New guy - first post.

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
denbar
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New guy - first post.

Postby denbar » Thu May 12, 2011 5:30 am

Hello all. First off, yes I have searched the forum and found some info which began to answer my general questions.

Secondly, I am currently enrolled in college in AZ and will be graduating next year (history major).... and yes... I want to apply to law school. My GPA will be 3.825+ with an LSAT of 167. I sometimes think about retaking it - as I am sure I could improve that score - but right now the data stands.

Now here is where it gets interesting. I am 33, a combat veteran, and two years ago I was living in a VA Admin. sponsered homeless shelter with no education beyond a few comm coll credits and a GED (I'm not dumb, just lazy... historically speaking). To this day I am still not sure why I was there... poor attitude towards life and too proud to mooch off of my family I guess... and there was no real work around at all. I got tired of silly jobs that paid $9/hour doing "work" which posed no challenge and gave no emotional/intellectual fulfillment. So, after having pulled myself up by the proverbial boot straps... here I am. A year away from graduation.

Honestly, since this forum seems to be filled with some level heads, what are some opinions on acceptance/scholarships being thrown in my direction? Any input would be greatly appreciated, as right now I have people telling me I am a shoe in for some of the bigger names out there. I would be greatful to get into ASU Sandra Day, much less any Ivy Leage school!

shoeshine
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby shoeshine » Thu May 12, 2011 5:34 am

denbar wrote:Honestly, since this forum seems to be filled with some level heads.

LOL

Are you a URM (under represented minority)?

Do you want to practice in AZ?

denbar
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby denbar » Thu May 12, 2011 5:41 am

shoeshine wrote:
denbar wrote:Honestly, since this forum seems to be filled with some level heads.

LOL

Are you a URM (under represented minority)?

Do you want to practice in AZ?


No... plain ol' fashioned white guy. Unless being 'Irish-American'.... and by that I mean one side of my family came here during the famine and the other showed up just after WWII... somehow counts.

As for practicing in AZ... sure. I have no desire to move back to New England, and from what I have gathered, going to school in the state one would like to practice in is a good idea. Still, little birdies in my ear (the chick I am dating, a lawyer herself and URM I might add) and one or two people in my social netwrok all say I have a good shot at a top school.

And why the LOL?

***Wait... upon further review, I now get the LOL part of your reply. Hence my editting of the post. I guess my initial impression of level heads might be off?

shoeshine
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby shoeshine » Thu May 12, 2011 5:49 am

.
Last edited by shoeshine on Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

denbar
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby denbar » Thu May 12, 2011 6:02 am

shoeshine wrote:Yeah your stats are above ASU/UofA. I would focus the PS around the veteran experience and an overcoming adversity theme.

Maybe a lower T14 with those stats.

But what you may want to consider is that ASU and U of A grads place nicely in AZ. So if Phoenix is where you want to end up and you don't get any money from the T14, I would probably take whatever money ASU throws your way. If you are a prestige whore then ED to UVA and write a great PS.


A lot to think about. By UVA you mean Uni of Virginia Law, yes? I took a look at what ED means, but I know nothing of the application process just yet. Is commiting to an early decision a good idea? How might it be best to go about doing so, and why UVA?

Sorry for my ignorance, but this is something I have just recently begun to explore.

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memphisbelle
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby memphisbelle » Thu May 12, 2011 7:39 am

Welcome! I think you have an interesting story that could make an awesome PS. Generally, most people on here will tell you to retake and enjoy the T14 with money. If you're happy in AZ and want to practice there, then you will likely get a good deal from ASU without retaking.

There is a difference between Early Application and Binding Early Decision. From what I have seen on here, unless the school is your dream school or it's the best school you can get into with your numbers, it's not a great idea. The binding ED would mean that if accepted, you would have to withdraw all apps from other schools. So if you ED to Northwestern or UVA and throw an app in at Harvard, you would have to turn Harvard down if Northwestern or UVA accepted you. :( It could also affect your ability to negotiate scholarships since they know you're attending regardless of the money you will recieve.

