Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Most top law schools still accepting applications for fall class


A couple of days ago a commenter noted that it appeared the University of Illinois might still  be accepting applications for the fall class, more than four months after the school’s formal application deadline of March 15th, and less than a month before the start of 1L orientation. 

This piqued another reader’s interest, who proceeded to call the admissions office of every top 50 law school, to see whether any of these schools were still accepting applications for the incoming class of 2012. 
At the same time yet another reader, who was planning to start law school in 2013, but who began to rethink that plan, in part because he got a very high score on the June LSAT, emailed a number of high-ranked schools, inquiring if they might entertain an application at this late date from someone with his impressive credentials.  He forwarded me some fascinating responses, and I asked him to email the rest of the top 50 as well.  (In the wake of the responses he got he has decided not to apply, but not for the reasons one might assume).

The results of these inquiries are eye-opening. Given that part of a school’s USNWR ranking is determined by its yield rate – that is, the proportion between total applicants, total acceptances, and total matriculants – it would seem in a school’s interest to have a late application deadline (in addition, application fees are a source of revenue). 
 
But this ignores the extent to which law schools use application deadlines as status-signaling devices. With a couple of exceptions, application deadlines are closely correlated with hierarchical status: high-ranked schools all have formal application deadlines in February or March, or at the latest early April, while low-ranked schools usually have much later deadlines.  (The two exceptions to the former rule are Alabama and Indiana-Bloomington, which extend their formal application deadlines late into the summer).

As we are about to see, the key word in the previous paragraph is “formal.”  Here is a list of top 50 schools who were still accepting applications for the 2012 class as of July 24th (The date next to the school’s name is the deadline for applications according to the school’s web site):

Chicago   (2/1)
Michigan (2/15)
Northwestern (2/15)
Cornell:   (2/1)
Georgetown (3/1)
Texas: (2/1)
UCLA:   (2/1)
Vanderbilt:  (3/15)
George Washington (4/5)
Minnesota:  (4/1)
WUSL:  (4/1)
Boston U (3/30)
Wisconsin (3/1)
Washington & Lee:  (3/1)
Alabama:  (8/8, i.e., formal deadline hasn’t passed)
Illinois: (3/1)
Emory:  (3/1)
Indiana-Bloomington:  (7/31, i.e., formal deadline hasn’t passed)
Fordham:  (3/1)               
Arizona State:  (2/1)
William & Mary:  (3/1)
George Mason: (4/1)
Brigham Young:  (3/1)
Arizona:  (2/15)
Wake Forest:  (3/15)                                                                                      
Utah:  (2/15)
Pepperdine: (2/1)
American:  (3/1)

So 28 of the 50 top schools – including eight of the top 17 -- are still accepting applications for 2012. In all but two cases they’re doing so four to six months after their formally announced deadlines, and in some instances just three weeks before the beginning of the fall semester.  

But the real story is more complicated, and more troubling.  Ten of these 28 schools told my correspondent who called the admissions office that they were not accepting applications (This person, unlike the e-mailer, gave no information about his qualifications). These ten schools are Chicago, Michigan, Texas, UCLA, George Washington, Emory, Boston U, Arizona State, Fordham, and George Mason.  (In addition, Wisconsin told the caller the answer was no, but that the school “might consider an exception.”).

What does all this tell us?

(1)    Times are already harder in even the high-rent districts of legal academia than I would have guessed.  What answer do you suppose somebody would have gotten two years ago if he had contacted Chicago and Michigan six months after their application deadlines and asked, can i still haz a look frm yr adcom plz?

(2)    Do As I Say Not As I Do, Chapter 734.  Law schools go on endlessly about “ethics” and “honor codes,” and “professional responsibility,” and the Rule of Law, but are once again willing to fold, spindle and mutilate their own rules with extreme prejudice should they find those rules in any way inconvenient to their own immediate interests.  And again, lawyers can get in big trouble when they’re caught doing similar things.

(3)    If you were on the wait list on one or more of these schools, how aggravated would you be to discover that your spot in the class might be taken by somebody who missed the application deadline by half a year?

(4)    These sorts of shenanigans illustrate yet another unfair advantage possessed by people with enough cultural capital to understand that even at high-status institutions The Rules aren’t really the rules if you know how to work the system.

(5)    Does this behavior raise any potential legal liability? My correspondent who called the schools wonders if at least the public institutions in the group who told him he couldn’t apply, while telling the e-mailer he could, might be violating certain procedural norms to an extent that could be actionable.  (There’s a nice little con law hypo).

Leaving aside questions of strict legality, this kind of thing just smells bad. How hard is it for a law school to simply tell potential applicants the truth, even about something as supposedly straightforward as its application deadline?  The answer to that question is both revealing and depressing.

Update:  Certainly situations arise where there are compelling reasons for a school to consider a late application.  It's unfortunate that schools don't make it clear that they're willing to consider such applications.  Again, as in so many other areas, the key is transparency: If a school makes it part of its announced policy that it might consider a late application under appropriate circumstances, then people have notice of the actual policy, and opportunities will arise to judge whether the school is abusing that policy. (Do "compelling reasons" end up meaning humanitarian or other equitable considerations, or letting in the big donor's kid at the last minute?).

146 comments:

  1. Interesting. Now over at PrawfsBlawg we find that the Nebraska law school is looking to hire a professor to teach in their Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law program.

    What, exactly, is space law?

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  2. Uva is not listed but a decade ago friend submitted his app in July 2002 for starting in August 2002. He was admitted and enrolled.

    So this isn't necessarily a new phenomenon.

    Of course, his excuse was that he was in Afghanistan and had no way to take the lsat until June.

