Chances and advice moving forward please?

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rf0404
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Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby rf0404 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:57 am

Hi all!

I'm a college junior and my current GPA is a 3.3. I'm hoping to raise that to a 3.4 or a 3.5 by the time I actually submit my college applications. My practice LSAT scores (without studying) have been in the 163-168 range and I'm hoping to (realistically) raise that to 170-173 after studying before taking it this coming fall. I have a pretty unique academic background studying computer science and international studies at a top 50 school, fluent in Mandarin, great job experience (including at a law firm).

I have always hoped to go into cyberlaw and after much research I've found the best schools for this are Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley, but I'm trying to be realistic about my chances there.

So my question to you TLS: what are my chances of getting in at those 3 schools?

Does anyone have any advice on what other schools I could look into that have good cyberlaw programs? I'm not interested in just a flat out patent law program, as much as cyberlaw as it relates to privacy and ethical issues.


TLDR: 3.4 GPA/170 LSAT (realistic estimate in my mind)
soft factors: good job experience, unique academic classes, language and work experience abroad
chances for: Harvard/Stanford/Berkeley, other schools with good cyberlaw programs?

nebula666
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby nebula666 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:31 am

Come back when you have an LSAT score.

You should set more realistic expectations. You aren't getting into H, S, or B with a 3.4. Maybe if you get a 175+ Berkeley will consider you.

If you get a 170, 3.4 you are looking at Penn, UVA, Michigan, Duke, NW, GULC, and Cornell. Denied or waitlisted at CCN.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby Scotusnerd » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:34 am

Get the LSAT score, then come back. I thought I'd get a 165+ the first time. I got a 157.

rf0404
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby rf0404 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:54 am

Er thanks. I completely understand that scores can change, but that's more why I'm posting this before taking the LSAT as unusual as that may be.

I realize that with my GPA my chances at Harvard/Stanford/Berkeley are slim to none which is why I'm asking more for guidance as to how I can improve my chances.

For example, I'm not set on going to law school straight out of college. Would taking some time off and getting more applicable work experience be significantly helpful? Or perhaps pursuing a masters (likely in Computer Science) be helpful in giving admissions committees a new set of academics to look at?

Sorry if those ^ questions shouldn't be in this forum, I'm new here so I thought this would be a good place to start and see if anybody had any thoughts or input into how alternate plans might improve my chances.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby Scotusnerd » Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:26 am

I think you need some real-world experience. I think it would benefit you greatly. Get a job, work a job, then see if you want to work that job or sink $120k in schooling/living costs for the opportunity to find a job in another profession. Own a car, make house payments, all that good stuff.

Law school is not a light decision, and I'm not sure if you're ready to make that decision yet. You're still looking at it like an undergraduate (understandable!), thinking about only how to get in. You're not looking at the cost of your options versus their value. Going to a masters school and getting a computer science MAY give you a boost in admissions, but at a huge and horrible cost (I'm going to guess 60k plus). Planning to get work experience just so it looks good on your law school resume is entirely the wrong way to go about it. Find a job you like with the degree you have. Law school can come in the future, but deal with your current priorities first.

TL;DR: Graduate, get good grades. Find a job, and work it for a bit. If you still desperately want to be a lawyer, then come back and take the LSAT.

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Icculus
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby Icculus » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:08 pm

There is essentially nothing you can do to get into H, S, or B, your GPA is not even close to high enough. Do not get a master's assuming it will help you, it won't. You should work a bit, rework your expectations, and decide if you want to be a lawyer not just a cyber lawyer (which I am not sure I even understand) since after graduation you will most likely need to work in whatever group will hire you.

nebula666
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby nebula666 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:14 pm

Icculus wrote:There is essentially nothing you can do to get into H, S, or B, your GPA is not even close to high enough. Do not get a master's assuming it will help you, it won't. You should work a bit, rework your expectations, and decide if you want to be a lawyer not just a cyber lawyer (which I am not sure I even understand) since after graduation you will most likely need to work in whatever group will hire you.


What don't you understand about wanting to practice cyber-law?


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Icculus
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby Icculus » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:15 pm



I am aware of what it is, I guess my point was more I don't understand how OP knows exactly the niche law he wants to study having never taken a law class before. I also think OP needs to be ready for the fact that cyberlaw, much like most types of law, is probably not as easy to get as he thinks and he/she should be aiming for law school because they want to be a lawyer not just because they want to practice a particular type of law.

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IAFG
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby IAFG » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:20 pm

You will not get into any of them. There is nothing you can do to change that. Except, I suppose, staying in college until you have a 3.7+

Ti Malice
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby Ti Malice » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:51 pm

rf0404 wrote:I realize that with my GPA my chances at Harvard/Stanford/Berkeley are slim to none which is why I'm asking more for guidance as to how I can improve my chances.

