Should I apply to law school now even though Sept LSAT

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LegalBiology

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Should I apply to law school now even though Sept LSAT

Postby LegalBiology » Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:56 pm

So I took the LSAT in June and got a bad score so am retaking this week.

I noticed some schools already opened their application - should I put in a few now? or does it not matter

albanach

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Re: Should I apply to law school now even though Sept LSAT

Postby albanach » Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:27 pm

LegalBiology wrote:So I took the LSAT in June and got a bad score so am retaking this week.

I noticed some schools already opened their application - should I put in a few now? or does it not matter


We know nothing about you. What's your target, what was a bad score, what were you scoring in test conditions practices before taking the exam, where are you scoring now? What schools do you want to go to, what do you want to do post-graduation as a lawyer?

If you want useful help, people need to know your background and goals.

On what you provided, no you shouldn't apply until you have a score that makes you competitive at the schools you want to attend. Be prepared to sit out this cycle and apply in 2019 if there's a big gap between where you are and where you want to be.

LegalBiology

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Re: Should I apply to law school now even though Sept LSAT

Postby LegalBiology » Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:54 pm

albanach wrote:
LegalBiology wrote:So I took the LSAT in June and got a bad score so am retaking this week.

I noticed some schools already opened their application - should I put in a few now? or does it not matter


We know nothing about you. What's your target, what was a bad score, what were you scoring in test conditions practices before taking the exam, where are you scoring now? What schools do you want to go to, what do you want to do post-graduation as a lawyer?

If you want useful help, people need to know your background and goals.

On what you provided, no you shouldn't apply until you have a score that makes you competitive at the schools you want to attend. Be prepared to sit out this cycle and apply in 2019 if there's a big gap between where you are and where you want to be.



I'm asking in terms of whether applying in october/applying later that now would put me at a disadvantage; let's say I want to go to a top 20 school, I'm PTing at 166-169 and I'm applying to a range of schools

albanach

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Re: Should I apply to law school now even though Sept LSAT

Postby albanach » Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:43 pm

LegalBiology wrote:
albanach wrote:
LegalBiology wrote:So I took the LSAT in June and got a bad score so am retaking this week.

I noticed some schools already opened their application - should I put in a few now? or does it not matter


We know nothing about you. What's your target, what was a bad score, what were you scoring in test conditions practices before taking the exam, where are you scoring now? What schools do you want to go to, what do you want to do post-graduation as a lawyer?

If you want useful help, people need to know your background and goals.

On what you provided, no you shouldn't apply until you have a score that makes you competitive at the schools you want to attend. Be prepared to sit out this cycle and apply in 2019 if there's a big gap between where you are and where you want to be.



I'm asking in terms of whether applying in october/applying later that now would put me at a disadvantage; let's say I want to go to a top 20 school, I'm PTing at 166-169 and I'm applying to a range of schools


Applying with a low score puts you at a disadvantage as compared to applying with a high score.

Wanting to go to a top-20 school also raises questions. Law schools are typically separated into T-14 (some may argue if it's 13 or 15) and then Tier 1 which includes all the schools between 15-50.

The T-14 all have national placement and generally a decent prospect at biglaw. Once you get below the T-14, schools are much more regional in where they place graduates. 60% of Minnesota's grads end up in the state. The next most common location is DC, but that's only 1 in 20 of the class. At UCLA, more than 3/4 of the class stay in CA, with the next most common location being NY, though again that's just 6%.

If your goal is somewhere outside the T-14, you should be thinking about where you want to work for the remainder of your legal career as your choice of school will likely make a difference. Assuming you are happy with that choice and have researched the regional legal employment marker, that score may or may not be sufficient (alongside your unknown GPA) to secure decent funding at your target school. Alternatively, it might make sense to target a lower ranked school on the basis that it places will in the area you want to work and will allow you to graduate debt free.

If, on the other hand, you goal is biglaw and/or you don't want to be geographically restricted, you ideally need to increase that LSAT in order to secure money from the T-14. There's still time to do so and get an application in while money is still available. If raising your LSAT takes longer and you are not able to apply before early in the new year, you should probably delay a cycle.

QContinuum

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Re: Should I apply to law school now even though Sept LSAT

Postby QContinuum » Tue Sep 04, 2018 4:27 pm

albanach wrote:Wanting to go to a top-20 school also raises questions. Law schools are typically separated into T-14 (some may argue if it's 13 or 15) and then Tier 1 which includes all the schools between 15-50.


