How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

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cucumber_nuthouse
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How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby cucumber_nuthouse » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:30 pm

I'm in my 4th (of a total 5) year of undergrad. I'm going into environmental law (have connections through academic advisor/mentor).

I've been preparing for law school for about 6 months now and when I want something, I go all in. I'm all signed up with LSAC, been doing LSAT prep (taking it in June and October 2012), I've got a spreadsheet with all the schools I plan on applying to and all their important information, I've been lurking here for about 6 months, and I've spoken with several environmental attorneys at length. Long story short and not to sound cocky, but I’ve done my research.

I recently found out my university has a pre-law advisor. I was excited to meet with him and find out if there’s anything else I could be doing right now to prepare but I left feeling very uneasy about the advice I was given, as it contradicts everything I've been told/read. Here's what I was told:

1) "Don't have a backup plan. Just take the LSAT in October and go all in." This is against common sense. I ALWAYS have a back-up plan. I mean FFS, what if I’m in a fender bender on the way to take the test in October and I’m late?

2) "Extracurriculars don't matter unless you're a minority." I can't figure this one out, considering he's also the advisor for mock trial and encourages participation in student government. I mean, I know they're not a major factor, but an empty resume never looks appealing.

3) "You should really try to get into Lewis and Clark. It's a great school!" I told him A) I don't want to work in the Pacific NW and B) L&C doesn’t have a dual degree progam that I'm looking for. He also made it sound like I can go anywhere with a JD from L&C. I have no interest in L&C, especially when I'm looking at Penn State, Utah, Colorado-Boulder, George Washington, and Oregon (among others).

4) "You really need to get a legal internship the summer before you start law school." This flies in the face of everything I’ve heard from my connections as well as read here on TLS.

5) “Make sure you pay close attention to employment data. That’s important.” I don’t think I need to elaborate on why employment data is not to be trusted, especially in light of recent events.

6) "You really need to get a legal internship the summer before you start law school." This flies in the face of everything I’ve heard from my connections as well as read here on TLS.

He also made a joke about granola, Birkenstock-ed hippies, which IMO really showed his ignorance and showed me that he didn’t take me seriously.

Should I keep following this guy or would I be better off going it alone (which is fine with me)?

llachans
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby llachans » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:39 pm

cucumber_nuthouse wrote:
1) "Don't have a backup plan. Just take the LSAT in October and go all in." This is against common sense. I ALWAYS haa back-up plan. I mean FFS, what if I’m in a fender bender on the way to take the test in October and I’m late?

Most people will tell you to take off a year before entering law school anyways. It offers good WE and makes sure you're really ready for the commitment that is law school.


cucumber_nuthouse wrote:2) "Extracurriculars don't matter unless you're a minority." I can't figure this one out, considering he's also the advisor for mock trial and encourages participation in student government.

Eh. He's right on this. Most extracurriculars won't mean a thing. If you've won a Purple Heart/done TFA/served in the military/etc, it will look good. If you were heavily involved in a school club, who cares? So were most other applicants. Your admission will come down to your LSAT, GPA, and possibly your PS. In short, typical extracurriculars won't bat an eye.

cucumber_nuthouse wrote:3) "You should really try to get into Lewis and Clark. It's a great school!" I told him A)I don't want to work in the Pacific NW and B) L&C doesn’t have a dual degree progam that I'm looking for. He also made it sound like I can go anywhere with a JD from L&C. I have no interest in L&C, especially when I'm looking at Penn State, Utah, Colorado-Boulder, George Washington, and Oregon (among others).

This is left field. Are you in school in the PNW? Why are you looking at Oregon and not L&C? That seems a little strange. Both apps could be helpful for scholarship nogatiation. He probably suggested L&C since you're considering Oregon and L&C is in a similar location and is higher ranked.

cucumber_nuthouse wrote:4) "You really need to get a legal internship the summer before you start law school." This flies in the face of everything I’ve heard from my connections as well as read here on TLS.

I agree with him. Or WE. A lot of colleges will have more faith in you if you actually have real world work experience in the legal field (or even outside of the legal field). Don't rush into law school. Take time and enjoy a year off.

cucumber_nuthouse wrote:5) “Make sure you pay close attention to employment data. That’s important.” I don’t think I need to elaborate on why employment data is not to be trusted, especially in light of recent events.

He's absolutely right. Look through TLS and lawschooltransparency.com to see realistic employment numbers. Some schools (most of the T-14 and a smattering of other non-T-14s publish very realistic employment data. MSU comes to mind.) Look at lawschooltransparency and pay attention to the amount of students not reported. Just because the info is harder to find, doesn't mean you shouldn't research employment data. It will vary drastically between schools.

