Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

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Law 202x

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Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby Law 202x » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:30 pm

Hi, I am a recently graduated senior (December) hopefully beginning seminary in the fall either in suburban Chicago or Boston's North Shore. My long term goal is becoming a seminary professor and religious advocacy. I am registered to take the LSAT in February. Progress is adequate in practice. My GPA is a 2.93. This is in part due to my first two years at junior college in which I was indifferent to college and didn't really want to be there and so after a couple bad semesters, I left for a few years and then returned. After returning, my grades were in the 3.60 range and then after graduating with AS in Mathematics, moved to university where I left with a degree GPA of 3.15, with a BS in Psychology and minor in Mathematics. Psychology grades were around a 3.6 and math grades were around a 2.45, this is why after leaving JC coming off of a 3.6 avg in last few semesters, I graduated with the BS with only a 3.15. Again, cum. GPA was 2.93.

So law school applications, I'm going to be a splitter, low GPA, high LSAT. I'm not applying for 2018 because for right now, without a 170+ LSAT there just isn't a lot on my application that is that much in my favor. Nor is it my main ambition any how. The next couple years through 2020 will ideally be spent earning a master's degree in theological studies. This could take 2-3 years. After completing that degree, my goal would be to either apply directly to Ph.D. in Theology (or Th.D.) or apply to law with what I think will be a strong application at that time. One law school I really like and would be excited to have the opportunity to study at would be Boston University. Being in Massachusetts already would make that transition much easier. In any case if the master's takes three years, the JD takes three years and the Ph.D takes up to six years, I will be devoting a maximum of the next twelve years of my life to full time study. This is admittedly a long time but I am very passionate about teaching (which will require the master's and Ph.D., if not a second master's) and advocacy (which will require a J.D.). If money ultimately becomes the prevailing issue, then my choice will be to become a professor, hands down. There's nothing I want to do more than teach in a Christian college.

However, if I can only do teaching and the funding is impossible for a legal education, I would still like to become an expert in the intersection of law and religion, so-called forensic theology. I would like to advertise my expertise in religious matters to help law enforcement in the case that they need consulting in areas that could be illuminated by a religious evaluation of facts.

What kind of information can you give me about religious advocacy and what areas of law would be necessary to study to work in that area? Would this be constitutional law? And if someone wanted to gain expertise in the area without completing the JD, what programs exist to treat students to a familiarity with the legal system without incurring the three years necessary to practice law? Third, what schools are best situated to prepare lawyers who want to specifically work in the area of religious advocacy? Is Boston University such a school?

Law 202x

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby Law 202x » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:34 pm

Perhaps another question to ask is, what do law schools think about students with master's degrees who are applying? I know that grades after the bachelor's degrees do not matter so much but I also know that law schools prefer to not recruit students who are going directly from their bachelor's to law, that is that they'd rather see someone who spent a couple years out of undergrad involved in some kind of productive activity. And at the same time, how do they consider a seminary degree compared to other kinds of master's degrees?

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:41 pm

Law 202x wrote:I would like to advertise my expertise in religious matters to help law enforcement in the case that they need consulting in areas that could be illuminated by a religious evaluation of facts.

This going to be SUPER SUPER niche and hard to break into. To the extent it exists, though, from googling it looks more like being an expert witness, which means being an expert in religions, which doesn't have much to do with the JD. It appears to be a theological field, not a legal field. I basically don't see how the JD is going to fit into what you want to do.

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby Law 202x » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:46 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Law 202x wrote:I would like to advertise my expertise in religious matters to help law enforcement in the case that they need consulting in areas that could be illuminated by a religious evaluation of facts.

This going to be SUPER SUPER niche and hard to break into. To the extent it exists, though, from googling it looks more like being an expert witness, which means being an expert in religions, which doesn't have much to do with the JD. It appears to be a theological field, not a legal field. I basically don't see how the JD is going to fit into what you want to do.


True. So my original post explained that my preference would be teaching and second would be religious advocacy, so the JD would be productive toward that second goal. However, again, if money becomes a problem, I would have no problem negating the second in favor of the first, which is my preferred direction. So negating all of that, can you offer me some advice on some of my other questions? Thank you for being the first to reply.

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby Law 202x » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:48 pm

Put it this way, I would love to troll the Freedom From Religion Foundation and follow them around the country. For every nativity scene they try to take down I'm going to hit back at them twice as hard. Now where that fits in with research and teaching seminary, I have no idea, but if for nothing else, I would love to help people who have nothing else to rely on. Would that be considered as public interest? Have you ever heard of a town that gets sued and they fold because they have no money and no way to represent themselves? I would love to take those cases.

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Pneumonia

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby Pneumonia » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:59 pm

Do do you want to--
    consult with law enforcement?
    be an expert witness?
    or work for a pro-christian advocacy group?
These are all very different things. For example, if you want to help small-town courthouses keep their monuments up, then that is going to be 100% legal and 0% theological work. There are some orgs and think tanks that do that kind of work. The best way to get a job with them is probably to go to Harvard or Yale, then clerk for a fancy conservative judge.

