Advice for law school journey.

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Ross Specter

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Advice for law school journey.

Post by Ross Specter » Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:19 pm

Hi everyone
My name is Ross, I am 30. I have been doing as much research as I possibly can on law school. I’ve always felt like I wanted to practice law, however the investment was too large for me to go into it without doing research to see if it’s for me. After 5 years of of doing extensive research I have concluded that it is for me, it’s my calling, and I want to complete a JD and practice.

A bit about me; I am Congolese Canadian (French and English bi-lingual), I moved to the U.S 12 years ago on an NCAA basketball scholarship. I have a wife and a 3 year old child, I live in Del Mar California. I have made the decision to go all in with my Canadian credit to fund my law studies (roughly 380k). However I never graduated undergraduate school. I finished my major requirements but decided not to graduate because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to receive a bachelor degree from the university I attended.

I would probably need 50 units at most to graduate with my bachelors at a different institution . I am sitting roughly around a 2.9 lsdas gpa. 3.08 regular gpa and roughly 3.2 major gpa.

My goal is to work big law.
My question is what would be the best path for me? I am scoring a 153 on my practice lsat after taking the blueprint course.
Should I look for a 3+3 program? Which one?
Should I take 1-2 years and complete my bachelors at a reputable university and boost my gpa?

Moving my family wouldn’t be an issue for the right situation.

I would like positive feedback as I begin this journey.
Thank you for reading.
Ross

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cavalier1138

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by cavalier1138 » Sun Dec 08, 2019 12:23 pm

Ok, there's a lot to unpack here, so I'm going to start with some broad strokes:
Ross Specter wrote:I would like positive feedback as I begin this journey.
You have a family. If you want to limit yourself to only hearing reinforcement and positive feedback, I'd suggest using them.
Ross Specter wrote: I have made the decision to go all in with my Canadian credit to fund my law studies (roughly 380k).
Can you explain a little more about this for the people who might not have been exposed to it? Does this mean that you basically have a $380k fund from the Canadian government that can be used for law school in the U.S.?
Ross Specter wrote:I would probably need 50 units at most to graduate with my bachelors at a different institution . I am sitting roughly around a 2.9 lsdas gpa. 3.08 regular gpa and roughly 3.2 major gpa.

My goal is to work big law.
My question is what would be the best path for me? I am scoring a 153 on my practice lsat after taking the blueprint course.
Should I look for a 3+3 program? Which one?
Should I take 1-2 years and complete my bachelors at a reputable university and boost my gpa?
This is where the rubber hits the road. If you want to practice biglaw, you need to target top schools. Your GPA is going to severely limit your chances at admission to those. So your focus should be on completing your undergraduate studies (since you'll need your bachelors to be eligible for law school) and getting as many high grades as possible to bring your overall GPA up. The pedigree of your undergraduate school is unimportant. Unless your concern about your current school is that it's one of the shadier for-profit companies, law schools will not care what name is on your degree.

But that's just half the equation. You're also going to need to bring your LSAT up at least 10 points. Your URM status will help you, but your weak GPA is going to mean that you need a high LSAT to boost your chances at admission.

The reason your last note about "positive feedback" raised some red flags for me is that you claim you've done "extensive research" into the legal field. So assuming that's correct, you already know how hard it is to land biglaw (much less how few people want to actually make a career of it after spending more than a year at a firm--but that's a different issue). And that means you already had to know that your current numbers don't cut it. You also know that you can't even start thinking about law school until you have an undergraduate degree, so that should be your primary focus for the time being.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by Ross Specter » Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:13 am

cavalier1138 wrote:Ok, there's a lot to unpack here, so I'm going to start with some broad strokes:
Ross Specter wrote:I would like positive feedback as I begin this journey.
You have a family. If you want to limit yourself to only hearing reinforcement and positive feedback, I'd suggest using them.
I definitely plan to. I am using any advice here as guidance.
Ross Specter wrote: I have made the decision to go all in with my Canadian credit to fund my law studies (roughly 380k).
Can you explain a little more about this for the people who might not have been exposed to it? Does this mean that you basically have a $380k fund from the Canadian government that can be used for law school in the U.S.?
Yes, my Canadian bank in addition to the Canadian government will be disbursing me 380k$ in loan that doesn’t have to be repaid until I make at least 60k a year with very low interest rate.
Ross Specter wrote:I would probably need 50 units at most to graduate with my bachelors at a different institution . I am sitting roughly around a 2.9 lsdas gpa. 3.08 regular gpa and roughly 3.2 major gpa.

