Help: Opinion on a Gap year

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UndecidedUndergrad
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Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby UndecidedUndergrad » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:23 pm

Today, as I was attempting to get a letter of recommendation from one of my professors, it hit me that I may not want to go to law school, at least, not immediately.

Backstory: I'm an undergraduate at a California State University school, and am going to graduate in May. I took the LSAT in October (2012), and got extremely screwed during the logic games section (specifically, the subzone series of questions). This section was a total loss and the mental anguish of the logic games section had a negative effect on my final section. I ended up receiving a 146, better than I thought thanks to the first two sections saving my bacon, as I wanted to cancel immediately, fearing I received something in the 120s, but ultimately never did. My father, an attorney suggested I take the february 2013 LSAT, in hopes of receiving a better score. I am not sure what my GPA will be when I graduate, but it will be higher than a 3.33 (current), but will likely be lower than a 3.6. I haven't completed any apps yet, and am just now attempting to get letters of recommendation.

The timeline for Fall apps in a majority of the schools I'm applying to (restricting the list to Southern California) seems to be working against me, and I feel that it may be too late for me to successfully be admitted into any of the schools I will be applying for because of it.

When I asked my father about a gap year, he was very much against it, as he had similarly taken a gap period between undergrad and Law School (in the tune of ten years), and told me he felt like he wasted ten years of his life doing that. I think he may not want me to experience the same sort of regret, but his viewpoint may be skewed, and his gap was extraordinarily long due to life just happening (marriage, kids, stable labor job that paid well, etc). If I ultimately decide to have some gap time between graduation and Law School, it will almost certainly be just one year to get my shit together.

Just for some context of schools I want to attend, UCI is at the top of the list, but with my current LSAT score, that likely won't be a possibility.

Sorry if this post is a bit disjointed, I'm in the University's library having a minor panic episode, I'll likely be speaking to my university's pre-law advisor this week (something I have stupidly never done) and ask for his opinion on the matter.

Thanks for your help in advance.
Last edited by UndecidedUndergrad on Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

elblufer
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby elblufer » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:29 pm

Take a gap year. Not only is it a bad idea to go to a lower ranked law school, but it's a relatively bad idea to go to law school at all in today's market. As such, you should only go if you REALLY want to practice law, an idea which it sounds like you can't commit to. Don't go into $200,000 of debt for a degree that won't get you a job in a career that you don't want anyway. Take a gap year.

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nygrrrl
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby nygrrrl » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:30 pm

Take the gap year. Study your butt off and retake the LSAT, then get a job and spend the year evaluating if this is what you really want to do with your life. (Trust me - a year off won't matter.) Good luck!

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dingbat
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby dingbat » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:31 pm

First off, do not go to law school based on a 146 LSAT.
Take time off, study your ass off, and retake.
If you can't break 150 do not go to law school, plain and simple (hell, even 160 is dicey)
Don't let your father's experience pressure you into bad decisions. You're not considering a gap decade, but a gap year. If you know you want to go to law school after, it's your opportunity to do something different - go volunteer in Africa, be a mountain guide or work in a poultry plant. Anything that'll be a unique experience. There are far more people who regret not taking a gap year than regret taking one.
If you don't know if a legal career is right for you, try working in a law firm for a year, see if it's something you can get on board with.

Most of all, chill, relax, and don't do anything foolish (like attend any school that'll accept a 146)

UndecidedUndergrad
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby UndecidedUndergrad » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:33 pm

elblufer wrote: As such, you should only go if you REALLY want to practice law, an idea which it sounds like you can't commit to. Don't go into $200,000 of debt for a degree that won't get you a job in a career that you don't want anyway.


This may be another problem, I've come to face the fact that I really only want to go to law school to become a lawyer, and only want to become a lawyer, because it would be a great stepping stone to get into politics, specifically, electoral politics. I interned on a congressional campaign last summer, and other than making phone calls, found it quite enjoyable.

This is perhaps another reason why I'm considering taking a gap year.

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dingbat
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby dingbat » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:35 pm

UndecidedUndergrad wrote:
elblufer wrote: As such, you should only go if you REALLY want to practice law, an idea which it sounds like you can't commit to. Don't go into $200,000 of debt for a degree that won't get you a job in a career that you don't want anyway.


This may be another problem, I've come to face the fact that I really only want to go to law school to become a lawyer, and only want to become a lawyer, because it would be a great stepping stone to get into politics, specifically, electoral politics. I interned on a congressional campaign last summer, and other than making phone calls, found it quite enjoyable.

This is perhaps another reason why I'm considering taking a gap year.

