Any other law schools I should consider?

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rribley
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Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby rribley » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:24 pm

Hi there
Getting ready to submit all my applications and just looking for some more input on the list of schools I'm considering.
I have a 3.82 and a 160. I took the LSAT twice and got a 156 the first time. I live in VA and will be primarily using loans to finance law school. I'm mostly interested in getting a job at a decently sized firm so I can get experience with a variety of legal areas, but I'm interested in litigation, education policy, and health law. Overall I'm pretty open to the kind of law I want to practice as long as the money is decent. I have great softs but just kind of a dreamer at this point. Here's my list:

Cornell (Stretch, legacy)
UVA (Stretch but I'm in state, legacy)
William and Mary
UNC
Washington and Lee
George Washington
Wake Forest
U of Maryland (top health program)
George Mason
U of Richmond

Others I'm considering:

Boston University
Emory
U of Georgia
Wash U

Should I apply to more than two stretch schools besides UVA and Cornell? Those were the two I thought I'd have the best chance at considering residency and legacy but I'm thinking I should throw my hat in the ring to at least one other in an urban environment. I know I will have a good shot at most of the others on the list of schools I'm definitely considering. GW and W&L might be stretches too so maybe that's enough. I'd love some thoughts!

Definitely willing to retake LSAT and apply again but I just want to see what happens this go around. I think I could improve on LSAT but really tired of it. If I can get into William and Mary, UNC, or GW I will be really happy.

rribley
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby rribley » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:27 pm

Oh yeah and I'm kind of on the fence about Mason and Wake. Mason is cheap in state and I'd be close to DC. I feel like I could be a big fish there but that's not my ideal. Wake is just highly ranked and close to where I want to practice (DC, NC, VA, MD, PA)

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MT Cicero
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby MT Cicero » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:35 pm

rribley wrote:Hi there
Getting ready to submit all my applications and just looking for some more input on the list of schools I'm considering.
I have a 3.82 and a 160. I took the LSAT twice and got a 156 the first time. I live in VA and will be primarily using loans to finance law school. I'm mostly interested in getting a job at a decently sized firm so I can get experience with a variety of legal areas, but I'm interested in litigation, education policy, and health law. Overall I'm pretty open to the kind of law I want to practice as long as the money is decent. I have great softs but just kind of a dreamer at this point. Here's my list:

Cornell (Stretch, legacy)
UVA (Stretch but I'm in state, legacy)
William and Mary
UNC
Washington and Lee
George Washington
Wake Forest
U of Maryland (top health program)
George Mason
U of Richmond

Others I'm considering:

Boston University
Emory
U of Georgia
Wash U

Should I apply to more than two stretch schools besides UVA and Cornell? Those were the two I thought I'd have the best chance at considering residency and legacy but I'm thinking I should throw my hat in the ring to at least one other in an urban environment. I know I will have a good shot at most of the others on the list of schools I'm definitely considering. GW and W&L might be stretches too so maybe that's enough. I'd love some thoughts!

Definitely willing to retake LSAT and apply again but I just want to see what happens this go around. I think I could improve on LSAT but really tired of it. If I can get into William and Mary, UNC, or GW I will be really happy.


I'll just address the bolded. Please be more than willing. Retake. If you're completely burnt out, take a month or so off. Target the October test, and hit the studying hard by the beginning of the summer.

Don't get the outcome that will make you "really happy." Get the one that will make the FUTURE you "really happy." He/She will truly thank you. The problem with testing the waters is you can find a way to talk yourself into anything when it means no more LSAT. People do it all the time.

Every single point after 160 can completely change the game for you. Search for "pithypike" or "Noodley" on here (their LSAT guides) and hit it hard after a bit of a break.

rribley
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby rribley » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:42 pm

Yes I've looked at their guides and been trying really hard for over a year. This is what I could pull off considering a myriad of personal circumstances that I won't go into detail about here. I could study forever, but I have a score in the 80th percentile and I'm really proud and satisfied with that. I knew someone would comment and say that so that's why I wrote the bold part. I know that's an option but if you could please provide advice for the present score that is really what I'm looking for.

