Rising Junior Looking for Advice

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pieinthesky
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Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby pieinthesky » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:51 pm

Dear TLS,

I'm a rising junior in major public university ranked around 60-80. I'm majoring in Economics and Math. Currently my GPA is 3.95. I pretty much spend most of my spare time on homework and studying, so I'm hoping my GPA does not slide. I am an honors student as well and will be doing an honors thesis. I'm going to start studying for the LSAT beginning in the fall and plan to take it in June so I can do a retake. I generally test well, so I anticipate I will do fairly well. I've taken one practice exam just to see how I do and I got a 162.

I have a problem though. Currently I am thirty. I'm wondering if this will hurt my application. On the plus side, I have 5+ years of work experience as a paralegal in civil litigation (midsized firm). While I did a great job there was nowhere to rise above that without a college degree, so I went to school.

I can get fantastic LORs from a few partners who went to T14 schools. I can also get LORs from professors who got their PhDs at T14 schools, but they are not JDs.

I'm aiming for T14 or bust. I can't afford to risk the loans if they don't come with a 50%+ chance of getting a job that can pay them back.

Do you think my age will hold me back if I keep my GPA and get 170+ on the LSAT? What types of internships would make me look more attractive in the eyes of adcoms? I'm basically trying to figure out if I should continue to aim at law, or whether I should shift my courses a bit to give me a better chance of getting a job after I graduate and see if I can get a business degree.

I appreciate the help.

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Veyron
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby Veyron » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:55 pm

pieinthesky wrote:Dear TLS,

I'm a rising junior in major public university ranked around 60-80. I'm majoring in Economics and Math. Currently my GPA is 3.95. I pretty much spend most of my spare time on homework and studying, so I'm hoping my GPA does not slide. I am an honors student as well and will be doing an honors thesis. I'm going to start studying for the LSAT beginning in the fall and plan to take it in June so I can do a retake. I generally test well, so I anticipate I will do fairly well. I've taken one practice exam just to see how I do and I got a 162.

I have a problem though. Currently I am thirty. I'm wondering if this will hurt my application. On the plus side, I have 5+ years of work experience as a paralegal in civil litigation (midsized firm). While I did a great job there was nowhere to rise above that without a college degree, so I went to school.

I can get fantastic LORs from a few partners who went to T14 schools. I can also get LORs from professors who got their PhDs at T14 schools, but they are not JDs.

I'm aiming for T14 or bust. I can't afford to risk the loans if they don't come with a 50%+ chance of getting a job that can pay them back.

Do you think my age will hold me back if I keep my GPA and get 170+ on the LSAT? What types of internships would make me look more attractive in the eyes of adcoms? I'm basically trying to figure out if I should continue to aim at law, or whether I should shift my courses a bit to give me a better chance of getting a job after I graduate and see if I can get a business degree.

I appreciate the help.


No. And 162 is a very good "cold" score. Most of my friends who got lower 170s did 158-160 cold.

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MoS
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby MoS » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:00 pm

I can only speak for the admissions side of the question. You're age will not negatively affect your chances at getting into a T14. At some schools it might even be a positive factor for diversity reasons. However, I am not sure how age affects your chance at getting a biglaw job.

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NYCbound35
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby NYCbound35 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:15 pm

Did you go to another school (Community College, other university, pretty much anything) earlier in your life? I ask this because every transcript that you have ever earned, no matter how long ago, must be sent to LSAC. So if you spent 2 years in a community college and had a 2.95, your GPA is actually somewhere around a 3.5 now. Every grade up until you get your first bachelor's degree counts towards your LSAC GPA.

If this is not the case, then you are in great shape. A 168+ plus will get you a few T14 acceptances, probably with scholarship $$. A 172+ will put you in contention anywhere, including HYS. A 162 is a great diagnostic score, and you should not settle for anything less than 170.

If previous college classes lowers your GPA, all is not lost. If your GPA is around 3.3-3.5, a really high LSAT score (174+) can nab you NYU with an ED app. A few points lower will get you MVP with an ED app. You should also get Cornell, GULC and possibly Duke with a 170+. If your GPA is completely trashed as a result of this speculation on my part, a 171+ and WE (although not post-grad, I think OP's situation should suffice) and an ED app should get you Northwestern regardless of your GPA.

