dismissed from medical school, now considering law school. Will dismissal preclude admission?

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warbletank

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dismissed from medical school, now considering law school. Will dismissal preclude admission?

Postby warbletank » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:18 pm

Hello all:

I was dismissed from a US medical school due to poor academic performance. (I had an undiagnosed anxiety disorder that interfered with my studies. I can go into further detail via PM as I am trying to maintain anonymity.)

After some personal research and soul-searching, I decided not to continue a career in medicine, but rather law. I am also being successfully being treated for my anxiety.

Ideally, I would be matriculating into law school (hopefully) a little under 3 years since being dismissed from medical school.

In my applications, I would assume the dismissal would be a red flag (C&F issue, correct? Major, minor?), but is it possible for me to explain my circumstances and for the admissions committee to be sympathetic? Or does this dismissal preclude admission?

I know this may be dreaming a bit too much, but should I even bother applying to T14?

I have a 3.85 GPA in B.S. in biochemistry from a top 20 undergrad, if that makes any difference.

I would appreciate any considerate and respectful advice.

mcmand

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Re: dismissed from medical school, now considering law school. Will dismissal preclude admission?

Postby mcmand » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:38 pm

It is a red flag for sure. Whether it's major or minor depends on how you demonstrate in your essays/addenda that it's something you've successfully addressed and moved past.

The other barrier is the bar exam. To be admitted to practice law, you have to pass the test as well as demonstrate good moral character and fitness. Your dismissal implicates the latter issue of fitness. Setting aside discussions over disability rights that the fitness requirement may be impinging on, you will attract the bar's attention whenever/wherever you apply. They will probably be intrusive and demand medical records. You will want to show no slip ups in your treatment and management of anxiety, especially in your jobs going forward and in law school.

Just so you know, lots of law students have or develop anxiety disorders in law school. The grass is not greener there. And in practice, it can be even more stressful. My friends who are residents seem to have much gentler schedules (aside from rotations in surgery or another less accommodating area during their first year) and have the advantage of being unionized. (Edit: I'm sure someone will criticize this point that saving lives daily is more stressful than pushing paper, and that point is well taken. Just trying to draw a contrast in certain aspects of medicine that appear different than legal practice.)

Your GPA helps a lot. But the other decisive factor is LSAT. If that's high (over 165 and preferably 170+) then you could overcome a law school's concerns about your academic dismissal. But that's a big if. The LSAT is a wild card for some people.

Lastly, you will get a lot of guff on here as to why law school. I don't think that's bad. You should be able to answer that question well, and if you can't, figure out why law school sooner than later. It's not worth it if you don't have a good justification.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

blueapple

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Re: dismissed from medical school, now considering law school. Will dismissal preclude admission?

Postby blueapple » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:48 pm

mcmand wrote:Your dismissal implicates the latter issue of fitness.


I don't think this is true.

mcmand wrote: They will probably be intrusive and demand medical records.


I don't think this is true either.

Anyway, to respond to you, OP, I think it's worth applying to the T14. It sounds like you've gotten a handle on your mental health and can write a brief addendum explaining your dismissal and that you've addressed the issues that contributed to your dismissal. I think you definitely have to be careful with how you word all of that, but I don't think you're precluded from the T14 at all and I don't think you're going to have issues with the bar.
Last edited by blueapple on Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: dismissed from medical school, now considering law school. Will dismissal preclude admission?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:54 pm

I don’t think being academically dismissed, in itself, will be a bar issue; you will have to report it, of course, but flunking out of an academic program isn’t really a C&F issue if you get into/graduate from law school successfully.

You will have to report the treatment for anxiety, but I think that’s distinct from the academic dismissal. Also, as long as your medical providers can say that you’re being treated and the anxiety won’t affect your fitness to practice law, you should be fine. (You’ll have to get affidavits from those practitioners burn I really don’t think they’ll ask for medical records.)

mcmand

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Re: dismissed from medical school, now considering law school. Will dismissal preclude admission?

Postby mcmand » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:24 pm

blueapple wrote:
mcmand wrote:Your dismissal implicates the latter issue of fitness.


I don't think this is true.

mcmand wrote: They will probably be intrusive and demand medical records.


I don't think this is true either.

