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Would anyone like to evaluate my plan for applying to law school? 166 LSAT on 2nd try and 3.78 GPA

edited October 2017 in Law School Admissions 89 karma

My plan is to blanket the T14 schools with no expectations of acceptance. As far as I can tell, my best shot is University of Austin Texas (or #14). According to the LSAC GPA/LSAT browser, applicants with my GPA and LSAT had between a 54% and 64% chance of getting accepted into Austin in 2016. The same people only had between 27% and 40% chance of getting into Cornell, which #13.

If I get accepted into any one of them, I'll go. If not, I'll take the LSAT again in June 2018 and hopefully beef up my resume along the way.

My personal issue is that I don't actually know the national reach of a lower T14 school; this is especially a concern for Austin. I don't know where I want to practice, and I haven't evaluated any job markets yet.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Comments

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    edited October 2017 23929 karma

    For Cornell, national reach won't be a problem. Especially with respect to big law.

    UT Austin's reach is good, but it's certainly not nearly as portable, nationally speaking. If you attend UT Austin, expect to practice in and around Texas.

    I think your plan looks pretty good if those are outcomes you would be happy with. Why not consider a retake in Dec/Feb to help get your off the waitlist (which I assume you'll likely be on for C) and net some more $$?

  • tringo335tringo335 Alum Member
    3679 karma

    @"Alex Divine" said:
    For Cornell, national reach won't be a problem. Especially with respect to big law.

    UT Austin's reach is good, but it's certainly not nearly as portable, nationally speaking. If you attend UT Austin, expect to practice in and around Texas.

    I think your plan looks pretty good if those are outcomes you would be happy with. Why not consider a retake in Dec/Feb to help get your off the waitlist (which I assume you'll likely be on for C) and net some more $$?

    Do you know of any resources that break down national reach for each T14?

  • @"Alex Divine" Thank you for your comment.

    I probably should have mentioned that my 166 was a second LSAT. I absolutely do not want to take more than three times, and it's only a month until the next LSAT. If I take it a third time, I want to prepare for it as best as I can.

    At the risk of sounding pompous, I'm lucky enough to not worry about money.

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma

    @imadl95 said:
    @"Alex Divine" Thank you for your comment.

    I probably should have mentioned that my 166 was a second LSAT. I absolutely do not want to take more than three times, and it's only a month until the next LSAT. If I take it a third time, I want to prepare for it as best as I can.

    At the risk of sounding pompous, I'm lucky enough to not worry about money.

    If money is no concern then aim for Cornell. You have a coin flip chance with your stats. They're big on personal statements and WHY Cornell essays. So write up the best one you can, visit Ithaca, all of that. I still think that if you can bump that up to a 167-168 it would really make a big difference.

  • Maddie D.Maddie D. Alum Member
    edited October 2017 325 karma

    @"Alex Divine" said:

    @imadl95 said:
    @"Alex Divine" Thank you for your comment.

    I probably should have mentioned that my 166 was a second LSAT. I absolutely do not want to take more than three times, and it's only a month until the next LSAT. If I take it a third time, I want to prepare for it as best as I can.

    At the risk of sounding pompous, I'm lucky enough to not worry about money.

    If money is no concern then aim for Cornell. You have a coin flip chance with your stats. They're big on personal statements and WHY Cornell essays. So write up the best one you can, visit Ithaca, all of that. I still think that if you can bump that up to a 167-168 it would really make a big difference.

    If it helps, I have your exact LSAT/GPA stats and I agree with Alex. My plan is to get my stuff into Cornell and Georgetown ASAP (by next week, ideally, since I've already done essays and visits) and deal with the coin flip with low expectations and then retake in December for the possibility of putting things off a cycle if I get a higher score with the addition of more T14s to my roster (LSAT permitting). Realistically shooting for 168-170 myself. I'll also add that this was my first LSAT, but I don't think taking the LSAT 3 times would be unreasonable or frowned upon for you.

  • TexAgAaronTexAgAaron Legacy Member
    1723 karma

    I agree with @"Alex Divine" on UT. They have a monopoly down here in Texas. If you do well in school, you have a very good shot at big law in Texas. They have a decent reach nationally, but not like many of the other T-14 schools. They do place a decent amount in federal government if that is an avenue that you are planning on pursuing.

  • Leah M BLeah M B Alum Member
    8392 karma

    I feel like generally if you are dead set on T-14, you should either take the December LSAT or just delay until you have more time to study and can really nail the LSAT. There's a chance you could get in a couple of the lower ones, but if you raise your score by even a few points you'd have more options.

  • @"Maddie Distasio" Thank you for your comment. Is there any advantage for retaking in December as opposed to sometime in 2018? Or are you retaking in December simply because you prefer to?

  • BumbleJD1624BumbleJD1624 Member
    62 karma

    I work at a Vault top 20 law firm as a paralegal, and spoke with our head of recruiting today. She said they'll look at anyone who is top of their class regardless of school. Obviously going to a T14 school helps, but if you do well (top 10%) then you'll have options. I work with lawyers who went to University of Maryland, George Mason, Florida International, Pepperdine, etc... I work with two younger associates - one got a 150 on her LSAT, went to a school that isn't even ranked, and transferred to Georgetown, the other got a 175 on her LSAT and went to Harvard - and now they're both at exactly the same place.

  • Maddie D.Maddie D. Alum Member
    325 karma

    @imadl95 sure thing! I'm basically retaking in December to avoid putting off applying to other T14s another cycle. I figure my application would still be sent early enough in the process to make me a contender. February is still doable for 2018 enrollment but since admissions are rolling I just feel more comfortable getting things in as early as possible. If I'm still not totally happy with my score I may retake in June and just resign myself to applying early in the next cycle. Hope that helps!

  • NotMyNameNotMyName Alum Member Sage
    edited October 2017 5320 karma

    @BumbleJD1624 Wow thanks for sharing this. Do you think your firm is representative? I've heard this before from several sources both online and in-person even from the partner level in one instance. It makes sense to me. My sense is that, the further down you go in the rankings, the higher one's class rank has to be to compete. At some point though, somewhere in tier 3/4, not even #1 class rank can help.

    I just feel obligated to state planning to transfer into T14 is not a wise strategy. For every example of someone who did it successfully there are many who did not. The best option is still to invest your time upfront into the LSAT and get the best score you can.

  • BumbleJD1624BumbleJD1624 Member
    62 karma

    @jkatz1488 said:
    @BumbleJD1624 Wow thanks for sharing this. Do you think your firm is representative? I've heard this before from several sources both online and in-person even from the partner level in one instance. It makes sense to me. My sense is that, the further down you go in the rankings, the higher one's class rank has to be to compete. At some point though, somewhere in tier 3/4, not even #1 class rank can help.

    I just feel obligated to state planning to transfer into T14 is not a wise strategy. For every example of someone who did it successfully there are many who did not. The best option is still to invest your time upfront into the LSAT and get the best score you can.

    @jkatz1488 - Yes, I do think my firm is representative. School rank is important, but doing well at your school is just as important. If you go to Harvard (which has a large law class), and end up not being on law review and being 100th in your class, then there may be someone from GW or BU who was top 10% in their class, and on law review who firms may be more inclined to take.

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