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  3. The relevant question is whether law schools did this in the past as well. It may be that law schools have always taken 'late' applicants with stellar credentials.

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  4. As for the ten schools, it is not surprising that they might consider an application from someone with extremely high qualifications. It can't be that this kind of thing has not happened in the past, some person- either because of connections, money, or high scores (or some combination of these things) has not had "the rules" bent for them.

    Also, If these schools are not advertising that their application process is still open, how do they expect to get a significant number of additional applicants? The experiment the emailer and caller carried out is pretty random. It seems to me to work both ways, when you ask "who would have thought", I doubt that large numbers of people would think they can still apply and get into Chicago and Michigan for the class of 2012. They aren't going to get lots of people this way.

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  5. sorry, not the class of 2012-- they are gone. I meant the fall of 2012

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  6. "who would have thought", I doubt that large numbers of people would think they can still apply and get into Chicago and Michigan for the class of 2012. They aren't going to get lots of people this way.

    Really this emphasizes, more than anything, point (4) from LP's post. What sort of person looks at a February 15th deadline, then a July 15th date on the calendar, and thinks to himself, "I'm sure it'll be fine. Let me just go ahead."

    The only person I could even imagine doing that sort of thing is either someone who's lived such a privileged life that their baseline assumption is Leona Helmsley's: "Only the little people pay taxes (follow the rules)", or someone who has lived a life completely filled with "special help" that doesn't go to everyone (someone with a disability, or someone who's reaped huge benefits from diversity programs or something).

    In any case, you're specifically rewarding a kind of sociopathic behavior that makes someone think society's normal rules don't apply to them.

    The relevant question is whether law schools did this in the past as well.

    This is the real question. Since this info is new to most of us now, it may have been a common practice a decade ago as well, but we'd have no reason to ask about it. Because, who on earth would even think to ask.

    I'd be willing to bet even in 2002, a person with a June 2002 LSAT score of like 178 could've called up the T14, asked about admission for Aug 2002, and gotten a significant number of yeses.

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  7. 5:37: I think the point is that any school in the top 50 would like to have one more student in the class with good enough credentials to get Chicago and Michigan to break their rules this egregiously. 20 schools didn't break their rules, and it seems like a fair speculation that this number would have been much higher if schools weren't so desperate.

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  8. "Who would have thought . . ."

    The same people who know that if you hit up the maitre d' with a 20-spot at a 'full' restaurant a table will magically become open. The same people who know how to get into a membership-by-invitation-only-club (know a member, duh). The same people who know how and when to appeal the results of an exam to get them that 0.5% higher. The same people who know how to game their 1/16th ethnic minority background into a prestigious job. The same people who knew how to get on the guest list at that roof-top party I was on the guest list for last month.

    You don't have to live too long to know that in life, only suckers follow the rules.

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  9. "(3) If you were on the wait list on one or more of these schools, how aggravated would you be to discover that your spot in the class might be taken by somebody who missed the application deadline by half a year?"

    I've always just assumed that being wait-listed was no guarantee that you'd be admitted if X number of people decline. Even when I was applying to college, I figured being on the wait list just meant "maybe" instead of "no."

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  10. Concur with 5:50

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  11. In any case, you're specifically rewarding a kind of sociopathic behavior that makes someone think society's normal rules don't apply to them.

    Easy there, champ. Application deadlines aren't "society's normal rules". They're just bureaucratic red tape. It's not sociopathic to push back on them to make sure you're getting your due.

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  12. you're getting your due.

    It's the internet, so you'll have to forgive me a bit of hyperbole.

    At the same time, a huge LOL@Im"DUE"aT14admissionzOMGgimmegimme.

    I figured being on the wait list just meant "maybe" instead of "no."

    Yeah I always took it as a "no*".

    *You're not a totally repulsive hambeast so our admissions committee figures if we come up super-short we'll let you in at the last minute because we want money from you. Sucker.

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  13. 5:37 here, @5:53-- I think my point is that it is very likely that law schools have in the past squeezed in one or two more students that would make their stats look good. It's a pretty feckless show of desperation to wait for some random person to call late and ask to apply. I'm not saying some schools aren't desperate, (I assume many are) but this does not strike me as strong evidence of it.

    @ b As for "who would think", I don't think this is sociopathic behavior or the behavior of the especially privileged. it can never hurt to ask. All they can do is say no... or yes. Most people do not push boundaries. That's not always a good thing.

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  14. A law graduate, now 50 years old and still carrying loan debt, says this in a CNN article about people over 50 with student loan debt (she teaches now, but not at a law school). How many of the readers and writers of the scam blogs does this describe, I wonder:

    "As I teach, I find that students are still pretty wasteful with their student loan money. There's almost an expectation that people can study whatever they want and they should be paid what they think they're worth, rather than what the market determines."

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  15. If a public university allows Person A to apply for admission, and denies that privilege to Person B, does that violate Person B's due process rights? I don't think the federal courts have taken a position on this specifically.

    I would analogize it to the hiring process for nonexempt public employees where, at least in theory, only applicants whose materials have been received by the formal, published deadline are eligible for the position.

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  16. Wisconsin is a TTT which counts any employment as employed for USNWR. Career services also spams the shit out of its alumni to find employment on alumni living off the grid so that they can push up that rate.

    I would not be surprised at all to hear that that TTT would bend its rules to get a candidate with really high credentials.

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  17. EDIT: "...to find employment info for alumni..."

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  18. The law schools have no integrity. This update further proves this reality. Thanks for posting on this topic, LawProf. I'm sure many of these higher-ranked diploma mills will use later applications to increase their denial rate. However, expect a relative few to gain admittance to these schools - especially if they have strong numbers.