Agree with most of your post but not the quoted section above. Most of the T15-20 and a few outside of it (notably Fordham) place very strongly into biglaw and have reasonable geographic mobility, significantly above the rest of the non-T13. I call them "Super Regionals." So I think it does make sense to separate the 1-50 schools into three categories (T13, "Super Regional" (~T20), then the rest of the T1).

It's been a while since I've crunched the numbers for all of the T20, but IIRC, the following probably qualify as "Super Regionals" under my definition above (listed by USNWR rank, not necessarily by placement power or geographic reach):
  • Georgetown
  • Texas
  • UCLA
  • Vandy
  • WUSTL
  • USC
  • BU
  • Fordham

Don't recall placement for GWU, though I suspect it's a step above the "average" T21-50.

albanach

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Re: Should I apply to law school now even though Sept LSAT

Postby albanach » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:48 am

QContinuum wrote:
albanach wrote:Wanting to go to a top-20 school also raises questions. Law schools are typically separated into T-14 (some may argue if it's 13 or 15) and then Tier 1 which includes all the schools between 15-50.


Agree with most of your post but not the quoted section above. Most of the T15-20 and a few outside of it (notably Fordham) place very strongly into biglaw and have reasonable geographic mobility, significantly above the rest of the non-T13. I call them "Super Regionals." So I think it does make sense to separate the 1-50 schools into three categories (T13, "Super Regional" (~T20), then the rest of the T1).


That's a fair point to an extent. Most these schools have had a particularly good time with placement in the last few years. However, as recently as the class of 2014, schools like Vandy were placing fewer than 30% into biglaw, compared to double that today. Other schools in that range have also seen huge leaps (WashU 27% -> 45%), while some still don't place very well comparatively for their rank (e.g. UCLA). If there's a market downturn, those will be the first to see drops in recruitment.

The thing about those "super regional" schools is that getting regional employment can often require some sort of tie to the area. Regional firms dread the prospect of training someone for a couple of years only for them to lateral into NY for money and prestige. I've seen this multiple times in the northern MidWest states. CA probably fears that less, but I imagine most of the South and MidWest have these concerns.

If recruitment falls back, which it can easily do in the 4-5 years between beginning the application process and graduating, being at a regional school with no regional ties might not be a great place to start a career. That's only exacerbated by the smaller school endowments making post-graduation fellowships less likely.

Obviously if OP is independently wealthy or if they have a GPA that combined with their LSAT would allow them to graduate debt free or close to it, then things are a lot easier. A T-20 degree with no debt load would undoubtedly be worthwhile. But otherwise, there's a lot to consider.

QContinuum

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Re: Should I apply to law school now even though Sept LSAT

Postby QContinuum » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:40 pm

albanach wrote:That's a fair point to an extent. Most these schools have had a particularly good time with placement in the last few years. However, as recently as the class of 2014, schools like Vandy were placing fewer than 30% into biglaw, compared to double that today. Other schools in that range have also seen huge leaps (WashU 27% -> 45%), while some still don't place very well comparatively for their rank (e.g. UCLA). If there's a market downturn, those will be the first to see drops in recruitment.

The thing about those "super regional" schools is that getting regional employment can often require some sort of tie to the area. Regional firms dread the prospect of training someone for a couple of years only for them to lateral into NY for money and prestige. I've seen this multiple times in the northern MidWest states. CA probably fears that less, but I imagine most of the South and MidWest have these concerns.

If recruitment falls back, which it can easily do in the 4-5 years between beginning the application process and graduating, being at a regional school with no regional ties might not be a great place to start a career. That's only exacerbated by the smaller school endowments making post-graduation fellowships less likely.

Obviously if OP is independently wealthy or if they have a GPA that combined with their LSAT would allow them to graduate debt free or close to it, then things are a lot easier. A T-20 degree with no debt load would undoubtedly be worthwhile. But otherwise, there's a lot to consider.


Great points and agreed that the ~T14-20 schools whose placement has soared in recent years will be the first to get slammed if/when the economy tanks.

Minor quibble in the sense that I think many of the "Super Regionals" don't necessarily get their placement numbers from placing into small, secondary markets. Vandy's BigLaw numbers, for instance, have gotta be from placing into BigLaw in places like Chicago, NY and TX - I don't think it's from placing half the class into BigLaw positions in, say, Nashville. Ditto with WashU - it can't be placing all of its BigLaw alums into STL BigLaw. So I'm a bit less concerned about needing local ties to attend a school like Vandy or WashU. But again, agreed about the increased risk of attending these schools should a downturn happen.



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