Law School

Discussion in 'Education and Academia' started by Ombak, Aug 5, 2004.

  1. AmoebaCulture

    AmoebaCulture Member+

    Nov 25, 2001
    Andromeda
    Hello all

    I am an undergrad - a sophomore - at the University of Washington, located in Seattle. I too, am thinking (and did so for a considerable amount of time) about Law School, perhaps somewhere in the East Coast - Boston or NYC (hopefully). However, reading this thread have actually discouraged me and I am scared ****************...

    I'm looking forward to an international career in law. I understand that the road is long and rugged but I am a believer in patience and perserverance.

    However, simple as it looks, it's easier said than done. Considering what I recieved on my SAT's ( 750 verbal, 550 math), and contrary to popular belief, lacking in the mathematical field as an Asian, I have long accepted that logic does not come natural to me. Would maybe, a Philosophy to Logic course or any courses with logic on its agenda help me prepare for the logic problems on the LSATs?

    Also, you people mentioned that letters of recommendation are an important factor - how did you guys get yours? and from whom? I find it incredibly difficult to build a relationship with a professor - maybe that's for later when I actually tackle the upper level courses?

    Finally, as for repetition - do you guys think a) less frequent repetition over a longer period of time or b) intense repetition over a shorter period of time - is the greater contributor to higher test scores?
     
  2. Ombak

    Ombak Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 19, 1999
    Irvine, CA
    Club:
    Flamengo Rio Janeiro
    Nat'l Team:
    Brazil
    So, update from me since I started this thing and haven't even checked in this year.

    I applied to Georgetown early decision and did not get in. While that was certainly dissapointing I worked to improve my application before sending it in to other schools. I'm convinced my current application would certainly give me a better shot at Georgetown too. Of course, my major adviser did not get her recommendation in on time which also hurt my application I think - in that it would be a very positive letter.

    I applied to St. John's, NYU and GWU under normal deadlines. Yesterday I got my response from St. John's, I'm in! Plus I got a nice scholarship.

    I'm thrilled because this not only means I'm in, but leaves me even more confident about GWU - essentially I sent them the same application, the only difference is that it includes a 3rd recommendation later, this one from a GWU alumnus (the friend I mentioned in the first post) who I worked with and is a very good friend of mine. That can only make the application even stronger.

    Anyways, I called GWU and my application is still in line to be reviewed so... mayeb I'll try again next week just for the heck of it. I was told to expect a letter in mid- or late-April but supposedly need to make a deposit by Aril 15th with St. John's. I'll be trying to figure out what to do about that for now... do I make the deposit? Can I get it waived? etc.

    EDIT: My only concern is my LSAT score, I got 162, less than I wanted, but stronger than the same grade in past years (according to the stats I saw) as it put me in the 87th percentile.

    My major GPA was 3.9? Still pretty confident about GWU.
     
  3. gildarkevin

    gildarkevin Member

    Aug 26, 2002
    Washington, DC
    I ran into this when I applied for law schools and got into some as early as January and my final choices didn't respond until late April. GW -- where I went -- was right in the middle.

    If I recall correctly, the deposit wasn't insignificant but wasn't break-the-bank either, probably around $100 or $200 in most cases.

    I waited until the last minute and put the deposit down on the school or two that I was most likely to be attending. Basically, I considered it "insurance", as I knew that (1) I'd be spending a heck of a lot more once I went to any of those schools and (2) would be making the money back and then some when I graduated (well, at least I thought I would).
     
  4. Ombak

    Ombak Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 19, 1999
    Irvine, CA
    Club:
    Flamengo Rio Janeiro
    Nat'l Team:
    Brazil
    Unfortunately the deposit for St. John's University is US$750.00!!! :eek:
     
  5. patrickm

    patrickm New Member

    May 3, 2003
    usa
    day to day at law school is a pain in the ass. i did not enjoy it. if you like to study 6-10 hours a day, you will like it fine. that is in addtion to going to classes. but ultimately if you start the chances of clunking out are very low. about 5-85 of my first year class either dropped out or flunked out. the chances of excelling however are just as low. you will have to resign yourself to the philosophy of "2.0 and go."
     
  6. Ombak

    Ombak Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 19, 1999
    Irvine, CA
    Club:
    Flamengo Rio Janeiro
    Nat'l Team:
    Brazil
    2.0 and go huh? nah, I think not.
     
  7. patrickm

    patrickm New Member

    May 3, 2003
    usa
    the odds of being a great student are slim. you think they are going to give out more than few A's in each 100 person (roughly) freshamn class? aint gonna happen. this aint college, where if you just work hard you can pretty much be assured of getting at least a 3.2 or so. You can go to law school and bust your ass and still get a C average. Its built into the system. they might tell you they will give out 30 A's if there are 30 A worty exams, but that is not the case at all.
     
  8. gildarkevin

    gildarkevin Member

    Aug 26, 2002
    Washington, DC
    Wow, $750! Yeah, that's steep. I'd probably try to wait until the last possible minute and only put one deposit in, if at all. It's still more of an investment than an out and out waste, in my mind.

