The Choice of a Lifetime

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YehudaBauer
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The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby YehudaBauer » Thu May 10, 2012 8:46 am

Hello there TLS-ers!

I know you guys are a very knowledgable bunch, so I am coming to you for some assistance making a very big choice for the next stage in my life. I am a white male, just finished my junior year at a T50 undergraduate school, have a major in PS with a 3.8 and an LSAT of 169. I have a preference for working and living in or near NYC. My choices for the future:

(1) Go to the best lawschool I can get into, costs be damned! (Cornell? Michigan? GULC?)
(2) Try to stay in the T30 and hope for a decent scholarship. (Fordham? BU? GW?)
(3) Take a full ride to a lower-ranked school. (Cardozo? Rutgers? St. John's?)
(4) (a) Take a year off and save up. (b) work, and then see if I can go to an evening-division lawschool. (c) some combination of (a) and (b).
(5) Screw lawschool altogether! It's a losing game and my numbers just ain't that special.

I welcome all advice. Just please--if you suggest (5), please throw out a possible realistic career choice for someone with my credentials. It's not easy to get hired anywhere these days, especially with just a PS degree.

I will really appreciate your advice!

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specialsnowflake
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby specialsnowflake » Thu May 10, 2012 8:54 am

YehudaBauer wrote:Hello there TLS-ers!

I know you guys are a very knowledgable bunch, so I am coming to you for some assistance making a very big choice for the next stage in my life. I am a white male, just finished my junior year at a T50 undergraduate school, have a major in PS with a 3.8 and an LSAT of 169. I have a preference for working and living in or near NYC. My choices for the future:

(1) Go to the best lawschool I can get into, costs be damned! (Cornell? Michigan? GULC?)
(2) Try to stay in the T30 and hope for a decent scholarship. (Fordham? BU? GW?)
(3) Take a full ride to a lower-ranked school. (Cardozo? Rutgers? St. John's?)
(4) (a) Take a year off and save up. (b) work, and then see if I can go to an evening-division lawschool. (c) some combination of (a) and (b).
(5) Screw lawschool altogether! It's a losing game and my numbers just ain't that special.

I welcome all advice. Just please--if you suggest (5), please throw out a possible realistic career choice for someone with my credentials. It's not easy to get hired anywhere these days, especially with just a PS degree.

I will really appreciate your advice!


First, well done on that GPA and LSAT. My first piece of advice would be to kill it your senior year and try to get the GPA as high as possible. Personally, I'm a fan of taking a year to get some real-world work experience. It'll be very valuable come time to interview for OCI and it will also help save up some $$ before shipping off to law school. Check out lawschoolnumbers.com and see where you fall in the T-14. I think you're aiming a little low with your list. Maybe try and bump your LSAT even higher if you think you could with a bit more studying. Anyways, you still have a year left in UG so enjoy it and don't rush into your decision. You're in great shape so far!

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Ludo!
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby Ludo! » Thu May 10, 2012 8:54 am

Any idea of what kind of work you want to do?

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YehudaBauer
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby YehudaBauer » Thu May 10, 2012 8:59 am

Ludovico Technique wrote:Any idea of what kind of work you want to do?


Hey guys, thanks for the responses! I should probably add that I suffer from a pretty serious case of standardized test anxiety. Going through the LSAT studying/taking process was a huge drain on me. I don't think I could do it again unfortunately.

As far as the the kind of work I'd like to do, I'm not completely sure. I don't have a true "passion" or anything. I worked in a PI firm (just two attorneys) last summer and it seemed like doable work--nothing exciting, but a decent way to earn a living.

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Ludo!
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby Ludo! » Thu May 10, 2012 9:05 am

It can never hurt to take a year and get some work experience, maybe try to find work in a bigger firm to see if you would like it or not. But your numbers are pretty good. I'd get all your application stuff together now, if you haven't already, apply this cycle on the day apps are available and see what happens.

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YehudaBauer
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby YehudaBauer » Thu May 10, 2012 9:11 am

Ludovico Technique wrote:It can never hurt to take a year and get some work experience, maybe try to find work in a bigger firm to see if you would like it or not. But your numbers are pretty good. I'd get all your application stuff together now, if you haven't already, apply this cycle on the day apps are available and see what happens.


