Splitter with C&F Issues

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nycsplitter
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Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by nycsplitter » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:10 pm

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your time! I am pretty much a bundle of nerves about this cycle. I have been planning to apply to law school for many years and its all coming down to this Fall.

First off, the numbers: 2.5/164. Took the LSAT one time in September. F's from Community College in 2008-2009 killed my GPA, but it wasn't stellar at my 4 year school either (graduated 3 years ago). An addendum to address this has been written, and I have matured so much since college. My LORs from current attorneys that supervise my work speaks to this.

I also have some C&F Issues (a DWI from 2012, a possession of marijuana from 2008, and minor traffic violations)

I have worked as a paralegal for the past two years, and have good LORs, and my resume is strong. My top choices are Fordham, Cardozo, Brooklyn Law, NYLS, Pepperdine, Loyola Law LA, and Southwestern.

Do you think I have a shot at some of the schools closer to the top range of my list? Any shot at all of money at those in the lower range, or will my GPA exclude me?

Do you guys think my C&F will exclude me from admission/scholarship opportunities?

Thanks so much!

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MKC
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by MKC » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:24 pm

Assuming you've kept out of trouble since 2012, I think this stuff is far enough in the past that it's unlikely to affect your admissions chances. The GPA is a bigger deal. mylsn.info will give you admissions chances:

Image

More importantly, you've picked a bunch of regional or local schools. These degrees are not portable and the employment prospects for the institutions you've listed range from bad to dismal. If you're going to go to law school with that GPA, you need at least a few more points on your LSAT, and preferably a 170+.

nycsplitter
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by nycsplitter » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:46 pm

@MKC
Thanks so much for the advice. Regarding the LSAT, I studied as hard as possible while working full time for 3 months. In PTs every Saturday, i scored 160-162 consistently in the last 6 weeks, and get my best score by 2 full points on test day. Raised 11 points from my 153 cold diagnostic. On the actual test I got 25/27 RC, which I had never come close to, and 18/23 LG, which was also my best ever. Im worried that if I take it again I will not improve. This is something I need to think long and hard about.

In regards to my school choices, I have no interest in BigLaw. I want to be in a courtroom, doing criminal defense. I believe that these regional schools can lead me to a job in the DAs office as a stepping stone. Am i sorely mistaken?

Good to hear about C&F!
Last edited by nycsplitter on Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Slytherpuff
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by Slytherpuff » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:52 pm

I agree that the C&F issues are unlikely to affect your admission chances. I'd encourage you to retake the LSAT to get your score up in the hopes that you can get into a better school.

You can find out more information on these school's employment statistics, salary information where available, and bar passages rates here: https://www.lstreports.com/schools/

Here's Fordham, for example: https://www.lstreports.com/schools/fordham/ - Not ideal but respectable.
https://www.lstreports.com/schools/cardozo/ - Cardozo here, not awful employment stats but look at how little money you can expect to make at the kind of jobs that school would get you. Good luck paying off law school debt.
New York Law School and all of the California schools are particularly grim. You won't make enough money to pay off your loans, and that's IF you can get a job and pass the bar exam. I wouldn't consider going to any of those. And please don't throw your life down the drain by going to Southwestern: https://www.lstreports.com/schools/southwestern/

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MKC
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by MKC » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:54 pm

Check out lawschooltransparency.com. LST gives New York Law School an employment score of 50.6%. This means that 50.6% got full time jobs that required passing the bar within nine months of graduation, meaning that 49.4% were not working as lawyers. That's a coin flip.

nycsplitter
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by nycsplitter » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:58 pm

Slytherpuff,

I haven't heard of lstreports.com before, this is very very helpful. Cardozo seems to accept people with my numbers, offer some money, and has decent employment prospects. This is becoming my first choice.

I am likely applying to Fordham part time, and hoping this will make my chances better while allowing me to continue working during school to offset the costs at a school im guaranteed no $$ at.

Thanks so much for your help!

nycsplitter
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by nycsplitter » Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:01 pm

MKC wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:54 pm
Check out lawschooltransparency.com. LST gives New York Law School an employment score of 50.6%. This means that 50.6% got full time jobs that required passing the bar within nine months of graduation, meaning that 49.4% were not working as lawyers. That's a coin flip.
I would hope, at a school with their numbers, that I would be more than capable of being on the Law Review, top 10%, etc. So I think I can bank on the coin being weighted.

I know this is not a good way to look at it, but my confidence is pretty high in my abilities, if not my past performance.

That being said, law school transparency is def turning me off to some of my choices. Retaking seems risky though...