For example, I'm not set on going to law school straight out of college. Would taking some time off and getting more applicable work experience be significantly helpful? Or perhaps pursuing a masters (likely in Computer Science) be helpful in giving admissions committees a new set of academics to look at?

Sorry if those ^ questions shouldn't be in this forum, I'm new here so I thought this would be a good place to start and see if anybody had any thoughts or input into how alternate plans might improve my chances.


To echo what other folks have said, none of H/S/B are going to happen with anything close to your GPA, assuming you are non-URM. Your academic background is really not that unusual (and schools wouldn't care even if it were), and your softs overall are not going to give you any boost. That won't change with a graduate degree or work experience, either. The LSAT is far and away the most important component of your application, and even a perfect score would not be nearly enough to compensate for your GPA at these schools.

nebula666
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby nebula666 » Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:55 am

Ti Malice wrote:The LSAT is far and away the most important component of your application, and even a perfect score would not be nearly enough to compensate for your GPA at these schools.


Not at H or S but probably 50% chance at Berkeley with a 180.

rf0404
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby rf0404 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:55 am

Thanks for the responses as disheartening as they may be. I didn't really think my GPA was that bad considering schools tend to look more favorably at low GPAs when they are engineering based...but maybe that's a rumor that you all seem to think is false.

For lcculus and scotusnerd though---I do not take this decision as lightly as you seem to think I do. I'm sorry if I sound like a kid to you but you are not that much older than me as far as I can tell, and trust me I have had my share of life experiences and have known I wanted to be a lawyer practically my entire life. Cyber law is not a very developed field which is why it's understandable you might not understand how I know I want to go into that field, or why you might not understand why I would want to consider a masters before doing so. Also it encompasses a lot of privacy law as well as some principles of intellectual property law, so I think it's unfair to say I'm just going into it just for cyber law. It's uncharted territory for me, and likely for you as well unless you're secretly Lawrence Lessig. Also I have taken law classes before and worked at a law firm so don't assume you know everything about an OP when you read a short 5 sentence paragraph about them.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby Scotusnerd » Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:08 am

rf0404 wrote:Thanks for the responses as disheartening as they may be. I didn't really think my GPA was that bad considering schools tend to look more favorably at low GPAs when they are engineering based...but maybe that's a rumor that you all seem to think is false.

For lcculus and scotusnerd though---I do not take this decision as lightly as you seem to think I do. I'm sorry if I sound like a kid to you but you are not that much older than me as far as I can tell, and trust me I have had my share of life experiences and have known I wanted to be a lawyer practically my entire life. Cyber law is not a very developed field which is why it's understandable you might not understand how I know I want to go into that field, or why you might not understand why I would want to consider a masters before doing so. Also it encompasses a lot of privacy law as well as some principles of intellectual property law, so I think it's unfair to say I'm just going into it just for cyber law. It's uncharted territory for me, and likely for you as well unless you're secretly Lawrence Lessig. Also I have taken law classes before and worked at a law firm so don't assume you know everything about an OP when you read a short 5 sentence paragraph about them.



Hey man, it's your ass in the sling. I may be wrong, and you certainly don't have to listem to my advice. But I will tell you this: if some junior in college came up to me and said he wanted to go into cyberlaw, or apellate litigation, or international law, or some other specialty, I'd tell them to see if they can stand becoming any other type of lawyer first. If they couldn't, than they should NOT pursue getting a JD. The job market is bad right now, and this is not the time to go chasing after wet dream jobs. I don't dispute that your idea might work out, but you'd be buying a pretty hefty lottery ticket. As it stands nationwide, you have about 50/50 shot just getting ANY job requiring a J.D.

Do you know that a job is going to be waiting for you on the other side of this? What if you don't get it? Can you stand doing document review? What if you have to hang out your own shingle? How are you going to attract clients in your specialty? How will you make contacts? Can you see yourself begging judges for public defender table scrap cases? Because if you don't go in with several backup plans, that may very well be your future.

Those are the sorts of questions you should be asking when you're thinking things like "I know I've always wanted to be a lawyer." You might have thought that, but I don't think you understand exactly what you want. It's not a nice world out there, and you will probably be forced to do some things during your career that you REALLY don't want to do.

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dietcoke0
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby dietcoke0 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:45 am

Niche markets are extremely tough. You aren't going to come out of any law school and start taking down kiddy porn sites. With a 3.4, you are going to be shut out of a lot of schools from the start. Lets say best case scenario, you get a 173 (and I'm saying a big if, that's 99%+ percentile, and we all thought oh, I'll just score high and they will all want me) You still looking at schools 7-14, and not a lock for any top 10 school IMO.

Getting into Cornell is a good school, but not going to magically allow you to do what you want. Going to be years, maybe decades of 80 hour weeks doing things that may or may not interest you to get a position as high coveted and niched as the one you are talking about.