    After all, we know that in the last year those with higher LSAT scores chose not to apply to law school at a much higher rate than those with lower scores. The schools want these students to boost their numbers. But they are "public servants," right?!?!

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  19. Don't the schools just keep accepting applications to increase their yield? I don't think anyone who applies now to a top school is going to get accepted, unless they have amazing stats or at least amazing splitter stats.

    I think this is all about increasing yield, without having to even give a fee waiver.

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  20. Having student loan debt at 50 boggles my mind. I come from nothing - absolutely nothing - and my education choices were driven almost entirely by the need to avoid debt. This was 25 years ago, so I recognize times are different and indeed young people today do not have the opportunities (anywhere near) I did. I just wonder who in the Government decided it was a good idea to put productive smart people in significant debt until they are 50. Heck, at age 50, if you are not at least in a position to think about how you can retire (whether you do or not is irrelevant), you are in big trouble. It just boggles my mind.

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  21. While law schools have always made exceptions in extraordinary cases, what's happening this year is clearly unprecedented. In addition to the information gathered from the research above, I'll add a couple more anecdotes from my advisees:

    1. Several June LSAT takers have reported receiving invitations from many schools to apply for admission this Fall.

    2. Applicants are not just getting in off the wait lists in large numbers, but receiving large scholarships to induce them to take those offers. Just this week, I've heard stories in this vein from students now accepted at top 20 and top 5 schools; in prior years, these students would have an outside shot at best of being accepted at all. With the way the scholarships are being handed out at this point in the season, law school is becoming a bit like air travel: you don't want to ask the person next to you how much they're paying, because it's likely half of what you paid, thanks to when they booked their ticket.

    - PreLaw Advisor

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  22. "Having student loan debt at 50 boggles my mind."

    We don't know when that person actually stopped borrowing. She might have gotten an advanced degree when she was in her 40s.

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  23. you don't want to ask the person next to you how much they're paying, because it's likely half of what you paid, thanks to when they booked their ticket. - PreLaw Advisor

    Are you having all your advisees call up the school they planned to go to and other schools they applied to and twist some arms? This seems like a fantastic year to be a prelaw advisor. "Yes sir, I've done a fantastic job! I've placed more of our graduates in Top 10 law schools than any advisor before me!!"

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  24. What PreLaw Advisor says is anecdotal evidence of the response to what we all know is a problem, a far better indicator than the fact that some schools were willing to accept the application of a student with very high credentials who called them late.

    Actually, Pre-Law Advisor, as I'm sure you know in your line of work, law students have always paid different amounts for law school. It has never been a good idea to ask what someone else was paying.

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  25. It is a fantastic year to be a pre-law advisor, but really just because my students are so damn happy. Very few disappointed applicants this year. And yes, much more negotiation with the law schools.

    My colleagues, on the other hand, keep asking if I have much less to do because so many fewer people are applying to law school. I tell them that that's the best indicator of how good a job I'm really doing -- it takes time and patience to explain to starry-eyed (or unimaginative) 20-year-olds why law school might not be their best option.
    - PreLaw Advisor

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  26. 7:03 - Yes, it's always been true, but there used to be at least some (albeit sometimes tenuous) rationale for the differences -- higher LSAT/GPA or greater need. This year it has much more to do with how desperate the admissions officials were feeling when they read the application.

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  27. @7:09-- Have to see the numbers before I can say what all (most) admissions offices are doing before I can say there have no basis for making distinctions among students even in this climate.

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  28. "they have no basis"

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  29. There is a lot of "conspiracy theory" going on here. I think schools always have let people apply late. One reason, applications generate some revenue for the schools, second, if you are applying late, chances are that you feel you are worthy of getting into the school. You probably have a higher LSAT score and GPA to justify applying late. So, if you were to call the schools even 7 years ago and ask if they were still taking applications, I am sure many would have said "yes we are still accepting them", even though the website and pamphlets said otherwise.

    World Traveling Law Student | 18%

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  30. "How hard is it for a law school to simply tell potential applicants the truth?"

    Apparently, it is impossible.

    The statement is also true if "potential applicants" is replaced with either "current students" or "recent graduates."

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  31. I do not see a problem here at all. Schools cannot likely handle 3000 applications coming in July for August admission. That is why they set the deadline earlier. But they could probably handle 50 applications in July -- hence the deadline so everyone does not wait until the last minute. If you apply on time, you are given full consideration, if you are late you take your chances. Like a job application that says you must apply by x date -- meaning the job will be held open that long, and if you are later you are at risk of not being considered.

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  32. I'm not suggesting this is some sort of huge scandal -- of the many misleading things law schools tell applicants and students this is far from the most damaging. It's more pathetic than anything.

    But I am struck by how blase people seem to be about law schools paying no attention to their own rules and policies, and worse yet applying them in what appears to be an arbitrary fashion.

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  33. And if you really wanted the job, you would apply anyway despite the deadline. If you wouldn't think of applying, you should think of it and do it.

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  34. A lot of times a lawyer's work is calling up a government official and asking if a rule can be bent for their clients.

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  35. 7:33: Here's a radical idea: A school could make that its actual stated policy, as opposed to saying one thing and then doing something totally different.

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  36. But I am struck by how blase people seem to be about law schools paying no attention to their own rules and policies, and worse yet applying them in what appears to be an arbitrary fashion.

    I don't know what to tell you; I never really expected that it would be otherwise. How many times have you called a business or government agency and gotten one answer, then called back at a different time of day and gotten a different answer?