    Feel free to pm me with any other questions you might have about this or law school generally (esp. GW) if you'd like. Frankly, having met you, I can say that I think GW would be a pretty good fit for you.
     
  9. MLSNHTOWN

    MLSNHTOWN Member+

    Oct 27, 1999
    Houston, TX
    With regards to being discouraged, don't be. If you want to be a lawyer, law school is the route. I think a lot of people think it will be a walk in the park or it is a simple way to make 6 figures, and those are the people that need to be discouraged.

    I never took an undergrad logic course, but from several friends who did and took the LSAT they said that the logic course they took helped. At UT it was a logic course offered by the philosophy department. Don't know if your school has something comparable.

    With regards to letters of recommendation, you have several options: Attorneys/Judges who know you (maybe you worked for them?), undergrad profs, etc. With regards to getting one from your undergrad profs, it was difficult at UT to make an impact with a professor. That being said it is much easier your junior and senior year where in theory you are taking classes towards your degree which should usually be provided from a limited pool of professors. Try taking two classes from the same prof (one each semester) and then take advantage of office hours and/or asking questions after class. Most undergrad profs are very very giving when it comes to providing letters of recommendation (similar to high school letters when you were there).

    Don't sweat the LSAT right now. Enjoy the hell out of college. If you can fit in a logic course in undergrad without comprimising too much do it. If you can't, no sweat. As has been discussed before, take the LSAT review course (PRinceton review usually) prior to taking the exam. It will cost some money, but unless you are very disciplined to "self-study", it is worth it.

    Hope that helps.
     
  10. MLSNHTOWN

    MLSNHTOWN Member+

    Oct 27, 1999
    Houston, TX
    Law school "grades" are three parts:
    1) writing
    2) actually having a legal brain/natural legal skill
    3) studying

    Though most grades are on a curve, if you work extremely hard you will typically be rewarded with a top %50, top 25% or higher ranking.
     
  11. patrickm

    patrickm New Member

    May 3, 2003
    usa
    100% of the grade in most classes is from the final. think about that.
     
  12. patrickm

    patrickm New Member

    May 3, 2003
    usa
    further, you have to work pretty hard just to survive day to day, preparing for the next class. it aint like college where you don't have to come to class prepared. just studying to prepare for each class is a major chore and then you also have to review old material all the time to prepare for the final. the day to day life of a law student sucks. imagine working all these hours and not getting paid for it. it sucks, but i will ademit youy can survive it. it is far from impossible, it just aint any fun.
     
  13. yossarian

    yossarian Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jun 16, 1999
    Big City Blinking
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I took a logic class that was offered by the philosophy department at my school but it was during my freshman year and I didn't take it with the LSAT in mind. Retrospectively, I suppose it was somewhat helpful. However, as others have said, taking a LSAT review course is more helpful, IMO.
     
  14. needs

    needs Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    Brooklyn
    FWIW, my friends who did JD/PhDs said that law school was the far easier part of their graduate work. While they had to study and read a lot for their 1L classes, they didn't have to produce any original research for those classes. They claimed latter years of law school were much easier and less pressured, because while they may have had to produce law review type articles, many people had jobs lined up. The exact opposite was true for their PhD programs, where the pressure increased over time (grants, etc.) and jobs were scarcer.

    Of course, getting a JD/PhD means you're crazy anyway.
     
  15. Ombak

    Ombak Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 19, 1999
    Irvine, CA
    Club:
    Flamengo Rio Janeiro
    Nat'l Team:
    Brazil
    You mean both or either one? Do I get credit for switching from PhD (my intent prior to looking into Law School) down to JD? No? If I ever get both how crazy am I?

    :D
     
  16. Ombak

    Ombak Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 19, 1999
    Irvine, CA
    Club:
    Flamengo Rio Janeiro
    Nat'l Team:
    Brazil
    Don't be discouraged. I would recommmend picking up a book on the LSAT and studying for some time, then start doing the mock exams in there. Just find a consistent schedule, whether intense or not, and you'll improve. Don't worry about any maths scores.

    As for recommendations, yes, upper-level courses will likely be smaller and help you build closer relationships with professors. I have to say I'm pretty lucky. Even when I've not done well - unfortunately I'm too inconsistent, despite being pretty damn intelligent - everyone I've studied under or worked with has a very good impression of me and so I got very positive letters of recommendation from three great sources - my major advisor, my supervisor at the World Bank and a co-worker and GW alumni.

    If you're a good student and people like you you can expect your letters to look similar - say one form a major advisor, one from a teacher you has several courses with and did research papers under and one from a fellow student or graduate student you may have worked with in your upper-level courses. Considering you haven't taken any upper-level courses yet I wouldn't worry too much yet. Worry about your grades, maybe pick up an LSAT book during a break in school work and start reading it, then start doing the exams once you have an idea of when you'd like to first take the LSAT. Finally, pick upper-level courses that you believe you will enjoy and will be writing good papers i- this will definitely help with the letters of recommendation since you want your professors to know how good your best work can be - don't worry about making an impression on the instructors, worry about doing good work and definitely engage them about the work you do in upper-level courses with questions and requests for advice - the more you enjoy your subject the likelier you are to want to do that anyways.
     
