Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

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Dog
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Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby Dog » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:31 am

First things first, my stats real quick: 174 LSAT (only take), ~3.57 GPA (assuming I 4.0 this easy summer class), otherwise 3.55. GPA has been 3.76 over the last 46 credits, 4.0 during the last semester. I expect these trends to continue, and I'm class of 2014 undergrad.

The more I look into it, the more I think taking time off before law school could be a VERY good idea due to maturity, experience, enjoyment, etc. I'd prefer to do something interesting that I won't have a chance to do after law school.. TFA/Teaching English abroad, Ameri/Peace Corps, circus clown (kidding), etc.

Part of me still wants to apply this cycle just to see what happens. My GPA could be around ~3.67 if I 4.0 senior year (or higher if I take extra creds), but that doesn't promise better results. Right now I'm thinking best case scenario for me is either a small scholly (but likely sticker) at CCN or a larger one at a lower t14 (Cornell?).

So my questions are:

- Would you recommend applying this cycle to see results? I probably would apply to a slightly more limited range of schools than if I was planning on K-JD.
- If I get an offer I don't want to pass on how hard would it be to get a deferral? Do schools frown upon reapplying - even if you were already accepted?
- What in-between jobs do you guys find most interesting (this is just for ideas)?
- What do you think of K-JD vs. WE?

I already searched through some old threads, just checking for input.

Thanks.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:33 am

Dont apply this cycle. Max out your GPA through senior year, apply fall 2014.

Higher grades and Time off (well spent) almost always strengthens an application

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heythatslife
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby heythatslife » Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:50 am

First thing, congrats on the 174.

I shake my head and my eyes roll over when people ask if they should apply in a cycle "just to see." Either you do it or you don't, and when you do it, give it the best damn shot you got as if you really mean to go, because you aren't doing yourself any service by making a half-hearted attempt and settling for less than what you could have got.

In any case, if you're shooting for a scholly from one of the T14 your GPA should be higher than what it is now, which currently falls below the 25th percentile at most T14. Getting that 0.1 boost by the end of your senior year (assuming you get it) might tip the scale in your favor, though. It is not negligible. So, unless you've got a couple hundred bucks and lots of time that you really don't mind just burning, my suggestion would be to focus on your undergrad coursework amd get that GPA up.

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Clearly
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby Clearly » Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:51 am

Its a toss-up in my opinion. If you want to enjoy a year doing something non-legal, go right ahead. You have good numbers and taking a year can only help your applications. On the other hand, with your numbers I don't see one year of work experience opening doors at any schools that wouldn't already be open this upcoming cycle, and you do risk a more competitive applicant pool by waiting. Then of course there is the economic argument of forgoing a year of post JD income for a year of pre-JD incomes, which ultimately hinges on the success you find post JD (if you burnout of biglaw and can't find other work after 5 years, it wouldn't matter which 5 years they were).

Like I said, its really a matter of preference, there are solid arguments on both sides, if you want to take a year and do something cool, go right ahead, its certainly not a bad call, but I doubt it'll have any bearing on your future.

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Clearly
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby Clearly » Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:55 am

heythatslife wrote:First thing, congrats on the 174.

I shake my head and my eyes roll over when people ask if they should apply in a cycle "just to see." Either you do it or you don't, and when you do it, give it the best damn shot you got as if you really mean to go, because you aren't doing yourself any service by making a half-hearted attempt and settling for less than what you could have got.

In any case, if you're shooting for a scholly from one of the T14 your GPA should be higher than what it is now, which currently falls below the 25th percentile at most T14. Getting that 0.1 boost by the end of your senior year (assuming you get it) might tip the scale in your favor, though. It is not negligible. So, unless you've got a couple hundred bucks and lots of time that you really don't mind just burning, my suggestion would be to focus on your undergrad coursework amd get that GPA up.


This is a little much. A weak application and "just to see" aren't correlated... It's entirely possible to both put a strong application in, and do so with the intent of just seeing your options. Likewise, I'd believe most weak applications are from applicants who genuinely intend to attend...

