California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

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Deebo1212
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California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby Deebo1212 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:08 pm

I went to Ohio University, earned a 3.34 double majoring in Eng/Pols (3.5 for both my major GPAs) in 3 years, and got a Masters there the following year in Pols with a 3.89 (but my thesis is not so hot). I'm out of school 2 years at this point. I've worked at two law firms and am helping a partner write a legal textbook at my current position (I'm a file clerk). My first practice test got me 160, and I am about to take a (hopefully worthwhile) class for 2 months to raise that to anywhere between 161-170 by June. Also - I took the test about 2 years ago and got a 146 - did not study at all, wasn't ready for it. I'm much more clear headed now and prepared. So, within that range, and with what I mentioned here, what do I have a realistic chance with when it comes to law school?

I am in California right now, trying to establish residency. I am in the Bay area. Obviously Stanford is almost certainly out of my reach, that's fine. Berkeley, though? Or Hastings / UCSF? I'd appreciate any advice! Thanks a lot.
Last edited by Deebo1212 on Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bk1
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby bk1 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:15 pm

The only GPA you have that matters is your 3.34. They aren't going to care about your major GPA or your masters or the fact that you finished in 3 years. Luckily for you they aren't really going to care about your 146 LSAT either.

Because of your GPA, both Boalt/Stanford are out. With a high 160's you have a shot at Hastings/Davis, however they are notoriously stingy with money and they would be an awful decision at sticker. Were you to get 170+ you might have a shot at UCLA/USC (though at sticker price, these wouldn't be great but they would be far better than UCD/UCH).

If you have CA ties (and it seems you do since you've lived there), if you get a 170+ I think your best bet for coming back to CA would be to go to lower T14 at sticker (something like Virginia, Michigan, Northwestern) since you probably won't get enough scholarship money from a local school to justify taking the local school over a T14.

Deebo1212
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby Deebo1212 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:36 pm

I should also mention that I already have a decent amount of school related debt and at this point, I'm not sure it matters if I build up 80k versus 150k of debt, as long as I can find a job and afford loan payments. Although if there is a significant risk connected with higher law school debt, I'd consider relocating just on the basis of cost. Is cost that strong of a determining factor?

Also, what would you consider appropriate targets / safety ranks?

Danteshek
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby Danteshek » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:40 pm

Your targets are T2s like Loyola, Pepperdine, USF and Santa Clara until you can actually execute a 165+ on your LSAT. If you score under 160 you are looking at T3s like McGeorge and Southwestern.

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bk1
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby bk1 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:40 pm

Deebo1212 wrote:Also, what would you consider appropriate targets / safety ranks?


Depends on your LSAT. High 160's and you should apply to UT and below. 170's opens up the lower T14. Low 160's and you'll be relegated to schools ranked roughly 50 and below.

If you go to a non-T14/non-CA school you'll have to be okay with the high likelihood that you won't get a job in CA following law school. Since you're a splitter, there are very few schools that will offer you money (WUSTL, Illinois, and a few others come to mind).

But as I said, this is really all speculation until you have your new LSAT actually in hand.

Cost is a considering factor since most lawyers start making money in the 40-60k range and if you have six figures worth of debt, that can be burdensome.

Deebo1212
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby Deebo1212 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:47 pm

Thanks a lot for the advice! At this point I'll just have to wait for the real LSAT score. I do have Nor-Cal ties but if absolutely necessary, I'll move where needed if it means attending a worthwhile school.

As an aside, I do hope 2 months is enough time to increase the score. Again, that is a wait and see scenario.

FiveSermon
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby FiveSermon » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:48 pm

bk1 wrote:
Deebo1212 wrote:Also, what would you consider appropriate targets / safety ranks?


Depends on your LSAT. High 160's and you should apply to UT and below. 170's opens up the lower T14. Low 160's and you'll be relegated to schools ranked roughly 50 and below.

If you go to a non-T14/non-CA school you'll have to be okay with the high likelihood that you won't get a job in CA following law school. Since you're a splitter, there are very few schools that will offer you money (WUSTL, Illinois, and a few others come to mind).

But as I said, this is really all speculation until you have your new LSAT actually in hand.

Cost is a considering factor since most lawyers start making money in the 40-60k range and if you have six figures worth of debt, that can be burdensome.