You come off cocky and arrogant. Give your adviser a chance and stop acting like you know everything. You should consider taking a year off (most people on TLS will recommend it) and absolutely look into employment data. Also, it wouldn't kill you to develop a sense of humor. I'm sure it'll help you in the future with interviewing.
Last edited by llachans on Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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bernaldiaz
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby bernaldiaz » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:40 pm

cucumber_nuthouse wrote:I'm in my 4th (of a total 5) year of undergrad. I'm going into environmental law (have connections through academic advisor/mentor).

I've been preparing for law school for about 6 months now and when I want something, I go all in. I'm all signed up with LSAC, been doing LSAT prep (taking it in June and October 2012), I've got a spreadsheet with all the schools I plan on applying to and all their important information, I've been lurking here for about 6 months, and I've spoken with several environmental attorneys at length. Long story short and not to sound cocky, but I’ve done my research.

I recently found out my university has a pre-law advisor. I was excited to meet with him and find out if there’s anything else I could be doing right now to prepare but I left feeling very uneasy about the advice I was given, as it contradicts everything I've been told/read. Here's what I was told:

1) "Don't have a backup plan. Just take the LSAT in October and go all in." This is against common sense. I ALWAYS have a back-up plan. I mean FFS, what if I’m in a fender bender on the way to take the test in October and I’m late?

2) "Extracurriculars don't matter unless you're a minority." I can't figure this one out, considering he's also the advisor for mock trial and encourages participation in student government. I mean, I know they're not a major factor, but an empty resume never looks appealing.

3) "You should really try to get into Lewis and Clark. It's a great school!" I told him A) I don't want to work in the Pacific NW and B) L&C doesn’t have a dual degree progam that I'm looking for. He also made it sound like I can go anywhere with a JD from L&C. I have no interest in L&C, especially when I'm looking at Penn State, Utah, Colorado-Boulder, George Washington, and Oregon (among others).

4) "You really need to get a legal internship the summer before you start law school." This flies in the face of everything I’ve heard from my connections as well as read here on TLS.

5) “Make sure you pay close attention to employment data. That’s important.” I don’t think I need to elaborate on why employment data is not to be trusted, especially in light of recent events.

6) "You really need to get a legal internship the summer before you start law school." This flies in the face of everything I’ve heard from my connections as well as read here on TLS.

He also made a joke about granola, Birkenstock-ed hippies, which IMO really showed his ignorance and showed me that he didn’t take me seriously.

Should I keep following this guy or would I be better off going it alone (which is fine with me)?


I agree with #4, but point #6 seems a little far-fetched.

kaiser
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby kaiser » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:41 pm

Whats wrong with making jokes about granola-chomping birkenstock-ed hippies?

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laxbrah420
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby laxbrah420 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:44 pm

What was the joke about granola?

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:48 pm

cucumber_nuthouse wrote:I'm in my 4th (of a total 5) year of undergrad. I'm going into environmental law (have connections through academic advisor/mentor).

I've been preparing for law school for about 6 months now and when I want something, I go all in. I'm all signed up with LSAC, been doing LSAT prep (taking it in June and October 2012), I've got a spreadsheet with all the schools I plan on applying to and all their important information, I've been lurking here for about 6 months, and I've spoken with several environmental attorneys at length. Long story short and not to sound cocky, but I’ve done my research.

I recently found out my university has a pre-law advisor. I was excited to meet with him and find out if there’s anything else I could be doing right now to prepare but I left feeling very uneasy about the advice I was given, as it contradicts everything I've been told/read. Here's what I was told:


1) "Don't have a backup plan. Just take the LSAT in October and go all in." This is against common sense. I ALWAYS have a back-up plan. I mean FFS, what if I’m in a fender bender on the way to take the test in October and I’m late?


If you are ready, taking it in June is the best time usually. If you are not, taking in October is not awful (and Dec. test can be a less-than-perfect safety net).

2) "Extracurriculars don't matter unless you're a minority." I can't figure this one out, considering he's also the advisor for mock trial and encourages participation in student government. I mean, I know they're not a major factor, but an empty resume never looks appealing.


He's right.

3) "You should really try to get into Lewis and Clark. It's a great school!" I told him A) I don't want to work in the Pacific NW and B) L&C doesn’t have a dual degree progam that I'm looking for. He also made it sound like I can go anywhere with a JD from L&C. I have no interest in L&C, especially when I'm looking at Penn State, Utah, Colorado-Boulder, George Washington, and Oregon (among others).


