Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

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Angelic414
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Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby Angelic414 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:34 am

Hello Everyone,

I'm facing a bit of a crisis. So I took my LSAT for the first time in October 2015. I studied so hard and was in the 150s for my practice exams. Unfortunately, I only got a 149 on the exam. (My gpa is terrible its 3.3 - but I did work for Legal Aid for 2 years and also volunteered in Sudan)

I decided to apply see which schools I would get into and CUNY law was one of the schools that accepted me. At first I was excited about this because CUNY is cheap, and it focuses on public interest (Which is what I'd like to study). However, I am starting to feel anxious because I know that I could've done much better on the exam plus I have read so many negative comments about CUNY on this website and countless forums.

I already submitted my deposit to CUNY but I am not sure if I should retake the exam (is it too late?), go for the first year and transfer out, or write a letter of continued interest to St. John's University (waitlisted me).

Please help! Any advice is helpful!

acr
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby acr » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:37 am

There is no justification to go to law school with a 3.3/149. You will need to retake for 170+ to make law school a worthwhile investment.

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BasilHallward
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby BasilHallward » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:39 am

Very bad idea. I'm sure your heart is in the right place, but CUNY will not place you in any legitimate public interest gig. This is what NYU is for. You MUST retake, or simply don't go to law school. You can get involved in public policy and so forth without going to law school, much less a garbage law school. You've been warned.

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manuelsig
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby manuelsig » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:06 am

I'd recommend retaking - most people score higher their second time around and a better score would give you more options (and could even potentially put you in range of scholarships). It will suck to have to lose the deposit, but that's better than committing lots of money and time to something you're not certain about.

Angelic414
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby Angelic414 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:39 am

acr wrote:There is no justification to go to law school with a 3.3/149. You will need to retake for 170+ to make law school a worthwhile investment.


Do you mind if I ask where you decided to attend? And why does CUNY have such a bad reputation?

Angelic414
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby Angelic414 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:45 am

BasilHallward wrote:Very bad idea. I'm sure your heart is in the right place, but CUNY will not place you in any legitimate public interest gig. This is what NYU is for. You MUST retake, or simply don't go to law school. You can get involved in public policy and so forth without going to law school, much less a garbage law school. You've been warned.


Do you mind if I ask where you decided to attend? And why does CUNY have such a bad reputation? What makes you say you can't get a legit public interest gig? New York's Public Advocate went to CUNY and I met a lot of great lawyer at Legal Aid Society who went to CUNY. I'd just like to know where this information comes from.

Angelic414
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby Angelic414 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:47 am

manuelsig wrote:I'd recommend retaking - most people score higher their second time around and a better score would give you more options (and could even potentially put you in range of scholarships). It will suck to have to lose the deposit, but that's better than committing lots of money and time to something you're not certain about.


Do you mind if I ask where you decided to attend? And why does CUNY have such a bad reputation?

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emkay625
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby emkay625 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:51 am

Last year, only 66/111 graduates found full-time jobs as attorneys. You need to determine if that kind of risk (only a little better than a 50/50 shot of actually becoming an attorney) is worth it to you for how much debt you will have to take on.

Here is the data:

http://www.law.cuny.edu/career/employme ... sfinal.pdf

It would also be helpful if we had a bit more information. Were you offered a scholarship? If so, how much? How will you be financing your education? How strong are your legal aid connections? Are they such that you know if you passed the bar, you would have a job at an organization you want to work for?

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unlicensedpotato
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby unlicensedpotato » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:59 am

hoh boy, checking out until the afternoon when the dust settles.

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BasilHallward
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby BasilHallward » Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:16 pm

Angelic414 wrote:
BasilHallward wrote:Very bad idea. I'm sure your heart is in the right place, but CUNY will not place you in any legitimate public interest gig. This is what NYU is for. You MUST retake, or simply don't go to law school. You can get involved in public policy and so forth without going to law school, much less a garbage law school. You've been warned.


Do you mind if I ask where you decided to attend? And why does CUNY have such a bad reputation? What makes you say you can't get a legit public interest gig? New York's Public Advocate went to CUNY and I met a lot of great lawyer at Legal Aid Society who went to CUNY. I'd just like to know where this information comes from.


We are playing a game of probabilities here. I apologize if my previous comment came across as absolute. Of course, it is "possible" that you get lucky and land a decent gig out of CUNY, but just look at the employment data that is readily available. Do you want to take a substantial risk of literally wasting three years of your life?? It is VERY possible that you are an unemployed law school graduate. I have friends at Brooklyn Law and misery abounds. Of course, it's all anecdotal, but this aggregates into the ABA employment data.