It's not like it's some tragically horrific score. Don't act like I'm throwing my life away get real! I did great and UNC, William and Mary, or GW will serve me well. I don't need to kill myself over this test for the next year or so just to get some ivy league name behind me. I'm not looking for millions here just for financial success and peace. If I feel like reapplying then I will but I don't see how it could hurt to apply this go around.

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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby BigZuck » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:08 am

It's not tragically horrific. Nobody said it was. But it might not be good enough depending on goals/debt.

What do you mean by decently sized firm? Why are you confident those schools will serve you well? And how do you define financial success and peace?

rribley
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby rribley » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:20 am

I just want to work at a firm when I first graduate that will pay me well, so that I can make somewhat of a dent in my debts and explore different kinds of law each quarter. Hopefully a mid to large firm will help me network in the region I want to practice in too. I'm pretty flexible about the region as long as it's east coast/mid atlantic/southeast. If they work me 80 hours a week that's fine for a while too.

I don't consider myself an expert on analyzing the LST reports, but I know those three schools at least have decent job prospects and reputations. I also just feel confident that my LSAT score doesn't reflect my ability to succeed in law school. I feel certain from what I've experienced and heard from friends in law school that I will do well.

Financial success and peace for me is 80k-90k a year and a job that'd more than just menial paper pushing. Enough money to support a couple kids and go on vacations every now and then is all I want. I don't need a ridiculous amount of money, just enough so that I'm not always stressed. More important to me is the work I'll be doing. I want it to be something that I can be proud to say I do and something that challenges me. Not willing to be a GAL making 40k though.

I know all this is broad and naive sounding, but I feel like that's possible with my score and I'm determined to find it. I'd appreciate any help and guidance and I'm still open to retaking later. I think I can definitely get into W&M, and even if I don't get scholarship money I think that will take me far enough. I can't be that far off can I?

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postard
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby postard » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:27 am

I think UVA and GT are probably reaches enough. GWU @ sticker would be an undesirable outcome.

It's going to be difficult to get a salary approaching six-figures from anything below the T-14, but if you want to give it a try my advice would be to retake or choose the best possible school that'll give you a scholarship.

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deadpanic
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby deadpanic » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:35 am

This is a run of the mill 0L special snowflake syndrome. Look man, everyone thinks they will work hard and do well in law school. The fact of the matter is, law school grades can be really random.

These 80-90k jobs out of law school don't exist. With the schools you will get into with your stats, you will need to finish in the top 10-15% to be competitive for well-paying jobs. If you finish outside of that, you will be lucky to get a legal job at all, and that job will pay 40-55ish and will not be glamorous work and stress-free.

Not sure why you think you would be a "big fish" at George Mason. I think its LSAT is around 163, which you are below. In any event, you never know who your classmates will be and how you will fare on test day.

If you are willing to work 80 hour weeks out of law school then you should start working that hard on the LSAT first. It is really in your benefit to do so, especially if you want one of these mythical stress-free 90k/year jobs out of law school.

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MT Cicero
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby MT Cicero » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:40 am

rribley wrote:Yes I've looked at their guides and been trying really hard for over a year. This is what I could pull off considering a myriad of personal circumstances that I won't go into detail about here. I could study forever, but I have a score in the 80th percentile and I'm really proud and satisfied with that. I knew someone would comment and say that so that's why I wrote the bold part. I know that's an option but if you could please provide advice for the present score that is really what I'm looking for.

It's not like it's some tragically horrific score. Don't act like I'm throwing my life away get real! I did great and UNC, William and Mary, or GW will serve me well. I don't need to kill myself over this test for the next year or so just to get some ivy league name behind me. I'm not looking for millions here just for financial success and peace. If I feel like reapplying then I will but I don't see how it could hurt to apply this go around.