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jbagelboy
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:56 am

Clearlynotstefan wrote:Its a toss-up in my opinion. If you want to enjoy a year doing something non-legal, go right ahead. You have good numbers and taking a year can only help your applications. On the other hand, with your numbers I don't see one year of work experience opening doors at any schools that wouldn't already be open this upcoming cycle, and you do risk a more competitive applicant pool by waiting. Then of course there is the economic argument of forgoing a year of post JD income for a year of pre-JD incomes, which ultimately hinges on the success you find post JD (if you burnout of biglaw and can't find other work after 5 years, it wouldn't matter which 5 years they were).

Like I said, its really a matter of preference, there are solid arguments on both sides, if you want to take a year and do something cool, go right ahead, its certainly not a bad call, but I doubt it'll have any bearing on your future.


Even if you claim the 1yr WE wont serve as a soft, you can't deny two extra semesters of good grades boosting GPA most definitely and directly improve OPs cycle

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heythatslife
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby heythatslife » Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:56 am

Clearlynotstefan wrote: you do risk a more competitive applicant pool by waiting.


Well you could just as well argue the opposite, that the next cycle could be even easier.

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heythatslife
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby heythatslife » Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:01 am

Clearlynotstefan wrote:
heythatslife wrote:First thing, congrats on the 174.

I shake my head and my eyes roll over when people ask if they should apply in a cycle "just to see." Either you do it or you don't, and when you do it, give it the best damn shot you got as if you really mean to go, because you aren't doing yourself any service by making a half-hearted attempt and settling for less than what you could have got.

In any case, if you're shooting for a scholly from one of the T14 your GPA should be higher than what it is now, which currently falls below the 25th percentile at most T14. Getting that 0.1 boost by the end of your senior year (assuming you get it) might tip the scale in your favor, though. It is not negligible. So, unless you've got a couple hundred bucks and lots of time that you really don't mind just burning, my suggestion would be to focus on your undergrad coursework amd get that GPA up.


This is a little much. A weak application and "just to see" aren't correlated... It's entirely possible to both put a strong application in, and do so with the intent of just seeing your options. Likewise, I'd believe most weak applications are from applicants who genuinely intend to attend...


Okay, I agree I stated this a little more aggressively than I should have. And it doesn't mean an application will be necessarily weaker for someone applying "just to see." But it can become easier to fall in the mindset of justifying a half-assed attempt by telling yourself you weren't serious.

My point is there isn't any harm, but why bother given the time and money it takes?

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Clearly
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby Clearly » Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:05 am

jbagelboy wrote:
Clearlynotstefan wrote:Its a toss-up in my opinion. If you want to enjoy a year doing something non-legal, go right ahead. You have good numbers and taking a year can only help your applications. On the other hand, with your numbers I don't see one year of work experience opening doors at any schools that wouldn't already be open this upcoming cycle, and you do risk a more competitive applicant pool by waiting. Then of course there is the economic argument of forgoing a year of post JD income for a year of pre-JD incomes, which ultimately hinges on the success you find post JD (if you burnout of biglaw and can't find other work after 5 years, it wouldn't matter which 5 years they were).

Like I said, its really a matter of preference, there are solid arguments on both sides, if you want to take a year and do something cool, go right ahead, its certainly not a bad call, but I doubt it'll have any bearing on your future.


Even if you claim the 1yr WE wont serve as a soft, you can't deny two extra semesters of good grades boosting GPA most definitely and directly improve OPs cycle

Agree wholeheartedly on the GPA front.

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Clearly
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby Clearly » Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:13 am

heythatslife wrote:
Clearlynotstefan wrote:
heythatslife wrote:First thing, congrats on the 174.

I shake my head and my eyes roll over when people ask if they should apply in a cycle "just to see." Either you do it or you don't, and when you do it, give it the best damn shot you got as if you really mean to go, because you aren't doing yourself any service by making a half-hearted attempt and settling for less than what you could have got.

In any case, if you're shooting for a scholly from one of the T14 your GPA should be higher than what it is now, which currently falls below the 25th percentile at most T14. Getting that 0.1 boost by the end of your senior year (assuming you get it) might tip the scale in your favor, though. It is not negligible. So, unless you've got a couple hundred bucks and lots of time that you really don't mind just burning, my suggestion would be to focus on your undergrad coursework amd get that GPA up.


This is a little much. A weak application and "just to see" aren't correlated... It's entirely possible to both put a strong application in, and do so with the intent of just seeing your options. Likewise, I'd believe most weak applications are from applicants who genuinely intend to attend...


