Update on Post-college D considering Law School

I posted last spring that D was considering law school. She took the LSAT in October, scored pretty well, then decided she needed more time to figure out how to manage the whole application, going away, money, etc. thing. She held off on applying until this year’s cycle. (She’s kind of glad of that now, given the COVID circumstances.)

Meanwhile, she has continued working and took a second shot at the LSAT this month. At this point she now has T14-worthy LSAT and GPA and will have great recs, albeit she is not URM and will be 4 years out of college and 26 years old by the time of Fall 2021 entry.

She is interested in criminal law and merit money and the highest possible ranked school she can get a good offer from.

Are you willing to share her stats (LSAT score & undergraduate GPA). If so, they need to be accurate–especially the LSAT as even a one point difference can be the difference between acceptance or rejection and scholarship likelihood versus unlikely.

LSAT 174, GPA - I’m not exactly sure but likely 3.9+. (2 different schools involved, but I know she had 4.0 for years 2, 3, 4.) Top ranked in her graduating class. Majored in Communications and Business/Marketing concentration.

Certainly with those stats she should be a candidate for merit money at a number of schools in the T-14, especially in the 7-14 range.

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Ask the schools for fee waivers. Apply to all of the t14, except any school where she would absolutely not go for three years. Compare/negotiate merit aid offers and need-based offers (HYS offers need-based aid only). Prosper.

Good luck.

Interesting profile:

Age 26 at entry to law school which is not uncommon, an LSAT score above all T-14 medians, a median or above median undergraduate GPA for the T-6 law schools, majored in communications & business/marketing, seeking merit scholarship money & has an interest in criminal law.

Why criminal law ? Does her current work has any relation to that field ?

Is she interested in becoming a prosecutor or a defense attorney ?

Even though Harvard, Yale & Stanford do not offer merit scholarship awards, getting accepted to any of the three law schools can be used as an effective negotiating tool for increased merit aid at the remaining T-14 law schools.

P.S. I haven’t checked recently, but Northwestern Law may still offer near full tuition scholarships to all accepted ED applicants.

A 174 LSAT & 3.91 undergraduate GPA should yield scholarship offers from Columbia & Chicago in addition to the other lower ranked T-14s.

@publisher your comment on NW caused for to take a look at their ED program. If admitted ED you get a scholarship of $120,000 over the three years. Just have to stay enrolled to get it each year. The stated tuition is currently $68,500 per year so the total tuition nut would be $85,000 or $28,500 per year.

The Northwestern Law scholarship award has remained constant since inception (if I recall correctly), but tuition has increased.

@sylvan8798: I encourage your daughter to apply to a dozen or more law schools. Even with outstanding numbers, one can be disappointed.

Yale & Stanford are small, therefore, even many with outstanding stats can get waitlisted.

About 10 years ago, a 29 year old with a 176 LSAT & a strong, verifiable interest in criminal law was waitlisted at Harvard. Ended up attending a tier two or tier three law school in a flyover state on a full tuition scholarship because he wanted to stay home after law school & practice in his home city.

I can offer some further advice, but it is important to understand the basis of her interest in criminal law, whether prosecution or defense, and where geographically she would like to practice. Feel free to PM me if you prefer.

In researching schools that have ED, BU gives a full ride…UT gives in state tuition to OOS students, UWash says they give the maximum scholarships to admitted ED applicants but don’t state an amount. ASU gives full tuition with ED to Honors college. USC gives a minimum of 1/2 tuition. GW gives full tuition to ED admitted to Presidential Merit scholars applications. Some others in lower ranked schools give ED scholarships as well.

@burghdad : Are you referring to law schools or to undergraduate schools or a mixture ?

Confused in this law school thread because “ASU gives full tuition with ED to Honors college” seems like undergrad as law schools do not have honors colleges.

Don’t even think about ED with those numbers. She’ll earn plenty of merit offers and by applying broadly, can ‘negotiate’ similar schools against each other. Granted, if she’s interested in Crim Law, the T14 doesn’t much matter, but she just might change her mind in LS and decide that she wants to go after a highly competitive legal job. If so, the T14 has a leg up on those.