FWIW, I decided to attend UT-Austin.

sflyr2016
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby sflyr2016 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:19 pm

Angelic, I recommend you read this: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/19/busin ... .html?_r=0

Edit: Try taking the lsat again and as many times until you feel you've done the best you can on it. I took it 3 times, and still decided to go to a law school that was not a t-14. But I was committed to being a lawyer and knew all of the risks of going to the law school I went to. So this is not to deter your goal of being a lawyer; it's to better inform you of what a disastrous decision it can be, and to encourage you to maximize your opportunities in the event you do decide to go to LS. By going in better informed and in the better positioned lsat wise, you minimize the risks of ending up in a bad situation.

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manuelsig
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby manuelsig » Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:33 pm

Angelic414 wrote:
manuelsig wrote:I'd recommend retaking - most people score higher their second time around and a better score would give you more options (and could even potentially put you in range of scholarships). It will suck to have to lose the deposit, but that's better than committing lots of money and time to something you're not certain about.


Do you mind if I ask where you decided to attend? And why does CUNY have such a bad reputation?


I'll PM you where I'm planning on going. CUNY has a bad reputation because of its low bar passage rate and extremely poor placement stats. You're going to law school so that you can be a lawyer. CUNY has a bad record of preparing its students to work as lawyers.

I had a lower GPA than you and it hasn't stopped me from getting strong offers. Working on your LSAT can do wonders. It's definitely worth giving it a second shot. If you start studying now, you chould be ready for the Oct LSAT and get your application in this coming cycle.

Angelic414
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby Angelic414 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:48 pm

Also, is it possible/wise to take the LSAT while in law school or no? My only issue is that I graduated 3 years ago and simply want to move forward and go to law school and I know that I want to be a lawyer. But delaying another year is making me nervous. Hence, the dilemma.

cavalier1138
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:05 pm

Angelic414 wrote:Also, is it possible/wise to take the LSAT while in law school or no? My only issue is that I graduated 3 years ago and simply want to move forward and go to law school and I know that I want to be a lawyer. But delaying another year is making me nervous. Hence, the dilemma.


Yes, it is possible. No, it is not wise. There's no net gain, because after your first year, you're a transfer and have no impact on LSAT/GPA medians.

If you know you want to be a lawyer, then you need to go to a school that gives you a decent shot at being one (or at least not pay for one like CUNY, where you have a coin flip's chance at being an attorney after school). You wanting to move forward is not a good enough reason to rush this. Delaying another year should be making you far less nervous than the prospect of going to a school that won't get you work after you graduate.
Last edited by cavalier1138 on Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

fistfullofdollhairs
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby fistfullofdollhairs » Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:29 pm

What are your goals post law school? How are you finances? What would you do if you didn't go to law school? How did you study for the LSAT?

You don't need a 170+ LSAT score to make law school worthwhile.

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emkay625
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby emkay625 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:48 pm

manuelsig wrote:
Angelic414 wrote:
manuelsig wrote:I'd recommend retaking - most people score higher their second time around and a better score would give you more options (and could even potentially put you in range of scholarships). It will suck to have to lose the deposit, but that's better than committing lots of money and time to something you're not certain about.


Do you mind if I ask where you decided to attend? And why does CUNY have such a bad reputation?


I'll PM you where I'm planning on going. CUNY has a bad reputation because of its low bar passage rate and extremely poor placement stats. You're going to law school so that you can be a lawyer. CUNY has a bad record of preparing its students to work as lawyers.

I had a lower GPA than you and it hasn't stopped me from getting strong offers. Working on your LSAT can do wonders. It's definitely worth giving it a second shot. If you start studying now, you chould be ready for the Oct LSAT and get your application in this coming cycle.


I actually thought this was going to be the case and then was going to mention it in my post, but CUNY's bar passage rate is 81%, which beats the NY average.

acr
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby acr » Tue Jun 21, 2016 2:26 pm

Angelic414 wrote:
acr wrote:There is no justification to go to law school with a 3.3/149. You will need to retake for 170+ to make law school a worthwhile investment.


Do you mind if I ask where you decided to attend?


I attend Washington University in St. Louis on a full scholarship. Not the greatest school in the world, but I minimized a lot of the downside by eliminating debt.

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WinterComing
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby WinterComing » Tue Jun 21, 2016 2:40 pm

I think what you want to do with your law degree makes a big difference here. I don't know anything about CUNY beyond its job numbers, but if you poke around on TLS, there are some people who seem to know what they're talking about who say that CUNY is good for people with a singular focus on PI, so long as you know that you'll never be able to work at a firm. Here's one example, taken completely out of context, from a recent "choosing" thread:

krads153 wrote:I don't know, I'm going to go against the grain and say CUNY for free is a good choice.

I say this because my spouse (who is in PI) says that most NYC non profits know that CUNY is a PI school and that people who go there intend on doing PI. And frankly hiring for a lot of PI orgs is less about school, more about languages (Spanish/Chinese), interest and experience.