The general concensus here is that early (regular decision) applications can only help you since some schools have rolling admissions. Since they have fewer seats towards the end of the cycle, it becomes more competitive.

Hope that helps. I'm new here too, so I'm sure the others may have other/better advice to offer.

Keep up the good work!!! :)

stylishlaw
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby stylishlaw » Thu May 12, 2011 7:45 am

He tossed out UVa (University of Virginia) because it is a top 10 school, and certain schools historically will weight GPA more than the LSAT. If you're a reverse splitter then ED (applying really early) is a good choice because it maximizes your chances of getting into a school like that, at the cost of being committed to that school if you get in. Some other great schools that heavily weight GPA located in your area: Berkeley, UTexas, UCLA. Applying and committing early decision is a good idea I think, because while your numbers are competitive overall, your LSAT is a bit on the lower side for some elite schools and you aren't URM. If you applied to all the schools ranked 7-20, it will be unlikely you get into more than half of them.

If I could offer you some advice, it would be to apply to a lot of schools along with the regional schools near you. Sometimes you will get into a better school while lower ranked schools reject you. And you can also use any acceptances to leverage for more money.

shoeshine offered some very good advice. I would also apply ED to UVA with a focus on your veteran experience. You'll get some offers in the 7-20 range.


Also, I want to add that you have a poster situation for retaking the LSAT. If you scored 2 points higher, you would most likely be a lock for a school somewhere in the top 14. Regardless, you'll still probably do fine.

LurkerNoMore
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby LurkerNoMore » Thu May 12, 2011 8:04 am

Welcome.

You might want to check out the non-traditional threads around here. You are in a different position than most folks on this site.

My advice: get an idea of what you want to do with your career. Your stats and story should put you in a position where you will have a lot of options.

I know the "retake" advice gets old, but think of it this way. Spending 3 mos studying and bumping up your score by a few points literally be worth $100,000 to you. You are really near the stats for full-ride scholarships. What kind of studying did you do? If is wasn't Powerscore/Blueprint/Testmasters, you should give it another shot.

Next, comes the hard part. Even with the stats you have, you could go to a "better" school than ASU/UofA. The question is, do you really want/need options. It's really easy to get caught up in the "prestige for the sake of prestige" loop. The problem is that it is hard at the beginning of your career to decide what options are important. So quite often it does make sense to go to the place that will offer you the most options (for the price). The challenge then will be that once you are in that environment, there is pressure to keep your options open. That's when you need to step back and figure out what you want and what doors are fine to close.

denbar
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby denbar » Thu May 12, 2011 9:13 am

Wow! Thanks for all the info, people!

Okay... Allow me to address some of the questions without quoting:

I did not study for the LSAT... I just took it as I am pretty good at test taking in general/arrogant. I want to retake it sometime as I too feel just a few more points is worth the effort, though I think with enough prep time and decent study resource I could come close to maxing it out.

Honestly, will just a few more points start to get me into scholarship range? Is there a decent/reliable online resource detailing what kinds of scores (GPA & LSAT) "qualify" or are granted full/partial scholarships from assorted uni's? I was more under the impression my time in the VA homeless program would be my biggest selling point.

As far as prestige is concerned... hey, if I get into a top 5 school on a scholarship... I can't see why I would want to say no. My big concern is being a little fish in a big pond. I figure the amount and level of competition at Yale for example will be far greater than ASU or UoA. I would hate to graduate in the bottom 89% - much less HALF - of any class, regardless as to college attended!

As far as what I would hope for in my future... where I would want all of this to go... trial attorney, baby! My gift for oratory is renowned in my circle of friends, much less my ability to think on my feet. What specific sphere of law I would like to work in I cannot honestly say I know at this time.

Thank you for all of your imput, folks. Please keep it coming.

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albusdumbledore
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby albusdumbledore » Thu May 12, 2011 9:34 am

denbar wrote:I did not study for the LSAT... I just took it as I am pretty good at test taking in general/arrogant. I want to retake it sometime as I too feel just a few more points is worth the effort, though I think with enough prep time and decent study resource I could come close to maxing it out.

