Archives For Law School

law school choiceStudying for the LSAT can be a trying time for most students. The questions test your ability to reason and synthesize, making them substantially different than most college exams we’re all used to. To top it off, test takers are told that you have to do well to get into the school of your choice. That is way too simplistic to be useful, so here’s the scoop on how the LSAT actually affects your choices.

First, know this is not the SATs. You are not being tested on whether you have the background knowledge necessary to take the basic courses of the school. Nor are you being tested on what level of classes you can take. The LSAT is designed to be a predictor of how well you are likely to do in your first year of law school. If you’re scoring particularly low, it indicates that you’re likely not analyzing arguments the way you need to as a lawyer.

That said, the immediate concern for most test takers is not how they’ll do in the first year of law school, but just making it to that first year of law school. Your LSAT score is the single most important factor in acceptance (no pressure). An average LSAT score is 150, meaning that a 150 is generally in the 50th percentile. At ManhattanLSAT, average is not the goal. It’s time to put a number on “good.”

A good LSAT score is one that is likely to be accepted by the majority of law schools. Note; that’s not the same thing as you getting accepted to the majority of the law schools. Those schools will look at your GPA, essay, and a variety of other factors, but a good LSAT score means your application is at least in the running. The number value on a good score? Right around 160. If you’re scoring in the 160’s, you’re doing well. Continue Reading…

ann levineWe’re excited to announce a helpful new resource for those on the road to law school. Ann Levine, president and chief consultant at Law School Expert, has joined our forums and will be answering your law school applications and admissions questions!

In addition to founding Law School Expert, Ann is the author of the bestselling law school guide The Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert. She is the former director of admissions at two ABA-approved law schools and the nation’s leading law school admission consultant. Ann has personally guided over 2,000 law school applicants through the law school admission process.

Have a question for Ann? Head over to our forums and ask her now!

Obama Delivers State Of The Union Address To Joint Session Of CongressLast week, Obama surprised everyone a little by explicitly agreeing with those who have argued for years now that law school should be two years instead of three. The President and Harvard Law grad is in good company, including Samuel Estreicher at NYU Law, who has been a vocal advocate for the expendable third year. Law School Transparency’s suggested new models for legal education reform draw heavily on the same idea of trimming length to save costs.

Indeed, criticism of Obama for making the controversial (or not?) statement seemed to come from one direction: not from people who disagreed with him that law school should be shorter, but from those who thought he didn’t go far enough: instead of “talking” about changing the structure of legal education he should actually “do something.” And why not go further and make law school one year like the Brits? It all left me wondering–is stripping the third year so widely accepted now that it’s not controversial at all? Is there anyone arguing in favor of it?

I went in search of third year supporters. And guess who is one. Martha Nussbaum–University of Chicago Law professor and one of the most renowned legal scholars on the planet. Nussbaum and Charles Wolf, also from Chicago, argue essentially that such reforms risk making bad lawyers:

Electives typically are taken in the second and third years. Given the general courses that an accredited legal education must include, dropping the third year offers no time for interdisciplinary electives. The new wisdom is that this would be no loss … But lawyers who join firms also need to understand how society works if they aspire to be independent thoughtful leaders of their chosen profession, rather than passive followers of custom. In the life of the firm, a deferential model of lawyering (doing it because that is how it has been done) will further erode professional standards.

I’m not persuaded. The argument assumes that somehow the third year of law school is where one learns to become “independent” and “thoughtful” rather than “passive.” To me, these are the kinds of qualities that are instilled over time through interactions with teachers who teach these qualities through and in spite of whatever substantive material is being transmitted; there’s no reason one cannot learn from a torts professor to be an independent thinker but could from a professor in an environmental law clinic.

I’m curious what those of you who will soon be entering law school think.

Manhattan Prep is offering special full tuition scholarships for up to 4 individuals per year (1 per quarter) who will be selected as part of Manhattan Prep’s LSAT Social Venture Scholars program. This program provides the selected scholars with free admission into one of Manhattan Prep’s LSAT live online Complete Courses (an $1190 value).

These competitive scholarships are offered to individuals who (1) currently work full-time in an organization that promotes positive social change, (2) plan to use their law degree to work in a public, not-for-profit, or other venture with a social-change oriented mission, and (3) demonstrate clear financial need. The Social Venture Scholars can enroll in any live online preparation course taught by one of Manhattan Prep’s expert instructors within one year of winning the scholarship.