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dietcoke0
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby dietcoke0 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:47 am

Oh, and your schools you choose, you going to need a 177-178 to have a shot, unless you got bullet wounds from Iraq and taught underprivileged children. You got an engineering degree, why not try and do something with that?

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cahwc12
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby cahwc12 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:19 am

When you come to this board for advice and everyone tells you that you're making a poor, uninformed decision based on inadequate information, you ought to listen. You sound incredibly naive and have no idea what you're getting yourself into, despite what you may think. Your background is not incredible or unique and the softs you mention are very, very minor and display a a profound ignorance to how law school admissions works.

Even if you got into Harvard or Stanford or Berkeley you won't be practicing cyber law. People don't get those kinds of jobs, and I think you either watch too much CSI or have seen one too many cyber-terrorism movies (Skyfall did just come out though). I'm glad you've read enough wikipedia entries to know who Lawrence Lessig is--throwing his name out there doesn't mean you're going to be a cyber lawyer.

If you really and truly want to be a cyber lawyer, please read this book. Ask your parents to spot you the $5--they should be more than willing if you think they'll spot you the $200,000 for law school tuition.


There is no such thing as international law.

Or environmental law. Or human rights law. Or sports law. Basic rule: If some form of legal practice sounds interesting to non-lawyers, it does not exist.

source



Answer me this:

1) What are a few of the top cyber law firms in the nation?

2) What does a cyber lawyer do in a typical day?

3) How many graduates out of Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley become practicing cyber lawyers out of school?


Can't find any of those answers? Take a guess at why that is.

Ti Malice
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:10 pm

rf0404 wrote:I didn't really think my GPA was that bad considering schools tend to look more favorably at low GPAs when they are engineering based...but maybe that's a rumor that you all seem to think is false.


Law schools most certainly will not cut you any significant slack for your field of study. The USNWR rankings do not differentiate between different fields of study in assessing uGPAs, so law schools don't either. And although a few schools -- Yale, for instance -- take a more holistic approach in evaluating applicants, there are still scads of engineering and hard science majors with 3.8+ GPAs for them to consider ahead of you.

I will amend my earlier comment about your odds at Berkeley even with a perfect LSAT score (or a 177+). Your odds would definitely not be 50%, but you would have enough of a chance for it to be worth your applying: http://myLSN.info/csbt14. That search assumes that reach your target of a 3.4-3.5 GPA by the time of application. I think it probably still overstates your chances a bit, though, if you're applying as a K-JD. I actually think work experience and/or a graduate degree would improve your chances a bit for Berkeley (HLS and SLS are out no matter what), contrary to my earlier statement, but only a bit. We're talking about a few percentage points added to distinctly unfavorable odds.

The rest of the advice you're getting in this thread is largely on point, and you would do well to approach it less dismissively. It is extremely unlikely that you would end up working in cyber law anytime soon, or even ever, with a law degree from any place that will admit you; I don't know any aspiring cyber lawyers at YLS (or HLS/SLS), but I think such law students' chances would only be slightly better than what you're up against (that is to say, still generally abysmal). If practicing cyber law is for you the only satisfactory outcome to having a law degree, then you should definitely not attend law school.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby Scotusnerd » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:23 pm

Now, I think we're pretty clear that going into "cyberlaw" is a no go.

But your interest in computers and your computer science degree doesn't have to be useless. What you can do is work out a niche for yourself within a larger practice area.

For example, if you end up in civil litigation, you can focus on cases related to privacy on the internet/defamation lawsuits (plaintiff or defendant side) or credit card theft. If you go into prosecution, you can carve out a niche as the office's 'cybercrime guy.' If you want to do transactional work, you can specialize in software contracts, etc. etc. Hell you can even go air force JAG for all I know (good luck w/that) and eventually work your way into a base that has a large cyberwarfare component.

But you will not start out that way. You will start with whatever shit jobs they have available, and you better be willing and able to do them, until you build up their trust and your skills to the point that they'll risk trusting you with something like that.

Lawyers are plenty interested in computers. But cyberlaw on its own won't make a living. Suing people, defending them, and keeping their arses covered against regulations will make a living. If you really do want to go to law school, find out what you want to do, and then work your specialization in later on.

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Icculus
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby Icculus » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:05 pm

rf0404 wrote:I didn't really think my GPA was that bad considering schools tend to look more favorably at low GPAs when they are engineering based...but maybe that's a rumor that you all seem to think is false.


There is no belief here, schools care about GPA and LSAT, and a 3.4 is not going to get you into any of the schools you listed, no matter what your major. You would be better off with a 4.0 in underwater basket weaving.

rf0404 wrote:why I would want to consider a masters before doing so.


