PA Dilemma

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sydvicious013
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PA Dilemma

Postby sydvicious013 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:57 pm

Hi all—lurker and first-time poster here. I have a dilemma and I’d appreciate some input!

Relevant Stats:

163 on December LSAT (my first take)
3.8 GPA from PA liberal arts school
2 years work experience at a big-5 book publisher in NYC
Low-income, but non-URM
Typical softs (extra curric leadership, honors and awards, etc.)

Goals: Public interest (legal aid, government, non-profit, public defender)

Schools: I’m only applying in Philadelphia because my SO is in medical school there, so—Penn, Temple, Rutgers Camden, and Nova.

Dilemma: I won’t go at all unless I get a significant scholarship, and I know that with this LSAT score, I won’t get into Penn let alone get money to Penn. Should I retake and apply next cycle to get a shot at Penn, or should I go ahead and apply now, hoping to get $$$ to one of the regionals? Because I want to work in PI in Philly, I’m not sure Penn would do any better for me than Temple anyway. Ideally, I’d apply now so I graduate at the same time SO is getting placed for his residency, but it obviously wouldn’t be the end of the world if I waited a cycle.

Any insight?

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jchiles
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Re: PA Dilemma

Postby jchiles » Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:05 pm

I applied to all of those schools with slightly better stats two years ago and eventually received full scholarships from each one. If you are dead set on PI in Philly, any of those schools for free is a reasonable option. Temple will probably be stingiest with aid, I had a 165 and didn't get a full scholarship until extremely late in the cycle and after negotiating for some time. Nova and Rutgers Camden will be more likely to come through with the money for your stats.

I think retaking is the way to go, you don't know where your SO's residency will be and Penn is the only school that is going to have decent job placement with any type of employer, including public interest and government, outside the state.

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victory
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Re: PA Dilemma

Postby victory » Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:16 pm

I think retaking is the way to go, you don't know where your SO's residency will be and Penn is the only school that is going to have decent job placement with any type of employer, including public interest and government, outside the state.

nick417
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Re: PA Dilemma

Postby nick417 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:31 pm

Why is it that every prospective student (on this website) considering law school is interested in public interest law? To take yourself out of the work force for 3 years and into debt for the "opportunity" to make $40K a year is interesting. I don't mean to criticize you but please research salaries that starting level "public interest" lawyers make and your projected debt prior to going to law school.

Anyway, I go to a Philadelphia area school (that isn't Penn) and would suggest not going to any school without a free ride. Your grades will probably get you a free ride to Temple, Rutgers, and Nova. However, a free ride will still cost you $30K+ in debt in addition to your lost salary you could be making if you weren't in law school.

Thus, I would consider asking yourself why you want to practice law. I see far to many of my class mates who should not be studying law because they lack a strong interest. This "I want to help people" just does not cut it in law school. The reason is to be successful, you have to ace classes like Civil Procedure, Contracts, Torts, and Property law. These classes have no connection with public interest law. If you want to have a successful law career, especially at schools like Temple, Rutgers, and Nova, you must be in the top 25% of your law class.

Therefore, have you worked at a law office with lawyers? Have you ever read case law? Can you argue topics that you have little to no interest in? Are you a solid writer? Do you have strong commitment to learning and treating law school like a 40+ hour a week job?

I wish you good luck, but do your research and have a solid plan prior to going to law school. Understand your projected debt, your likelihood of getting a job, and your likely starting salary.

sydvicious013
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Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:58 pm

Re: PA Dilemma

Postby sydvicious013 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:27 pm

I think retaking is the way to go, you don't know where your SO's residency will be and Penn is the only school that is going to have decent job placement with any type of employer, including public interest and government, outside the state.


Thanks for sharing your experience! SO is aiming to be placed in a Philly-area hospital (he has strong familial and professional ties to the city)—but you’re right. We don’t know where he’ll end up and I’d like to have a movable degree if we have to go elsewhere.

Why is it that every prospective student (on this website) considering law school is interested in public interest law? To take yourself out of the work force for 3 years and into debt for the "opportunity" to make $40K a year is interesting. I don't mean to criticize you but please research salaries that starting level "public interest" lawyers make and your projected debt prior to going to law school.