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  37. I'm not blase, but I do know that the nature of life is such that there are very few rules that don't admit exceptions. As someone said above, no one (only a few) would deliberately plan to apply after a deadline. It is too risky-- you wouldn't expect to get full consideration. But people turn in papers later, apply for jobs and fellowships after the deadline-- hoping to get a break. Sometimes they get one, sometimes they don't.

    The issue here is that a suggestion was made that the example of the caller and emailer who were told they could still apply was proof of the desperation on the part of even top schools. The push back has come because it seems very likely that this sort of thing has happened before, for all the reasons people mentioned-- wanting to plug in another high stat person potentially (just because they accepted the application does not mean the person would get in), being influenced by a persuasive case, the need to make the school look good-- see how many people applied and how many we turned down-- and probably for reasons not mentioned.
    Look, no one is doubting that schools are having a tougher time, now. But the passive acceptance of random calls from students with high stats just did not strike me as evidence of desperation. What Pre-Law Advisor had to say was more instructive on this point.

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  38. An open thread:

    http://www.thefacultylounge.org/2012/07/whats-on-your-mind.html#comments

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  39. It doesn't mean we don't still love you, LP. :-D

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  40. I don't think relaxing the admissions deadline is pandering to the privileged rule benders. It still takes time to take the LSAT and get law school apps together.

    These schools are looking to poach incoming students from other schools who might not have realized how soft the market has become.



    You're Fordham- perhaps you'd like to tempt a few Brooklyn and Cardozo students with decent numbers to take a chance.

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  41. What impact does this have on scholarships?

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  42. Wow Lawprof now seems to have a team working for him. Awesome.

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  43. I am with LawProf. This is ridiculous.

    Try getting an exam reviewed outside the one week window after grades are released. Seems like Law Schools have no trouble adhering to that particular timeline.

    "I am sorry, there is nothing that we can do, you see the deadline that we made up out of thin air cannot be altered. Thanks though."

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  44. This topic is interesting (although perhaps a bit overstated), but much more critical to the LS scam is yesterday’s decision by the ABA imposing a significant fine against the University of Illinois for lying about the stats of incoming law students and, stunningly, terminating UI’s early decision application program.

    Is this a one-off example, an effort at UI’s expense to make the ABA look tough? Or is it a warning shot across the bow of other schools, letting them know there’s a new sheriff in town and that the ABA intends to closely monitor (and perhaps audit) law schools’ published data (admissions, employment, etc.)?

    What do you think, LP?

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  45. @ 8:23-- Not all law schools have that one week window. I've never heard of that. That was your law school.

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  46. You listed Boston U as both accepting and not accepting applications. I believe you meant Boston C in one of them.

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  47. @ 8:34 -

    Fair enough.

    My point is that law schools adhere to some timelines when it suits them, and others when it doesnt.

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  48. I attended a T6 - not one of those listed in the article above and have had great difficulty holding on to a job. Basically employers who pay the going rate of $160,000 or more hire and retain few older people. I have seen the difference between the way these employers treated me up to my early 50s and now. Now I am worth barely six figures in spite of years of experience, working very hard and having two top degrees. I have colleagues in the same position. These degrees carry with them a huge risk. The data available to college students does not reflect the risk of not being able to work or having to settle for lower level jobs after one hits their 50s. It is a real risk. It really affects the lifetime earnings from a T6 school and whether the top students who are applying to these schools should attend a T6 or do something else. If you graduate with honors from HYPS, you have some options. What I am saying is that a T6 law school carries with it a big risk of not being able to earn a reasonable paycheck for a graduate of a T6 law school long term. I am talking about less money than a public servant in a large city and significantly less than six figures anywhere else.

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  49. Agree with LP, people seem especially morally ambivalent to this issue. It would seem I continue to make the mistake of holding an institution like a law school to create rules, and then follow them, for only the sake of fairness. There seems to be a much lower threshold most are placing on institutions when it comes to this matter. I'm not necessarily saying there should be more moral outrage, but I am surprised at the willingness most are providing law schools for an abrogation of their own policy. What's the point of rules?

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  50. I did this back in 2001, though it was earlier in the cycle. I took the February LSAT and got results in March. I then contacted two top 10ish law schools to ask if they'd consider me late. One said no, one said yes. I ended up attending the one that said yes. Incidentally, they offered me scholarship money as well.

    I've always assumed that application deadlines are set primarily for administrative convenience and thus occasional exceptions can be made. This is not unique to law schools - I know people who have applied to college or other graduate programs late and been accepted.

    That said, the end of July is quite late for law schools to be accepting applications, and certainly suggests to me that their incoming 1L classes are, shall we say, not at capacity.

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  51. These sorts of shenanigans illustrate yet another unfair advantage possessed by people with enough cultural capital to understand that even at high-status institutions The Rules aren’t really the rules if you know how to work the system.

    Understanding that people with varying agendas enforce rules to a greater or lesser extent based on their agenda is the best lesson you can learn.

    This goes hand in hand with K-JD lack of non-acedemic experience.

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  52. Has anyone considered the possibility that the law schools are simply providing an avenue for someone to attend law school in a way that's convenient for the applicant?

    I feel like this would pass better scrutiny if there had been two emails sent with two completely different LSAT/GPA scores (one high, and one low) and see if there was a difference within the school.

    Some schools may just be accommodating of a student. One student is not going to greatly shift numbers at this point for most of the top law schools.