Fuck going to law school - there's no need to have a JD to enter politics. Just be realy good at networking and schmooze your way in

jym_dawg
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby jym_dawg » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:40 pm

UndecidedUndergrad wrote:
elblufer wrote: As such, you should only go if you REALLY want to practice law, an idea which it sounds like you can't commit to. Don't go into $200,000 of debt for a degree that won't get you a job in a career that you don't want anyway.


This may be another problem, I've come to face the fact that I really only want to go to law school to become a lawyer, and only want to become a lawyer, because it would be a great stepping stone to get into politics, specifically, electoral politics. I interned on a congressional campaign last summer, and other than making phone calls, found it quite enjoyable.

This is perhaps another reason why I'm considering taking a gap year.


There are plenty of ways to get into politics without dropping $200k (which, in your position, is exactly what you'd be doing). Have you considered working on the Hill for a year or two? Finding some sort of policy/politics-related work in CA? Getting a JD just to go into politics is a terrible idea.

You've also mentioned your interest in politics, but not in practicing law, which raises questions about going to law school just because you think it'd be helpful and because your daddy wants you to become a lawyer. Do you even have an interest in practicing law?

sccjnthn
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby sccjnthn » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:43 pm

As a California student have you considered the Capitol Fellows program? The deadline is in February and although you only make 2k a month it's better priced than a 200k law degree and you'd a chance to confirm you're really committed to politics.

http://www.csus.edu/calst/capital_fello ... rview.html

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hume85
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby hume85 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:45 pm

How much of your COA will your parents be paying? Does your attorney father know how bad the legal market is for entry level law school graduates?

UndecidedUndergrad
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby UndecidedUndergrad » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:47 pm

jym_dawg wrote:
UndecidedUndergrad wrote:
elblufer wrote: As such, you should only go if you REALLY want to practice law, an idea which it sounds like you can't commit to. Don't go into $200,000 of debt for a degree that won't get you a job in a career that you don't want anyway.


This may be another problem, I've come to face the fact that I really only want to go to law school to become a lawyer, and only want to become a lawyer, because it would be a great stepping stone to get into politics, specifically, electoral politics. I interned on a congressional campaign last summer, and other than making phone calls, found it quite enjoyable.

This is perhaps another reason why I'm considering taking a gap year.


There are plenty of ways to get into politics without dropping $200k (which, in your position, is exactly what you'd be doing). Have you considered working on the Hill for a year or two? Finding some sort of policy/politics-related work in CA? Getting a JD just to go into politics is a terrible idea.

You've also mentioned your interest in politics, but not in practicing law, which raises questions about going to law school just because you think it'd be helpful and because your daddy wants you to become a lawyer. Do you even have an interest in practicing law?


Don't get me wrong, I love law, just perhaps not as much as politics, but I still enjoy the subject. In all honesty, I may be an anomaly, but my father actually never pushed me to become an attorney. He does run a small law firm (two attorneys, maybe another in the coming year), and whenever he speaks about the cases he works on, it always interested me. He was actually kind of surprised when I told him I was thinking about law school.

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hume85
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby hume85 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:48 pm

UndecidedUndergrad wrote:
jym_dawg wrote:
UndecidedUndergrad wrote:
elblufer wrote: As such, you should only go if you REALLY want to practice law, an idea which it sounds like you can't commit to. Don't go into $200,000 of debt for a degree that won't get you a job in a career that you don't want anyway.


This may be another problem, I've come to face the fact that I really only want to go to law school to become a lawyer, and only want to become a lawyer, because it would be a great stepping stone to get into politics, specifically, electoral politics. I interned on a congressional campaign last summer, and other than making phone calls, found it quite enjoyable.

This is perhaps another reason why I'm considering taking a gap year.


There are plenty of ways to get into politics without dropping $200k (which, in your position, is exactly what you'd be doing). Have you considered working on the Hill for a year or two? Finding some sort of policy/politics-related work in CA? Getting a JD just to go into politics is a terrible idea.

You've also mentioned your interest in politics, but not in practicing law, which raises questions about going to law school just because you think it'd be helpful and because your daddy wants you to become a lawyer. Do you even have an interest in practicing law?


Don't get me wrong, I love law, just perhaps not as much as politics, but I still enjoy the subject. In all honesty, I may be an anomaly, but my father actually never pushed me to become an attorney. He does run a small law firm (two attorneys, maybe another in the coming year), and whenever he speaks about the cases he works on, it always interested me. He was actually kind of surprised when I told him I was thinking about law school.

Will he hire you when you graduate?

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ph14
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby ph14 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:52 pm

Do it. I went straight through and I kind of wish I had taken a gap year.

