What are my chances (plan for improvement)

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cpo335

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What are my chances (plan for improvement)

Postby cpo335 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:17 pm

Joined so I could make this post. Here's a quick rundown: 2.8 undergrad GPA, 142 diagnostic LSAT, 149 official LSAT, good resume (military experience, D1 college athlete w/ records & awards, tier 2 undergrad school [considered a "hidden Ivy"], good SATs), currently working as a paralegal in a mid-size law firm in a major northeast city.

I enrolled full-time in a local tier 4 school but switched to part-time so I could work simultaneously and reduce the amount of debt I'll graduate with. I have a comfortable merit scholarship. My goal is to move down south (that Carolinas or TX) with my gal in/near a major city and work for a small/mid/large firm (not NYC BigLaw or anything crazy - looking to start a family and make a reasonable living), maybe in oil/gas or as in-house.

My idea for improvement is to defer my enrollment for one year to enable me to study for, and retake, the LSAT with hopes of getting a better score and enrolling in a "better" school. I say "better" because I'm not entirely sure my plan is all that good, or feasible. Can I attain my life goals without embarking in this year-long endeavor? Would it be utterly beneficial to improve my score and attempt to attend a better school. Am I really limiting myself by attending this tier 4 local school (even though I'll graduate with no-to-minimal debt) in terms of job opportunities?

Thank you in advance.

cavalier1138

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Re: What are my chances (plan for improvement)

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:25 pm

I'll answer the last question first: Yes, you are significantly limiting (read: crippling) yourself by going to any school that would accept you with your current numbers. Do not matriculate there.

cpo335 wrote:My goal is to move down south (that Carolinas or TX) with my gal in/near a major city and work for a small/mid/large firm (not NYC BigLaw or anything crazy - looking to start a family and make a reasonable living), maybe in oil/gas or as in-house.


The locations you want are extremely unlikely from any regional school that isn't in the Carolinas or Texas if you don't have ties. Even if you do have ties, the first question most potential employers will have is "Why did you go to [school in any other state] instead of applying to [comparable school in this state]?" More importantly, let's define "reasonable living" for you. Large firms are an unreasonable goal if you can't get your LSAT up high enough to put some decent regional or T20 schools in play (not entirely out of the question, but your GPA makes it very difficult). But if you can't get work at a large firm, your most likely job out of school (assuming you don't shoot yourself in the foot by going to a T4) is going to be a small firm, and that's going to pay roughly $45-60k starting salary. In-house at any significant company is almost always going to require either big firm experience or very good luck.

So if you're planning on law school for the salary alone, you may want to look into other options. If you're planning on going because you really want to practice law, then retake the LSAT until you can attend a real law school instead of a trap.

icansortofmath

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Re: What are my chances (plan for improvement)

Postby icansortofmath » Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:48 pm

Just retake. A T4 degree will make you worse off.

You’re better off just becoming a good paralegal and make 100k+- 20k a year.

If you become a GOOD paralegal in your desired market, it may be the only prelaw experience (other than deep science for IP work) that actually can help you get a biglaw job. Ideally you paralegal at a biglaw firm and just get a return offer for when you go to law school locally. REALLY rare but it happens and you risk nothing since paralegal job > T4 JD jobs.

cpo335

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Re: What are my chances (plan for improvement)

Postby cpo335 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:58 pm

icansortofmath wrote:Just retake. A T4 degree will make you worse off.

You’re better off just becoming a good paralegal and make 100k+- 20k a year.

If you become a GOOD paralegal in your desired market, it may be the only prelaw experience (other than deep science for IP work) that actually can help you get a biglaw job. Ideally you paralegal at a biglaw firm and just get a return offer for when you go to law school locally. REALLY rare but it happens and you risk nothing since paralegal job > T4 JD jobs.

The only problem with retaking is that I am 27 y/o. I already feel so behind the curve applying at such an "old" age. I would have to withdraw my enrollment to school and reapply, hoping again that I get back in somewhere. I could retake the test but then again, there's no guarantee that I will improve on the test. I'm just worried about wasting another year of my life at an older age.

The Lsat Airbender

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Re: What are my chances (plan for improvement)

Postby The Lsat Airbender » Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:07 pm

cpo335 wrote: I'm just worried about wasting another year of my life at an older age.