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  53. I don't really agree with this story. I contacted a T14 law school around this time last year, and told them my credentials, and was at first told it was too late to apply then later someone else in the Admissions office made the call the other way. Basically, in any economy if you email a T14 late and say i have a stellar GPA and incredible LSAT they will probably let you apply, and if you ask any two employees in the office the policy on this issue you will get two different responses. When it comes down to it, if you are an outstanding candidate any school will probably bend the rules to let you in.

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  54. @ 8:58 am. Well, they sure as heck aren't going to be able to do much about getting their classes "to capacity" if they sit around waiting for the odd person to call them up and ask if they can still apply. Adopting that posture is so unlikely (uncertain) of being a help that it hardly deserves to be called a strategy. They've given up at that point.

    And I still can't believe anyone who went to law school thinks a rule is a rule, no matter what.

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  55. I don't think this is a deliberate strategy to fill up their classes, just that law schools usually have some sort of target, say 250 1Ls, plus or minus 5 or 10. A school shooting for 250 that has 240 students enrolled at the end of July is going to be much more receptive to late applicants than a school with 260. That's all I mean.

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  56. Yes, that makes sense.

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  57. @8:47 "If you graduate with honors from HYPS, you have some options."

    What's the "P" for?

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  58. Princeton has a law program?

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  59. at 9:40-- It does if you're a troll.

    (Abovethelaw has a recurrent poster whose "schtick" is that he is a graduate of Princeton Law).

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  60. 9:31
    P stands for Phoenix.

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  61. 7:37 demonstrates that LP has had limited experience with the world of practicing lawyers. I kid, gently.

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  62. Is there an opportunity here for a Priceline.com sort of business in the sale of seats at law schools? Book at the last minute and save 80 percent?

    Perhaps we should alert William Shatner.

    --Porsenna

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  63. The airline ticket example is perfect. Airlines seek to maximize their profits on a particular flight by filling the plane with the highest average ticket price they can exact. They use complicated algorithms to achieve that, knowing that the number of people who show up at the gate is simply a prediction. That is why they have to overbook in order to accomplish their goal. Top 50 law schools have the same problem: they want to fill their class with the highest average LSAT/GPA students.  The recent development of the use of tuition discounts masquerading as "scholarships" is a pernicious one and we are now seeing the ugly underbelly of the law school ratings game. Something is going to have to give and I think we will find out in about a month. My prediction is it is going to be an incredible mess and financial disaster for some of the players.

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  64. 9:59
    I get your point. However, I always thought that the law schools ought to be better than the practice.

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  65. Law Office Computing--Why is it a matter of "better" or "worse". Exceptions to rules are made all the time. You have never had a rule amended, changed, or ignored in your own life?

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  66. 10:35
    Of course I have had rules amended, changed, and ignored many times in my life. Indeed I think that is what lawyers do for clients in large part. But there are rules for accomplishing those amendments, changes and reversals of precedent. I think Paul's point was that law schools ought to pay pretty close attention to the rules that they establish in regard to management of their enterprise. My experience in practice, however, was that quite often the outcome in particular matters was influenced more by the relationship between the lawyers and the judge or other external factors that should not play into the process at all

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  67. Okay, I was not the one who made the point about practice specifically. I had offered earlier that it is in the nature of human institutions that exceptions are sometimes made to rules. This only becomes a disturbing idea because it is being considered at time when people are angry at law schools. So everything that comes up becomes another example of a huge moral failure. They may be many examples to be offered, but taking the application of a person who calls late is not a good example of either a moral failure or desperation, I don't think.

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  68. 10:59
    Many years ago before all of the current problems created by the rankings race existed, I ran the admissions program at my law school for a while. Of course people have always been admitted late and indeed I know of cases where people have been admitted after school actually started. But those were unusual cases and the exceptions were made for what were perceived to be at the time good reasons for the late application. What appears to be happening now is that some law schools are actually buying high-grade applicants for purposes of competing in the ratings race. That is what I meant when I used the word "pernicious".

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  69. @ 5:23, "What, exactly, is space law?"

    Hey dood, anywhere you have space pirates, you're gonna get space lawyers. It's like a natural law of the pluriverse.

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  70. To LP's question #1), what do we think would have been the 2009-2010 answer to a late-comer, asking to be considered for admission after the deadline?

    I don't know, and don't know if anyone studied it back then. But I suspect yon 174++ LSAT may have found schools willing to "make an exception" in 2009, or 1999 for that matter. Exceptions are granted for all kinds of stuff, and not just on an exceptional basis.

    So, question for the peanut gallery - did anyone seek to apply late, back when they were applying?

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  71. Law Office Computing-- I understand what you are saying. We just disagree. I don't know what the "good reasons" were back when you were in charge of an admissions office. But I will bet that anyone from that time who decided not to apply after the deadline would see your decision to take late applicants as "pernicious". I would also think that in most situations where late applications are taken (again, we don't know if everyone will be accepted) the applicant has a strong record. People who have good grades and high scores are treated "better" than people who have mediocre grades and low scores.

    We don't have enough information about the people who are calling in late and being told they can still apply-- we have no idea how many there are-- to pronounce that all the law schools mentioned in the OP are engaging in a pernicious practice. Pre-Law Advisors post seems to get at this far better.

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  72. I would not put Penn in the same category as HYS, especially with the recent NCAA sanctions.

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  73. You're thinking of the wrong Penn (Penn State vs. Univ. of Pennsylvania).

    But even so, I would not put UPenn in the same category as HYS.

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  74. 11:46
    I think "buying" away students from other law schools by giving tuition discounts that result in a lowered tuition for late applicants is pernicious. The situation is probably worse than that and we will have to see what happens in the next few weeks.

    I don't think waiving application deadlines is usually pernicious. 

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  75. I, for one, never tire of the Penn trolling. Keep up the good work.

