Can you go to law school coming from low income family

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tim131
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Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby tim131 » Mon Dec 29, 2014 3:41 pm

Hello
My wife wants to go to law school, she is in her last year of her undergrand, on course for a 4.0 GPA, I have no doubt she will get it, as she gets angry when she gets less than a perfect score in any assignement... it is crazy.
I have no doubt she would do well on her LSAT, I don't know too much about the whole law school thing, but she is aiming for a perfect score or very close to it, and I jave no doubt she will get it.
I don;t have a degree, but working in banking, will be making about 40k a year - we can move anywhere for any law school, I am just quite worried about the affordability.
Do full scholarships exist, what should she be doing to get them? anything in place for low income families, we have no kids yet.
We're going to be Florida based, she is looking at stetson, which is quite easy to get into from what I see and she also likes the look at Georgetown, Duke and Liberty University (where she is doing her undergrand in para-legal) - I am worried moving to DC, will be expensive enough let alone having to pay 50k a year in tuition, I literally have no idea how it works.
She is interested in becoming an immigration attorney, its a life long dream, and one way or another we will make it happen for her.
Anyone have any advice or suggestions about it - I don't want to talk to her about it just yet, well the finances - as I want her to go to the best place for her where she is comfortable etc regardless of costings.
Many thanks,
Tim

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whitespider
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Re: Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby whitespider » Mon Dec 29, 2014 3:54 pm

With a 4.0, she's in a great position to get a full ride scholarship to a well-regarded university, assuming she can rock the LSAT.

bl1nds1ght
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Re: Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby bl1nds1ght » Mon Dec 29, 2014 4:02 pm

Her 4.0 will certainly put her on the path to a great merit scholarship somewhere assuming that she can attain an LSAT to match, just as whitespider said.

You should check out these employment resources though:

http://www.lstscorereports.com/state/

http://www.reddit.com/r/lawschoolstats/ ... sults_all/

With a 4.0, she really shouldn't be considering Stetson or Liberty. There are huge differences in employment prospects between TTT schools like those and top schools like Duke/Georgetown/etc. Just take a look at their medians (GPA / LSAT) required for admission, though.

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Rigo
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Re: Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby Rigo » Mon Dec 29, 2014 4:02 pm

Your wife sounds great but the LSAT is a very hard test and a high GPA is not indicative of LSAT success. She will not get a perfect score, I can tell you that much.

Full scholarships do exist. If she gets that 4.0 and a very high LSAT score, Duke (the best school you mentioned) on a full ride scholarship is possible.

Your wife's school list is nutty. People who are serious candidates for Georgetown and Duke don't also seriously consider Liberty or Stetson.
Here is a list of medians for top schools. Hopefully it inspires her to study her butt off for the LSAT. 3 months of intensive study at minumum. It will oftentimes take longer than that, however.
Image

So to answer your basic question of affordability--yes, it has the potential to be very affordable. It will all come down to her LSAT, it seems. If she falls short on the LSAT but is adamant about attending anyways, law school could very well be financially disastrous.
Encourage her to join TLS so she learns how to effectively prepare for the LSAT and also gain a larger understanding about how the law school admissions game works.

tim131
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Re: Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby tim131 » Mon Dec 29, 2014 5:55 pm

Thanks all for the replies - I understand its a bit weird giving advice to a third party, but I guess a lot of it is for me to wrap my head around, both the practical and monetary side of things.

With regards the GPA, she will very likely maintain that - she keeps telling me GPA and LSAT are complete different ballgames and a GPA is easier and the LSAT is critical and logical thinking, she says would be very unhappy not getting more than a 175 - she is aiming for the perfect score.

I appreciate that stetson and liberty are on the complete other end of the spectrum when comparing to georgetown and duke - I think the reasoning behind the array or college is:

Liberty, she is doing her undergrad there, they are christian, the class sizes are small (which she says is HUGELY important)

Stetson, it is close to where we live, driving distance of family, near the beaches, we have contacts there and live Tampa Bay, aparently they are good for immigration according to her, and do an accelerated learning program, so instead of 4 years, you can shave a year or so off, for working on the weekend and evenings.