You'd be wasting at least 3 years, and a bunch of money besides, by going to a TTTT school

QContinuum

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Re: What are my chances (plan for improvement)

Postby QContinuum » Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:08 pm

cpo335 wrote:
icansortofmath wrote:Just retake. A T4 degree will make you worse off.

You’re better off just becoming a good paralegal and make 100k+- 20k a year.

If you become a GOOD paralegal in your desired market, it may be the only prelaw experience (other than deep science for IP work) that actually can help you get a biglaw job. Ideally you paralegal at a biglaw firm and just get a return offer for when you go to law school locally. REALLY rare but it happens and you risk nothing since paralegal job > T4 JD jobs.

The only problem with retaking is that I am 27 y/o. I already feel so behind the curve applying at such an "old" age. I would have to withdraw my enrollment to school and reapply, hoping again that I get back in somewhere. I could retake the test but then again, there's no guarantee that I will improve on the test. I'm just worried about wasting another year of my life at an older age.

It's precisely because you're an older applicant that you especially can't afford the risk of attending a T4. A 22-year-old K-JD who graduates jobless from a T4 at 25 could potentially turn around quickly and retool and become a nurse or PA before their twenties are over. In contrast you won't have any time left in your twenties to "reinvent" yourself like that. You can't take as many risks as a 22-year-old K-JD can afford to take.

icansortofmath

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Re: What are my chances (plan for improvement)

Postby icansortofmath » Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:15 pm

I started law school in my 30s. 27 is no problem.

A T4 JD when you already have a career with path to low six figure job is straight self sabotage.

cavalier1138

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Re: What are my chances (plan for improvement)

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:14 am

cpo335 wrote:
icansortofmath wrote:Just retake. A T4 degree will make you worse off.

You’re better off just becoming a good paralegal and make 100k+- 20k a year.

If you become a GOOD paralegal in your desired market, it may be the only prelaw experience (other than deep science for IP work) that actually can help you get a biglaw job. Ideally you paralegal at a biglaw firm and just get a return offer for when you go to law school locally. REALLY rare but it happens and you risk nothing since paralegal job > T4 JD jobs.

The only problem with retaking is that I am 27 y/o. I already feel so behind the curve applying at such an "old" age. I would have to withdraw my enrollment to school and reapply, hoping again that I get back in somewhere. I could retake the test but then again, there's no guarantee that I will improve on the test. I'm just worried about wasting another year of my life at an older age.


You're young.

And you're right that there's no guarantee you'll improve on the LSAT. But statistically, you're far more likely to improve on the LSAT than you are to get a job as a lawyer out of a T4 school.

And frankly, if you can't break 150 on the LSAT, just don't go to law school.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: What are my chances (plan for improvement)

Postby totesTheGoat » Sat Jun 22, 2019 11:27 am

cpo335 wrote:
The only problem with retaking is that I am 27 y/o. I already feel so behind the curve applying at such an "old" age.


I'm starting to smell desperation. Desperation mixed with law school almost always ends up in catastrophe.

would have to withdraw my enrollment to school and reapply, hoping again that I get back in somewhere.


You're missing the point. The acceptance you have is worth about as much as that pre-approval junk mail letter you get in the mail from the credit card companies. At best, you graduate with a JD and work at a $65k a year law job. Most commonly, you spend years without a long-term, full-time job, hustling to make ends meet. Worst case, you're back to your old career, 3 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars behind.

I could retake the test but then again, there's no guarantee that I will improve on the test. I'm just worried about wasting another year of my life at an older age.


You're approaching this with the wrong goal in mind. You're trying to figure out the best way to go to law school. Instead you should approach this from the vantage of whether law school is for you. If you can't break 150 on the LSAT and have a sub-3.0 GPA, you shouldn't go to law school. In fact, in your shoes, I wouldn't go unless I could get a 165 or higher on the LSAT. If you do decide to go, you're gonna be back here in 3 years complaining about how you can't find a job that pays your bills.

