3.7, 4.0 GPAs, 153, mid-career

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HazeGrey

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3.7, 4.0 GPAs, 153, mid-career

Postby HazeGrey » Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:03 am

Law school has always been churning in the back of my mind throughout my career. I have my MS in Computer Science and I like my career as a software developer for the most part.

My GPA for undergrad: 3.7, grad school: 4.0. But I have been told that grad school GPA does not hold as much weight for law school admission.

I am not happy with my 153...I have never been a good test-taker, though I was a strong student. Similarly, my average SAT scores did not align with my strong high school GPA.
Naturally this concerns me as an indicator that I would struggle in law school and as a lawyer.

My GRE scores were actually pretty decent (comparatively) in 2005 when I was applying for grad school, so I plan to take the GRE again.

I am a female Navy veteran from the southeast.

I am planning to apply to:
PSU-Dickinson
Univ. of Richmond
Elon
Campbell
perhaps some SEC schools (Kentucky, Ole Miss, South Carolina)


Thank you for any input.

nixy

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Re: 3.7, 4.0 GPAs, 153, mid-career

Postby nixy » Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:43 am

The 153 isn't an indicator of anything except you haven't sufficiently learned how to take the LSAT yet. It's a very game-able test and rewards effort as much (if not more) than raw ability.

But why do you want to leave your career if you like it? What would you want to do with a law degree? Frankly, those schools aren't very good for getting legal jobs after graduation (especially depending on your goals).

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hoos89

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Re: 3.7, 4.0 GPAs, 153, mid-career

Postby hoos89 » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:59 am

HazeGrey wrote:I have my MS in Computer Science and I like my career as a software developer for the most part.


If you like your career for the most part, why are you leaving it to become an attorney? There's a pretty damn good chance you WON'T like being an attorney.

At the schools you listed, your likely entry-level options are probably going to be a significant pay cut from your current job....or you might end up not even finding a job as an attorney (a real risk from any of those schools) and ending up right back where you started. And that's not even mentioning taking 3 years out of the workforce and paying for school. I just don't think law school is sensible for you, especially if you can't get your LSAT up a lot.

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AdieuCali

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Re: 3.7, 4.0 GPAs, 153, mid-career

Postby AdieuCali » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:56 am

HazeGrey wrote:Law school has always been churning in the back of my mind throughout my career. I have my MS in Computer Science and I like my career as a software developer for the most part.

My GPA for undergrad: 3.7, grad school: 4.0. But I have been told that grad school GPA does not hold as much weight for law school admission.

I am not happy with my 153...I have never been a good test-taker, though I was a strong student. Similarly, my average SAT scores did not align with my strong high school GPA.
Naturally this concerns me as an indicator that I would struggle in law school and as a lawyer.

My GRE scores were actually pretty decent (comparatively) in 2005 when I was applying for grad school, so I plan to take the GRE again.

I am a female Navy veteran from the southeast.

I am planning to apply to:
PSU-Dickinson
Univ. of Richmond
Elon
Campbell
perhaps some SEC schools (Kentucky, Ole Miss, South Carolina)


Thank you for any input.


Hi HazeGrey & Underway! Fellow vet here.

The above poster is correct - you should seriously consider whether taking yourself out of the workplace for 3 years and completely changing careers is the right move for you.

Congratulations on having a great GPA! Though only your undergraduate GPA matters for admissions purposes, your MS in CS is very impressive and opens you up for lucrative IP law positions. Unfortunately, the schools you are considering applying to provide a minuscule chance of reaching those jobs.

I would strongly advise retaking, as boosting your LSAT will drastically increase your admissibility and the scholarships you receive. However, if you choose not to retake, you should consider applying to some of the following schools: http://mylsn.info/y6apca
Berkeley (one of the only schools prioritizing GPA>LSAT), Washington University, Notre Dame, W&L, OSU, UW, GMU.

If you are able to improve your LSAT to a 160 (totally doable, I started out taking PTs in the 150s, got a 160 on my first LSAT, and retook for a 169.), your options are a lot better: http://mylsn.info/ky3ft1

You also need to look at how many students successfully pass the bar and find full time legal employment at the schools you're applying to. At Elon, only about half of grads even pass the bar! https://www.lstreports.com/compare/

Feel free to PM me. I'd be happy to help with any other questions you have!