Georgetown and Duke are a relatively new idea - partly due to my encouragement. You see I am actually from Ireland and no little of college education in the states, but I know that a 4.0 is very good and not all that common and I feel to a certain extent her talent would be wasted at the like of Liberty or Stetson, and encouraged her a little bit to look at higher up law programs.

I don't want to influence her decision at all I just want to nurture her talent and do whats best for her, class size wise and also education wise.

I think she wants to stay out of the big cities like Boston and NYC etc - she says she doesn't like this cut throat law school stereotype of thing that may come part and parcel with the likes of Harvard and Yale etc

I apologise for the rambling - I am just a confused fella trying to do right by my wife - I don't want to influence her, I just want to guide her to her best potential - I feel she is better than lower tier schools, but then again who am I to say that, you know?

Anyways its good to know there is a lot of tuition support out there, and hopefully we will be okay!

Thanks,

TIm

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TheodoreKGB
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Re: Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby TheodoreKGB » Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:06 pm

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Last edited by TheodoreKGB on Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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starry eyed
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Re: Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby starry eyed » Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:14 pm

Your wife should be more concerned with opportunity after graduation rather than class size. Duke and Georgetown would be far more likely to produce the kind of outcome she is looking for.

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Rigo
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Re: Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby Rigo » Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:17 pm

Minor correction: Law school is generally 3 years so an accelerated program would likely be 2 or 2.5 years.

You sound like an all around great husband with encouraging her to set her sights higher.

I understand the not wanting to live in NYC thing, but the "top law schools are cutthroat" thing is off-base. I've actually heard it's the opposite. Graduates of the very top schools are most likely to gobble up all the desirable jobs, so they don't have as much an incentive to tear their classmates down. Lower ranked schools, I've heard, are super cutthroat because everyone is really insecure about their employment prospects and they fight like *H.E.Double Hockey Sticks* (sorry, bad Liberty joke) to be in the top of the class because they know that desirable outcomes quickly diminish once you're outside of the top 5% or top 10% of the the class.

Anyways, I wish your family all the best. Once again, I hope she takes advantage of these forums.

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MidwestLifer
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Re: Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby MidwestLifer » Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:23 pm

Definitely encourage your wife to join these forums and just peruse for awhile before making any decisions as to what she'll want to do - there is so much to be learned in regards to the LSAT, the admissions process, each school's respective placement power in the legal field, the feasability of certain areas of law (such as immigration law), etc. It's all very hard to condense down to just one thread or post and there are many different viewpoints, so reading these forums would be quite beneficial. However, to hit some main points super quick:

Merit and need-based aid both exist. Merit is far more common and is very attainable, especially with a 4.0 GPA. Tell your wife to study hard for the LSAT and not to settle for a mediocre score, and full scholarships will be a reality.

The school of thought regarding atmosphere at top schools vs. other schools is that the better schools are actually less cutthroat because there is less pressure to finish at the top of the class. This is because top schools have better placement power so you can be an average student and still get a solid (for law school) outcome. [Dirigo got here before me]

Tell your wife to totally disregard Liberty and Stetson. Neither school is worth the opportunity cost of three years. If she wants to practice Immigration Law she'll need a degree from a top school to really even have a chance (someone correct me if I'm wrong but I believe it is SUPER competetive).

But I'm painting in quite broad strokes here!

rebexness
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Re: Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby rebexness » Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:24 pm

Last edited by rebexness on Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tim131
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Re: Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby tim131 » Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:32 pm

Thank you all for the information, you're all very kind.

Interesting to here about the top tier schools being less cut throat, makes sense, and is actually quite obvious when you think of it haha - I'll say that to her, and she will probably like, hmmm duh, I never thought of it that way.

I will definitely get her to create an account here, as I can see its a hive of information... none of it means much to me, but I can see there is a good bit of useful stuff on here!

Once again thank you, and I am sure you will be hearing from her soon - I have certainly learned a lot, pretty intimidating for people who have no real interest in law to try and find out, but hey, its what you gotta do for those you love huh!

