0L: From the Beginning...

lawlec48
Posts: 139
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:03 pm

0L: From the Beginning...

Postby lawlec48 » Tue Jun 09, 2009 3:55 pm

Maybe it is because I'm technically a non-traditional student, graduating from undergrad in 2005, or maybe it’s that I never expected as an undergraduate to have an opportunity to attend law school; whatever it was, all I know is that when I first began researching law school I felt like a fish out of water. I had no idea where to begin or how much work would be involved into simply researching law schools, yet alone the magnitude of the process. It has now been a little over a month and I now just feel as though I’m starting to understand what is all involved an admission cycle and where are the best places to get answers for my questions.

The reason I’m starting this log is of dual purpose; one, so I can track my progress and have a journal of how my cycle has progressed; two, so others can look at my cycle and hopefully answer some questions or concerns that they have with their own research and cycle.

First things first, an introduction to help others understand a little better my thoughts and actions in bullet point fashion:

o Cycle: Fall 2010
o Age: 29
o Married
o Non-URM
o Wisconsin Resident
o Bachelor of Science (1999-2005)
o University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (Public)
o History Major
o Poli Sci minor
o 2.959 GPA
o 3.4 in final 64 credits
o Several retakes from Freshman/Sophomore years
o LSDAS GPA Projected: 2.64
o Worked 30-35 hrs/week
o MBA (2007-2009)
o University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (Public)
o International Business Emphasis
o 3.52 GPA
o Worked 50-55 hrs/week
o Study abroad in Germany & India
o Additional Graduate Schooling
o University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (Public)
o Masters of History (Took 1 course to see if I was interested in program)
o 3.5 GPA


As can be ascertained I wasn’t always the student who put school first and foremost, I thought I could coast through the first couple years of school until I determined what I wanted to do with my life, and if school was my best path. Following my sophomore year, with a GPA in the low 2.0s I decided to take a year off and figure out what if I really wanted to be in school. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I was wasting a prime opportunity to do something professionally with my life. When I returned to school I was more or less a freshman as my classes had truly amounted to nothing in terms of courses required for a degree, plus many of the courses that did count did were not accompanied by a good grade by any stretch of the imagination. I spent the next 2 ½ years working my arse off, taking 18-22 credits a semester, as well as summer classes to graduate as my age slowly creeping up to independent levels.

Since my undergraduate, I’ve worked for the past four years in a management role in a service/sales environment, at times running three locations simultaneously. In High School I had taken several legal courses offered, and from that point on I thought Law would be an area that I wanted to get into, but I had no idea what type of law I would be interested in. I had always loved history, and I found out that it is often a degree that leads into Law, so I thought I would take this avenue for my bachelor’s degree. Following the completion of my undergrad, I looked into Law, but was crushed when I learned that all my prior grades/retakes would be counted and would lower my already low GPA even more. I put off the thought of LS and decided to gain some work experience and dabble into other areas of study.

I initially thought it might be in my best interest to look into a Masters of History, but after one graduate level course, I knew the job prospects and the interest needed to pursue this degree and beyond, were not what I was looking for in my professional life. So, it was at this time I decided focus on improving myself through my career, concentrating on moving up in the company and gain a better understanding of business. It is the combination of this desire to grow a greater understanding of business, as well as my desire to stay local and wait for my wife to finish school that caused me to delve into the MBA program at UW Oshkosh. The program, with an international emphasis, allowed me to gain a greater understanding of business, and proved to myself that I could do graduate work at a high level despite working 55+ hours a week and remodeling my house down to the studs. Further more, I finally new what type of law I wanted to study, I could combined my interests in the law, with my interest in global business. The decision had been made, I was going to law school…. if someone would take me that is.

lawlec48
Posts: 139
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:03 pm

0L: Call it an enlighting moment... or a darkening moment

Postby lawlec48 » Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:27 pm

I always knew my first two years of undergrad where going to come back to bite me, but I had hoped that completing my MBA would help rectify my GPA for law school and help me get into a better school. Those hopes were crushed when I found out that the LSDAS only looks at your undergrad GPA and take into account withdrawals and retakes. My GPA was not in fact going to go up, but was going to come crashing down. Although it is nice to know that my MBA and subsequent graduate GPA will count as a soft, it still does not detract from the deep hole my first two years of college had dug for me.