@publisher. Laws Schools. Both ASU and GW have two kinds of ED ones looking for the scholarships which are not doubt Uber competitive and ones just looking to get into the school without regard to the full rides.

ASU has something called Binding Admission- O’Conner Merit Scholar Program which makes no mention of scholarship money. They also have something call Binding Admission- O’Conner Honors Program which requires a 165 and 3.81 as minimums. That is the Program with full tuition.

GW has regular binding early decision with no mention of scholarship money. They also have something called Binding Presidential Merit Scholarship which awards full tuition. If you don’t get admitted into that program you go into the regular decision pool

@bluebayou I wasn’t putting out that information specifically for the OP but rather just for purposes of reference for others who view this site. Quite frankly I was unaware of ED in law school and how some offer highly competitive scholarships as part of that process. But I get what you are saying. If you have top stats like OP applying broadly will yield lots of scholarship money without limiting yourself with ED.

@burghdad: Thank you for your posts. Really helpful. I was thrown by the term “honors college” when referring to a law school. “Honors Program” makes more sense.

Again, thank you.

@publisher. Yes I could see how my nomenclature would be confusing. I am have HS senior doing the college process as well as my college senior doing the LS process so things get mixed up sometimes. Thanks for all the information you provide on this forum. I have learned a lot about the law school admission process which has changes a lot since I was applying in 1983…

Meh, understanding D is above my pay grade. I think she is interested in the prosecutorial side, maybe aspiring to District Attorney or even judicial positions. Criminal justice reform, that sort of thing. She has been an SJW since high school, and has been out in the BLM protests numerous times. She could easily end up in politics down the road.

Her current job has nothing to do with any of that, but it pays relatively similarly.

If your daughter is interested in becoming a prosecutor, then attending a T-14 law school can be helpful since the DOJ (US Dept. of Justice) Honors program seems to recruit top T-14 law students for internships.

DOJ Honors internships are considered to be quite prestigious and respected not only in the world of criminal law, but also in the world of biglaw firms.

Lots of prosecutors eventually run for political office–which would be difficult for defense attorneys as representing those accused of crimes such as drug dealing, murder, terrorism, etc. can be used in political ads.

Social Justice Warriors (SJW), however, are often at odds with prosecutors. More likely that a devoted SJW would become a public defender.

P.S. It is important to understand that once a law student or lawyer works on the prosecutorial side, it will be extremely difficult to receive serious consideration for a position as a public defender.

Former prosecutors can, however, easily move into private practice as a defense attorney.

P.P.S. Important law school courses for one interested in criminal law:

Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure & Post Conviction Relief. Try to take as many of the courses as possible in the first year of law school.

Law school clinics are important.

Usually taken for course credit. Many, maybe most, law schools offer a Prosecutorial Clinic as well as a Public Defenders Clinic.

Some law schools participate in the Innocence Project–future public defenders doing legal work on behalf of incarcerated individuals believed to have been wrongly convicted and out of Post Conviction Relief options such as appeals and Section 2254 & Section 2255 / habeas corpus type petitions.

“Habeas Corpus” is a petition / writ asking the court to decide the legality of a prisoner’s detention. (Can also be used to challenge conditions of confinement.)

I would like to make clear that a typical SJW would have the mindset and beliefs of a public defender, not of a prosecutor.

Constitutional Law is the cornerstone of any criminal law practice–although used mostly by public defenders / defense attorneys.

In my view, prosecutorial work is significantly easier than criminal defense work.

Prosecutors have an incredible amount of immunity (prosecutorial discretion) and enjoy much more control over cases than do PDs / defense attorneys.

Most importantly, however, is that prosecutors have vast resources at their disposal while most PDs struggle financially as they tend to be under-funded and over-worked.

https://www.lsac.org/applying-law-school/jd-application-process/cas/requesting/transcript-summarization describes the LSAC GPA recalculation. Note that the values for grades may be different from those used by the colleges. Note also that A+ grades are worth 4.33, so it is possible to have an LSAC GPA greater than 4.0.