Getting Started...

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Band A Long
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Getting Started...

Postby Band A Long » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:02 am

Hi all, typical TLS lurker here.

I'm currently attending a large public university and am considering my chances and interests for law school. I am looking for some general advice, and since I have a few oddball preferences/requirements for law school, I figured I'd offer up my info and see if anyone has some suggestions about getting started on the path to a J.D. :D

Background: GPA is currently 3.78. Double major, one in liberal arts and the other in science (so I'm worried as the science classes (Ochem?!!?) get tougher my GPA will drop. Hope not!). Other interests include graduate school for science, or looking for interesting jobs with my B.S. after graduation (I don't want to sound like I'm not interested in law school, just that I have a lot of interests/options. Not looking at med school, fyi). Assuming (!) I study hard, I'm reasonably confident I'll do well on the LSAT (isn't everyone here?) I know SAT isn't the same, but I had >2200 when I took it last so I figure there's at least some natural aptitude I can use as a starting point for studying.

Law-related Thoughts: I am really only interested in law that involves oral argument, or at the very least some sort of logical debate/interaction in a courtroom-ish setting. I did debate in high school (any Cxers or LDers out there?) and I just really love the thrill of the argument. If I wanted to only do repetitive writing/discovery I can go to grad school in the sciences :P. This has lead me to considering criminal law. Yes, I do watch Law&Order — I know it's not how the real legal system works, but I would imagine (feel free to correct me) that there is at least some degree of variability and excitement especially as one moves up the ranks to become an ADA, etc. From what I have read about it, I have nearly zero interest in "biglaw." The important thing about law to me is the interaction with people, and the affect I could have on them. Concepts of justice, morality, ethics, etc. also fascinate me. Corporations, not so much. Then again, I may be completely mischaracterizing the reality of law in the U.S.

I already have a small amount of loans from undergrad. As such, I am simply not willing to take on extreme debt from law school, since a) I could go to grad school in the sciences for nearly free considering TAships, etc. and b) the income prospects from government work is likely low (at least to start). Scholarship opportunities are thus very important to my considerations.

Geographically I am in the northeast but willing to relocate. One important consideration, I suppose, would be a relatively close area to somewhere with a DAs office that gives out 1L, 2L internships and the like. These factors have led me to look at Temple Law, but I've only just started my research. Other ideas welcome.

SO! I'm looking for suggestions on how to proceed, if there are people with similar situations/interests, and if it's possible to find a law school that would be favorable to my interests while simultaneously giving out decent scholarships. Any and all other suggestions also welcome! Thanks :D

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Eugenie Danglars
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Re: Getting Started...

Postby Eugenie Danglars » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:11 am

What year are you? Keep you GPA up as high as possible. Also, study for the LSAT. You can do much much better than Temple if your LSAT is good.

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Band A Long
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Re: Getting Started...

Postby Band A Long » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:14 am

Currently a soph. BS. may require an additional semester, so graduation may be pushed back from spring 2013 to the following fall, in which case I would try to hike the Appalachian Trail or something :D

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Wholigan
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Re: Getting Started...

Postby Wholigan » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:18 am

Keep your grades up. Take easy classes as often as possible to inflate that GPA. When it's time for the LSAT, buy the study materials and go in prepared. Get into a top school with a good LRAP, or a good regional school on a substantial scholarship. If your main goal is to be an ADA and not to work in a particular region, focus on a top school. For example, tons of Temple grads work in the Philly prosecutor's office, but you will find very few working in similar roles in other cities. It sounds like you wouldn't like civil practice, and you could be out of luck if for example, they have a hiring freeze in Philadelphia when you're wrapping up school.

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Eugenie Danglars
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Re: Getting Started...

Postby Eugenie Danglars » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:22 am

Don't hike the App trail starting in fall.

Also , keep your grades up. Think about which semester/summer you'll be least busy and consider taking the LSAT then. Allow at least three months to study.

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Band A Long
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Re: Getting Started...

Postby Band A Long » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:28 am

I meant I would try to hike it after I graduated in the fall, since I wouldn't be going to school that spring (unless law school starts earlier than regular UG?) I get the concern about grades — would it be worth it to take that extra semester if it lets me space out my hard classes? I'm particularly worried about next semester, actually, as somehow I have Organic Chem I, intro to Biochemistry, and intro to genetics all at once... Another interesting thing: I'm probably going to try to take Calc II over the summer online while I work: Am I understanding it correctly that the law school gpa takes into account community college transfer courses?

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Wholigan
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Re: Getting Started...

Postby Wholigan » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:46 am

They do take into account community college grades. If you are serious about maximizing prosects for law school, space out those hard classes. Unfortunately for admission purposes a B+ in biochem < A- in beadmaking in community college.

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Band A Long
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Re: Getting Started...

Postby Band A Long » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:45 am

Wow, that's a bummer. I get the rankings bit, but it just seems... so... wrong.

Do you have any thoughts on opportunities for scholarships? Are full- or half-scholarships out there? I don't want to be a negative nancy or whatever, but getting money for undergraduate degrees for me and most of my friends was a real pain.

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northwood
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Re: Getting Started...

Postby northwood » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:49 am

Band A Long wrote:Wow, that's a bummer. I get the rankings bit, but it just seems... so... wrong.

Do you have any thoughts on opportunities for scholarships? Are full- or half-scholarships out there? I don't want to be a negative nancy or whatever, but getting money for undergraduate degrees for me and most of my friends was a real pain.



There are scholarships. Most of them are offered to canidates with high GPAs and an LSAT score above the medians ( for some omoney- better than 75% for more serious offers). You need to keep your GPA as high as possible, and start building solid relations with professors. Dont worry about the LSAT until your summer before your senior year at the earliest. I would recommend taking a year off from UG and LS so you can do what you want and recharge your brain. IN 2 years you might not even want to go to law school- so keep that in mind. Now is the time to explore what careers you are interested in,and get some experience in internships and other opportunities. Law school will always be there if you want it- but dont pigenhole yourself to it now.

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Band A Long
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Re: Getting Started...

Postby Band A Long » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:54 am

Thanks for the advice everyone.
northwood wrote:I would recommend taking a year off from UG and LS so you can do what you want and recharge your brain. IN 2 years you might not even want to go to law school- so keep that in mind. Now is the time to explore what careers you are interested in,and get some experience in internships and other opportunities.

This bring a few questions to mind:
1. If one plans to take a year off, does that mean you apply at the regular time (senior year before christmas) and then ask the law schools that admit you for a year to wait, or does that mean don't worry about it until later? How long do the LSATs last (I know GRE is something like 5 years, right?) for them to still count?
2. Are there any advantages to applying for an undergraduate internship? I'm somewhat close to Philadelphia; I know they have undergrad internships during regular season and summer. Would that help at all, or are the only benefits figuring out what I want? (Not that doing so isn't important :D)

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northwood
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Re: Getting Started...

Postby northwood » Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:16 pm

Your LSAT stays on record for 5 years i think
if you are planning on taking a year off the best bet would be to apply in the fall before the year you are going to start ( ie. apply iin fall 2010 if you are going to start in 2011)

An internship gives you something to talk about to employers. However and more importantly it gives you a window into a career field that you think is interesting ( or if academic it allows you to do some more research). I think it would give you a minimum boost on your application at best.

Its really up to you what you want. Your best bet however will be to get professors to write letters of recommendation before you graduate. Your relationship and quality as a student are very fresh in their mind- and you can check its progress in person- and not over the phone. They also last around 5 years- and can be reused




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