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A question about law schools: anyone sit on a law school admissions committee?

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A question about law schools: anyone sit on a law school admissions committee?

Old 06-25-09, 06:28 PM
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Snicklefritz
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A question about law schools: anyone sit on a law school admissions committee?

This may be a long shot, but I'd like to find out if BF'ers/Foo people are on a law school admissions committee. I have a couple of questions about the process, not for myself but for a family member.
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Old 06-25-09, 07:34 PM
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Post yer questions. There are at least one lawyer in the house/forum who could maybe take a whack at solving whatever ails your family member.

Seriously, getting into law school ain't rocket science. It's BETTER than rocket science.
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Old 06-25-09, 07:56 PM
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Ok, here goes. My little brother applied to law schools last fall. He has been accepted to a number of schools including Georgetown, Cornell and some in the top 10 including University of Virginia among others. He really wants to get into NYU but has been waitlisted there. I don't recall what his exact GPA is but I think it is around 3.75 out of 4.0 and he has in the mid-170's on the LSAT and he has spent summers working at the european parliament in brussels so he has an interesting background. Problem is he is from NYC originally so I'm not certain if having grown up there would be a disadvantage at nyu or not.

The question is, would he benefit in any way from sending a letter to nyu (probably to dean of admissions or something) reaffirming his interest? He is trying to decide whether or not to do that. Not sure if that would be an advantage or not and if it is, what should be said. Any thoughts on the matter?
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Old 06-25-09, 08:02 PM
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It probably wouldn't hurt, though I'm skeptical it will help him.

If he's anxious he might call the admissions office and get a handle on exactly how the waiting list process works there. That might provide a clue as to what his chances are.
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Old 06-25-09, 08:05 PM
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I was waitlisted at two schools when I applied. I wrote a letter telling them how much I wanted to go and didn't get in. I didn't send a letter to the other school and I got in. I have no regrets.

I did a lot of reading about this exact problem when I was waitlisted. Like Velo Vol, I doubt it would help. If it will make him feel better, tell him to do it though. I seriously doubt the reason I was rejected was because I sent an extra letter.
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Old 06-25-09, 08:15 PM
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I have been on a law school admissions committee for 15 years. Not, however, a top tier school. A brief, charming, intelligent contact --phone call or email-- can't hurt, although it may not help. If the school is admitting folks off the wait list it wants to be sure whoever it admits will matriculate (schools keep track of "yield"--how many people do they have to admit to fill one seat) so identifying yourself as a sure thing can help. Did your friend by any chance do extraordinarily well in his or her last term in college--raise the gpa overall? Sending that information along could also conceivably help. Or not--the folks on the wait list are already roughly ranked, but the selection among more or less equally placed applicants can be pretty arbitrary.
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Old 06-25-09, 08:40 PM
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If I were on a wait list I wouldn't bother waiting. If there are "top tier" schools that are willing to place your bro, then tell him to GO THERE! If the schools aren't "top tier" then find one that is.

Speaking from experience (all bad) you NEED a top tier school AND good grades to land a solid job afterwards.

Other advice: Pay for your education as much as you can. College loans will suck you dry financially. For DECADES after you graduate.
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Old 06-25-09, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob P. View Post
Speaking from experience (all bad) you NEED a top tier school AND good grades to land a solid job afterwards.
Tru dat. He should go to the best law school he got into. G'town might be a better fit if he has an int'l law or gov't interest. That said, NYU is a very good and well regarded law school and has an excellent pro bono program.

Here’s my crude call on the top schools approach it in term of recruiting:

Yale, Chicago, Stanford and Harvard all beat NYU by a lot. Some ridiculous percentage of SCT clerks come from these schools.

Columbia, Berkeley, Michigan and NYU are in the next tier.

G’town, Penn, Duke, Cornell, UVA, Northwestern, UCLA, Texas fall into that next round of top schools.

You can quibble at the borders. Some would say Columbia should move up and Harvard should move down.
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Old 06-26-09, 12:55 AM
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Foo rocks! You guys have had some great comments.

My brother is definitely leaning towards international law or something in government. He speaks several languages and enjoyed his experience at the European parliament quite a bit so perhaps that might suggest a particular direction once he has all the cards on the table.

Let's say for the sake of argument that he did get into NYU would it be in his best interest to go there even if a school ranked slightly lower had a better Int'l law program? I actually have no idea what NYU's strong areas are or more particularly how their Int'l program compares with others, but thought I'd ask.
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Old 06-26-09, 01:23 AM
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your brother doesn't know how to use google?
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Old 06-26-09, 07:41 AM
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On international law, I suspect Georgetown is better in the political side given the availability of so many programs outside of the law school, but NYU might be stronger on the international finance/business side. That's just a guess though.

Even the best law schools are somewhat local in terms of job placement. If he wants to end up in NYC, then NYU may be better. If he wants to end up in DC (e.g., State), then Georgetown.

And just a warning - being in an international business law practice, especially at the entry level, doesn't mean trips to Paris (per a friend who works in that area).
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Old 06-26-09, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Nerdanel View Post
I have been on a law school admissions committee for 15 years.
So how does your wait list process work? Is there literally a ranked waiting list, where candidates are notified one by one as soon as available slots open up? Or is it more of a tiered process, where another batch of acceptances is selected after you have an idea how many additional openings there are?
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Old 06-26-09, 09:13 AM
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And btw, I was waitlisted at Columbia. The admissions people were very nice about telling me that there were only a few slots and what the odds were re getting off the list (low), although they wouldn't tell me where I was in the scheme of things specifically.
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Old 06-26-09, 12:58 PM
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The other thing is that the differences btw. these schools are pretty marginal (you realize, I take it, that rankings like US News are somewhat useful in a macro sense - separating among various tiers - but there's not really a meaningful difference between, e.g., the 9th ranked school and the 12th ranked school). Cornell, UVA, and G'town are all great law schools, and my guess is that your brother will be able to pursue his interests at any of them. I agree w/the general advice that contacting NYU can't hurt but probably won't help a whole lot (I take it he doesn't have any POCs at NYU itself - a word from the right person might make a huge difference at this stage of things), so I think I'd focus on checking out the 3 schools he got into and simply deciding where he'd be the happiest. But really - it's hard to make a bad choice among the 3.

SpongeDad is right (of course he is!) that even at the top schools, recruiting is a bit localized - though at top places like these, you can pretty much go anywhere if you really want to - so he might think about where he'd like to be after law school. If it's NYC, Cornell is probably a better option. If it's DC, then either G'town or UVA might be a little better (though, again - I'm sure there are plenty of Cornell alums working down here, and vice versa). If it's somewhere else, then it may not matter a whole lot which he chooses.
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Old 06-27-09, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Vol View Post
So how does your wait list process work? Is there literally a ranked waiting list, where candidates are notified one by one as soon as available slots open up? Or is it more of a tiered process, where another batch of acceptances is selected after you have an idea how many additional openings there are?
More like the latter. Applicants on the wait list are ranked in clumps--A+, A, A-, etc. When it comes time to go to the wait list (usually, when a competitor starts admitting our admits off its wait list) the choice of which A+s and As to admit may turn on who is likeliest to show up, among other things.

As to differences among similarly ranked schools, one thing to think about is that you can't easily work part time or volunteer in an office in DC if you are in school in NYC. Top employers recruit for summer jobs at all the top schools, but maintaining a presence in the office, continuing work on an ongoing project, etc. is a lot easier if you are local.

You/your brother should check the CVs of people working where he would like to work and see where the up and comers went to school.
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