Non-T14 dilemma

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Non-T14 dilemma

Postby kleenoperator » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:44 am

So I'm facing a bit of a dilemma in that I'm entering the second semester of my junior year of college, starting to kick my LSAT studying more into gear, and beginning to map out if and where I would like to go to law school. Initially, I go to a prestigious undergraduate uni and have what may be enough to get me into top law schools: great LORs (one from a Member of the European Parliament, one from the Dept Chair of my Pol Science dept for whom I've been doing research the last two years, and one from a high-ranking staffer of a sitting US Senator), a 3.74 GPA, and after just three weeks of lazily studying Logic Games strategy, I scored a 162 on a practice test, meaning I think I could jack that up into the 168-172 range with more rigorous studying.

I live in Arizona and have had a family member diagnosed with a terminal illness, which has been an earthquake for my family. For this reason, I would potentially like to go to law school in AZ at ASU or UA, which are both ranked reasonably well. My conundrum centers on the fact that I'm not entirely sure "practicing law" is what I want to do. I've interned in the EU and in the US Senate and I absolutely love it. I'd love to be on the beltway someday, or working for the State Department overseas. Can I get there from ASU Law? Should I go to law school at all? Regarding not going to law school - I have a job opp in the European Parliament for after I graduate but I'm so scared of the lack of financial security that comes with not having a graduate degree and I can't really take it anyway because of my family suffering right now.

I believe I would get a close-to-full tuition scholarship from ASU (resident tuition is cheap anyway), I would be able to live in Phoenix (I love the city and again, the family issues take precedence), and I don't know if I buy a lot of the stuff I see in this thread claiming that you're not going to achieve any big aspirations if you don't go T14. I guess I'm really scattered right now in terms of what I think I should do, I've read the forum for a while and I guess I just want some input.


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Re: Non-T14 dilemma

Postby sno7 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:46 am

Don't wanna sound too harsh, but do you really need to be worried about which school you should go to when you have only taken one PT? There really isn't any "conundrum" until you have an actual score. You'll still have plenty of time to decide after taking the actual test.

If you do get a 168 or higher, would your family member really want you to give up on going to a T14 law school, which could offer you a whole lot of opportunities ASU or UA most likely couldn't (doesn't matter whether you buy it or not, it's statistically true), just because of him/her? Also, you could ask the school to defer admission or let you take a leave of absence, should you need to stay with him/her for a year or longer.


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Re: Non-T14 dilemma

Postby smile0751 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:43 am

Your situation seems like an ideal one to delay going to law school for a couple years. Get a local job—maybe working for an AZ politician or a major business based on the area. Explore these other opportunities, network in the area with local lawyers, spend time with your loved one, and earn money. Law school will always be there and you’ll have a stronger application because of the time off.


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Re: Non-T14 dilemma

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:56 am

smile0751 wrote:Your situation seems like an ideal one to delay going to law school for a couple years.

This. Going K-JD is almost always a bad idea, but it's a particularly bad idea in this case.

OP: you aren't even sure you want to practice law. Go live a little (in AZ or in Europe). If you actually want to be a lawyer in a few years, then take the LSAT and target schools that can actually give you a shot at your goals.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Non-T14 dilemma

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:51 am

kleenoperator wrote:I have a job opp in the European Parliament for after I graduate but I'm so scared of the lack of financial security that comes with not having a graduate degree and I can't really take it anyway because of my family suffering right now.

I’m sorry about your family member’s illness. Just wanted to address the above: a graduate degree isn’t a magic ticket to financial security, nor is it required for financial security. It’s also not a now-or-never thing where if you don’t go NOW you won’t achieve financial security. So like everyone else is suggesting, why not stay home and work for a few years to deal with your family situation, and then reconsider?

I’m not going to say that no one from Arizona ever ends up in the beltway or working for State, but if you know those are your goals, 1) as you’ve acknowledged, you may not want to practice law and therefore don’t need a JD, and 2) ASU is not the path most suited to get you there. So again, it seems it would make sense to put law school off for a few years and then follow the path that’s best for your career goals at that time, rather than go to law school now because you think you have to, when your options don’t really suit your goals. Beyond that, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to go to ASU when you have essentially a family crisis, because grades will be extra important coming from ASU rather than then T14, and family crisis + law school doesn’t seem like the best formula for good grades.

(And I should make clear that I think a free ride at ASU is a great option for many goals, just not really yours.)

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Barack O'Drama

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Re: Non-T14 dilemma

Postby Barack O'Drama » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:48 am

"I'm not entirely sure "practicing law" is what I want to do."

I was there a couple of years ago. DO NOT go to law school right now.

You're young. Take 2-3 years and gain some work experience and perspective. If you're not sure practicing law is for you then these are your best options. A JD isn't an automatic road the riches like it may have been in a bygone era. You need to make sure it's something you want to do and a few years working in corporate America can give you a good idea. Try to get a job as a paralegal or something law related. If not, working almost anywhere will give you some sort of perspective. Hell, I learned more about what I wanted to do selling cars in undergrad than any job I've had since. Talk to lawyers in fields you're interested in and learn more about what you may want to do specifically.
Last edited by Barack O'Drama on Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.


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Re: Non-T14 dilemma

Postby coskigirl » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:26 am

Coming from someone who is 40 and in a career, you can absolutely have financial security without a graduate degree. In fact, I make around what many first year attorneys make. While going to school will make me more comfortable, it isn't that I won't survive without it. I agree that taking some time to do other work and see whether you really do need/want a JD to proceed with the career you want.

However, most importantly spend time with your family member. Your career is NOT more important than your limited time with the person. Do not put yourself in a position where you are regretting not having that time when you are 40.

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