What kind of work experience actually matters to law schools

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wwapd
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What kind of work experience actually matters to law schools

Postby wwapd » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:12 pm

I worked in China as a teacher for a year. Then I worked on a campaign and next month I will start a job at my state Capitol as a legislative assistant. I will apply to law school in 2013 for the 2014 academic year. Would any of these jobs stand out on an application?

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20130312
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Re: What kind of work experience actually matters to law schools

Postby 20130312 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:15 pm

Things that matter to law schools:

LSAT
GPA
URM status





huge gap here














Work experience
Personal statement
LORs

nebula666
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Re: What kind of work experience actually matters to law schools

Postby nebula666 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:42 pm

WE stands out when they are comparing two applicants with the same or almost identical numbers.

If we both have a 170 3.5, solid WE might give you a bump. If I have a 170 3.5 and you have a 169 3.4, I worked at McDonalds for a week and you were the President of the United States, I'd probably still have an edge.

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20130312
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Re: What kind of work experience actually matters to law schools

Postby 20130312 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:47 pm

nebula666 wrote:WE stands out when they are comparing two applicants with the same or almost identical numbers.

If we both have a 170 3.5, solid WE might give you a bump. If I have a 170 3.5 and you have a 169 3.4, I worked at McDonalds for a week and you were the President of the United States, I'd probably still have an edge.

Couple of things to point out here:
1. The difference between a 170 and a 169 is huge once you're talking about applying to the T-14 because many of the schools have a median LSAT of 170.
2. Notice the difference in WE that you're talking about (McDonald's vs. POTUS). WE only matters in specific categories (military, TFA) or if it's exceptional (curing cancer, being POTUS). Tons of law school applicants have been legislative aides. Many have international experiences as well. At that level, it's indistinguishable from being a financial analyst or some other corporate underling.

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typ3
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Re: What kind of work experience actually matters to law schools

Postby typ3 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:53 pm

InGoodFaith wrote:
nebula666 wrote:WE stands out when they are comparing two applicants with the same or almost identical numbers.

If we both have a 170 3.5, solid WE might give you a bump. If I have a 170 3.5 and you have a 169 3.4, I worked at McDonalds for a week and you were the President of the United States, I'd probably still have an edge.

Couple of things to point out here:
1. The difference between a 170 and a 169 is huge once you're talking about applying to the T-14 because many of the schools have a median LSAT of 170.
2. Notice the difference in WE that you're talking about (McDonald's vs. POTUS). WE only matters in specific categories (military, TFA) or if it's exceptional (curing cancer, being POTUS). Tons of law school applicants have been legislative aides. Many have international experiences as well. At that level, it's indistinguishable from being a financial analyst or some other corporate underling.


This.

Law schools don't care.

It is LSAT/GPA -- URM status..

The rest of your application is pretty much chucked in the trash.

20141023
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Re: What kind of work experience actually matters to law schools

Postby 20141023 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:30 am

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Last edited by 20141023 on Sat Feb 14, 2015 1:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: What kind of work experience actually matters to law schools

Postby ScottRiqui » Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:48 am

I don't think that the conventional TLS wisdom necessarily holds true in the case of extreme non-traditional applicants (e.g. decades of work experience, multiple advanced degrees, etc.) Most people here will just tell you to look on lawschoolnumbers, but LSN only represents a small percentage of a school's applicants.

Also, I suspect that many non-trads might self-select away from higher-ranked schools in favor of a strong, but lower-ranked, regional school for reasons such as having a working spouse, having a house that they either can't or don't want to sell, having long-established ties to their current area, or not wanting to uproot their kids in the middle of high school. As such, there's no way to know if they would have actually "outperformed their numbers", because they didn't even apply to those schools that would have been a "hail mary" based solely on their numbers.

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20130312
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Re: What kind of work experience actually matters to law schools

Postby 20130312 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:48 am

I included military as part of my "WE that matters" above, so kingsfield is covered under that.

Also, what the guy above me said. Obviously doesn't apply to many law school applicants though.

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cinephile
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Re: What kind of work experience actually matters to law schools

Postby cinephile » Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:29 am

While work experience may not matter much to schools, it could benefit you in your job search. So, substantive work experience is still helpful.

Anonimo
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Re: What kind of work experience actually matters to law schools

Postby Anonimo » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:31 am

I think this kinda of softs matter a lot more when you're an URM and you are applying to a school with numbers below the 50% of the median. Experiences that could shed some light of your level of maturity are better appreciated.

20141023
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Re: What kind of work experience actually matters to law schools

Postby 20141023 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:42 pm

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Last edited by 20141023 on Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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02889
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Re: What kind of work experience actually matters to law schools

Postby 02889 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:31 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:Yeah.... I guess that what I'm trying to say is that applicants should take advice on TLS / LSN / LSP with a grain of salt.

I am a traditional, non-URM applicant under 30 with no military experience, but I still think that my work experience has had a big impact on my cycle thus far. I worked in several countries during summer internships throughout college and now have a job that directly relates to what I want to do after law school. All of my WE (both during and after college) is in the same field in the private sector but from different perspectives; I think that demonstrating purpose and continuity (instead of just doing random unrelated jobs to make money or pass time) can have a large effect on one's cycle.

As the new U.S. News Law Rankings Methodology begins to more strictly judge the employment rate of law schools (this is supposed to take effect in their 2014 rankings), I think that WE will play an even bigger role than before. I've said this a lot on other threads on this forum, but my prediction is that top law schools will begin to seek applicants with decent-to-elite numbers and good work experience rather than taking only applicants with elite numbers and no proven track record because they might bomb OCIs.

I agree, and really don't see why this isn't already true. Medical schools require excellent numbers in a specific set of classes, as well as extensive leadership experience, volunteering, research, etc. Business schools require excellent numbers, as well as some sort of business experience. Law schools? If you've never even had a part-time job, but you managed a 3.8 and a great LSAT, welcome to any elite school. It makes little to no sense to me why a firm or gov't office would even want to hire a 24-25 year old who has little to no work experience and has not proven they can handle the hours, work load, or office environment.

That's not to say that work experience should make one outperform their numbers, but the "K-JD" scenario should not really exist as commonly as it does.




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