Honestly, will just a few more points start to get me into scholarship range? Is there a decent/reliable online resource detailing what kinds of scores (GPA & LSAT) "qualify" or are granted full/partial scholarships from assorted uni's? I was more under the impression my time in the VA homeless program would be my biggest selling point.


A 167 without studying is mighty impressive. Which means if you put in some work, you're almost guaranteed a higher score. And yes, it will be worth it to get even a few more points. You're right on that cuff where a few points will be night and day to your cycle. Check out lawschoolnumbers.com

denbar wrote:As far as prestige is concerned... hey, if I get into a top 5 school on a scholarship... I can't see why I would want to say no. My big concern is being a little fish in a big pond. I figure the amount and level of competition at Yale for example will be far greater than ASU or UoA. I would hate to graduate in the bottom 89% - much less HALF - of any class, regardless as to college attended!

As far as what I would hope for in my future... where I would want all of this to go... trial attorney, baby! My gift for oratory is renowned in my circle of friends, much less my ability to think on my feet. What specific sphere of law I would like to work in I cannot honestly say I know at this time.


You're probably out at the top 5 unless you retake. You've got a good story to tell though, so I would think anything in the 172/173 range would give you a good shot just about anywhere.

duckmoney
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby duckmoney » Thu May 12, 2011 9:52 am

If you retake, come back with a new score and we'll size you up then.

If you don't, you do have a shot at some great schools.

Here's something to consider - if you go to a top school and have "ties" to your intended region of practice (ties being connections, such as prior work experience, undergrad that, family there, grew up there, etc. that demonstrate your commitment to remain in that region), you can often get the best jobs there. This is because law firms want diversity in their hiring and love to hire top school graduates.

If you go to a T10 or even T20 school and have ties to Arizona, you'll be much better off than an ASU grad because you'll be a gem while they'll be a dime a dozen.

That said, if you really want T10, apply ED to UVA or Northwestern. You can't lose here as these are great schools, national schools that will be respected by AZ firms, and they are the best schools your numbers will get you into. If not, then apply to strong regional schools that are near Arizona, including Boalt, UCLA, UT, and USC. You should be able to get into at least one of these with your stats and story, although you probably won't get much money from them.

If you do retake, and get say, a 172+, then you have a legitimate shot at any school in the country. If you get into a T6 school, AZ firms would LOVE you. If you get HYS, they will be begging you to come work for them.

Good luck!

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memphisbelle
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby memphisbelle » Thu May 12, 2011 10:12 am

Check out law school numbers (LSN) to see scholarship amounts for admitted students. They aren't always correct since some people fudge the numbers a bit to remain anonymous. They should give you a general idea of the GPA/LSAT combo that is required for acceptance and what is required to be offered scholarships.

Agree with the advice given to aim high. A 167 with no prep is very enviable. Study up and retake, you'll make it.

MB :)

tittsburghfeelers
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby tittsburghfeelers » Thu May 12, 2011 10:57 am

1. OP - is your GPA your LSAC GPA or the GPA by your school? If it's your school GPA, your GPA as far as law schools are concerned could be much different. Use this site to figure out your actual GPA if you're using the GPA given to you by the school. The site is easy to use, just plug your credits in and go from there.

http://www.lawpad.com/gpa_calculator/

2. You're asking about scholarships, but do you have the post 9/11 gi bill left or have you used it all up? If you still have some left, you could ED to whatever school you want and still graduate with much less debt than the average non-scholarship graduate.

3. Since you said that you haven't studied, I would definitely study and retake the LSAT. A 167 without preparing is excellent, and you're in a great position. Good luck.