All is not lost though, with my softs (MBA, Graduate GPA, and Work Experience) there are several schools that will look past, maybe not past but not as intently upon my low GPA as long as I score very well on the LSAT. Without a good score, my chances of going to a T100 school are all but shot, but through my research I’ve found several lower rated schools that are very interesting and are the areas that I’d prefer to work post-LS, namely in the State of Florida (I’ll delve into them individually at another time). As a resident of Wisconsin, and having grown up a huge Badger fan, I’ve always wanted to attend UW Law, having the opportunity to run across Camp Randal with cane in hand, tossing the cane over the goal post in hopes of catching it on the other side, “ensuring” victory in my first case. BUT, it would seem difficult that I’ll be able to obtain this goal without scoring in the high 160s to low 170s. In my first practice tests I’ve scored around a 160, so hopefully I’ll be able to improve my test scores to near 170 prior to the September LSAT exam. I’ll be self-studying until August and then will decide if I need to take a prep course, such as the Princeton Accelerated Course, or just continue to self-study with practice tests.

Next I’ll breakdown my ever changing, fluid top 10 realistic schools I’m looking at attending.

lawlec48
Posts: 139
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:03 pm

Re: 0L: From the Beginning...

Postby lawlec48 » Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:12 pm

Although further research, life changes, and admissions will likely change my top 10 Law Schools list, here is my current 06/09/2009 list of places I would like to attend Law School. My interest in the following schools is based upon location and for some schools their international law programs.

LSAT 1 --PROJECTED LSAT BASED UPON 2.64 LSDAS GPA, USING LSAC ADMISSION INDEX created by YCrevolution

LSAT 2 --PROJECTED LSAT BASED UPON 2.64 LSDAS GPA, USING SCHOOL APPLICANT GRAPH ON LSN (MIN./Most Likely)

06/09/2009 Version

MY RANK---SCHOOL-----------------RANK-------LSAT 1------LSAT 2

1)------Univ. Wisconsin Madison------36---------169--------161/170

2)------Univ. Florida-----------------46---------169--------164/170

3)------Florida State Univ.-----------55---------169--------159/161

4)------Pepperdine------------------59---------169 --------164/170

5)------Temple---------------------59----------177--------160/162

6)-------Miami (FL)------------------82---------165--------158/160

7)-------Florida International (Tied)--T4---------164--------148/153
7)-------Stetson (Tied)--------------100--------163 -------154/156

9)-------Marquette------------------95---------164--------157/160

10)------Nova Southeastern-----------T4---------161------145/145

lawlec48
Posts: 139
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:03 pm

0L: Prep Course or Self Study

Postby lawlec48 » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:27 pm

So last night I had a discussion with my wife whether I should look into a LSAT prep course, or simply self-study. I needed to weigh the options and decide if I could be self-motivated enough to study without a prep course with a rigid schedule. The cost was a very minimal factor as my wife and I, although far from rich, have enough in savings that the $1100 price tag wouldn't be soul crushing, but the Princeton Review currently has a deal if you register prior to June 23rd for $300 off LSAT prep courses, including the full course and the accelerated course, which is the course I was eyeing at about $800 after the discount. If I was going to sign up, it was going to be prior to the deadline, seriously who wants to spend an extra $300 when you don't need, that would just be foolish.

Based upon discussions of TLS, the consensus that I found was that self-study with a high emphasis upon taking as many practice LSAT exams as possible was more than enough to raise your LSAT score if you were self-motivated, otherwise the prep courses could substitute for the self motivation and the leader would verbalize the content in the LSAT prep books.

So my decision was to purchase ALL the practice tests off of LSAC, this might seem excessive at first but the cost was less than $300 and I'm more apt to take the tests if I have them, almost a sense of pressure to complete them all. I decided this was the best route as it truly would get me accustom to the tests and questions, would allow me to work through the questions and see what type of questions have been used in the most recent real LSAT exams. Further more, if I felt as though I needed a prep course, Princeton Review offers a Weekender course the two weekends prior to the Sept LSAT ($350), which would still price wise be less than the accelerated course, as would work as the best of both worlds. Truth be told, I highly doubt I'll need this option, but at least it is an alternative should I feel it necessary down the road.

