Perspectives From an “Average” Law Student

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AvgLawStudent
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Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:35 pm

Perspectives From an “Average” Law Student

Postby AvgLawStudent » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:12 pm

I have basically ignored the advice of TLS through the whole law school process: I didn’t "retake" when I only got a 158 LSAT, I went to a tier 4 school, I didn’t get onto a journal, I’m not in the top 10% of the class, I'm not even in the top 50% of the class. In fact, my stats are as follows:

Pre Law schools stats:
Undergrad GPA: 3.06
Undergrad Institution: State school with a good regional reputation
Undergrad Major: Biotechnology
LSAT: 153, 158, 153
5 years of work experience in the Biotech Industry (making 50K when I left to start law school)
Applied to 10 Schools (3 Tier 1, 6 Tier 2, 1 Tier 4)
Waitlisted at 1 Tier 1 school (later removed from waitlist), 4 tier 2 schools (never admitted), and admitted to 1 tier 4 school (8K merit scholarship).

Law school stats:
Went to the (public) tier 4 schools, which is now a tier 3 school.
Currently I have a 2.68, which puts me in the bottom 40% of the class going into my 3L year
Competed in moot court, no journal
Completed 1 judicial internship and 1 internship with a small private firm prior to this summer

This summer I got a paid position at a small law firm that does international trade law, which according to U.S. news is a "Tier 1 firm" in this area. I also have the option to stay on 2 days a week during my 3L year. Presumably I have a pretty good shot at staying on after graduating as most previous summer interns there have done. The funny thing is, they never once asked me for my transcript or GPA during the interview process. However, two things that I had going for me when interviewing were that I have a technical/scientific background, and I went to a law school that is in a medium sized, but pretty isolated, legal market (which basically only has 2 law schools that compete for jobs in the city).

Even though I haven't been successful by traditional law school standards (i.e. grades), law school has been worth it for me so far. This is not meant to be a "flame,” I just wanted to let 0Ls know my experience because according to everything I have heard I should not have even had a shot at a paid position this summer. My advice to someone applying to law school is that if you have a reasonable plan to get a job (i.e. have an in demand skill set, minimize your debt) and are realistic about your goals (i.e. don’t expect 160K upon graduation, are willing to stay close to the law school you graduated from), law school can be a good decision, even if you don't get into a T14 or are not at the top of your class.

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IHeartPhilly
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Re: Perspectives From an “Average” Law Student

Postby IHeartPhilly » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:22 pm

How much of a boost do you think your undergrad major/work experience gave you in gaining employment. For some reason I'm under the impression that science/engineering bros have a substantial edge in the job hustle. Thanks for ur input and congrats

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rayiner
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Re: Perspectives From an “Average” Law Student

Postby rayiner » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:22 pm

1) You did retake, apparently three times. We tell people to retake when they get a bad score on their first try.
2) You picked a school that dominates its market, which we tell people to do when they don't get into T14.
3) You got a small scholarship and went to a public school to keep your debt low, which we also tell people to do.
4) You have a biotech background, which is incredibly relevant to international trade right now (ITC litigation over medical devices).

Congrats on your success, but you did a lot of the things we tell people to do...

What are your classmates doing?

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RedBirds2011
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Re: Perspectives From an “Average” Law Student

Postby RedBirds2011 » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:25 pm

IHeartPhilly wrote:How much of a boost do you think your undergrad major/work experience gave you in gaining employment. For some reason I'm under the impression that science/engineering bros have a substantial edge in the job hustle. Thanks for ur input and congrats



I'm a bio guy, and from my understanding bio does not really give you a plus unless you have a PhD. This is different from the more engineering focused sciences. However, the WE in biotech definitely probably helped him.


Edit: and with that said, I second these questions. I'm curious as well OP on your perspective on how your background may have helped a lot.
Last edited by RedBirds2011 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AvgLawStudent
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Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:35 pm

Re: Perspectives From an “Average” Law Student

Postby AvgLawStudent » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:27 pm

IHeartPhilly wrote:How much of a boost do you think your undergrad major/work experience gave you in gaining employment. For some reason I'm under the impression that science/engineering bros have a substantial edge in the job hustle. Thanks for ur input and congrats


In applying to law school I think it gave me a little boost, but not much. I wrote my PS on my biotech/work expirence to try and make me seem like a unique/nontraditional law student. However, in applying to legal jobs I feel like it has helped a lot.

AvgLawStudent
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:35 pm

Re: Perspectives From an “Average” Law Student

Postby AvgLawStudent » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:32 pm

rayiner wrote:1) You did retake, apparently three times. We tell people to retake when they get a bad score on their first try.
2) You picked a school that dominates its market, which we tell people to do when they don't get into T14.
3) You got a small scholarship and went to a public school to keep your debt low, which we also tell people to do.
4) You have a biotech background, which is incredibly relevant to international trade right now (ITC litigation over medical devices).

Congrats on your success, but you did a lot of the things we tell people to do...

What are your classmates doing?



1) Yes, but even after I got a 158, i was told my stats were "dismal." You are right I did retake, but I never got anywhere near where TLS thought I should be.

I guess my point was you can make it work without getting into a tier 1, or even a tier 2, which some(not all) people seem to disagree with.

