long strange trip, advice

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Fareastside
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long strange trip, advice

Postby Fareastside » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:14 am

Long and lame, not looking at t-20, would love UW Madison or U of AZ. Looking at CO and U-Denver, too. Before any of the T-14 or nothing trolls answer, I don't care about that. I want to be criminal defense attorney, im not above 10 years in a public defenders office. Im not looking to be a wall street counsel.

My concern is this. I went to college in 98, was kicked out for a unique attendance policy, and joined the marines. Was kicked out of the marines in 2002 for smoking weed and given an oth discharge. Was forced to go to a two year UW( WI) outreach campus before getting my scores high enough to transfer to St. Norbert College. I graduated SNC with a 3.4 cum after 6 semesters. My lsac adjusted for this 8 year cluster fk is about 2.55. Madison has said they don't htink they'll care about the other grades since they were so long ago, they prefer the upward trend that my last 4 years would show. Is this common admissions thinking?

I am 5 years out of st norbert college now, I have worked teaching ESL, primarily in China and Korea, during that time, and will take the December LSAT. I've only taken about 6 practice tests and am scoring around 162 on avg. I hope to get up to a 165 or better by the time I take the real one.

What are my chances at some of these schools, and in terms of Rank on US News lists, would you say I'm looking in the right places or am I to be forever relegated to the third and fourth tier toilets? Madison says they couldn't care less about my marine stuff, they just want a good LSAT. Any advice for a groundling with these credentials?

Again try to keep the things that are simply flame or trolling to a minimum. I am looking for career advice, and only advice that applies to MY situation. I'm not looking to hear how much much smarter you are, or how UW wouldn't even be a safety school for someone with your unique gifts. I want to be a criminal trial lawyer, I want to go to the best school I can. Thank you kindly for reading this long post. I appreciate the help.

I have a wife and child too, if that tugs a heart string or two with admissions folks, I really don't know.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby JamMasterJ » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:18 am

Fareastside wrote:Long and lame, not looking at t-20, would love UW Madison or U of AZ. Looking at CO and U-Denver, too. Before any of the T-14 or nothing trolls answer, I don't care about that. I want to be criminal defense attorney, im not above 10 years in a public defenders office. Im not looking to be a wall street counsel.

My concern is this. I went to college in 98, was kicked out for a unique attendance policy, and joined the marines. Was kicked out of the marines in 2002 for smoking weed and given an oth discharge. Was forced to go to a two year UW( WI) outreach campus before getting my scores high enough to transfer to St. Norbert College. I graduated SNC with a 3.4 cum after 6 semesters. My lsac adjusted for this 8 year cluster fk is about 2.55. Madison has said they don't htink they'll care about the other grades since they were so long ago, they prefer the upward trend that my last 4 years would show. Is this common admissions thinking?

I am 5 years out of st norbert college now, I have worked teaching ESL, primarily in China and Korea, during that time, and will take the December LSAT. I've only taken about 6 practice tests and am scoring around 162 on avg. I hope to get up to a 165 or better by the time I take the real one.

What are my chances at some of these schools, and in terms of Rank on US News lists, would you say I'm looking in the right places or am I to be forever relegated to the third and fourth tier toilets? Madison says they couldn't care less about my marine stuff, they just want a good LSAT. Any advice for a groundling with these credentials?

Again try to keep the things that are simply flame or trolling to a minimum. I am looking for career advice, and only advice that applies to MY situation. I'm not looking to hear how much much smarter you are, or how UW wouldn't even be a safety school for someone with your unique gifts. I want to be a criminal trial lawyer, I want to go to the best school I can. Thank you kindly for reading this long post. I appreciate the help.

I have a wife and child too, if that tugs a heart string or two with admissions folks, I really don't know.

UW and CU-Boulder are good schools that dominate their markets. I wouldn't go to Denver though. Either AZ school is decent too. You're gonna have trouble with that overall gpa at CU and U of A, but make sure you write an addendum about the fact that you are in school a second time (or third?) and about the drug and expulsion issues

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Kilpatrick
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby Kilpatrick » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:20 am

There's not really much helpful advice that can be given until you have an actual LSAT score. The GPA is going to hurt and the discharge is going to hurt. Don't believe anything that admissions offices will tell you. They all say they care about upward trends and bullshit like that but they don't report upward trends to USNWR. The distance between your GPA and now will help a little, as will the WE. But basically you will be looked at as a sub 3.0 GPA. The good news is that a high LSAT can do a lot to counteract all those negatives.

