Competitive Soft Factors

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
Liberal Theory

New
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:31 pm

Competitive Soft Factors

Postby Liberal Theory » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:45 pm

So I just checked out the KJD/ weak softs thread from a few years back and I have been lurking for a few months now. I still have two years left in UG at my (completely average) state university. I understand that GPA and LSAT are the most important factors for applying to law school but I am becoming concerned that I may have not fully appreciated soft factors until just now.

It seems as if everyone on TLS/ reddit law subs/ were managers at a small business or student body presidents. More worrying to me is that people with Master's or Peace Corps work seem to be the "average" law school applicant. Is this true?

When I apply down the road, lets say my softs will be having worked 20 hours a week for 3/4 years of my college tenure at a grocery store to support myself and my fiancée in addition to spending nine months interning for a "super lawyer" in my area - with the standard LOR from him to boot. Plus my obligatory other three academic LORs. Lets also pretend I am an excellent essay writer.

When I compare my softs to what I could find around here, I get the sense I am an underwhelming candidate for even a TTT. What more should I do with the time I have left before I need to start applying to get into a T20 at least?

Thank you for reading and suggesting.

User avatar
Thomas Hagan, ESQ.

Silver
Posts: 1224
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:55 pm

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby Thomas Hagan, ESQ. » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:01 pm

This is probably the last thing you should be worrying about right now.

law schools don't give a crap about soft factors if your lsat and gpa aren't up to their standards. Get that high GPA + get that high LSAT and almost nothing else matters. Which is a great thing if you have great numbers, and a horrible thing if you don't. So do your best to be in the first category.

PS: "Super Lawyers" doesn't really mean anything. Get a great recommendation from a professor or someone that knows you well rather than aim for "the standard LOC" bc that's wasting everyone's time.

User avatar
Lincoln

Silver
Posts: 1208
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:27 pm

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby Lincoln » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:07 pm

Your softs are at most the topic of a good personal statement. The good news is you have time to get your GPA in shape and to study for the LSAT. So go do those things and you won't have to worry about softs.

User avatar
TheSpanishMain

Gold
Posts: 4743
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:26 pm

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby TheSpanishMain » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:15 pm

I don't think you need to worry about this. Just focus on getting good grades and crushing the LSATs. And don't be a k-jd. Go to work for at least 2-3 years before law school. Not only will you have a more interesting resume, you'll mature, make some money, and confirm that you actually want to be a lawyer.

User avatar
mjb447

Silver
Posts: 1276
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:36 am

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby mjb447 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:18 pm

Liberal Theory wrote:When I compare my softs to what I could find around here, I get the sense I am an underwhelming candidate for even a TTT.

If you think your softs are going to meaningfully affect your admissions chances for a school above TTT, you're actually overestimating how important softs are. Like others are saying, it's LSAT and GPA that makes you competitive at (or forecloses) a particular school; softs are of much more marginal importance.

User avatar
Liberal Theory

New
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:31 pm

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby Liberal Theory » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:44 pm

TheSpanishMain wrote:I don't think you need to worry about this. Just focus on getting good grades and crushing the LSATs. And don't be a k-jd. Go to work for at least 2-3 years before law school. Not only will you have a more interesting resume, you'll mature, make some money, and confirm that you actually want to be a lawyer.


Thanks all for setting the record straight. I was beginning to think a 170+ might have been meaningless w/o softs.

Also, with screw that. I've never wanted to be anything by a an attorney since I was thirteen. I spent way too many debate/ mock trial tournaments in high school and way too many law classes in UG for a liberal arts degree to get employed meaningfully after I graduate. Plus my fiancée is going to med school and I want to graduate from law school at the same she graduates med school. I would make bank sooner rather than later by getting a good job i love and by being a successful couple instead of trying to toiling away at a job that won't make me mature anymore than I already am.

User avatar
BlackWillHunting

New
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:06 am

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby BlackWillHunting » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:59 pm

Liberal Theory wrote:
TheSpanishMain wrote:I don't think you need to worry about this. Just focus on getting good grades and crushing the LSATs. And don't be a k-jd. Go to work for at least 2-3 years before law school. Not only will you have a more interesting resume, you'll mature, make some money, and confirm that you actually want to be a lawyer.


