Heads up: How to choose the list of law schools to apply to!

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
legalized
Posts: 317
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:45 am

Heads up: How to choose the list of law schools to apply to!

Postby legalized » Tue May 04, 2010 11:58 am

Hopefully URMs know my suggestion is a thought process to have WHILE determining a list of about 15 schools that are:

*Either T14 or located in a state you want to practice in (aka live in the rest of your life) when you pass the bar
-->4-5 in your LSAT/GPA range
-->4-5 above it, and
-->4-5 below (safeties)...
*What percent have great job prospects after graduation (defined for me as 90% or above employed within 9 months of graduating)
*What percent of graduates pass the bar on the first try (and which bar they usually take...New York, Calfornia, and apparently Louisiana bars are the hardest, La.'s for a different reason than the first two)
*THE ATTRITION RATE (what percent fail out! Accepting you knowing you have a good chance of not making it is a cruel thing to do but these law schools are doing it and taking your money for nothing, don't fall for that!!!!!!) ...I would say attrition rates worse than the T-14's average or most frequent attrition rate is bad, and in the double digits means you should cross that school off your list.
*The unusual requirements (which ones REQUIRE more than two LORs? some allow you to send more than two but only require two, some REQUIRE more than two...or which require Dean's certification letter from your UG major's department dean? If you're applying to Yale, the Yale 250 falls here)
*The OPENING deadline (closing shouldn't even matter to you, plan your business to get your stuff in as close as possible to when each school begins accepting applications)...9/1? 9/15? 9/30? 10/1? etc.

Those are things you need to know to make an informed decision and a competitive application.

THEN also note on the chart you're making of your school choices (you are making one, right?) which schools OF THE ONES THAT MAKE THE OBJECTIVE CUT ABOVE are having trouble getting URMs to enroll (by minority percentages--keeping in mind some of that is Asian--relative to the rest of schools on your list, cause that's what's important, the position of the schools on YOUR list relative to each other), or which you can guess probably have trouble based on things like a hicktown (or hick region) location, bad press (UVa just had a lacrosse student murder another lacrosse student he apparently use to date, Duke and the lacrosse/stripper thing and the national racial tensions the mishandling of it caused) or 100 feet of snow every winter. lol This could be a good thing if it's just something like an awfully isolated location, or a bad thing if the school is in the Virginias or somewhere else especially noted for being more racist than its neighbouring states...Arizona is potentially not the place to be going to school right now if you're Hispanic. Why spend 3 years in that state when you can spend 3 years somewhere the laws treat you better?

If you're a parent this also means making a note of which of these schools are in good public school zones so your child isn't going to school in a ghetto while you pursue your legal dreams. Or you can make up your mind to live further away from the school but that's inconvenient. This involves finding out what school(s) the family/married housing dorm address(es) is/are zoned for, then looking them up on greatschools.net. If you are open to living off campus you can put off this part until you know where you are accepted places.

And of course note which ones on the list are a favourite for sentimental reasons that have nothing to do with logic...I have a school that is my favourite because my grandma got her PhD there and I'm just partial to it for that reason. It happens to be an Ivy, so that just makes it even more attractive than it already was (aside from meeting all the above criteria).

You can also cross off schools you just don't like for similarly emotional reasons...if you called there to get info and their admissions office had a bitch attitude, by all means, x it out. UF is off my list for that very reason.

:wink:

I made this a new thread because it occurs to me that from what I can tell, certain URMs don't even know how to go about choosing a school, there's no method to the madness outside of what they "heard"...Like a friend in NJ kept trying to convince me Seton Hall was a great school cause that's what he heard...I looked up the ranking for him and told him they are number 72 on the list (at the time) and most of the schools above them have higher middle 50s GPA and LSAT numbers, so from those 3 things alone, no they are not one of the best choices.

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The Invisible Man
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Re: Heads up: How to choose the list of law schools to apply to!

Postby The Invisible Man » Thu May 06, 2010 11:42 am

Well done! Everything is 100% credited and this will certainly help future URM applicants on TLS.

Also, in before Ken.

legalized
Posts: 317
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:45 am

Re: Heads up: How to choose the list of law schools to apply to!

Postby legalized » Thu May 06, 2010 5:00 pm

The Invisible Man wrote:Well done! Everything is 100% credited and this will certainly help future URM applicants on TLS.

Also, in before Ken.


ROFL @ Ken.

Thank you. :)

I realized in another thread people see me talking as an 0L and are tempted to think I am talking off the top of my head...I do a TON of research. Everyday almost. And I realize from the questions being asked folks are still lost out there and like me have found the pre-law advisor totally useless. The only interesting thing mine told me was to apply to about 15-20 schools...and that is cause I already had a list that long (in 4 tiers of score ranges) and was worried it was WAY too much but couldn't figure out a way to cut it down some, but she said most don't apply to enough.

And some non-URMs that think my advice is way too detailed don't realize how LITTLE information some URMs know, more often than not, and how much worse and intimidating VAGUE answers and VAGUE instructions are than no answer at all.

I have a lawyer/judge and another lawyer in the family, but had no clue what the process was, and one of them went through law school as an international student, and one is in the previous generation and didn't have this economic reality to deal with. Neither of them seem to be in the type of law I am interested in, and although one of them did/does biglaw, neither of them (I believe) went to a T-14. T-14 admissions process and gaining acceptance just requires this superior level of seriousness that was simply not necessary for undergrad (at least for me, I was placed two years ahead when I immigrated here, and got my full scholarship at UG by accident...thought they were giving out awards to put on the wall cause it was an HBCU I had heard nothing about except it has a lot of black people...hadn't even applied because I didn't think having a lot of black people was going to help me, but I had sent them my SAT scores just in case, had no clue their business school had a good rep. either. Showed up and realized it was MONEY awards and I got a full one. Gotta love my UG for that, for all their admin. crap.)

