New poster, need some advice

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
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BeautyAndTheBrief
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New poster, need some advice

Postby BeautyAndTheBrief » Sat May 16, 2015 12:48 am

Hi all.

I have been a lurker for a few months, and now that it is getting closer to App time, I figured I would get a few of my questions out there with hopes of you all taking it a bit easy on me and giving any input you may have.

I am aware that this post may be a bit lengthy and may cover a vast amount of thread topics, but I felt most comfortable posting here with other URM's since there is obviously some common ground amongst us.

I plan to apply for this upcoming cycle, and although I have most of everything figured out, I am still up in the air or flat out confused about some elements.


Subpar Softs?
As I have lurked through this thread, I must admit it has done a number on my confidence when it comes to my WE, internship experience, etc. I attend a top HBCU, am a member of the Dean Student Advisory Board, am Student Representative of my department, have done some contributing writing for various sites, have done press and media for Fashion Shows, and when I am not in class or at board meetings, I am working part time in retail. I do not know if this ups the ante, but I am about to move up to a manager position at my job (which is what I will be doing between graduation in December and Fall 2016). I also created my own major- not that I know how good that looks, or how irrelevant that is. Anyways, I have considered moving on from my retail job, however, it ties directly into what I want to do in my legal career and retail is actually required in all job descriptions for what I want to do; which brings me to my next topic for advice:

I will be taking my first attempt of the LSAT in October which is why I have not discussed LSAT/GPA stats yet; however, I am greatly interested in figuring out opinions on schools I should apply to if we hypothetically have a situation where my numbers are great enough for admittance into where I choose. What I mean by that is: there seems to be an obsession (for obvious reasons) with T14 and Big Law. I am not particularly interested in Big Law. My ultimate career goal is General Counsel of a major fashion/beauty company. That being said, with that particular career plan, does less scholarship money at a top 20 school fair off better than more scholarship money at a lower ranked school such as UNC or GSU? I am not sure how much presteige matters in my specific field of law. Personal opinions are welcomed here. I am greatly interested in you all's thoughts. I am aware that my particular career path is peculiar- which is why I am so up in the air about what LS path I should be considering. "Less debt" seems like the obvious answer, but more debt at a school with better job prospects outweighs no debt with zero job prospects.

This post is so lengthy, I apologize, but I promise this is my last concern- for right now ;-)

UGPA vs LSDAS
I attended my current institution for one semester (did TERRIBLE 2.66) and left school for two years. Just some background: I graduated top 15% of my HS class, received a scholarship for my university, have been in honor societies, etc. I say all of that to make a point that my GPA range typically stays above a 3.5, never lower than a 3.0. There were reasons for such a poor GPA my first semester (mother has kidney failure, father deployed, no money for textbooks. Life happens so I do not plan to write an addendum. Reasons ("excuses") are not really my thing, but I figured it would help you guys gain a better understanding of why I am asking this question in the first place. Moving along: I transferred into another school (did beyond awesome- 40 credits, 3.8 GPA) and transferred back into my current institution. Obviously, my 3.8 did not transfer in so I had to work my way back up from that 2.66 from 3 years prior. I have made deans list every semester since I have been back, but that 2.66 is still impacting my cumulative GPA. My question is, when it comes to my 40 credits transferred over (11 A's, 2 B's), is that added into my LSDAS? If so, would this be that rare case when the LSDAS actually does some justice for a GPA?

Again, sorry about the lengthy post. I figured some indepth background information would prevent redundant questions being asked. Also sorry for being such an ignoramus. I am a baby to this thread and this is my first post. Thanks in advance for any input, advice, and even unsolicited opinions.
Last edited by BeautyAndTheBrief on Sun May 17, 2015 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: New poster, need some advice

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat May 16, 2015 9:03 am

Not really sure what you're asking, but as an AA female you should have a substantial boost in the admissions process. Other than your URM status, your LSAT & GPA are most important to law school adcomms. Softs are a minor consideration.

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pancakes3
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Re: New poster, need some advice

Postby pancakes3 » Sat May 16, 2015 9:22 am

The GPA that the LSAC uses for LS admissions factors in all your college credits so it'll take into account your in-between school's grades and credits as well and be higher than whatever you graduated your degree-conferring GPA has on the transcript. Upward trend helps but it's not a panacea.

