epgenius wrote:Yes, I know this. I also know that a disturbing portion of those who do apply to law school and go to law school do so because they do not know what else to do with their lives. This fact is far more alarming than the situations of people like our OP here, who is in a better position than the vast majority of applicants anyway, so why don't we use TLS to focus on making sure applicants actually want to go to law school. Retake is not the perfect solution it's made out to be, and neither is "wait a year and apply next cycle," most people don't have the ability to put their lives on hold another year, so I try to at least give them a less grave, perhaps slightly optimistic vantage point by which to assess their positions. How many of those advised to retake with scores like OP's get lower scores and get into lower schools when their scores are averaged? Frankly, too many for my liking when the actual key to jobs is doing well in law school. Yes, it is easier to get there from a t14 -- it's also easier to go to law school at a t14 with grade inflation and the emphasis on ranking... sometimes that fact alone will help more than the name recognition.
Most people on this site, enlightened as they may believe themselves to be, make people unnecessarily neurotic about how they are doing. By all accounts over the last two years (especially last year), OP can get $120,000 at USC which, if he/she wants to practice in LA, is well worth the cost. There is no reason to convince him/her that their only option is to retake and discourage them. If they're to be discouraged, why not do so by giving accurate descriptions of what law school is like? Statistics are dandy but, if you have the ability to be at or near the top of your class, you're probably going to get a good job. Maybe if we all looked at the glass as half-full from time to time, naive as you or anyone else may think it to be, lawyers wouldn't have such rampant discontent with their professions... lest we forget that even, (arguably especially), lawyers making $160,000 a year at a biglaw firm are unhappy.
, scores are no longer averaged; they stopped doing that several years ago, so that shouldn't be a reason not to retake.Second
, I think that the idea that TLS always sees the glass as half-empty is correct because with the outcomes at many schools, the glass is literally (not metaphorically) almost half empty - only 56% (26,081/46,404) of those who graduated in 2012 landed long-term, full-time, JD-required legal employment (in other words, "became lawyers"). At USC, the glass is only 30% empty; 70% (154/221)
of their 2012 graduates became lawyers. This is good, but still kind of risky. After all, money is not the only thing you should be considering. Time is also an important factor, and 3 years is by no means "cheap" even if the tuition doesn't cost much.Third
, those that TLS calls "special snowflakes" assume that "trying hard in law school" will make everything turn out okay. Unfortunately, that's what every single other person is also thinking who goes to law school. They didn't perform as well on the LSAT or during undergrad as they could have, so they'll make up for it by beating the curve in law school.Fourth
, let's say that someone (like the OP) really
wants to go to law school, kind of like you mentioned. If they are serious about this goal, then that is just one more reason why they should be able to put their life on hold for another year since it will likely affect the rest of their career. I know there are good reasons not to retake, but simply not wanting to wait another year isn't one of them.
Perhaps it's just a matter of faith. With OP's numbers, he/she is not likely to be at a school where the "56% become lawyers" is necessarily as applicable... A 168 is not going to be relegated to Thomas Jefferson or Golden Gate as its only viable options. And for all the emphasis on LSAT, OP has already gotten 2 points higher than us. I guess, if there is a lower chance of the scores being averaged, it is more worth it to retake than I previously thought but it just, honestly, pisses me off to see so many top 5 law school attendees coming back onto this website giving new applicants dire forecasts about their careers.
Not everyone can go to a t14. Congratulations on your accomplishment of attendance, but plenty of people get denied or overlooked, sometimes despite their numbers, for a myriad of reasons and it cannot be healthy to prescribe one set of circumstances for the multitudes. I don't know about OP, but I, for one, would rather make a good deal less money working for a small to medium sized firm, or non-profit, or the government, than spending 60+ hours a week at a thankless biglaw job getting burnt out on the profession. There are options and, given that no one else seems to have any other ideas, I don't think it a crime to let normal applicants, myself included, know that the world does not end when the first two digits of your LSAT score do not read "1-7." There is, most likely, at least a 70% chance that OP will have a job out of law school. Go to GW and that becomes over 80% -- less than 5% below Cornell, Duke, Berkeley or Michigan. Optimism is not uninformed, it's just a positive interpretation. Maybe I'm playing devil's advocate but the numbers say that OP will probably be just fine as is without any additional stressing out. May I remind you that OP stated he/she is only interested in going to school in So Cal. With ample first-hand experience at an elite, So Cal law school, I am not wrong in saying his/her chances at getting into my school, and UCLA, and every other school Southern California, are better than the majority of people on here are making them out to be.