klick wrote: ↑
Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:02 am
Just wanted some of your input on the decision before me. Also, curious if this thread allows community answers or just yours; if only yours, is there another place I can post this as well?
I am one year removed from undergrad with work experience in venture capital and law. According to LSAC, I have a 3.06 GPA for my undergraduate time at a top 40 school where I graduated with a BA in Math, BS in Bus. Admin (Finance), and a minor in CompE. In my opinion, I've got pretty compelling softs, quality work experience, and a pretty well-defined long term goal that lies in the intersection of law, VC, and tech, though I plan to clerk for a close family friend for a year after law school. Oh yeah and I am a Non-URM Immigrant and first generation college student, if that even matters.
I hired an admissions consultant for this cycle, and I am not sure how I feel about the progress we made; for one, I wanted to apply by November but we only just finished our apps. Secondly, I feel like my writing has actually been dulled down, though the consultant has helped with the optional essays. I also feel I can do better on the LSAT, so I am retaking it in February.
So far, we have applied basically to the Top 4-20 schools. I have interviewed with UChicago, Cornell, Wash U, and Northwestern. The Wash U and NU interviews went particularly well; I received almost a full ride from the former, and while I haven't received a decision from the latter, I am still receiving emails from my interviewer with admissions advice (though I don't expect to get in).
EDIT: I just noticed the opportunity cost bit. Well, if I didn't go to law school in 2018 I would probably go back into finance for a year. I might choose to continue in VC or move to a more traditional analyst position.
My questions are:
Do you think I should consider waiting this cycle out and applying next cycle? I think my abysmal uGPA will really hinder me from T13 anyhow.
Is transferring a good option?
Will there really be a huge difference in my education and career prospects between a T20 and the T13, especially if I am almost guaranteed a federal clerkship?
Last question (kind of weird and I don't mind if you don't answer):
In general, what is the best way to leverage political connections in the field of law? For example, do they help in the admittance process or just the job-seeking process?
I'll get to all of your questions, but first just wanted to reiterate that anyone can offer their advice and opinion on the questions you ask, and in fact that's the entire point of this thread. My opinion is only one voice, and there are other people who can offer high quality advice to you as well. If you don't get what you're looking for here (unfortunately/fortunately I can't force anyone else to respond), you can bring your questions to your own thread or you can also bring the questions up with our resident admissions consultant and noted All-star Mike Spivey, linked in the OP.
Onto your actual questions:
1. You should definitely consider waiting a cycle if you're unhappy with your admissions results. Getting your applications in by end of January/beginning of February is on the late side, and you could've fallen victim to both a limited number of acceptances available and scholarship funds already spoken for by other, earlier applicants. Some people apply late and get the types of results they were looking for going into the cycle, but it's pretty easily established through mylsn that your options only improve if you apply earlier in the cycle. Considering you're already one year removed, there will be little to no harm in waiting one additional year to start law school (this is coming from someone who was nearly a decade removed from UG when I decided to go to law school, FWIW). Your GPA might not be great, but when you apply late, you're not being compared to all of the people who applied with similar numbers as much as you are being compared against the applicant pool that has already been considered and offered spots. Let's say a school admits 1000 people in a cycle, it's very possible 800, 900, or more have been admitted by this point, and all scholarship offers would be out, more or less, by this point. Even if your numbers don't change, you have an opportunity to make it into the earlier part of that initial wave of acceptances instead of fighting over the scraps of admissions that are left over for late contenders with strong numbers or a particular need for the incoming class the school seems short on (GPA, LSAT, URM, etc.). So it'll only benefit you to wait, even if admissions officers approach next cycle like it's going to be more competitive, which they might since applications in general have increased and may be likely to continue.
2. Transferring can be a good option after you've completed at least one semester of law school, but you shouldn't even contemplate it until you've gotten to a law school, performed well enough to transfer, and have evaluated the financial and professional ramifications of transferring. There are times it makes sense to transfer, but there are zero times it makes sense to think about transferring before you ever start law school. There is an entire discussion here to be had, but it only belongs with people who have actually gone through 1L and are in a position to transfer potentially. So I'll reserve the long answer to this question for if/when that becomes a realistic possibility.
3. Education, no, career prospects, potentially. It's no secret that law school education is almost entirely uniform within this tier of school. The professors will be impressive, will have a firm grasp on the material and their own unique way of teaching it, and the overall academic environment in terms of intelligence, work ethic, and drive to learn the material will be similar enough to be indistinguishable generally.
Career prospects can be different though, depending on what/where you want it. The T13's biggest leg up is in big firm hiring, where the T13 place nationally every year. The "T20," which can be better understood as the strongest regionals outside the T13 place more regionally, although they have some reach beyond their immediate region. So if you're looking to get work at a biglaw firm outside that school's immediate region, you should at least be wary that you may be out of luck if you don't place highly in your class (and in case this enters your mind: you really can't predict this, so please don't assume you'll be top of your class. You might be, but it's also equally/more likely you don't. This gets into the law school curve, which leaves a lot of uncertainty for anyone to predict how they'll perform).
Since we're addressing career prospects, who is this family friend you expect to clerk for following graduation? If you are certain you'll have this as an option, and they are in the federal judiciary, this could slightly change things. Coming out of federal clerkships, depending on the reach and influence of the judge, can be helpful with hiring in big firms generally. I have no idea how certain this opportunity is for you, but if you've been given assurances you can count on for clerking for them, regardless of law school performance, grades, etc., then that's something you can/should take into account. But you should make sure you have the ability to count on that no matter where you go or how you perform in law school.
4. I'm not sure I know what you mean by "political connections." If you mean literally politicians, the only influence they will likely have is as an impressive recommender, which may or may not affect admissions in the T13 or T20. While not completely common, it's not unheard of at all to have high level political influencers try to wield influence in admissions, but the admissions don't generally have to worry whether a Congressman from another state will affect them in any substantial way, so it's really just another impressive recommendation among impressive recommendations.
If, by political connections, you mean people who have influence at the law school you're considering, then it can make a difference. Influential alumni will/can reach out to the law school to notify them of your application and your connection to them, and that's something schools take notice of, both because they like furthering the alumni tradition and because they want to keep that influential alumni happy and giving to the school.
Depending on what type of political connection you're talking about will affect the rest of this discussion though.
I hope this helps with some of your questions, and I hope others choose to weigh in on your questions. Advice is always better when it comes from the community instead of just one poster. Good luck with the rest of your cycle, and I hope you choose to sit out to see the kinds of options you can have early in the cycle!