LSL Veterans Thread

General admissions strategy questions, what are my chances, discussion of specific application materials like financial aid and scholarships.
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ajordan
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LSL Veterans Thread

Post by ajordan » Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:16 am

Welcome to the lawschool.life Veterans Thread

*Thread information is taken and copied from user MT Cicero at a previous forum. It's his with which to do what he wants, including removing at any time for any reason. Slight adjustments have been made to give proper credit. If he does not wish to migrate I'll happily help anybody who has questions.

First off, here is the spreadsheet MT Cicero has updated annually, which shows how much the Post 9/11 + Yellow Ribbon covers at the top ~100 law schools (all public are now free for 100%-eligible Post-9/11 vets):



Additionally:

1. Thanks for all your service.
2. Keep it civil and chill. No shitty inter-branch rivalry chat, but cheekiness and self-deprecation are always welcome!
3. Post 9/11 (if you're at 100%) covers the entire cost of public grad schools now.

Successful military fee waiver requests for the 2018-2019 cycle
Vandy
NYU
UC Berkeley
Boston U

Successful military fee waiver requests for the 2017-18 cycle
Berkeley
Colorado
Denver
GULC
Hawaii
NYU
Penn
UCLA
Vandy

Fee waivers for anyone last cycle: ASU, Baylor, George Mason, GW, Liberty

Schools that have waived application fees for veterans in the past (not all inclusive):
Lewis and Clark
ASU
Buffalo
Cincinnati
Colorado
Denver
UCONN
FIU
Hawaii
Notre Dame
Tulane
Richmond
Widener
William and Mary
UVA
NYU
Chicago
Georgetown
University of Washington
Berkeley
George Washington
Emory
Vanderbilt
Wyoming
Montana
Penn State
UMASS

No Waiver:
Columbia
Michigan
Cornell
Harvard
Yale
Stanford
Duke

*Requested shoutout to http://www.service2school.org, which is a nonprofit by vets for vets that specializes in getting fellow vets into law school, and hopefully helping them "punch above their weight" from a pure numbers standpoint. They help with test prep, personal statement, resumes, interview prep, etc (pretty much everything). And they don't charge anything.
Last edited by ajordan on Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:49 am, edited 4 times in total.

ajordan
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by ajordan » Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:36 am

Thread-Specific FAQ

*****************************************************************

Will being a Vet help me in the application process?

Some places more than others but the general anecdotal evidence, including from admissions consultant Ann Levine in her book, is that yes, it will help. Will it help more than an extra point or two on your GPA or LSAT? No, probably not.

Are Vets considered URM?

No. Many schools do value the diversity that Vets provide their incoming classes but Vets are not considered URM.

Will being a Vet help me get a legal job?

Anecdotally yes, especially when networking with other Vets. However, one should not expect to go to a local law school and walk into a federal position because of Vet's advantage.

How do I apply to law school?

The most common way is to register with the Credential Assembly Service at lsac.org. From there you, through CAS, will compile all transcripts, including the ones from the long, long ago you were hoping never to have to look at again, your LSAT score, your personal statement, letters of recommendation, and any other pertinent application information. Once the applications are ready to send you will be responsible for two fees, the CAS sending fee and the school's application fee. The latter is usually waivable for Vets with a polite email to the school's admissions office including your applicant number and the fact that you're a Vet and interested in applying.

How do I get started with the LSAT?

You can register for the actual test through lsac.org. Everything beyond that is up to you. A good first step is to download the free June 2007 diagnostic LSAT and take it under accurate, timed conditions.

Is my LSAT score high enough?

Is it at least at the median number for your target school? If not, probably not.

How do I know what school X's medians are?

These are listed on the ABA 509 reports. Google: "(School X) ABA 509 Report" for the most accurate information. Additionally these scores are compiled many other places for public viewing

I have a crappy GPA because of reason XYZ, can I still go to law school?

You need an LSAT score to back up your story of personal growth before you should be writing some kind of story of personal growth. Aim for the 75th percentile and be wary that GPA floors are sometimes a thing. Nobody gets a free pass.

Any good additional sites for information on these scores?

lawschoolnumbers.com and mylsn.info should be your resources for looking at who did and didn't get in with similar numbers. For information on how many of a certain school's graduates were placed in legal jobs lawschooltransparency.com does a nice job compiling that information.

MichiganHoosier
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by MichiganHoosier » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:27 am

Thanks for starting this back up, ajordan!