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Barack O'Drama
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby Barack O'Drama » Tue Jun 21, 2016 3:05 pm

I'd retake... You can easily get yourself into the 160s. Get some good prep material, e.g., the Powerscore bible, Manhattan LSAT (my favorite), and every PT from 38-current. Use the 1-38 for drilling.

Even a low 160s score will open up some wayyyy better options. As others have said before me, I don't know much about CUNY, but their employment and bar passage should at least tell you something. I think it can be good for someone perhaps going back to school for a second career, maybe already having a job lined up, and/or a pay raise coming with a J.D.

Other than that, you'll find anecdotes of people coming out and finding PI jobs. But, they are outnumbered by those who don't.

If PI is what you definitely want, I can't say the price isn't right at CUNY.


I personally think you know you're capable of retaking and doing better. Usually people that have given up on themselves precede their question with: "I'm not retaking, etc....

TL;DR My vote is for retake.

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lolRCscrewyou
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby lolRCscrewyou » Tue Jun 21, 2016 5:40 pm

fistfullofdollhairs wrote:What are your goals post law school? How are you finances? What would you do if you didn't go to law school? How did you study for the LSAT?

You don't need a 170+ LSAT score to make law school worthwhile.


+1000, that was such a ridiculous comment for that person to make. If you have the right GPA, work experience, and p.s., you do NOT need a 170+ to get into even T-14s, especially other tier 1 schools.

Keilz
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby Keilz » Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:35 am

I agree that you do not need a 170 to make it worthwhile. Your objective is to just do the best you can on your LSAT. You are at cuny's median GPA. If you can raise your score to above their 75%tile (157) you could be looking at serious scholarships there or elsewhere. You want to focus on minimizing your debt, and the LSAT is the only way to do that, and it's possible. I put off a year of school to keep working and retake the LSAT, and I feel more confident now (waiting on scores), plus I am using the extra year to save more money for school, so I'm not stuck paying $3000 a month for ten years

fauxpsych
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Re: Accepted into law school but should I retake the LSAT?

Postby fauxpsych » Sat Jul 02, 2016 11:59 am

Only saw this now, and figured I'll add my two cents.

Very recent CUNY grad here. Lackluster grades (Fair amount of C's), but landed a sweet pre-bar passage gig. My perspective might be a little rosier than others.

CUNY is a very non-traditional law school and I think a lot of its bad rep (in addition to its terrible ranking and prior bar passage issues) stems from reconciling the traditional law school model with how CUNY does things. Just as as starter, CUNY has no published median, no class ranks, and your transcript does not list your GPA or your first semester grades. It's a big fuck you to employers.

They are completely public interest focused. EVERY SINGLE CLASS had a public interest spin. Even corporations! They recognize that the in-state tuition price is a bargain (seriously everyone, LOOK AT THIS) for New York City and they try to limit that lowered loan balance "benefit" to those who want to work in those $55k PI jobs. Because the tuition is low, CUNY doesn't really have scholarship money to give out. You don't have sticker students subsidizing the scholarship students. (N.B. There are 10 full tuition + stipend spots but that comes out of CUNY Central's finances). A modest bump in your LSAT is unlikely to increase your scholarship money at CUNY.

They will reject applicants with higher numbers to keep their class PI focused. Someone I interned with had much better numbers than me and got rejected because he felt his personal statement was not committed enough to public interest. And he truthfully wasn't, he had a kid on the way and wanted money.

As to the employment numbers:

When I was there, CUNY did not even permit private (midlaw/shitlaw/etc.) firms from visiting during OCI unless they were a public interest focused boutique (think labor employee-side or immigration). Can you imagine Hofstra/NY Law/Touro turning employers away? The modest bump in bar-passage employment numbers (and therefore ranking) is not worth the dilution of the public interest focus. N.B. There's a new dean incoming so that may change.

There were a lot of my classmates who entered law school with no desire to ever practice law, including some of the fully stipended students with great grades that could easily have landed a gig. They entered CUNY to start their own non-profits, go into local city or state politics, join policy institutes, etc. Things you definitely do not need bar passage or a J.D. for (and really goes against any TLS advice) but would want the public interest educational background in (e.g. one of our clinics is an incubator for student founded non-profits) without the traditional law school debt.

However, like any school in that "tier" there are plenty of graduates who will be burdened with a J.D. and will never make a living practicing law despite their best efforts. In my opinion, these were the students who didn't know what they wanted to do when they entered law school and believed that a J.D. on it's own will simply open doors for them for private practice and were somewhat "aimless" in their efforts.

In conclusion, if you really, really know 100% that you want to work in public interest, don't want to be saddled with a ton of debt, and can't get NYU's Root-Tilden, CUNY is a great school to allow you to do that.

I don't know what type of 0L you are, OP, but I would recommend you really sit down and think about why you want a law degree and how you see yourself using it.




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