AvgLawStudent
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:35 pm

Re: Perspectives From an “Average” Law Student

Postby AvgLawStudent » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:36 pm

rayiner wrote:1) You did retake, apparently three times. We tell people to retake when they get a bad score on their first try.
2) You picked a school that dominates its market, which we tell people to do when they don't get into T14.
3) You got a small scholarship and went to a public school to keep your debt low, which we also tell people to do.
4) You have a biotech background, which is incredibly relevant to international trade right now (ITC litigation over medical devices).

Congrats on your success, but you did a lot of the things we tell people to do...

What are your classmates doing?



Actually, almost all of the people I have talked to have managed to get something paid this summer. But, only a few (top of the class) are doing the big law thing, most are working at small/med firms. A few that are not getting paid are interning for judges or government agencies for the expirence. 1 is studying for the patent bar.

AvgLawStudent
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:35 pm

Re: Perspectives From an “Average” Law Student

Postby AvgLawStudent » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:42 pm

RedBirds2011 wrote:
IHeartPhilly wrote:How much of a boost do you think your undergrad major/work experience gave you in gaining employment. For some reason I'm under the impression that science/engineering bros have a substantial edge in the job hustle. Thanks for ur input and congrats



I'm a bio guy, and from my understanding bio does not really give you a plus unless you have a PhD. This is different from the more engineering focused sciences. However, the WE in biotech definitely probably helped him.


Edit: and with that said, I second these questions. I'm curious as well OP on your perspective on how your background may have helped a lot.


I orginally wanted to go into patent law, which i have found usually requires a Masters/Ph.D, if you have a life science background. If you have an engineering, it seems you usually only need a Bachlors.

That being said, their are many other legal positons that require a science background that that are not patent law per se (i.e. working at the FDA). If you have the required scientific background you automatically qualify for these postions where most people wont.

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moonman157
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Re: Perspectives From an “Average” Law Student

Postby moonman157 » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:48 pm

AvgLawStudent wrote:
rayiner wrote:1) You did retake, apparently three times. We tell people to retake when they get a bad score on their first try.
2) You picked a school that dominates its market, which we tell people to do when they don't get into T14.
3) You got a small scholarship and went to a public school to keep your debt low, which we also tell people to do.
4) You have a biotech background, which is incredibly relevant to international trade right now (ITC litigation over medical devices).

Congrats on your success, but you did a lot of the things we tell people to do...

What are your classmates doing?



1) Yes, but even after I got a 158, i was told my stats were "dismal." You are right I did retake, but I never got anywhere near where TLS thought I should be.

I guess my point was you can make it work without getting into a tier 1, or even a tier 2, which some(not all) people seem to disagree with.


I don't think anyone would argue that you CAN make it work without getting into a tier 1 or 2. There are anecdotal success stories from just about every law school. The message is that the odds are definitely against you (especially if you accumulate a significant amount of debt in pursuit of your JD), and while there will be success stories (congrats on yours), the risks often outweigh the potential benefits. As rayiner pointed out, you did what TLS tells students who don't get T14/T1 to do.

AvgLawStudent
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:35 pm

Re: Perspectives From an “Average” Law Student

Postby AvgLawStudent » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:58 pm

moonman157 wrote:
AvgLawStudent wrote:
rayiner wrote:1) You did retake, apparently three times. We tell people to retake when they get a bad score on their first try.
2) You picked a school that dominates its market, which we tell people to do when they don't get into T14.
3) You got a small scholarship and went to a public school to keep your debt low, which we also tell people to do.
4) You have a biotech background, which is incredibly relevant to international trade right now (ITC litigation over medical devices).

Congrats on your success, but you did a lot of the things we tell people to do...

What are your classmates doing?



1) Yes, but even after I got a 158, i was told my stats were "dismal." You are right I did retake, but I never got anywhere near where TLS thought I should be.

I guess my point was you can make it work without getting into a tier 1, or even a tier 2, which some(not all) people seem to disagree with.


I don't think anyone would argue that you CAN make it work without getting into a tier 1 or 2. There are anecdotal success stories from just about every law school. The message is that the odds are definitely against you (especially if you accumulate a significant amount of debt in pursuit of your JD), and while there will be success stories (congrats on yours), the risks often outweigh the potential benefits. As rayiner pointed out, you did what TLS tells students who don't get T14/T1 to do.



Thanks for the congrats....I guess my point was that everyone is so focused on GPA/LSAT (including law schools)that they tell you not to go unless you can get a certain score on the LSAT and get into a certain school. But their are other factors that can be just as important for sucess in your legal carreer, like undergrad degree/work expirence, the legal market the school you are going to is in. When I was applying I felt like, and i have seen some posters say, "dont got to law school unless you can get into a T14 and get a scholarship", which i now feel is such an incomplete picture.

timbs4339
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Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:19 pm

Re: Perspectives From an “Average” Law Student

Postby timbs4339 » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:57 pm

The fact you have an engineering background and a STEM degree means you are not an average law student. You had a leg up in the job search that most of your classmates with lib arts or business degrees did not.

When people provide more info beyond just "I got into X, Y, Z which one should I pick kthxbai," TLS gives good answers. Like telling people to pick a regional TTT with low debt over some expensive T1 with mediocre job prospects.




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