I think you mistook my post. I can assure you I'm no prestige snob. I'm going to try like hell to work in a smaller market at graduation no matter where I finish in my class. I have a family and had a 10-year military career before law school. My dad was an enlisted dude for 20 years and I was the first to attend more than a semester of undergrad. So the "get some ivy league name behind me" is wasted on me. I'm a low-budget dude, I assure you!

The issues are:

1) People always love "sooner" more than "later." Always. This is the problem with applying this go around (especially if you're doing it this late). There may be an outcome that you'll accept because sooner almost always wins. Again, I started law school in my 30s and I didn't turn into a pumpkin. In fact, I'm enjoying the hell out of it.

2) Financial peace can be hard to come by with high debt. Really want to leverage instability? Have that debt + difficulty finding a job. This is the reason I say every point could matter. The schools you're considering can work fine, but I think a few more points starts saving you tens of thousands of dollars. Don't leverage the score for prestige. Do it for financial peace. I met a DA en route to law school randomly at a hotel bar. She went to a small school for sticker. She was 47. She still owed $51K (pretty sure this is the number) on her law school loans and was shaking her head about it. Shit is real. That was pretty sobering to me.

3) It's not about your score or a percentile or anything else. It's about what that represents in discounted tuition or admission. Of course your score isn't tragically horrific. But it may not be enough to defray enough cost to make law school a sound investment, that's all. You have a wonderful GPA. I didn't. In fact, mine was tragically horrific! Like I said before, every point could be $2-4K per year at the schools you're considering.

Others can give you advice on chances at the schools you've mentioned. I'm just telling you that something might click at some point with studying after a break. I only commented on your post (you'll see I don't post a ton) because you seemed eminently reasonable and I wanted you to at least consider taking a stab at those extra few points.

If you'd like, PM me and I'd be happy to send you my spreadsheets I made up for my drilling (used pithypike) to keep me tight and focused. I didn't have a long time to study before test day, but I did focus like a laser for the time I had. If you're not interested, no big deal! Sometimes contrary advice can play a positive role, and I was in the posting mood. Apologies if I came off sounding like you're throwing your life away. I didn't mean to. I have a broader view of life than that, I assure you.

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby iamgeorgebush » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:49 am

OP,

I know this isn't what you want to hear, but as others have said, you should study hard and retake. The thing is, you might not get "financial success and peace" if you attend UNC, William and Mary, GW, etc., and ESPECIALLY not if you pay sticker. Sticker debt coming from one of those schools could be crippling, because you would basically need BigLaw to service that level of debt, and even if you got into GW, your chances of getting BigLaw (judging from LST) is somewhere in the 30%-40% range. It'd be much less at, say, UNC (probably somewhere in the 20%-30% range). You may feel confident that you'll do well, but you really can't know. You should assume that you will not do better than average. Maybe you will, but do you want to stake six figures of debt on "maybe"?

Moreover, you probably couldn't get into GW or William and Mary with your current stats. Your LSAT score is just too low, even with that great GPA. For whatever reason, law schools place substantially more weight on the LSAT than GPA. Don't believe me? Go to mylsn.info and see for yourself. UNC seems likely, although not certain. And even if you did get in, you probably wouldn't get any scholarship money.

Retake. Even if you have modest goals. Or don't go to law school.

rribley
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby rribley » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:57 am

deadpanic: I'm not expecting 80-90k right out of the gate, just eventually. But you're right about Mason.

MT Cicero: probably overreacted but SOMEONE out there has to relate to feeling like you've done everything you can do and still not have it be good enough. Guess I'm just whining. Honestly I don't think I have the personal wherewithal to make it through another round of LSAT prep. Every insufficient score is a blow to my confidence and as much as I try to push through I guess I just don't have the balls or something. I was scoring 165s before test day but the logic games are hit/miss for me.

Honestly I'm 23 and I don't really have a clear picture of what my financial future looks like with the debt I will incur from law school. How long will it take me to pay it off if I make 50-60k for 5 years? What will that leave leftover? 200k doesn't even seem real to me all I've ever had is 500 in my bank account after a good weekend at the restaurant.