The deadline our next application period is 9/6.

Details about the SVS program and how you can apply can be found here.

iStock_000020275049XSmallHappy Friday! Here is a roundup of some of our favorite news articles and law school tips from the week:

Harvard’s Still Hard to Get Into, Law School Promises (The Wall Street Journal Law Blog)

Students wondering whether to take the plunge into law school may want to consider this: the evaporating pool of applicants could boost their chances of getting into Harvard.

LSAT Sanity: Stop Taking So Many Practice Tests! (Part 2) (jdMission)

What are the Do’s and Don’ts of getting the most out of your practice tests? Here is Part 2 of jdMission’s series.

Are Fully Online Programs a Viable Choice for Law Schools? (Lawyerist)

As everything has raced towards the virtual, including getting a degree online, law has unsurprisingly lagged behind.

LSAT Scores at Top Law Schools Hold Steady Amid Applicant Plunge (The Wall Street Journal Law Blog)

Given that the most competitive undergraduate schools are pumping out fewer prospective lawyers, you might assume that the nation’s top law schools are enrolling less competitive students.

Should The Obama Rankings Be Applied To Law Schools? (Above the Law)

Obama hopes to tie the Obama Rankings to federal financial aid: schools that perform well will have a larger pool of federal money to dole out to students, while schools that perform poorly will have less.

Did we miss your favorite article from the week? Let us know what you have been reading in the comments or tweet @ManhattanLSAT.

 

hot newsHappy Friday! Here is a roundup of some of our favorite news articles and law school tips from the week:

Weigh the Benefits, The Risk of Attending a New Law School (U.S. News Education)

Some new law schools are experimenting with new curriculums that allow students to have concentrations. But what are the risks?

Law Schools Devise Debt-Free Path to Degree (Politico)

Some law schools are exploiting the loophole that could lead to billions of dollars in written-off federal student debt.

A Life Outside Law School—Just Breath (Ms. JD)

Next week law school classes start up again, so this week is 1L Orientation. Here are some great tips for making it through that first week.

Which Law Schools Have the Best Return on Investment (Above the Law)

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the value of a law degree and ATL shares why degrees from some law schools are worth more than others.

Off the Beaten Path: First Lady Michelle Obama (jdMission)

Becoming a lawyer is not the only path you can take after graduating from law school. JdMission takes a closer look at Michelle Obama’s career path.

Did we miss your favorite article from the week? Let us know what you have been reading in the comments or tweet @ManhattanLSAT.

Happy FridayHappy Friday! Here is a roundup of some of our favorite articles from the week:

5 Reasons Why a Sense of Humor is Crucial to Grad School Success (Grad Hacker)

A sense of humor is crucial to grad school survival, and this is true for a number of reasons.

Which Law Schools’ Grads Run Biglaw? An ATL Infographic (Above the Law)

In honor of Shark Week, ATL has created a fun infographic that reveals which law schools’ graduates are the big fish in Biglaw.

Learn to Read, Write Like a Law Student Before Classes Start (U.S. News Education)

Entering 1L in the fall? Here are some tips for how to learn new vocabulary and practice your writing skills before classes begin.

Few Minorities in Law School? Don’t Blame the LSAT, Prof Says (Daily Report)

University of Virginia School of Law Professor, Alex Johnson Jr., says many minorities misapply to law schools that their grades don’t qualify for.

How to Avoid Losing Your Mind in Law School (Business Insider)

Impossible exams, tough professors, and all-nighters will permeate the next three years. Here are some tips for staying sane in law school

Did we miss your favorite article from the week? Let us know what you have been reading in the comments or tweet @ManhattanLSAT.

For those of you who took the June test and for those of you taking October with plans to apply in the fall, you’re probably hard at work already on your personal statement, or will be soon. Here are the five most important things to keep in mind when it comes to writing a fantastic personal statement, if you ask me.

Personal Statement

1. Don’t skip brainstorming. The reason groups brainstorm, and the reason you should before you start writing your personal statement, is that it is the best way to get every idea “out there” instead of just going with the first thing that comes to mind. Why? Because believe it or not, the first thing that comes to mind is not necessarily your best idea. Before you pick up a laptop or pen and begin drafting, spend 15 minutes filling two to three pages with possible topics. Do not cross anything out. Don’t erase or delete anything. The point of this exercise is to come up with as many ideas as possible—however wacky, silly or strange it seems.When you finish, you will probably be surprised at how freeing the exercise felt. Now, you have a whole list of potential directions for your essay and are not locked into to any one or two.