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ymmv
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by ymmv » Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:10 pm

nycsplitter wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:01 pm
MKC wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:54 pm
Check out lawschooltransparency.com. LST gives New York Law School an employment score of 50.6%. This means that 50.6% got full time jobs that required passing the bar within nine months of graduation, meaning that 49.4% were not working as lawyers. That's a coin flip.
I would hope, at a school with their numbers, that I would be more than capable of being on the Law Review, top 10%, etc. So I think I can bank on the coin being weighted.
You can’t and you shouldn’t.
nycsplitter wrote: I know this is not a good way to look at it,
You’re right, it’s not.
nycsplitter wrote:but my confidence is pretty high in my abilities, if not my past performance.
So is everyone else’s. No one knows how they’ll do in law school until they get there. And no one understands till then just how arbitrary the grading can be.

Don’t go to any school assuming you’ll have better than the average outcome. And consider what happens if you turn out to be the 49.4% mkc mentioned.

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Stranger
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by Stranger » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:03 pm

So, I'd like to step in here as one of our resident super splitters. My GPA was basically the same as yours: 2.52, but I had a considerably higher LSAT at 173. I'm currently at W&L on about 2/3 scholarship. If you can find 2-3 more points, I think you'll get in here. Someone else in my class has a 165/2.36 (I haven't matched the LSN profile to which member of my class it is, but I think I could figure it out if I cared to), and that person is here on a scholarship. I think they're going to try to raise the LSAT median again with the next class, but I assure you that your GPA is no barrier to entry here. This might be your ceiling without breaking 170, but between the super low cost of living and the potential for scholarships even for low-GPA candidates, I think a retake and targeting W&L might be a really good plan for you.

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Slytherpuff
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by Slytherpuff » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:19 pm

I don't think W&L would be a good fit for nycsplitter - numbers-wise, sure, it makes sense. But it seems like they want to practice in the NYC or LA area based on school choices, and W&L may be a strong regional school with good scholarship money but it's not sending a lot of people to those markets.

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Nony
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by Nony » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:21 pm

nycsplitter wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:46 pm
@MKC
Thanks so much for the advice. Regarding the LSAT, I studied as hard as possible while working full time for 3 months. In PTs every Saturday, i scored 160-162 consistently in the last 6 weeks, and get my best score by 2 full points on test day. Raised 11 points from my 153 cold diagnostic. On the actual test I got 25/27 RC, which I had never come close to, and 18/23 LG, which was also my best ever. Im worried that if I take it again I will not improve. This is something I need to think long and hard about.

In regards to my school choices, I have no interest in BigLaw. I want to be in a courtroom, doing criminal defense. I believe that these regional schools can lead me to a job in the DAs office as a stepping stone. Am i sorely mistaken?

Good to hear about C&F!
Yes, regional schools can get you a job in a DA’s office. When you say you want to do criminal defense, do you me as a private practitioner? (Just that if you think you might want to work for a public defender’s office at some point, they frequently won’t touch people if they’ve worked as ADAs. But if you want to go private, having been a prosecutor is a decent background. But also being a PD would work.)

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Stranger
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by Stranger » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:37 pm

Slytherpuff wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:19 pm
I don't think W&L would be a good fit for nycsplitter - numbers-wise, sure, it makes sense. But it seems like they want to practice in the NYC or LA area based on school choices, and W&L may be a strong regional school with good scholarship money but it's not sending a lot of people to those markets.
That's fair, and if OP is very market-specific, it's not a great fit. But if OP is more open than the initial list implies, it could be a reasonable option.

nycsplitter
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by nycsplitter » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:38 pm

Stranger wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:03 pm
So, I'd like to step in here as one of our resident super splitters. My GPA was basically the same as yours: 2.52, but I had a considerably higher LSAT at 173. I'm currently at W&L on about 2/3 scholarship. If you can find 2-3 more points, I think you'll get in here. Someone else in my class has a 165/2.36 (I haven't matched the LSN profile to which member of my class it is, but I think I could figure it out if I cared to), and that person is here on a scholarship. I think they're going to try to raise the LSAT median again with the next class, but I assure you that your GPA is no barrier to entry here. This might be your ceiling without breaking 170, but between the super low cost of living and the potential for scholarships even for low-GPA candidates, I think a retake and targeting W&L might be a really good plan for you.
Stranger, thanks for the thoughts!

I have noticed that W&L is pretty favorable for splitters and has a great reputation, but like Slytherpuff noted, Virginia isn't really an option for me. Due to personal circumstances, I am going to end up in either NYC or LA. Some personal things are still up in the air, so I need to apply in both markets in case I end up having to move to LA next summer (currently living in, and hoping to stay in, NYC).

This being the case seriously limits my options, as the only choices above fordham/cardozo in NYC are NYU/Columbia and in LA it's USC/UCLA.... I dont think i need to say more about why I won't be wasting an application fee on those options, even if I could squeak out 2-3 more points.

nycsplitter
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by nycsplitter » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:41 pm

Nony wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:21 pm
Yes, regional schools can get you a job in a DA’s office. When you say you want to do criminal defense, do you me as a private practitioner? (Just that if you think you might want to work for a public defender’s office at some point, they frequently won’t touch people if they’ve worked as ADAs. But if you want to go private, having been a prosecutor is a decent background. But also being a PD would work.)
This is great to have confirmed! I eventually want to go into private practice, and always thought that having experience from the other side would benefit me in this goal. I have considered the PDs office as well, and can't say at this time which I prefer. I plan to look into these two options in far greater depth while in school. But, given my goals in the field, I feel better about my options.