My goal is to work big law.
My question is what would be the best path for me? I am scoring a 153 on my practice lsat after taking the blueprint course.
Should I look for a 3+3 program? Which one?
Should I take 1-2 years and complete my bachelors at a reputable university and boost my gpa?
This is where the rubber hits the road. If you want to practice biglaw, you need to target top schools. Your GPA is going to severely limit your chances at admission to those. So your focus should be on completing your undergraduate studies (since you'll need your bachelors to be eligible for law school) and getting as many high grades as possible to bring your overall GPA up. The pedigree of your undergraduate school is unimportant. Unless your concern about your current school is that it's one of the shadier for-profit companies, law schools will not care what name is on your degree.

But that's just half the equation. You're also going to need to bring your LSAT up at least 10 points. Your URM status will help you, but your weak GPA is going to mean that you need a high LSAT to boost your chances at admission.
Actually I asked if I should seriously consider a 3+3 program. An ABA approved program that allows students to go to law school after junior year. If I do finish my bachelors I can dramatically increase my gpa. With my numbers as is I can only see big law being a reality if I attend Howard University. However I would rather stay in so.cal.
The reason your last note about "positive feedback" raised some red flags for me is that you claim you've done "extensive research" into the legal field. So assuming that's correct, you already know how hard it is to land biglaw (much less how few people want to actually make a career of it after spending more than a year at a firm--but that's a different issue). And that means you already had to know that your current numbers don't cut it. You also know that you can't even start thinking about law school until you have an undergraduate degree, so that should be your primary focus for the time being.
I am fully aware of everything. I am here for the community to let me know where do I go from the point that I am currently in, in order to make it to big law. That’s what I meant by positive feedback.

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cavalier1138

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by cavalier1138 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 6:32 am

Ross Specter wrote: I am here for the community to let me know where do I go from the point that I am currently in, in order to make it to big law.
Basically, you do two things:

1. Get your BA/BS, and get your grades up as much as possible. To the extent that any reputable schools offer 3+3 programs, they target them to high-performing undergraduate students. That isn't you, so you shouldn't be considering that route.

2. Get a much higher LSAT than your current practice levels, and see if you can get a splitter-friendly T13 school to admit you.

3. Consider not going at all. You're talking about taking on a massive amount in debt if you can't get a decent scholarship, Canada's lower interest rates notwithstanding.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by Ross Specter » Mon Dec 16, 2019 4:55 am

What about Howard Law? Is there a reason why I shouldn’t consider the school with big law as the target? According to the many resources I’ve researched, Howard consistently places it’s top 20-28% in big law over the last few decades if I am not mistaking.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by cavalier1138 » Mon Dec 16, 2019 6:30 am

Ross Specter wrote:What about Howard Law? Is there a reason why I shouldn’t consider the school with big law as the target? According to the many resources I’ve researched, Howard consistently places it’s top 20-28% in big law over the last few decades if I am not mistaking.
Howard has recently begun punching above its weight for biglaw. Prior to 2017, however, the high-water mark was 20% of its class going into biglaw, which is basically as good as any decent regional school.

But you need to assume median performance when you go to law school. You cannot anticipate being in the top 20% (or top 30%, etc.) anywhere. And while Howard on a full scholarship might be a fine outcome if you had broader career goals, it's not a good choice for anyone whose sole aspiration is biglaw.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by Ross Specter » Mon Dec 16, 2019 6:46 pm

wait I am confused so where does Howard rank in terms of big law placement amongst higher ranked schools? I don’t remember many schools placing more than 30% of their students in big law?

nixy

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by nixy » Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:13 pm

www.lawschooltransparency.com

Using the most recent data, Howard placed 28.5% of its grads in firms of 250+ attorneys.

Columbia placed 74.4%.

Cornell placed 64.8%.

Howard arguably outpunches its rank but it doesn’t compare to the top schools.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by QContinuum » Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:14 pm

Ross Specter wrote:wait I am confused so where does Howard rank in terms of big law placement amongst higher ranked schools? I don’t remember many schools placing more than 30% of their students in big law?
The T14 place 75%+ in BigLaw (once you factor in federal clerkships, which nixy's post above doesn't do; those with federal clerkships usually have or could have gotten BigLaw offers). The T20 place 40-60% (historically in the high 40s, currently in the high 50s due to the booming legal market, likely to slump back to the high 40s or below when the next recession hits).

