St. John's for PI/Government?

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TheTrumanTrainwreck

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St. John's for PI/Government?

Postby TheTrumanTrainwreck » Sun Mar 25, 2018 8:51 pm

-The schools you are considering
St. John's (still waiting to hear back from other NYC schools)
-The total Cost of Attendance (COA) of each. COA = cost of tuition + fees + books + cost of living (COL) + accumulated interest - scholarships. Here is a helpful calculator.

$70,527 for all three years ((TCOA taken from St. John's website- Full tuition scholarship) x 3 years)

-How you will be financing your COA, i.e. loans, family, or savings
Loans

-Where you are from and where you want to work, and other places where you have significant ties (if any)
Deep South Texas, I want to work in New York City.

-Your general career goals
I want to go into PI or Government. If I'm successful I hope to one day become a federal attorney.

-Your LSAT/GPA numbers
LSAT: 164 GPA: 3.55 (Explained in an addendum. I switched from chemistry to history, but had to keep chemistry as my minor for financial reasons which is where all my bad grades are. The GPA for my major was around 3.75)

-How many times you have taken the LSAT
Once

Additional basic info: 22, Hispanic Male. Degree: BA in history from a UT branch school.

Howdy y'all.

So this cycle has been less than fun. I haven't really heard back from any of the T-20 schools I applied to and I don't fancy my chances because of my low lsat and non existent softs.

Anyways I would really like to attend law school in New York City and I am looking to get into PI or Government. I hope to one day be a federal attorney. I applied to NYU, Columbia, Fordham, St. John's and Cardozo. I was accepted to St. John's on a full ride as part of their Ron Brown Scholars program so my scholarship is not dependent on class rank merely on maintaining a certain GPA. (A GPA that if I can't maintain I don't belong there anyways).

The offer is really generous. I'm really excited about the idea of studying law in NYC and graduating without a ton of debt. The school says as part of the program I get a separate adviser and they'll help me network and secure certain opportunities but I'm not sure what exactly that entails. I am debt averse and I doubt any of the higher ranked schools will offer me a better financial situation but I recognize that money isn't everything and the field I am looking at will leave me competing with a lot of people from the bigger, higher ranked schools. I'm obviously willing to put in the work to end up near or at the top of my class but I've read St. John's can screw with the rankings a bit by section stacking.

So, does anyone have any information on St. John's as far as how it does in those fields or on the school in general? I've scoured this forum and reddit already and it seems like there's multiple differing opinions on the school so I am looking for as much relevant information as possible.

Thanks :)

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nealric

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Re: St. John's for PI/Government?

Postby nealric » Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:29 am

I will provide the standard advice in this situation:

Retake the LSAT until you have scored a 170+ or have taken it at least 3 times. You should study for the LSAT until you can recite every logic game type off the top of your head. If it takes 1,000 hours of studying, it will be well worth it.

Going into $70k of debt for St. Johns isn't worth it. Even at $0 debt, you can do better.

TheTrumanTrainwreck

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Re: St. John's for PI/Government?

Postby TheTrumanTrainwreck » Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:35 am

If I managed to score 170+ would that translate into more fruitful offers scolarship wise from the T-14? I’m asking that from a point of honest curiosity because I really don’t want to pay sticker. How much do soft stats impact that sort of thing because I’m not kidding when I say I literally have nothing going for me in that department.

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nealric

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Re: St. John's for PI/Government?

Postby nealric » Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:02 pm

TheTrumanTrainwreck wrote:If I managed to score 170+ would that translate into more fruitful offers scolarship wise from the T-14? I’m asking that from a point of honest curiosity because I really don’t want to pay sticker. How much do soft stats impact that sort of thing because I’m not kidding when I say I literally have nothing going for me in that department.


A 170+ would give you a good shot at scholarships from T14. Softs generally just matter on the margins- most don't have much going.

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Re: St. John's for PI/Government?

Postby Bla Bla Bla Blah » Tue Mar 27, 2018 4:54 am

Depends on the PI area of interest. Legal Aid Centers, very difficult. But I know that the old guard at the Public Defender's office I worked for coming out of law school came from one of the local T4 schools... and hence hired from that school as if to build an ego boost into what the school could accomplish. But more and more there are people like me, who went into solid top schools and also targeted public interest (though firm work was always there, and is what I now do). Or people in all the tiers above St. John's who are desperately trying to land anything and are taking over PI as a result.