Thanks all for setting the record straight. I was beginning to think a 170+ might have been meaningless w/o softs.

Also, with screw that. I've never wanted to be anything by a an attorney since I was thirteen. I spent way too many debate/ mock trial tournaments in high school and way too many law classes in UG for a liberal arts degree to get employed meaningfully after I graduate. Plus my fiancée is going to med school and I want to graduate from law school at the same she graduates med school. I would make bank sooner rather than later by getting a good job i love and by being a successful couple instead of trying to toiling away at a job that won't make me mature anymore than I already am.


I agree with TheSpanishMain re: getting a few years work experience. You don't have to 'toil" away at a meaningless job... I was able to find a decent job with a useless History degree. There's always room to mature and get perspective by working a 2-3 years before applying to law school. It will only help with admissions and more importantly, with getting a job post-law school.
Last edited by BlackWillHunting on Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cavalier1138

Gold
Posts: 4954
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:59 pm

Liberal Theory wrote:Also, with screw that. I've never wanted to be anything by a an attorney since I was thirteen. I spent way too many debate/ mock trial tournaments in high school and way too many law classes in UG for a liberal arts degree to get employed meaningfully after I graduate. Plus my fiancée is going to med school and I want to graduate from law school at the same she graduates med school. I would make bank sooner rather than later by getting a good job i love and by being a successful couple instead of trying to toiling away at a job that won't make me mature anymore than I already am.


I mean, ignoring all the other red flags here, no one is saying that a job is going to make you more mature. It's 2-3 years of living in the real world that handle the maturity thing, as well as the other listed benefits. You're doing way too much planning in advance. You have two years of undergrad left, so there's nothing at all holding you back from getting work afterwards (not even all that time spend in debate during high school) and then going to law school.

Trust me. At 21, I was relatively convinced of my own innate brilliance and complete commitment to everything I wanted to do. Things changed. And you aren't even 21 yet.

User avatar
tncats

Bronze
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:20 am

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby tncats » Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:00 pm

Liberal Theory wrote:
TheSpanishMain wrote:I don't think you need to worry about this. Just focus on getting good grades and crushing the LSATs. And don't be a k-jd. Go to work for at least 2-3 years before law school. Not only will you have a more interesting resume, you'll mature, make some money, and confirm that you actually want to be a lawyer.


Thanks all for setting the record straight. I was beginning to think a 170+ might have been meaningless w/o softs.

Also, with screw that. I've never wanted to be anything by a an attorney since I was thirteen. I spent way too many debate/ mock trial tournaments in high school and way too many law classes in UG for a liberal arts degree to get employed meaningfully after I graduate. Plus my fiancée is going to med school and I want to graduate from law school at the same she graduates med school. I would make bank sooner rather than later by getting a good job i love and by being a successful couple instead of trying to toiling away at a job that won't make me mature anymore than I already am.


What everyone else said. But if you're worried about softs, work experience is an easy way to get one.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you think that working doesn't help a new college grad mature, you're just plain wrong.

Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash

Silver
Posts: 1297
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:27 pm

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash » Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:04 pm

tncats wrote:
Liberal Theory wrote:
TheSpanishMain wrote:I don't think you need to worry about this. Just focus on getting good grades and crushing the LSATs. And don't be a k-jd. Go to work for at least 2-3 years before law school. Not only will you have a more interesting resume, you'll mature, make some money, and confirm that you actually want to be a lawyer.


Thanks all for setting the record straight. I was beginning to think a 170+ might have been meaningless w/o softs.

Also, with screw that. I've never wanted to be anything by a an attorney since I was thirteen. I spent way too many debate/ mock trial tournaments in high school and way too many law classes in UG for a liberal arts degree to get employed meaningfully after I graduate. Plus my fiancée is going to med school and I want to graduate from law school at the same she graduates med school. I would make bank sooner rather than later by getting a good job i love and by being a successful couple instead of trying to toiling away at a job that won't make me mature anymore than I already am.


