Unique And Lucky Situation, Need Help

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PartTimerTTT

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Unique And Lucky Situation, Need Help

Postby PartTimerTTT » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:44 pm

Hello all,

I require your wisdom. I attempt to explain my situation below, ultimately, I am asking for assistance in choosing my law school given my unique circumstances:

Upon graduation from college and after the LSAT, I did not apply to law school. I opted to find a job in the legal field first. After two years of searching and part-time unrelated work, I was hired as a file clerk for a small law firm in New York City that deals in a very specific and rare type of corporate litigation. I was then promoted to paralegal to directly assist a partner with the firm. One year following that, our firm agreed to merge with a much larger law firm which deals as a full service firm where I am today, still working with the same group. I have now been in the field for a total of 3 years. It is standard I bill about 1800 hours a year in a very fast paced and rigorous work place, with overnighters and massive overtime very common, and I love it. If its relevant, I currently make about $70,000. My firm pays associates (rarely, if ever hired) big law competitive salary.

However, they have told me that they plan on retaining me as I attend law school part time, as well as hiring me as an attorney upon graduation, with no specific conditions. I would be honored to continue to work here, and in this field. Did I hit the lottery with this firm or is this a common occurrence? I am now applying to schools for this upcoming Fall 2018 cycle.

How should this affect my law school decision? I have a mediocre 3.5 GPA and a 153 on the LSAT from 5 years ago. I am currently scheduled to retake in June, however, as I am turning 27 in September, I prefer to attend this cycle.

So far, my only application response is NYLS with $$$$ contingent on a 3.0 GPA. I have also applied to Brooklyn, Fordham, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Cardozo, St. John's and Hofstra. I understand from various forums that New York Law School is frowned upon, would this apply to me as well?

Any and all advice is welcome.

Thank you so very much

totesTheGoat

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Re: Unique And Lucky Situation, Need Help

Postby totesTheGoat » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:37 pm

I wouldn't say it's particularly common, but it's not something to hang your hat on. If they were offering to pay your way, it'd be a different story. Not that they would do this, but you need to look at the worst-case scenario where they pull the rug out from under you sometime between now and the end of law school. Would you be able to find a new job that pays better than you're currently making at the caliber of schools you're looking at? Probably not. The more common wrinkle that comes up is that you find something even more interesting and then you feel stuck going back to your current firm. You should ask them if they'd let you go down to 20-30 hours per week (with a commensurate pay cut, of course) so that you could go to school full-time.

Also, part-time law school sucks, especially when working a full- or near-full-time job. Don't do it unless you absolutely have to. You get all the crap of law school while missing out on the parts that are important for getting a job. It's less important for you since you have relevant work experience, but it's not very enjoyable. Most full-time law students think law school is difficult but fun. Most part-time law students (who worked a demanding job) cringe when you mention school. I took the full-time job/part-time school path and regret it. Most the other people I know who did the same also regret it.

Regarding the contingent scholarship tell them (politely, of course) to shove it. Contingent scholarships aren't worth the electrons they're sent with.

I am currently scheduled to retake in June, however, as I am turning 27 in September, I prefer to attend this cycle.


One measly year isn't worth fussing about if the outcome leaves you in a much better place. I know you plan on working with your firm for the foreseeable future, but you don't want to foreclose on all of the other options. You never know where you'll end up in 3 or 4 years. I thought I had an after-law-school job locked down by the end of 1L, but I ended up somewhere else. A better opportunity came along, and thankfully I was able to jump on it.

If you jump into the recruiting cycle next year with a 3.5/165 and substantial relevant work experience, you're going to have a bunch of great options that leave you in a better place if something goes sideways with your firm in the next 4 years.

DerKatze

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Re: Unique And Lucky Situation, Need Help

Postby DerKatze » Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:01 am

totesTheGoat wrote:Regarding the contingent scholarship tell them (politely, of course) to shove it. Contingent scholarships aren't worth the electrons they're sent with.


Most of the above post is good advice, but this is a little less clear cut. This depends on how much money it is and what GPA (percentile wise) you will be required to keep. Some schools hand out lots of contingent scholarships with high required GPAs then cut a lot of people off. That isn't the only point of contingent scholarships, however, GPA requirements can very well be legitimate and understandable. You said contingent on a 3.0. What's the curve?

DerKatze

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Re: Unique And Lucky Situation, Need Help

Postby DerKatze » Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:05 am

EDIT: I just looked up the curve. It's listed on page 37 of the student handbook. https://go.nyls.edu/documents/48940/0/NYLS+Student+Handbook+Fall+2016+-+Summer+2017+%28NYLS%29.pdf/80261fd0-c0e8-497f-a67d-faf07ddd48ac The median for most classes is a B, but they give a lot of really low grades, between 15 and 35% of grades in most 1L classes are C or below...

totesTheGoat

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Re: Unique And Lucky Situation, Need Help

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:39 am

DerKatze wrote:Most of the above post is good advice, but this is a little less clear cut. This depends on how much money it is and what GPA (percentile wise) you will be required to keep. Some schools hand out lots of contingent scholarships with high required GPAs then cut a lot of people off. That isn't the only point of contingent scholarships, however, GPA requirements can very well be legitimate and understandable. You said contingent on a 3.0. What's the curve?