Get your LSAT up as high as possible, retake if necessary, target splitter friendly schools, apply on the first day possible in 2012. Good luck.

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cinephile
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby cinephile » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:23 am

There's a few other threads about how being in the marines fares as a soft factor -- and while I don't have personal experience with this, I believe the consensus was that it won't really give you a boost. Neither will being a non-trad with a family.

If they say they don't care about the older grades and all they want is a good LSAT, studying for the highest possible score sounds like your best bet. However, taking the December LSAT means you'd be applying pretty late for this cycle. Most admissions are rolling, so the earlier you apply, the better your chances.

Fareastside
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby Fareastside » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:27 am

Yeah, the addendum is going to be a long one.

Pot use in the military. Underage drinking. Speeding. Low gpa. The folks at Madison seem fine with it, I'm not sure about other admission boards. Marquette, MI St, and William Mitchell would probably be safety schools does that seem about right? Any suggestions for a couple reach schools, though I already consider UW, Asu, u of az, and co a reach, in my case. U Pitt, Penn St, and Villanova are also on my radar but I wonder if that market is too saturated.

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sunynp
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby sunynp » Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:04 pm

Fareastside wrote:Yeah, the addendum is going to be a long one.

Pot use in the military. Underage drinking. Speeding. Low gpa. The folks at Madison seem fine with it, I'm not sure about other admission boards. Marquette, MI St, and William Mitchell would probably be safety schools does that seem about right? Any suggestions for a couple reach schools, though I already consider UW, Asu, u of az, and co a reach, in my case. U Pitt, Penn St, and Villanova are also on my radar but I wonder if that market is too saturated.


I wouldn't believe what admissions offices tell you. They generally tend to say they do holistic admissions, but the numbers are all the matters.

You need to kill it on your LSAT score. You should follow the excellent advice in this forum for studying. When you know your school then you can figure out where to apply .

I have another question though. I don't know how your issues will affect your review by character and fitness. I am not sure what an oth discharge is or what that means for bar admissions.

Were you ever arrested? Do you have any criminal history? I am not saying that these things can't be overcome. I just want you to be aware of possible hitches in getting your license.

MumofCad
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby MumofCad » Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:42 pm

Well, I think you may have issues with this background if you don't provide a really clear, powerful reason for why you are no longer that person. As previous poster has said, admission officers can be misleading. I recently learned that they are evaluated on alot of numbers, one of them being how many people they reject by USNWR. It would not behoove any of them to tell you not to apply or that they wouldn't consider you, even if that was the reality. What they told you may be true, but don't let it distract you from the primary need to explain this history and ace the LSAT.

I would do more than an addendum since you have several issues that warrant explanation. I would write your PS from the perspective of a pivotal moment when you shook off the past and gained an immense respect for the law. Then pour over it, consult broadly on it, and make sure it is sincere and compelling. If you are successful on those two fronts, I think you would have a good shot at appealing to a law school you listed (with the right LSAT). You might even be able to try and flip it to a positive given the type of law you want to practice - has this background provided you with a desire to help young people navigate the legal system in a way that ensures they don't return? Do you have a better perspective on their needs than the average attorney? I would think along those lines.

Of course, in the end, with your GPA you will need a very good LSAT showing. I didn't take it seriously or really study. Certainly didn't take a course. If you are just taking PTs and what not, but are absolutely set on a career in law - consider investing.
Last edited by MumofCad on Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Redfactor
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby Redfactor » Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:43 pm

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The Valkyrie
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby The Valkyrie » Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:25 pm

why does everyone assume that the PD will hire any warm body with a JD? Those jobs are in high demand.

Fareastside
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby Fareastside » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:19 pm

Now my grammar here is weak but it's being done on an iPhone. The mistakes I made were done when I was 18-22 years of age.

I have not gotten a bad grade or even a speeding ticket in the last 10 years.

Using a family as a ploy? Do you know how much responsibility is involved in raising a child or providing for a family? I am " using" them, as you suggest, to illustrate just how much more I have riding on this than most people. Failure is hardly an option.