What everyone else said. But if you're worried about softs, work experience is an easy way to get one.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you think that working doesn't help a new college grad mature, you're just plain wrong.


Pretty sure I matured more after 3 months in a cube than I did in 3 years of college

User avatar
Future Ex-Engineer

Silver
Posts: 1429
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2016 3:20 pm

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:11 pm

Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash wrote:
tncats wrote:
Liberal Theory wrote:
TheSpanishMain wrote:I don't think you need to worry about this. Just focus on getting good grades and crushing the LSATs. And don't be a k-jd. Go to work for at least 2-3 years before law school. Not only will you have a more interesting resume, you'll mature, make some money, and confirm that you actually want to be a lawyer.


Thanks all for setting the record straight. I was beginning to think a 170+ might have been meaningless w/o softs.

Also, with screw that. I've never wanted to be anything by a an attorney since I was thirteen. I spent way too many debate/ mock trial tournaments in high school and way too many law classes in UG for a liberal arts degree to get employed meaningfully after I graduate. Plus my fiancée is going to med school and I want to graduate from law school at the same she graduates med school. I would make bank sooner rather than later by getting a good job i love and by being a successful couple instead of trying to toiling away at a job that won't make me mature anymore than I already am.


What everyone else said. But if you're worried about softs, work experience is an easy way to get one.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you think that working doesn't help a new college grad mature, you're just plain wrong.


Pretty sure I matured more after 3 months in a cube than I did in 3 years of college


Is everyone else ignoring the fact that OP has 0 work experience, but is already engaged and planning on going to law school at the same school his partner is going to med school? Is the partner already accepted at a school with a top law school (i.e. Michigan/Chicago/Harvard/Duke(?))?

OP, what happens if your fiancee leaves you/yall break up before you graduate (it happens)? What happens if the only med schools they get into are TTT law schools? I remember being 19/20 and thinking I knew everything. If I had gone into any graduate school with that mentality, it would have chewed me up and spit me out.

As to your original question: your softs are at best average (nothing wrong with that). If you really want to be above average at a T13, work experience is the best way to start doing that - anything you land internship-wise from a run of the mill state school probably isn't going to stand out.

User avatar
tncats

Bronze
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:20 am

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby tncats » Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:16 pm

yeah honestly a fiancee in med school is the perfect timing to postpone law school and get a few years of work experience and maturity.

cavalier1138

Gold
Posts: 4954
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:36 pm

mrgstephe wrote:Is everyone else ignoring the fact that OP has 0 work experience, but is already engaged and planning on going to law school at the same school his partner is going to med school? Is the partner already accepted at a school with a top law school (i.e. Michigan/Chicago/Harvard/Duke(?))?


I wasn't ignoring it. I just figured that it would be too much to also explain that getting engaged before you can legally drink beer is a bad idea. The OP's follow-up post here is a smorgasbord of red flags that all say, "It's not too late to do the right thing."

User avatar
TheSpanishMain

Gold
Posts: 4743
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:26 pm

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby TheSpanishMain » Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:37 pm

Yeah, it's your life OP, but I think getting some life experience under your belt before law school would be tremendously helpful in a lot of ways. I'd be a little wary of thinking you have everything mapped out perfectly at 20.

User avatar
Liberal Theory

New
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:31 pm

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby Liberal Theory » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:25 pm

TheSpanishMain wrote:Yeah, it's your life OP, but I think getting some life experience under your belt before law school would be tremendously helpful in a lot of ways. I'd be a little wary of thinking you have everything mapped out perfectly at 20.


I wasn't expecting as many responses as I elicited. Thanks all!

Thanks for answering my primary concern; and I really will consider the other helpful advice.

I know not every law school applicant had everything planned perfectly, but am I really planning too far in advance? I always kind of imagined that those HYS types were all the students who had been coordinating every major life choice since like 12 or something.

User avatar
TheSpanishMain

Gold
Posts: 4743
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:26 pm

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby TheSpanishMain » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:33 pm

Liberal Theory wrote:
TheSpanishMain wrote:Yeah, it's your life OP, but I think getting some life experience under your belt before law school would be tremendously helpful in a lot of ways. I'd be a little wary of thinking you have everything mapped out perfectly at 20.