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  76. I'm sure most Dickinson grads never tire of Penn trolling, hehehe.

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  77. 11:46-- @ Law Office Computing--"buying them away"-- Law schools own applicants? This kind of thing happens all the time. You buy a house at one point and it costs one price. If you had waited until later, it would have been cheaper or, depending upon the market, more expensive.
    We will have to see, but we also need specific information before we can really know what has happened. We don't have that. We're talking about what we think is happening. It's obvious that if applications are down, adjustments have to be made. Adjustments are inherently immoral. We have to know exactly what they are before we can make the judgment.

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  78. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  79. ^The odds are good but the goods are odd ;)

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  80. "adjustments are not inherently immoral"

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  81. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  82. Yep, this place is still a bros' club. Awesome.

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  83. I did not apply late, but my spouse did, back in 1999. Summer. 1 of HYS said yes(and admitted), 2 no. Only 174 LSAT, not positive about his GPA- high, though, summa, and fancy work experience.

    I believe completely that law schools are hurting and desperate and there are plenty of metrics that will show that soon enough. But for better or worse summer applications for highly qualified applicants have always been the norm. Possibly unfortunate, but true.

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  84. on the update-- Saying that would just encourage more people to apply late, increasing the numbers of applications that have to be gone through at the last moment to determine their "worthiness". It's better to let people make up their own minds about whether they can make a strong enough case, and that they feel strongly enough about the school to send in their application and make the case.

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  85. This is all so interesting to me. As a ridiculously naive 0L "back in the day," I was terrified of missing/would never have dreamed of missing the application deadline at my law school (Colorado, LawProf's school).

    Of course, it's a different world now, in many ways.

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  86. I'm pretty stunned by that list. I got a 177 on my LSATs and I was rejected by all of those schools that I applied to this year - and I admit that I slacked off at college and didn't have a great GPA. But at least I know how to meet a deadline.

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  87. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  88. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  89. this isn't a truly analogous case, but i think it may be telling... here goes.

    when i was applying to law school several years ago, i did not apply to yale. why? because i didn't think i could get in, and i didn't want to waste the money. 3 weeks before yale's stated deadline, i got a package in the mail from new haven, ct of all places. not an envelope. a package. with lots of yale stuff and yale brochures and yale this and yale that. along with the swag came a letter. "dear so-and-so, we are always looking for talented people like you.. blah blah blah... we hope you do apply this year as we look at applications all at once... blah blah blah. sincerely, dean rangappa or some other minion."

    i asked around. sure enough, the word on the street was that, in the case of yale, applying early didn't really bear on being accepted or denied. i thought to myself, yale must actually want me. how neat is that. i applied and sent in my $85.

    less than two weeks from the day i submitted, i received a rejection letter in the mail. thanks yale.

    now, this was before their stated deadlines, but they were chumming for applications just like everyone else, and they rejected me pretty darn quickly. there are no ethics in this game, at any level, and i doubt there ever were.

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  90. For decades now, colleges and law schools, have sent out information to people who have high SAT and LSAT scores. There was never any guarantee that receiving a letter and information from them meant that these schools were going to accept the person. These efforts were/are not a total waste. Some people they sent information to were, in fact, accepted.

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  91. I hate to burst everyone's bubble here, but this is not a new practice. Almost every school sets their deadline to a certain date, but allows applications to transmit months after that deadline. This is nothing new.

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  92. I'm surprised nobody has made a comparison with the NCAA's recent decision regarding Penn State:

    Penn State: Out of control, yet profitable, culture -> college hides disgusting behavior (crimes) to preserve this culture -> regulatory body (NCAA) punishes school for allowing it to happen.

    Law Schools: Out of control, yet profitable, culture -> law schools hide disgusting behavior (crimes?) to preserve this culture -> regulatory bodies (ABA, state bars, government student loan lender) turn a blind eye and allows system to continue this disgusting activity.

    Yes, the crimes committed by Sandusky and company at Penn State were truly terrible and incomparable to the relatively minor woes of a student debtor, but surely the cumulative harm caused to thousands upon thousands upon thousands of student debtors by the Law School Scam each and every year is worth stopping?

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  93. To provide another view, those applicants applying this late and getting the "special" treatment, are getting that treatment from schools that are probably a bit below what they are capable of getting into if they waited a year. Also, it doesnt take a genius to realize that if you can submit an application online on LSAC, you can still apply regardless of the deadline that is displaying right next to the apply button. I'm not sure how that is "gaming" the system, it's just finding an opportunity that is available for all to see.

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  94. @ 8:47

    Could you clarify your rather ambiguous comment about age discrimination allegedly suffered by T6 graduates? Are you saying that (1) you obtained your law degree in recent years at the age of 50+, and now are having difficulty finding employment, or (2) you obtained your law degree in your youth, have worked as a big firm lawyer for many years, and are now for the first time (or only in recent years) having difficulty finding employment, or (3) you have concluded that legal employers are more likely to reject a job-seeking mature lawyer who is a T6 alum than a similarly situated non-T6 alum? If yes to (3), what is the basis for your belief? Thanks. Also, what's the P in HYPS?

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  95. Lawprof:

    From this story:

    http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2012/07/will-penn-state.html

    comes this quote:

    "We are responding responsibly by reducing the size of our JD class so that we continue to have students of superior credentials and so that our graduates have a greater probability of securing meaningful work upon graduation. At the same time, we are enlarging the scope of our high quality educational programs other than JD legal education, such as our LLM program and shorter term professional education programs for US. and foreign judges, lawyers and other professionals."

    Come on, LLM degrees are just another part of the scam.