I never was arrested for any crime. I violated a city ordinance for drinking, and for speeding. I have no police contact outside of that. 12 years ago...

Public defender being easy? Nobody said it's easy. I think that I can get that job even if it's hard to do.

Don't go to law school because you had speeding tickets when you were 16-18 and a coupleof underage drinking tickets is hardly sage advice. It isn't even good advice.
Let's say my mind is made up. I have already put in my notice at work, and will be doing nothing but 8 hours a day test prep with no distractions from September to December.

Please before you respond, ask yourself, is my post useful to this guy? Telling me not to be a lawyer or that getting a job is hard(oh really?) is a waste of your time. Ill get in somewhere. I have already contacted the WI and AZ bar. There is nothing I have done that would preclude me from acceptance.

Fareastside
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby Fareastside » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:24 pm

Mumofcad thanks for the post, we are thinking along the same lines, and you have actually nailed my reasons for going to school, in you ps suggestion.

MumofCad
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby MumofCad » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:00 pm

Fareastside wrote:Mumofcad thanks for the post, we are thinking along the same lines, and you have actually nailed my reasons for going to school, in you ps suggestion.


Hope it was helpful.

I am sure some of the posts in this thread are frustrating, because they are quite judgmental. You are putting yourself out there in this process and made it fairly clear these were long in the past. The simple reality is there are a good number of attorneys that are not going to empathize with some youthful indiscretions, because of the very way of thinking that leads them into law. While most profess that "everyone deserves a second chance," in an online forum that is anonymous...the truth comes out. Don't let it get to you, but do take it seriously. Use it as an example of the often unspoken prejudices you have to overcome and the importance of every word in your PS/addendum. The tone will be key, and must be appropriately nuanced to avoid allowing them to jump to the wrong conclusions about your turnaround (the conclusion their instinct may lead them towards).

If you get a draft and need someone to look over it - I will be happy to help. Good luck.
Last edited by MumofCad on Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:15 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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sunynp
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby sunynp » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:08 pm

Fareastside wrote:Now my grammar here is weak but it's being done on an iPhone. The mistakes I made were done when I was 18-22 years of age.

I have not gotten a bad grade or even a speeding ticket in the last 10 years.

Using a family as a ploy? Do you know how much responsibility is involved in raising a child or providing for a family? I am " using" them, as you suggest, to illustrate just how much more I have riding on this than most people. Failure is hardly an option.

I never was arrested for any crime. I violated a city ordinance for drinking, and for speeding. I have no police contact outside of that. 12 years ago...

Public defender being easy? Nobody said it's easy. I think that I can get that job even if it's hard to do.

Don't go to law school because you had speeding tickets when you were 16-18 and a coupleof underage drinking tickets is hardly sage advice. It isn't even good advice.
Let's say my mind is made up. I have already put in my notice at work, and will be doing nothing but 8 hours a day test prep with no distractions from September to December.

Please before you respond, ask yourself, is my post useful to this guy? Telling me not to be a lawyer or that getting a job is hard(oh really?) is a waste of your time. Ill get in somewhere. I have already contacted the WI and AZ bar. There is nothing I have done that would preclude me from acceptance.

Ok so if you are clear with the C&F issues. I think I didn't get a clear picture of the chronology of your life from your original post. If you have a few years from your GPA and your youthful mistakes, then that should help.

You already know you need to kill the LSAT and you have organized your life so you can do that. I hope you will use all of the great resources of this site to help support you with your self-study. I think if you practice tests are 160, you should be able to raise your score significantly. A great score will help you. I think you can attain it if you follow the method laid out by pithypike or others.

I think in the meantime, you should start working on your PS, if you have time. You will benefit from a strong PS reflecting the person you are now and as MumofCad said, provide a compelling statement distancing yourself from all that stuff so long ago. Again, if you post drafts or ask people to read drafts for you, they will help you. I think you can come up with a good statement and addendums. People will help with that. You also need a resume.

Another thing you can work on is getting all the certifications you may need from all the schools you attended. And, you can organize your LORs. So this is all stuff you can work on essentially now. Can you work on getting the fee waivers you might need before you take the LSAT? I should know this but I don't remember.

