Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

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hamster
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Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby hamster » Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:39 am

I'm a software engineer, in my late 20's. I was thinking about my future career path and got this idea to try to get a law degree with specialization in IP/patent law. There's a second-tier law school (USD) nearby that offers part-time degrees. Their tuition is manageable, but hefty enough to take away a big chunk of my disposable income (28k/year for 4 years).

I took GRE general a few years back and did quite well (800 math, 570 verbal); if it's any indication, I should be able to get a high score on LSAT.

Suppose I take LSAT and score above 170. Would I be able to get a scholarship that covers a big enough part of tuition, considering that I have a full time job (for now :) )?

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im_blue
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby im_blue » Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:41 am

hamster wrote:I'm a software engineer, in my late 20's. I was thinking about my future career path and got this idea to try to get a law degree with specialization in IP/patent law. There's a second-tier law school (USD) nearby that offers part-time degrees. Their tuition is manageable, but hefty enough to take away a big chunk of my disposable income (28k/year for 4 years).

I took GRE general a few years back and did quite well (800 math, 570 verbal); if it's any indication, I should be able to get a high score on LSAT.

No, that's not any indication. The GRE is basically the same as the SAT, and neither has much in common with the LSAT except for reading comprehension.

Suppose I take LSAT and score above 170. Would I be able to get a scholarship that covers a big enough part of tuition, considering that I have a full time job (for now :) )?

I don't think PT programs give scholarships. The idea is that you're paying for tuition with your salary.

jrock12
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby jrock12 » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:08 am

what blue said is correct about the indication of doing well is spot on...the lsat is pretty much different from any other standardized test you've probably taken

but as far as scholarships for part time programs, it varies from school to school....i applied to basically all part time programs and received substantial scholarships from several schools, so you should really check with the specific schools you'll be applying to...a 170 should get you a substantial scholarship at a t2 school (that is if they do not yield protect you)

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rayiner
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby rayiner » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:10 am

If you have a decent GPA and can get a 170, don't go to USD. :?

hamster
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby hamster » Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:02 pm

rayiner wrote:If you have a decent GPA and can get a 170, don't go to USD. :?


I don't have much choice, unfortunately ... the other two law schools in San Diego are even worse, and the ones in Los Angeles don't offer evening / part-time programs. And I have a wife and kids. I can't afford to quit my full-time job for anything less than a free ride in a top 5.

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lawton173
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby lawton173 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:32 am

Loyola in LA has a PT program.

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danielfgator
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby danielfgator » Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:35 am

lawton173 wrote:Loyola in LA has a PT program.


+1.

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danielfgator
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby danielfgator » Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:38 am

No tuition reimbursement at your current job?

I agree with Rayiner, if can pull out a 170 don't go to USD or even Loyola. It will be a huge gamble.

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ruleser
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby ruleser » Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:46 am

Allow me to weigh in here. I have the full-time job (six-figure) and original plan was Loyola LA PT. I had done well on the GRE so didn't prep for the LSAt, got a 162, good enough to get in but no scholarship.

As I looked more into it - and started getting fee waivers from other schools, etc. - I have come to reconsider. PT in law is not like doing a PT program in any other field - where it is a couple nights a week, etc. Law PT night is 4 nights a week from 6-10PM, then the homework and studying, and yes, you have to attend summer as well. Will your wife/kids like that? Can you handle that and FT work? Not saying you can't, I'm still considering myself, but...

So I just retook the LSAT in June trying to get that 170 you mention. If I get that, I will look for a scholarship at a higher ranked school instead, at the very least a full-ride at the PT. A part of me LOVES the idea of working FT and school every night... I love being busy achieving. But that's a heck of a schedule to keep up for 4 years straight, and what it will do to your life...

Just my perspective born from a LONG, but great year on TLS. BTW, thank you TLS for setting me straight on a lot of things...

sundaynightdelite
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby sundaynightdelite » Thu Jun 18, 2009 2:08 am

lawton173 wrote:Loyola in LA has a PT program.


Last time I checked, USD was ranked higher.

-1 to USD haters.

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lawton173
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby lawton173 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:25 am

Loyola might still be a bit cheaper - at least another option.

What is this +1 or -1 business?

I just toured USD last weekend - let's just say I am still considering Loyola.

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You Gotta Have Faith
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby You Gotta Have Faith » Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:36 am

Are you even allowed to work full time while going to school even part time?

I know you can only work up to 20 hours/week in a full time program. The ABA regulates this. And schools obey since they want to keep ABA regulation.

