Is it too late for Law School?

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SolomonM
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Is it too late for Law School?

Postby SolomonM » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:24 pm

Hey everyone,

I've always been extremely interested in law. I'm usually always up to date on what's going on in the legal and political sphere. With that said.

My background:

I'm currently a senior at USC. Instead of going with my original interests in political science and communications, I chose instead to major in Economics with electives in finance and accounting. Due to pressure from friends/family and my own insecurities, I chose to go after a career in investment banking. Long story short, I've done internships in the industry and the work for me personally was unbearable. Working 120 hours a week is one thing, working 120 hours and completely hating what you're doing is another.

With that said, my GPA started out strong freshmen and the first half of sophomore year. I was doing general electives, most were oriented around law, and I got mostly A's and B+'s. However, this changed rapidly once I started my economic courses. The fact I vehemently hated the material coupled with some extraordinary events over the next year (death of my best friend, parent's divorce, severe medical condition) my GPA took a huge hit.

Right now I'm at a precipice and I have a choice to make. I can continue on in a career that I hate, or I can try and change paths. Before I make this decision I need advice on whether or not this is feasible.

Since my sophomore year I've had to withdraw from 4-5 classes. My grades range from one D, to C's, B's, and A's. They're all over the place. My cumulative GPA is sitting around a 3.62 (mostly due to straight A's freshmen year, it's 3.2~ excluding freshmen year), this also does not include the effect that withdrawn classes have on LSAC GPA calculations.

My option is this, I can switch from my economics major to political science where I'm 100% certain I could get 4.0 in my remaining courses (about 32 units, or 8 classes). This would require me to stay an extra semester and graduate late.

My question is this: Assuming I can score decently on the LSAT with a 165+ (I've done well on practice tests in the past), do you guys think I have any shot at a top 20 law school? Will they look past my poor performance and more heavily weight work experience, LSAT score, and upward trend?

I need to know if this option is even worth considering or if I've essentially already dug my own grave and I should move on and find something else.

Thank you in advance.

Regards,

Michael

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bk1
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby bk1 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:26 pm

You have a chance but it will come down to your LSAT. High 160's will probably nab you T20, 170+ should nab the T14. They aren't going to care about your upward trend or work experience that much.

Plenty of people get into good schools with GPA's worse than yours because the LSAT is the most important part of the application (though GPA is important too).

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im_blue
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby im_blue » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:35 pm

SolomonM wrote:My cumulative GPA is sitting around a 3.62 (mostly due to straight A's freshmen year, it's 3.2~ excluding freshmen year), this also does not include the effect that withdrawn classes have on LSAC GPA calculations.

Figure out exactly what your LSAC GPA will be - there's a huge difference between a 3.6 and 3.2-3.3.

SolomonM
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby SolomonM » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:44 pm

Using http://www.lawschoolpredictor.com/wp-co ... ulator.htm

I came up with a 3.48 currently. Although, I'm not sure how a "W" on my transcript translates to LSAC GPA. Please tell me it doesn't count as an F ><

Do courses I took while still in high school count toward LSAC? I took one class at a community college before I started freshmen year and then three more courses between freshmen and sophomore year.

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Lwoods
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby Lwoods » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:49 pm

SolomonM wrote:Using http://www.lawschoolpredictor.com/wp-co ... ulator.htm

I came up with a 3.48 currently. Although, I'm not sure how a "W" on my transcript translates to LSAC GPA. Please tell me it doesn't count as an F ><

Do courses I took while still in high school count toward LSAC? I took one class at a community college before I started freshmen year and then three more courses between freshmen and sophomore year.


As long as it's not a Withdraw-Fail, it doesn't count at all in your GPA. And yes, the community college courses you took do count.

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im_blue
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby im_blue » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:57 pm

SolomonM wrote:Using http://www.lawschoolpredictor.com/wp-co ... ulator.htm

I came up with a 3.48 currently. Although, I'm not sure how a "W" on my transcript translates to LSAC GPA. Please tell me it doesn't count as an F ><

Do courses I took while still in high school count toward LSAC? I took one class at a community college before I started freshmen year and then three more courses between freshmen and sophomore year.

W's don't count at USC (see: http://www.lsac.org/Members/TranscriptK ... 129999.htm). The CC classes count.

SolomonM
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby SolomonM » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:04 pm

When law schools look at GPA, do they analyze the sources or do they just care about the final number? In essence, will they go through line by line and see that there is weight from the A's freshmen year and the community college classes as well as look at the W's?

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bk1
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby bk1 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:05 pm

SolomonM wrote:When law schools look at GPA, do they analyze the sources or do they just care about the final number? In essence, will they go through line by line and see that there is weight from the A's freshmen year and the community college classes as well as look at the W's?


99% of the time just the final number.

WestOfTheRest
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby WestOfTheRest » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:10 pm

bk1 wrote:
SolomonM wrote:When law schools look at GPA, do they analyze the sources or do they just care about the final number? In essence, will they go through line by line and see that there is weight from the A's freshmen year and the community college classes as well as look at the W's?


99.99% of the time just the final number.

Fixed

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2014
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby 2014 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:13 pm

im_blue wrote:
SolomonM wrote:Using http://www.lawschoolpredictor.com/wp-co ... ulator.htm

I came up with a 3.48 currently. Although, I'm not sure how a "W" on my transcript translates to LSAC GPA. Please tell me it doesn't count as an F ><

Do courses I took while still in high school count toward LSAC? I took one class at a community college before I started freshmen year and then three more courses between freshmen and sophomore year.

W's don't count at USC (see: http://www.lsac.org/Members/TranscriptK ... 129999.htm). The CC classes count.

