Question-Adult Learners/Law School

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AJFAJF
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Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby AJFAJF » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:02 pm

Hello everyone. 2 years ago I started the Legal Studies associates degree at my community college because I was in a relationship and had some pressure to start doing something in my life. (Age 23 at the time) The basic idea is that I could get a job as a Paralegal and then continue my education if I wanted to from there. Never the less the relationship ended about 6 months ago and I want to eventually go to Law School. I am finishing my Associates and have a few transfer options in my area.

*Note* I understand Legal Studies is not the ideal major for law schools but it is what it is at this point.

College Choices:

Peirce College is a private non profit generally geared towards adult learners offering a Legal Studies B.S.

Saint Joseph's University (you're probably vaguely familiar with it) offer a Legal Studies B.S. as well.

I signed dual admission agreements with both of them from day one at my community college and can go to both on a scholarship (GPA 3.7.)

At Peirce I'd only have to take 16 courses where as at St. Joes I'd be looking at about 21 courses. (More maths...I suck at Math plus a few religion classes)

Question is would it benefit me more for Law School Admission to go to St. Joes? Obviously Peirce is the lesser known name but I would probably maintain a higher GPA and I know I can get a decent LSAT score based on the practice tests I've taken.

BlueDiamond
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby BlueDiamond » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:07 pm

numbers are all that matters.. practice LSAT score is not always indicative of real LSAT score

real advice: there are no jobs so don't go to law school

AJFAJF
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby AJFAJF » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:12 pm

BlueDiamond wrote:numbers are all that matters.. practice LSAT score is not always indicative of real LSAT score

real advice: there are no jobs so don't go to law school


Lol could we be anymore pessimistic lol. Why don't I just go jump off a bridge then. When you work in a hell hole like I do for minimal money you'd be happier making 20k per year as a Lawyer in Bumblefuk, Kentucky then doing what I do now.

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twenty
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby twenty » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:02 pm

There are two things, and only two things that matter. Your LSAC-calculated GPA, and your highest LSAT. No one cares where you went to college, unless you went to Harvard, Yale or Princeton, and even then no one really cares.

Finally, moderately good law school decisions vs. bad decisions.

Moderately good ones are:
T14 minus GULC near sticker.
T1 on a full ride.

Decidedly worse ones are:
T1 at sticker.
TTT regardless.

Have fun!

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dingbat
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby dingbat » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:09 pm

AJFAJF wrote:Saint Joseph's University (you're probably vaguely familiar with it)

Never heard of it. Go to whichever school will let you get the best GPA at the lowest cost (time and money), study your ass off and ace the LSAT, and enjoy the best school/lowest tuition you can get into
Also, don't worry about age - you'll probably be about average when you matriculate

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TripTrip
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby TripTrip » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:01 am

dingbat wrote:Go to whichever school will let you get the best GPA at the lowest cost

+1

If all you want is law school, don't aim for a "prestigious institution." Aim for an institution with inflated GPAs.

BigZuck
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby BigZuck » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:34 am

I strongly suspect this will not work out well for the OP.

OP- go to a normal college, pick a real major that can get you a real job, and do the very best that you can in school. If you end up with a good GPA and a good LSAT score then great, otherwise use your college education to work in another field.

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kuttlefish
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby kuttlefish » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:04 pm

BigZuck wrote:I strongly suspect this will not work out well for the OP.

OP- go to a normal college, pick a real major that can get you a real job, and do the very best that you can in school. If you end up with a good GPA and a good LSAT score then great, otherwise use your college education to work in another field.


Normal Colleges are overrated, but there is some truth to this. To the OP, get comfortable with the idea of being a paralegal for the rest of your life, and go to the school that will get you a steady job in the legal field. If you end up with a high GPA and can get around a 170 on the LSAT, you're in good shape to take it to the next level and apply to law school. If life interferes with that plan, you've got a decent middle-class job in the industry you want.

Racking up $30k of debt per year to get a poli-sci degree, or a BA in "Poetry of the Pacific Islanders" will get you nowhere fast.

