Sophomore Who Needs Help

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pierce_and_pierce
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Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby pierce_and_pierce » Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:57 am

So basically, I'm a sophomore at a average state school, and I want your help. For the past year and my last term this year, I've been screwing around a lot. Within 1 and 1/3 years, I've transferred schools twice, dropped 1 class, taken 3 classes Pass/Fail and gotten 2-3 B+ grades.

Part of this was because I wasn't sure of what I wanted to do (I started off as a pre-med, but came back instate because its expensive, then I wanted to be in business, so I transferred to the better state school, etc.), and part of it was because I didn't have much of a focus, but in the end, I'm well behind where I'd like to be and I want some advice.

I know that I eventually want to be a tax or M&A attorney (dealing with the tax side of M&A, but any M&A is fine). If I want to do this, I absolutely must go to a top 14 law school, and I've put myself well behind because of my nonsense thus far. I'm not really worried about the transferring since I hear that the LSAC or whatever doesn't care about that, but what I am worried about are my B/B+ grades, the fact that I've only taken 12 credits maximum each term thus far and a couple of terms with only 8 (I can explain those though), and my pass/fail classes.

So finally, my question is, is it still possible to go to a good law school, even though (almost) 2 years have gone by and I haven't done much? The good part is that my GPA is alright, I'm on time (actually, I'm ahead of time) to graduate despite not taking a ton of classes, and I can still challenge myself next term onwards (I'm planning on taking no less than 16 hours, and I'm trying for 20 if scheduling works out). I've also done some work during the summer, and I'm starting to join (and I'm thinking about founding my own club) clubs. My main concern is that because I've really fucked around for 2 years, that'll set me back quite a bit, but if I step it up from now on, is it still possible to get into a T14?

Also, if my goal is to be in M&A/Tax stuff, do you think an econ or finance degree is better?

Thanks, and sorry for sounding paranoid, its just that its recently dawned on me how I haven't been challenging myself, and I'm still very naive about this whole process.

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gwuorbust
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby gwuorbust » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:55 am

So finally, my question is, is it still possible to go to a good law school, even though (almost) 2 years have gone by and I haven't done much? The good part is that my GPA is alright, I'm on time (actually, I'm ahead of time) to graduate despite not taking a ton of classes, and I can still challenge myself next term onwards (I'm planning on taking no less than 16 hours, and I'm trying for 20 if scheduling works out). I've also done some work during the summer, and I'm starting to join (and I'm thinking about founding my own club) clubs. My main concern is that because I've really fucked around for 2 years, that'll set me back quite a bit, but if I step it up from now on, is it still possible to get into a T14?


and your question is? Literally, only three things really matter for LS admissions. URM status, LSAT, GPA.

So... 1. Keep your GPA up and increase it as much as possible. 2. get involved in some ECs. Clubs like save Africa, alternative energy, business, etc... whatever floats your boat. 3rd start studying for LSAT in junior year. Done.

Also, if my goal is to be in M&A/Tax stuff, do you think an econ or finance degree is better?


For your personal knowledge and abilities after law school, yes. For law school admissions, no.

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Helmholtz
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby Helmholtz » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:58 am

gwuorbust wrote:and your question is? Literally, only three things really matter for LS admissions. URM status, LSAT, GPA.

So... 1. Keep your GPA up and increase it as much as possible. 2. get involved in some ECs. Clubs like save Africa, alternative energy, business, etc... whatever floats your boat. 3rd start studying for LSAT in junior year. Done.


Wait, so you to tell the OP that the only three things that matter for admissions are URM status, LSAT, and GPA, yet then tell the OP to get involved in some extracurricular activities, which shouldn't matter at all?

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wadeny
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby wadeny » Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:26 am

Just nail the LSAT and you should be fine, assuming that you have (and maintain) a decent GPA. Major in whatever you feel will boost your GPA the most.

Also, unless you're aiming for H/Y/S, ECs don't matter much at all. As long as you're not a convicted felon, most adcoms could probably care less.

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traehekat
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby traehekat » Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:38 am

Don't worry OP, you aren't the first person to post on here all worried and clueless, and I'm sure you won't be the last.

So you think you know what you want to do with your life? Law school is a big commitment... make sure it is what you want to do. A lot of people do it because premed didn't work out, they don't know what to do with their English or Political Science degree, or they are scared of the economy (ironically, going to law school is probably one of the worst things to do if you are afraid of the economy). Anyway, make sure you are going for the right reasons.