He's wrong and you might be too. (Dual-degree programs are usually a waste of money without enhanced job opportunities.)

4) "You really need to get a legal internship the summer before you start law school." This flies in the face of everything I’ve heard from my connections as well as read here on TLS.


He's wrong, but seeing as you want a very specific niche type job (assuming you don't want to practice environmental law on the defense side at a big law firm), it could be very helpful to try and get an internship at some of the organizations you are interested in and start making relationships right now.

5) “Make sure you pay close attention to employment data. That’s important.” I don’t think I need to elaborate on why employment data is not to be trusted, especially in light of recent events.


Just because the numbers can be deceiving for some schools doesnt mean you throw them all out. Pay attention to response rates and realize that salary information usually has much lower response rates (but job response rates are usually much better). Also realize that "business" category can mean a non-legal job that isn't that desirable and "academia" means either a temp job working for school after graduation or working in an admissions office (or something along those lines).

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:48 pm

1. Don't ever go into your first attempt at the LSAT expecting to take it a second time.

2. Set your sights on better schools than you are currently shooting for.

3. Even if you end up with numbers in range for those schools, they appear to have been selected using the dartboard method.

4. Extracurriculars don't matter.

5. You should absolutely be on the lookout for misleading employment data from schools. But paying close attention to employment data is good advice. What were you planning to do? Ignore employment data altogether?

Brassica7
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby Brassica7 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:50 pm

1) You should have a backup plan. This is the worst advice he gave you. If you do not get into a school that you feel comfortable attending in terms of the cost and job prospects, it is good to have a fallback.

2) I am not an expert on this, but I believe that while great extracurriculars will not help you beat your numbers (at least by much), a complete absence of them will hurt you. Also, the may help more if you are at a schools averages. If there are two 3.6/165 candidates, the school may favor the one who has done something cool.

3) Lewis and Clark is an expensive TT school. If you are really interested in environmental law and get a scholarship, then it may be worth it, but I would shoot for something better. I say this as someone attending a TT. Things seem to be working out okay, but I took a big risk. The University of Oregon is probably a better option if you are in state--although if you do not want to work in the Pacific Northwest, it is also a bad idea. If you do not have ties to PA or CO, Penn State and Colorado are bad ideas at well.

4) A legal internship before law school can't hurt, but it is hardly a requirement.

5) Employment data is important, but you are right to be suspicious. Check out LawSchoolTransparency.com.

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smaug_
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby smaug_ » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:51 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
Truth


I think you also need to consider that Environmental Law might be a tough nut to crack. Maybe I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that it was a very difficult niche to enter.

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traehekat
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby traehekat » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:55 pm

The only advice you need right now is to rock the LSAT. The only other thing I'll say is if you are considering schools like Oregon or Colorado for their environmental law programs or something, you can forget about that. I don't care what kind of law you want to do, expenses being equal you should go to the best school you can get into.

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Geetar Man
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby Geetar Man » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:59 pm

bernaldiaz wrote:I agree with #4, but point #6 seems a little far-fetched.


Image

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ThreeRivers
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby ThreeRivers » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:06 pm

Yea, my UG pre-law advisor is a man who works in the education / History department after working as a middle school teacher for 15 years.

He had NO clue about anything law-school related and gets excited / congratulates people about to go to Cooley. He was placed in his position because he wrote a book about a supreme court justice

As for you, I agree the only advice you really need now is to just destroy the LSAT. You can't even really decide what you're going to do until you have a LSAT score... and the better yours is the better your options will be

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NYC Law
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby NYC Law » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:10 pm

2 and 5 are correct.

And you probably should get a legal internship first. Not for any sort of admissions boost, but just to see if you actually like working in the field since there isn't really any other way to get exposure to what lawyers actually do prior to signing up for massive debt.

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MTal
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby MTal » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:25 pm

Law school will leave you with 150k in non-dischargeable debt and no job prospects. The JD is of absolutely no value in any other field unless you have commensurate work experience. Law schools all over the country including several Tier 1's are facing class action lawsuits by former students alleging that they were essentially defrauded to the tune of 6 figures. These facts are absolutely indisputable...yet you still want to go to law school?

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KMaine
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby KMaine » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:36 pm

MTal wrote:Law school will leave you with 150k in non-dischargeable debt and no job prospects. The JD is of absolutely no value in any other field unless you have commensurate work experience. Law schools all over the country including several Tier 1's are facing class action lawsuits by former students alleging that they were essentially defrauded to the tune of 6 figures. These facts are absolutely indisputable...yet you still want to go to law school?