+1

But take out UT. They have a soft floor around 3.4. There were so many 170/3.4 who got outright rejected at UT this year.

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bk1
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby bk1 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:51 pm

Deebo1212 wrote:Thanks a lot for the advice! At this point I'll just have to wait for the real LSAT score. I do have Nor-Cal ties but if absolutely necessary, I'll move where needed if it means attending a worthwhile school.

As an aside, I do hope 2 months is enough time to increase the score. Again, that is a wait and see scenario.


Just wanted to add that 2 months is possible, but the great thing is that since only the top 6 or so schools actually average the LSAT, you can use your third retake in October if things don't go well in June.

Deebo1212
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby Deebo1212 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:54 pm

bk1 wrote:High 160's and you should apply to UT and below. 170's opens up the lower T14. Low 160's and you'll be relegated to schools ranked roughly 50 and below.

If you go to a non-T14/non-CA school you'll have to be okay with the high likelihood that you won't get a job in CA following law school.


Last question might be: given these options, would the ultimate cost of the best case scenario - attending a UT-level school - be worthwhile and give me a good chance at employment? This is the strongest factor for me. I don't care about a top law firm job, as I know it's out of reach. The goal would be finding employment, shooting for 50-60k to start.

This is all very general but it couldn't hurt to discuss the possibilities. One of my original plans was to become certified as a paralegal, after reading article after article and looking at the BLS data on lawyers and paralegal hiring.

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bk1
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby bk1 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:58 pm

Deebo1212 wrote:Last question might be: given these options, would the ultimate cost of the best case scenario - attending a UT-level school - be worthwhile and give me a good chance at employment? This is the strongest factor for me. I don't care about a top law firm job, as I know it's out of reach. The goal would be finding employment, shooting for 50-60k to start.

This is all very general but it couldn't hurt to discuss the possibilities. One of my original plans was to become certified as a paralegal, after reading article after article and looking at the BLS data on lawyers and paralegal hiring.


If you were okay with just working at a small firm, then taking a decent size scholarship to a decent school is probably the best bet (something like WUSTL/Illinois where they give out decent schollies, but this assuming you are okay with that location). The problem is that, for CA, there are no midrange options that give you scholly money (USC/UCLA aren't even a sure acceptance and UCD/UCH/UCI aren't giving large scholarships compared to their peer schools in other regions, and schools at the bottom like Loyola/Santa Clara/Pepperdine are pretty awful and usually have stringent GPA stipulations on their scholarships).

For your situation, ideally you'd keep your debt to $100k or so at max. Considering that it is possible to pay back $100k starting debt within 10 years on a 50k/year starting salary.

Deebo1212
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby Deebo1212 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:36 pm

Is there a connection between where you attend and where you're most likely to find work? Are they tied together, is it nigh impossible to find work on, say, the west coast if you goto Boston U?

FiveSermon
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby FiveSermon » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:37 pm

Deebo1212 wrote:Is there a connection between where you attend and where you're most likely to find work? Are they tied together, is it nigh impossible to find work on, say, the west coast if you goto Boston U?


Not impossible but much more difficult. You would need to be in the top 10%. Very few schools have much mobility.

Danteshek
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby Danteshek » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:47 pm

Deebo1212 wrote:Is there a connection between where you attend and where you're most likely to find work? Are they tied together, is it nigh impossible to find work on, say, the west coast if you goto Boston U?


You can find a job if you move someplace... But employers will be more accepting of your degree if it is from an area law school.

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arhmcpo
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby arhmcpo » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:51 pm

If your diagnostic was a 160 and you take the class seriously, I think its very reasonable that you get a score in the high 160's or breaking 170. I've heard of and personally seen much greater jumps btw diagnostic score and after taking an intensive class. However CA schools have a reputation is being very stingy on GPA and not splitter friendly. Advice in this thread has all been pretty good - don't consider USF - in this market it would be tough to get a job where you could pay off your loans from there. If your committed to Bay Area schools you should look no lower than Santa Clara and there, only with substantial money so you gain very little debt. With your engineering background, you are actually a unique candidate and will have to some degree more and better job opportunities if you look for legal jobs that take advantage of that technical background; most of your peers will be polisci/hist/phil/engl people.

Deebo1212
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby Deebo1212 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:22 pm

arhmcpo wrote:With your engineering background, you are actually a unique candidate and will have to some degree more and better job opportunities if you look for legal jobs that take advantage of that technical background; most of your peers will be polisci/hist/phil/engl people.