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:15 pm

Law 202x wrote:Put it this way, I would love to troll the Freedom From Religion Foundation and follow them around the country. For every nativity scene they try to take down I'm going to hit back at them twice as hard. Now where that fits in with research and teaching seminary, I have no idea, but if for nothing else, I would love to help people who have nothing else to rely on. Would that be considered as public interest? Have you ever heard of a town that gets sued and they fold because they have no money and no way to represent themselves? I would love to take those cases.

Okay, first, that doesn't fit with research and teaching seminary at all. Second, that's not law enforcement (which is only about criminal acts), that's all civil litigation. Third, how would you actually take those cases if people have no money and way to represent themselves?

For this kind of litigation, I agree with Pneumonia about your path (though frankly if that's the only thing you want to do with the JD, you might actually manage with a degree from Liberty or Ave Maria, to hook into their networks - the problem is that those degrees will be of very limited value overall). Any school will give you the background you need for this, though - every school will have the courses necessary. If you wanted to get familiarity with this without going to law school, I would probably go to a PhD program at a school with a law school and take Con Law and First Amendment for credit for the PhD.

Re: some of your other questions - a master's degree is a soft factor which schools take into account but isn't as important as your undergrad GPA or LSAT score. They're not going to have a problem with a seminary degree. If you do well, it may be a little bit of a boost.

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby Law 202x » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:23 pm

Pneumonia wrote:Do do you want to--
    consult with law enforcement?
    be an expert witness?
    or work for a pro-christian advocacy group?
These are all very different things. For example, if you want to help small-town courthouses keep their monuments up, then that is going to be 100% legal and 0% theological work. There are some orgs and think tanks that do that kind of work. The best way to get a job with them is probably to go to Harvard or Yale, then clerk for a fancy conservative judge.


That's very good advice. But I'm certainly on no track to either Harvard or Yale. Admittedly the divinity schools of those colleges are easier to get into than the law schools, and it would be a very satisfying joint program, but it still doesn't change the fact that my chance of admission to JD there is zero. U Chicago also has a great divinity school and I doubt that one would be prejudiced too much to only have a UC law degree. However, the advice is vague enough that it could be applied to essentially anything. "You want to be ____, you should go to Harvard or Yale." We should all go to Harvard or Yale. Hopefully that is only sufficient but not necessary to work in this area.

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jchiles

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby jchiles » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:38 pm

I know people that do this kind of expert witness work and they all have phds in sociology or religion. None of them seem to derive a lot of income from this (I know for a fact one does it for free). I have no idea how going to divinity school would help you break into that work.

You don’t need to go to Harvard to take on the freedom from religion foundation, many of these cases handled by municipal solicitors (at least initially) and the main issue would be working for a municipality with the money and inclination to pay for what will definitely be protracted, expensive litigation. I had a friend with excellent grades try to work for a higher profile national religious advocacy group and competition was intense to even get a student job.

Basically just figure out what you actually want because as the poster above said these are very different jobs, and money will probably be a problem no matter which direction you take.

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Kali the Annihilator

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby Kali the Annihilator » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:38 pm

Law 202x wrote:For every nativity scene they try to take down I'm going to hit back at them twice as hard.

:lol:

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:45 pm

jchiles wrote:I had a friend with excellent grades try to work for a higher profile national religious advocacy group and competition was intense to even get a student job.

Re: Harvard/Yale - the quote above gets to this. The higher profile jobs are so competitive that degrees from the top schools are the best way to position yourself for them. The fact that you won't get into Harvard or Yale (not: snark - I totally couldn't get into either one) doesn't change that. Do some people from other backgrounds get those jobs? Sure. But other backgrounds won't position you well for those jobs.

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby Law 202x » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:57 pm

While I appreciate all of the advice I'm receiving, is it possible that some of you may not have expertise in this area, because if I look at Alliance Defending Freedom, most of these attorneys don't have T14 law degrees, much less HYS, many seem to even be in TT or TTT, perhaps one or two even lower. I guess these are not what you would consider high profile. Other than the ACLJ, I'd be hard pressed to think of another major organization doing litigation on behalf of churches and ministries at the national level than the ADF. Are you aware of any other organizations, some which you would consider 'high-profile'?

http://www.adflegal.org/about-us/attorneys

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Kali the Annihilator

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby Kali the Annihilator » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:59 pm

Asks question
Gets responses
You all suck


You werent looking for answers; you were looking for reassurance.

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UVA2B

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby UVA2B » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:06 pm

Just go to Oak Brook College of Law.

Graduate first in your online law school class.

Fight for nativity scenes everywhere.

