Law School for Low GPA Student

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What would be the better choice?

St. John's Law School (full-tuition plus 10k from their IP Scholar's program)
5
50%
Washington and Lee (3/4 tuition).
5
50%
 
Total votes: 10

wjlaw

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Law School for Low GPA Student

Postby wjlaw » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:20 pm

Hello,

So I am a splitter URM (my GPA was a 2.3, LSAT was a 160, so I'm not even that good of a splitter), and I am trying to decide between law schools. Basically I'm down to choosing between St. John's Law School, where I am receiving full-tuition (plus 10k from their IP Scholar's program) and Washington and Lee (3/4 tuition). Basically my GPA is in the crapper because my first two years were in the wrong major, and my grades were polarized even after that. I'm averaging around a 3.5 in a Master's of Econ program currently (I'm interested in finance law, and have both private sector and public planning experience for economic development). I have a Cornell undergrad degree.

I really just want to hear people's opinions on the options available. I know a lot of people will tell me to retake, but I hesitant to put any more time or resources in the LSAT when I know my GPA will likely be a lead weight on my admissions regardless of my score (and this is why I only spent a few weeks studying for the test anyway).

I doubt I will be able to yield strong offers from elite NY schools even if I go retake and get something much better, and St. John's offers makes it comparable to any of the other options in the city. I feel like W&L will be my best option otherwise, due the strength of it's alumni network (something I feel people seriously underestimate) and it's stronger placement (it only sits a class of around a 100 or less each year, so the crash a few years back that wrecked all law schools really hit it's numbers). I also believe that W&L has a stronger reputation that extends a bit further as well (especially further South and along the Mid-Atlantic coast).

Factoring in cost of living, I'm probably looking at around the same amount of debt from each school (I'm estimating 60k, it's amazing how dirt cheap it is to live in rural Virginia vs New York). I not interested in big law or anything like that, I just truly desire to perform legal work, because law and economics are the fields I am actually truly passionate about, and I am willing to pursue despite my undergrad GPA.

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Dr. Nefario

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Re: Law School for Low GPA Student

Postby Dr. Nefario » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:51 pm

Before too many people grill you, you are right in thinking your GPA may hold you back; however, with a high GPA in a masters program and a very high lsat, you could turn some better options. Honestly, if you will study for the lsat hardcore, you could get a very high score and toss apps broadly and maybe get into wash u or a few schools that will give you much better options than you have.If you only spent a few weeks studying and got a 160, you can go to 170 with a few months of disciplined practice and it will make a huge difference in your potential outcomes. As much as your UGPA may hurt you, a high lsat splitter can at least get looks at T1 regional schools with the right LSAT and factors like your masters. Thats my 2cents

wjlaw

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Re: Law School for Low GPA Student

Postby wjlaw » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:12 pm

Dr. Nefario wrote:Before too many people grill you, you are right in thinking your GPA may hold you back; however, with a high GPA in a masters program and a very high lsat, you could turn some better options. Honestly, if you will study for the lsat hardcore, you could get a very high score and toss apps broadly and maybe get into wash u or a few schools that will give you much better options than you have.If you only spent a few weeks studying and got a 160, you can go to 170 with a few months of disciplined practice and it will make a huge difference in your potential outcomes. As much as your UGPA may hurt you, a high lsat splitter can at least get looks at T1 regional schools with the right LSAT and factors like your masters. Thats my 2cents



Yeah, I know the grills are coming. The thing is, for where I'm looking to live (which I should have mentioned), what are better options? I'm either looking at NYC or Virginia (or another southern state) for preference after graduation. I feel as if W&L can compete with any other non-14 options that place in the area, such as W&M, George Mason (I'm no libertarian), George Washington. This is especially considering the scholarship, as well as the fact that I have already connected with some alumni from the school. UT-Austin, maybe even UVA may be an option worth a 170, but not one I am willing to wait another cycle for just for a shot, where I'm going to likely see little money.

I recognize with what I'm doing now, I'm pretty much looking at a shot just for a job, but neither of these schools have placements rates that are abysmal (each are above 60%).

If I'm going to place better in NYC, going back to Cornell may be my only option, and from what I hear, alumni actually have a strong tendency to get in on transfer. If I'm going for a dice roll there where I'm likely to get little money at all, I feel I may as well go for the transfer route, with the a cheap year of law school under my belt and something to fall back on.

I know transferring is a tough shot, but it's not me end all goal.

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fliptrip

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Re: Law School for Low GPA Student

Postby fliptrip » Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:20 am

Do you have stips on your St. John's scholarship? In your situation, you know the optimal path to take is to retake the LSAT as much as possible so that the options you'll choose between are the best you really can get.

Since you don't want to do that, I think doing St. John's for free and seeing how you shake out with respect to transferring is your best course. Trying for W & L and expecting it to have a broad placement power in the south doesn't sound right to me.

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Lexaholik

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Re: Law School for Low GPA Student

Postby Lexaholik » Sat Apr 02, 2016 3:10 pm

wjlaw wrote:Hello,

So I am a splitter URM (my GPA was a 2.3, LSAT was a 160, so I'm not even that good of a splitter), and I am trying to decide between law schools. Basically I'm down to choosing between St. John's Law School, where I am receiving full-tuition (plus 10k from their IP Scholar's program) and Washington and Lee (3/4 tuition). Basically my GPA is in the crapper because my first two years were in the wrong major, and my grades were polarized even after that. I'm averaging around a 3.5 in a Master's of Econ program currently (I'm interested in finance law, and have both private sector and public planning experience for economic development). I have a Cornell undergrad degree.

I really just want to hear people's opinions on the options available. I know a lot of people will tell me to retake, but I hesitant to put any more time or resources in the LSAT when I know my GPA will likely be a lead weight on my admissions regardless of my score (and this is why I only spent a few weeks studying for the test anyway).

I doubt I will be able to yield strong offers from elite NY schools even if I go retake and get something much better, and St. John's offers makes it comparable to any of the other options in the city. I feel like W&L will be my best option otherwise, due the strength of it's alumni network (something I feel people seriously underestimate) and it's stronger placement (it only sits a class of around a 100 or less each year, so the crash a few years back that wrecked all law schools really hit it's numbers). I also believe that W&L has a stronger reputation that extends a bit further as well (especially further South and along the Mid-Atlantic coast).

Factoring in cost of living, I'm probably looking at around the same amount of debt from each school (I'm estimating 60k, it's amazing how dirt cheap it is to live in rural Virginia vs New York). I not interested in big law or anything like that, I just truly desire to perform legal work, because law and economics are the fields I am actually truly passionate about, and I am willing to pursue despite my undergrad GPA.


Your GPA is bad but I had a classmate at my splitter friendly T14 who had a similar GPA (2.2). Of course he also had a ridiculous LSAT score somewhere in the mid 170s. If you're not interested in re-taking, pick a place you want to live and choose a school based on that. If you feel equally about rural VA and Queens, I would go with St. Johns. (I grew up in Queens and SJU dominates the Queens/LI legal community. Graduates of "better" schools tend to thumb their noses at practicing in Queens/LI). Having a full scholarship from SJU will give you so many options on what to do.



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