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UVA2B
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by UVA2B » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:16 am

Great job with the OP! Fellow vet here to help and answer questions.

ajordan
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by ajordan » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:55 am

Additional information that I would have added to the FAQ if I had concrete information would be:

How do schools handle health insurance for individuals and families vis-a-vis the GI Bill?

How are Reserve/NG SMs doing in law school? Are there special advantages to be gleaned other than access to TRICARE? How do you do summer law work and Active Training at the same time?

How are schools this cycle handling merit scholarship options with GI Bill payments, is anybody having success reclassifying scholarships into living stipends? This was/is a hot topic among vets applying/attending. I understand this may be school specific and sensitive information people don't want to give until later.

Keep us in mind if you have up-to-date information on any of these questions as they still seem to lack a consensus answer.

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LSNlife
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by LSNlife » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:37 am

Checking in from TLS. Currently in the reserves.

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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by Ark » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:15 am

Active duty checking in. Anyone enjoyed success with Service 2 School?

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UVA2B
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by UVA2B » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:41 pm

I can speak to the Reserve question you posed above, at least anecdotally.

Reserve duties are so unit-dependent that it would be wrong to treat how it affects law school as monolithic. Here are the advantages and disadvantages as I see them:

Advantages:
1. Additional pay to defray law school costs. Depending on rank, getting that supplemental couple hundred bucks/month can help with your other VA benefits.
2. Accruing points toward retirement while pursuing another career. Law school can be time-intensive, but I would wager that any Reservist can still accomplish good years toward retirement, and it'll be arguably easier in law school than it will be when practicing in the real world.
3. You still get to serve the country. This is a much more intrinsic benefit, but it's one I still cherish. I knew a career on active duty wasn't for me long-term, but that part of me isn't easily excised, so being able to continue serving on my terms while pursuing another career is psychologically and emotionally satisfying.
4. Relatedly, having some connection to your past life beyond veteran affinity groups is nice, as the culture of your service very much stays with you past your active duty service, so getting that little bit of camaraderie is personally valuable to me.

Disadvantages:
1. Time. Particularly for 1L year, having to take time off to handle reserve duties can be a lot, and you'll necessarily miss out on some things other law students are doing with their free time. You have to accept that you'll miss out on some things other law students get to do because you'll be on a drill weekend or satisfying your annual training requirements.
2. Flexibility. Relatedly, your schedule's flexibility can get nearly untenable at times, where you have to skip class to travel on orders, or you have to miss important parts of law school because of your service. Your school will be entirely understanding of your limitations, but that doesn't mean it doesn't still hurt to have to miss those things.
3. 1L year. Also related is how these sacrifices can affect your 1L performance. I'm not going to say that the reserves alone had a material impact on my performance, but when you combine 1L studying with reserves and other personal commitments you likely have, it's very realistic your performance can be impacted.
4. Looming activation. If you're transitioning from active duty, you'll get a two-year operational deferment where you won't be activated, but that obviously won't last for the entirety of law school. Depending on your previous service and background, not to mention the state of the U.S. military at the time, you could very well see an activation during law school, which means delaying graduation and having to rework your civilian career plans creatively. It's not impossible to do and others have done it, but it still sucks to have that possibility hanging over you.

Now some general advice for anyone considering SELRES or NG while in law school:
1. Make sure you know the requirements of the unit you'd be joining going in. Do they have set weekends they train that you can plan on? Do they have required time for annual training (the "2 weeks" part), or can you plan that on your own? Do they allow telework, or is your unit based near your law school where you can balance them? There is a ton going into this consideration, so just read the first sentence and understand the kind of research you should do before taking orders into that reserve unit. That usually means reaching out to your unit OIC/CO to get the lowdown on all of the requirements on you in your unit. I could go on at length on this, but I'll just leave this point here. You can ask more if you'd like.
2. Leave yourself some flexibility. I'm not sure if this is still the case, but previously there were signing bonuses for people transitioning from active to reserve to stay in the SELRES, which is really nice, but also comes with a required three years on SELRES. If you need the money at the time, absolutely take it and accept that reality (I did, FWIW). But if you can afford to forego that bonus, consider just signing on to SELRES without that required service, which will give you the freedom to take time transitioning to IRR, where you won't have any requirements on you. That will allow you to avoid possible activations (unless you get nabbed for an activation before you decide to transition to IRR), and will allow you to better plan your civilian career because you'll be able to go IRR for the important parts in your career while you establish your reputation. This flexibility can be/would be incredibly valuable for a young attorney/reservist.