I have no idea how you got to that, but would you mind telling me if W's at U.Va are F's or n/a

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im_blue
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby im_blue » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:18 pm

2014 wrote:
im_blue wrote:
SolomonM wrote:Using http://www.lawschoolpredictor.com/wp-co ... ulator.htm

I came up with a 3.48 currently. Although, I'm not sure how a "W" on my transcript translates to LSAC GPA. Please tell me it doesn't count as an F ><

Do courses I took while still in high school count toward LSAC? I took one class at a community college before I started freshmen year and then three more courses between freshmen and sophomore year.

W's don't count at USC (see: http://www.lsac.org/Members/TranscriptK ... 129999.htm). The CC classes count.

I have no idea how you got to that, but would you mind telling me if W's at U.Va are F's or n/a

not counted (http://www.lsac.org/Members/TranscriptK ... 129999.htm)
LSAC.org -> LSAC Resources -> Publications -> Interpretive Guide to Undergraduate Grading Systems

stargazin
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby stargazin » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:14 pm

No. I don't think it's ever too late to do something you want to do. Life's too short to have regrets. The best thing would be if you could get a job in corporate finance or something less time consuming than i-banking, so that you wouldn't have to completely abandon a source of income or your career while you're getting ready to apply to LS. If you take the LSAT and apply, you're going to be out a relatively small amount of money, so just turn in the best application you can and see what happens.

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alive
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby alive » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:43 pm

OP sounds exactly like a young me. For reasons that I have a hard time explaining at this point (besides that in 2006-2007 all the "smart" kids were moving towards banking), I bypassed my lifelong dream of law school to work in a banking job. Not really my cup of tea. I've worked for in the industry for several years, and I took my LSAT while working (50-100 hours per week plus studying... fun).

I don't know how you got the idea it is too late. Just plan on taking your LSAT when you are confident you can get a 168+. Also, make sure to bookmark lawschoolpredictor. Maybe make that your homepage. Because if you really are anything like me, you'll be looking at that site quite often.

Another way to bolster your application might be to take that banking job and cozy up to alumni of the universities you are interested in. You might be surprised--if you work for a top bank you'll likely rub elbows with prominent donors or members of boards of many of the top universities.

r6_philly
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby r6_philly » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:27 am

Working to death in ibanking is better than working to death for billable hours? OP did you intern at law firms? Personally I find anything corporate pretty distasteful but I can't imagine ibanking being that much worse than law.

SolomonM
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby SolomonM » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:52 am

Thank you all for the great advice so far, keep it coming =)

To touch on i-banking vs. law school. It wasn't the hours that I minded. I have a pretty strong work ethic/tolerance for being worked to death. What I couldn't stand was the material behind the work itself. It was just so mindless and didn't require me to think at all. Most models that bankers build are pre-constructed. As long as your moderately intelligent it's not that hard to do the work in banking.

Law for me, is much much much more stimulating and rewarding. I'm not delusional, I'm sure there are bullshit and mindless asignments in law, these sorts of projects exist in any field one could pursue. But overall, when it comes down to it, the subject material and the projects, from my perspective and from the attorney's I've spoken with, is far more interesting than in banking

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Lwoods
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby Lwoods » Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:24 am

r6_philly wrote:Working to death in ibanking is better than working to death for billable hours? OP did you intern at law firms? Personally I find anything corporate pretty distasteful but I can't imagine ibanking being that much worse than law.

It's probably a personal preference. Though my positions in BigLaw and I-Banking were support staff roles, I was given analyst work at the investment bank and associate [research] work at the V50 firm. The latter was far better. I'm a big math nerd, so it's not an aversion to numbers. OP's sentiments ring true to me. If you take corporate transactional law, for example, the agreements are all out there, but a simple find and replace to change the party names just won't do it. Every deal is unique in some way, and it is your job to examine that document closely to customize the agreement for that particular transaction. It's not just a matter of pulling a few metrics to run a report. It requires a human eye, usually many human eyes and many revisions.

Solomon/Michael, you're a senior in college. I'm over 4 years out of college. It is not too late. Try to get a part-time job at a law firm while you finish up school to make sure your assumptions about how you would feel about law are correct.

Your major doesn't matter, though, for law, so I'd stick with econ because it gives you more options if you decide law isn't for you. Just make yourself get straight A's from here on out.

Good luck!

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kurla88
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby kurla88 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:30 am

You're a senior in college, and it's October. How could it be too late?

Take the December LSAT, and then reevaluate based on your score. For what it's worth, I think you should find SOME kind of job for a year or two before you go to school either way.

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whitman
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby whitman » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:04 pm

1) Are you serious with this title? 2) Did you seriously work 17+ hours every single day of the week, including Saturdays and Sundays? Seriously?

trudat15
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby trudat15 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:09 pm

It's never too late man. If you can afford to, take that extra semester, boost your GPA, get the degree you're happy with, and study like hell for the LSAT. You're only 21 or 22. You'll be fine as long as you do well on the LSAT.

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TommyK
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby TommyK » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:40 pm

whitman wrote:1) Are you serious with this title? 2) Did you seriously work 17+ hours every single day of the week, including Saturdays and Sundays? Seriously?


Yeah, 120 hours seems a bit...exaggerated. Maybe there would be one week where that would happen - pulling 3 all-nighters in a row, supported by redbull and coke, but 120 on a regular basis? I wanna' throw the challenge flag on that.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Is it too late for Law School?

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:44 pm

Step 1) Improve that GPA best you can. Let us know what that ends up being.
Step 2) Get teacher rec *BEFORE* you leave--those will be on file at LSAC for up to 5 years.
Step 3) Take time off and get job experience.
Step 4) Get a 170+ LSAT
Step 5) Apply, particularly to Northwestern.




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