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby chargers21 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:09 pm

Yeah, it's a very small field with a lot of very zealous hopefuls wanting those positions. I'd say since you don't have top school credentials, going somewhere with the right network would be best. Ave Maria, Liberty, BYU(?), GMU(?), conservative schools, etc. It will take a lot of work to get into the field, and you will likely end up up with a meh law degree and a need to work in a different field in order to survive. Also, beware that going into this field, if you actually land with one of the top religious legal groups, you will lose A LOT. Basically every case. Iirc, these groups basically jump in once the locals decide they can't afford to defend themselves and are going to comply with the law. The FFRF doesn't tend to take on losing lawsuits

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:10 pm

Law 202x wrote:While I appreciate all of the advice I'm receiving, is it possible that some of you may not have expertise in this area, because if I look at Alliance Defending Freedom, most of these attorneys don't have T14 law degrees, much less HYS, many seem to even be in TT or TTT, perhaps one or two even lower. I guess these are not what you would consider high profile. Other than the ACLJ, I'd be hard pressed to think of another major organization doing litigation on behalf of churches and ministries at the national level than the ADF. Are you aware of any other organizations, some which you would consider 'high-profile'?

http://www.adflegal.org/about-us/attorneys

Oh, Regent! That was the other school I was trying to remember!

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby Law 202x » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:10 pm

I realize these professional goals are sort of all over the place, but I think the underlying factor is that they all involve religion and imparting it or defending it. Realistically, I don't think there's enough time in the world to get all of these things done but you can't fault one for trying. Financially, my goal is to pay a major part of my seminary education through scholarship money and a portion through self-funding. After that, I think the JD will be scholarships and loans and the Ph.D. ought to be fully supported. These are very ambitious and highly optimistic assumptions, which can be easily be refuted with an acceptance letter without offer of $$. That in itself is sufficient to derail my ambitions. But my model if Gleason Archer, John Warwick Montogomery, and William Dembski among others:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Warwick_Montgomery

(11 earned degrees)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleason_Archer_Jr.

(5 earned degrees)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_A._Dembski

(7 earned degrees)

A big difference between when these men were going to school and now is $40,000 a year won't get you through a year at some schools. But back then $40,000 probably would pay for seven degrees! So whether or not I can have a chance to become one of the great theological minds I don't know, because I'm broke.

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby Law 202x » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:13 pm

Kali the Annihilator wrote:Asks question
Gets responses
You all suck


You werent looking for answers; you were looking for reassurance.


You're a mind reader? What concern is it of yours anyway, you offered no advice in this thread so I didn't have a chance to critique your posts so why flame me? No, I was looking for advice, but not all advice is created equal. Someone said I had to have a Harvard degree or Yale degree, I supplied evidence showing that I didn't think that was a likely assertion. I didn't tell him he sucked.

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby chargers21 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:17 pm

Law 202x wrote:
Kali the Annihilator wrote:Asks question
Gets responses
You all suck


You werent looking for answers; you were looking for reassurance.


You're a mind reader? What concern is it of yours anyway, you offered no advice in this thread so I didn't have a chance to critique your posts so why flame me? No, I was looking for advice, but not all advice is created equal. Someone said I had to have a Harvard degree or Yale degree, I supplied evidence showing that I didn't think that was a likely assertion. I didn't tell him he sucked.

He said "the best way" was to go to Harvard or Yale. That is undisputed.

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby Law 202x » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:18 pm

By the way, I'm not applying to win the acceptance of members here. The only acceptance i need is one from the seminary I want to go to and one from the law school I want to go to. I listed I think around five questions that I did not know the answers to and figured some here would have the expertise to supply the answers but many of the answers have been in my estimation, only summations or educated guesses and nothing more. Seeing as I'm certain most of these questions have concrete answers, I was hoping for such an answer and not I think or Perhaps. But that's fine because I'm closer than when I started, but I don't know if I'm where I thought I would be.

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby Law 202x » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:20 pm

chargers21 wrote:He said "the best way" was to go to Harvard or Yale. That is undisputed.


Do you know why I said that's a vague answer? Because that could be the answer to virtually any question. Want to be a law professor? Want to be a Supreme Court Justice? Want to be president? Want to be a congressperson? Go to Harvard or Yale. I could repeat that exact same assertion on nearly every thread and technically I would be right because those are the best law schools in the country.

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby chargers21 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:26 pm

Law 202x wrote:
chargers21 wrote:He said "the best way" was to go to Harvard or Yale. That is undisputed.


Do you know why I said that's a vague answer? Because that could be the answer to virtually any question. Want to be a law professor? Want to be a Supreme Court Justice? Want to be president? Want to be a congressperson? Go to Harvard or Yale. I could repeat that exact same assertion on nearly every thread and technically I would be right because those are the best law schools in the country.

You're going to struggle with reading comprehension, friend. I was mostly correcting your clearly erroneous paraphrasing. I admit that he gave the obvious answer, but you misstated that he said that you "had to have" a degree a from those schools. We've given you some deeper answers as far as other schools that will help you towards a very unlikely outcome. I'd recommend a religious/conservative law school because the constitutional law courses and networks at them will be geared towards what you want to do.

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jchiles

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby jchiles » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:28 pm

Good luck man just be careful with debt

Law 202x

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby Law 202x » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:38 pm

jchiles wrote:Good luck man just be careful with debt


:D

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Re: Religious Advocacy - Seminary and Law

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:42 pm

Shocker. Someone who wants to dedicate their life to forcing their religion down random people's throats is self-righteous and unwilling to take advice.

Who'da thunk it?



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