Also, that's not how you use the word "daunting."

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: New poster, need some advice

Postby Capitol_Idea » Sat May 16, 2015 9:23 am

BeautyAndTheBrief wrote:I am not particularly interested in Big Law. My ultimate career goal is General Counsel of a major fashion/beauty company.
Where do you think General Counsel at major companies come from? The move to in-house often comes from a firm that the corporation's legal department already uses and trusts - they like a particular person and bring them in. The firms support this because it gets an associate out of their ranks into a position potentially favorable for future business (i.e. it strengthens the ties between the firm and the in-house department). For the big players in an industry, it's usually a biglaw firm (or multiple) handling their outside counsel business.

In-house positions seem to be hard things to plan for - you need to make the right relationships, work for the right clients, and for there to be an opportune opening. If you are really serious about the fashion industry, start doing your research - what kind of legal work do the company's in-house lawyers do? What kind of practice area specialty would probably best suit that role? What law firms specialize in helping this industry? I have a friend who has essentially the same goal as you, funnily enough, and she's been working these angles since day one. Not sure if she'll really stick to that course, but she's at a big 'prestigious' firm that has some partners she's interested in working with which might advance her towards this goal, so we'll see.

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BeautyAndTheBrief
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Re: New poster, need some advice

Postby BeautyAndTheBrief » Sat May 16, 2015 12:52 pm

pancakes3 wrote:The GPA that the LSAC uses for LS admissions factors in all your college credits so it'll take into account your in-between school's grades and credits as well and be higher than whatever you graduated your degree-conferring GPA has on the transcript. Upward trend helps but it's not a panacea.

Also, that's not how you use the word "daunting."


Thanks for the response! This information is a bit of relief. Thanks for being a grammar cop as well. That's always necessary.

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BeautyAndTheBrief
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Re: New poster, need some advice

Postby BeautyAndTheBrief » Sat May 16, 2015 1:15 pm

zacharus85 wrote:
BeautyAndTheBrief wrote:I am not particularly interested in Big Law. My ultimate career goal is General Counsel of a major fashion/beauty company.
Where do you think General Counsel at major companies come from? The move to in-house often comes from a firm that the corporation's legal department already uses and trusts - they like a particular person and bring them in. The firms support this because it gets an associate out of their ranks into a position potentially favorable for future business (i.e. it strengthens the ties between the firm and the in-house department). For the big players in an industry, it's usually a biglaw firm (or multiple) handling their outside counsel business.


In-house positions seem to be hard things to plan for - you need to make the right relationships, work for the right clients, and for there to be an opportune opening. If you are really serious about the fashion industry, start doing your research - what kind of legal work do the company's in-house lawyers do? What kind of practice area specialty would probably best suit that role? What law firms specialize in helping this industry? I have a friend who has essentially the same goal as you, funnily enough, and she's been working these angles since day one. Not sure if she'll really stick to that course, but she's at a big 'prestigious' firm that has some partners she's interested in working with which might advance her towards this goal, so we'll see.


You are absolutely correct. In house positions, ESPECIALLY a rank like GC is like finding a needle in a haystack. I guess I should make it pretty clear that I did not just wake up one day and decide this is what I want to do. That being said, after immense research and attempting to follow some career paths of people currently in positions at companies I am interested in: it varies. I mean, it REALLY varies. Obviously, Big Law is an area where some "Fashion Attorney's" come from. Some start off in a firm specializing in fashion. A lot come from handling real estate. One thing I know that I am doing correctly right now is staying in my current retail job and moving up the ranks. Just as a J.D. and bar passage is required, retail experience is required. If we are being quite honest here, mostly everything in fashion (read life) boils down to who you know. I feel as though people can attempt to make the best networking opportunities in whatever situation they find themselves in, but I am not that optimistic to turn a blind eye to the boost being at a top school would give me. I guess I am just stuck weighing the prestige of a T14(-20) & a hefty price vs a not so top school & a microscopic price.

At any rate, I truly appreciate your response. I wish your friend the best of luck in her career path. Her current angle is definitely a common one. =)

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BeautyAndTheBrief
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Re: New poster, need some advice

Postby BeautyAndTheBrief » Sat May 16, 2015 1:21 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Not really sure what you're asking, but as an AA female you should have a substantial boost in the admissions process. Other than your URM status, your LSAT & GPA are most important to law school adcomms. Softs are a minor consideration.