Anyway, to respond to you, OP, I think it's worth applying to the T14. It sounds like you've gotten a handle on your mental health and can write a brief addendum explaining your dismissal and that you've addressed the issues that contributed to your dismissal. I think you definitely have to be careful with how you word all of that, but I don't think you're precluded from the T14 at all and I don't think you're going to have issues with the bar.


I'm speaking from the experience of previously working in admissions for a state bar and reviewing applications for character and fitness issues. Maybe they won't ask for extensive records, but the attorney(s) who run these investigations can get very invasive. I wrote this to put OP on notice that it's something that will be looked at, potentially with significant scrutiny.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

blueapple

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Re: dismissed from medical school, now considering law school. Will dismissal preclude admission?

Postby blueapple » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:33 pm

mcmand wrote:
blueapple wrote:
mcmand wrote:Your dismissal implicates the latter issue of fitness.


I don't think this is true.

mcmand wrote: They will probably be intrusive and demand medical records.


I don't think this is true either.

Anyway, to respond to you, OP, I think it's worth applying to the T14. It sounds like you've gotten a handle on your mental health and can write a brief addendum explaining your dismissal and that you've addressed the issues that contributed to your dismissal. I think you definitely have to be careful with how you word all of that, but I don't think you're precluded from the T14 at all and I don't think you're going to have issues with the bar.


I'm speaking from the experience of previously working in admissions for a state bar and reviewing applications for character and fitness issues. Maybe they won't ask for extensive records, but the attorney(s) who run these investigations can get very invasive. I wrote this to put OP on notice that it's something that will be looked at, potentially with significant scrutiny.


Sure. I didn't mean to say it won't be looked at, but you were making it sound like OP might never be barred. I don't think there's any risk of that here as long as OP discloses on law school and bar applications.
Last edited by blueapple on Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mcmand

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Re: dismissed from medical school, now considering law school. Will dismissal preclude admission?

Postby mcmand » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:38 pm

blueapple wrote:
mcmand wrote:
blueapple wrote:
mcmand wrote:Your dismissal implicates the latter issue of fitness.


I don't think this is true.

mcmand wrote: They will probably be intrusive and demand medical records.


I don't think this is true either.

Anyway, to respond to you, OP, I think it's worth applying to the T14. It sounds like you've gotten a handle on your mental health and can write a brief addendum explaining your dismissal and that you've addressed the issues that contributed to your dismissal. I think you definitely have to be careful with how you word all of that, but I don't think you're precluded from the T14 at all and I don't think you're going to have issues with the bar.


I'm speaking from the experience of previously working in admissions for a state bar and reviewing applications for character and fitness issues. Maybe they won't ask for extensive records, but the attorney(s) who run these investigations can get very invasive. I wrote this to put OP on notice that it's something that will be looked at, potentially with significant scrutiny.


Sure. I didn't mean to say it won't be looked at, but you were making it sound like OP might never be barred. I don't think there's any risk of that here as long as OP discloses on law school and bar applications.


Sorry OP for making it sound too negative. Just making sure you know to prepare for lots of questions.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

warbletank

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Re: dismissed from medical school, now considering law school. Will dismissal preclude admission?

Postby warbletank » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:47 pm

Thank you all for your thorough replies. I'm glad to hear that my dismissal won't be as big an obstacle as I thought. I will definitely practice how to describe my past and how I overcame the issues. Fingers crossed for a successful application cycle in few years time!

mcmand

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Re: dismissed from medical school, now considering law school. Will dismissal preclude admission?

Postby mcmand » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:19 pm

warbletank wrote:Thank you all for your thorough replies. I'm glad to hear that my dismissal won't be as big an obstacle as I thought. I will definitely practice how to describe my past and how I overcame the issues. Fingers crossed for a successful application cycle in few years time!


Keep us updated and good luck.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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arroznueve

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Re: dismissed from medical school, now considering law school. Will dismissal preclude admission?

Postby arroznueve » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:10 pm

I'm glad you're doing better and ready to take the next step in your life. I know how hard it can be.

It's none of our business, but I do hope that in deciding that law is the next step for you, that included some hands-on experience with it. Make sure you can answer why you didn't initially chose law school, and why you're choosing it now—not for admissions, but for yourself. Do everything you can to set yourself up for success.

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I don’t think being academically dismissed, in itself, will be a bar issue; you will have to report it, of course, but flunking out of an academic program isn’t really a C&F issue if you get into/graduate from law school successfully.

