Interested in transportation law/working for DOT. Advice?

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Interested in transportation law/working for DOT. Advice?

Postby zed » Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:04 am

Hi all...I am interested in going to school to study traffic/transportation law (California Vehicle Code, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, etc.) and would like to work as an attorney for the state's or the federal department of transportation. What schools would you recommend for a California resident interested in earning his J.D. in CA?

I am not looking for a top program...just admission to law school. It doesn't matter how selective the program is. My academic and employment background is not very strong: 3.6 UW UGPA, 1450 GRE score (do any law schools take these?), and, based on practice tests, a 140 on the LSAT. I'm unemployed and am on welfare (ho-hum). Last job ended last March as a data entry clerk with a freight forwarding company.

I'd like to study transportation law because I have an almost obsessive interest with the rules of the road and what happens traffic court (I have a clean driving record...promise!). I have a class A license and have driven an 18-wheeler, and became quite interested in the FMCSR while training to drive a truck. Driving and laws governing transportation runs through my veins and I am extremely interested in going to school for formal study. Thanks for any help you can provide.

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Re: Interested in transportation law/working for DOT. Advice?

Postby memphisbelle » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:54 am


Your GPA isn't bad. You have a shot at some decent schools based on that. Unfortunately, you'll need to retake the LSAT. I don't think you'll get in anywhere at all unless you're above 150. Ideally, you need more like a 160+. Since you want to stay in CA, going to a local school would make sense for you. Have you looked at the department of transportation website to see what types of jobs may be available? You may be able to get involved in the department without being a lawyer. Law school's going to be quite expensive. On the upside, you should get some need based aid. Think about it quite a bit before making the jump into applying to law schools. Try the following:

Look at the DOT website and review the different positions that they have there (both job openings and current employee profiles). Look at the profiles of those who hold the jobs that you would ultimately like to do. Where did those people come from? What is their educational background?

View the law school profiles on this website for schools in your area. The profiles give you a lot of information about the specialties of the school and also the admissions requirements (LSAT and GPA requirements).

If you decide to continue to pursue law school, study for the LSAT. Check out the LSAT study plans and recommendations on the forum here. Don't take it lightly, the LSAT is going to be your difference between a highly ranked program (i.e. more opportunities) and a lower ranked program (not many opportunities).

I know you said that you aren't interested in a 'top law program'. Keep in mind that many lower ranked law schools cost nearly as much as top programs (or even more). These programs are designed to attract people who aren't academically strong enough to get into a better program. This results in the applicant paying a pretty penny to attend and then not receiving the type of opportunities that would be necessary to repay the cost of attendance. Just because a program will take a 140 LSAT score doesn't mean that the applicant should go there. Care where you go to school. It will make the difference in your career, especially if you don't have work experience/contacts in the area you want to work in.

Good Luck! Hope that helps. :)

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