I have my list in writing with notes about what I like and don't like, who has clinics on subjects dear to me (immigration, family law), who has a BEAUTIFUL campus from what I can see so far (Michigan!), whose 25th percentile my GPA beat (that number has decreased since the 2011 rankings came out, sad face)...and then when I realized the state of things, I had to take like 4 of them off the list cause they were not T-14 and it made more sense to go to Howard than any of them, one of them should have already been off the list cause their admissions office is cold as ice, and another one i only had there cause it was the only one in my previous town...now I've moved I don't want them either.

So I actually need to add a few more to the list. With the constant notes and crossouts I am considering moving the list and criterion over to Excel like my LSAT testing scores.

And I have to add interesting things I find out ("UVa is splitter heaven"..."Columbia has wicked LRAPs"...I'm finding out NYU's immigration clinic offerings are so strong I may have to buck my dislike of their VERY NYC location and add them to the list, just for career purposes cause it's now looking a little foolish not to...)

I was sad to give up Brigham Young and UToledo cause they met my cost and performance parameters and BY seems popular with an international crowd (mostly out of south america though)...but I have no intention of practicing in Utah or Ohio.

I'm describing all that to say once you've made the list expect it, like the personal statement, to go through some iterations. And there will be more changes depending on my actual LSAT score. If it's below 160 some of the higher reaches will come off the list, except the one my heart is just AWWWW about. 160-170 list stays as is. 170 and up I'm adding Stanford to the list lol, they are not on it now cause anything west of UMichigan wasn't really on my radar as a place to spend 3 years. I'm in a pretty sexy city as it is, it just doesn't own a T-14.

legalized
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Re: Heads up: How to choose the list of law schools to apply to!

Postby legalized » Thu May 06, 2010 5:01 pm

Now that I wrote that, I realize I asked the biglaw fam some info but have yet to ask the judge/lawyer one anything. Time for me to correct that.

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The Invisible Man
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Re: Heads up: How to choose the list of law schools to apply to!

Postby The Invisible Man » Thu May 06, 2010 9:33 pm

Legalized, despite your 0L status, you're speaking nothing but the truth and it is VERY admirable how you've conducted your research and reached out to those who may know more/better than you. I'm sure you're gonna kick ass next cycle.

You could also touch upon the process and strategy future applicants should take in writing their Personal Statements and Diversity Statements. This is as crucial, if not more, in packaging applications. Let me know if you'd like some insight.

legalized
Posts: 317
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:45 am

Re: Heads up: How to choose the list of law schools to apply to!

Postby legalized » Fri May 07, 2010 12:01 am

The Invisible Man wrote:Legalized, despite your 0L status, you're speaking nothing but the truth and it is VERY admirable how you've conducted your research and reached out to those who may know more/better than you. I'm sure you're gonna kick ass next cycle.

You could also touch upon the process and strategy future applicants should take in writing their Personal Statements and Diversity Statements. This is as crucial, if not more, in packaging applications. Let me know if you'd like some insight.


I might make that a separate thread. And you're right. I personally am not worried about the PS because I have a way with words (although I will still have a lawyer from that school if i can find one read it over).

When I'm done writing mine I'll offer to proofread people's. I'm excellent with grammar, spelling, syntax...and I can do it virtually cause I use Word's Track Changes feature so they don't have to keep edits they don't like.

I will say as soon as a good idea comes to you, write it down in one notebook that keeps all your law school stuff. I have a brainstorm slanted all over one page with just sentences, phrases, or words...before I lose the connections I made at that moment.

Events, talents, and experiences that made you want to go into law in the first place should be jotted down and some common theme or two picked up to contribute to a statement.

Whatever about you brought you to those events, talents, and experiences (got you in them, or got you through them) should also be a source of ideas for the personal statement.

Not why law, but the reasons why law should tell you something about yourself that you can share that is not found elsewhere in the application.

Haven't touched the PS part in a while since the first brainstorm, but will be on it like white on rice after June 7. It's next up on my list. And is the main reason I want to be done with LSAT taking after June 7, cause I don't want to have to study for this AGAIN annnnd write. This LSAT prep is tiring.

But yeah I haven't even begun to do the nitty gritty research on every school on my list yet, and I was going to skimp on that a little til someone posted good advice in the URM Q thread to go all out and make targeted personal statements for all the top schools...so now I have to research them completely to be able to say something comprehensive, insightful, and true. When I start looking up schools and reading schools' prelaw handbooks I will have even more info.

Excel spreadsheets for easy visual comparison of factual stats on each of your schools, plus a comments bubble or column on each is going to make this really easy...when fall comes, just check off accept waitlist reject money and amount and between that, the info from the top of this thread, and the notes for you personally on the school, you know the best choice for you. I have notes floating in the various month pages of a 2009 planner, notes in this notebook...and now I have to be trying to pull them all together in one place so I don't have to flip several pages to find some note about something. Don't be like me. Keep one book that is good from last year to next year, or one folder, and transfer comparison stats to a spreadsheet to easily track what's what.

legalized
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Re: Heads up: How to choose the list of law schools to apply to!

Postby legalized » Fri May 07, 2010 12:03 am

Aaannd YES I would like any insights you have to offer! Wait til I make that thread though lol so everyone can find it on a search.

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The Invisible Man
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Re: Heads up: How to choose the list of law schools to apply to!

Postby The Invisible Man » Fri May 07, 2010 11:53 pm

legalized wrote:Aaannd YES I would like any insights you have to offer! Wait til I make that thread though lol so everyone can find it on a search.


No doubt. I am at your service.




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