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aspiring lawyer

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Unique situation

Post by aspiring lawyer » Thu Jul 14, 2022 8:53 pm

I know this might seem like I'm trolling or whatnot and I'm completely fine if you assume that, just I would hopefully appreciate a few serious answers. I am in a unique situation (I'm aware it's not that unique and has happened before, unfortunately, I do not really personally know anyone that it has happened to), where I will be a junior in college next year but am fifteen years old. I am hoping to go to a top-14 law school or UT. My goals are generic biglaw or a federal clerkship (I am well-aware of how difficult they are to obtain and have no expectations whatsoever). I know that common advice might be like: you're still young, you might not really want to know what you want to do, but I've been exploring various possibilites and talked to my advisor many times about this. Moreover, I am willing to do work experience or get an MA after undergraduate however it is not really an ideal situation for me as I am a philosophy major (and political science and psychology minor) and therefore my job prospects are limited. In regard to if anyone could tell my my sort of chances at the t-14 and UT (I also know that it is mostly about stats) I have a 4.0 GPA through 61 credit hours, a 166 LSAT (retaking next summer even though I was rlly happy with a 166, obviously it is not good enough for my goals), mediocre softs (an internship at a political consulting company, some volunteering hours, leadership role at a philosophy club, and some undergrad research), and I go to a university ranked around 150 on the USnews rankings.

namefromplace

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Re: Unique situation

Post by namefromplace » Thu Jul 14, 2022 10:09 pm

So you would be starting law school as a 17 year-old? You'll have an uphill battle in classes, interviews, and socially. Even if you're some Dougie Houser-type savant, people will make assumptions about you because of your youth. With a high enough LSAT, a lot of places would still admit you. But you could squander the opportunities law school could give you by taking it on too early. Particularly if you would like to clerk--building connections with professors could be tough, and many judges would be high skeptical about hiring a 20 year-old. I would suggest getting at least a couple years of work experience that you could point to in interviews to show your maturity.

TL;DR - The impact of your age in law school admissions will be marginal and you can compensate for it with a high enough LSAT score. But starting law school at 17 is risky business.

aspiring lawyer

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Re: Unique situation

Post by aspiring lawyer » Thu Jul 14, 2022 10:18 pm

@namefromplace
Thank you so much for your response, I really appreciate it. I was wondering if getting an MA in philosophy (at a fully funded program: some MA programs exist that are fully funded) would be okay instead of work experience as I do have a lot of passion for the field (not enough to justify a PhD in it or pursuining a career in academia), as I don't really see what type of jobs I could actually get (might meet with the career services office tho at some point next year).

talons2250

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Re: Unique situation

Post by talons2250 » Thu Jul 14, 2022 10:41 pm

Get a job after college and work for a few years before law school. Even if it's working as an administrative assistant somewhere. Even if the job doesn't require a college degree. It will be worth it.

nixy

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Re: Unique situation

Post by nixy » Fri Jul 15, 2022 8:49 am

You’ll get into places where your LSAT and GPA make you competitive, though probably fewer than you would if you were traditional age or took time off and got work experience. A site like mylsn.info will give you a sense of the stats you need.

I agree with everyone else that you should take some time off, though. I realize this is the kind of advice that’s never helpful from the outside, but it’s hard to know yourself well enough to commit that much time and money to a specific career at that age. Talking to your advisor isn’t going to help you figure that out. Why not work as a paralegal for a big law firm after you graduate? That will give you an insight into the job that it’s very hard to get going through school (mayyyyybe if you have a parent in biglaw who’s been very open about what they do and how it all works). I know plenty of people who’ve done this - some continue on to law school as planned, some pivot completely. I’m just firmly convinced that some work experience as a grownup will help everyone succeed better in professional degree program, even more so someone as young as you are.

(I mean if you don’t and you go straight out that’s fine, it will all contribute to making you the person you become etc etc. It’s just a lot of money and time to commit.)

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crazywafflez

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Re: Unique situation

Post by crazywafflez » Fri Jul 15, 2022 11:30 am

I think doing the MA, as long as it is free, is fine. But I think being 17 is too young to start the JD. I echo everything in here- there's a lot of social/ networking events and work that go into law school and things surrounding it. I think I'd wait to start until you were at least 19 or 20. I'd try and get some work xp, even if it is part time and just clerical work or something. I'd certainly try and shadow an attorney or something as well.
Best of luck.

thelogan

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Re: Unique situation

Post by thelogan » Fri Jul 15, 2022 11:42 am

Yeah thank you everyone for your advice. I guess it makes sense that 17 might be too young I just have read about people ranging from 16-18 who have started law school and I guess I assumed it wasn't a bad idea, but I definitely understand why their can be detriments with it.

