Current Enlisted Marine with JAG package seeking advice on schools

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HE1341

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Current Enlisted Marine with JAG package seeking advice on schools

Postby HE1341 » Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:28 am

TLDR: Current Marine Reservist completing a JAG package trying to decide whether I should retake the LSAT for higher score (152) and better options or accept a current offer from a bottom of the barrel school (GGU Law) with a full- ride scholarahip.

Full: Took the LSAT late in the admissions cycle in Feb, scoring 152. I had intended to re-take but the recruiter mentioned I may be able to make the April officer selection board, so I used March to complete a PLC-Law package. Applied to McGeorge and, on the recommendation of the recruiter, Golden Gate School of Law. I'd never even heard of GGU Law before he mentioned them but I see why he made the recommendation as they gave me a preliminary decision in about a week, and with a full-ride scholarship. No word from McGeorge yet. I had looked up GGU Law briefly before applying and their numbers were pretty laughable, but bar pass rate didnt seem too horrible. Reading a bit more after applying though I'm getting more worried seeing that they apparently were put on ABA probation back in 2006 and job prospects for many new grads are bad since GGU has to compete with other local schools that are much better.

If there are any current or former JAGs out there, (or really anyone with applicable knowledge) my #1 question is, supposing I get selected (which I'm honestly not too worried about considering my enlisted resume and the Marine's need for JAGs), how much will the school I go to affect my career, either as a JAG or after my contract is up and I transition to the civilian sector?

NoMalice

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Re: Current Enlisted Marine with JAG package seeking advice on schools

Postby NoMalice » Fri May 12, 2017 5:13 am

Hello,

I would not normally respond with advice in this forum, because I am a) not a law school student, b) haven't even taken the LSAT and c) if you haven't figured it out yet, I'm not a JAG.

That said, I see no one else has responded, so let me see if I can help. I'm a veteran, my spouse is a JAG, and I spend plenty of time rubbing shoulders with other JAGs. Most of them went to what would be regarded as second tier law schools, with a few in the 30-40 range and one T20. A few went to third tier schools. None of them spend much time talking about what law school they went to except when I ask because I'm considering going to law school. FWIW, the T20 grad killed their career via UCMJ violations.

Since you're already in the military, you know that a lot more goes into making rank and looking good in front of your peers than, for example, whether you went to MCRD Parris Island or MCRD San Diego*. To a certain extent this is also true for officers. Although the Academy grads hold themselves in high regard, this does not really apply to the JAG program since none of the service academies offer law degrees.

I have not heard any of my spouse's coworkers associate a fellow JAG's work performance or professional knowledge with their law school. The only JAG friend I have who is now out went to a third tier school, retired as an O4 and has a sweet overseas federal government job now. A brief look at the CVs of several recent Judge Advocate Generals of the Army and Navy (O-9s, generally) shows that some went to top tier schools, some went to second tier schools, and some went to unranked schools.

If you can make it through an ABA law school with a full scholarship (be careful about the scholarships that are conditional on class standing), pass the bar, and already have a guaranteed JAG slot, I'd say you are on the right track. Does this mean giving up on a retake or trying to get into another school? No, but that's up to you.

*Everyone knows that the West Coast makes harder Marines.

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TheSpanishMain

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Re: Current Enlisted Marine with JAG package seeking advice on schools

Postby TheSpanishMain » Sat May 13, 2017 7:39 am

I'm an Army vet who just graduated and is going Navy JAG. So, just as a caveat, I can't speak with too much authority about Marine stuff.

I don't think going to an unranked school will really hinder your JAG career. At least on the Navy side, they do tend to take applicants who went to higher ranked schools. But my understanding of the Marine Corps program is that if you're accepted, you're guaranteed a JAG spot, right? Like, you sign a contract, go to law school, and then reenter active duty in three years.

If that's the case, I don't think anyone in the Marine Corps is really going to care that you went to an unranked school. As long as you pass the bar, I don't think you'll be at any particular disadvantage. That said: GGU is really, really not a great school. There's always the chance they could close before you finish three years.

GGU is probably a terrible idea for 99% of applicants, but your situation might be such that you are the 1% if 1) you are guaranteed a JAG spot when you graduate and 2) you're confident you want to make the military a career. If you get out after four years, the name on your degree might hurt you. If you do twenty, people are less likely to care.



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