The reason getting this together is important is that you need to have your applications at least close to ready to go. To come up with a final list of schools, you need a consistent range of PT scores. Then when you get your actual score you can pull from that list and send the apps in. As others have mentioned, you will be hurt by late applications. But you may have no choice in that now, so just deal with it. You can also compensate by writing 'Why X school" easy for the school. All of this paperwork will be timeconsuming.

You need to understand that the main reason for the focus on getting into great schools is driven by financial need, not snobbery (though I am not claiming that snobbery is never involved.) Law school is so expensive that to go to school without a solid chance of repaying the debt a student incurs is basically a life screw-up that they may never recover from.

To hedge against the risk of huge debt and no ability to pay, the best plan is to go to the best schools. Why is this? A couple of reasons: the best schools offer either 1. the best chance at a high paying gig or 2. great LRAP programs to help you pay back debt if you don't get a high paying gig. Another excellent plan is to go to a lower ranked school on a high scholarship, without stipulations, or even a full ride. The third plan is to go to a school that dominates its market, so that improves your chances of getting a job in the market - but, note, that market will be small.

People here will help you whatever school you are competitive to attend. The negativity is going to come from your ability to pay debt - if you can get into a school with a scholarship and no stipulations, that is a great position to be in. But, the lower down the rankings of schools you go, the more likely you will be pressurized to be in the top few people and on LR. The lower down the rankings, the less likely you may be able to find a job to pay back debt.

[You may already know the above few paragraphs but please don't assume that people are not taking you seriously just because you don't qualify for YHS - hardly anyone here does!]

I think the list of schools you have is a good one for now, depending on your actual score. If you want to practice in Colorado, Denver might not be terrible, but it is definitely not as good as CU (but DU might have better clinics?) I don't remember, but does this fit in with you ideas of the geographical locations you are interested in practicing?

You may be looking for more definitive advice, once you have a LSAT score or are PTing reliably enough to make a good guess, we should be able to advice more schools.

I hope this is helpful. My intentions are good but that usually doesn't count for much. :)

Fareastside
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby Fareastside » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:17 pm

Thanks sun, more posts along these lines would be much appreciated. Very thoughtful, thanks.

Redfactor
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby Redfactor » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:08 pm

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Fareastside
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby Fareastside » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:30 am

It was non judicial punishment, no court.

Also, it is elitist to assume nobody with my background deserves a spot. If anyone could have used a lawyer, it was me.

Do I think underage drinking is silly? yes. Was smoking pot in the marines? silly yes. But I don't drink andv I don't use drugs. I don't speed. You do know the root of the word penitentiary don't you? You are going to be a lawyer and you don't think people who try to reform themselves deserve a second chance? I did my penance for my non attendance at UWEC. Classes like Latin I failed as a kid, I aced and was nationally recognized for at snc. I ahve the shiny medal from the american classics society to prove it. I speak chinese, french and intermediate Korean besidess the dead language i have been lauded for. How many languages are you fluent in? Im an adjunct esl professor at a great college. Te suggestion i dont deserve law school is based on a snap character assesment of a 32 year old man you never met. It is based on a few lines, of a few paragraphs scrawled out on an iphone,
during a subway ride. A leap of logic?

Also, my question was what schools should I be focusing on. I never asked your opinions about the sticker price. We are not addressing the same issue at all. Obama smoked pot, he shouldn't be president? Clinton? They should be disbarred? And do you even know my income level? My car is a 2007 BMW 325i. My watch is an Omega speed master. Not bad for a kid from the gutter who didnt start off much different than his pals who ended up with felonies under their belt. I hope you get your first Beemer at 30. I currently do test prep
in Beijing for 300rmb an hour. I already make lawyer money. It isn't about money for me.

Is 150,000 something I can waste? No. But is 150,000 for the ability to go into business for
myself, in an industry with no income cap, reasonable repayment options, scary to me? no. I know a whole lot about the world my clients are coming from and the inequities many of them face. If you never lived on the streets in your teens, you don't know either. That gives me perspective and, in my opinion, competitive advantage.

This is digressing into a class war diatribe, and I'm giving total strangers more background than they need, but I don't want to be told I don't deserve this. I have worked my tail off
to get where I am. Even if I go to some tier 4 toilet, I will pass the bar. I will get into a
court room. And I will win.