Aside from that, just make sure your GPA is/stays high and you study for the LSAT. Law schools don't care how you get there, as long as you have the numbers. Now, if you want HYS, you would probably be doing yourself a favor or two by getting involved in some extra curricular activities, volunteer work, etc.

Don't worry about transferring, don't worry about how many credits you are/aren't taking, don't worry about what major you are in (ideally, choose one you will either enjoy or find incredibly easy), don't worry about your B/B+ grades as long as your GPA is still high (if you want T14, 3.7+ will put you in good shape).

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vanwinkle
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:16 am

Dude, if B+s and a P/F class are all you're worried about, you're fine. I had a 1.25 GPA semester with two Fs one semester, I withdrew entirely for two different semesters, and I ended up with a low (for law school applications) 3.0 overall GPA. Except for that first 1.98 year, I never took more than 12 hours a semester, because screw taking more hours than you have to.

I'm going to a top-ten-ranked law school right now, with a 3.0 GPA.

I had to explain why I did that badly, and I was able to come up with good explanations, but my point is, your GPA isn't even that low. Boost it as much as you can, get as many A's as possible between now and graduation, but don't panic because it's not as high as it could have been. You're in pretty good shape; a decent GPA and a really high LSAT score will get you 90% of the way to a top law school admission, and you have plenty of time to worry about studying for and taking the LSAT later.

Also, I will say, do not challenge yourself too much! If you create so much work for yourself that your GPA suffers, that defeats the purpose. It's much, much better to take 12 hours of A's than 20 hours of B's. It's not the hours you're taking that matters, it's 1) your GPA and 2) the fact that you get a degree eventually.

Also, you lose the ability to take classes to boost your GPA when you graduate. Once you receive your first bachelor's degree your GPA becomes locked and no more classes count toward it for law school application purposes. Keep that in mind; if you really want to boost your GPA, take extra classes and get a minor or double-major, but make sure you don't receive a degree until you're ready to graduate and stop taking classes.

Just do whatever it takes to keep your GPA high and eventually graduate, and then you can worry about the LSAT, which is the other important thing in getting into a top law school. You've still got plenty of time and options to make this work. When you're ready to tackle the LSAT in another year or two, come back and ask for help, and we'll help you get a score worthy of T14 admissions.

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capitalacq
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby capitalacq » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:31 am

pierce_and_pierce wrote:So basically, I'm a sophomore at a average state school, and I want your help. For the past year and my last term this year, I've been screwing around a lot. Within 1 and 1/3 years, I've transferred schools twice, dropped 1 class, taken 3 classes Pass/Fail and gotten 2-3 B+ grades.

Part of this was because I wasn't sure of what I wanted to do (I started off as a pre-med, but came back instate because its expensive, then I wanted to be in business, so I transferred to the better state school, etc.), and part of it was because I didn't have much of a focus, but in the end, I'm well behind where I'd like to be and I want some advice.

I know that I eventually want to be a tax or M&A attorney (dealing with the tax side of M&A, but any M&A is fine). If I want to do this, I absolutely must go to a top 14 law school, and I've put myself well behind because of my nonsense thus far. I'm not really worried about the transferring since I hear that the LSAC or whatever doesn't care about that, but what I am worried about are my B/B+ grades, the fact that I've only taken 12 credits maximum each term thus far and a couple of terms with only 8 (I can explain those though), and my pass/fail classes.

So finally, my question is, is it still possible to go to a good law school, even though (almost) 2 years have gone by and I haven't done much? The good part is that my GPA is alright, I'm on time (actually, I'm ahead of time) to graduate despite not taking a ton of classes, and I can still challenge myself next term onwards (I'm planning on taking no less than 16 hours, and I'm trying for 20 if scheduling works out). I've also done some work during the summer, and I'm starting to join (and I'm thinking about founding my own club) clubs. My main concern is that because I've really fucked around for 2 years, that'll set me back quite a bit, but if I step it up from now on, is it still possible to get into a T14?

Also, if my goal is to be in M&A/Tax stuff, do you think an econ or finance degree is better?

Thanks, and sorry for sounding paranoid, its just that its recently dawned on me how I haven't been challenging myself, and I'm still very naive about this whole process.

An accounting degree would be best....


and you don't need to get into a T14 to get a M&A/Tax job

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pleasetryagain
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby pleasetryagain » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:37 am

capitalacq wrote:and you don't need to get into a T14 to get a M&A/Tax job


word..