So what did the T4 candidates have to offer? Well, at the particular office I'm thinking of they all looked like they came straight out of a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, and therefore had extremely good networking capabilities. If you aren't willing to take those odds, then go to a better school and get in because of reputation and, hopefully, merit.

Edit: 170 would easily get you scholarships at T14s. In fact, 170 landed many students solid scholarships at Virginia... and I was there before their admission standards dropped to what they are today. But I'm assuming that since you are even entertaining the idea of a T4 that 170 is still a pipe dream for you.

TheTrumanTrainwreck

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Re: St. John's for PI/Government?

Postby TheTrumanTrainwreck » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:50 am

While your assertion about my testing ability is a tad insulting nor would I consider the school to be T4 I see your point.

Essentially if I don’t get into NYU or Columbia then there’s no real point in attending law school in New York and I should retake; is that about right?

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nealric

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Re: St. John's for PI/Government?

Postby nealric » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:39 am

TheTrumanTrainwreck wrote:While your assertion about my testing ability is a tad insulting nor would I consider the school to be T4 I see your point.

Essentially if I don’t get into NYU or Columbia then there’s no real point in attending law school in New York and I should retake; is that about right?


I'd maybe consider a full ride at Fordham, but I agree that attending a second tier school in NYC isn't worth it at any price. All full time-salaried public interest/public defender/prosecutor jobs in NYC are insanely competitive (let alone federal government job), and most people from the second tier NYC schools are desperate to find any legal job at all.

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Re: St. John's for PI/Government?

Postby sparkytrainer » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:39 am

TheTrumanTrainwreck wrote:While your assertion about my testing ability is a tad insulting nor would I consider the school to be T4 I see your point.

Essentially if I don’t get into NYU or Columbia then there’s no real point in attending law school in New York and I should retake; is that about right?


For your goals? Yes, thats right.

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Re: St. John's for PI/Government?

Postby Bla Bla Bla Blah » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:07 am

Sorry dude, didn't mean it like that. In fact, I shot up to what I needed to get into a T10 after starting horribly low on the LSAT. Could have been 170 if I wasn't watching my infant son 24/7 so my ex-wife (clearly my ex because I'm an asshole!) could get back into school full-time during the last two weeks I had prior to taking the LSAT. It's fun trying to effectively prep while an infant poops in your lap like the little irrational person he's supposed to be!

In any case, I gave a bit of advice to a 144 LSAT taker who was skeptical about picking his score up if it gives any helpful pointers to what I did to pick mine up (think I started out at 152 at the beginning of my study). In short: you can hit 170, and the LSAT is a learnable monkeys test. No joke. Just takes time and familiarity with what they're throwing at you.

TheTrumanTrainwreck

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Re: St. John's for PI/Government?

Postby TheTrumanTrainwreck » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:15 am

I appreciate the advice y’all. I’ll sit tight and see what comes back from the other NYC schools and if it’s not advantageous I’ll look into retaking. I know I’m right at Fordham’s 75% 2017 lsat threshold. Would Fordham be worth it at anything less than full? The consensus I’m seeing is that it’s the third best school in the city and from what I’m seeing on this board it’s basically the lowest school I can go to and still be competitive. Am I correct in that assertion?

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Re: St. John's for PI/Government?

Postby beinghuman » Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:52 pm

I don't think you're correct. The third best school (after NYU and Columbia!) does not mean much in this context. You must realize the huge gap between #2 and #3 here!!! I don't think it's worth it so just re-take and see whether you can do better and if not, then you'd have a least tried.

TheTrumanTrainwreck wrote:I appreciate the advice y’all. I’ll sit tight and see what comes back from the other NYC schools and if it’s not advantageous I’ll look into retaking. I know I’m right at Fordham’s 75% 2017 lsat threshold. Would Fordham be worth it at anything less than full? The consensus I’m seeing is that it’s the third best school in the city and from what I’m seeing on this board it’s basically the lowest school I can go to and still be competitive. Am I correct in that assertion?

TheTrumanTrainwreck

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Re: St. John's for PI/Government?