Perhaps the rules are different for PT programs? Probably, but I don't know.

EDIT: Nevermind. I answered my own question for myself... you can work full time and take up to 11 hours of school. Dang that's a heavy load.

jrock12
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby jrock12 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:07 am

You Gotta Have Faith wrote:Are you even allowed to work full time while going to school even part time?

I know you can only work up to 20 hours/week in a full time program. The ABA regulates this. And schools obey since they want to keep ABA regulation.

Perhaps the rules are different for PT programs? Probably, but I don't know.

EDIT: Nevermind. I answered my own question for myself... you can work full time and take up to 11 hours of school. Dang that's a heavy load.


sucks to think about, but i'll be attempting it

helfer snooterbagon
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby helfer snooterbagon » Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:30 am

To the OP:

I am doing exactly what you are proposing, attending school part time on full scholarship and working full time. Yes it is very demanding, sometimes you feel like you are walking around like a zombie, but it can be done. I too have a mortgage and a family so going full time was not an option. Also, there will be lots of people telling you to watch out for the folks who go part time and do not have jobs. They may well exist, but I have not seen them as much of a threat. If you focus on the task at hand you can do extremely well. Feel free to PM me for more info.

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Gaius
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby Gaius » Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:33 am

If you are planning on switching careers, just go full time to the best place you can get into. Going to part time program, at an lower ranked school, while working full time is probably a recipe for disaster. Many of your fellow part timers won't be working at all.

It'd be a bitch to slave away for 4 years working insane hours, to finish 50th percentile at USD and get no good job offers.

hamster
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby hamster » Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:59 pm

Many good points here.

Loyola is not substantially better or cheaper than USD, USD is 10-15 minutes from my job, Loyola is 2 hours away. If I try to work full time and commute to LA every evening, I'll go nuts.

I got my master's degree while working full time, and I think I can pull this off, too. I know that it's going to be demanding. My employer does not have any formal tuition reimbursement programs, but one colleague of mine just graduated with an MBA from USC, and his degree was at least partially paid for by the company. So it's decided on a case by case basis. I'll try to shake down the company for tuition reimbursement if I get accepted to USD without scholarship.

I've been considering going to a good school instead - ultimately it depends on where I get accepted. Maybe I can get into a good program on a scholarship and telecommute/work as a contractor part time. Problem is, it seems that all top schools are in very expensive areas. Duke, Michigan and Vanderbilt should be somewhat affordable, other areas are as expensive or even more expensive than San Diego. In any of the top 5 I'll need to spend $2000/month just on housing for my family.

Anyway, I'm registered for September LSAT and I'll focus on getting a good score for now. When I know my score, I'll have a better idea what to expect.

Why is it a problem that some of my fellow part timers won't be working?

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Gaius
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby Gaius » Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:04 pm

hamster wrote:Why is it a problem that some of my fellow part timers won't be working?


You are graded on a curve, and job placement is primarily based on class rank. It appears you work a demanding job, and have a family. How much time for studying will you actually have. Those who don't work will spend their time studying.

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im_blue
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby im_blue » Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:10 pm

lawton173 wrote:What is this +1 or -1 business?


+1 and -1 means roughly thumbs up/down in response to posts.

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ruleser
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby ruleser » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:21 pm

You Gotta Have Faith wrote:Are you even allowed to work full time while going to school even part time?

I know you can only work up to 20 hours/week in a full time program. The ABA regulates this. And schools obey since they want to keep ABA regulation.

Perhaps the rules are different for PT programs? Probably, but I don't know.

EDIT: Nevermind. I answered my own question for myself... you can work full time and take up to 11 hours of school. Dang that's a heavy load.


+1 Full time work and classes Mon-Thurs 6-10 PM. Then the homework.

hamster
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Re: Law school, scholarship & a full time job?

Postby hamster » Mon Jun 29, 2009 6:59 am

I took some practice LSATs, got 168 and 172. I'll practice some more, perhaps I'll improve by a few more points.

I don't know what my GPA will be. My background is too unusual: my undergrad is from overseas (non-GPA system), and I have a local master's degree with a 3.9. Besides, I'm given to understand that admissions committees don't care as much about GPAs of non-traditional applicants.

If I score 172 on the official exam, what are my chances of getting into a good university, e.g. Duke or Cornell, on a good merit scholarship?

Also, how good do these scholarships get? Can I expect free tuition + say, 10k/year living expenses?




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