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gwuorbust
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby gwuorbust » Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:54 pm

Helmholtz wrote:
gwuorbust wrote:and your question is? Literally, only three things really matter for LS admissions. URM status, LSAT, GPA.

So... 1. Keep your GPA up and increase it as much as possible. 2. get involved in some ECs. Clubs like save Africa, alternative energy, business, etc... whatever floats your boat. 3rd start studying for LSAT in junior year. Done.


Wait, so you to tell the OP that the only three things that matter for admissions are URM status, LSAT, and GPA, yet then tell the OP to get involved in some extracurricular activities, which shouldn't matter at all?


Well they are all that really matter. however, we all know that softs matter if you are comparing two ppl with similar numbers. So, if the OP can get the numbers then why not get the softs too?

pierce_and_pierce
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby pierce_and_pierce » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:00 pm

capitalacq wrote:
pierce_and_pierce wrote:So basically, I'm a sophomore at a average state school, and I want your help. For the past year and my last term this year, I've been screwing around a lot. Within 1 and 1/3 years, I've transferred schools twice, dropped 1 class, taken 3 classes Pass/Fail and gotten 2-3 B+ grades.

Part of this was because I wasn't sure of what I wanted to do (I started off as a pre-med, but came back instate because its expensive, then I wanted to be in business, so I transferred to the better state school, etc.), and part of it was because I didn't have much of a focus, but in the end, I'm well behind where I'd like to be and I want some advice.

I know that I eventually want to be a tax or M&A attorney (dealing with the tax side of M&A, but any M&A is fine). If I want to do this, I absolutely must go to a top 14 law school, and I've put myself well behind because of my nonsense thus far. I'm not really worried about the transferring since I hear that the LSAC or whatever doesn't care about that, but what I am worried about are my B/B+ grades, the fact that I've only taken 12 credits maximum each term thus far and a couple of terms with only 8 (I can explain those though), and my pass/fail classes.

So finally, my question is, is it still possible to go to a good law school, even though (almost) 2 years have gone by and I haven't done much? The good part is that my GPA is alright, I'm on time (actually, I'm ahead of time) to graduate despite not taking a ton of classes, and I can still challenge myself next term onwards (I'm planning on taking no less than 16 hours, and I'm trying for 20 if scheduling works out). I've also done some work during the summer, and I'm starting to join (and I'm thinking about founding my own club) clubs. My main concern is that because I've really fucked around for 2 years, that'll set me back quite a bit, but if I step it up from now on, is it still possible to get into a T14?

Also, if my goal is to be in M&A/Tax stuff, do you think an econ or finance degree is better?

Thanks, and sorry for sounding paranoid, its just that its recently dawned on me how I haven't been challenging myself, and I'm still very naive about this whole process.

An accounting degree would be best....


and you don't need to get into a T14 to get a M&A/Tax job


Wait, what? That is contrary to EVERYTHING I've seen on here. I've been lurking for a while, and everyone says that for law school, its either T14 or death, and that nowadays, you probably need to be T10 for any decent job. I thought this would go double for competitive fields like M&A and Tax, since business is such a prestige whore industry.

Also, I enjoy accounting, but if a T14/UTexas/UCLA/Vanderbilt law school doesn't work out, then I want to do a Master of Accounting program, where I'll basically be re-learning undergrad (if I were to major in accounting). Therefore, I want to get an undergrad background in something a bit different, plus econ will be much easier than the biz school since the people are generally dumber.

But as far as my reasons for going to law school are concerned, I think that they are somewhat legit. What I've learned after taking different courses is that I hate science (well I don't hate it, I just don't want to do it as a profession, and rather learn it as a hobby), and that I love business. The thing is, I think I'm more interested in structuring a deal and doing the behind the scenes stuff than dealing with the stress of front office work at a bank. I know that lawyers have stress, and that a lot of their work is documentation, but I think I'd enjoy that personally, even though I know a lot of people here don't. Plus, I think I would enjoy the intellectual challenge that law school seems to emphasize. Again, I'm not sure if these are great reasons (and I'll have to work on that), but I think I'm on the right track.

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dextermorgan
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby dextermorgan » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:04 pm

Get straight As from here on out, get into a decent law school, do well, get a tax LLM at NYU if you still want to be a tax attorney, make bank. It's not that hard if you apply yourself.