I'm reaching out for help here to try to understand what this will be like financially. I don't think I'm a special snowflake but I know I'm smart and a hard worker. If it's impossible or HIGHLY unlikely to have a good life without t14, which sounds RIDICULOUS, then I guess I better accept it. I worked harder for my 160 than I ever have for anything else though. I could retake but yeah sooner feels right.

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postard
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby postard » Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:13 am

If 200k is really the debt you're projecting, then it would take an average monthly payment of like 2100 to pay it off in 10 years with a 5% interest rate. That'd be pretty hard to swing at 50-60k.

The fact that you're aware of your own lack of familiarity with law school finances is a good start. There's plenty of resources here to get yourself more acquainted (you could start here).

ETA: Once you get past 150k, the conventional wisdom is that working at a large law firm is the only way to service the debt. Once you get there, what you're really looking for is the likelihood that you could get such a job at the schools you're looking at. At UVA ~50% got those kind of jobs and another 13% could have got them (federal clerkships) in 2013. At GWU those numbers drop to 28% and 5%. At Wake Forest, 13% and 3%. With odds that low, you don't want to have to worry about a large debt load. Use that as ammo to study for the LSAT & retake for that security, otherwise you're gambling with your future with non-dischargeable debt.
Last edited by postard on Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MT Cicero
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby MT Cicero » Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:17 am

First of all, applying this late in the cycle with a sub-median LSAT is already going to have you fighting from behind. Even if you said you would physically explode if you took the LSAT again, I would recommend polishing up your app materials to perfection and applying early the next cycle. 23 years old? You working? If no, get a job. If you can get one in the legal world, great.

Oh, since you're applying next cycle now so you can get in early, might as well put the damn knife in your teeth and go to work again! 3 hours a night, one 5-hour day on the weekends. You could be paid as much as $300/hour in scholarships between now and October (or June if you prefer). Sure, you may not improve. But if you burn the damn ships all Cortes-style (don't apply this cycle), you'll give it a better effort.

Doing everything you can do sometimes involves taking a break, dropping it for a month or more, accepting sitting out a cycle, and starting up again with a renewed vigor. Sometimes staying "in the shit" just doesn't work.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think $50-60k will allow you to service the type of debt you're likely to incur. At all.

rribley
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby rribley » Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:48 am

Can't believe how delusional I've been. Not one of my schools has a median below my score. I think I'm just having a delayed reaction to my lsat score. Someone told me that if I submit right after my dec score comes I should be fine but I guess that was in the case that I scored higher.

I'm about to go teach English on a stipend at the University of Guadalajara for the next 5 months and I plan to enjoy it thoroughly. The other thing about studying for the LSAT is it is so hard to have a fun and let loose with that damn thing always hanging over my head. I have been so serious about it all that I resent the fact that every college weekend was spent studying. I just hate the way that all that time every day studying for the LSAT is all about me and how much money I will make and I'm not learning anything from others or doing anything for them, connecting with them, having fun with them, etc.

I didn't work my last semester because I was studying for the LSAT. I just graduated in December. I can get a job upon my return from Mexcio and spend my free time studying but it might have to be two cycles. Unless I stay home from Mexico and lose out on more life experiences.

Feeling very brokenhearted. But trying to accept reality. Should I go ahead and apply now anyway? Should I apply to some better back ups? SO SO SO confused. Can't accept not applying. Too soon. too hard

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postard
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby postard » Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:52 am

Think about it, but if I were you I wouldn't apply and not look back. Enjoy your summer. Once you're back and have a job, reassess and start studying if appropriate and you still want to be a lawyer.

No matter what, just try to move forward. Law school will still be there next year.

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DrSpaceman
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby DrSpaceman » Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:09 am

When you get back from teaching in a foreign country, you will:

A) Almost certainly do better on the LSAT because teaching is a great way to "learn how to learn," which is crucial to doing your best on the test.

B) Have a more thorough understanding of yourself and your professional goals, which will help you in whatever you do.

C) Give you great fodder for a personal statement.

D) Put a solid soft factor on your resume, to the extent that such things matter.

