Feedback on academically-inclined softs?

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Feedback on academically-inclined softs?

Postby arche52 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:46 am

I'm not applying this current cycle so I wasn't sure if it was appropriate to ask in the 'Chances' board or here.

Sorry in advance if it turns out none of these things are very highly thought. I've spent the last 3 years in the ivory tower so I'm coming from a much different perspective. Anyway, my profile comprises the following:

LSAC GPA: 3.84
Graduate GPA: 3.90
LSAT: 169 (3 year old score, retaking in fall with expectations between 171-173)

B.A., M.A. in Philosophy (my institutions aren't god tier but by no means subpar. Well-respected in philosophy but middle-of-the-road for law.)
Graduate Certificate in Bioethics

-Presented at two graduate conferences, one low-tier to get my feet wet, and the other one considered a top 3 grad conference in the in the English-speaking world (big name university).
-Accepted and presenting at a major professional conference in Europe this summer.
-1 paper sent back as a Revise & Resubmit (with an encouraging note from the editor that they thought highly of my piece) in a borderline Tier 1 but more so very solid Tier 2 journal in philosophy of law most law profs would be familiar with.
-1 paper currently under review in another well-regarded Tier 2 legal theory journal most profs would once again be impressed with if it were accepted in the future.
-Master's thesis topic is on the cognitive plausibility of certain models of legal proof and its causal role in juridical reasoning.

Letters of rec
-One by my master's thesis director who's a major philosopher whose carved a surprisingly big role for themselves in the emerging field of neurolaw.
- My other rec letter writer is, well, a professor who's now a public figure and has been in some high-profile debates, but more importantly is widely called 'the father of' his subfield. He and I are particularly chummy (housesit for him, join his family for dinner, etc. so that letter should be sterling).

-Graduate Teaching Assistant. Will be 'promoted' to Graduate Instructor to teach courses in Spring 2018 and Summer 2018 (May already have sent out apps by that point but maybe I could attach a copy of my self-created course syllabi?)

-Major leadership position for the philosophy graduate association in my department.
-Department representative for the graduate assistant worker's union.
-Year-long volunteer commitment as a courthouse advocate for the regional SV/DV crisis center filing legal injunctions for survivors.

What do you guys think? This was probably overkill, but this academic stuff is literally all I have as far as softs go so I wanted to be detailed.

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Re: Feedback on academically-inclined softs?

Postby floatie » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:40 am

There's nothing wrong with your softs or your numbers, especially if you are able to bring it up to a 170+. Do note that if you want to stay in academia, you'll need to shoot for the upper half of T14 to have a good shot at the kinds of things academia likes (like COA/SCOTUS clerkships, etc).


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Re: Feedback on academically-inclined softs?

Postby Pozzo » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:07 pm

These are decent softs but aren't likely to lead to outperforming your numbers. A 170+ will go a long way for the best T14 outcomes. I'll double down on floatie's advice: legal academia is incredibly pedigree sensitive. For the best shot (and even that's a long shot for anyone), shoot for HYS and Chicago.


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Re: Feedback on academically-inclined softs?

Postby arche52 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:50 pm

Thanks to you both for the responses. I really appreciate your input. Chicago is the dream school in many respects because it has a particularly tight integration with the institution's philosophy department. Do you think these softs do anything beneficial for me if, say, I get a 171 or 172 and wind up being a splitter at Chicago (75%/median GPA = 3.97/3.9, 75/median LSAT = 172/170) or a reverse-splitter at somewhere like Columbia (75%/median GPA = 3.81/3.7, 75%/median LSAT = 173/171)? I don't want to sound like I'm asking for a scenario-to-scenario breakdown, rather I'm just curious to know how little (or how much) determinant power these softs might have in these 'underdog-but-still-possible' type of cases.


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Re: Feedback on academically-inclined softs?

Postby grades?? » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:54 pm

They wont help much. You would be surprised how many of your classmates at t14 schools have masters degrees from top programs, multiple publications, etc. They wont help you get in somewhere you wont, but they wont hurt.

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