HazeGrey

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Re: 3.7, 4.0 GPAs, 153, mid-career

Postby HazeGrey » Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:20 pm

Thank you very much for the helpful responses!

I realize that I am lucky to have a career that I like, and perhaps it is foolish to consider leaving it (especially because in three years away I would likely fall behind my peers as technology advances).

I have been fortunate to work in cyber-security and defense, and I have become friends with several lawyers in the Legal and Contracts departments. They have generously talked with me about their career paths and daily tasks. I believe that I would really like that field, and hopefully my technical background would be beneficial.

I also appreciate the feedback on my list of potential schools. It is concerning to hear of poor job prospects and low percentages of students passing the bar.

On the bright side, my current workload is allowing me to work fairly normal hours (instead of my usual 60-70 per week), so I can hopefully devote time to LSAT prep before attempting it again. It is definitely encouraging to hear of others who have raised their scores, and I realize how much a higher score could improve the quality of possible schools.

Thank you again!

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totesTheGoat

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Re: 3.7, 4.0 GPAs, 153, mid-career

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:20 pm

HazeGrey wrote: I have my MS in Computer Science and I like my career as a software developer for the most part.


As a former computer engineer/current IP attorney, I wouldn't leave a SW dev job for law unless I really hated my job. Your experience is likely going to pigeonhole you into IP, and IP is a whole bunch of paper pushing.


I am not happy with my 153...I have never been a good test-taker, though I was a strong student. Similarly, my average SAT scores did not align with my strong high school GPA.
Naturally this concerns me as an indicator that I would struggle in law school and as a lawyer.


The bolded part is the only concerning part. Most of the grades for the classes that matter for job outcomes (your 1L classes) are 100% determined by a curved final exam (some may have a midterm, depending on a prof). If you don't do well under testing pressure, you're going to underperform in these classes. One of the smartest guys I knew in law school graduated around median because he couldn't take a timed test well. He's still hopping from temp job to temp job a year later.


I am planning to apply to:
PSU-Dickinson
Univ. of Richmond
Elon
Campbell
perhaps some SEC schools (Kentucky, Ole Miss, South Carolina)


I'm not going to color your decision too much, but I will say that I wouldn't pay very much to go to most of those schools. As always, never pay sticker for law school. However, the level of financial and opportunity risk you want to take is up to you. Browse around law school transparency to get the detailed info and measure the risk.

Also, keep the salary curve in the back of your mind when choosing your path forward (it's a few years old, but the general trend is still about right).

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hoos89

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Re: 3.7, 4.0 GPAs, 153, mid-career

Postby hoos89 » Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:27 pm

HazeGrey wrote:Thank you very much for the helpful responses!

I realize that I am lucky to have a career that I like, and perhaps it is foolish to consider leaving it (especially because in three years away I would likely fall behind my peers as technology advances).

I have been fortunate to work in cyber-security and defense, and I have become friends with several lawyers in the Legal and Contracts departments. They have generously talked with me about their career paths and daily tasks. I believe that I would really like that field, and hopefully my technical background would be beneficial.

I also appreciate the feedback on my list of potential schools. It is concerning to hear of poor job prospects and low percentages of students passing the bar.

On the bright side, my current workload is allowing me to work fairly normal hours (instead of my usual 60-70 per week), so I can hopefully devote time to LSAT prep before attempting it again. It is definitely encouraging to hear of others who have raised their scores, and I realize how much a higher score could improve the quality of possible schools.

Thank you again!


You're unlikely to get one of those in-house jobs right out of law school. Even if you were fortunate enough to get a job at a decent firm (highly unlikely from any school you'd get into with a 153), it would be several years before you'd be able to sniff a decent in-house job. So you're talking about 6-8 years from TODAY getting in the door as an in-house attorney (and again...that's IF everything goes your way). Think of where you'd be in your current career 6-8 years from now.

Before you think about studying for a retake of the LSAT, I urge you to reconsider whether this career change makes sense for you.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: 3.7, 4.0 GPAs, 153, mid-career

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:00 pm

hoos89 wrote:
You're unlikely to get one of those in-house jobs right out of law school. Even if you were fortunate enough to get a job at a decent firm (highly unlikely from any school you'd get into with a 153), it would be several years before you'd be able to sniff a decent in-house job. So you're talking about 6-8 years from TODAY getting in the door as an in-house attorney (and again...that's IF everything goes your way). Think of where you'd be in your current career 6-8 years from now.