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Ross Specter

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by Ross Specter » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:38 am

So let me get this straight. The popular opinion here is that it would be easier for me to get into a t14 school than to get a big law offer at Howard university?

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by cavalier1138 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:45 am

Ross Specter wrote:So let me get this straight. The popular opinion here is that it would be easier for me to get into a t14 school than to get a big law offer at Howard university?
Pretty much. You can control your LSAT score. You have very little control over your law school grades.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by En03l » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:30 am

Is big law your goal because of $$$, or is there something more that you see in big law that you find worth going down this path? I am curious because if money is the primary goal, you could probably find better career goals that could achieve a higher living standard in less time. In your current path, you are looking at between 5-6 years of additional study assuming no major life circumstances cause a break in that. You also would have to pass the bar which could take several attempts, so maybe tack on another 6 months to a year. I do not know your financial situation, but this also means you would have very limited income during that 5-7 year period. If you currently are the main support for your wife and child that would be a huge commitment to endeavor without knowing for certain you can make big law money starting out. I know you said you've done extensive research, so maybe this was part of your calculation. If not, I hope these are helpful points to consider.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by Ross Specter » Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:38 am

En03l wrote:Is big law your goal because of $$$, or is there something more that you see in big law that you find worth going down this path? I am curious because if money is the primary goal, you could probably find better career goals that could achieve a higher living standard in less time. In your current path, you are looking at between 5-6 years of additional study assuming no major life circumstances cause a break in that. You also would have to pass the bar which could take several attempts, so maybe tack on another 6 months to a year. I do not know your financial situation, but this also means you would have very limited income during that 5-7 year period. If you currently are the main support for your wife and child that would be a huge commitment to endeavor without knowing for certain you can make big law money starting out. I know you said you've done extensive research, so maybe this was part of your calculation. If not, I hope these are helpful points to consider.
I already make about 6 figures with my property investments and my personal training business. The money is a factor but not all of it. I dream and yearn to practice law in a highly competitive environment for some years before opening my own practice. Money comes and goes I am not worried too much about the debt. I am worried about failing to go after what I really want in life. The amount of time that it will take me isn’t a concern, my goal is to become a lawyer by the time I am 36 at the latest (God willing). I am looking at about 3.5 to 6 years of schooling depending on my pace. I really do want experiencing going to an HBCU, either to finish undergrad or for law school.Besides my undergrad days in Hawaii I was educated in predominantly white institutions. I know the legal field is 85% white, so I may never get the Chance to be in that type of environment again. Big law is the goal by any means. I’m going after it like there’s no other option. However practicing law at any level to me would be a massive accomplishment. So it’s a “aim for the stars and at worst land on a cloud” type of thing for me. Which is why I’ve politely asked for only positive feedbacks that I can use. I hope that was a little more enlightening.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by En03l » Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:27 am

Ross Specter wrote:
En03l wrote:Is big law your goal because of $$$, or is there something more that you see in big law that you find worth going down this path? I am curious because if money is the primary goal, you could probably find better career goals that could achieve a higher living standard in less time. In your current path, you are looking at between 5-6 years of additional study assuming no major life circumstances cause a break in that. You also would have to pass the bar which could take several attempts, so maybe tack on another 6 months to a year. I do not know your financial situation, but this also means you would have very limited income during that 5-7 year period. If you currently are the main support for your wife and child that would be a huge commitment to endeavor without knowing for certain you can make big law money starting out. I know you said you've done extensive research, so maybe this was part of your calculation. If not, I hope these are helpful points to consider.
I already make about 6 figures with my property investments and my personal training business. The money is a factor but not all of it. I dream and yearn to practice law in a highly competitive environment for some years before opening my own practice. Money comes and goes I am not worried too much about the debt. I am worried about failing to go after what I really want in life. The amount of time that it will take me isn’t a concern, my goal is to become a lawyer by the time I am 36 at the latest (God willing). I am looking at about 3.5 to 6 years of schooling depending on my pace. I really do want experiencing going to an HBCU, either to finish undergrad or for law school.Besides my undergrad days in Hawaii I was educated in predominantly white institutions. I know the legal field is 85% white, so I may never get the Chance to be in that type of environment again. Big law is the goal by any means. I’m going after it like there’s no other option. However practicing law at any level to me would be a massive accomplishment. So it’s a “aim for the stars and at worst land on a cloud” type of thing for me. Which is why I’ve politely asked for only positive feedbacks that I can use. I hope that was a little more enlightening.
I totally understand where you are coming from. I myself am 34, just finished my undergrad last year because I spent time in the military and then had trouble finding myself the first couple years after before deciding to go back to school full time. Law has also always been a dream of mine, and I am also a minority. It seems like law tends to favor the elite. I say that because even on here, (not to throw shade at all) everyone points to the fact that if you aren't in the T14 you will never find success as a lawyer and should therefore never even try. So again, I totally understand the intrinsic value of the pursuit of this goal versus the monetary value.

