Am I too poor for law school?

Discuss various money matters here. Loans (federal and private), scholarships, lottery winnings, or other school finance related information and queries.
LivHandsome

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Am I too poor for law school?

Postby LivHandsome » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:13 pm

Hi all! I'd really love to go to law school, but I'm worried about debt and job prospects, since I'll be funding it pretty much on my own. I'm not very far into the admissions process, but I'd really appreciate any advice as to whether this is even a valid option, and if so, what schools I should be looking at. My stats for the moment are as follows:

- Junior at [redacted], GPA 3.87 (now) - 3.9 (if trend continues)
- Haven't taken the LSAT yet, but I think 170 is a reasonable estimate. Will take practice tests soon and can report back
- Lower middle class. Non-URM (white), LGBT
- Worked/working 2 jobs, one in nonprofit/public service throughout college; planning on doing 1-2 years of VISTA or TFA post-grad
- Could reasonably get in-state in Virginia, Ohio, or, if requirements are lax, wherever I go post-grad

I'm hoping to go into environmental, public interest, or government. I would really like to practice in the South or Appalachia, but will settle pretty much anywhere. As long as I'm doing work I enjoy and can cover my loans, whether I work at the ACLU or a local nonprofit/PD doesn't make a difference to me. I am not interested in biglaw; even though it makes rational sense, please don't tell me to pay off my loans by going corporate, as I'd rather just find another career path.

I know that Columbia and NYU are respected for pubic interest; I've also really liked Michigan, UCLA, UT, Penn, and Vanderbilt (the South!) from the research I've done. Exceedingly mixed feelings about UVA for reasons that are personal and probably irrational. I think I could get into at least some of these but I'd have to get pretty near a full ride to not graduate with significant debt--I'll already have about $20,000 after undergrad and don't have high hopes about paying all that much off before law school. I'm wondering whether I should set my sights lower in order to get the scholarships I'd need.

I know this is all very vague, but I'd appreciate even limited guidance as to what I should do. I'd rather not dream of T14 if I have no chance of making it a reality.

Thanks much!

Moderator note: [Redactions] made per OP's request. -QContinuum

crownjd

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Re: Am I too poor for law school?

Postby crownjd » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:23 pm

LivHandsome wrote:Hi all! I'd really love to go to law school, but I'm worried about debt and job prospects, since I'll be funding it pretty much on my own. I'm not very far into the admissions process, but I'd really appreciate any advice as to whether this is even a valid option, and if so, what schools I should be looking at. My stats for the moment are as follows:

- Junior at [redacted], GPA 3.87 (now) - 3.9 (if trend continues)
- Haven't taken the LSAT yet, but I think 170 is a reasonable estimate. Will take practice tests soon and can report back
- Lower middle class. Non-URM (white), LGBT
- Worked/working 2 jobs, one in nonprofit/public service throughout college; planning on doing 1-2 years of VISTA or TFA post-grad
- Could reasonably get in-state in Virginia, Ohio, or, if requirements are lax, wherever I go post-grad

I'm hoping to go into environmental, public interest, or government. I would really like to practice in the South or Appalachia, but will settle pretty much anywhere. As long as I'm doing work I enjoy and can cover my loans, whether I work at the ACLU or a local nonprofit/PD doesn't make a difference to me. I am not interested in biglaw; even though it makes rational sense, please don't tell me to pay off my loans by going corporate, as I'd rather just find another career path.

I know that Columbia and NYU are respected for pubic interest; I've also really liked Michigan, UCLA, UT, Penn, and Vanderbilt (the South!) from the research I've done. Exceedingly mixed feelings about UVA for reasons that are personal and probably irrational. I think I could get into at least some of these but I'd have to get pretty near a full ride to not graduate with significant debt--I'll already have about $20,000 after undergrad and don't have high hopes about paying all that much off before law school. I'm wondering whether I should set my sights lower in order to get the scholarships I'd need.

I know this is all very vague, but I'd appreciate even limited guidance as to what I should do. I'd rather not dream of T14 if I have no chance of making it a reality.

Thanks much!


I think this is doable! I could really get into the weeds here, and if you want to reach out via PM, that's fine. Not big on long, sprawling posts.

Bottom line, your UGPA is great, so you just need to score well on your LSAT, and you can write your own ticket to getting scholarship money, since you're not shooting for T14. If you do well, you'll get a full-ride somewhere. The next thing to worry about is cost of living, which, in the south, is less. If you do Americorps or TFA, you might be able to supplement your loans with that education stipend (I did!), after getting a full-ride. During those years of service, you'll want to save save save.

Re: Job prospects, as long as you put in the work, PI jobs are out there!

notrub14

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Re: Am I too poor for law school?

Postby notrub14 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:28 pm

No, you're not too poor to go to law school. In addition to scholarships, which you should be in the running for at top schools if you actually score 170+, top schools have repayment programs for people who do public interest work (see, e.g., http://www.law.nyu.edu/financialaid/lrap)

Npret

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Re: Am I too poor for law school?

Postby Npret » Tue Jan 15, 2019 6:33 pm

It would help to know where you want to live and practice. Law school placement is largely regional so the schools you would attend depends on where you see your future. The T13 have broader reach but you will still need ties in much of the south to get a job (at least for firms, I think public interest may not be as stringent, but I don’t know.)

Assuming a 170 LSAT seems high regardless of GPA. Take a timed practice test and plan on studying for the actual exam.

Based on that 170 LSAT assumption, you can get T14. You could go to a school that has a LRAP program- but look at those carefully. If you are that debt averse, you may be much happier with a full scholarship and low cost of living.

albanach

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Re: Am I too poor for law school?

Postby albanach » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:44 pm

Npret wrote:
Assuming a 170 LSAT seems high regardless of GPA. Take a timed practice test and plan on studying for the actual exam.

Based on that 170 LSAT assumption, you can get T14. You could go to a school that has a LRAP program- but look at those carefully. If you are that debt averse, you may be much happier with a full scholarship and low cost of living.


I agree with this. For some, the lsat comes naturally. For others they'll never get that sort of score. For me it took a lot of study.

If your determined, and especially if you can wait a year if needed to maximize your score, it is a learnable test. As others point out, you should be able to score the type of score that will get you a full ride or close to it from s decent school.

Ideally though, with that GPA, and particularly if you can boost it by another 0.1 or 0.2, you should be shooting for the 170s and a potential admission to Harvard, Yale or Stanford. The wealthiest schools have the most generous LRAP.

LivHandsome

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Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:05 pm

Re: Am I too poor for law school?

Postby LivHandsome » Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:34 pm

Thanks everyone! I'll keep in mind your comments about the difficulty of a 170 LSAT. I've historically been a very good test-taker, but I'll be sure to put in lots of prep and make sure that's actually possible before I start making plans off of it. I'll also start comparing LRAPs from different schools. I appreciate your help and would love to hear thoughts from anyone else who stumbles across this thread!



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