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MURPH
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby MURPH » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:13 pm

It sounds like you are motivated now. If so see how this semester pans out. If you still do poorly this semester take a year or two off and travel, volunteer, or work. The more useful you are during your year off the better. A year rebuilding Haiti would be nice. Then come back to school and get better grades. I wish I had dropped out instead of listening to my parents and other who mindlessly cheered for more, more education, when what i needed was introspection.

pierce_and_pierce
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby pierce_and_pierce » Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:05 pm

Also, I was wondering, if I want to do tax or M&A, would doing a masters of accounting, getting work experience, receiving a CPA and then going back to school be good? I've heard of an LLM, but how does that compare with a CPA?

Finally, is there opportunities to work on international issues within law? I know you can't practice in a foreign place without having a law degree in that country, but are there opportunities to travel/deal with international issues in law?

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vanwinkle
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:31 pm

pierce_and_pierce wrote:Wait, what? That is contrary to EVERYTHING I've seen on here. I've been lurking for a while, and everyone says that for law school, its either T14 or death, and that nowadays, you probably need to be T10 for any decent job. I thought this would go double for competitive fields like M&A and Tax, since business is such a prestige whore industry.

There were really two different traditional paths to getting the really awesome BigLaw M&A type jobs:

1) Go to a T14 and do at least okay
2) Go to a lower T1/T2 in a big city you want to live, and do really well

With the economy bottoming out like it did this has changed at least temporarily. Now everyone's freaking out, because the economy is much worse, there are fewer jobs, and this makes the really desirable jobs far more competitive, the wisdom on here has suddenly shifted to "you must go to a T14 and do really well and have a solid economics/finance background". That's probably a little more reactionary than actually true, but the important thing to realize is that it's not easy to get those jobs anymore, and even when it was, it was not a sure thing to predict you could do well in law school just because you did well in undergrad/on the LSAT/in your previous job.

Recommending people go to a lower T1/T2 school is usually a bad idea if they want BigLaw because lower-ranked schools like that mean you need good grades and you may not get really good grades even if you try hard. This happens to people. Thus people recommend T14, because even in better times, you didn't have to do as well at a T14 as you did at a lower-ranked school to get those kind of jobs, and now that things are more competitive, T14 has become more valuable and helpful.

So, to put it in a shorter version... for your goals, T14 is most definitely the single best option for you, by far. However, your hopes and dreams are not totally shattered if you fail to get into T14, it just means you'll have even more work to do once you're in law school.

rundoxierun
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby rundoxierun » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:15 pm

where the hell do you go where the econ students are dumber than the biz students?? At the vast majority of state schools biz students are generally maybe a tick above comm and ed majors on the intelligence meter.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:17 pm

tkgrrett wrote:where the hell do you go where the econ students are dumber than the biz students?? At the vast majority of state schools biz students are generally maybe a tick above comm and ed majors on the intelligence meter.

This is overly broad, generalized, and stupid.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby prezidentv8 » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:20 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
tkgrrett wrote:where the hell do you go where the econ students are dumber than the biz students?? At the vast majority of state schools biz students are generally maybe a tick above comm and ed majors on the intelligence meter.

This is overly broad, generalized, and stupid.


<Slowly backing away>.....

rundoxierun
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby rundoxierun » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:22 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
tkgrrett wrote:where the hell do you go where the econ students are dumber than the biz students?? At the vast majority of state schools biz students are generally maybe a tick above comm and ed majors on the intelligence meter.

This is overly broad, generalized, and stupid.

maybe it is.. but stop by a few average state schools and you will see what I mean.

EDIT: oh i see, you are a film(comm) major.. to clarify im not saying anyone is stupid. Just noting that at many average state schools the econ students are among the highest achievers.
Last edited by rundoxierun on Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:23 pm

tkgrrett wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
tkgrrett wrote:where the hell do you go where the econ students are dumber than the biz students?? At the vast majority of state schools biz students are generally maybe a tick above comm and ed majors on the intelligence meter.

This is overly broad, generalized, and stupid.

maybe it is.. but stop by a few average state schools and you will see what I mean.

I graduated from a state school with a comm degree. The people in the business school were not smarter than most of my classmates. Snootier, maybe.

rundoxierun
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby rundoxierun » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:25 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
tkgrrett wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
tkgrrett wrote:where the hell do you go where the econ students are dumber than the biz students?? At the vast majority of state schools biz students are generally maybe a tick above comm and ed majors on the intelligence meter.

This is overly broad, generalized, and stupid.

maybe it is.. but stop by a few average state schools and you will see what I mean.

I graduated from a state school with a comm degree. The people in the business school were not smarter than most of my classmates. Snootier, maybe.