So far, you guys have basically answered my poorly asked questions. I wanted to know how detrimental my soft factors were (in comparison to the awesome experience the majority of TLS users have), if my LSDAS matters more than my UGPA (& figure out if those transfer credits counted), and finally, personal opinions on whether T14(-20) & higher debt outweighed a not so top school & less debt.

You answered one of my concerns and it is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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transferror
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Re: New poster, need some advice

Postby transferror » Sat May 16, 2015 2:59 pm

BeautyAndTheBrief wrote:So far, you guys have basically answered my poorly asked questions. I wanted to know how detrimental my soft factors were (in comparison to the awesome experience the majority of TLS users have),


As others stated, the consensus is that generally soft factors are only a minor consideration in admissions unless you have outstanding softs (e.g., olympian, rhodes scholar, began successful tech startup) or are trying to get into Yale or Stanford. That said, if you can nail 170+ on the LSAT as an AA female, you'll be a unicorn-ish applicant anyway and get a bump likely equal to or greater than a candidate with outstanding soft factors.

BeautyAndTheBrief wrote:if my LSDAS matters more than my UGPA (& figure out if those transfer credits counted),


My understanding is that only your LSAC GPA is all that matters. That's what the schools have to report so that's what they care about.

BeautyAndTheBrief wrote:and finally, personal opinions on whether T14(-20) & higher debt outweighed a not so top school & less debt.


This will depend on which "not so top school," your geographic preferences and ties, and whether you choose to pursue your fashion goals via biglaw or an alternative route. Cart before horse.

You need to put all of your focus into succeeding on the LSAT. It will be the determining factor in your admissions cycle, the test is beatable and how you prep and when you take the test are completely within your control, and you are working with a blank slate. I cannot emphasize this enough.

UpandDown97
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Re: New poster, need some advice

Postby UpandDown97 » Sat May 16, 2015 3:42 pm

transferror wrote:
BeautyAndTheBrief wrote:So far, you guys have basically answered my poorly asked questions. I wanted to know how detrimental my soft factors were (in comparison to the awesome experience the majority of TLS users have),


As others stated, the consensus is that generally soft factors are only a minor consideration in admissions unless you have outstanding softs (e.g., olympian, rhodes scholar, began successful tech startup) or are trying to get into Yale or Stanford. That said, if you can nail 170+ on the LSAT as an AA female, you'll be a unicorn-ish applicant anyway and get a bump likely equal to or greater than a candidate with outstanding soft factors.

BeautyAndTheBrief wrote:if my LSDAS matters more than my UGPA (& figure out if those transfer credits counted),


My understanding is that only your LSAC GPA is all that matters. That's what the schools have to report so that's what they care about.

BeautyAndTheBrief wrote:and finally, personal opinions on whether T14(-20) & higher debt outweighed a not so top school & less debt.


This will depend on which "not so top school," your geographic preferences and ties, and whether you choose to pursue your fashion goals via biglaw or an alternative route. Cart before horse.

You need to put all of your focus into succeeding on the LSAT. It will be the determining factor in your admissions cycle, the test is beatable and how you prep and when you take the test are completely within your control, and you are working with a blank slate. I cannot emphasize this enough.



I have a lot of trouble buying that softs are a minor consideration. Certainly, they are not as important as LSAT and GPA, but they are important.

If softs weren't important, why would people get into higher schools than their numbers indicate while people with higher numbers are waitlisted or rejected? It's not just YP.

Assuming btw absense of super softs like Rhodes Scholars et.c

Nonetheless, OP, concentrate on LSAT and GPA. Those will get you to the position where your softs actually do become a factor.

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stego
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Re: New poster, need some advice

Postby stego » Sun May 17, 2015 2:27 am

I think your softs are fine. They don't seem subpar to me at all.

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pancakes3
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Re: New poster, need some advice

Postby pancakes3 » Sun May 17, 2015 9:27 am

Whatever marginal softs that honor societies, etc. play here (not-Olympian, not Chelsea Clinton, not PhD) will be insignificant to the fact that she's an URM (under-represented minority) with what should be a good-not-great GPA (eyeballing at around a 3.6) and whatever the LSAT plays out to be.