I'll leave it here because I've probably already gotten anyone reading to tune out, but if anyone has non-service specific questions about reserves while in law school, I'm happy to take them.

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m052310
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by m052310 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:31 pm

Ark wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:15 am
Active duty checking in. Anyone enjoyed success with Service 2 School?
I thought they were pretty great. If nothing else just reading there PDF/book thing on the application process made life easier. I didn't use my advisor (I don't know if that's the term they use, but the person they pair you with) nearly as much as she was willing to help, but it was great. She helped tweak my resume, went over a game plan of which schools to take a shot at, and was very helpful with coming up with general ideas of what I could do with a personal statement. It's also free and no commitment, so if it doesn't do anything for you, no harm.

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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by haus » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:46 pm

Reporting in.

NavyNuke
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by NavyNuke » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:29 pm

Ark wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:15 am
Active duty checking in. Anyone enjoyed success with Service 2 School?
I have. My cycle is going great, and I credit a lot of that success to the help I got through Service to School. My ambassador encouraged me to go with a much more personal PS than I had originally written, and I think it is really paying off. Highly recommend.

ajordan
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by ajordan » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:26 pm

NavyNuke wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:29 pm
Ark wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:15 am
Active duty checking in. Anyone enjoyed success with Service 2 School?
I have. My cycle is going great, and I credit a lot of that success to the help I got through Service to School. My ambassador encouraged me to go with a much more personal PS than I had originally written, and I think it is really paying off. Highly recommend.
Do you feel like you're punching above your numbers? If that's too personal you don't have to answer. I remember a poster last year who may have had the best cycle on LSN relative to his numbers who was posting in the thread last year. It seems there is at least some potential for that to happen to Vets.

NavyNuke
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by NavyNuke » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:01 pm

ajordan wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:26 pm
NavyNuke wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:29 pm
Ark wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:15 am
Active duty checking in. Anyone enjoyed success with Service 2 School?
I have. My cycle is going great, and I credit a lot of that success to the help I got through Service to School. My ambassador encouraged me to go with a much more personal PS than I had originally written, and I think it is really paying off. Highly recommend.
Do you feel like you're punching above your numbers? If that's too personal you don't have to answer. I remember a poster last year who may have had the best cycle on LSN relative to his numbers who was posting in the thread last year. It seems there is at least some potential for that to happen to Vets.
Based on mylsn, a non URM with my numbers has a 50/50 shot at mich and duke, even better chances at the rest of the bottom half of the t13, and no shot at the t6 or uva/penn.

I'm in at Columbia, mich, Duke, northwestern, Berkeley, and Cornell. Out at penn and Chicago, and still waiting to hear from the rest.

I think being a vet helps you get one foot in the door even if your numbers are on the low end, and its important to nail your PS, have good LORs, and have a well put together resume to get your other foot in. That's why I'm so high on s2s. The ambassador I got was very helpful and gave great advice.

The verdict is still out on how much I have over performed, but even if the rest of the schools are dings (which most probably will be) I think I have punched a little above my numbers.

ajordan
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by ajordan » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:06 am

Thanks for being so candid

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MT Cicero
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by MT Cicero » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:30 pm

OP info is cleared hot to stay, and please feel free to change whatever you like. I'll still plan on updating the spreadsheet every summer-ish.

Cmoney $$
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by Cmoney $$ » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:33 pm

I have a question regarding reserve service. I am transitioning off 11 years active duty enlisted, and I was selected to commission as a 2LT in the reserve (medical service corps). Given everything posted in regards to SELRES service, I will not have an obligation outside of 8 years IRR. How realistic is it to plan to transition to IRR immediately after commissioning? I was just offered a lucrative summer job while I wait for law school (more than 2lt pay) and I'm looking at having to attend the direct commissioning course and/or basic officer leaders course over the summer or even during my 1L year. I would really like to avoid this as I will be trying to save as much money as possible to keep the pressure off my wife during 1L as I won't be working and do not want to incur any debt (post 9/11 gi bill, scholarship will cover tuition and provide housing allowance, but I have a wife and 2 kids). I'm also concerned as I am not being offered 2 years of stabilization as I'm not transitioning into another enlisted position, and some of my pals are headed to Korea this year with the reserve.

I would like to transfer to the IRR so that I can come back post grad and serve SELRES for 9 years and retire. Any input is appreciated!