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Slytherpuff
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by Slytherpuff » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:44 pm

If you really want to throw in an extra LA application, I'd say to retake the LSAT and add Irvine to your list. I'm nervous about the employment stats at the other SoCal schools you have on your list, but Irvine is a decent school and you might be able to bump your LSAT up enough so that you're a true splitter for them.

nycsplitter
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by nycsplitter » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:45 pm

Nony wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:21 pm
Yes, regional schools can get you a job in a DA’s office. When you say you want to do criminal defense, do you me as a private practitioner? (Just that if you think you might want to work for a public defender’s office at some point, they frequently won’t touch people if they’ve worked as ADAs. But if you want to go private, having been a prosecutor is a decent background. But also being a PD would work.)
To piggyback off of this, what about the US Attorney's Office? Is it much more competitive to be an AUSA over an ADA? Does a federal prosecutor need a T14 background?

Thanks again!

nycsplitter
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by nycsplitter » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:01 pm

Slytherpuff wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:44 pm
If you really want to throw in an extra LA application, I'd say to retake the LSAT and add Irvine to your list. I'm nervous about the employment stats at the other SoCal schools you have on your list, but Irvine is a decent school and you might be able to bump your LSAT up enough so that you're a true splitter for them.
Wow, UC Irvine looks very promising! I hadn’t considered it but it seems to be commutable from LA. I will certainly add it to the list and consider that retake.

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CS1775
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by CS1775 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:17 am

nycsplitter wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:45 pm
Nony wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:21 pm
Yes, regional schools can get you a job in a DA’s office. When you say you want to do criminal defense, do you me as a private practitioner? (Just that if you think you might want to work for a public defender’s office at some point, they frequently won’t touch people if they’ve worked as ADAs. But if you want to go private, having been a prosecutor is a decent background. But also being a PD would work.)
To piggyback off of this, what about the US Attorney's Office? Is it much more competitive to be an AUSA over an ADA? Does a federal prosecutor need a T14 background?

Thanks again!
The answers to your questions are "yes" and "it depends."

Most criminal prosecutions are brought by state (state, county, municipal) prosecutors, so states obviously need more prosecutors. US Attorney's offices bring more high profile cases and prefer to only bring cases that have a strong chance of success. States also normally organize prosecutorial offices by county or district, so state prosecutors have a smaller-sized jurisdiction and a higher caseload. US Attorneys' jurisdiction is limited to their District, e.g. the District of Massachusetts, the District of Connecticut, the Southern District of New York, etc.

Put it this way, a robbery or a burglary or even a murder is typically charged by a state prosecutor because municipal police respond to these crimes and bring the cases to the prosecutors. US Attorneys handle cases like drug trafficking, sex trafficking, political corruption (states can also handle corruption cases but google "Operation Plunder Dome"), or some other crime that would be handled by agencies like DEA, FBI, ATF, etc. Keep in mind that state prosecutors and US Attorneys can and do cooperate, but I'm just trying to give you an idea of the different workloads. A rookie state prosecutor is going to start off prosecuting OSL, aka "Operating with a Suspended Driver's License", but an AUSA is going to handle cases where the Feds have jurisdiction.

Do you need to be T14 to be an AUSA? It depends on what district you're applying to and it also depends on a few other factors. Prestigious districts such as SDNY are going to be very competitive. If you want to be an AUSA at a smaller office, then you can go to a regional school (non-T14) and work your way towards being an AUSA through clerking with a Federal district court judge. Collective wisdom is that clerking in a high-crime district, such as the southern border districts (AZ, NM, WDTX, SDTX, SDCA), is going to place you in a better position.

If you do end up going to a non-T14 law school and want to continue on the prosecutorial path, this is roughly what you need to do:

1. Make sure you go to law school with a big scholarship
2. Get as good of grades as possible as a 1L
3. Spend your 1L summer pretty much anywhere except a public defender or a criminal defense firm. I would suggest a judge, USAO, or DA/State AG
4. Focus on interning during your 2L and 3L years with prosecutorial offices
5. Clerk - for a state prosecutor, go with a state judge in the state you want to work in. For an AUSA, clerk with a Federal judge. Like I said above, you'd want to focus either on clerking in the same district (e.g. if you want to work as an AUSA for SDCA, clerk with a SDCA judge) or in a district with a large criminal docket (borders, SDNY, etc.)
Last edited by CS1775 on Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Nony
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Re: Splitter with C&F Issues

Post by Nony » Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:35 am

I agree with a lot of the above, but I don't think it matters if you get experience as a public defender/with a criminal defense firm (unlike the other way around, I haven't seen any USAOs care if you have defense experience; it's often seen as a plus).

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