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LSATWiz.com

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Re: What are my chances (plan for improvement)

Postby LSATWiz.com » Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:32 pm

This is a tough situation, because your goals are to presumably earn six-figures - a wage to be able to start a family as either the breadwinner or co-breadwinner. Jobs are largely contingent on law school, and law school is largely contingent on numbers. Right now, both of your numbers are very low so raising your LSAT from a 149 to a 155 really won't meaningfully help you get good jobs (though it can reduce the debt if you don't get a 1 in 10 lottery ticket).

You'd need to bring that up to at least the mid-160s, which will take a lot of time and committed studying - likely 3 hours a day for 6 months or more. This will be more difficult than if your diagnostic was a 149 as presumably you studied somewhat hard to go from a 142 to a 149. I'd focus on learning every component of the LSAT INDIVIDUALLY - Individual question types. If you're sub-150, you need help with every area. With your GPA, you cannot afford to have any weak spots on the LSAT. Don't just "retake". Don't even bother with practice tests for a few months, and start studying NOW.

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LSATWiz.com

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Re: What are my chances (plan for improvement)

Postby LSATWiz.com » Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:36 pm

cpo335 wrote:
icansortofmath wrote:Just retake. A T4 degree will make you worse off.

You’re better off just becoming a good paralegal and make 100k+- 20k a year.

If you become a GOOD paralegal in your desired market, it may be the only prelaw experience (other than deep science for IP work) that actually can help you get a biglaw job. Ideally you paralegal at a biglaw firm and just get a return offer for when you go to law school locally. REALLY rare but it happens and you risk nothing since paralegal job > T4 JD jobs.

The only problem with retaking is that I am 27 y/o. I already feel so behind the curve applying at such an "old" age. I would have to withdraw my enrollment to school and reapply, hoping again that I get back in somewhere. I could retake the test but then again, there's no guarantee that I will improve on the test. I'm just worried about wasting another year of my life at an older age.

Imagine being 30, unemployed, and $300k in debt with no real prospects. Your current score makes bar passage less than 50% likely. And really who cares that you're 27 already? In 5 years, it won't really matter if you have 2 years of savings or 3. Your future potential is all that matters. Why are you so self conscious about age? Are you overweight? Get off your ass and join a gym. Are you losing your hair? Own it or invest in resources that can reverse it. Whatever things you feel you haven't accomplished yet are up to you. Going to a bad law school and trying to make that a good investment is not in your control, and the consequences are potentially life altering - something that will plague you for 25 years+. You're almost 30, and want to raise a family someday. Make rational unemotional decisions like an adult and the family leader you aspire to be.

The difficulty with law school for late bloomers is that law school in part requires you to have succeeded academically prior to law school. The 149 and 2.8 are both markers of prior struggles academically. One of these can be changed, one can't. No matter how good you are academically now, the bad numbers will follow you based on the school you attend and if you're confident you can be #1 in your class, then you can just retake the LSAT, knowing that there is a correlation between the LSAT and law school grades, and that becoming great at the LSAT will also help you properly break down your arguments on a law school exam. You will need to develop LSAT-like reasoning skills anyway to be at the top of your class. Why not develop them when you get a maximum return for them? And if you can't develop these schools, i'm sorry to say law probably is not right for you, but many other professions will be. The ability to read quickly, rapidly breakdown rules and apply them to factual situations, and identify the logic in an opposing argument are really fundamental to all lawyers regardless of what you practice. You don't need a 180, and there are diminishing returns past a certain point, but you should be able to bring your score up to the mid-160s if you're cut out for law.

The idea is that in the grand scheme of things, whether you have a viable career at 30 or 31 won't really matter whereas not having a viable career at 30, 35, and 40, and carrying mortgage level debt with no property to show for it beyond a valueless degree will matter. The reason these schools are called "scam" schools isn't because of prestige whoring. It's because a significant percentage of people spend more money than they would have spent buying a home. You can either live in a home or resell it for at least some of your investment. Unless you get the machine from "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" you can't live in a law school degree, and even if you had that technology, it would still be a bad investment because (1) you'd have to shrink yourself every night when you wanted to go to bed, (2) law degrees are made on paper and paper is not really warm - you don't see many coats made out of paper, (3) it's also very flammable so it is a poor choice of home, and (4) there are many other types of paper that don't cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Consequently, the only value of a law degree is it's ability to help you earn an income that will allow you to acquire a home that is not made out of paper.



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