AJFAJF
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby AJFAJF » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:27 pm

Yeah. Legal Studies B.S. can additionally get you in the door as a claims adjuster. Not glamorous but hey it's an honest living in a poor economy. Never the less I'm dead set on law school sooo... Back up plans aren't a real option in my mind but yes there are other options if the world falls on my head.

westie25
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby westie25 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:29 pm

Go the route that will get you a bachelors w/ little to no debt. Get all As to get an awesome GPA. Then study your butt off for the LSAT. Get in some work experience in the legal field to give you some WE & so you can see what the legal field is. Also, build connections (network).

Don't go to a "real" school and pick a "real" major. It's going to cost you more money and more time. Unless that major is going to be engineering (which it doesn't sound like it is). There are plenty of people who went to "real" colleges and picked a "real" major who now have nice "real" jobs as waitresses and waiters at Olive Garden.

As a paralegal who decided to go to law school after 7 years in the legal field, people who tell you to settle on being a paralegal your entire life have absolutely no idea what it's really like being a paralegal. The legal market sucks right now, and that means it sucks for paralegals, too. The national average salary is extremely misleading as it factors in cities like (LA, Chicago, NYC, DC) where salaries are higher due to cost of living. In my career in STL, I've made between $12-22 an hour. Not that fantastic.

Do what you want to do as debt free as possible. Don't settle on something that you don't really want to do, because you have 50+ years of working ahead of you.

AJFAJF
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby AJFAJF » Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:57 pm

westie25 wrote:Go the route that will get you a bachelors w/ little to no debt. Get all As to get an awesome GPA. Then study your butt off for the LSAT. Get in some work experience in the legal field to give you some WE & so you can see what the legal field is. Also, build connections (network).

Don't go to a "real" school and pick a "real" major. It's going to cost you more money and more time. Unless that major is going to be engineering (which it doesn't sound like it is). There are plenty of people who went to "real" colleges and picked a "real" major who now have nice "real" jobs as waitresses and waiters at Olive Garden.

As a paralegal who decided to go to law school after 7 years in the legal field, people who tell you to settle on being a paralegal your entire life have absolutely no idea what it's really like being a paralegal. The legal market sucks right now, and that means it sucks for paralegals, too. The national average salary is extremely misleading as it factors in cities like (LA, Chicago, NYC, DC) where salaries are higher due to cost of living. In my career in STL, I've made between $12-22 an hour. Not that fantastic.

Do what you want to do as debt free as possible. Don't settle on something that you don't really want to do, because you have 50+ years of working ahead of you.


Nice post. Yeah I tend to agree with you on most front's. Obviously there are some cool things about "real" schools and "real majors." But I'm going to be 27 years old in the fall. The ship has sailed on "ra ra" school spirit and all that other stuff. Definitely think the 3.7-4.0 gpa in the fake major at the fake school is a net win in terms of law school admission when compared to a 3.0-3.5 from the "real" school with the "real" major. Plus less time and money involved.

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North
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby North » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:20 pm

That was good advice. If you want to be a lawyer, go to the cheap, easy school and get a 4.0 from here on out. Decide when you need to take the LSAT and come back to TLS's LSAT Prep forum about six months before then. Gun for nothing less than a 170.

Do that, and you might not have to settle for a 20K shitlaw job in Kentucky.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby prezidentv8 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:28 pm

AJFAJF wrote:
BlueDiamond wrote:numbers are all that matters.. practice LSAT score is not always indicative of real LSAT score

real advice: there are no jobs so don't go to law school


Lol could we be anymore pessimistic lol. Why don't I just go jump off a bridge then. When you work in a hell hole like I do for minimal money you'd be happier making 20k per year as a Lawyer in Bumblefuk, Kentucky then doing what I do now.


Okay, that's fine, but make sure you educate yourself on what the market is like. About half of the JD's out there don't get to be lawyers in the first place, many don't last very long in the field even if they do get to be lawyers, and most lawyer salaries are terrible given the debt that the vast majority of people rack up.