Any suggestions for "reach" schools? I've checked LSN. Michigan and Duke seem to be the highest attainable. Berkeley is weird, but I just really couldn't go there even if I got in. Shouldn't I be worried about money? Those top schools are very expensive and I probably wouldn't get a scholarship.

Also, any suggestion on how to find work at a large firm? Do they hire college kids?

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Ludo!
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby Ludo! » Thu May 10, 2012 9:20 am

Berkeley is actually a good option for you since you have a high GPA and an LSAT a little low for the T14. Boalt tends to value a high GPA more than other T14s. I can understand if you don't like hippies, but any particular reason you wouldn't want to go there?

If I were you I'd apply from CCN on down. No clue how good your chances are there, been a few years since I went through that, but worth a shot.

Yes law school is expensive and it's a huge gamble. You should look at the money concerns on a sliding scale. The better the school you go to, the less money you will get, but the better your chance to get a job. I go to a school in the mid T1 on a good scholarship and if I could have I would have gone to a school like Boalt or Michigan at sticker in a heartbeat. But a lot of my classmates who turned down T14s for this school with scholarship money are perfectly happy with their choice. There's probably no right answer on that. It depends on what you want to do and how debt adverse you are.

Big firms often hire college kids as paralegals. A good number of people work as paralegals before law school and it can give you a good sense of what BigLaw lawyers actually do. That might help you make your decision. If you see that you would hate biglaw, it might be more important to graduate with little debt.

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YehudaBauer
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby YehudaBauer » Thu May 10, 2012 9:25 am

Ludovico Technique wrote:Berkeley is actually a good option for you since you have a high GPA and an LSAT a little low for the T14. Boalt tends to value a high GPA more than other T14s. I can understand if you don't like hippies, but any particular reason you wouldn't want to go there?

If I were you I'd apply from CCN on down. No clue how good your chances are there, been a few years since I went through that, but worth a shot.

Yes law school is expensive and it's a huge gamble. You should look at the money concerns on a sliding scale. The better the school you go to, the less money you will get, but the better your chance to get a job. I go to a school in the mid T1 on a good scholarship and if I could have I would have gone to a school like Boalt or Michigan at sticker in a heartbeat. But a lot of my classmates who turned down T14s for this school with scholarship money are perfectly happy with their choice. There's probably no right answer on that. It depends on what you want to do and how debt adverse you are.

Big firms often hire college kids as paralegals. A good number of people work as paralegals before law school and it can give you a good sense of what BigLaw lawyers actually do. That might help you make your decision. If you see that you would hate biglaw, it might be more important to graduate with little debt.


Thanks for the advice. I just think Berkeley is too far away. I'm very centered, with family and friends and what not, around NYC. I could imagine venturing a little further away, but not that far. I also probably wouldn't fit in there, but that's not really the reason.

I've been told that I don't have a prayer at anything higher than Michigan. Your advice is encouraging!

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Nelson
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby Nelson » Thu May 10, 2012 9:26 am

Get a damn job, work for a few years, then retake the LSAT and come back.

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chem
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby chem » Thu May 10, 2012 9:26 am

I'd work for a year or two if you can get a job since you are unwilling to retake the LSAT.

1 or 2 years of WE + your numbers = 6) scholarship at northwestern

Out of your options I would go with 6 :D

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top30man
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby top30man » Thu May 10, 2012 9:27 am

I almost have your numbers, but with a slightly lower Gpa (less than a .1 difference though). I am headed to Cornell with a little less than a half ride.
You may get mich but its a toss up. You will likely get gulc (I did though at sticker). You are in a great position for significant aid at Vanderbilt, especially if you interview. The t30 will give you a lot of money. Wustl would likely give you a full ride.

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YehudaBauer
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby YehudaBauer » Thu May 10, 2012 9:30 am

Nelson wrote:Get a damn job, work for a few years, then retake the LSAT and come back.


As I mentioned above, I can't really take the LSAT again. I actually fainted twice during the process. I know this sounds insane, but it's real.

As far as a job, any suggestions?