I wasn't expecting as many responses as I elicited. Thanks all!

Thanks for answering my primary concern; and I really will consider the other helpful advice.

I know not every law school applicant had everything planned perfectly, but am I really planning too far in advance? I always kind of imagined that those HYS types were all the students who had been coordinating every major life choice since like 12 or something.


HYS (at least, YS) are actually the exception to the idea that softs don't really matter. Someone with more direct experience can chime in here, but I would bet that k-jd's are the minority there.

I'm not sure it's a good thing to have everything mapped out at 12. That kind of single-mindedness makes me think the person lacks perspective and a broad base of experience. I'm not sure you can really arrive at a mature decision about the rest of your life at such a young age.

User avatar
Future Ex-Engineer

Silver
Posts: 1429
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2016 3:20 pm

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:23 pm

TheSpanishMain wrote:
Liberal Theory wrote:
TheSpanishMain wrote:Yeah, it's your life OP, but I think getting some life experience under your belt before law school would be tremendously helpful in a lot of ways. I'd be a little wary of thinking you have everything mapped out perfectly at 20.


I wasn't expecting as many responses as I elicited. Thanks all!

Thanks for answering my primary concern; and I really will consider the other helpful advice.

I know not every law school applicant had everything planned perfectly, but am I really planning too far in advance? I always kind of imagined that those HYS types were all the students who had been coordinating every major life choice since like 12 or something.


HYS (at least, YS) are actually the exception to the idea that softs don't really matter. Someone with more direct experience can chime in here, but I would bet that k-jd's are the minority there.

I'm not sure it's a good thing to have everything mapped out at 12. That kind of single-mindedness makes me think the person lacks perspective and a broad base of experience. I'm not sure you can really arrive at a mature decision about the rest of your life at such a young age.


You're right on the HYS point - if you look at the numbers put out by the schools themselves, I think it's something like <20% H are KJD and it's similar for YS.

As for the having everything mapped out at age 12 (somewhat hyperbole I believe), not only is it not a good idea, it's honestly a super irresponsible way to go at life - if you think you have everything mapped out that early, and you are locked into only 1 path, how are you ever going to manage the curveballs that life *will* throw at you?

It's good to have a plan. It's bad to be so set on a plan that you won't alter the course in any way to do something a little more sensical.

User avatar
Platopus

Silver
Posts: 1482
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:20 pm

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby Platopus » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:44 pm

Liberal Theory wrote: I always kind of imagined that those HYS types were all the students who had been coordinating every major life choice since like 12 or something.


The HYS types are all students who have a very strong capacity to contribute positively to the school they attend, through a combination of academic success, a record of hard work (as evidenced by GPA and to some extent LSAT scores), and meaningful and diverse life experiences. It's a bit naive to assume that students at HYS are only there because they are academically gifted. Sure, there are students at these schools who are there primarily because of the brute force of their intellect, but I would guess the majority are there because they have a set of life experiences that complement their intellect and contribute to the respective HYS school they attend. My main point is that you can't necessarily plan out a diverse set of life experiences at 12. Personally, I lurked these forums for the past 6 six years - since my senior year in highschool. I was convinced that I wanted to go to law school, and then all of the sudden I wasn't. I got a job, moved out of the house and definitely matured a lot. After 2 years in the "real world", I have a renewed interest in law, as my job is tangentially related to law/litigation and my career would benefit. Sure, I benefited from my early commitment; I aced college courses and got straight A's which is positioning me really well to apply this fall if i can score well on the LSAT, but I will be a much better law student and legal professional now, than I would've been had I gone straight from UG.

enoca

Bronze
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:28 pm

Re: Competitive Soft Factors

Postby enoca » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:56 pm

Work experience is a real soft that matters a bunch at some schools. For example, NW is highly biased towards work experience.



Return to “Law School Admissions Forum?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CPA-->JD, Google Adsense [Bot], sparkytrainer and 15 guests