Dude would make a great pre-law advisor. I am sure that the OP appreciates the personalized and not-cut-and-pasted advice.

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laxbrah420
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby laxbrah420 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:36 pm

MTal wrote:Law school will leave you with 150k in non-dischargeable debt.... These facts are absolutely indisputable.

yer dumb

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Chucky21
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby Chucky21 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:37 pm

MTal wrote:Law school will leave you with 150k in non-dischargeable debt and no job prospects. The JD is of absolutely no value in any other field unless you have commensurate work experience. Law schools all over the country including several Tier 1's are facing class action lawsuits by former students alleging that they were essentially defrauded to the tune of 6 figures. These facts are absolutely indisputable...yet you still want to go to law school?


This also depends on which law school you go to. Therefore, you should do well on the LSAT and get into a T-14 school, if not a T-14, then a strong regional school in the area you want to practice in, e.g. UCLA, UT.

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mattviphky
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby mattviphky » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:42 pm

My advisor: "Law school is an investment, it will cost as much as a house...but it is worth it." Not bad advice, but it was regarding a local TTT, and she never even once gave any advice whatsoever on LSAT prep. If I went 100% by her actions, I would have taken the test cold, gotten into this TTT at sticker, borrowed a huge chunk, and then look backon the experience as worth it!? I like the local TTT, but Jesus lady, at least tell these kids to at least TRY and get a high score to minimize debt

cucumber_nuthouse
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby cucumber_nuthouse » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:50 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:1. Don't ever go into your first attempt at the LSAT expecting to take it a second time.


I'm not expecting to take it a second time just like I'm not expecting to get into a car accident on the day of the exam. But I would be stupid not to be prepared.

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bernaldiaz
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby bernaldiaz » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:52 pm

cucumber_nuthouse wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:1. Don't ever go into your first attempt at the LSAT expecting to take it a second time.


I'm not expecting to take it a second time just like I'm not expecting to get into a car accident on the day of the exam. But I would be stupid not to be prepared.


Just curious, of all the advice posted here so far pertaining to your situation, how did you pick that as the one to respond to?

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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby cucumber_nuthouse » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:54 pm

3) "You should really try to get into Lewis and Clark. It's a great school!" I told him A) I don't want to work in the Pacific NW and B) L&C doesn’t have a dual degree progam that I'm looking for. He also made it sound like I can go anywhere with a JD from L&C. I have no interest in L&C, especially when I'm looking at Penn State, Utah, Colorado-Boulder, George Washington, and Oregon (among others).


He's wrong and you might be too. (Dual-degree programs are usually a waste of money without enhanced job opportunities.)


I don't want the master's for the job opportunities. I'm deeply interested in NRM (UG is in environmental biology) and frankly, I just want to study it more. I love school.

4) "You really need to get a legal internship the summer before you start law school." This flies in the face of everything I’ve heard from my connections as well as read here on TLS.


He's wrong, but seeing as you want a very specific niche type job (assuming you don't want to practice environmental law on the defense side at a big law firm), it could be very helpful to try and get an internship at some of the organizations you are interested in and start making relationships right now.


I am planning on being on the "big business" side. I am an intern with a federal agency and my job involves the legal aspects of environmental issues. I feel that the WE and the connections I've made here will serve me well later. It also makes me uncomfortable to think about learning the ropes at a new job in the summer while trying to get everything in order to leave for school that fall.
Last edited by cucumber_nuthouse on Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby cucumber_nuthouse » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:55 pm

bernaldiaz wrote:
cucumber_nuthouse wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:1. Don't ever go into your first attempt at the LSAT expecting to take it a second time.


I'm not expecting to take it a second time just like I'm not expecting to get into a car accident on the day of the exam. But I would be stupid not to be prepared.


Just curious, of all the advice posted here so far pertaining to your situation, how did you pick that as the one to respond to?


I'm having trouble getting my replies to go through. :-/ Sorry, I'm trying to get to all of them.

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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:03 pm

1) "Don't have a backup plan. Just take the LSAT in October and go all in." This is against common sense. I ALWAYS have a back-up plan. I mean FFS, what if I’m in a fender bender on the way to take the test in October and I’m late?

Always have a backup plan. I took it in Oct. my junior year of college to give me plenty time to retake. I'm a little extreme, but you get the point.

2) "Extracurriculars don't matter unless you're a minority." I can't figure this one out, considering he's also the advisor for mock trial and encourages participation in student government. I mean, I know they're not a major factor, but an empty resume never looks appealing.

