Must I take the LSAT?

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Must I take the LSAT?

Postby lovedoes » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:25 am

Probably seems a little odd to even ask that question in this law school forum, but my situation is a little complicated-let me explain.

Just graduated with a 3.95 undergrad GPA in Engineering from Purdue University. Got into the law school game a little late, so I’ve taken the GRE, but not the LSAT. My scores- Verbal: 170/170. Quantitative: 167/170. Writing: 5.5/6.

I was also fortunate enough to receive a Marshall Scolarship, which is fairly prestigious in academic circles and funds two years of graduate study in the UK. I’ll get two masters there- an MSc in Informatics (that’s just British for Computer Science) and then an MA in International Security. So, that means I’m about to move to the a new country and simultaneously start a tough master’s program. I cannot even begin to explain how much I’d like to avoid dealing with LSAT studying and law school applications while I’m over there doing that.

I might follow my two years of graduate school with a year of NGO work, so I’m hoping to start law school in Fall 2020 or Fall 2021. Top schools that accept GRE scores and have liberal deferral policies narrows my list down to exactly one school: Harvard. Which isn’t the worst option in the world, by any means.

My current thought is to apply this fall to Harvard, and then ask for a one- or two-year deferral if accepted. If rejected, I’ll suck it up, take the LSAT, and cast a wide net in the next application cycle.

But here’s where I start having questions: what are my odds of getting into Harvard- worth spending time on an application this summer? What are the odds they’d give me a year off for the Marshall Scholarship, and what are the odds of a second year off to do NGO work?

I’m definitely not aiming for Biglaw- I hope to get into international human rights law (with side interests in cyber law and intelligence law) in the public/nonprofit sector. Am I right in thinking Harvard is one of the very best options for that route, or would other schools make more sense? Since I’m not aiming for Biglaw, can I relax a little on the need for a T5 school and go after scholarships instead?

Lastly, and this is honestly the most crucial issue for me-I want to apply now, and save myself the pain and hassle of taking the LSAT and applying internationally. But if Harvard isn’t my best option, I don’t want to apply now, get in, and be locked into Harvard without the ability to apply elsewhere. So, this is where I could use your advice: are there other programs out there you think would provide more resources/networking for my areas of interest? If so, what are they, and what are my odds of getting in/getting scholarships? Must I take the LSAT after all? Thank you all so much for your help!


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Re: Must I take the LSAT?

Postby SomewhatLearnedHand » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:59 am

So probably one of the main reasons Harvard takes the GRE is for ranking purposes- they don't have to report it like they would the lsat score. This allows them to bump their percentiles up with high gpa / gre applicants. Seeing as your gpa is right at their 75th percentile (in a tough major no less) and you have a kick ass gre I would imagine you have a great shot at Harvard. Can't really speak towards their deferral policy though. I'd imagine you could get one year, but two may not be possible.

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Re: Must I take the LSAT?

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:13 am

lovedoes wrote:Just graduated with a 3.95 undergrad GPA in Engineering from Purdue University. Got into the law school game a little late, so I’ve taken the GRE, but not the LSAT. My scores- Verbal: 170/170. Quantitative: 167/170. Writing: 5.5/6.

First off, congrats! As a Boilermaker engineer who knew some guys who graduated with that sort of GPA, I know exactly how hard they worked. I also know how hard I worked for a substantially lower GPA.

If I may ask, what's the point of the master's degrees and the JD? It seems like you're going to be overcredentialed for just about any job out there. Granted, I'm not an expert in international human rights law, so it could be one of those niche fields where a master's helps. Be wary of collecting an assortment of degrees just because you're good at academics. It sounds like there's a coherency to your degrees, but you may want to figure out what the people in the jobs you want have for credentials. Do they all have master's degrees? Do they just have a BS and a JD? You're gonna be in school for the next 5 or 6 years with your current plan, and that's a huge investment, even if you're not paying much (or anything) for it.

I'm also not sure whether law schools will let you defer enrollment for 2 years, especially Harvard. Why the hesitation about applying while you're overseas? The application for one school is trivial, and your GRE score shouldn't expire by then. My instinct is to also look at Georgetown, given the proximity to the FedGov. I'm purely guessing, but I'd think that they have a fairly strong program there, too.

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