Postby TheTrumanTrainwreck » Tue Mar 27, 2018 4:39 pm

So essentially if I’m really serious about New York and eventually securing a federal job it’s NYU, Columbia, or bust?

sparkytrainer

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Re: St. John's for PI/Government?

Postby sparkytrainer » Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:10 pm

TheTrumanTrainwreck wrote:So essentially if I’m really serious about New York and eventually securing a federal job it’s NYU, Columbia, or bust?


Yes we have repeated that over and over.

TheTrumanTrainwreck

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Re: St. John's for PI/Government?

Postby TheTrumanTrainwreck » Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:31 pm

Sorry I guess I’m just repeating it out of denial lol. The St. John’s offer is really generous but from what I gather it’s not worth the lost opportunity. Guess I’ll probably be throwing my hat back in the ring next cycle unless by the grace of god they let me in this time around.

Bummer, was looking forward to leaving my hometown this year. :?

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Re: St. John's for PI/Government?

Postby Bla Bla Bla Blah » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:09 pm

Honestly, no one here can really predict the future outcome.

But I know for a fact that what one of the posters on here said was correct. The NY PI orgs, including the Public Defenders' offices, were ridiculously selectional when I interviewed with them during both my first and second years' PI on grounds interviews. On the other hand, those offices seemed to be very well funded, and on the cutting edge (if you can say that about public defense offices) setting trends in what it meant to holistically represent indigent clients. Would have been pretty much the greatest people to work with, since everyone in those PI orgs was undoubtedly in it for thr right reasons... and the judges knew that the defenders in NY were never going to lay down. (And being able to say you worked for the Brooklyn or Bronx Defenders would have been bad ass!)

I feel kind of bad because I didn't look closely at your scholarship offer, and just assumed T4 because I don't think I've ever looked at the law school at all. But 70k isnt all that bad if you can picture yourself doing something outside of PI. On the other hand, take a serious look at how risky the scholarship is. Even if it seems awesome, many are set up to be taken away after 1L. Upside: you can always bail at that point with the added advantage of having a fairly good understanding of your prospects.

Here's my predicament and why I wouldn't do law school if I had known that I wouldn't be a public defender today. I don't enjoy what I do unless I care about what I do. While IP litigation pays the bills, I could give two shits about which filthy rich client wins. On the upside, I can work remotely 90 percent of the time... good for dadding relative to other firm gigs... but on the downside, there are sometimes almost full months that I have to rely on nanny services to raise my kids because I'm just that slammed. In comparison to other areas of law, I can be a decent parent. But let's face it, law isn't a single-dad sport. And I am constantly guilt ridden for not being present for them, even though Im there with them in the home and I've made the best of my situation.

Last things I have to say: Everyone here is saying that NYU and Columbia is it in NY, but those schools are reaches for even folks like me who cracked the T10. Not sure that Cornell is a bad option, and Emory at least still passes the smell test.... though I have also heard that it's in decline... but if you cant win the LSAT lotto with the big NY schools, maybe give Georgetown a shot. If you can get into DC in PI, you'd have a good chance getting hired in NY with experience. And I'm sure NY PI interviews GULC. They interviewed UVa and were serious about recruiting, so maybe shoot for good transfer into NY markets (thinking metro schools that place in metro PI positions that have some cool status PI vibes that would appeal to the people who hire for NY PI, like schools in SF, LA, DC and... Seattle?!).

Overall I agree, though. If you can't see yourself ourside of NY, big risk going to a low ranked NY school. My big question is why you aren't also accepted into other more highly regarded schools? 164 places in all sorts of well regarded schools nowadays, and with a good personal and a PI focus, you should have been able to nail down some of your reaches. Poor application strategy?

TheTrumanTrainwreck

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Re: St. John's for PI/Government?

Postby TheTrumanTrainwreck » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:51 pm

This is my first time applying and I’ve basically been doing it on my own. My pre-law advisor failed to tell me about the importance of applying early as possible so I spent so much time crafting my ps that by the time I sent out applications it was February

TheTrumanTrainwreck

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Re: St. John's for PI/Government?

Postby TheTrumanTrainwreck » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:46 pm

I mean like I said in my op, I still haven’t heard back from any of the T-20s I applied to. I know my apps were super late but miracles happen.



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