I'm not advocating one choice versus another; this is simply the option that personally works the best for me according to my study habits and schedule with work and life.

lawlec48
Posts: 139
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:03 pm

Re: 0L: Criminal Records

Postby lawlec48 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:55 pm

I had a similar issue in Wisconsin, but a felony that was cleared from my record. I was concerned that there was no way that I'd be able to be a lawyer, regardless the charges were removed, so I called the Wisconsin State Bar. I spoke with the person who deals with conduct/physicality (I believe that's what it was called). The individual at the Bar said that your application to the bar will be delayed for review, in which they will look at the circumstances and then push you through. I told the gentleman how my record was clean but I had been charged, he said that it would not disqualify me from the Bar, and that it would be a pretty quick review. Just be open and honest about it, they can get all the details they need, so just be forthright.

An interesting topic was brought up in the FAQ section in which I made a reply. I was questioning whether I was going to detail my brush with the law in my teens (adult age though) or just keep that private, but when the question was presented, I thought it would be best to give some detail, so others could have a little assistance. The following is my post regarding a Class F Felony (Theft) that I had cleared from my criminal record about 10 years ago, and my process in finding out whether I would be accepted to law schools and the bar.

I was concerned that law schools would hold this against me in my admissions, so I contact UW-Madison's law admissions department and explained the circumstances. The admission's officer said the only thing they would do is contact the Bar to make sure that it would not disqualify a person from being admitted to the bar. I told her how I contacted the individual, and she stated that she had anticipated that would be the case. I also asked her how the criminal record would affect my application. She said they DO NOT take it into account beyond if the bar will accept the applicant or not. I even asked her if I was on the border of getting in or not if a record or cleared record would have any impact, to which she said they put very little stock in the record and it would make no difference in their decision. I should have prefaced that my record was cleared over 10 years ago and I have no record/charges prior or since, criminal nor traffic. She did say that if the crime was more recent they might look at the applicant a little more closely. Her example was a DUI within the last couple months, although she said a couple year old offense would not hinder acceptance into their law program.

My suggestion, contact the schools your looking at applying to and the state bar associations in those states to ensure that you'll be eligible for acceptance at the school and the bar afterward. I'm considering going to law school in Florida also, but have not taken the time to contact the state bar nor the schools.

Hope this helps!

lawlec48
Posts: 139
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:03 pm

Re: 0L: From the Beginning...

Postby lawlec48 » Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:54 pm

Well, its been a while since I last posted. It's amazing how quickly everything else can push law school prep off to the side, especially when you work full-time, not saying that full-time school isn't time consuming also. That being said some advice:

You will have times where your life will take you off topic, so take advantage of the time you are focusing on the lsat and law school to get as much accomplished as possible.

In one of my past logs, I had indicated that I was going to self study versuses taking a prep course. I still think I can prosper on the lsat doing self-study as my last practice test I scored about a 164, so my score actually improved versus the last test I took about a month prior. That being said, its time to hunker down and make sure all my ducks are in a row.

To Do List (No Order)
1) Recommendation Letters
2) Transcripts
3) Personal Letters
4) Why Letters? (this might not be needed for all schools, but it can help me understand in a clear and concise way the reason I am considering the school. Plus, it allows me to add more personal demensions to my personal letter for the school).
5. STUDY for the LSAT
6. Continue to research law schools

lawlec48
Posts: 139
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:03 pm

Re: 0L: From the Beginning...

Postby lawlec48 » Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:54 pm

In the past couple weeks I've been extremely busy with work, so I haven't been able to complete a great deal of stuff for law school, but I have made times for a couple items.

*I took two of my LOR forms to the professor's offices and contacted them about the form, which they both emailed me about and have stated they would have them submitted soon.

*I got my transcripts from my UG and my MBA (still need transcripts from one school) and had them mailed into LSAC.

*Wrote a Personal Statement that I'm having a friend proof, but I'm probably gonna write a couple more with variety, so I can have some options and ensure I send in the best PS possible.

*Continued studying for the LSAT. I continue to average around 161 on the tests, with one section usually the difference between a 161 and a 170, yes one section seems to account for 60% of my wrong answers all the time. I'm going to need to put some extra emphasis on that section and just continue to study for the test.

*Started filling out applications (Miami and Florida) which were both available prior to today. I was not unable to fill out most applications that I intend to fill out as most are not available until September 15th at the earliest. A lot of the applications I've looked at seem to have similar questions, so I want to take my time and write them in word and be able to use them for all the applications.




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