Do I feel the punishment was unjust? No. Do I think I have proven myself in terms of the
treasure and toil it takes to get back into school, yes.

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Verity
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby Verity » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:46 am

I urge you to rethink law school. I'm not trolling. You will have to get a 168-ish or better to get into a good school with money, and about 96% of people don't. The job market is HORRENDOUS, even for a significant number of kids in the T14.

So see how the LSAT goes. There are a number of other, terrific careers out there that will provide you with a great living and a meaningful life. The crushing debt burden and the lack of jobs makes law a huge gamble for the vast majority of students.

boilerplated
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby boilerplated » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:52 am

Re: Colorado schools. CU might be a reach with that GPA, but not impossible, and I think you could get into DU if you do indeed score the LSAT you predict.

If money is no issue, you might actually be better off with the latter. CU still has a better reputation, but DU is really taking advantage of its location and the networking opportunities it provides. If you're comfortable schmoozing you can really get a lot out of it. Also on that note, DU stole a really spectacular career services official from CU this past year, much to the dismay of the students in Boulder. DU is going up, while CU is actually going through a lot of administrative changes right now that may not turn out for the best. I would give DU a very close look.

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Glock
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby Glock » Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:04 am

The schools are judged by your LSAC GPA. They may decide to only consider your most recent grades, but they have to count it on your medians.

Fareastside
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby Fareastside » Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:25 am

I'm not tooting my own horn, and come december I'll have proof. 165 is in the bag. I do GRE, GMAT, TOEFl, prep for a living. I got a 159 first time through, my lowest score. My highest was a 166. I'm not worried about going to Marquette or MI State if my first choices deny me. If your contention is that a Marquette grad doesn't belong in practice, or that someone with a 165+ LSAT can't get into a school in the 30s-50s, I'm going to have to disagree with both conclusions. Felons have become judges. NYL students have become governors. Loyola, NO grads have served on China's supreme court. Are these outliers? Sure. But what they all have in common is that they tried. They gave it a shot and they won. If the laws of america are to be interpreted only by those of means or from a handful of schools, it is not morally superior nor more equitable than China.

My mind is set. Thanks but no thanks if you want to talk me out of it. I'm going. My profs at snc think im a strong candidate. One, a tenured Fulbright scholar from upenn, who teaches one semester at my old college and one at berkley each year, says I'm one the strongest students he ever taught. I'll listen to guys like him. Some of the post have been helpful. I'll only respond to those from now on. Thanks, you know who you are.



I'm smart, ambitious, and I never forgot where I came from. I owe it to my community. Like I said, if this isn't fathomable to you, then we are going to law school for different reasons. See you in court.

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$1.99
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby $1.99 » Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:33 am

clap, clap, clap, clap, clap

Fareastside
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby Fareastside » Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:40 am

My friend is a baank manager in Denver, he relocated there from GReen Bay, the hillbilly city i am from, and just loves it. His wife went to grad school at DU for social work. Since she is alum there and really loves the school, has similar ideas about helping the underprivileged and she also has connections in that realm of service, coupled with the natural beauty of CO, practicing there would be a dream. DU seems more approachable for me too. I wouldn't say money isn't an option, but it's not like I'll be in a welfare line if I go there. And if I do end up on ssi, my friends wife can get my paper work processed quickly:)

Just to clarify, for those trying to shoo me away from the law, I consider UW-WI, CO, ASU, reach schools. These are my YLS, HLS, or U Chicago. I am not delusional about having a >20% shot with these places.

What do people know about Marquette, Mitchell, or Villanova, Penn? I feel like I'd fare well at vill or Penn St , not upenn obviously, but be competing with too many top brand law grads out there. Do they place well nationally at upitt, Penn St, or Villanova?

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$1.99
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby $1.99 » Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:44 am

well you answered your own questions, the point of the T 14 or bust mentality is that you have to go to a top school to have national reach. even the bottom - mid of the T14 have trouble with national placement. pitt penn state and villanova will place you in pennsylvania if you do get a decent job.

Redfactor
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby Redfactor » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:40 am

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Redfactor
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Re: long strange trip, advice

Postby Redfactor » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:51 am

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