Looking for ways to bolster a potential application

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Timm

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Looking for ways to bolster a potential application

Postby Timm » Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:28 am

Hi everyone.

I'm considering the prospect of changing careers and going to law school in approximately 2-3 years.

I'm currently enlisted in the British military, and have been for close to 8 years, but my wife is American. When I leave the military in 2019, we'll be settling in the states. I'm 26 years old and currently studying for my Bachelor's degree in general engineering (full time intensity), with 12 months left to go. It's hard to equate my current GPA to American terms without paying $200 to have it done officially, which I will at the end of my degree, but I estimate it's somewhere in the region of 3.0-3.3.

My background is in aviation management but I've recently taken a bit of a step sideways into a sort of project management job. A job I shouldn't normally be able to do at my rank.

I've achieved a lot in my time in the military, and whilst studying, but I'm not really sure if law schools would really care. A brief list:

Part of a university engineering team attempting to enter an international competition. Most universities have teams of around 45 people. We have three who are actually active within the group.

I've written trials and test paperwork, presented them to senior officers and had them implemented.

Written maintenance procedures which have been adopted and altered to suit specific requirements by other organisations, including internationally.

I've received a variety of awards and commendations.

Part of my degree has been a 9 month project management module. I essentially had to develop an improvement for my workplace, which my unit decided to implement.


There are other examples, I'm sure, but without trawling through appraisals I can't think of many significant ones.

So with that said, I'm currently expecting a 3.3-3.5 at the end of my undergrad as I'm focusing on a more specialised route for my final year so won't be spreading myself thin trying to cover too many subjects.

I also have the opportunity to study for a Qualifying Law Degree (England) which, to be honest, doesn't mean a lot in the US unless you're in CA or NY, in 20 months. It would be an LLB with honours. The university also provides a virtual law clinic in which students are able to conduct pro bono work from home. The degree would cost me <2k out of my own pocket so I may as well do it to see if I like the subject and get that legal experience from the clinic. The other cool thing about it is that the classes are tailored around the bar exam, so I'd actually be a step ahead American lawyers should I ever have to take the English bar exam, and being a British citizen I'd basically be able to come and go as I please for work should I ever need to.

Finally, I took a specimen LSAT on the Kaplan website, just the 12 question one, but it estimated my projected LSAT score to be 164 or so on my first attempt.

My questions are as follows:

1) Aside from studying the LSAT and raising my GPA is there anything I can do to start bolstering my application now?
2) If I achieve a lower GPA in my LLB than in my engineering degree, is this likely to hinder any future applications to law schools?
3) Is it even worth undertaking a full Bachelor's in law? I'll only be studying for around 6 months after actually leaving the military to complete it.

I've narrowed down my choices for law schools simply based on where we'd be potentially living and/or working at the time. It's open to change but:

UCLA, USC, Ohio State University (This would be my first choice), ohio university, and Loyola. Probably a few others for kicks if I even get that far.

Cheers,
Tim

cavalier1138

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Re: Looking for ways to bolster a potential application

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:30 am

I'm a little confused by this post (mainly because most of it isn't really relevant to the law school application process). So to try and clarify things:

-You're getting your bachelor's degree from a British institution, right? If that's the case, your GPA will be given a generic rating rather than being converted to a number.
-Why do you want to go to law school?
-Are you planning on remaining in the US? You mentioned having the flexibility to go back to the UK, which is confusing if you want to move to the Midwest.
-Why Ohio? Why LA? Why Chicago? I'm not saying these aren't good places to work, but most people do not have LA as a backup city if they can't practice in Ohio. Those areas attract very different people.

Timm

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Re: Looking for ways to bolster a potential application

Postby Timm » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:27 pm

Apologies, I was exhausted last night and probably should have waited to make a post...

I know it will be a generic rating. However, there are various organisations who convert your transcripts for international use.

I've always wanted to go to law school. I just made a lot of stupid decisions as a teenager. I didn't even really want to do my engineering degree; it just seemed to make sense because of being an aircraft maintainer.

Yes we intend to remain here. My logic for travelling back to the UK is simply that if I were to find a firm that works internationally, I'd have a bit of a leg up on British law.

LA: We're already relatively close to LA. She has a job in the area, we have a couple of family members nearby. It's easier.
Ohio: Most of her family is there, we don't particularly like California, we prefer Ohio. It's preferred but not as easy.
Chicago: Some confusion. I meant Loyola Law School in LA. Not Loyola university.

cavalier1138

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Re: Looking for ways to bolster a potential application

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:44 pm

Timm wrote:I know it will be a generic rating. However, there are various organisations who convert your transcripts for international use.


Ah, ok. You won't be using those organizations, so put that out of your mind. The only GPA that counts is the one that LSAC gives you, and they only use a generic rating for international transcripts.

Timm wrote:I've always wanted to go to law school.


But why? What kind of law do you want to practice? How are you planning on financing your education? What kind of salary do you want to earn? You've mentioned things like firms that work internationally, and things like that simply don't exist in Ohio.

Timm

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Re: Looking for ways to bolster a potential application

Postby Timm » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:23 pm

I intend to use them just for my own information once I actually have my degree conferred to me.

