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What I wish I knew before going to law school

Editor's Note: This post is published as part of a series of works submitted by applicants to Ms. JD's 2014 Public Interest Scholarship Program. Each applicant was asked to describe the best advice they never got when it came to law school, lawyering, or public interest law. Applications are open until May 23, 2014.  For more information, click here. I’ve always heard that “law school is an entirely different monster to tackle.” As I sit here writing this, days before completing my first year, I can say I actually understand the implications of that statement. When I first started law school, I was fresh out of college,…

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Jeena Cho

Sex & Money: Going Back to School from Full Time Employment

A reader sent me a Tweet and asked what financial advice I had for returning to law school from full-time employment. She provided the following details about her current financial situation and I went to work crunching numbers. You can see my master spreadsheet here.  Current Financial Situation Annual Income: $45,000 (Net: $31,800) Employer 401(k) match: 5% Potential salary increase: 5% per year Current student loan: $5,900 at 6.55% interest Credit card: $2,600 at various interest The reader wants to stay in her current field - disability and health law in public interest. Her expected income with a JD? $60,000 with…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Is Being Waitlisted for Law School Your Problem?

It is that time of year again.  Prospective students have applied to law schools, and some are being waitlisted.  That can be both a hopeful and a frustrating experience, depending on the school and the applicant's expectations, and there is a certain amount of protocol you should know to handle the situation wisely and adeptly.  "Storming the Bastille" and sending the waitlisting school reams of additional paperwork and electronic files --- evidencing your credentials and acceptance worthiness --- may not be the best idea. So, what it the best way to handle being waitlisted?  Fortunately, this question has been asked…

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Join Ms. JD for the Inaugural National Diversity Pre-law Conference and Law Fair!

Editor's Note: We are excited to be attending the Inaugural National Diversity Pre-law Conference and Law Fair on Friday, April 4 and Saturday, April 5 at the Washington Court Hotel on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C.! Come out and join Ms. JD and help promote and advance diversity in American legal education and in the legal profession. This is a great opportunity for our readers, especially pre-law students! Register Today! The National Diversity Pre-Law Conference & Law Fair was created to connect diverse prospective law students from across the country with empowering law school preparation and success information, networking opportunities, and resources. We are unique in that we openly…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Best Friends at the Bar: One Law School Gets Down to Brass Tacks

Finally, a law school that is taking a progressive and sensible approach to the problems facing law schools and law students.  That school is Villanova University School of Law, which made headlines this week by announcing free tuition for fifty applicants.The free tuitions, however, is not what got my attention.  We have heard that before.  It is not breaking news that law schools are competing for students with strong academic credentials, and we also know that the result of most of those tuition-cutting programs is to raise tuitions for the rest of the less-fortunate and less-credentialed students.  That kind of tuition…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Best Friends at the Bar: More Horror Stories About Law School Applicants

In my last post, I shared with you some of the really shocking things that law school applicants do to improve their chances of getting into law school----as told to me recently by law school admissions personnel. I emphasize here again how absolutely astounded I am that applicants think this kind of behavior is acceptable and will benefit them in any way.Here are some more things to avoid if you are at all interested in impressing the people who hold your future in their hands:Do NOT tell the law school admissions personnel that their school is your second choice.  Many…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Best Friends at the Bar: Horror Stories about Law School Applicants

Just when I thought I had heard it all.Last week I was in Atlanta at a conference of pre-law advisors.  I was there to introduce the attendees to Best Friends at the Bar and to keep up with what is happening in the world of law school applications.  In addition to interesting programs designed to best serve college and university students, we also were joined by deans and directors of law school admission offices, who shared stories from "the front."That is when it really got interesting.  Why?  Because the stories we heard about bad manners and just plain stupidity during…

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The LSAT: What NOT to Do

After hearing that I have been an LSAT instructor and guide for almost four years, people interested in law school start to ask me a myriad of different questions of what I think they should do and how they should start thinking about the LSAT. A lot of questions are pretty good, but even more of them are horrible. A lot of these horrible questions come from students who want a quick fix in getting a very high LSAT score. I tell them, with the LSAT, it’s black and white. You are either one of the elite few who already…

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Notes to My Future JD Self

What I thought would be a pit stop before law school has turned into a two, going onto three, year long detour. These past couple of years has seen my college peers go onto various Tier 1 law schools, while I faced the daunting question of “Will I and when?” But oftentimes we forget the lessons we can learn in the present and how these present experiences are shaping the way we think and behave. As a paralegal, I’m living the “other side” of the legal field. What wisdom can I glean from being the support and how can it…

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Web-based Law School Degrees Risks and Pitfalls: Things that Every Female Pre Law Applicant Ought to Know

Starting an online J.D. course might just feel like a practical solution instead of devoting several years and giving a hundred thousand dollars to a regular law school, particularly when it comes to working women. The fact is, the truths about law school on the Internet and Internet law degrees call for a whole lot more examination than most women may imagine, and potential applicants really should watch out for the likely snags that online grads go through after obtain their diploma. Accreditation Problems…. Online J.D. degrees are definitely not recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA), and alumnae are…

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