Okay, I agree I stated this a little more aggressively than I should have. And it doesn't mean an application will be necessarily weaker for someone applying "just to see." But it can become easier to fall in the mindset of justifying a half-assed attempt by telling yourself you weren't serious.

My point is there isn't any harm, but why bother given the time and money it takes?

Their are ups and downs to trying it, I did it myself. Ended up with a rather unique situation taking place (PM if you're interested) as a result. Some argue that applying to the same schools in two cycles reflects well on your desire to attend, and diminishes the perception as a yield risk (schools will assume with good numbers that you had other offers, and opted a reapply anyway because you want that school). Plus an acceptance can really put you at ease, because most schools tend to honor previous acceptances (provided you withdraw with a believable reason besides "I wanna play the field"), so you can walk into the next cycle feeling confident that any previous acceptances are a positive indicator.

The downside is obviously application fees (which can be mitigated by asking for waivers, which they are shockingly quick to hand out), and the risk of getting dinged if you slack on the app and getting your feelins hurt. And there are some who think prior denials work against you, although I don't believe this, and see no data suggesting its true.

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Dog
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby Dog » Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:58 pm

I agree that it makes sense to really wait and apply if you think the extra year will significantly improve your application. Unfortunately there is a chance I won't 4.0 senior year. I might 3.7 or 3.8 it, in which case my GPA would move substantially less. When you plug the numbers into LSN over the last couple years, it becomes obvious I could potentially be looking at acceptances to the exact same list of schools, with scholarship money barely being higher with the .1 GPA bump (this is assuming any gained softs don't help much either).

If I apply this cycle and get 50-60k at one of CCN, 120k at Cornell, (myLSN suggests this could happen), I will stand to gain almost nothing in regards to my cycle in the upcoming year.

Thanks for the input though guys, I was hoping for consensus and while it seems to be leaning towards just wait there is of course some debate.

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shifty_eyed
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby shifty_eyed » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:55 pm

jbagelboy wrote:Dont apply this cycle. Max out your GPA through senior year, apply fall 2014.

Higher grades and Time off (well spent) almost always strengthens an application


And taking time off will allow you to fully consider whether you want to be a lawyer.

Lumieres
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby Lumieres » Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:37 am

Take some time off. Law school will always be there.

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sinfiery
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby sinfiery » Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:21 am

Always take the year off from k-jd if you can.

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Dog
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby Dog » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:39 pm

Alright I think that's enough agreement to keep me from applying this cycle. I should have better LORs, a higher GPA, a better PS, more experience living on my own, and a lot better idea of whether law is right for me next year. Worst case scenario with waiting a year - My cycle goes about the same. Worst case scenario going K-JD - I am more likely to make a regrettable life decision, have a crappier cycle, end up with more debt, etc.

Having so much extra time almost makes me tempted for a second try on the LSAT, but I probably won't. And I DEFINITELY won't be retaking it in 2013. Thanks for the advice guys.

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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby Lumieres » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:02 pm

Your LSAT is solid. Just focus on increasing that GPA, and profit.

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Dog
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby Dog » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:25 pm

Lumieres wrote:Your LSAT is solid. Just focus on increasing that GPA, and profit.


Yeah that is the intention.. But then again, the only semester I've 4.0'd was also the only semester I was studying for the LSAT.. COINCIDENCE? Haha it probably had more to do with me not taking calculus or linear algebra.

Any good ideas for a year off though? I am open to pretty much anything.

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twenty
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby twenty » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:28 pm

Work.

No kidding, even if it doesn't help you for admissions, it will definitely help you come OCI.

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Dog
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby Dog » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:42 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:Work.

No kidding, even if it doesn't help you for admissions, it will definitely help you come OCI.


Yeah I expected that much, I meant more like ideas for work. Traditional career search (I'm an econ major)? Sign up for volunteer work? Teach abroad? I'm working as an intern with a judge right now, but it's unpaid but I don't anticipate I will find a full time legal job. (internship is unpaid)

Do certain types of jobs help a lot more with OCI than others?

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thewaves
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby thewaves » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:48 pm

I 100% think you should get some work experience. See a bit of the world, get out of the classroom. It will benefit you in admissions, life, and post-graduation (to a small extent).