Honestly, I like the idea of patent law and employment law. An engineering background obviously lends itself to patent law but Im not sure that's the route I wanna take. As for salary, it's dependent on debt. If I get a decent scholarship I'll obviously be able to take a lower paying job. I'm more bothered about paying the bills and being comfortable with a job I like than earning 500k a year.

And I know what you mean, but I've come across other jobs at places I wouldn't have thought of. A lot of airlines seem to be offering fairly well paying jobs for in house attorneys that deal with international law. A background in aviation maintenance, engineering and law would likely be a good route into working for air accident investigation boards (I think) or even as an airline attorney defending their maintainers and pilots in the event of an incident. A British law degree might even be a step in the right direction for when it comes to contractual aspects of working in the UK and EU. Think Delta airlines and their current partnership with virgin atlantic and KLM.

One job I found was for a JD or MBA to work in the UK for Delta. The main requirements were a background in aviation, the JD or MBA and a 'strong sense of cultural awareness'. That was a 180k a year job. So, whilst law firms like that may not exist in Ohio, there are other places outside the more traditional areas that I could be looking at.

Timm

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Re: Looking for ways to bolster a potential application

Postby Timm » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:30 pm

And the 'why?'

Honestly, I don't know. I like the fact it seems challenging. I like reading and problem solving. Engineering is obviously good for that but there's a good chance I'll be stuck in project management or designing something boring like bearing housings for a car. It's a hit or miss profession where you can make big money or no money. Do something badass like work for NASA as a chief engineer, or do something boring like working as a CAD drafter drawing bearings.

I know law is likely to be the same, but that's why I want to take the LLB before I make any decisions. It's a year fully paid my by work and if I don't like it, nothing lost. If I want to keep going it's 2 more grand to finish. Cheap way to see if I like it and get that experience through the pro bono legal clinic.

cavalier1138

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Re: Looking for ways to bolster a potential application

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:48 pm

I'm deeply skeptical of signing up for a profession that you don't seem to have any real desire to join. And I don't know that getting your UK degree would be all that helpful, but then again, maybe common law countries are basically all the same.

In general, though, this seems really poorly thought out. If you don't want to be a lawyer (and I mean want to be a lawyer, not want to do something "different"), then you should not be going to law school.

Timm

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Re: Looking for ways to bolster a potential application

Postby Timm » Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:01 pm

I've done a lot of research into the profession in the last 6 months or so. How can anybody possibly know what they want to do until they start doing it?I I never thought I'd hate going on warships until I joined the navy. I know doctors and nurses who loved the idea of being a doctor or nurse but hated it after 5 years. People change. I like the idea of being a lawyer and right now I want to practice law. If things change in 3 years, then things change.

Timm

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Re: Looking for ways to bolster a potential application

Postby Timm » Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:15 pm

Turns out a number of schools offer a 2 year JD for foreign law graduates ad waive the requirement to take the LSAT (Hawaii doesn't require the LSAT, haven't looked much further). So the benefit, I suppose, is that I wouldn't be losing any time from my studies but saving an entire year of tuition and time spent out of the work force.

Aditionnally, some schools do require an official conversion of a foreign transcript and do not rely solely on LSAC to give them the numbers.

cavalier1138

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Re: Looking for ways to bolster a potential application

Postby cavalier1138 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:33 am

Timm wrote:Turns out a number of schools offer a 2 year JD for foreign law graduates ad waive the requirement to take the LSAT (Hawaii doesn't require the LSAT, haven't looked much further). So the benefit, I suppose, is that I wouldn't be losing any time from my studies but saving an entire year of tuition and time spent out of the work force.

Aditionnally, some schools do require an official conversion of a foreign transcript and do not rely solely on LSAC to give them the numbers.


Where are you finding these schools, and why are you now considering Hawaii?

And to respond to your prior question, no one expects you to know exactly what you want to do as a lawyer, but it doesn't seem clear that you even want to be a lawyer at all. If you don't know whether you want to practice law, then three years of law school is a huge gamble.

Timm

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Re: Looking for ways to bolster a potential application

Postby Timm » Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:06 am

I wasn't considering Ohio, it just popped up in my search. USC and Ohio University, Dayton offer similar programs though I think they do require an LSAT score. I found them just through reading articles I found.

And you're correct. It is a big gamble and I'm not 100% sure. In England, graduates can 2 a do year bachelor's degree. I guess it's akin to transferring your general education year to a 2nd degree.

But here's why I was considering that route:

I can complete my first academic year in my last year in the military and it'll be 80 covered, leaving me with about 250 to pay out of my own pocket. If I want to carry on, I can do so from the US and it'll cost me 2 grand or to do so. That'll leave me with an LLB if I opt to finish.

So, I guess the benefits are:

I'll find out if I like the subject area
Some schools offer a 2 year JD for foreign graduates
Depending on the school I won't have to take the LSAT
1 year less of tuition fees and living expenses
I'll get pro bono experience through my school's law clinic
I can still apply for a normal 3 year school if I don't get into a 2 year one or I don't end up anywhere near a school that offers it.



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