Congrats on the half-ride at Cornell! Are you going to go there? I always had my doubts about living in Ithaca, but it is undeniably a great school! I am not interested in Vandy. Let's limit my schools to Blue States east of the Mississippi. (That's not a political thing, it just is an easier way of describing the places I would consider. It's not because of politics, it's because of family ties/plans for the future. I'm actually a moderate Republican, so am only using the blue state thing for convenience.)
Last edited by YehudaBauer on Thu May 10, 2012 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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YehudaBauer
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby YehudaBauer » Thu May 10, 2012 9:33 am

chem wrote:I'd work for a year or two if you can get a job since you are unwilling to retake the LSAT.

1 or 2 years of WE + your numbers = 6) scholarship at northwestern

Out of your options I would go with 6 :D


The NW idea sounds interesting. Chicago sounds like a very cool town for a time. However, is it easy to get a job in NY coming from there? I need to be in NY longterm.

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Ludo!
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby Ludo! » Thu May 10, 2012 9:33 am

YehudaBauer wrote:
Ludovico Technique wrote:Berkeley is actually a good option for you since you have a high GPA and an LSAT a little low for the T14. Boalt tends to value a high GPA more than other T14s. I can understand if you don't like hippies, but any particular reason you wouldn't want to go there?

If I were you I'd apply from CCN on down. No clue how good your chances are there, been a few years since I went through that, but worth a shot.

Yes law school is expensive and it's a huge gamble. You should look at the money concerns on a sliding scale. The better the school you go to, the less money you will get, but the better your chance to get a job. I go to a school in the mid T1 on a good scholarship and if I could have I would have gone to a school like Boalt or Michigan at sticker in a heartbeat. But a lot of my classmates who turned down T14s for this school with scholarship money are perfectly happy with their choice. There's probably no right answer on that. It depends on what you want to do and how debt adverse you are.

Big firms often hire college kids as paralegals. A good number of people work as paralegals before law school and it can give you a good sense of what BigLaw lawyers actually do. That might help you make your decision. If you see that you would hate biglaw, it might be more important to graduate with little debt.


Thanks for the advice. I just think Berkeley is too far away. I'm very centered, with family and friends and what not, around NYC. I could imagine venturing a little further away, but not that far. I also probably wouldn't fit in there, but that's not really the reason.

I've been told that I don't have a prayer at anything higher than Michigan. Your advice is encouraging!


Understandable about Boatl. Geographic location is still really important, even at most top schools. Also, for the record I don't know how good your chances are, so I didn't mean to give false hope or anything, just saying you should apply because you never know.

If you do decide to wait a year and work, retaking is never a bad option. A couple more points on the LSAT could really improve your chances for acceptances and money. I understand how horrible that test is and how you probably never want to look at it again, but if it's the difference between thousands of dollars in scholarship money or future earning potential it's worth it

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Nelson
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby Nelson » Thu May 10, 2012 9:38 am

YehudaBauer wrote:As far as a job, any suggestions?

If you can't figure out how to get a job with your BA, why are you going to go straight into a professional school that will make it far harder to get a job? Even in this economy, it's easier to get an entry level job with a 3.8 in a useless liberal arts major than it will be to get a JD required job that will service your massive loans. Go do corporate recruiting this fall and go to a consulting firm. Get a job as a paralegal. Try marketing, advertising, publishing. Go write grants for a nonprofit. The possibilities for bland white collar work are endless even without a JD.

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YehudaBauer
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby YehudaBauer » Thu May 10, 2012 9:42 am

Nelson wrote:
YehudaBauer wrote:As far as a job, any suggestions?

If you can't figure out how to get a job with your BA, why are you going to go straight into a professional school that will make it far harder to get a job? Even in this economy, it's easier to get an entry level job with a 3.8 in a useless liberal arts major than it will be to get a JD required job that will service your massive loans. Go do corporate recruiting this fall and go to a consulting firm. Get a job as a paralegal. Try marketing, advertising, publishing. Go write grants for a nonprofit. The possibilities for bland white collar work are endless even without a JD.


What is 'corporate recruting' and how do I 'do' it? I am interested in this possibility.

