Seeking Questions/Ideas/Feedback

December 29, 2010 at 5:26 pm (Uncategorized)

I’m thinking about all the things I want to blawg about in 2011. Next year will pose some new challenges for me and open a new chapter in my life.  I will be completing my undergraduate degree, saying goodbye to the firm, relocating to a new city, and entering law school. Of course I will bring you along this journey and include tips and insight along the way but I also want to know what you want to hear in 2011! Is there something I haven’t covered yet that your dying to know more of? Want me to reveal the schools I have been admitted to? Want to hear more about a particular topic? Let me know!


Permalink Leave a Comment

Part-Time Law Programs

December 27, 2010 at 5:39 pm (Applying to Law School, Choosing a law school, full/part time)

The PreLaw Winter 2011 edition is out and one article I thought would interest some of my readers is on part-time law programs. More specifically, the difficulty in juggling part or full time employment while pursuing a J.D. part-time.  The article can be read here.

According to USN&WR, there are 84 law schools which offer part-time law programs.  This number is down 3 from 2009.  Some part time programs are exclusively evening classes and others are integrated in to the daytime courses with no evening classes scheduled.  A 2009 article, “The Attractions of Part-Time Law School” notes some of the challenges and pitfalls of juggling work and school.  Not surprisingly, many of the schools offering part time programs are within 40 miles of the U.S. Capitol; five of the six top-ranked schools to be exact.  This is because many working professionals are seeking a law degree as a way to enhance their resume in their current fields or have already gotten their feet wet in the legal profession. Other part timers are seeking a law degree as a complete career change but want to maintain their steady employment to help cover the cost of law school and maintain current living expenses. In the current state of the economy, it makes sense to be leery of leaving secure employment and taking on student debt.

The trouble with balancing work and school, aside from time constraints, decreased time with family and friends, and of course added stress is that opportunities to participate in clinics, journals, or moot court may pose a challenge to students who are restricted in time and do not have the flexibile schedules to attend and participate in extracurricular activities. Not only does this hinder the overall law school experience but this can mean fewer networking opportunities and a skinnier resume than full time classmates.

U.S. News & World Report now ranks part time law programs. The rankings can be viewed here.  Before U.S. News & World Report began including part-time admissions into overall law school rankings, part-time admissions tended to be less stringent than any given’s full time program. In other words, a 155 may have been the median for a part-time program at a particular school but a 165 was required for admission to the same school’s full time program. Now with the new incorporation of part time into full time rankings consideration, this seems to no longer be the case.  For more on this, see the part-time law school ranking methodology.

While it may seem financially advantageous to pursue law school part time, fewer scholarships are available for part-time students.  Since there is an expectation that a part time student is maintaining full time employment, less financial consideration is made for part time applicants.  One school I applied to explicitly told me that if I was looking for scholarship consideration then I must apply to the full time program because part time applicants are not considered for scholarships at all.  Many external scholarships also specify applicants must be enrolled in a full-time program.  For example, the American Judges Association scholarships are all for full-time law students.  Further, one’s income will affect the eligibility for subsidized interest loans as the law students financial need will not appear as great as if they were working part time or not at all.  Additionally, scholarships that can be applied for independently (aside from the law school) tend to specify eligibility as enrollment in a full time program. has done a nice job of compiling a comprehensive list of scholarships available for law schools.

The fact that there are fewer schools who offer part time programs can seriously limit an applicants ability to select a law school that is truly a good fit. If your limited to a very small region that you can commute to while still maintaining your household and employment then you may find your stuck with a school less desirable than one farther away. I understand that law school is not intended to be a particularly fun experience, but I think its also important that the law school offer programs of interest and a high potential for post-graduate success. For a listing of part time law schools and their admissions standards, click here.

You may also find that a fewer percent of part time applicants are admitted to a particular school than full time applicants. For example, law schools accept 200 to 400 students for their 1L incoming full time law class but only 50 for their one part time section. Depending on the number of applicants received for the part time class, admission as a part time law student may actually be more competitive than for the full time class.

Additionally, adding an extra year of law school can mean an additional year of stress, one year farther away from attaining your goals, and in some cases another year of earning a reduced income.  Some fees calculated by each school under the total cost of attendance are not per credit hour, but rather, are per year. So attending a part-time program can mean an additional year of those required fees, making it actually more expensive over the law school career than attending a 3-year full time program.  If as a part time student you are unable to cover the entire costs of both tuition and living expenses or if (heaven forbid) the employment you relied on terminates, you may find your taking out loans anyway and instead of three years, for four years. Further, part time students are almost always required to take courses in the summer – a time when your full time classmates are securing essential externships, clerkships, and networking for future employment.

These are just some things to consider.  Part time programs offer an excellent way for non traditional students to pursue a law degree. Additionally, individuals with financial constraints may find it best to enroll in a part-time program. Just be certain the decision you make is the best possible and most sound decision for you.

Permalink Leave a Comment

There ARE squirrels in the City! (Sort Of)

December 26, 2010 at 9:15 pm (Misc.)

Back in October, after receiving my first law school acceptance with full-tuition scholarship from “Big City School of Law” I expressed some concerns about my aptitude for city life. (See: “There are No Squirrels in the City“).  On a recent visit to the City, I discovered there are squirrels in the city, and even chipmunks too . . .sort of.

The Brooks Brothers Window Display in the City

Permalink Leave a Comment

Thanks, but no thanks.