OP, what's done is done. Your GPA is going to be what it's going to be and there's no going back. All you should be focused on doing is studying for the LSAT. Read and post in the the LSAT prep subforums and URM subforums to get a picture of what scores you'll need for what schools. If you're "aiming" for GC of a F500, you're aiming for HYS and need the LSAT to achieve that goal accordingly. You should also be prepared for the fact that there's a 99% chance you will not get that job and need to be ok with settling (and know what job that is, and what it entails).

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BeautyAndTheBrief
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Re: New poster, need some advice

Postby BeautyAndTheBrief » Sun May 17, 2015 2:22 pm

Thank you all for the awesome input, I cannot stress enough how much it means. Of course, it's drilled in my head to aim for the highest LSAT score, and I am taking that seriously. I guess I am jumping the gun with serious school consideration due to the fact that I wanted to begin drafting genuine personal statements and "Why ________" essays this summer. My hope is to have every app piece complete, take that LSAT Oct 3rd & get those apps in as soon as scores are returned (this is with hopes of not having to retake in December). I have been searching through the turnout of the 2014-2015 cycle on LSNs and despite the small sample size, I can definitely see the bump being an URM gives + applying early in the cycle. It's so crazy attempting to determine what schools really want. Some people with better number combos got rejected or in with no $$$ while people with lower number combos got in with $$$. This leads me to believe Softs have some impact.
Last edited by BeautyAndTheBrief on Sun May 17, 2015 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BeautyAndTheBrief
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Re: New poster, need some advice

Postby BeautyAndTheBrief » Sun May 17, 2015 2:27 pm

stasg wrote:I think your softs are fine. They don't seem subpar to me at all.


Whoa. Really? Thanks! I am thinking of playing up Softs within my diversity statement to connect how my fashion background ties into law. Can't have admission committees mistake me for a ditzy Elle Woods ;-)
Last edited by BeautyAndTheBrief on Sun May 17, 2015 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BeautyAndTheBrief
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Re: New poster, need some advice

Postby BeautyAndTheBrief » Sun May 17, 2015 2:31 pm

pancakes3 wrote:You should also be prepared for the fact that there's a 99% chance you will not get that job and need to be ok with settling (and know what job that is, and what it entails).


Thanks for the tough love. I am definitely prepared for that reality. The major I created is Fashion Marketing (my minor is Communication Studies). My marketing and business classes is what introduced me to & made me fall in love with business/corporate law. I definitely have plenty of other routes to go down if all else fails. Your realistic advice is appreciated.

UpandDown97
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Re: New poster, need some advice

Postby UpandDown97 » Sun May 17, 2015 3:14 pm

BeautyAndTheBrief wrote:
pancakes3 wrote:You should also be prepared for the fact that there's a 99% chance you will not get that job and need to be ok with settling (and know what job that is, and what it entails).


Thanks for the tough love. I am definitely prepared for that reality. The major I created is Fashion Marketing (my minor is Communication Studies). My marketing and business classes is what introduced me to & made me fall in love with business/corporate law. I definitely have plenty of other routes to go down if all else fails. Your realistic advice is appreciated.


Fashion is a huge, multi-billion dollar industry, and few law schools even have courses related to it. Yet many recognize that it is a potentially lucrative area to get into.

Who knows- your background and your desired career path may even be a soft in itself. Admissions may think that 10 years down the road, they can show you off as an lawyer working in a chique industry.

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bretby
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Re: New poster, need some advice

Postby bretby » Sun May 17, 2015 5:07 pm

BeautyAndTheBrief wrote:
pancakes3 wrote:You should also be prepared for the fact that there's a 99% chance you will not get that job and need to be ok with settling (and know what job that is, and what it entails).


Thanks for the tough love. I am definitely prepared for that reality. The major I created is Fashion Marketing (my minor is Communication Studies). My marketing and business classes is what introduced me to & made me fall in love with business/corporate law. I definitely have plenty of other routes to go down if all else fails. Your realistic advice is appreciated.


Someone you might think about reaching out to:

http://law.fordham.edu/faculty/susanscafidi.htm

Faculty are usually receptive to students/prospective students who have a genuine interest in their field. If she blows you off, oh well, but she may give you some helpful info/advice.




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