It's a drag, but only for a while. Plus, you get to spend that while in Mexico.

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Clearly
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby Clearly » Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:15 am

alright, not to get too preachy, but its story time.

I was in your position at some point, except with a much worse GPA but a slightly better lsat score. I wanted to go so bad, my family and friends were all wanting me to go. I had T1 options but nothing great. I argued and argued with TLS about how I could make it work. Eventually you gotta realize that if you're so sure you are smart enough for law school, you should be smart enough for the LSAT and smart enough to not sign away your life for terrible job outcomes. TLS got through to me eventually and made me realize what I was signing up for. I told everyone I was going to sit out. They were so upset, I had a 90th percentile score, how much better did I want!? I buckled down, sat out, studied till I was where I needed to be, and did well enough to get into T14s late in the cycle. I passed on the options I had, and sat another cycle and applied earlier. Got into an even better school. This same advice you're getting took me from T50 to T7, and got me 2 more years of work experience in the process, and that was with a 3.0 GPA.

Trust these people. Re-approach the LSAT, nothing on it is that hard that you should give up and take on these current options, especially with your GPA. Sit this cycle out, take some time off, study for the June LSAT, and apply in Sept. Its not even that big of a delay. People with good LSAT scores and your GPA get to go to UVA for free, especially in state...

acr
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby acr » Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:52 am

check out Iowa

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby iamgeorgebush » Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:11 am

You just graduated from college? Yeah dude, definitely wait a bit. Go have fun in Guadalajara. See if you can study for the LSAT 5-10 hours per week while you're there, or just take a break. Then once you get back, reevaluate whether you want to go to law school. If you do, buckle down and treat studying for the LSAT like a full-time job.

As a retaker myself, I know it sucks to put in a ton of effort once you've already been through it, but it's worth it. With my first score, no T20 school would have accepted me. Now I go to a T6 school, and T20 schools offered me full scholarships. All because I bit the bullet, studied my ass off, and retook. It's worth it.

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AnonymousAlterEgoC
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby AnonymousAlterEgoC » Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:24 am

Retake

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lhanvt13
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby lhanvt13 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:39 am

As a fellow Virginian: retake-> uva scholly -> profit

rribley
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby rribley » Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:51 pm

What are the cons of applying now anyway just see what happens? If I reapply in one or two cycles with a better LSAT will I be at a terrible disadvantage?

The reason I ask is I think I at least have a shot at William and Mary. My score is within range and I'm in state. Even if I don't get any money I'll still get in-state which is $21k, putting me at less than 100k in debt. Seems doable am I wrong. Same for Mason. UNC at sticker would be around 120k. Plus my cousins live in Raleigh so it's attractive to me. Less doable but not impossible ya?

Still seriously considering reapplying for a better score and t14 or $ at t20-t30. You guys definitely got through; I'm taking it seriously. But what's the harm in just trying now? I can always make a more coherent decision when I get my letters.

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Clearly
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby Clearly » Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:53 pm

Don't even bother man. Worst thing that could happen is you get tempted and take that offer when you could have gone to uva with money next year

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AreJay711
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:54 pm

rribley wrote:What are the cons of applying now anyway just see what happens? If I reapply in one or two cycles with a better LSAT will I be at a terrible disadvantage?

The reason I ask is I think I at least have a shot at William and Mary. My score is within range and I'm in state. Even if I don't get any money I'll still get in-state which is $21k, putting me at less than 100k in debt. Seems doable am I wrong. Same for Mason. UNC at sticker would be around 120k. Plus my cousins live in Raleigh so it's attractive to me. Less doable but not impossible ya?

Still seriously considering reapplying for a better score and t14 or $ at t20-t30. You guys definitely got through; I'm taking it seriously. But what's the harm in just trying now? I can always make a more coherent decision when I get my letters.


The problem is you might do something stupid, like enrolling in one of those schools.

thechinaman12
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Re: Any other law schools I should consider?

Postby thechinaman12 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:57 pm

retake or don't go unless full ride (arguable opportunity cost still)




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