Sunday, December 30, 2007

Law School Expert's Best of 2007

Since launching the lawschoolexpert blog in July, I've had 12,000 readers visit. Thank you so much for your support, comments, and encouragement.

Here are the year's 5 Most Popular Law School Expert Posts:

1. With nearly 1,500 readers and 23 comments, this post about low LSAT scores was the year's most popular post.

2. The second most read was yesterday's post, so I need to thank my detractors. It's true what they say - all publicity is good publicity. (Ironically, this is one of my few posts with a significant typo, to my dismay....). I hate that I had to post this one, so I'm not going to link back to it here.

3. With 500 readers, Countdown to the December 1, 2007 LSAT came in 3rd place.

4. A close second was Should You Cancel Your LSAT Score.

5. My most controversial, but heartfelt, post about the value of attending law school inspired dozens of you to e-mail me and leave comments thanking me for encouraging you to pursue your dreams. I am not in the business of encouraging anyone to go to law school - that decision is up to you. But if you've made your decision, I am happy to apply my expertise to help you reach your goal. My readers know I have a tendency toward being idealistic and optimistic. I don't plan for this to change anytime soon.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank the websites that refer readers to me. Until yesterday, my number one referring website was Frugal Law Student. Yesterday, jd underground beat it out (and I'm pleased to announce the site is no longer quite as "underground" as it once was). Blawg, Cali Pre-Law Blog and lawsagna
were all kind enough to refer a significant number of readers to my blog.

I look forward to continuing this effort in 2008, and to posting many success stories along the way. Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Lawyers as Professionals

The law (and studying the law) is about listening to the views of others and developing well-reasoned opinions. Therefore, I happily print comments that disagree with my own.

Just as my opinions are taken into context, I urge my readers to consider the context of others' opinions. To that end, I refer my readers to this thread.
(Choose the Heading "What is Wrong With this Bitch?" - which appears, by the way, to have been written by a woman)

Racism, sexism and Anti-Antisemitism have no place in our world, let alone in the legal profession. As future lawyers, I urge you to stand up against your future classmates and colleagues- not about me or my worth, but to raise the level of discussion to one that is productive and useful.

In a few days it will be 2008 and these comments (about anyone) are intolerable. For anyone that disagrees, kindly stop visiting my blog.

Deciding to Attend Law School

I've been inundated with comments today from people who are very negative about their career prospects as attorneys. There are a lot of postings and articles on this topic (financial ramifications of attending law school). I'm not sure why there's such a sudden interest in something I posted back in September, but I always welcome new readers.

My blog and my law school admission consulting services are aimed to assist people who have already made the decision to go to law school, most of the time after considerable research and thought. The purpose of my blog is not to debate the merits of a legal education, but to offer advice and help to those who choose to seek it. I publish all relevant comments by readers, and truly appreciate the perspective added to the discussion.

Many people regret decisions they have made in life, and a (vocal) number of people regret their decision to attend law school. (It should be noted that none of the people leaving comments were my clients). Negativity is not my style - if you want to go to law school then I want to help you get there. I will offer my expertise and guidance and support.

I have practiced law. My husband is a practicing attorney as are his father, uncle, cousin and sister. My brother and two cousins are all attorneys. Most of my close friends are attorneys. They are all happy, intelligent, productive individuals who are able to support their families through this profession.

I wish everyone a very happy New Year, and hope to post a "Best of 2007 Law School Expert" List shortly.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Year's Resolutions for Law Applicants

If I were a law school applicant, these would be my New Year's Resolutions:

1. I will not judge my worth as a person by my LSAT score.

2. I will not judge my worth as a person by the law schools that choose to admit me.

3. I will continue to do everything in my power to craft professional, mature, careful and well-reasoned communications with the law schools that I hope to attend.

4. I will try to be a well-rounded person and learn new things about the world, whether or not those things are law related.

5. I will work to keep things in perspective and make time for the people who matter most to me.

These are the values I hope to instill in those of you applying to law school.

Personally, here are my New Year's Resolutions: To love my husband and daughters the best I can, to put forward my best advice and efforts in assisting law school applicants in reaching their goals, to get to the gym three times a week instead of just two, and to make time to pick up my knitting needles again (which will, in turn, hopefully keep my fingers from on-line shopping).

No matter your resolutions this year, I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors. May this be a year of fresh starts and exciting challenges for all of my law school applicant and pre-law candidate readers.

Friday, December 21, 2007

December 2007 LSAT Results Posted

LSAT scores came out early. (Happy Holidays!)

Read this previous posting about what to do now that you have your LSAT score.

If you're considering re-taking the LSAT in February 2008 for Fall 2008 admission, keep this in mind - People have been applying since early Fall and while your safety schools are still pretty sure bets, February LSAT takers are more likely to be waitlisted at schools where they are mid-range applicants.... By March (when your application would be complete) schools have a sense of whether they'll be able to fill their classes. This definitely impacts your application at schools where your numbers are under the 75th percentiles.