Those posters who do point to the raw numbers, and the dred that results in the thought of being largely unsuccessful mean well. They would rightly point out that, in your case, it would be more rational to get an MBA since you already have experience in business. But again, I understand that desire to want to aim for something that provides a sense of higher accomplishment even if making great money doing it seems unlikely.

I think to your favor you have investments that could provide the income you would need to offset the time in school, assuming the real estate market holds. It has already been stated, but the first thing is get back in undergrad and crush the GPA. Then maybe towards your last year, and sparingly up till that point, study for the LSAT.

I rushed my prep time and underappreciated how important the law school caliber is. So with that, aim high on the LSAT and do not take any official test until you have consistently scored in the high 160 - 170 range. Consistently means that you should know exactly how many questions you missed before even getting your official score back. That is how you know you have mastered the test, or at least come close to mastering it. A really helpful book I used is called "The Logical Reasoning Loophole" by Ellen Cassidy. Everyone has their preference for the different paid courses (I personally found 7Sage to be among the best).

I think most importantly, stay healthy in body, mind and spirit. If I have gleaned anything from my brief time in this board, it's that the process from prepping for the LSAT to becoming a practicing attorney can be a very grueling experience. So I think an emphasis on keeping your health a priority should not be overlooked.

This is a long-winded response lol. I hope it's helpful.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by nixy » Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:58 am

En03l wrote:I say that because even on here, (not to throw shade at all) everyone points to the fact that if you aren't in the T14 you will never find success as a lawyer and should therefore never even try.
Respectfully, no one here says this. People here acknowledge that there are immensely successful lawyers from every school out there. The point is to consider whether a given school is going to give you the best shot at getting the kind of job you want at a price you can afford. The reason people here frequently tell posters to aim for the T14 is that posters frequently show up wanting to make 6+ figures right out of law school, which really means going into biglaw, and if you want biglaw, then the T14 provides the best chance at getting it. If someone has different goals, they get different advice. Someone who wants to do family law in their hometown isn't going to be told they have to go to the T14. Someone who wants to be a public defender in a big city isn't going to be told they have to go to a T14.

Basically, to be successful as a lawyer, you have to be able to get work as a lawyer. There is a huge range of employment outcomes across the range of schools out there, and people need to take those differing outcomes seriously.

I get the intrinsic value of the goal argument. In the end, it's a person choice as to how much money you want to spend to attain that intrinsic value. But law degrees are so very expensive, and they're professional degrees, geared entirely toward you entering a particular profession, not toward personal enrichment, it's not surprising that people tend to discourage posters from sinking a lot of money into that kind of intrinsic goal.

OP, I'm not aware of a lot of very good 3+3 programs. You'd probably be better off finishing your degree to boost your GPA (and for law school admissions purposes, it doesn't much matter where as long as it's not entirely online - although for not-admissions purposes the name/pedigree may make a difference). Get your UGPA as high as you can, get your LSAT as high as you can, get into good schools, profit. If you want to aim for biglaw, you ideally want to get into a T14 (ideally with money), or one of the strong T20 schools, especially if that's going to net you a bigger scholarship. If you did the latter, you should probably pick a region where you'd want to practice and go to school in that region (i.e. Vanderbilt is great but if you want to practice in California UCLA would probably be better).

I get the interest in an HBCU, but for law school purposes, you'd probably be better off finishing your undergrad at a HBCU (Howard would be great), and then going to a law school with better placement.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by En03l » Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:43 am

nixy wrote:
En03l wrote:I say that because even on here, (not to throw shade at all) everyone points to the fact that if you aren't in the T14 you will never find success as a lawyer and should therefore never even try.
Respectfully, no one here says this. People here acknowledge that there are immensely successful lawyers from every school out there. The point is to consider whether a given school is going to give you the best shot at getting the kind of job you want at a price you can afford. The reason people here frequently tell posters to aim for the T14 is that posters frequently show up wanting to make 6+ figures right out of law school, which really means going into biglaw, and if you want biglaw, then the T14 provides the best chance at getting it. If someone has different goals, they get different advice. Someone who wants to do family law in their hometown isn't going to be told they have to go to the T14. Someone who wants to be a public defender in a big city isn't going to be told they have to go to a T14.