A master's will not help you get into any schools and will be very little benefit when applying for jobs or going through OCI, especially when no firm will be looking out for someone who wants to specialize in cyberlaw. They want lawyers and very rarely will someone right out of LS specialize like this, unless you are talking Patent Lit, or IP, and those require hard science backgrounds, especially if you want to sit for the patent bar.

rf0404 wrote:Cyber law is not a very developed field


Which makes your plan even less likely since most firms won't have any jobs in it.

rf0404 wrote:Also I have taken law classes before.


Undergrad classes? Yeah, I took a Con Law class in undergrad. Guess what, nothing at all like the real thing. Law school classes are not the same kind of law classes you have taken, and are probably more pressure than you're used to.

rf0404 wrote:For lcculus and scotusnerd though---I do not take this decision as lightly as you seem to think I do. I'm sorry if I sound like a kid to you but you are not that much older than me as far as I can tell, and trust me I have had my share of life experiences and have known I wanted to be a lawyer practically my entire life.


This is why I decided to answer. So I don't know how old you are, but your post reads like a 19-21 y/o old college junior. I am in my 30s, so I am most likely far older than you. I have already had a previous career, received a master's degree, and lived a grown up life. So yes, you sound like a kid to me. You may have wanted to be a lawyer forever, but you don't say why. I want to be a lawyer because I enjoy reading cases, writing memos and briefs (real ones, not the crap you do in legal writing classes) and making arguments (not arguing, note the difference). Hell, even after I got to law school I wasn't entirely sure what a lawyer did until I started working as a law clerk and actually got to do this stuff. So if your motivation for law school is "computer stuff and b/c I took an undergrad class I really liked, and law and order, CSI, Suits, and Franklin and Bash are awesome" the you should do some more research.

My only point earlier is that you are nowhere near the univers of what H/S are looking for, and B is way more than a hail mary longshot, so if you want to do this make sure you're doing it for the right reasons and not just because you read some stuff on cyber law and think it will be cool.

Edit: I am also a 2L going through exams right now, am completely miserable, and hate every moment of it. Felt the same way 1L and can assure you if I was not absolutely, 100% positive, this was the right decision for me I don't think I could put up with it. Everything about law school in terms of success, puts unbelievable amounts of pressure on you, so make sure you really want to deal with it.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby Scotusnerd » Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:29 pm

Icculus wrote:This is why I decided to answer. So I don't know how old you are, but your post reads like a 19-21 y/o old college junior. I am in my 30s, so I am most likely far older than you. I have already had a previous career, received a master's degree, and lived a grown up life. So yes, you sound like a kid to me. You may have wanted to be a lawyer forever, but you don't say why. I want to be a lawyer because I enjoy reading cases, writing memos and briefs (real ones, not the crap you do in legal writing classes) and making arguments (not arguing, note the difference). Hell, even after I got to law school I wasn't entirely sure what a lawyer did until I started working as a law clerk and actually got to do this stuff. So if your motivation for law school is "computer stuff and b/c I took an undergrad class I really liked, and law and order, CSI, Suits, and Franklin and Bash are awesome" the you should do some more research.

My only point earlier is that you are nowhere near the univers of what H/S are looking for, and B is way more than a hail mary longshot, so if you want to do this make sure you're doing it for the right reasons and not just because you read some stuff on cyber law and think it will be cool.

Edit: I am also a 2L going through exams right now, am completely miserable, and hate every moment of it. Felt the same way 1L and can assure you if I was not absolutely, 100% positive, this was the right decision for me I don't think I could put up with it. Everything about law school in terms of success, puts unbelievable amounts of pressure on you, so make sure you really want to deal with it.


You give me hope for the future. I'm glad I'm not alone!

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gobuffs10
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Re: Chances and advice moving forward please?

Postby gobuffs10 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:06 pm

Scotusnerd wrote:Get the LSAT score, then come back. I thought I'd get a 165+ the first time. I got a 157.


So much this.

Listen, OP, when I first came here and asked where I could go to school, I got ridiculed and laughed at, and it pissed me off too. I figured people didn't know me, that I deserved a good school because I'm interesting and smart, and that I'd crush the LSAT. Generally, though, the wisdom here is correct; it's just not what you want to hear.

Whoever said you need to decide if you'll be happy being a lawyer, and not a cyber lawyer, is correct. Can it happen? Sure. Should you bank on it? I wouldn't.

I'll echo the "come back when you have a score" sentiments, because this is almost worthless without a real LSAT, but the three schools mentioned are not happening with a 3.4. Accept that now, and worry about what you can control (i.e. your real LSAT).

TL; DR - Don't be so damn defensive. You're an undergrad, you know nothing about law school, you haven't taken a law class (despite what your school called it). It sucks to be told the truth when it's harsh, but those schools are out, and you have a test to take and some thinking to do.




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