Moral of the story; if you can kill the LSAT (which your diagnostic indicates that you should), you will get some T14 regardless of your age/GPA drop/etc.

pieinthesky
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby pieinthesky » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:40 pm

Thank you for your responses. They definitely make me feel better about my future.

I actually dropped out of high school and never did any college until I was 28. I only got my GED when I was 26, so I have no other transcripts. I did not mention my HS because I don't think it's included in my application information.

I asked one of the partners who used to be a partner in a NY office of a biglaw firm and he told me that back in the 80s and 90s my age might have gotten in the way, but he didn't think it would be an issue now. In his words "they are just looking for people who are willing to work like dogs for dollars." I also look much younger than I am (most undergrads I go to class with are very surprised when I tell them I'm 30).

I have a couple of other questions if you wouldn't mind. I'm very interested in criminal defense and advocacy for reform of our criminal system. Would this be an acceptable thing to say in my SOP if I don't get preachy with it?

Also, I plan on taking graduate courses and some difficult high level math to graduate with honors. But they are not necessary for my degree or majors. Would you recommend I stick with them to show the schools I wasn't slacking for a good GPA, or should I tone it down to reduce any risk of a slide in my grades? I'm thinking of sticking with them because they increase my odds of getting a good job and getting into business school if I don't end up getting into a T14.

Thanks again.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:42 pm

Okay. You have a 3.95 GPA, 5 years WE, and an interesting story (most people applying to law school went straight from HS to college). All you need is a 170+ LSAT score and you're set. Study like crazy, because you can make the necessary gains with a few months of effort, and at this point it'll be the difference between HYS, lower T14, or not T14 at all. I went from starting at mid-150s and got a 170.

Also, law students who are older and have significant (more than 1 year) of WE are in demand right now. Some employers specifically prefer older students because they're more mature and already know what to expect in a professional job, unlike 23-year-olds who went straight from HS to college to law school.

Plus, in my experience, older students are more likely to get good grades in law school because it requires you to be a self-starter and self-managing, much moreso than regular college classes do. People who've worked often treat law school like a job, and do well as a result.

I'll be graduating law school in my early 30s, and it's only been an advantage for me.

pieinthesky
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby pieinthesky » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:53 pm

That is very good to hear. Thank you. This really helps.

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Veyron
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby Veyron » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:58 pm

Sure, mention crim def or advocacy but realize that those vocations (for the most part) go against yout stated goal of making good $.

P.S. Look long and hard at Northwestern, anything high 160s and up and they will be all over you.

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vincanity1
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby vincanity1 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:09 pm

Also started at 162 cold. After the lg and lr bibles + TM, got a 173 first take in June. Good luck

LoyalRebel
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby LoyalRebel » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:10 pm

Undergrad gets a lot harder starting your Junior year. Keep it up though!

pieinthesky
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby pieinthesky » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:41 pm

Veyron wrote:Sure, mention crim def or advocacy but realize that those vocations (for the most part) go against yout stated goal of making good $.

P.S. Look long and hard at Northwestern, anything high 160s and up and they will be all over you.


I have been coming to that realization. It seems that the only real criminal defense work they do in biglaw is white collar. It might have to be an interest I pursue on the side or after I have progressed in my career and paid off those loans.

And loyalrebel, you are completely right. The classes do get a lot harder, which was why I was hesitant to make this post. But since I have to start planning for applications now, I felt it would be better to post now than wait for a semester's worth of grades. I'm just planning on working REALLY hard to make sure I keep up my grades.

Thanks again for all your encouragement and words of advice.

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Veyron
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby Veyron » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:06 pm

pieinthesky wrote:
Veyron wrote:Sure, mention crim def or advocacy but realize that those vocations (for the most part) go against yout stated goal of making good $.

P.S. Look long and hard at Northwestern, anything high 160s and up and they will be all over you.


I have been coming to that realization. It seems that the only real criminal defense work they do in biglaw is white collar. It might have to be an interest I pursue on the side or after I have progressed in my career and paid off those loans.

And loyalrebel, you are completely right. The classes do get a lot harder, which was why I was hesitant to make this post. But since I have to start planning for applications now, I felt it would be better to post now than wait for a semester's worth of grades. I'm just planning on working REALLY hard to make sure I keep up my grades.