2. It should be about you. Your personal statement is meant to be about you, not about your best friend, or your sister, or even how you think the world works. Of course you will include some discussion of the world around you and the people in your life to make your story clear and meaningful, but you should be writing much more about yourself than about anything else. Good questions to keep in mind are: how did you feel when X happened? How did it change you? What did you learn from it?

3. Talk about something that you learned. Stories about how you came to be who you are today are interesting. Stories about how you always were who you are today because you have not changed over the years are less interesting. “I have wanted to be a lawyer since I was three” may be true, but this kind of statement is not effective in a personal statement. Here is why. First, people like to hear about change, about discovery. They do not like to read about a lack of it. And second, generally, stories about how you came to realize your career choice do not take place in elementary school, or even middle school. You are just a kid then, and you think like a kid then. The only “kid” stories that should be featured in your essay are ones that help tell the story of how you became who you are today–and, for the vast majority of us, that’s going to include a heavy chunk of adulthood (or teenage-hood).

4. Look for connections that are not obvious. Have you had parallel experiences in your life that led you to a particular discovery, even though the experiences themselves seem unrelated on the surface? Or perhaps you expected Point A to lead to Point B, and it did. But then it turned out that Point B was not what you had anticipated. Rather than telling the first story that comes to mind because it feels like it has a nicely shaped beginning, middle and end, tell it the way it really did happen, and you could end up with something more honest, interesting and original. You will be shaping it in later drafts, anyway.

5. Don’t send it in without having someone else read it. Even if you are convinced it’s perfect, you should still have someone go over your essay with fresh eyes, because I would bet that it includes at least one typo you are missing. Once, in college, I pulled an all-nighter writing a paper. I submitted it at 9 a.m. the next morning then promptly crashed. I woke up a few hours later and walked to my desk, where the file was still open on my computer. I skimmed the first sentence. It had no verb. Are you thinking that means it was not a sentence? Yes. That is exactly what that means. My first sentence of my final paper was not actually a sentence. This is why you should have someone else review your work.

Check out the Telling Your Story column on jdMission’s blog for more.

LSAT NewsWe’re just over two short months away from the October LSAT! When you need a break from studying, have a look at some of our favorite law school news and tips from the past week:

Revenues Up at Larger Law Firms (The National Law Journal)

The revenue picture for law firms in 2012 was bright for large law firms — and bleak for smaller shops.

Law School Problems, Proposed Reforms Could Affect Colleges (U.S. News Education)

Extending gainful employment regulations could help ensure the federal government receives a good return on its investment in legal education.

Is Law School Worth it? The Debate is Reignited (Deseret News)

Deseret News shares some info from a recent draft paper, “The Economic Value of a Law Degree,” by a Seton Hall law professor and a Rutgers economist.

Ignore the Haters, Law School is Totally Worth the Cash (The Washington Post WONKBLOG)

The Washington Post discusses whether the amount of money law graduates make is greater than the amount they would have made if they hadn’t gone.

LSAT Sanity: But I Studied This- I Should Know How To Do It! (Part 1) (jdMission)

Manhattan Prep instructor Stacy Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

Did we miss your favorite article from the week? Let us know what you have been reading in the comments or tweet @ManhattanLSAT.

news and glassesHappy Friday! Here is our weekly roundup of law school tips and popular news:

How Can We Fix Law School? Six Experts Opine (Above the Law)

Above the Law shares what six trusted experts have to say about the various law school reform proposals.

Law Schools Consider June Exam Scored for Fall Entrants (JD Journal)

Some law schools are now accepting LSAT scores from the June examinations when their previous exam deadline was in February.

Oh Wait, Is Law School Actually a Good Deal? (Washington Monthly)

New study shows that the law school earnings premium has not deteriorated since the economy collapsed five years ago.

Like Outside Law School: Run the Race (Ms. JD)

For all of those rising 1L’s out there, gearing up to start law school next month, this post is for you.

Are You Setting Yourself Up For a Résumé Red Flag? (The Girl’s Guide To Law School)

A rising 3L at an Ontario law school explains the unexpected pitfalls she encountered after following a side interest that BigLaw firms did not fully appreciate.

Did we miss your favorite article from the week? Let us know what you have been reading in the comments or tweet @ManhattanLSAT.