Before you think about studying for a retake of the LSAT, I urge you to reconsider whether this career change makes sense for you.


Let me add to hoos89's point. I'm one of the exceptions who got the in-house job right out of law school, and I still think you should think twice about law school. It would be one thing if you didn't have a very good job going for you right now, but a solid mid-career software development job that you actually like? That's enormous value you're giving up for a shot at a job that is known for being grueling and not particularly fun.

I'm not saying don't do it, but realize that your most likely outcome is very different from (and worse than) the relatively cushy transactional job your coworkers have, and I'm sure they work their butts off. I recommend talking more with your coworkers, letting them know that you're seriously considering law school. Can they toss you some work to do? Even if you had to do it for free outside of your normal working hours, it would be worth it to get some first hand experience. Also, if you happen to know any other lawyers outside of your company, buy them a cup of coffee and chat with them about their experience.

HazeGrey

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Re: 3.7, 4.0 GPAs, 153, mid-career

Postby HazeGrey » Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:45 am

Thank you for the additional insight!

I definitely will take the great advice about talking more with my colleagues. I work with the lawyers in my office quite a bit on proposals and RFPs, so I have good opportunities to learn more about their tasks. For example, I am going to pay closer attention to what causes them stress in the war room at midnight, to get a better sense of the downsides. They are indeed exceptions; they found their in-house jobs immediately after law school.

There are several lawyers in my family (corporate and personal injury) and neither seems like a good fit for me. We have talked about my test-taking concerns, and I appreciate totesTheGoat's insight about exams in law school. Multiple-choice questions are my biggest challenge, as I always psych myself out and second-guess myself. I do well on essay and short-answer questions usually.

I actually do quite a bit of writing in my job, though most of it is technical (installation guides, technical manuals, and test specifications). This keeps my writing skills sharp, and it has provided job security as few developers are willing to write those documents (at least in my experience). I don't mean to sound ungrateful about having a decent career.

Thanks to everyone's great advice, I have a lot more researching, soul searching, and brain picking to do. I believe it is always useful to analyze career goals, as it is easy for me to get swept up in the daily grind and forget to keep an eye on long-term goals.

I truly appreciate everyone taking the time to offer such helpful insight.
Thank you very much!

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unsweetened

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Re: 3.7, 4.0 GPAs, 153, mid-career

Postby unsweetened » Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:31 pm

HazeGrey wrote:I have my MS in Computer Science and I like my career as a software developer for the most part.

Then throwing your career in the trash for 3 years for an uncertain outcome sounds very risky.
If that is a risk you are willing to assume, my advice is to figure out how to raise your LSAT score. Raising your LSAT score is the second easiest law school related thing that you can do. Raising your LSAT score is the difference between getting into a law school and getting into a good law school with excellent job placement. Raising your LSAT score is the difference between getting stuck paying sticker and drowning in debt or getting a scholarship and not having to worry about the crushing burden of student loans.

jdcumlaude

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Re: 3.7, 4.0 GPAs, 153, mid-career

Postby jdcumlaude » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:25 pm

The fact that Campbell or Elon are on your list is indicative of your situation. Both these schools are absolute garbage unless you count doc review as a positive outcome. You have a career that you do not hate...if you are bored and want to learn something go to the local community collage and learn to turn a wrench as a hobby. Sorry if this is harsh, but I do not like the idea of vets falling for the law school scam.

jdcumlaude

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Re: 3.7, 4.0 GPAs, 153, mid-career

Postby jdcumlaude » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:25 pm

jdcumlaude wrote:The fact that Campbell or Elon are on your list is indicative of your situation. Both these schools are absolute garbage unless you count doc review as a positive outcome. You have a career that you do not hate...if you are bored and want to learn something go to the local community collage and learn to turn a wrench as a hobby. Sorry if this is harsh, but I do not like the idea of vets falling for the law school scam.



Quick update to this, apparently Campbell's bar passage rate dropped by nearly 20% this year.....so the One saving grace that Campbell law had is now gone.



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