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Mike12188
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby Mike12188 » Thu May 12, 2011 11:06 am

tittsburghfeelers wrote:1. OP - is your GPA your LSAC GPA or the GPA by your school? If it's your school GPA, your GPA as far as law schools are concerned could be much different. Use this site to figure out your actual GPA if you're using the GPA given to you by the school. The site is easy to use, just plug your credits in and go from there.

http://www.lawpad.com/gpa_calculator/

2. You're asking about scholarships, but do you have the post 9/11 gi bill left or have you used it all up? If you still have some left, you could ED to whatever school you want and still graduate with much less debt than the average non-scholarship graduate.

3. Since you said that you haven't studied, I would definitely study and retake the LSAT. A 167 without preparing is excellent, and you're in a great position. Good luck.


+1 to the bolded. Your LSAC GPA will include all college grades, even those ones you took at community college. I also agree with retaking the LSAT

denbar
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby denbar » Thu May 12, 2011 11:10 am

Wow. Thank you all for the inspiration, kind words, resources and topics for me to research. Please keep any ideas coming my way, but I can see already that this might be something really worth looking into. I have a lot of new things to learn about and from, and I can see now that perhaps the people I am surrounded by are not just blowing smoke up my ass when it comes to my potential. It is about time I started living up to my potential anyway!

Again, thank you. Right now I think my best bet get cracking on a LSAT mulligan and putting together some kind of rough draft 'packet'. I will see you all when I finally have something real to contribute to the discussion.

denbar
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby denbar » Thu May 12, 2011 11:19 am

Mike12188 wrote:
tittsburghfeelers wrote:1. OP - is your GPA your LSAC GPA or the GPA by your school? If it's your school GPA, your GPA as far as law schools are concerned could be much different. Use this site to figure out your actual GPA if you're using the GPA given to you by the school. The site is easy to use, just plug your credits in and go from there.

http://www.lawpad.com/gpa_calculator/

2. You're asking about scholarships, but do you have the post 9/11 gi bill left or have you used it all up? If you still have some left, you could ED to whatever school you want and still graduate with much less debt than the average non-scholarship graduate.

3. Since you said that you haven't studied, I would definitely study and retake the LSAT. A 167 without preparing is excellent, and you're in a great position. Good luck.


+1 to the bolded. Your LSAC GPA will include all college grades, even those ones you took at community college. I also agree with retaking the LSAT


Hmmm... well all of that will bring me down, I'm sure. My comm coll credits stunk. I had good grades with a few C's, but some incomplete classes and a few drops. I have moved past being lazy or thinking I am smarter than the professor, and it is those older grades (as well as a few B's at ASU) that are bringing my non-LSAC GPA down. I will check out and plug in my grades into that LSAC calculator at some point and see what is what.

I would like to think that since having really started to consistently apply myself to a single university (as oppsed to bouncing around comm colls across the Phoenix area)... well, I hope such a showing might go to prove my intent to finally find some measure of success. Try to turn a curse into a blessing type mentality, you know? Maybe some body reviewing my applications might see it that way.

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Magnolia
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby Magnolia » Thu May 12, 2011 11:23 am

Just to add-on to the ED to UVA discussion, UVA is like a needy teenage girl. They need a lot of attention and reassurance of your commitment to them before they'll give you the time of day. It's really difficult to get in RD unless your LSAT and GPA are above both medians. If only one of your numbers is above median, then you pretty much have to ED to have a shot at getting in. And make sure you write a really convincing Why UVA essay.

Northwestern might be a good option for you, as they place a heavy emphasis on work experience and really like non-traditional applicants.

I would definitely recommend retaking the LSAT to put yourself in the best position possible. 170+ will open up a ton of doors for you. Thank you for your service and good luck!

jtb00711
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby jtb00711 » Thu May 12, 2011 11:41 am

Berkley or UCLA if you do not retake. Apply to Stanford if you retake and score higher.

^All if you want to stay in the vicinity of AZ

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DoubleChecks
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu May 12, 2011 11:46 am

Yeah OP, definitely figure out your LSAC GPA with the comm credits included. As I am not sure what that actually is, take my advice with a grain of salt.