  17. nicephoras

    nicephoras A very stable genius

    Fucklechester Rangers
    Jul 22, 2001
    Eastern Seaboard
    Don't listen to patrickm. He's not representative. I loved law school and had a great time.

    International law, eh? Everyone says that. No one knows what it means. I actually do a good deal of international law (I'm on a business trip to Moscow at the moment), but its probably not what you expect it to be. Send me a PM if you want the details.

    You're in luck. The LSAT is heavily weighted toward verbal reasoning, not mathematical. The logic games are a pain, but its one section out of four. It was my worst section (I think I got 19/24), but it hardly kills you. Do a lot of the games and you'll see how its done. I'd take a Kaplan course.

    Take seminar classes or write a thesis. Those things guarantee you letters if you want them. That being said, grades and LSAT scores are far more important than anything else, save potentially work experience.

    For the LSAT? Knowing a few tricks and familiarity with the type of questions. The LSAT is not like any test you've taken in that it does not test "knowledge". Ergo, you can't study for it, but merely become familiar with the type of questions you'll be asked. I took an LSAT every day for 3 weeks or so before the test. Set aside 2 hours or so per day to do something similar, and you should be OK.
     
  18. patrickm

    patrickm New Member

    May 3, 2003
    usa
    there is little difference between 1L ansd 2L. about 2/3 of your classes in 2 are required, 100% of 1L are required. the professors still treat you like shi-t. that's the thing that really bugged me. in college the professors treat you almost as an equal. law professors treat you like you are a child.
     
  19. nicephoras

    nicephoras A very stable genius

    Fucklechester Rangers
    Jul 22, 2001
    Eastern Seaboard
    I don't recall where you said you went to law school, but it sounds like an awful place. My law school professors treated me quite well, and beyond the first year (which had almost all required classes, but not all), we only had one required class left, which was ethics. Everything else after the first year was elective.
     
  20. patrickm

    patrickm New Member

    May 3, 2003
    usa
    i went widener-harrisburg, a low ranked school, i know. i can assure you that the professors were all very intellligent and many had been succesful practicing before they became professors. only a few of them were career academics. my 2L year was heavilky tarnished by the horrific experience i had in business org, or corporations if you will. the professor, guy in his early 30s who had been a wall street attorney, was nice enough outside of class, but inside his only goal was to humiliate the students. plus we actually finished the entire textbook, which i don't think has ever happened in any class i ever took. i had to spend about 4-6 hours preparing for each class. then the little pr-ick would call on you and ask you something from 200 pages back.
     
  21. tcmahoney

    tcmahoney New Member

    Feb 14, 1999
    Metronatural
    You think that's bad, consider this anecdote I heard about on one of my law school visits. Maybe it's a law school version of an urban legend, but it's too good not to pass along:

    In this one business law class, they did the readings, they did the discussions, and then the professor would say "You might want to look this up on the UCC (Uniform Commercial Code)," although he never assigned anything specific about the UCC.

    The entire final was on the UCC.
     
  22. MarioKempes

    MarioKempes Member+

    Real Madrid, DC United
    Aug 3, 2000
    Raleigh, NC
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    File that one under a$$hole.
     
  23. K.P.

    K.P. Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Philly
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Ombak, I hope you get into G.W., but from my personal experience, they were stingier with financial aid than similar schools. Which is to say I got none, and other institutions offered me some partial aid. Plus, IIRC G.W. is one of the most expensive law schools. Anyway, the point is that I'd think hard about the finances, because aid from a school -- even a lower ranked school -- changes the equation.

    Oh, and as an aside, someone suggested putting a deposit on two schools while you wait to hear from a third. I think that's silly. If a deadline is imminent, just put a deposit on one school while you wait to hear from the others.
     
  24. MLSNHTOWN

    MLSNHTOWN Member+

    Oct 27, 1999
    Houston, TX
    I agree with Nic. It sounds like you went to a miserable law school. I don't even believe our ethics course was required, though it made passing the ethics test substantially easier. (maybe it was, not sure)

    Regardless, the school listed brings up a very good point. At lower level schools, like the one mentioned by patrickm, and (in Houston, Texas Southern University is the school), the competitiveness increases exponentially. The teachers really work 3x harder to whip you into shape because they want the bar passage rates from that school to be good and the only way to do it at that level is to weed out the students who can't handle it. The bar is a bitch and at TSU (can't speak for the one mentioned by PatrcikM), they go out of the way to make sure that anyone graduating there school can pass the bar. So they cut 1/3-1/4 of the incoming class of the top. At University of HOuston, I can honestly say that maybe 1/5 dropped law school midstream. Mostly because they no longer wanted to be attorneys.
     
  25. yossarian

    yossarian Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jun 16, 1999
    Big City Blinking
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I guess I fall somewhere in between nicephoras and patrickm. I didn't think law school was "fun" by any stretch of the imagination but it wasn't miserable either. It had its moments but not nearly as fun as undergrad.
     

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