This is a *qualified* true for admissions. Unless you're borderline, it normally doesn't make a difference. This is mostly because most ppl don't do anything special. However, it's good to have *something* on there, and it can be a good talking point in interviews for OCI.

3) "You should really try to get into Lewis and Clark. It's a great school!" I told him A) I don't want to work in the Pacific NW and B) L&C doesn’t have a dual degree progam that I'm looking for. He also made it sound like I can go anywhere with a JD from L&C. I have no interest in L&C, especially when I'm looking at Penn State, Utah, Colorado-Boulder, George Washington, and Oregon (among others).

No. Just no. Also, the others are weak in placement as well. In this economy, aim higher or go home.

4) "You really need to get a legal internship the summer before you start law school." This flies in the face of everything I’ve heard from my connections as well as read here on TLS.

I did one because I'm a K-JD. Only time I think it could be helpful, but it's not necessary.

5) “Make sure you pay close attention to employment data. That’s important.” I don’t think I need to elaborate on why employment data is not to be trusted, especially in light of recent events.

TRUST NOTHING. Even OCS.

6) "You really need to get a legal internship the summer before you start law school." This flies in the face of everything I’ve heard from my connections as well as read here on TLS.

See 4.



My prelaw advisor was a useless and unhelpful prick. Disregard and profit.

cucumber_nuthouse
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby cucumber_nuthouse » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:16 pm

cucumber_nuthouse wrote:3) "You should really try to get into Lewis and Clark. It's a great school!" I told him A)I don't want to work in the Pacific NW and B) L&C doesn’t have a dual degree progam that I'm looking for. He also made it sound like I can go anywhere with a JD from L&C. I have no interest in L&C, especially when I'm looking at Penn State, Utah, Colorado-Boulder, George Washington, and Oregon (among others).

This is left field. Are you in school in the PNW? Why are you looking at Oregon and not L&C? That seems a little strange. Both apps could be helpful for scholarship nogatiation. He probably suggested L&C since you're considering Oregon and L&C is in a similar location and is higher ranked.


No, I'm on the other side of the country. I really don't particularly want to go to the Pacific NW at all, but especially not to an expensive, private, no-name school that gives very little scholarship money.

cucumber_nuthouse wrote:4) "You really need to get a legal internship the summer before you start law school." This flies in the face of everything I’ve heard from my connections as well as read here on TLS.

I agree with him. Or WE. A lot of colleges will have more faith in you if you actually have real world work experience in the legal field (or even outside of the legal field). Don't rush into law school. Take time and enjoy a year off.


Trying to get a job with my UG alone is near impossible (I'm in the hard sciences), which is why I decided not to take the year off. It would take me the majority of that year to even find a job, much less one that pays over $25K.

cucumber_nuthouse wrote:5) “Make sure you pay close attention to employment data. That’s important.” I don’t think I need to elaborate on why employment data is not to be trusted, especially in light of recent events.

He's absolutely right. Look through TLS and lawschooltransparency.com to see realistic employment numbers. Some schools (most of the T-14 and a smattering of other non-T-14s publish very realistic employment data. MSU comes to mind.) Look at lawschooltransparency and pay attention to the amount of students not reported. Just because the info is harder to find, doesn't mean you shouldn't research employment data. It will vary drastically between schools.


My apologies, I should have clarified. He told me to pay close attention to the data provided by the schools. I know about lawschooltransparency.com, but he was going to their websites when he said this.

You come off cocky and arrogant. Give your adviser a chance and stop acting like you know everything. You should consider taking a year off (most people on TLS will recommend it) and absolutely look into employment data. Also, it wouldn’t kill you develop a sense of humor. I’m sure it’ll help you in the future with interviewing.


I don’t intend to come off as cocky or arrogant. I definitely don’t know everything, but the information I got from this guy was just skimming the surface and seemed very naïve (think First Day on the Internet kid). Also, taking school seriously doesn’t mean I have no sense of humor. I make jokes about my field all the time, but his bad attempt at turning an ignorant stereotype into a joke (to a stranger, no less) was off-putting.

cucumber_nuthouse
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Re: How full of crap is my new prelaw "advisor"?

Postby cucumber_nuthouse » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:18 pm

MTal wrote:Law school will leave you with 150k in non-dischargeable debt and no job prospects. The JD is of absolutely no value in any other field unless you have commensurate work experience. Law schools all over the country including several Tier 1's are facing class action lawsuits by former students alleging that they were essentially defrauded to the tune of 6 figures. These facts are absolutely indisputable...yet you still want to go to law school?


Are you in law school?




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