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top30man
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby top30man » Thu May 10, 2012 10:01 am

YehudaBauer wrote:
Nelson wrote:Get a damn job, work for a few years, then retake the LSAT and come back.


As I mentioned above, I can't really take the LSAT again. I actually fainted twice during the process. I know this sounds insane, but it's real.

As far as a job, any suggestions?

Congrats on the half-ride at Cornell! Are you going to go there? I always had my doubts about living in Ithaca, but it is undeniably a great school! I am not interested in Vandy. Let's limit my schools to Blue States east of the Mississippi. (That's not a political thing, it just is an easier way of describing the places I would consider. It's not because of politics, it's because of family ties/plans for the future. I'm actually a moderate Republican, so am only using the blue state thing for convenience.)

Yes I will be attending Cornell. I had similar dispositions about job location. I have no ties to the south so I ended up not choosing vandy even though they offered more money. And Cornell wasn't outrageously expensive for me. I wouldn't worry about the geographic location if it's a t14 at a good price. Those schools will all be able to get New York. As far as more regional schools are concerned, you're looking at Fordham, BC, BU etc. they will likely give you significan amounts of money. I'd also apply to Wustl and vandy as they may give you significant money. Even if you don't want to go there you can use the money as a bargaining chip with northeastern schools that tend to be more stingy.
Also, as far as a job, apply to a wide array of things, even if it doesn't use your degree. I spent a year working at a big law firm in the market I'm from. It won't help you from an admissions standpoint or a recruiting one. However, it helped give me personal perspective on whether I really wanted to choose law. Honestly though, if I were doing this again I would work in an unrelated field. I tried a few internships in public relations and consulting but they didn't really click. I wonder if they would have if I worked full time there.
At any rate, I'd recommend working for perspectives sake.

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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby englawyer » Thu May 10, 2012 10:07 am

YehudaBauer wrote:
Nelson wrote:
YehudaBauer wrote:As far as a job, any suggestions?

If you can't figure out how to get a job with your BA, why are you going to go straight into a professional school that will make it far harder to get a job? Even in this economy, it's easier to get an entry level job with a 3.8 in a useless liberal arts major than it will be to get a JD required job that will service your massive loans. Go do corporate recruiting this fall and go to a consulting firm. Get a job as a paralegal. Try marketing, advertising, publishing. Go write grants for a nonprofit. The possibilities for bland white collar work are endless even without a JD.


What is 'corporate recruting' and how do I 'do' it? I am interested in this possibility.


if you dont go to an ivy or equivalent, don't worry about it. consulting firms and banks will not be there, and employers are probably looking for STEM, accounting, etc.

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englawyer
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby englawyer » Thu May 10, 2012 10:09 am

YehudaBauer wrote:
Ludovico Technique wrote:Any idea of what kind of work you want to do?


Hey guys, thanks for the responses! I should probably add that I suffer from a pretty serious case of standardized test anxiety. Going through the LSAT studying/taking process was a huge drain on me. I don't think I could do it again unfortunately.

As far as the the kind of work I'd like to do, I'm not completely sure. I don't have a true "passion" or anything. I worked in a PI firm (just two attorneys) last summer and it seemed like doable work--nothing exciting, but a decent way to earn a living.


law school has three years of tests that feel LSAT-esque: time limits, high stakes, highly analytical, etc. just saying :?

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Sherlock1708
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby Sherlock1708 » Thu May 10, 2012 11:23 am

[quote As I mentioned above, I can't really take the LSAT again. I actually fainted twice during the process. I know this sounds insane, but it's real. quote]

You do realize that upon completion of law school, you may have to sit for a 3 day bar exam (depending on the state)? If you are just going to law school because you don't know what else to do... don't go. I have friends who went to very good law schools (NYU, Columbia, Harvard) that did this and regret it now.

Contact your school's career services and make sure you attend OCI or any career fairs. I'm not sure which school you go to, but if you don't go to an Ivy / Williams / Georgetown-type of school, it may be hard to break into consulting, finance, and even big law paralegal positions. But, if you blast out enough cover letters and resumes, you should be able to find some type of job. I have a friend that went to Wake Forest and works in sales and makes $150,000+ and drives a 5 series BMW (so there are definitely other ways to make money besides the lawyer/doctor/banker gigs) Also, use any networks you or your parents may have. More people get jobs through connections than any other method. If you have any undergraduate debt, I would highly recommend you pay that off before you go to graduate school.