Basically, to be successful as a lawyer, you have to be able to get work as a lawyer. There is a huge range of employment outcomes across the range of schools out there, and people need to take those differing outcomes seriously.

I get the intrinsic value of the goal argument. In the end, it's a person choice as to how much money you want to spend to attain that intrinsic value. But law degrees are so very expensive, and they're professional degrees, geared entirely toward you entering a particular profession, not toward personal enrichment, it's not surprising that people tend to discourage posters from sinking a lot of money into that kind of intrinsic goal.

.
I appreciate the respectful response and apologies if I have mischaracterized things by overgeneralizing. But honestly I have seen people get ripped for mentioning going to schools outside the T14/T20. Yes most of the time it is aimed towards people who have biglaw goals as you pointed out. But I do get a general sense (maybe I am wrong) that there is this underlying notion, by at least some posters, that if you don't get into a T14/T20 then you will be resolved to work as a low income attorney in some menial job.

I am not sure there are any professional goals that are not in some way related to personal enrichment, so I would not caution someone against a decision solely based on that. But I do agree that the relative risk is important to weigh. In the case of law school, the amount of debt is a risk, assuming the person does walk away with that insurmountable debt.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by LSATWiz.com » Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:16 pm

The reality is that because you have a family, you probably want to be risk adverse. The worst case scenario is saddling your family with debt, not securing gainful employment, and not having a viable career, which would put strain on your marriage and can lead to disaster professionally, financially, and personally. I don't want to be hyperbolic but is a real possibility if you matriculate with a 3.0 and score in the 150s.

You want to go to a T-14. You mention that you played college basketball so regardless of whether you were very good, you're likely very tall. It's well known that there is an unspoken height bias in big law and in hiring so if you get into the interview room you stand a pretty decent shot. The issue is if you matriculate with anything near your current numbers, you are unlikely to get into the room.

I think you should focus on getting a 170 and keeping the LSAC GPA over a 3. The reality is that a 3.3 as opposed to a 3.1 isn't going to change very much. Your GPA will work against you but not be so low as to disqualify you at most schools. It's much more work to go from a 2.9 to a 3.4 than it is to go from a 155-168 but the latter would be much more valuable for you. Blueprint isn't a bad course, but you don't want to go in and do only the assigned work if you are gunning for a t-14. If after really trying, you're struggling to crack 80% on a given question type, you need a different resource/technique to approach that question. If you don't feel any amount of work can get you a score of 168+ and plan on big law, don't go to law school. There are other paths to earning six figures that may be easier for you to obtain.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by QContinuum » Fri Jan 17, 2020 3:24 pm

LSATWiz.com wrote:You want to go to a T-14. You mention that you played college basketball so regardless of whether you were very good, you're likely very tall. It's well known that there is an unspoken height bias in big law and in hiring so if you get into the interview room you stand a pretty decent shot. The issue is if you matriculate with anything near your current numbers, you are unlikely to get into the room.
While all true, I'd question the impact of the height bias on OP's prospects. Most lawyers are not very tall. If OP walks into the room as, I dunno, a hulking 6'5" ex-athlete, I'm not so sure his height would benefit him - it may even hold him back.

Regardless, I agree with the broader point, that the critical thing is to attend a school that will get OP into the room.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by LSATWiz.com » Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:25 pm

QContinuum wrote:
LSATWiz.com wrote:You want to go to a T-14. You mention that you played college basketball so regardless of whether you were very good, you're likely very tall. It's well known that there is an unspoken height bias in big law and in hiring so if you get into the interview room you stand a pretty decent shot. The issue is if you matriculate with anything near your current numbers, you are unlikely to get into the room.
While all true, I'd question the impact of the height bias on OP's prospects. Most lawyers are not very tall. If OP walks into the room as, I dunno, a hulking 6'5" ex-athlete, I'm not so sure his height would benefit him - it may even hold him back.