    I hope you do a post on this.

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  96. Today I finished taking the Illinois bar exam with tons of other suckers. Combining that experience (including noting the throngs of people who flock in from out of region), and looking at this list, I can't help but be reminded by how super-saturated the Chicago market is.

    Chicago, NU, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and WUSL are all on there. Shocked Iowa and Notre Dame aren't on there. Imagine Loyola, Kent, and Depaul still have a bag o' cash waiting for anyone north of 160.

    Ugh. Given U of I's history, I can't believe they're publicly closing admissions while telling people via e-mail it's still open for the right candidate, if that's true. Unbelievable.

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  97. 3:37 I obtained my law degree in my youth, worked as a big firm lawyer for many years, and in recent years have had too take vastly inferior forms of employment. Legal employers who pay the $160,000 or greater salaries are more likely to reject/fire a job-seeking mature lawyer who is a T6 alum than a similarly situated young T-6 alum? BigLaaw is up or out and very few people remain at the older ages, the number going down each year from graduation. What I am saying is that there is a very high degree of unemployment/ underemployment among experienced T6 alums that the T6 are not disclosing. Also the compensation of a large part of the mature T6 group (say 20 years after graduation) is much lower than for similarly situated younger alums. What I am saying is that the top law schools are scamming people because for many there is no place to go long-term after BigLaw. You may have jobs that last a few years, but then the T6 grad may have little income and clearly not a high enough income to justify the cost and opportunity cost of the T6 degree. After people age out of Biglaw, many fall off an income cliff. That is so true of my contemporaries.

    HYPS are the undergrad schools of Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stamford. Until recently, a large percentage of their class would apply to law school. Many who apply end up at the T6. Most of these grads are bright enough and have good enough records to follow any career path they would like.

    The question is what are the long-term outcomes at the T6. If the T6 degree is useless for a large percentage of the class after age 50 and the lawyer is forced to retire or to work for less than a public servant in his or her area, the degree is not good deal for many people. Clearly our brightest undergrads would not go to a T6 in such large numbers if they knew there was a 30% or greater chance that their degree would have no market value as compared to say a cop or teacher in their area, after they attained age 50. Who would kill themselves for career with mandatory retirement for a third of the people say, at age 50, without the assets and savings to give the person the financial ability to retire.

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  98. "Stamford." LOL

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  99. Sorry. Am working even if not making much and have little time to post or proof. Just trying to get the message out that what 0Ls do not know about the legal profession may be very crucial.

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  100. Little time to proof but definitely enough time to post the same comment on almost every post.

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  101. If you don't think that diminishing income prospects for experienced lawyers is important, it is sort of like the 45% unemployment rate for 9 months. It is likely that the median incomes in the private sector start to drop off after a couple of years. We do not know because we do not have the data. It is a serious problem if you are contemplating borrowing $250,000 and your income advantage from going to law school disappears after a few years. Getting a first job is a phyrric victory if the job and the income does not last.

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  102. Just to be clear, until recently, about 28% of the number of students in each graduating class at HYP undergrad was applying to law school. Until recently there were few dentists, for example, who were alumni of these undergraduate schools. The question is whether these bright people are making informed career choices. They need full information about what the future holds for past grads of law schools and dental schools to make an informed choice. If someone knew that dentists can work as long as they are physically able, that the average income is relatively high and that unemployment is rare,and that dental specialists are paid as well as some of the highest paid lawyers, would more people graduating from these top colleges go the dental route and fewer the law school route. Law may sound better on its face, but if it is a bad long-term bet for many people even from a T6 school, makes a big difference in making an informed career choice.

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  103. I know someone who went to a T6 and paid nearly sticker. She owes $210K and lasted in Biglaw for 3 years. She is now working for a 2-5 lawyers shop. A T6 law degree at sticker is not a great investment. Nowadays, the shelf life of a Biglaw associate is 4-5 years. If you can pay your debt back by being frugal in that time frame and break even, you are still out on your 3 years of opportunity costs while you were reading arcane cases such as International Shoe.

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  104. Today, I walked past the Jacob Javits Center in NYC where the NY bar exam is being administered. There must have been at least 10,000 people taking the exam. I kept thinking how will these 10K would be attorneys survive in a State that only has about 2,500 new attorney positions available each year. But hey, assuming a 72% bar pass rate, that means NY will benefit from 360,000 pro bono hours that these poor louts have to give as part of the new admissions requirements. Welcome to NY kids.

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  105. RE: Yale and its fancy packets.

    That is an admissions scam. The way it works is they send out materials to tons of people who have zero shot at admission. This allows them to announce their selectivity--one of the variables in US News ranking. They wait until just before their application deadline because they don't want to waste resources sending them out to everyone. I'm not sure if it costs them money or if they make money on the scam but if it's the latter it is particularly egregious. I suppose they mind find a an applicant they admit every once in a while but make no mistake its effects on Yale's selectivity is part of the rationale for the program.

    Milking 0Ls out of $75 application fees for marginal benefits in the rankings.

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  106. Hey guys, I have a question.

    I heard that law for t6 students is totally stable, especially when those grads hit 50 years old. I'm a big Campos fan but I can't seem to find an answer in the comments. Are the boomers doing ok? I fear they didn't save enough; maybe the younger of us can pay into huge social programs to help them out? I'm sure that isn't basically a huge pyramid scheme with the boomers as the winners. I can't imagine the lot of lawyers who graduated in the seventies. Tuition was probably close to four figures when they went to school and how can one save for retirement salary after a 25 year career making barely six figures?

    If only they had the presence of mind to become cops.