You do have a great gpa and a good LSAT. If you are set on applying to law schools in the fall, make sure you apply early. If you can't retake the LSAT, make sure you negotiate with schools over scholarships and/or need-based aid.

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YehudaBauer
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby YehudaBauer » Fri May 11, 2012 7:08 am

I go to a T30 undergrad, but the recruiters on campus seem to only be interested in Business/Engingeering students. Plus, my school is very far away from NYC and not many of the jobs are geared to that market. Honestly, going to undergrad so far away has made me want to stay close to NYC. I just don't like other parts of the country as much. I know that sounds a little crazy, but we all have our preferences.

As far as LS tests and the bar, that will be a bit of a struggle, but I think I can manage. I'm more comfortable writing essays than answering MC questions. Plus, I have heard the NY bar is not so bad.

As far as other career options go, I would like to go to law school because I actually want to be a lawyer. I have worked at a law firm and it looked interesting. I'm not saying it is my true calling, but I sure haven't found anything else I would rather do. (Unless someone offers me a minor league baseball contract!)

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YehudaBauer
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby YehudaBauer » Fri May 18, 2012 5:40 am

YehudaBauer wrote:I go to a T30 undergrad, but the recruiters on campus seem to only be interested in Business/Engingeering students. Plus, my school is very far away from NYC and not many of the jobs are geared to that market. Honestly, going to undergrad so far away has made me want to stay close to NYC. I just don't like other parts of the country as much. I know that sounds a little crazy, but we all have our preferences.

As far as LS tests and the bar, that will be a bit of a struggle, but I think I can manage. I'm more comfortable writing essays than answering MC questions. Plus, I have heard the NY bar is not so bad.

As far as other career options go, I would like to go to law school because I actually want to be a lawyer. I have worked at a law firm and it looked interesting. I'm not saying it is my true calling, but I sure haven't found anything else I would rather do. (Unless someone offers me a minor league baseball contract!)


Bump. What do you guys think? Go to LS at a place like Fordham with a little scholarship? Go to Cornell for sticker? What's my best option?

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chem
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby chem » Fri May 18, 2012 9:50 am

YehudaBauer wrote:
YehudaBauer wrote:I go to a T30 undergrad, but the recruiters on campus seem to only be interested in Business/Engingeering students. Plus, my school is very far away from NYC and not many of the jobs are geared to that market. Honestly, going to undergrad so far away has made me want to stay close to NYC. I just don't like other parts of the country as much. I know that sounds a little crazy, but we all have our preferences.

As far as LS tests and the bar, that will be a bit of a struggle, but I think I can manage. I'm more comfortable writing essays than answering MC questions. Plus, I have heard the NY bar is not so bad.

As far as other career options go, I would like to go to law school because I actually want to be a lawyer. I have worked at a law firm and it looked interesting. I'm not saying it is my true calling, but I sure haven't found anything else I would rather do. (Unless someone offers me a minor league baseball contract!)


Bump. What do you guys think? Go to LS at a place like Fordham with a little scholarship? Go to Cornell for sticker? What's my best option?


For a little scholarship? cornell wins out

ze2151
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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby ze2151 » Fri May 18, 2012 9:54 am

you should work some before ls. find a job, work your butt off for a while, then re-evaluate.

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Re: The Choice of a Lifetime

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri May 18, 2012 10:08 am

First, don't get nervous about taking state bar exams since they test for basic competency &, therefore, are unlike many other standardized tests that aim to differentiate to a much higher degree than just competent/incompetent.

Second, your post is premature because you don't know your options yet. Law school apps are expected to decrease next year so a 3.8/169 may produce better results than it might have in the past few years. Apply to law schools throughout Tier One that meet your criteria. Then compare your options. If unsatisfied, work for a year or two & reapply.

P.S. Check http://www.lawschoolnumbers.com for basic guidance on numbers needed. Also, consider ED options. A 3.8/169 ED app to Virginia should be successful next cycle--which means that you can aim higher than Michigan.




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