Thanks again for all your encouragement and words of advice.


The problem is that do do white collar crim def in biglaw, you really need to have been an AUSA first.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:44 pm

Veyron wrote:The problem is that do do white collar crim def in biglaw, you really need to have been an AUSA first.

This just is not true in my experience. In fact, to me it sounds backwards: To be an AUSA you really need BigLaw experience first, and there are firms that handle white collar lit.

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Veyron
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby Veyron » Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:00 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Veyron wrote:The problem is that do do white collar crim def in biglaw, you really need to have been an AUSA first.

This just is not true in my experience. In fact, to me it sounds backwards: To be an AUSA you really need BigLaw experience first, and there are firms that handle white collar lit.


Sorry, its true in my market. NYC is different. I always forget this.

firemed
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby firemed » Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:19 pm

I will echo what everyone has said: age doesn't seem to matter, grades are vital, you have a great shot at Northwestern... and with a higher LSAT places like Harvard and Yale too.

Finally... consider taking LSAT in February if your studying has gotten you to a good point by then. It would give you a chance to retake in June. But DO NOT do this at the expense of your grades. If studying for school is taking too much time away from LSAT studying then absolutely skip the February LSAT. It is only worthwhile if you find yourself saying "I have gotten three 178s in a row on my PTs" in December.

ETA: I am 33 and got into schools. And I am going this year with a fellow who is above 65.

pieinthesky
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby pieinthesky » Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:45 pm

Ok, thanks. I had not even considered the February LSAT. But it's not such a bad idea. I'm not working so I'll have a lot of spare time to study during winter break.

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bport hopeful
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby bport hopeful » Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:47 pm

You have a great GPA in useful majors. Why would you go to LS?

firemed
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby firemed » Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:59 pm

bport hopeful wrote:You have a great GPA in useful majors. Why would you go to LS?


Because this dude/chick could go to Harvard, Yale, or Stanford, get a really well paying job making a huge difference somewhere.

Frankly I think more of us should remember that just because the majority of people going into law have useless liberal arts degrees doesn't mean that those are the only people who want to be lawyers.

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bport hopeful
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby bport hopeful » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:21 pm

firemed wrote:
bport hopeful wrote:You have a great GPA in useful majors. Why would you go to LS?


Because this dude/chick could go to Harvard, Yale, or Stanford, get a really well paying job making a huge difference somewhere.

Frankly I think more of us should remember that just because the majority of people going into law have useless liberal arts degrees doesn't mean that those are the only people who want to be lawyers.

Fair enough

dkt4
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby dkt4 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:46 pm

someone just called economics a useful major? flabbergasted.

your cycle is going to depend entirely on your LSAT...no way to predict it accurately until you get your score back. as of now, you have a shot at every school; study hard for the LSAT and keep that GPA up (upper divs seem harder than they actually are) and you will do very well. best of luck :)

pieinthesky
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Re: Rising Junior Looking for Advice

Postby pieinthesky » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:18 pm

bport hopeful wrote:You have a great GPA in useful majors. Why would you go to LS?


Firemed is right. While economics is not the most useful major, I figured with economics and math I could get a decently paying job, if I couldn't get into a decently ranked school. I initially would have preferred to have gone into engineering, but since I had dropped out of school, I was a bit foolishly scared of going for a hard degree so I stayed away. Either way though, from the start I had the goal of being an attorney in mind.

I really like working in law. I see a lot of interesting stuff, learn random things from weird cases, interact with some incredibly smart people, and see how a lot of organizations behave behind closed doors. I know it's not all fun, and I see all the shitty things the attorneys have to do, so I'm not fooling myself about what the job will be like.

The way I figure it is, if I do really well, I could get into a T14 and have a pretty decent or better shot at getting a biglaw job. That would allow my wife to quit her job and go the self-employed direction she wants to go in. It would also mean I end up doing bigger and better things and maybe I would eventually have the ability to change things for the better. If I don't get in, I hope I would still be able to get a job that pays the bills and try to distinguish myself enough so I would become a decent prospect at a good business school or work my way up the ladder.

Obviously, I'm hoping I make it the law route. Thanks for the words of encouragement folks. :)




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