3.68/175 Chicago BigLaw Strategy

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Sacred Cow
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3.68/175 Chicago BigLaw Strategy

Postby Sacred Cow » Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:56 am

I'm a 0L at the moment, considering a few different approaches to applying to law school and I'd like to hear TLS's take. The ultimate goal is Chicago biglaw. I have strong ties to Milwaukee (pretty darn close to Chicago, but I have no idea if that counts as "ties" to Chicago), probably below average softs. I guess I have two separate questions here.

1) Should I go K-JD? All things equal I would like to work as a paralegal to see if I really do want to work in a big firm. However, I've been following lsn and the TLS applicant threads here pretty closely, and I've seen how historically generous this cycle has been. The number of people taking the LSAT has continued to drop, but it looks like the rate has decreased and it might be approaching a bottom. I'm guessing that next cycle will be comparable to this cycle, if not even slightly better, but it's impossible to predict what might happen in the years following. I'm a junior right now, so if I applied next year when I can be reasonably certain my odds will be favorable, I would go K-JD, but if I accepted a paralegal position I would most likely have to make a 2 year commitment, at which point who knows what the competition will look like? There's also the possibility that I could get my GPA closer to 3.75 if I count another year of grades, fwiw.

2) Should I ED Northwestern? I've only heard it mentioned on TLS a handful of times, but the Northwestern ED scholarship is very tempting. Snagging an (almost) full ride to the 2nd best school in the market is definitely something worth considering in my opinion. However, I also loathe the idea of locking myself out of other options. I love Hyde Park and UChicago sounds great, especially since I'm shooting for Chicago, but I'm not sure how much more money it would be worth to go there as opposed to NW. Correct me if I'm wrong, but from perusing mylsn, I think I have some chance at H, too. (Maybe I can save that thread for another time (and not count my chickens before they hatch), but BONUS QUESTION: in the case I was admitted to H, cost aside, would an H grad have an advantage over a UChi grad in Chicago?) Anyways, should I take the money and run at NW, or apply broadly and weigh my options?

Thanks for your help!

tl;dr should I apply ED NW next year

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teampeeta
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Re: 3.68/175 Chicago BigLaw Strategy

Postby teampeeta » Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:31 am

Dude, it's February. I know the cycle has been generous (or will be generous) in terms of applicants, but you're cutting the deadlines a bit fine aren't you? If you haven't already decided you're applying this year, I'm guessing you don't have your recs/ personal statement together? Either way, I say get a job and try to improve your GPA this semester. Your best chances at Chicago BIGLAW are HYS and U of C. Northwestern is also great, but as you said, they tend to prefer people with WE.

Law school will still be here this fall and your chances at any of the schools I've mentioned (except for Y because they really don't do rolling admissions) are going to be better in September/October than they are now. As for the 2 year paralegal commitment, you could always apply in the fall and defer if you like your job. If you hate it, as most paralegals at big firms do, you could just peace out early.

EDIT: Your other questions are premature, but I would say: don't ED Northwestern unless you're sure you want to go there. I would take Chicago at twice the cost of Northwestern (e.g. if you got 90K from NW and 45K from Chicago, I'd still take Chicago). The Harvard v. U Chi advantage for BIGLAW is almost impossible to know without more context (i.e. your grades and how well you interview). If you're in the the top 20% at Chicago or top 40% at H, you can probably get a SA position at any firm in Chicago. In fact, you probably don't even have to do as well as that in order to be very competitive.

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Crowing
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Re: 3.68/175 Chicago BigLaw Strategy

Postby Crowing » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:33 am

If I were you, I would definitely go for the WE. It's helpful in so many ways and your numbers are going to be good numbers in any cycle.

If/when you do apply, ED NU is the way to go as long as you're positive about wanting to work in Chicago. UChicago and NU are pretty much peers in Chicago, and HYS if better at all isn't worth giving up a huge scholarship for if your goal is Chicago biglaw. Since you are from Milwaukee, I think it would be even more important for you to go to an area school to demonstrate interest in Chicago.

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jbagelboy
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Re: 3.68/175 Chicago BigLaw Strategy

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:33 am

I used to always tell people that professional work experience is important before law school, not so much for admissions but to make/save $, build character, gain marketable skills and appeal to legal employers on a resume. Now I would affirm that belief even more adamantly after undergoing some legal hiring. Every interviewer, every networking event, nearly every attorney Ive talked to has stressed the value of my WE, and while its not dispositive (grades of course are most important), it's proven more respected and sought after than I would have imagined coming in. And im speaking even from a very top law school (although sure at Yale, being k-jd or not might not matter since you're already so ridiculously qualified, cant speak to that).

Your LSAT score is boss: just get those grades to 3.75+, apply in the fall to JOBS, doesnt have to be legal, and then revisit the law question in a couple years. NU full ride, UChi $$$ and HLS will still be there, and its only getting less competitive.

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bjsesq
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Re: 3.68/175 Chicago BigLaw Strategy

Postby bjsesq » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:13 pm

Crowing wrote:If I were you, I would definitely go for the WE. It's helpful in so many ways and your numbers are going to be good numbers in any cycle.

If/when you do apply, ED NU is the way to go as long as you're positive about wanting to work in Chicago. UChicago and NU are pretty much peers in Chicago, and HYS if better at all isn't worth giving up a huge scholarship for if your goal is Chicago biglaw. Since you are from Milwaukee, I think it would be even more important for you to go to an area school to demonstrate interest in Chicago.


Agreed, kinda. I mean, if simply biglaw is your thing, either works. I would say that U of C has a higher ceiling when it comes to shit like COA clerkships, the highest end lit boutiques, etc.




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