You will have to report the treatment for anxiety, but I think that’s distinct from the academic dismissal. Also, as long as your medical providers can say that you’re being treated and the anxiety won’t affect your fitness to practice law, you should be fine. (You’ll have to get affidavits from those practitioners burn I really don’t think they’ll ask for medical records.)


In the two states with which I am familiar, they do ask for some type of medical records. I think they do it to be certain the person is telling the truth (in this case, that there was a documented medical reason for the academic performance that led to the dismissal).

warbletank

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Re: dismissed from medical school, now considering law school. Will dismissal preclude admission?

Postby warbletank » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:11 pm

Actually, I do have one follow-up question (this one being a bit subjective as well).

How far into the future should I plan applying to law school? My dismissal was recent, and my folks (along with my own concerns about time) are trying to convince me to go into law school sooner than 2.5 years (i.e. applying during fall 2019, matriculating in fall 2020). However, my resume is basically the standard premed one, with hospital volunteering and scientific research. I did participate in community diversity and faith work, but not to a super-involved state.

Any thoughts about applying during fall 2018 vs fall 2019 (and using that extra year to build experiences)? I am leaning towards taking that extra year, especially since I would like to go to a T14 (as I am sure anyone here would), but am interested in hearing what people think.

mcmand

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Re: dismissed from medical school, now considering law school. Will dismissal preclude admission?

Postby mcmand » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:30 pm

What is your parents' angle with this? I usually advise people on here to push back against artificial time pressure like that, because it almost never does the applicant any good.

It really depends on how your LSAT prep goes and how high of a score you get on your first attempt at a real LSAT. If you get something crazy high, like 170+, then I suppose it's more 50/50 on whether you should apply this fall or wait. If you don't score very high and/or if you see room for improvement, then it probably is worth waiting, since LSAT = $$$.

As to other aspects of this, I think it's a personal decision for you. Do you feel ready to jump back into a high stress professional school environment? Will you feel ready that quickly? You just went through a mentally traumatic life experience. Your anxiety is being managed, but the question remains (and only you can answer it) whether you feel like you have worked through most of the fallout of leaving medical school. Maybe you have, but I raise this issue because sometimes emotions spring up in unexpected ways.

Play it by ear, and don't let your folks pressure you into committing to applying. Work on your LSAT, talk to more lawyers in your area, do some volunteering when you have spare time. If you need ideas for what to do in terms of volunteering, PM me. I have a few thoughts. When September/October hits, look at your LSAT, your experiences thus far, assess whether you've developed more or less interest in practicing law, check in with your therapist (if you have one) about how you're feeling. If it's not time yet, it's not time. If it is, then send apps. If you change your mind and decide to wait after receiving acceptances, that's OK, too. Law school won't up and disappear in the meantime.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TripleM

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Re: dismissed from medical school, now considering law school. Will dismissal preclude admission?

Postby TripleM » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:01 pm

I agree with the above. Consider your parents council as you would any respected person. Then file it away and make your own decision. Alone. Preferably in a barren room (that last part isn't strictly necessary but would add to the poetry of it all). I see no reason to rush this.

First, think you need to make sure that you really have the anxiety under control. By all reports 1L is wicked and I'd think you'd want to have a great deal of confidence that you've truly managed your anxiety.

I'm also going to voice a concern that has been in the back of my mind as I've followed this thread. I'm a little concerned that you're more driven by an urge to succeed in a prestigious career than by a passion for practicing as an attorney. I clearly don't know this and you've said nothing to indicate that this is the case. I just worry when I see someone who says "My life's passion is medicine." and then months later is proclaiming "The law, that's my one true love."

It may be your one true love and you may be destined to become an excellent attorney who loves the work. I just think that you might benefit from taking some time to make sure that you're really confident about this. The worst case scenario isn't that you apply a year later. I can think of a couple of distinctly worse possibilities: a) You start law school only to find that it's not your passion and you end up with a med school redux or b) You succeed in law school only to find that you liked the title "attorney" more than the practice and you spend your life as a miserable lawyer trying to claw out from under a MST of debt.

It seems like you're inclined to wait. You also seem very self-reflective (a great quality) and so I'd like to think that one of your reasons for waiting is that you have some of these questions yourself. LSATs and GPAs matter but not nearly as much as your health.



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