Have a happy new year everyone!

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Rigo
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Re: Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby Rigo » Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:53 pm

rebexness wrote:I mean TBF yes she could.

Okay, you caught me Bex.
Point conceded.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:20 pm

Re: immigration law - it's not necessarily super competitive. If your wife wants to work on international policy kinds of stuff, probably. If she wants to help people navigate the immigration system to come/stay in the US, not so much. Language skills will be extremely important, certainly for the latter and probably for the former as well.

(That's not to say your wife should go to Liberty or Stetson - it's still worth going to a school with decent employment outcomes. But a lot of immigration practice is done by solos or small firms, where pedigree isn't that important.)

(I don't know if the person who said immigration law was super competitive was thinking of international law?)

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franklyscarlet
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Re: Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby franklyscarlet » Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:48 pm

tim131 wrote:- I have certainly learned a lot, pretty intimidating for people who have no real interest in law to try and find out, but hey, its what you gotta do for those you love huh!

Have a happy new year everyone!


Nothing to add beyond the good advice people have given here, except to say kudos for encouraging her to come look around here! I know how you feel- no one in my family has ever been to law school and I was totally adrift when I started looking, figuring that it didn't matter where I went as long as I got a degree. This site was a major help. Encourage her to read the law school profiles, dig around in the on-topics, and talk to people who have been in the same boat. It really is a huge help, because there's a lot of misinformation out there (mostly coming from the bad law schools themselves) and it's hard to sort through it on your own!

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twenty 8
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Re: Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby twenty 8 » Mon Dec 29, 2014 11:12 pm

Given her 4.0 GPA coupled with a one-seventies LSAT your wife can attend the Ivy of her choice (at a fourth of sticker, or better). As far as Stetson (and your desire to be in Fl) it is the oldest law school in the state with a huge practicing alumni. It is very well respected throughout the state and especially in the Tampa/Orlando metro. If the LSAT score works out check with their admin office about a free ride.

03152016
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Re: Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby 03152016 » Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:47 am

liberty shouldn't be on the table
it's widely considered one of the worst law schools in the country because of it's inability to place graduates in legal jobs

i'm not going to recommend specific schools at this point; it's difficult to predict performance on the lsat, and thus, what schools she should target
it's great that your wife is aiming for a perfect score, but many have that goal and few achieve it

if she does perform well on the lsat, she'll have no shortage of opportunities given her excellent gpa
it's important that she educate herself about the differences between law schools in terms of placement, portability, and cost
i think you should encourage her to browse lawschooltransparency.com to get a clearer picture of which schools can put her in the best position to succeed

03152016
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Re: Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby 03152016 » Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:51 am

and to answer your question directly, there are absolutely full scholarships available to students with excellent numbers
at most schools, the bulk of scholarship money is awarded based on merit, not need
(that's part of the reason people on this forum so often recommend retaking the lsat)
if your wife maintains her 4.0 and performs well on the lsat, she'll very likely be able to get a full ride to a top school

timbs4339
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Re: Can you go to law school coming from low income family

Postby timbs4339 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 12:38 pm

A 175 LSAT with a 4.0 will probably get her a half-scholly at 2/3 of Columbia, Chicago, and NYU. As an alum of one of those three, top schools are competitive because of the average intelligence of the class but not because people are meaner or more cutthroat or whatever. When the school places ~80% students in 160K biglaw jobs or other prestigious work the vast majority of people want to make a good impression on their classmates. I actually found it a very relaxed atmosphere after the first year because many people had secured positions already.

One very important thing is to go to law school in an urban area with large immigrant populations so she can build a resume in law school. It will be much easier for her to find summer or term work in immigration law in a large city, and I suspect you would not want to be apart if she has to intern 500 miles away at the nearest organization that does immigration work.

It sounds like you know to support your wife as she studies for the LSAT. She should also know that only sustained LSAT prep is going to produce the kind of score I'm sure she is capable of. She shouldn't get discouraged if she's in the 160s for the first few prep tests.




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