Regardless, I agree with the broader point, that the critical thing is to attend a school that will get OP into the room.
Well, I was trying to give positive reinforcement, but fair enough. I'd imagine that to the extent it's daunting, it would be offset by more gregarious and gentle gesturing, which is likely something OP has developed to have gotten this far in life as most people tend to comport their social conduct and mannerisms in a way that increases their social success. You definitely hear the phrase "gentle giant" thrown around a lot more often than gentle shorty, and while this can be due to the fact that the former offsets preconceived expectations whereas the latter doesn't, I think part of it may be social styles that develop to complement physical abnormalities.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by Ross Specter » Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:24 pm

I will elaborate again for those who do not understand my views on debt. It will not end my marriage or any of that because my job isn’t my only source of income, as it isn’t for a lot of people. I depend on my investments more than my job and I have done so since back in college. My investments are and will probably always be my biggest source of income, even after making 180-350k$ working big law.

For those who insist that going to a top14-20 school is my best shot in getting in the room; Here is why Howard university keeps popping up at the best chance based on the numbers. If 75% of the 14th ranked Georgetown by example, go Big Law and the bottom 25% do not, wouldn’t it be safer to go to Howard based on my numbers? Because at best my gpa can only go up so much, and probably not higher than a 3.3-3.4 or so. Which would rank me in the bottom 25% at Georgetown (probably lower) but in the top 25% at Howard Law. For my LSAT score I would need only a few points to place me in the top 25% at Howard as well, which would guarantee me an opportunity to get in the room just as much as graduating in the top 75% at a t-14 to t-20 right?

This is what I figured based on the law transparency statistics. To answer the previous question I am about 6ft4. I have confidence that I will get a big law offer once I get in the room. I have a very diverse background on top of being Congolese Canadian and Belgian which seems to be valued in the profession at this moment. My goal is just to get some big law interviews. I have full confidence in securing a job.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by rew98 » Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:49 pm

Ross Specter wrote:For those who insist that going to a top14-20 school is my best shot in getting in the room; Here is why Howard university keeps popping up at the best chance based on the numbers. If 75% of the 14th ranked Georgetown by example, go Big Law and the bottom 25% do not, wouldn’t it be safer to go to Howard based on my numbers? Because at best my gpa can only go up so much, and probably not higher than a 3.3-3.4 or so. Which would rank me in the bottom 25% at Georgetown (probably lower) but in the top 25% at Howard Law. For my LSAT score I would need only a few points to place me in the top 25% at Howard as well, which would guarantee me an opportunity to get in the room just as much as graduating in the top 75% at a t-14 to t-20 right?
That's not how it works. You can't predict where you'll end up ranking after 1L based on your GPA and LSAT. Those are only somewhat predictive. For example, when I was in school I knew several people with GPAs and LSAT scores above my school's 75th percentile who ended up around median, while others whose GPAs and LSAT scores were at the school's 50th percentile but ended up in the top 5% of the class. This is why people say going to a T14 is a safer bet; it offers downside protection.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by nixy » Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:19 pm

Agreed with the above. GPA & LSAT combined are the best predictor we have of law school grades, but they're still not great. And law school grades are much less predictable because they're curved. So it's not about what you know, but how what you know compares with everyone else in your class. Even as the top 25% or so in your class, the spread on GPA/LSAT is usually narrow enough that it's difficult to make assumptions about where you'll land. Every year there are people with average GPA/LSATs for their school who excel and get top grades and transfer, and people with the top GPA/LSATs who maybe take a bit longer to get how law school exams work, and don't end up with top grades.

Look at your GPA, for instance. The presumption is that at this point you'll do much when you finish undergrad and boost your GPA. If that's the case - if you've figured out how to do school well at this point, or at least better than you did when you started - your overall GPA isn't really going to represent your academic potential, because it includes grades that aren't really representative of what you can achieve now. But that GPA is still what counts for admissions (not claiming this makes sense, just describing how it works.)

The other issue is that because 25% of Howard grads go to biglaw doesn't mean that being in the top 25% is necessary or sufficient to get a biglaw gig. Some people who end up below the top 25% come in with connections or jobs waiting for them. Some people who get top 25% grades blow interviews. It's not quite as simple as top 25% = biglaw.

In the end, it's obviously your choice. Especially if it's not going to land your family in debt, you can do what you like. But to the extent you want the HBCU experience, do it as an undergrad. Finish your degree and study more for the LSAT and see where that takes you.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by LSATWiz.com » Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:09 pm

Ross Specter wrote:I will elaborate again for those who do not understand my views on debt. It will not end my marriage or any of that because my job isn’t my only source of income, as it isn’t for a lot of people. I depend on my investments more than my job and I have done so since back in college. My investments are and will probably always be my biggest source of income, even after making 180-350k$ working big law.