Sorry man.. the relative intelligence of comm, ed, and biz wasnt really the point of my post though. Point was, at many state schools the econ department is a department with many high achieving students.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:27 pm

tkgrrett wrote:Sorry man.. the relative intelligence of comm, ed, and biz wasnt really the point of my post though. Point was, at many state schools the econ department is a department with many high achieving students.

Well, I can agree with that. But so are the comm majors. Journalism and advertising especially are competitive, because everyone thinks they want to do it and it sounds cool (once they get in, though, they realize how much fucking work and low pay it is and usually burn out).

Maybe in that way the econ majors are smarter... :P

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prezidentv8
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby prezidentv8 » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:31 pm

Image

pierce_and_pierce
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby pierce_and_pierce » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:02 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
pierce_and_pierce wrote:Wait, what? That is contrary to EVERYTHING I've seen on here. I've been lurking for a while, and everyone says that for law school, its either T14 or death, and that nowadays, you probably need to be T10 for any decent job. I thought this would go double for competitive fields like M&A and Tax, since business is such a prestige whore industry.

There were really two different traditional paths to getting the really awesome BigLaw M&A type jobs:

1) Go to a T14 and do at least okay
2) Go to a lower T1/T2 in a big city you want to live, and do really well

With the economy bottoming out like it did this has changed at least temporarily. Now everyone's freaking out, because the economy is much worse, there are fewer jobs, and this makes the really desirable jobs far more competitive, the wisdom on here has suddenly shifted to "you must go to a T14 and do really well and have a solid economics/finance background". That's probably a little more reactionary than actually true, but the important thing to realize is that it's not easy to get those jobs anymore, and even when it was, it was not a sure thing to predict you could do well in law school just because you did well in undergrad/on the LSAT/in your previous job.

Recommending people go to a lower T1/T2 school is usually a bad idea if they want BigLaw because lower-ranked schools like that mean you need good grades and you may not get really good grades even if you try hard. This happens to people. Thus people recommend T14, because even in better times, you didn't have to do as well at a T14 as you did at a lower-ranked school to get those kind of jobs, and now that things are more competitive, T14 has become more valuable and helpful.

So, to put it in a shorter version... for your goals, T14 is most definitely the single best option for you, by far. However, your hopes and dreams are not totally shattered if you fail to get into T14, it just means you'll have even more work to do once you're in law school.


My situation is slightly unique in that I also plan (despite having an undergrad in econ or finance) to go to a Masters in Accounting program and get a CPA in addition to my JD. I figure that for marketing purposes, it lends me more credibility than just being a JD and I'll be able to charge more per hour. If I work hard and get a good GMAT/GPA, I should be able to get into a good MAcc program like UNC, so once I get my CPA, will not having a JD from Harvard or other prestigious school be as big of a deal for a JD/CPA as opposed to someone with just a JD?

Also, to the guy saying econ students > biz students, that is generally NOT true. Usually econ students are the people who couldn't get into the business school at most state schools, which I find very ironic since econ is so much more theoretical and difficult than business. Econ students also get the second pick at jobs usually (at least for finance/accounting jobs for others its fair game). I will, however, agree that the best econ students who are the ones that actually enjoy the subject or take a lot of math are much smarter than the average business students, and may be smarter than the best business students depending on the school. I really fail to see why companies think finance people at state schools (by state school I mean not Ross, Darden, Haas, McCombs, etc. students) are smarter than econ people, but I think a lot of that is changing as econ becomes more popular
Last edited by pierce_and_pierce on Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Sophomore Who Needs Help

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:05 pm

pierce_and_pierce wrote:My situation is slightly unique in that I also plan (despite having an undergrad in econ or finance) to go to a Masters in Accounting program and get a CPA in addition to my JD. I figure that for marketing purposes, it lends me more credibility than just being a JD and I'll be able to charge more per hour. If I work hard and get a good GMAT/GPA, I should be able to get into a good MAcc program like UNC, so once I get my CPA, will not having a JD from Harvard or other prestigious school be as big of a deal for a JD/CPA as opposed to someone with just a JD?

Generally for a fresh law school graduate it won't really make a difference. If you get into a top law firm you're likely to be paid market rate, whether you have a CPA or an MA or anything like that. The extra education may make you more capable as an attorney, but it won't affect what pay you are offered at a job. If you can just get a Harvard JD and have a respectable GPA you will command the highest salary possible to a fresh graduate either way.




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