For those of you who are ready to apply - now is the time! Don't let LSAC closing for the holidays get you down. No law school will review your applications during the holidays anyway, and there are other ways to submit applications if you're so inclined. Now let's get to work!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Deferral to Regular Admission?

Santa Clara Law is among the schools that sent out "deferral" notices this week. What does a "deferral to regular admission" really mean?

If you applied Early Action or Early Decision (binding) to any law schools, they will make one of 3 decisions on your application by the deadline they provide (usually December 15th). They may decide to:

1. Accept (but this is very rare; the law school's only interest here is to admit those that will help bring their numbers up and to offer scholarships - thereby creating excitement early on in the feedback part of the admission cycle);

2. Reject (also very rare because the school has the prerogative to wait to reject you later and there is little reason for them to do so before they know whether or not they'll be able to fill their class); and

3. The Most Common Response - Deferral to the Regular Admission Cycle.

So, what does this really mean? Absolutely nothing! Your status is completely unchanged from what it was when you applied. You'll still be considered on the merits.

Regular readers of my blog know that law schools like to defer and waitlist and "hold" applicants because they are judged by rankings partially according to acceptance rates. By giving out fewer "admit" letters, they can control their acceptance rates. They want you to work a little harder. Law Schools want to be able to judge the likelihood with which you'll actually attend their school before they hand out the precious law school acceptance letter.

So, if you're deferred to regular admission at a school you'd really like to attend then fight for it. Demonstrate your continued interest in that school. Keep them in the loop with updates, especially new grades coming out this month. (Just don't annoy anyone in the admissions office by calling too often or saying too much).

Here is further explanation of Early Action and Early Decision programs for those of you just getting up to speed for Fall 2009 Law School Admission. I'm happy to take questions or comments....

Monday, December 17, 2007

Proof that Powerful Personal Statements Pay Off

I spend a lot of time on the subject of "Rankings Aren't Everything" and "LSAT Isn't Everything" and for those of you who still don't believe me, I want to share this with you--- it's from a client with a 154 LSAT who e-mailed me tonight:

Oh my god, i just got home and opened a package from Boston College Law School!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I still can't believe it!!! Couldn't have done it without you!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Proof that the LSAT isn't Everything

Ok, so in the last 2 days several of my clients have heard great news - acceptances came in from the University of Miami, Loyola-Chicago, and two of my clients got the thumbs up from UC Berkeley (Boalt).
But the best proof that those dreaded law school personal statements matter (and that the LSAT is not the end-all, be-all) came in today. One of my clients just got a phone call from the director of admission at UCLA - She is going to UCLA with a 156 LSAT!!!!!
Did she have something special to offer the law school beyond the numbers? Absolutely. But so do many law school applicants. The personal statement and optional questions matter; don't blow them off. Hundreds of applicants with LSATs in the 160s won't get into UCLA this year, but one with a 156 did!
The lesson? Don't get too down about the LSAT. Control what you can control - sell yourself in the most positive light possible, and pick schools where the programs match your interests and background. To learn how I can help, see these success stories.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Getting into Law School

This is one of the best parts of my job as a law school admission coach - hearing back from my clients when there is good news to share. This week, some of the law schools that admitted my wonderful clients include:
Boalt Hall (UC Berkeley)
U. New Mexico
St. Mary's

And, if you applied in September/October and haven't yet heard, don't worry. Letters are just starting to go out.... This list is just the tip of the iceberg and I look forward to reporting your successes one day very soon!

P.S. For everyone out there who received a rejection letter from Georgetown this week, know that you're not alone. They must have sent them out in a big batch this weekend....

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Pre-Law? Considerations for Choosing a College Major

I came across this posting today by a current law school applicant who talks about why she feels majoring in journalism has prepared her for a law degree. You don't have to major in pre-law or law and society to prepare yourself for law school. In fact, I felt (as an law student) that the undergraduate courses that best prepared me for law school exams was actually art history. In art history, we looked at slides and applied knowledge to determine a period/artist/movement and wrote an essay defending our conclusions. Sounds like law school, doesn't it?

For more pre-law information about choosing a college major that law schools will respect, see this.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Today's LSAT exam

Congratulations on having the LSAT behind you!

Here are links to my previous posts about what to consider when deciding whether to cancel an LSAT score. Things to think about before you cancel your LSAT score are posted here.

For those of you still waiting to submit applications, this is the time to get things underway with your law school applications, including law school personal statement, optional essays, addenda, resume, letters of rec, etc. Don't wait until scores are released to get on top of this!

If you're considering hiring a law school admission coach, please see my posts on important things to ask someone before making a decision.

More Law School Humor

One of my former clients, now a 1L, sent me this e-mail today:

It might be bad for business but in the interest of full disclosure I think you should post this on your website....

Thanks Ben! Now hit the books!!! Exams are just around the corner . . . And just think, at least you're not taking the LSAT today : )