ties to (with the possible exception of extended family [AZ, PA, NC]). I have visited Washington state several times and, though I'm generally not a big fan of urban areas, Seattle has to be one of my favorite big cities (weather and all). However, I've gleaned that the area isn't really rich in legal jobs. I have a few friends in Texas that swear to me I'll love the state. That may be, but the weather doesn't sound that enticing. However, I am not repulsed by the state either. There are parts of it that sound genuinely intriguing, and others that are very off-putting. I really don't have an attachment to any area. I like the cooler climate of the Pacific Northwest, and have friends and family scattered throughout the PNW, the Midwest, the South, and the Coastlines. Certainly, I do require some amenities be available wherever I go: high-speed internet, clean water, access to parcel services, etc. I'm a bit of a food snob, which usually meshes well with large cities. And to be honest, the less driving I have to do, the better. What this says, I don't know, but I hope it clarifies things.

On a side note, my parents agreed that I should retake the test. Now only the time frame is in question. They think the February test would be best, so that if my scores don't improve, I can still accept the offers I've gotten. I was leaning more towards June.


Ok, I find it really interesting that the TLS community likes you and thinks you have a good attitude, because the impression that I get from your posts is not good and frankly I think your attitude kinda sucks. A lot of lawyers and people I know who are in law school, are in the legal field because they want to help people, or save the earth, or improve education, or protect animals, or make a difference, or something. You come off like the only reason you are interested in law is money and that your parents are controlling you life (more or less), my gosh OP, do you have any passion or purpose beyond going to law school, getting into a big firm and making money.

Four comments on this:

1. If your interested in the pacific northwest and open to small law, why not apply to Willamette. Although the LSAT/GPA is lower then Seattle, the employment is better.

2. You really come off like the only reason that you are going to law school is for the money. I think that is a mistake in almost any profession.... In my experience people who go chasing after $$$, often find it, but at the expense of much more important and valuable aspects of life, they are rarely happy or healthy. Anyhow, if you want money a safer bet would be a degree in fiance, then a job as a CFA.

3. This is going to tie into chasing money, because I feel like people often go into IP law for that reason, and you talked in an earlier post about trying to get the credentials to take the patent bar. IP is not going to be as easy as you think. It's not just about checking off some list of hard science classes and then taking a test. You need to bring some kind of experience or specialized knowledge to the table in order to be competitive, and to be clear you will mostly be competing against people who have PhD's and Master degrees.

4. How old are you OP? And who is controlling your life, who is making decisions? If I told my parents I was going to move to a small village in Amazon in order to learn tribal languages, they would either support me or they would learn to live with it. Take ownership of your life, if you think that your should take a year off and re-take the LSAT then that is what you should do. A lot of people get on here and talk about what their parents think, are you going to law school for your parents or for yourself?

What a bizarre and needlessly aggressive post. It should not be surprising to any rational person that a prospective JD would be concerned about financial security in this job market and would want to put themselves in the best position to maximize their earning potential. That doesn't mean OP doesn't have other goals or aspirations; it means that he's trying to make a financially sound decision. He's doing the due diligence that thousands of 0Ls fail to do each year before entering law school.

Further, working in big law doesn't turn you into a money-grubbing automaton with no social consciousness. Many people work in big law to become financially stable and then move into other areas of the law that interest them. Some end up doing PI work once they've gained experience. Some stick around long-term but do amazing pro bono work. Who cares if OP didn't mention "improving education or protecting animals"? Do you think Roberta Kaplan joined Paul Weiss to be an LGBT advocate?

OP, don't go to Williamette. Retake in June. I don't think you're going to meaningfully boost your score in the time you have left. Maybe you'll get lucky, but it's more likely you'll end up using up a take in vain. Study as hard as you can for the next six months, kill it in June, then send me a postcard from NU.


I was actually curious about this. Let's say I do go into a field like IP law. Is it possible to donate time and services to organizations like the ACLU, FIRE, etc., when my background isn't in Con Law? I'm sure these orgs have their own trained staff, but wasn't sure if lawyers were stuck doing pro bono work or non-profit work within their own background, or if a lawyers experience was mobile and welcome across various fields.




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