So, if you're (for whatever reason) THAT dead-set on law, then do this:

-170+ LSAT
-Choose an appropriate (i.e., T14 or #1 local school in your geographic area) law school you can attend for free or very close to free
-???
-Profit

AJFAJF
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby AJFAJF » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:40 pm

prezidentv8 wrote:
AJFAJF wrote:
BlueDiamond wrote:numbers are all that matters.. practice LSAT score is not always indicative of real LSAT score

real advice: there are no jobs so don't go to law school


Lol could we be anymore pessimistic lol. Why don't I just go jump off a bridge then. When you work in a hell hole like I do for minimal money you'd be happier making 20k per year as a Lawyer in Bumblefuk, Kentucky then doing what I do now.


Okay, that's fine, but make sure you educate yourself on what the market is like. About half of the JD's out there don't get to be lawyers in the first place, many don't last very long in the field even if they do get to be lawyers, and most lawyer salaries are terrible given the debt that the vast majority of people rack up.

So, if you're (for whatever reason) THAT dead-set on law, then do this:

-170+ LSAT
-Choose an appropriate (i.e., T14 or #1 local school in your geographic area) law school you can attend for free or very close to free
-???
-Profit


Yes however what do you think of this... California University of Pennsylvania offers a B.S. in Jurisprudence: Legal Studies... In state tuition is 6-7 k per year. I would accumulate about 12k of debt for my undergrad as a whole. (Actually less because I'll be working 25 hours or so per week to fund it) Then... if I go to say Temple Law at 18 k per year I'm under 70k total for undergrad and law school. Not too shabby considering my sister has 80k of debt with no graduate degree and is an elementary school teacher making 35k. :shock:

BigZuck
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby BigZuck » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:43 pm

I hear you guys on the whole "get a 4.0 and kill the LSAT" advice and that "real BAs" are frequently useless and I 100% agree but I am not convinced that this plan will succeed for the OP and I think having some sort of backup is better than going all in on the lawyer thing.

Edit: See, OP thinks that going to Temple is a good idea. You guys are trying to get him in to Penn which is noble but not even on his radar.

AJFAJF
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby AJFAJF » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:47 pm

BigZuck wrote:I hear you guys on the whole "get a 4.0 and kill the LSAT" advice and that "real BAs" are frequently useless and I 100% agree but I am not convinced that this plan will succeed for the OP and I think having some sort of backup is better than going all in on the lawyer thing.


The back up is Paralegal / Claims adjuster guy job lol. Otherwise there's always grad school to get a Master in Poli Sci or Public Policy and go that sort of route. Why are you not convinced? It's kind of a blanket statement.

As for Temple I was just saying as a matter of fact if for some reason I couldn't get over a 165 on the LSAT. Just for argument sake.

Ofcourse Penn is on my radar.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby prezidentv8 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:02 pm

AJFAJF wrote:
prezidentv8 wrote:
AJFAJF wrote:
BlueDiamond wrote:numbers are all that matters.. practice LSAT score is not always indicative of real LSAT score

real advice: there are no jobs so don't go to law school


Lol could we be anymore pessimistic lol. Why don't I just go jump off a bridge then. When you work in a hell hole like I do for minimal money you'd be happier making 20k per year as a Lawyer in Bumblefuk, Kentucky then doing what I do now.


Okay, that's fine, but make sure you educate yourself on what the market is like. About half of the JD's out there don't get to be lawyers in the first place, many don't last very long in the field even if they do get to be lawyers, and most lawyer salaries are terrible given the debt that the vast majority of people rack up.

So, if you're (for whatever reason) THAT dead-set on law, then do this:

-170+ LSAT
-Choose an appropriate (i.e., T14 or #1 local school in your geographic area) law school you can attend for free or very close to free
-???
-Profit


Yes however what do you think of this... California University of Pennsylvania offers a B.S. in Jurisprudence: Legal Studies... In state tuition is 6-7 k per year. I would accumulate about 12k of debt for my undergrad as a whole. (Actually less because I'll be working 25 hours or so per week to fund it) Then... if I go to say Temple Law at 18 k per year I'm under 70k total for undergrad and law school. Not too shabby considering my sister has 80k of debt with no graduate degree and is an elementary school teacher making 35k. :shock:



70k for Temple is a really bad deal IMO, and I'm not even sure you've factored in cost of living expenses and accrued interest into that debt number.