Anyway, I go to a Philadelphia area school (that isn't Penn) and would suggest not going to any school without a free ride. Your grades will probably get you a free ride to Temple, Rutgers, and Nova. However, a free ride will still cost you $30K+ in debt in addition to your lost salary you could be making if you weren't in law school.

Thus, I would consider asking yourself why you want to practice law. I see far to many of my class mates who should not be studying law because they lack a strong interest. This "I want to help people" just does not cut it in law school. The reason is to be successful, you have to ace classes like Civil Procedure, Contracts, Torts, and Property law. These classes have no connection with public interest law. If you want to have a successful law career, especially at schools like Temple, Rutgers, and Nova, you must be in the top 25% of your law class.

Therefore, have you worked at a law office with lawyers? Have you ever read case law? Can you argue topics that you have little to no interest in? Are you a solid writer? Do you have strong commitment to learning and treating law school like a 40+ hour a week job?

I wish you good luck, but do your research and have a solid plan prior to going to law school. Understand your projected debt, your likelihood of getting a job, and your likely starting salary.


I currently work in book publishing, so I understand what a low-salary career means. I’m frankly not motivated by the potential for a higher salary. I am, on the other hand, motivated by minimizing debt as much as possible. And on that point, I absolutely agree—I won’t go to any of these schools without a full ride. Because I’m a pro at living frugally, I think I’d end up owing the absolute minimum. It’s also a plus that SO will have no debt, so we won’t be weighed down by as much.

I don’t just want to help people—I want to be a formidable legal advocate on a local level. That of course means acing the 1L curriculum—it means mastering everything, including the material I could care less about. And while I can’t predict how well I’ll do, I can predict that I’ll approach law school the same way I’ve approached all of my academic and professional endeavors—willing to put in those 40+ hours with energy and skill.

I don’t have experience in a law office, but I work closely with our in-house counsel and I have friends and family at law offices in various capacities (for whatever that’s worth, which isn’t much). I have read case law. I’m a fast but careful reader and a good writer. I write sales copy about everything from diet and fitness books (blech) to serious non-fiction.

Thank you for the advice! I’ll absolutely weigh the risks carefully against the rewards. If you don’t mind my asking, what are your goals in PA?

BigZuck
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Re: PA Dilemma

Postby BigZuck » Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:54 pm

Law school is by and large pretty useless for becoming a good lawyer, you really don't need to ace anything to become a good litigator

One of the local schools is fine for modest PI career goals IMO. It's much more about dedication to the cause than school prestige. Not sure you'll be able to have your cake and eat it too when it comes to low debt and geographic flexibility.

Is this the first screenname/thread you have made on this site? For some reason publishing+SO in med school stands out to me

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Kratos
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Re: PA Dilemma

Postby Kratos » Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:58 pm

nick417 wrote:Why is it that every prospective student (on this website) considering law school is interested in public interest law? To take yourself out of the work force for 3 years and into debt for the "opportunity" to make $40K a year is interesting. I don't mean to criticize you but please research salaries that starting level "public interest" lawyers make and your projected debt prior to going to law school.

Anyway, I go to a Philadelphia area school (that isn't Penn) and would suggest not going to any school without a free ride. Your grades will probably get you a free ride to Temple, Rutgers, and Nova. However, a free ride will still cost you $30K+ in debt in addition to your lost salary you could be making if you weren't in law school.

Thus, I would consider asking yourself why you want to practice law. I see far to many of my class mates who should not be studying law because they lack a strong interest. This "I want to help people" just does not cut it in law school. The reason is to be successful, you have to ace classes like Civil Procedure, Contracts, Torts, and Property law. These classes have no connection with public interest law. If you want to have a successful law career, especially at schools like Temple, Rutgers, and Nova, you must be in the top 25% of your law class.

Therefore, have you worked at a law office with lawyers? Have you ever read case law? Can you argue topics that you have little to no interest in? Are you a solid writer? Do you have strong commitment to learning and treating law school like a 40+ hour a week job?

I wish you good luck, but do your research and have a solid plan prior to going to law school. Understand your projected debt, your likelihood of getting a job, and your likely starting salary.