No it's not. It's perfectly clear cut. Contingent scholarships are set up for one reason only, so that they can pull the rug out from under unsuspecting (and usually middling) students who overvalue their ability to excel in law school. If the school didn't budget for exactly that to happen many times each year, they'd do who most reputable schools do.... offer guaranteed money. Contingent scholarships prey on students caught up in the sunk cost fallacy. You've put a year or two into your legal education and you can't stop now, even though you're gonna have to take out massive loans to finish it out. Now you're paying sticker at a very mediocre law school, which is gravy for them. They're the casino, you're the guy who thinks he's on a lucky streak. Sure, you may be in the minority that beats the odds, but in the long run the house always wins.

PartTimerTTT

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Re: Unique And Lucky Situation, Need Help

Postby PartTimerTTT » Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:39 am

DerKatze wrote:EDIT: I just looked up the curve. It's listed on page 37 of the student handbook. https://go.nyls.edu/documents/48940/0/NYLS+Student+Handbook+Fall+2016+-+Summer+2017+%28NYLS%29.pdf/80261fd0-c0e8-497f-a67d-faf07ddd48ac The median for most classes is a B, but they give a lot of really low grades, between 15 and 35% of grades in most 1L classes are C or below...


Yes. They consider a 3.0 the top half of the class.

DerKatze

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Re: Unique And Lucky Situation, Need Help

Postby DerKatze » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:34 pm

That NYLS is a poorer law school is very clear cut. OP should go to a better law school if he or she can get in. In comparing contingent scholarship offers, OP should use the expected value of the scholarships, not just throw them out the window. In general, this would mean multiplying the scholarship value by the percentage of students with a GPA that meets the requirements. The cutoff is 3.0, but I know some law schools that curve to a B+, where anything below 3.0 means you are doing extremely poorly and probably shouldn't have the scholarship. Another poster said they intend the median to be 3.0, but the grade distribution was skewed a little towards Fs and Ds, where it's guaranteed that ~5% are D, so I would except the median to be slightly below 3.0. So if OP received, say, a $100,000 scholarship, he should multiply it by .4 and pretend its $40,000.

However, like I said, if he gets into a better school that should factor way more than the scholarships.

PartTimerTTT

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Re: Unique And Lucky Situation, Need Help

Postby PartTimerTTT » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:58 pm

DerKatze wrote: However, like I said, if he gets into a better school that should factor way more than the scholarships.


I guess this is my ultimate question. Should it? Why should I spend extra for better job prospects when I have them? Shouldn't I prioritize spending less?

DerKatze

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Re: Unique And Lucky Situation, Need Help

Postby DerKatze » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:02 pm

We should be looking at the world in a statistical and economic framework, because that's how it works. In order to compare, we have to boil the situation down to a single measure. This can be either money or happiness. While happiness is the better measure insofar as it is really what people seek in life, it is extremely difficult to measure, and we need money for for basic needs anyway. Since the discussion about scholarships is already using money as a measure, and because you say your ultimate is about job prospects and spending less, I'll use money as the measure.

The conventional wisdom has roughly identified two extremely important things: the two we've just identified. You should go to the best school--not necessarily the highest ranked, but T13 or the most prestigious where you want to practice, roughly--in order to get the best job prospects available. You should also go where you will have less debt. These aren't absolutes, but ubiquitous and conventional pieces of advice for good reason. They are both, frankly, about money. The magic formula for mediating these two conflicting pieces of advice is to go where ever gives you the highest long term expected value. The biggest problem with doing this is that you have to estimate a lot of the values, which seems to be part of your question.

It's worth noting that we shouldn't entirely leave out happiness. totesTheGoat made a really good point in that full-time job+part-time school sucks. While I haven't experienced this particular situation, I believe him, and I think you probably should, too. Weighing money vs. happiness is apples to oranges, but think about this as well: your happiness greatly affects burnout, quality of work, hours worked, etc. All these things have a financial impact that you should weigh. Also previously mentioned, going to school part-time denies you a number of opportunities that increase your happiness and/or financial expected value, e.g. law review, lots of the networking with other students, and more meaningful connections with professors.

At the end of the day, you should go to a better law school if the difference between long-term cost of attendance, including total interest on loans and foregone pay from reduced hours, that you would incur from going to the better school is less than the amount you would make more from going to the better school, go to the better school. So if (COA better school-COA NYLS) < (extra earnings better school-extra earnings NYLS), go to better school. I happen to think that the job prospects out of NYLS are so poor, and there is a realistic chance your firm might renege, so that this is almost definitely true. However, this would depend on a lot of information that only you have, including financials.



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