Retake. Seriously, if anyone fit the bill, you would. A cold 167 screams retake because honestly, the effort you spend for a month or two prepping will be worth possibly $100,000 in the short run (if you go to a lower ranked top school [so great nevertheless]) or even more if you get HYS in the long run. I am also assuming a 167 cold can snag 175+ on a retake with effort (very possible, but certainly not guaranteed).

With your compelling story and veteran status, shoot, iunno a high enough LSAT might get you into YLS because you sound like you'd be an interesting candidate. Don't waste your potential OP.

Best of luck!

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robotclubmember
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby robotclubmember » Thu May 12, 2011 12:27 pm

Berkeley is closer to your market than any other T14 within range for you with your current stats. With a well-crafted application you could get into UCB without retaking the LSAT. It would be well-respected in Arizona and leave you options in case you want to branch out later in life.

That said, you could go to ASU or U of A and get substantial scholarship money. It would be nice to graduate debt-free wouldn't it? If you want to work in Arizona, then that is a great option.

I would still retake the LSAT, because every extra point on your LSAT buys you something. It may open up doors to more colleges, or it may open up more money for you at the ones you already could have gotten into. Even if your LSAT score is enough to get into ASU, is it enough to get you a full ride? Could you get a full ride with a 170? If the answer is yes, then the extra scholarship money is more than worth the hundred hours of prep time to retake. If you get above 170, Stanford could be an option also (and lots of T14's, but if you don't like the east coast, then don't consider an east coast school).

Go to lawschoolnumbers.com and look at some schools and what kind of $$$ applicants with your numbers got. See if boosting your LSAT score would get you more $$$. Schools buy LSAT scores. I think it's not unreasonable to say that every hour of LSAT prep equates to roughly $300 of benefit, either through increased scholarship funds or better career prospects through superior acceptance offers. What else are you doing that gives you $300/hr? (Not getting into the math on that but I busted out a spreadsheet a while ago for that and that's what it came down to for me).

denbar
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby denbar » Thu May 12, 2011 12:28 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:Yeah OP, definitely figure out your LSAC GPA with the comm credits included. As I am not sure what that actually is, take my advice with a grain of salt.

Retake. Seriously, if anyone fit the bill, you would. A cold 167 screams retake because honestly, the effort you spend for a month or two prepping will be worth possibly $100,000 in the short run (if you go to a lower ranked top school [so great nevertheless]) or even more if you get HYS in the long run. I am also assuming a 167 cold can snag 175+ on a retake with effort (very possible, but certainly not guaranteed).

With your compelling story and veteran status, shoot, iunno a high enough LSAT might get you into YLS because you sound like you'd be an interesting candidate. Don't waste your potential OP.

Best of luck!


Yeah... Yale... I could do that! I am just so sick of being a professional ne'er-do-well, and frankly, the thought of being a history teacher just isn't cutting it anymore. I know many top professional people in/around Phoenix due to my social network (MENSA), and some of the people I really trust and respect are saying much of what you all have been posting. Admittedly, those around me are more sunshne and rainbows about things (saying I am a shoe in for a T14 due to my PS and LSAT... and the LSAT I took just to take it and make my woman happy as I wasn't planning on law school... ever), but the fact that the general consensus here mirrors what is around me (with this place being a bit more grounded in reality, I'm sure) has pushed me toward actually putting in some real effort to see what becomes manifest.

I worry about my history of not having a steady job, or career, or HS diploma, or self discipline enough to just keep my mouth shut and go with yea old flow... I worry how these things will kill my chances. On the opposite side of said coin, I am certain I have one of the most compelling life stories of any 33 year old living in modern America.

I taught ESL overseas in both South Korea and Malaysia; one year in each country.

Did the Army Infantry thing for 6 years, three years before and another three after 9-11. I actually took my SAT's while I was deployed to Bosnia back in 96-97 with no prep and scored a 1535 on the old scale.

Studied CIS, social work and mathematics over the years.

Held every kind of tech geek and sales job you can imagine... well... those that didn't require a degree or cert.