For those who insist that going to a top14-20 school is my best shot in getting in the room; Here is why Howard university keeps popping up at the best chance based on the numbers. If 75% of the 14th ranked Georgetown by example, go Big Law and the bottom 25% do not, wouldn’t it be safer to go to Howard based on my numbers? Because at best my gpa can only go up so much, and probably not higher than a 3.3-3.4 or so. Which would rank me in the bottom 25% at Georgetown (probably lower) but in the top 25% at Howard Law. For my LSAT score I would need only a few points to place me in the top 25% at Howard as well, which would guarantee me an opportunity to get in the room just as much as graduating in the top 75% at a t-14 to t-20 right?

This is what I figured based on the law transparency statistics. To answer the previous question I am about 6ft4. I have confidence that I will get a big law offer once I get in the room. I have a very diverse background on top of being Congolese Canadian and Belgian which seems to be valued in the profession at this moment. My goal is just to get some big law interviews. I have full confidence in securing a job.
I was just saying that your goal of big law from a non-top 20 is an unlikely best case scenario so as an investor, you can't look at the best 10% outcome without also considering the bottom 10% outcome. The most likely scenario is you'll come out with a $50,000 or $60,000 job that with proper hustling can lead to six-figures in 5 years or so.

Your reference to Howard is wrong. If a school outside the top 100 has 25% big law placement when no school outside the top-50 has top 25% placement, that should be a tell that something is off. You're not the first person to look at this and see Howard as a shrewd, undervalued investment. The question should then become whether Howard is really that investment or if there's something else at play.

Well, Howard is a historically black law school with a large percentage of black law students. Most big law offices want to hire at least a few black law students each year, and black law students are unfortunately underrepresented at most law schools. So let's say you're Skadden - you can send interviewers to UPenn or Harvard but they may only have 10 law students in the entire class. Let's say 7 of them are too far below median, and 1 of the remaining 3 is really socially awkward so now you're left with 2. What are the odds 1 of those 2 pick your firm? Not very high.

If you go to Howard to recruit, you can have 50 black law students in the top 25%, which indicates enough legal acumen and work ethic to do well at your firm. Although they'd never admit it, most of these firms are going to Howard to specifically hire black law students so unless you're a URM that 25% figure doesn't really apply to you.

Now I see your point that it can be harder to be above median at UPenn than at Widener. While there is no concrete data to support that, I'm sure it's much harder. If LSAT differences of >5 points predict who does better between two 1L students 80% of the time, it's not a stretch to say that UPenn is far more competitive than Widener.

The problem with this analysis is that it isn't really that difficult for anyone with the #'s to get into a t-14 to get median. Most law students have roughly the same level of acumen coming in, and most professors err towards giving everyone median and most go into your exam expecting to give you median and have to find reasons to give you higher or lower than the median grade.

In addition, at every law school, there are a small percentage of students who happen to be much better or much worse at law school exams due to unpredictable factors; and a small percentage of students who study much more or much less than everyone else.

It is very hard, if not impossible for most students to be in the top 10% and at the risk of offending some people, very hard, if not impossible for most students to be in the bottom 10%. While you can maybe argue that being top 50% at Georgetown is about as difficult as being top 25% at Howard, it is very hard to be in the top 10% at any law school and a poor thing to bet on.

I think another thing to note is that if you went to a t-14, as long as you're not in the very bottom of the class, you will get some interviews. In fact, most schools limit the # of interviews students can accept to ensure that the entire class gets a chance. It's also not like there is a 1:1 link between grades and job offers. If someone has a limp or is obese or has any other factor that can get them discriminated against, law firms aren't exactly the most progressive or fair environments in the world so it isn't like 50% big law means it's the top 50% of the class. Anyone going has a shot of getting those jobs irrespective of grades so long as they attend those schools.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by cavalier1138 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:37 pm

Ross Specter wrote:I have full confidence in securing a job.
And full confidence in being able to perform in the top of your class at a school like Howard. And full confidence in pretty much everything except your ability to do well on the LSAT, despite not needing to take it for a number of years.

Confidence is great (to a certain degree). I think what's throwing people off here is that you seem to be deliberately avoiding the most viable route to your goals based on your lack of confidence in one specific area and your abundance of confidence in others.