Please don't use "4.0" as a verb ever again. :P

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Dog
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby Dog » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:11 pm

thewaves wrote:I 100% think you should get some work experience. See a bit of the world, get out of the classroom. It will benefit you in admissions, life, and post-graduation (to a small extent).


Please don't use "4.0" as a verb ever again. :P


I agree with all but this last point.

HATERS GON' HATE IT WAS MY FIRST 4.0 EVER (HS included, lol).

TooOld4This
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby TooOld4This » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:12 pm

Dog wrote:
twentypercentmore wrote:Work.

No kidding, even if it doesn't help you for admissions, it will definitely help you come OCI.


Yeah I expected that much, I meant more like ideas for work. Traditional career search (I'm an econ major)? Sign up for volunteer work? Teach abroad? I'm working as an intern with a judge right now, but it's unpaid but I don't anticipate I will find a full time legal job. (internship is unpaid)

Do certain types of jobs help a lot more with OCI than others?


Don't look at it as taking a year off. Legitimately go out and live life rather than bide your time until law school. Don't cap your "time off" at a year or two. See how things develop in something non-legal. Watch your friends who go straight through. Set up informational interviews with people who work in legal settings you find interesting.

Just because you can go to a good law school doesn't mean you should. Just because you think the law or a legal internship is interesting, doesn't mean you will find being an attorney worth the investment. Keeping your eye on going to law school will diminish the advantage of delaying your application. Don't sell the time short, give yourself the opportunity to find another path. Virtually nothing you do after you graduate will affect your application to law school. The resume line means next to nothing (good or bad). The value is in giving yourself a chance to grow (which, besides being valuable in its self, can help your essays) and in knowing, when work sucks and you rue the day you took the LSAT, that you actually did try something else and weren't just a lemming following the path of least resistance.

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Dog
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby Dog » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:38 pm

TooOld4This wrote:
Dog wrote:
twentypercentmore wrote:Work.

No kidding, even if it doesn't help you for admissions, it will definitely help you come OCI.


Yeah I expected that much, I meant more like ideas for work. Traditional career search (I'm an econ major)? Sign up for volunteer work? Teach abroad? I'm working as an intern with a judge right now, but it's unpaid but I don't anticipate I will find a full time legal job. (internship is unpaid)

Do certain types of jobs help a lot more with OCI than others?


Don't look at it as taking a year off. Legitimately go out and live life rather than bide your time until law school. Don't cap your "time off" at a year or two. See how things develop in something non-legal. Watch your friends who go straight through. Set up informational interviews with people who work in legal settings you find interesting.

Just because you can go to a good law school doesn't mean you should. Just because you think the law or a legal internship is interesting, doesn't mean you will find being an attorney worth the investment. Keeping your eye on going to law school will diminish the advantage of delaying your application. Don't sell the time short, give yourself the opportunity to find another path. Virtually nothing you do after you graduate will affect your application to law school. The resume line means next to nothing (good or bad). The value is in giving yourself a chance to grow (which, besides being valuable in its self, can help your essays) and in knowing, when work sucks and you rue the day you took the LSAT, that you actually did try something else and weren't just a lemming following the path of least resistance.


That was put very eloquently, and I completely agree. If I go away to work and don't return for law school, it won't be because I grew lazy or let opportunity slide away. It will be because I found a better path. Some people want to rush and get a JD as fast as possible so they can start making lots of money. I'd rather have a wealth of experiences than a wealth of cash.

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twenty
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby twenty » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:22 am

Dog wrote:I meant more like ideas for work.


I don't really think it matters too terribly much. Working in a law firm is great, though depending on your state, I might even look into a law enforcement academy. Starbucks is on the low end of prestige. ;)

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Dog
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Re: Considering taking time off before law school - need advice

Postby Dog » Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:23 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:
Dog wrote:I meant more like ideas for work.


I don't really think it matters too terribly much. Working in a law firm is great, though depending on your state, I might even look into a law enforcement academy. Starbucks is on the low end of prestige. ;)


If I end up unemployed for 6 months and then at Starbucks another 6, I will definitely apply the following cycle haha. I'd rather sign up for one of the volunteer type gigs, teach in Korea, basically anything that let me escape the shame of living with my family while being a Starbuck's barista with a bachelor's degree.

But if I could get something of the financial/legal variety, I'd take it in a second.




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