On a related note, you say that as if you're very confident you'd be making more than $35k with a Temple JD. Personally, I would not be so confident: http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=temple

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prezidentv8
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby prezidentv8 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:03 pm

AJFAJF wrote:As for Temple I was just saying as a matter of fact if for some reason I couldn't get over a 165 on the LSAT. Just for argument sake.

Ofcourse Penn is on my radar.


Okay, good :mrgreen:

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kuttlefish
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby kuttlefish » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:18 pm

westie25 wrote:Go the route that will get you a bachelors w/ little to no debt. Get all As to get an awesome GPA. Then study your butt off for the LSAT. Get in some work experience in the legal field to give you some WE & so you can see what the legal field is. Also, build connections (network).

Don't go to a "real" school and pick a "real" major. It's going to cost you more money and more time. Unless that major is going to be engineering (which it doesn't sound like it is). There are plenty of people who went to "real" colleges and picked a "real" major who now have nice "real" jobs as waitresses and waiters at Olive Garden.

As a paralegal who decided to go to law school after 7 years in the legal field, people who tell you to settle on being a paralegal your entire life have absolutely no idea what it's really like being a paralegal. The legal market sucks right now, and that means it sucks for paralegals, too. The national average salary is extremely misleading as it factors in cities like (LA, Chicago, NYC, DC) where salaries are higher due to cost of living. In my career in STL, I've made between $12-22 an hour. Not that fantastic.

Do what you want to do as debt free as possible. Don't settle on something that you don't really want to do, because you have 50+ years of working ahead of you.


FWIW, I'm a working paralegal in a mid-sized law firm. Got a "real" BA 9 years ago... did nothing with it (luckily there was no debt attached). A few years ago, I took night classes and got my ABA paralegal certificate and started working in the legal field. Started as a file clerk, worked my way up, and have been a paralegal for some time now. Next step is law school in the fall.

I think you and I agree on most things, except how much better life will be as a lawyer. You say you've made up to $22/hr as a paralegal. That's roughly $44k/year. $45k/year is pretty common for a lot of public interest law and first year associates in small firms outside of major markets. I said "get used to the idea of being a paralegal for the rest of your life" not to shoot down the OP's dreams and say s/he is worthless. It sounds like the OP is coming out of a rough patch and getting things together (great stuff for a personal statement btw), as someone who is a little further up the same road, I would say manage your debt and manage your expectations.

Also +1 on what a lot of others are saying, get the best numbers you can get. The only people who care about what undergrad school you went to are 0L's who paid way too much for their BA and are pissed to find out it's worthless. Law schools need your numbers to boost their rankings so they can raise their tuition. It's really that cynical. There's nothing in the US News report or anywhere else that qualifies the school that your GPA came from. LSAC does that to some extent, so don't be surprised if your 4.0 becomes a (3.8 ), but a (3.8 ) and a 170+ will probably get you into Penn.

And get work experience. Personally, I would go the Claims Adjuster route. WE won't get you into law school, but it will open doors when you graduate. As a claims adjuster you will have experience on the client side of things. At the very least you will know what claims adjusters need/want as far as status reports and evaluations, settlement authority, etc. That'll put you years ahead of other first year associates who went Kindergarten-JD with no experience in the real world. A best case scenario would be that some of the claims adjusters that you previously worked with have moved up the ladder while you were at law school. Now they're in a position to hand out cases, and you already have a relationship.

