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Question to lawyers / law school students

pokey07

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I've been reading through all the lawyer threads here and there's a lot of info here, so hopefully someone can help me out. I'm not really sure what range of schools I should be applying to. I took the LSAT cold a couple weeks ago and scored a 150, and then 156 a week later. I'm hoping with a year of studying (won't be taking the LSAT until next year at this time), that I could be in the 160s. My GPA is less than stellar (3.25 upward trend, father passed away while in school and this had a huge effect on my grades). I also am unsure about my URM-status. I'm hispanic, but I've also found out that my grandfather was half black. I know this is a touchy subject, but if I could give myself a boost and possibly help my GPA out, I would definitely like to take advantage of that. Should I check black on applications, or is that too much of a stretch? I would rather go to a less prestigious university than have the dean knock on my door on graduation day saying I'm not black enough, lol. But then again, I'm obviously looking to get in the best law school possible, unless a decent school offers me money (not likely?).

But anyway, any help with this predicament would be great, and I really appreciate it!!
 

hipcathobbes

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There are a few other forums that can give you better opinions on all this -- check out lawschooldiscussion.org, for one. Similarly, lawschoolnumbers.com is good for plugging in your numbers and comparing yourself to similarly-qualified applicants, and to students at your target schools.

Don't say you're black unless you identify in some substantive way (culturally, ethnically) as black. Anything that comes up in your application is potential fair game for when you have to pass the character & fitness exam in your bar applications, and you don't want to have to explain why you said you're black when you and your family really identify as hispanic. (Besides, isn't hispanic considered a URM category?)
 

crazyquik

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Check hispanic on your application, then write in your personal statement how you've been struggling with your self-identity between the Hispanic and African-American facets of your heritage. Write something about how you know that in some areas there is a lot of strife between Blacks and Hispanics, and while you may never have been involved directly in any of this, you feel this struggle inside you every day. You hope as a lawyer you can be a community organizer like His Hopeness and work to reconcile distrust between inner city blacks and hispanics, so they can UNITE and work together against the forces in society which are holding them down.

Application boards eat that shit up.

Edit - why do you want to be a lawyer? Every lawyer and person in law school is going to ask you that, because it's not all peaches and cream. It's a major committment to either 1) a mountain of debt or 2) spending a large chunk of your inheritance and often the math isn't there if you're just in it for the money. The money is not as good as it seems from the outside-looking-in when you factor in the cost and opportunity cost of law school, as well as the legal climate in the country.
 

yerfdog

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what do you mean you scored 150 and then 156 a week later? Don't they only give the LSAT like 4 times a year? When I took it a few years ago I missed the deadline for the Fall test and had to take it in like December or something. Do you mean you took a practice LSAT?

Don't take multiple LSATs if you can help it, because many law schools will either look at all the scores or average them or something like that, it is not like how colleges will often just take the highest SAT score.

With scores like that, you probably won't get into a top school, so if you are bent on going to law school try to do it with as little debt as possible, by going to a decent public school. On the other side, I wouldn't recommend going to a really low ranked school that offered you financial aid either, it's too risky.
 

Tarmac

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Let's be real, the fact that you are hispanic is of huge advantage to you. Without debating the merits of this fact, if you score 160+, have a good personal statement and good recs, and if you went to a good undergrad, you can probably get into a solid school (I'm guessing around top 30 rank, someone correct me if I am wrong). 3.25 is not that bad

You can't say you are "black" - that would be lying (ahh, the first step to passing the bar). You are hispanic. There is a section on most school apps to indicate mixed race, and you can certainly indicate it there. If your grandfather was indeed half-black (and not ambiguously mixed and tan) then 1/8 black is a legitimate mixed race and you should state this. That's why they ask this question.
 

mdg137

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Absolutely emphasize your heritage--

I went to law school after brief-ish (8 years) teaching career. My 10 year old undergrad GPA was less than spectacular 3.2 (They dont even consider your graduate GPA)-- I did pull a high enough score on the LSAT, to balance it out, and essentially get me a full ride where I went-- but LSAT scores in the high 150's just wouldnt do it.

Had I been able to claim any other advantage, however slight, I would have.
 

DNW

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The law school admission process is a nasty game. Your competitors will go to incredible lengths to get a leg up on you. Just read some of the admission boards for a taste of this. It's full on combat, man. Do take advantage of everything you have on your side--but make sure you can defend them.
 

crazyquik

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Originally Posted by Tarmac
Let's be real, the fact that you are hispanic is of huge advantage to you.

Ditto. This is especially true in light of a recent ABA ruling which, some fear, will decimate minority enrollment (and could lead to the closing of 3-5 law schools). That means that minority candidates with halfway decent LSATs and GPAs will get a big boost.
 

Charlie Big Potato

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Affirmative Action FTW !

Check off eskimo & Native American Indian while you're at it too.
 

jagmqt

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I went back to law school after 6 years...My LSAT wasn't stellar, but I've had some excellent professional experience that sold pretty well...it's not just ethnicity, GPA, LSAT, or letters...it's a combination...

http://www.ilrg.com/rankings/law/ind...1/desc/LSATLow

Check out that site...you can sort the schools by clicking on the column headings.

Look first at where you want to be...I wanted to stay in the midwest, close to family, or on the atlantic coast north of FL and south of DC-metro...that takes a lot of schools off the list. Do you prefer large cities or smaller towns? You can get into John Marshall in Chicago with those numbers, or Valpariso...the school settings are night-and-day...do your research based on what you want--chances are you'll find it...

Look at how much you're willing to spend, or how much you can get from the school.

http://www.abajournal.com/news/mag_l...al_aid_ratios/

That link is to an article on the ABA Journal website...it is about the top 50 schools for giving students the best assistance...you can do a lot of research about law schools on that site...

Be aware, also, may schools are switching from traditional grading to High Pass, Pass, Did not Pass (or similiar designations of achievement)...if that's important to you (less pressure on the student as the argument goes), look for those schools.

I have one year to go, and am happy with the decision I made. If I can, I'd be happy to answer any question about my experience...that's the best advice I can offer with the information you've provided.

jag

P.S. as for the ethnicity...well, if you are cautious enough to be asking questions about whether it is a "trump card" on an application...ask yourself if that's how you really want to begin your legal career...at one point, for all of us, the law seems to be a nobel endeavor...
 

pokey07

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I forgot I started a thread here about this, sorry! It was pretty rude of me to just not respond after you'd given great responses. I was going towards a career in Finance with my Economics degree, but I'm not sure I like it much. I'm going to try and work for a year after school and try to figure out what it is I want to do. I pretty much thought law school would be a horrible idea because I used to not like reading/writing, but now it seems I want to do just that. I'm so confused! Although I'm not just going to let a mountain of debt pile up because I was confused on what to do with my life. I should also clarify that was a practice LSAT I took, not the real one. I didn't study for it, and I've also raised my GPA to 3.4, should be graduating around a 3.5. Thank you all for your responses, I find them very helpful, now I just have to figure out what the hell I'm doing with my life lol.
 

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