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nealric

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Re: Unique situation

Post by nealric » Mon Jul 18, 2022 2:43 pm

thelogan wrote:
Fri Jul 15, 2022 11:42 am
Yeah thank you everyone for your advice. I guess it makes sense that 17 might be too young I just have read about people ranging from 16-18 who have started law school and I guess I assumed it wasn't a bad idea, but I definitely understand why their can be detriments with it.
I had a friend at my T14 law school who had graduated from college very early (started law school at 19). I think it can count against you at hiring time, though it may depend on how you look/present. This particular person struck out at biglaw, but it's hard to separate age from the fact that we did hiring season during the financial crisis, so a lot of people struck out who normally would have had multiple offers. The person I'm thinking of has a very successful small firm practice today.

Anyhow, I think it would be a good idea to take some time rather than try to start law school at 18. Being 19 during hiring season can only work against you, and graduating so early means you have plenty of time to try other things before getting back into formal schooling. For what it's worth, I was 20 when I graduated from college and am glad I took a year off before law school. I was also a philosophy major and managed to find a reasonably professional job during the time (a non-clerical office job that was not retail or service industry)- there are entry level office jobs out there that just need someone reasonably well spoken/written.

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3pianists

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Re: Unique situation

Post by 3pianists » Mon Jul 18, 2022 2:53 pm

I agree with others that you should wait. I'm sure you can handle law school academically. The trick is that the point is to get a job, and a ton of being a successful lawyer is social. Taking a few years to have normal experiences that come with being an adult and help you relate to other adults, and to develop the maturity and judgment that legal employers want, will likely serve you very well.

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Wild Card

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Re: Unique situation

Post by Wild Card » Mon Jul 18, 2022 3:03 pm

I would say that if you choose to go adventuring, whatever you do is OK as long as somebody else is footing the bill.

You mentioned fully-funded graduate studies. Great. I did the same.

Law schools also offer full funding. My deepest and bitterest regret is allowing myself to be charged $200,000+ for my law degree. That amount of money is extremely difficult to pay off. It is a terrible burden.

Try your best to do as well on the LSAT as you can. 166 is not good enough.

namefromplace

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Re: Unique situation

Post by namefromplace » Mon Jul 18, 2022 9:52 pm

Re: getting an MA, it would be helpful in the sense that it would be a way for you to kill time for a couple of years, but I don't think it would be much of a bump on your resume, particularly if you're applying to BigLaw positions. It still gives off the impression that you're young and the only thing you've done is school. If the Masters was in something more corporate-adjacent (Economics, for example), then it would maybe move the needle a bit (and could also help you get an actual job afterwards where you could get good work experience for a couple years).

As has been stated above, getting a paralegal job somewhere would be a good way to bridge the gap. Even just interning somewhere, spending a year volunteering, etc. Some white collar-ish job you can point to and say "I did this 40-hour-a-week job and worked with people and people liked me." If I have the timing correct, you'll be graduating in 2024? Political campaigns are always looking for warm bodies and your youth could actually be an advantage there. These jobs may not sound appealing, but that's kind of the point--legal work involves doing a lot of stuff that is not appealing. If you can show employers you did grueling work before, you can use that to say you can do grueling work for them.

CanadianWolf

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Re: Unique situation

Post by CanadianWolf » Mon Jul 25, 2022 6:00 pm

Retake the LSAT.

Consider enrolling in a masters degree program that requires a thesis as research & writing skills are valued in the legal profession and in law school.

Work as a para-legal if that is of interest to you.

Your current job is to maintain an outstanding undergraduate GPA & to earn an LSAT score of at least 172.

lavarman84

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Re: Unique situation

Post by lavarman84 » Mon Aug 01, 2022 1:21 am

Being frank, I recommend taking a few years to get a master's degree or work. As somebody who clerked, you'd be 19 years old when you're interviewing for clerkships as a 3L (if my math is right). I think that would make it quite tough. Plus, the social aspects of law school and biglaw often involve drinking. Things will be easier for you if you wait a few years.

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