So best case = UPenn grad on your way to being a rainmaking partner by the time your debt is paid off.
(less than 5% chance of this actually happening)
worst case = Pittsburg grad with minimal debt doing glorified paralegal work for <$50k/year
(greater than 50% chance of this actually happening)

Like I said, manage your debt, manage your expectations and always have at least 2 backup plans and 1 escape route... you are not a special snowflake. Now, get your hustle on.

westie25
Posts: 116
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Re: Question-Adult Learners/Law School

Postby westie25 » Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:54 pm

kuttlefish wrote:
westie25 wrote:Go the route that will get you a bachelors w/ little to no debt. Get all As to get an awesome GPA. Then study your butt off for the LSAT. Get in some work experience in the legal field to give you some WE & so you can see what the legal field is. Also, build connections (network).

Don't go to a "real" school and pick a "real" major. It's going to cost you more money and more time. Unless that major is going to be engineering (which it doesn't sound like it is). There are plenty of people who went to "real" colleges and picked a "real" major who now have nice "real" jobs as waitresses and waiters at Olive Garden.

As a paralegal who decided to go to law school after 7 years in the legal field, people who tell you to settle on being a paralegal your entire life have absolutely no idea what it's really like being a paralegal. The legal market sucks right now, and that means it sucks for paralegals, too. The national average salary is extremely misleading as it factors in cities like (LA, Chicago, NYC, DC) where salaries are higher due to cost of living. In my career in STL, I've made between $12-22 an hour. Not that fantastic.

Do what you want to do as debt free as possible. Don't settle on something that you don't really want to do, because you have 50+ years of working ahead of you.


FWIW, I'm a working paralegal in a mid-sized law firm. Got a "real" BA 9 years ago... did nothing with it (luckily there was no debt attached). A few years ago, I took night classes and got my ABA paralegal certificate and started working in the legal field. Started as a file clerk, worked my way up, and have been a paralegal for some time now. Next step is law school in the fall.

I think you and I agree on most things, except how much better life will be as a lawyer. You say you've made up to $22/hr as a paralegal. That's roughly $44k/year. $45k/year is pretty common for a lot of public interest law and first year associates in small firms outside of major markets. I said "get used to the idea of being a paralegal for the rest of your life" not to shoot down the OP's dreams and say s/he is worthless. It sounds like the OP is coming out of a rough patch and getting things together (great stuff for a personal statement btw), as someone who is a little further up the same road, I would say manage your debt and manage your expectations.

Also +1 on what a lot of others are saying, get the best numbers you can get. The only people who care about what undergrad school you went to are 0L's who paid way too much for their BA and are pissed to find out it's worthless. Law schools need your numbers to boost their rankings so they can raise their tuition. It's really that cynical. There's nothing in the US News report or anywhere else that qualifies the school that your GPA came from. LSAC does that to some extent, so don't be surprised if your 4.0 becomes a (3.8 ), but a (3.8 ) and a 170+ will probably get you into Penn.

And get work experience. Personally, I would go the Claims Adjuster route. WE won't get you into law school, but it will open doors when you graduate. As a claims adjuster you will have experience on the client side of things. At the very least you will know what claims adjusters need/want as far as status reports and evaluations, settlement authority, etc. That'll put you years ahead of other first year associates who went Kindergarten-JD with no experience in the real world. A best case scenario would be that some of the claims adjusters that you previously worked with have moved up the ladder while you were at law school. Now they're in a position to hand out cases, and you already have a relationship.

So best case = UPenn grad on your way to being a rainmaking partner by the time your debt is paid off.
(less than 5% chance of this actually happening)
worst case = Pittsburg grad with minimal debt doing glorified paralegal work for <$50k/year
(greater than 50% chance of this actually happening)

Like I said, manage your debt, manage your expectations and always have at least 2 backup plans and 1 escape route... you are not a special snowflake. Now, get your hustle on.


Except I never once said being an attorney was better. I'm aware that it isn't always better. Going to law school as debt free as possible is just a step I chose to take for many reasons. Also, that $22/hour was for part-time work, so I wasn't making $45K/year. More like $19K. I've worked in public service the majority of my career, so I'm fully aware of what salary a prosecutor / public defender makes. I also worked in the private sector, and I know that very few of the attorneys I worked with there made more than $70K. That's why I told OP to go for what s/he wanted to do as debt free as possible, and don't just settle on being a paralegal.




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