Oh you may have misunderstood. I am part of the majority - English and Political Science double major. I am looking into learning Python / other programming languages as a hobby, and perhaps to use in Patent law in the distant future.

Also, re: locations of school / work. That's a bit restrictive, no? With the talk about how unlikely it is to get a spot in a worthwhile CA school, may have to uproot.

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Mick Haller
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby Mick Haller » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:50 pm

Deebo1212 wrote:
arhmcpo wrote:With your engineering background, you are actually a unique candidate and will have to some degree more and better job opportunities if you look for legal jobs that take advantage of that technical background; most of your peers will be polisci/hist/phil/engl people.


Oh you may have misunderstood. I am part of the majority - English and Political Science double major. I am looking into learning Python / other programming languages as a hobby, and perhaps to use in Patent law in the distant future.

Also, re: locations of school / work. That's a bit restrictive, no? With the talk about how unlikely it is to get a spot in a worthwhile CA school, may have to uproot.


can you take the patent bar without a technical degree?

Deebo1212
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby Deebo1212 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:58 pm

Mick Haller wrote:
Deebo1212 wrote:
arhmcpo wrote:With your engineering background, you are actually a unique candidate and will have to some degree more and better job opportunities if you look for legal jobs that take advantage of that technical background; most of your peers will be polisci/hist/phil/engl people.


Oh you may have misunderstood. I am part of the majority - English and Political Science double major. I am looking into learning Python / other programming languages as a hobby, and perhaps to use in Patent law in the distant future.

Also, re: locations of school / work. That's a bit restrictive, no? With the talk about how unlikely it is to get a spot in a worthwhile CA school, may have to uproot.


can you take the patent bar without a technical degree?


I'd have to research this. Just an idea right now.

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bk1
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby bk1 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:58 pm

Deebo1212 wrote:Is there a connection between where you attend and where you're most likely to find work? Are they tied together, is it nigh impossible to find work on, say, the west coast if you goto Boston U?


Not a lot of west coast firms participate in OCI at BU. Plus it is much harder to network your way to a job when you aren't in the area you are targeting.

It isn't impossible, but it's a lot harder, and you have to accept that there is a high chance that you will fail to find a job outside the school's area (which for BU is the northeast).

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arhmcpo
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Re: California - mid-range or top Bay area schools

Postby arhmcpo » Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:03 pm

Deebo1212 wrote:
arhmcpo wrote:With your engineering background, you are actually a unique candidate and will have to some degree more and better job opportunities if you look for legal jobs that take advantage of that technical background; most of your peers will be polisci/hist/phil/engl people.


Oh you may have misunderstood. I am part of the majority - English and Political Science double major. I am looking into learning Python / other programming languages as a hobby, and perhaps to use in Patent law in the distant future.

Also, re: locations of school / work. That's a bit restrictive, no? With the talk about how unlikely it is to get a spot in a worthwhile CA school, may have to uproot.


WHOOPS - misunderstood - yeah disregard the your so lucky your an engineer crap. Since the lsat is so important its impossible to narrow your choices much when you haven't taken it. There are a lot of CA schools - and they are great options for certain people; it depends on you and your preferences for location - debt load - job prospects i.e. if faced with the choice of Hastings/Davis sticker versus Pepperdine/Loyola full ride with stipulations, which do you choose? Or do you choose neither and flee the state hoping to come back later with a "portable" degree. I use the above hypothetical because its a very common dilemma for people wanting CA for law - unless you destroy the lsat you realistically won't get Standford, Berk, UCLA, USC.

bk1 wrote:
Deebo1212 wrote:Is there a connection between where you attend and where you're most likely to find work? Are they tied together, is it nigh impossible to find work on, say, the west coast if you goto Boston U?


Not a lot of west coast firms participate in OCI at BU. Plus it is much harder to network your way to a job when you aren't in the area you are targeting.

It isn't impossible, but it's a lot harder, and you have to accept that there is a high chance that you will fail to find a job outside the school's area (which for BU is the northeast).


This is credited - your alumni network will be strongest in the area around your school, and when you go to a school in your target market you can work during the school year in your home market and have 3 years (more like 2 since 1L you won't have time) to build some sort of local work experience and connections.




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