A lot of what you've said here is incorrect.

sydvicious013
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Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:58 pm

Re: PA Dilemma

Postby sydvicious013 » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:14 am

Law school is by and large pretty useless for becoming a good lawyer, you really don't need to ace anything to become a good litigator

One of the local schools is fine for modest PI career goals IMO. It's much more about dedication to the cause than school prestige. Not sure you'll be able to have your cake and eat it too when it comes to low debt and geographic flexibility.

Is this the first screenname/thread you have made on this site? For some reason publishing+SO in med school stands out to me


Nope, this is the first screenname and the first thread I've made on TLS. Though I suppose it is a fairly unique circumstance. With regards to your comment, I agree about the cake. It will probably come down to one over the other and I'll have to decide which I value more--though I'm sure I'll think differently down the line if we have to move out of Philly.

A lot of what you've said here is incorrect.


Care to share which parts?

iguazu
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Re: PA Dilemma

Postby iguazu » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:19 am

I've asked previously about what to do with SO in med school/applying to residency. Perhaps I'm the culprit.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: PA Dilemma

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 03, 2015 11:28 am

sydvicious013 wrote:
A lot of what you've said here is incorrect.


Care to share which parts?

Not the poster you were talking to, but I think nick417's comments about public interest law weren't very accurate. For one thing, he clearly doesn't get why anyone would do PI law, which means he's not the best source about it. But more to the point, of course Civ Pro, Contracts, Torts, and Property connect with public interest law; people interested in PI law don't "lack a strong interest" in the law; and there's nothing wrong with going to law school to help people. You will find others there who have similar interests. There are plenty of people who don't enjoy law school classes, but enjoy practice, and vice versa. Basically, I think he's painting PI people with way too broad a brush.

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TheSpanishMain
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Re: PA Dilemma

Postby TheSpanishMain » Sat Jan 03, 2015 11:31 am

Also, while it's true that people in PI/government don't make nearly what people in BigLaw make, it's not like their starting salaries are frozen for all eternity. Just because someone starts off making 40k a year doesn't mean they'll make 40k for the rest of their career.

timbs4339
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Re: PA Dilemma

Postby timbs4339 » Sat Jan 03, 2015 12:02 pm

Can't remember where I saw this (it's real tho srsly guise) but someone went through the PS's of an entire class of matriculants at some elite school (I think it was H). Something like 80% of students expressed some interest in PI or government law, despite the fact that 80% of those students go into biglaw.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: PA Dilemma

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:38 pm

Oh, I totally get that a lot of people who start out "I want to help people" end up going biglaw - it's just so much easier to take the path of least resistance to biglaw, at least if you're at H or a similar school where you're close to guaranteed a biglaw gig if you want one. I'd bet that a lot of those people don't stay in biglaw - they do it to pay down debt/get experience that's necessary to later go work at the ACLU or whatever - but I can see why the numbers fall out the way they do.

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Kratos
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Re: PA Dilemma

Postby Kratos » Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:03 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
sydvicious013 wrote:
A lot of what you've said here is incorrect.


Care to share which parts?

Not the poster you were talking to, but I think nick417's comments about public interest law weren't very accurate. For one thing, he clearly doesn't get why anyone would do PI law, which means he's not the best source about it. But more to the point, of course Civ Pro, Contracts, Torts, and Property connect with public interest law; people interested in PI law don't "lack a strong interest" in the law; and there's nothing wrong with going to law school to help people. You will find others there who have similar interests. There are plenty of people who don't enjoy law school classes, but enjoy practice, and vice versa. Basically, I think he's painting PI people with way too broad a brush.

Basically this. Like the idea that PI people don't want to be lawyers or there are no avenues to use the law to help people is moronic.

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Rahviveh
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Re: PA Dilemma

Postby Rahviveh » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:32 pm

timbs4339 wrote:Can't remember where I saw this (it's real tho srsly guise) but someone went through the PS's of an entire class of matriculants at some elite school (I think it was H). Something like 80% of students expressed some interest in PI or government law, despite the fact that 80% of those students go into biglaw.


Probably because PI is way easier to write a PS about. How would one even credibly write a PS about biglaw and corporate law, unless you have good work experience and without coming off like a huge douche? "I stared in horror at the misplaced comma on my sublease agreement. At that very moment, I knew what path I should take. I knew I wanted to be an M&A lawyer at Cravath Swaine and moore"




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