UndecidedUndergrad
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby UndecidedUndergrad » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:53 pm

sccjnthn wrote:As a California student have you considered the Capitol Fellows program? The deadline is in February and although you only make 2k a month it's better priced than a 200k law degree and you'd a chance to confirm you're really committed to politics.

http://www.csus.edu/calst/capital_fello ... rview.html


Definitely bookmarking this. This sounds right up my alley. Have you been in this program, or know anyone who has?

Will he hire you when you graduate?


When I eventually did graduate from Law School, I initially wanted to shop around, but, there has been an unspoken agreement that he would take me in if I couldn't find anything. So, essentially, yes.

UndecidedUndergrad
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby UndecidedUndergrad » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:47 pm

Sorry for the double post, but it seems that the consensus is to take a gap year. Now, if I am to take a gap year, how will that effect my letters of recommendation? I don't really have fantastic relations with all my professors, they may not even remember me after I graduate. Will LSAC accept old letters of recommendation/Evaluation?

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sanjola
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby sanjola » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:59 pm

Take the gap year, gain some work experience and retake.

P.S. I had the same LSAT issues with the games messing me up and I bombing the last section. It was so frustrating.

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dingbat
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby dingbat » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:09 pm

UndecidedUndergrad wrote:Sorry for the double post, but it seems that the consensus is to take a gap year. Now, if I am to take a gap year, how will that effect my letters of recommendation? I don't really have fantastic relations with all my professors, they may not even remember me after I graduate. Will LSAC accept old letters of recommendation/Evaluation?

Get the letters now - LSAC will store them for 5 years

sccjnthn
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby sccjnthn » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:10 pm

UndecidedUndergrad wrote:
sccjnthn wrote:As a California student have you considered the Capitol Fellows program? The deadline is in February and although you only make 2k a month it's better priced than a 200k law degree and you'd a chance to confirm you're really committed to politics.

http://www.csus.edu/calst/capital_fello ... rview.html


Definitely bookmarking this. This sounds right up my alley. Have you been in this program, or know anyone who has?

Will he hire you when you graduate?


When I eventually did graduate from Law School, I initially wanted to shop around, but, there has been an unspoken agreement that he would take me in if I couldn't find anything. So, essentially, yes.



Unfortunately I don't know anyone who has done it but there's a pretty impressive list of alumni in various levels of California politics and the law. I also noticed that a few law graduates have also participated.

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cinephile
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby cinephile » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:12 pm

UndecidedUndergrad wrote:Sorry for the double post, but it seems that the consensus is to take a gap year. Now, if I am to take a gap year, how will that effect my letters of recommendation? I don't really have fantastic relations with all my professors, they may not even remember me after I graduate. Will LSAC accept old letters of recommendation/Evaluation?


Of course they will. Get the letter now and you can keep it there for 5 years.

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North
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby North » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:17 pm

Don't go to law school to work in politics. The best way to work in politics is to start working in politics. Get involved with state and local campaigns and put in BigLaw hours. Pick up a late-night part-time job to pay the bills. Make yourself valuable to the candidate. If your guy wins, you might land a job on his staff. Do that every election cycle until you make a name for yourself. Before you know it, candidates will be paying you to work for their campaigns. If you spend the time making the right connections and demonstrating political ability, someone with money might suggest that you run for office. That's when you become the candidate.

Spending the next three years working in politics will further your political career MUCH more than a JD from any of the schools you're considering. Also, it won't cost the $250,000 that Irvine would charge you.

illiniguy1551
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby illiniguy1551 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:02 am

http://www.csus.edu/calst/faqs.html

Absolutely apply to that program.

I'm currently doing the exact same type of program, except in a similarly-sized state's General Assembly. Everyone has law degrees: senators, reps, lobbyists, staffers. There is probably no better type of one-year experience where you can network. You work all day, and every day the legislature is in session there is a social event with free booze and food. More importantly, you can do some serious schmoozing to big wigs at these events. Especially do this program if you are going to stay in California. Three months into the internship, I've already met several people who are willing to help me get summer legal internships during law school, and I've got several interviews for policy think tank internships in D.C. this summer thanks to this job (will have to choose between this or a month long trip to SE Asia = tough decision).

If you decide to go on to law school, you will have made an invaluable number of connections. If you decide to stay and get into politics, there is no better platform. My own agenda was to build my resume, make local connections I will capitalize on later, and blend my political/legal ambitions into a single experience. I could not have made a better decision.

I would apply to this program and other programs similar to it. Obviously one in the state you want to practice in would serve best, but any of these types of programs would be beneficial regardless. I'm actually considering applying to the Cali one now just to put law school off again lol

PM if you want more details.

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Dany
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Re: Help: Opinion on a Gap year

Postby Dany » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:37 am

ph14 wrote:Do it. I went straight through and I kind of absolutely wish I had taken a gap year.




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