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Re: Advice for law school journey.

Post by Ross Specter » Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:51 pm

LSATWiz.com wrote:
Ross Specter wrote:I will elaborate again for those who do not understand my views on debt. It will not end my marriage or any of that because my job isn’t my only source of income, as it isn’t for a lot of people. I depend on my investments more than my job and I have done so since back in college. My investments are and will probably always be my biggest source of income, even after making 180-350k$ working big law.

For those who insist that going to a top14-20 school is my best shot in getting in the room; Here is why Howard university keeps popping up at the best chance based on the numbers. If 75% of the 14th ranked Georgetown by example, go Big Law and the bottom 25% do not, wouldn’t it be safer to go to Howard based on my numbers? Because at best my gpa can only go up so much, and probably not higher than a 3.3-3.4 or so. Which would rank me in the bottom 25% at Georgetown (probably lower) but in the top 25% at Howard Law. For my LSAT score I would need only a few points to place me in the top 25% at Howard as well, which would guarantee me an opportunity to get in the room just as much as graduating in the top 75% at a t-14 to t-20 right?

This is what I figured based on the law transparency statistics. To answer the previous question I am about 6ft4. I have confidence that I will get a big law offer once I get in the room. I have a very diverse background on top of being Congolese Canadian and Belgian which seems to be valued in the profession at this moment. My goal is just to get some big law interviews. I have full confidence in securing a job.
I was just saying that your goal of big law from a non-top 20 is an unlikely best case scenario so as an investor, you can't look at the best 10% outcome without also considering the bottom 10% outcome. The most likely scenario is you'll come out with a $50,000 or $60,000 job that with proper hustling can lead to six-figures in 5 years or so.

Your reference to Howard is wrong. If a school outside the top 100 has 25% big law placement when no school outside the top-50 has top 25% placement, that should be a tell that something is off. You're not the first person to look at this and see Howard as a shrewd, undervalued investment. The question should then become whether Howard is really that investment or if there's something else at play.

Well, Howard is a historically black law school with a large percentage of black law students. Most big law offices want to hire at least a few black law students each year, and black law students are unfortunately underrepresented at most law schools. So let's say you're Skadden - you can send interviewers to UPenn or Harvard but they may only have 10 law students in the entire class. Let's say 7 of them are too far below median, and 1 of the remaining 3 is really socially awkward so now you're left with 2. What are the odds 1 of those 2 pick your firm? Not very high.

If you go to Howard to recruit, you can have 50 black law students in the top 25%, which indicates enough legal acumen and work ethic to do well at your firm. Although they'd never admit it, most of these firms are going to Howard to specifically hire black law students so unless you're a URM that 25% figure doesn't really apply to you.

Now I see your point that it can be harder to be above median at UPenn than at Widener. While there is no concrete data to support that, I'm sure it's much harder. If LSAT differences of >5 points predict who does better between two 1L students 80% of the time, it's not a stretch to say that UPenn is far more competitive than Widener.

The problem with this analysis is that it isn't really that difficult for anyone with the #'s to get into a t-14 to get median. Most law students have roughly the same level of acumen coming in, and most professors err towards giving everyone median and most go into your exam expecting to give you median and have to find reasons to give you higher or lower than the median grade.

In addition, at every law school, there are a small percentage of students who happen to be much better or much worse at law school exams due to unpredictable factors; and a small percentage of students who study much more or much less than everyone else.

It is very hard, if not impossible for most students to be in the top 10% and at the risk of offending some people, very hard, if not impossible for most students to be in the bottom 10%. While you can maybe argue that being top 50% at Georgetown is about as difficult as being top 25% at Howard, it is very hard to be in the top 10% at any law school and a poor thing to bet on.

I think another thing to note is that if you went to a t-14, as long as you're not in the very bottom of the class, you will get some interviews. In fact, most schools limit the # of interviews students can accept to ensure that the entire class gets a chance. It's also not like there is a 1:1 link between grades and job offers. If someone has a limp or is obese or has any other factor that can get them discriminated against, law firms aren't exactly the most progressive or fair environments in the world so it isn't like 50% big law means it's the top 50% of the class. Anyone going has a shot of getting those jobs irrespective of grades so long as they attend those schools.
Well I am black, so in my case Howard is better deal? Is that what you are saying?

Seriously? What are you waiting for?

Now there's a charge.
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