***EDIT - Almost forgot being quasi-homeless, hitting rock bottom in a VA shelter program and finally realizing I didn't have anything working against me other than my own sense of self and piss-porr attitude.

Finally decided to just study history, become a teacher and try to calm down and settle into a nice quiet life.

And now... that isn't enough. I figure since everyone my whole life told me I would be a great salesman, and when I went and did that and started meeting lawyers... who themselves said how great of a lawyer I would be trial wise... WTF, why not go for it. I'm too old to find high-end success in any other field as I am now set in my ways, not very interested in any advanced degree besides a JD... and... secretly have always wanted to be an attorney anyway.

Like my woman has said to me on occasion: "You're such an arrogant prick of a brainiac who never shuts up, what else could you possibly be destined for other than being a trial attorney?"

She made a good point... so now it is time to take the LSAT again and take things from there. Again, thanks folks.
Last edited by denbar on Thu May 12, 2011 12:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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FantasticMrFox
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby FantasticMrFox » Thu May 12, 2011 12:29 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:Yeah OP, definitely figure out your LSAC GPA with the comm credits included. As I am not sure what that actually is, take my advice with a grain of salt.

Retake. Seriously, if anyone fit the bill, you would. A cold 167 screams retake because honestly, the effort you spend for a month or two prepping will be worth possibly $100,000 in the short run (if you go to a lower ranked top school [so great nevertheless]) or even more if you get HYS in the long run. I am also assuming a 167 cold can snag 175+ on a retake with effort (very possible, but certainly not guaranteed).

With your compelling story and veteran status, shoot, iunno a high enough LSAT might get you into YLS because you sound like you'd be an interesting candidate. Don't waste your potential OP.

Best of luck!

I agree with DChecks! You really do sound like an interesting candidate :)

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ahduth
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby ahduth » Thu May 12, 2011 4:08 pm

denbar wrote:I did not study for the LSAT... I just took it as I am pretty good at test taking in general/arrogant. I want to retake it sometime as I too feel just a few more points is worth the effort, though I think with enough prep time and decent study resource I could come close to maxing it out.

Honestly, will just a few more points start to get me into scholarship range? Is there a decent/reliable online resource detailing what kinds of scores (GPA & LSAT) "qualify" or are granted full/partial scholarships from assorted uni's? I was more under the impression my time in the VA homeless program would be my biggest selling point.


Uh, lol. It's hard to overstate the importance of the LSAT in this whole admissions game. If you got a 167 cold... go study, get a 175+, profit.

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Veyron
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby Veyron » Thu May 12, 2011 4:10 pm

You will get into Cornell and Berk at sticker, but if you want to work in AZ, ASU or U of A for free is a better-looking prospect. Lawyers at large firms don't do much trial law so if you want that you are going to have to start at a low salary. No use carting around 200k in debt to do that.

Or retake and the world will be your oyster.

P.S. Berk gives no edge in Arizona over other T-14s. If anything, it places worse becasue of their stupid grading system. Whoever said it knows nada about the market.

P.P.S. T-6? T-20? AZ firms recognize two distinctions, T3 and T-14. They may occasionaly go a bit deeper into the class for assorted selected schools (based on partner's preferences). However, this can easily be outweighted by the connections you could make at ASU. The AZ market is, quite simply, more concerned with grades than school for the most part.
Last edited by Veyron on Thu May 12, 2011 7:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

acrossthelake
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Re: New guy - first post.

Postby acrossthelake » Thu May 12, 2011 6:52 pm

You'd be a fool not to retake if you got the 167 cold. Sign up for the October LSAT and head over to the LSAT prep forum to start figuring out a game plan. I spent 5-6 weeks total prepping for the LSAT with a higher diagnostic by doing all the logic games sections I could get and 20 full practice tests and it paid off very well. Plan on around 2+ months of prep. Start working on the other things you need---letters of recommendation (ask now!), personal statement, etc. now and be ready to apply as soon as your Oct. score comes out.

These 2 threads should give you an idea of what you need to do:

http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewt ... 2&t=131727
http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewt ... 2&t=152447




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