Question about my fairly unique situation

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CP2323
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Question about my fairly unique situation

Postby CP2323 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:52 pm

So I want to attend law school and have taken the LSAT once and applied for law schools for fall 2011. My situation is fairly different from the average law school candidate. I am a married man and father of 3 children who will be 32 this year. I am a disabled veteran from the United States Navy and have worked as a middle school teacher for the past two years. My hard numbers are fairly bad since I messed around during my first year in college before going into the Navy. (Didn’t attend class and spent my time with my girlfriend at the time who is now my wife) Here are my hard numbers:

LSAT 157 (1 attempt no prep at all)
Undergrad GPA according to LSAC 2.33 (upper classes is a 3.0)
Graduate school GPA 3.75 (I have a Master's degree in social studies education from University of Tampa)
Varied work experience from Sales, Military, and Education background
Hundreds of hours of volunteer experience
Low socioeconomic background (single parent household, welfare as a child, etc)
Fairly famous last name (in some circles and areas of the country, family has been in America since before it was a country and some significant ties to Harvard in particular)

Now my dilemma I can attend a public school in Ohio and Florida (due to residency laws) for free with my post 9-11 GI bill. I am currently accepted to University of Akron and Wait listed for Stetson. I have outstanding applications for OSU, UofC, UF, and FSU. I know my chances are not very high of getting accepted (especially since I was already wait listed for Stetson and denied at Penn State)

Is there any chance at all that I can overcome my low undergraduate GPA by scoring higher on the LSAT or should I go ahead and accept going to a third tier school since I will come out with little (less then 20K) to zero debt?

I know my undergraduate GPA is horrible since I played around during my young years and then while in the Military I tested out a lot of my classes through DANTES and CLEP exams which provide no GPA at all.

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kalvano
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Re: Question about my fairly unique situation

Postby kalvano » Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:56 pm

CP2323 wrote:Is there any chance at all that I can overcome my low undergraduate GPA by scoring higher on the LSAT or should I go ahead and accept going to a third tier school since I will come out with little (less then 20K) to zero debt?



Yes. People do it all the time. A higher LSAT will greatly offset the GPA. Some schools favor GPA over LSAT (I'm not familiar with the Florida schools), but some schools prefer a higher LSAT over a certain GPA.

Retake is definitely the answer.

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fatduck
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Re: Question about my fairly unique situation

Postby fatduck » Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:58 pm

depends how much you can improve your lsat. since you took it cold with no prep i suspect you could raise it quite a bit, but it will take work.

your gpa is bad, but it seems that law schools treat all the sub-3.0 gpas close to the same. i did pretty well with a 2.9/170 and i know a few people on this site with numbers like 2.5/167 that also got into a bunch of T1 schools. you might have a shot at decent florida schools like UF/FSU if you improved your lsat significantly.

CP2323
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Re: Question about my fairly unique situation

Postby CP2323 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:03 pm

If I am interested in living in Ohio and can't get into a tier 1 law school there which of the schools is highly rated? I don't really need to worry about Scholarship offers since they will just offset my GI money either way it will be paid for. I want to move back into a small community after living near Tampa. I currently work at an inner city Tampa school and really want to move my kids as far away as possible.

I am mainly interested in working in business law, IP law, or constitutional law. I am interested in a move into politics or teaching at the college level. Will the tier of my school really matter that much if I have no interest in working in "Big Law"?


*Edit*

I also hate my current job. So I would love to go ahead and just go to school this fall, but I also don't want to screw my family over. I am looking to work as a lawyer and make more then I currently make as a teacher. So I would like to make around 40K-60K out of school.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Question about my fairly unique situation

Postby Lawquacious » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:05 pm

I think you would certainly improve your chances of getting stronger acceptances with a higher LSAT, but your GPA probably will prevent you from reaching too high even with a very strong LSAT. If you are o.k. working in the Akron area and can accept that you may have trouble getting a legal job out of law school, and if you really are fairly convinced that law is what you want to pursue, then I think going to Akron may not be a bad decision given that it will be paid for by the military. Unfortunately your master's level GPA doesn't count directly for law school admissions. Your military service may help give you a boost though, and maybe you can write an addendum explaining your low gpa to send to schools you are still being considered at or are interested in applying to (for those where you are still pending perhaps your letter could state your strong interest in going there and also include an attempted explanation of your poor GPA if you haven't already done an addendum).

At this point retaking the LSAT would involve putting off law for another year. If you currently have a decent job or generally stable situation this may not be a bad idea, but given your particular circumstances with the military financial backing and the very low GPA I'm not sure it would necessarily be worth it. You will still very likely be looking at a 'regional' school even if you can kill the LSAT, although it would probably be a school with a much greater 'regional' reach than Akron. The fact that you didn't prepare much for the LSAT is a factor that argues for retaking though, especially if you don't have a compelling reason or strong desire to start law school this fall.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Question about my fairly unique situation

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:37 pm

If retaking the LSAT with serious preparation is off the table, then Cincinnati may be your best hope. If you simply want to work as an attorney in a small firm in a small town, then passing the state bar exam is much more important than what tier law school you attend. The reality is that all ABA accredited law schools teach the same material from the same or similiar casebooks. Harvard law grads & Akron law grads take the same bar exam in Ohio.

CP2323
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Re: Question about my fairly unique situation

Postby CP2323 » Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:55 am

Not sure if it matters but I am a 50% disabled veteran. Does that account into my application at all?

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arvcondor
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Re: Question about my fairly unique situation

Postby arvcondor » Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:38 am

CP2323 wrote:Not sure if it matters but I am a 50% disabled veteran. Does that account into my application at all?
I would imagine so. You've got a big case for being a non-traditional student, and your veteran status could certainly offset some of that GPA (someone correct me if I'm wrong).

Also, I second the motions of the above posters regarding the LSAT: If you put a few good, solid months into preparing for it, it could open up a lot of options.

Best of luck with everything.

CP2323
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Re: Question about my fairly unique situation

Postby CP2323 » Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:36 am

I took a practice LSAT (just the free one from LSAC) last night and scored a 168. I think I probably do have an excellent chance to score in the 170s with some more practice.

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aspire2more
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Re: Question about my fairly unique situation

Postby aspire2more » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:02 pm

Taking an official LSAT without preparing first was a poor decision. I would retake the exam, do well, and apply to stronger regional schools.

trudat15
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Re: Question about my fairly unique situation

Postby trudat15 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:21 pm

CP2323 wrote:I took a practice LSAT (just the free one from LSAC) last night and scored a 168. I think I probably do have an excellent chance to score in the 170s with some more practice.


I took an extra year to retake the LSAT (was originally planning on applying last cycle) and scored 10 pts higher, and it opened a whole near tier of options for me. And I'm older just like you. I decided that going to better law school was more important in the long run.

I dont know much about the regional or state schools in the Ohio area, but I would suggest retaking, esp since your PT last night was 11 pts higher than your raw score. If you're in the 170s, maybe you can take a shot at some splitter friendly top schools with ED (since you have your GI Bill helping).




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