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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by UVA2B » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:37 am

Cmoney $$ wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:33 pm
I have a question regarding reserve service. I am transitioning off 11 years active duty enlisted, and I was selected to commission as a 2LT in the reserve (medical service corps). Given everything posted in regards to SELRES service, I will not have an obligation outside of 8 years IRR. How realistic is it to plan to transition to IRR immediately after commissioning? I was just offered a lucrative summer job while I wait for law school (more than 2lt pay) and I'm looking at having to attend the direct commissioning course and/or basic officer leaders course over the summer or even during my 1L year. I would really like to avoid this as I will be trying to save as much money as possible to keep the pressure off my wife during 1L as I won't be working and do not want to incur any debt (post 9/11 gi bill, scholarship will cover tuition and provide housing allowance, but I have a wife and 2 kids). I'm also concerned as I am not being offered 2 years of stabilization as I'm not transitioning into another enlisted position, and some of my pals are headed to Korea this year with the reserve.

I would like to transfer to the IRR so that I can come back post grad and serve SELRES for 9 years and retire. Any input is appreciated!
Considering you're taking a Reserve commission, it's not quite as simple as just signing a contract as an enlisted reservist. That said, you should be working with your transition specialist in your personnel dept (I'm only familiar with CTOs in the Navy, but I think all services have people assigned to assist in the transition to the reserves) to see if there are any SELRES requirements that come with your commission. You may have to stay SELRES until you complete DCC or BOLC because those are requirements to serve under a reserve commission. If so, I would see how early I could get into those courses, then immediately transition to IRR until you're ready to make the move back.

But it all depends on what requirements are attached to accepting your reserve commission.

Cmoney $$
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by Cmoney $$ » Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:47 pm

I have a draft of my contract which only lists an 8 year IRR requirement, but I also have provisional orders to a drilling unit. I have not accepted the commission yet. I am still weighing my decision. I start transition leave next week and will have 90 days to sign the reserve contract before the offer is rescinded.

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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by CMac86 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:55 am

Ark wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:15 am
Active duty checking in. Anyone enjoyed success with Service 2 School?
I have a mentor through them now.

He has been great with checking essays and helping me make sure I have the most competitive application I can. I was paired with someone that is going to school in my target area, albeit not at a target school (he's going to a school that is beyond even my hail mary level reach).

I have also reached out to make veteran student contacts at my target schools. From a campus visit this weekend, it lead to getting contact info for a vet at my top choice school.

The combination of this thread, Service 2 School, and target school contacts, I feel like I'm getting a better idea of how to prepare my application, what to expect from the VA while in school, and about the transition from military to law school.

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MT Cicero
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by MT Cicero » Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:16 pm

Since I can't edit the OP over at the other site, I just posted a message at the top of the Yellow Ribbon spreadsheet instead. Can someone take a look at the link in the OP and confirm the message is front and center to them?

Also, considering removing the spreadsheet info completely and just keeping the message, then getting a new link to the spreadsheet for our OP here. Thoughts?

*Edit - doesn't seem to be working. I don't know how to make sure I'm changing the one that links on TLS. It just created a new version.

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MT Cicero
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by MT Cicero » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:35 pm

Ok, can someone let me know:

1. If they can still access the spreadsheet through the original link?
2. If they can access it through this link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing

Once the answers are (1) No and (2) Yes, we can update the OP to reflect the link in (2).

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UVA2B
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by UVA2B » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:36 pm

Mission accomplished Cicero.

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MT Cicero
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by MT Cicero » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:40 pm

UVA2B wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:36 pm
Mission accomplished Cicero.
Cash money.

ajordan, when you get a chance will you make the swap in the OP?

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uscg26
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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by uscg26 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:49 pm

ajordan wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:26 pm
NavyNuke wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:29 pm
Ark wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:15 am
Active duty checking in. Anyone enjoyed success with Service 2 School?
I have. My cycle is going great, and I credit a lot of that success to the help I got through Service to School. My ambassador encouraged me to go with a much more personal PS than I had originally written, and I think it is really paying off. Highly recommend.
Do you feel like you're punching above your numbers? If that's too personal you don't have to answer. I remember a poster last year who may have had the best cycle on LSN relative to his numbers who was posting in the thread last year. It seems there is at least some potential for that to happen to Vets.
I'm an ambassador and all my applicants have punched above their numbers to varying degrees (nothing shocking, but definite reaches).

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Re: LSL Veterans Thread

Post by ajordan » Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:16 pm

I changed it. Thanks and good looking out!

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