December 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm ($, Choosing a law school)

Last week I pondered whether I would have to turn down an acceptance to my first choice school if they didn’t offer any scholarship money. Or, alternatively, whether I would choose to turn down the opportunity to go to law school sans the cost of tuition in order to go to my first choice school. (See Love v. $$$).  Having the official, mailed, acceptance letter in my hands really brought a lot of clarity. I have been so extremely fortunate and blessed to have three law schools which want me to go to their schools so badly they are willing to grant me full-tuition scholarships. Ultimately, I want to attend a school that truly wanted me to attend as badly as I want to be there. Needless to say, my top-choice school just wasn’t willing to show me the love. I received my very flat, thin, acceptance letter. On first glance I quickly skimmed it looking for indicators of money. No dollar signs, no decimals, no zeros. So I read it again, slowly. Nothing. Sifted through the paperwork. Nothing. And then came clarity. I folded up the letter, pushed it back into the envelope and said, thanks, but no thanks.

Permalink 4 Comments

Love v. $$$

December 14, 2010 at 10:33 pm ($, Choosing a law school)

I received an email yesterday from my numero uno choice school . . . I’m in. No indication, however, of any financial aid offer. That information, I *hope* will be provided in the official acceptance materials that are on their way via snail mail.  Perhaps it is a bit premature for me to be assuming that I will have to choose one of the schools I could go to for free over the school I really love, but I just have a feeling that since this school was a reach, I will likely not be offered any scholarship money. I would be very happy at any one of the schools I have been admitted to and the opportunity to go for free is a huge factor for me.  However, statistically, this school is “better.” Their bar passage rate is above the state’s average, their employment rate is on-par with other Tier 1 schools, and the location would be terrific for me. But is this all worth taking in an additional $75,000 in debt? Together with my undergraduate loans, my monthly loan payment would be over a grand a month. Yowza! I guess I will just have to wait and see what I’m faced with. Stay tuned . . .

Permalink 2 Comments

I <3 Podcasts

December 11, 2010 at 2:01 am (Misc.)

Lately I have had a lot of mindless filing to do at the office. Things have been particularly slow, which is a good opportunity for me to hunt down that long lost file collecting dust in one of our “of counsel” attorney’s office.  My firm is pretty lenient on listening to music while filing and oter mundane tasks so I loaded up my Ipod with interesting podcasts.  Below are a few of my favorites that I thought would interest some of you:

The Paralegal Voice. Hear the latest issues and trends in the world of paralegals and legal assistants with two nationally known career paralegals and co-hosts, Vicki Voisin and Lynne DeVenny.

Lawyer2Lawyer.  J. Craig Williams and Robert Ambrogi are top law bloggers that together host Lawyer2Lawyer.  They bring us their (sometimes opposing!) views on a variety of hot legal topics from literally across the country.

Law School Interactive.  Law School Interactive is a website that will educate and answer questions from potential and current law school students.  On a weekly basis we will be posting podcasts that will answer law school frequently asked questions, profile an individual law school or dive into an interesting topic that refers to preparing for law school, law school or law students in a variety of ways.

Law School Podcaster.  Law School Podcaster is your online source for everything law school. Our podcasts deliver the information, insight and advice law school applicants and students need to gain admission to the right school and to prepare for the competitive world of law school and beyond. Topics include everything from a behind-the-scenes view of the admission process to post-law school job opportunities and current market trends. Guests include law school deans, alumni, LSAT test preparation companies, law school admissions authors, law school admissions consultants, recruiters and more. On each segment, we will go in-depth and interview the leading experts on a particular topic of interest to law school applicants and students.

Anne Levine Blog Talk Radio. Hosted by law school admission consultant Ann Levine, author of “The Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert.” Tips & Strategies for law school applicants are offered by the Law School Expert, Ann Levine, whose blog is read by 100,000 law school applicants each year. Learn about the LSAT, law school personal statements, letters of recommendation, choosing law schools, and ask questions about timely issues for those seeking admission to law school.

Life of a Law Student. Podcasts are no longer updated, which is disappointing (hey LoaLS if your looking for new podcasters to revive LoaLS, send me a line!). Nevertheless, Life of a Law Student provides a significant amount of audio on what law students are learning.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Dear Disgruntled Co-Applicants:

December 2, 2010 at 8:10 pm (Applying to Law School)

Recently, it has come to my attention that some of my co-applicants for the entering fall 2011 class are upset that despite holding higher LSAT scores than myself, are receiving waitlists or acceptances without scholarship offers to the same schools I have applied to.  While I appreciate your concern, there is nothing I can do about this. Contacting me on and won’t do any good. I won’t be calling any admissions offices telling them to rescind my offer and to grant it to “sillygirl 228” or whoever the heck you people are in real life.

My explanation/analysis/guesstimation: Some of you have mentioned you only applied to a given school because you received a fee waiver. Others have indicated being so disgruntled at the alleged “unfair” application cycle (which by the way only begun 3 months ago) that you no longer want to wait for your application response and withdraw. One of you said you were asked to supply a supplemental “Why X School of Law” essay.  My guess is that schools really want to first extend offers to applicants who clearly are serious about attending. Afterall, extended offers vs. admitted/matriculated students goes into USN&WR rankings. I think that a lot of these law schools are probably looking for several things:

1) A Why X School of Law essay or at least a paragraph that is specific to the various programs and reasons why you want to attend;

2) Some indication that you have attempted to make contact either at an LSAC forum, formally visiting the school, by signing up on their email list, tuning in to a webinar, etc.;

3) If the app asks you to list other schools you applied to, and this school is the lowest rank of your list, the school may realize they were really just a safety and that your an applicant simply taking advantage of a fee waiver.

Hope this helps.

Best wishes,


Permalink Leave a Comment