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  107. @8:21,

    I've heard that a lot of undergrad colleges engage in the same scheme - send thousands (if not tens of thousands!) of glossy brochures and admissions waivers to kids they have absolutely no intentions of accepting. Any who apply basically go into a "pre-rejected" pile, the number of apps skyrockets, the admissions rates plummet, and the USNWR rank goes up. Basically, any college whose president says "My goal is to crack the top 25 or 50 or 100 USNWR" is guilty of these practices, or any college whose admission rate has gone from like 60% to 30% in the last 5-10 years.

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  108. 9:31 - does USNWR rank undergrad programmes?

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  110. @6:31 "If you don't think that diminishing income prospects for experienced lawyers is important, it is sort of like the 45% unemployment rate for 9 months. It is likely that the median incomes in the private sector start to drop off after a couple of years. We do not know because we do not have the data. It is a serious problem if you are contemplating borrowing $250,000 and your income advantage from going to law school disappears after a few years. Getting a first job is a phyrric victory if the job and the income does not last."

    You are so right on. I know because I have watched my colleagues over 20 years. Law firms are pyramid schemes...like Amway. Law jobs do not last for the vast majority. If the real statistics regarding long term employment as a lawyer were known and documented, no one in their right mind would buy this largely worthless degree.

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  111. What does a law schools selectivity tell USN&WR about that schools entering class that isn't much more directly and better said by its LSATs and GPA? William Ockham

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  112. I read a number of over 12,000 that just passed the NY bar. Great odds there for a wonderful career if there are 2500 jobs.
    As far as baby boomers are concerned, the few who had good legal jobs are losing them fast. T6 is no more safe than skydiving.
    Anyone who goes into this type of market today is nuts. A T6 degree means little where the supply demand imbalance is acute and the structure of paying law firms is pyramidal. In house for most people is highly risky just because they can change personnel every 6 months in a hugely oversaturated market.

    Before you go to a T6 ask for access to the alumni directory and start calling the ones who list jobs to see if they are currently employed.

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  113. Also be sure to check the older classes and try to find people who are similar to yourself. Do not assume most CCN graduates voluntarily retired at an early age.

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  114. The requirement for pro bono hours doesn't apply to June takers.
    Could the commenters check their facts before the post snarky, incorrect stuff?

    We don't care about old boomers who can't get a job and didn't save money, whatever. Boomers are outraged at millenials wanting jobs that pay decent wages, you are complaining that you can't make $100,000? And you had no student loans or if you did they were nothing compared to now.

    You don't understand the deep anger that millenials, who have been constantly lied to and derided by boomers have towards you.

    Seriously, you have nothing to complain about in this fight.

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  115. Lawprof: your post is a non-issue, why are you so mad about this? That top schools find ways to accept admission applications from people who do unexpectedly well should be a good thing. Why should a person wait another cycle if he doesn't need to?

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  116. There is a thread on TLS about boomer hate if you want to understand how we feel old jobless complaining guy who always posts here. But you have to log in to read it.

    We even got into a thread on AARP. Guess how the boomers treated us?

    A lot worse than you have been treated here. No one feels sorry for you not planning your future better. At least you don't have to worry about living in poverty with non-dischargeable loans because you were lied to. But the boomer judges say that the figures we trusted were so poor that we should have known better? Should the government have known better than to lend money to support those schools?

    How you can compare yourself to victims of this scheme is beyond my comprehension.

    Start your own blog so you can whine about how bad you have it now.

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  117. Exactly when did USNWR start its rankings? What year? Anybody know?

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  118. forgive me, clueless boomer, if i'm not commiserating with the fact that you went to law school on the cheap 20 years ago, had at least 20 years in a high-wage job, and now have found yourself on your ear. you've got 20 years of real legal training, for which you were paid handsomely, and you're going to bitch and moan? this blog is not about that!

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  119. USNWR started ranking colleges in 1983.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._News_%26_World_Report#Rankings

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  120. "Clueless boomer" is a troll. He/she/it posts the same thing, usually more than once, in every thread.

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  121. So are we supposed to ignore that troll? I'm sick of boomers telling me how hard they have it at the same time as they call us "lazy" and "entitled."

    This troll should realize that even if every word it posts is true: no one cares, it isn't relevant, it isn't going to stop people from going to law school because, see, no one cares. Sorry that you screwed up your life when you had it so easy.

    This troll doesn't even understand the difference between a pyramid scheme and a pyramid corporate structure. Here is one big difference: the partners can do all the work themselves, they only need associates when they have work they need associates to handle.

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  122. I seriously doubt he's really a boomer. If I had to bet, I'd wager he's a college junior who's applying to law schools and is trying to talk his competition out of applying.

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  123. I do not understand the anti-boomer rage.

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  124. Indeed, as someone who was waitlisted at GMU this cycle, I find this pretty galling. Especially considering the fact that I was removed from the waitlist due to their expected matriculation as of early summer. I'm a bit piqued to discover that the some of people ahead of me in the queue may have been hypothetical.

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  125. @6:11

    Are you kidding me? With all the information on this blog about law school being a scam you think a high school junior needs to pretend to be in his 50s to convince others to not apply?

    No one applying to law school now cares about the problems of a 55 year old who had great jobs and now can't get one.

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  126. Attention boomer haters:

    Eric Cantor (sneering ultra-right only-the-wealthy-are-worthy douchebag in US House leadership) and Barack Obama are both boomers. But there the similarity ends. Here's a key concept: SOME (but not all) boomers are the enemy. SOME (but not all) boomers are supportive allies, either because they're just as screwed as you (try being 55, sick with no ability to get health insurance, unemployed and homeless due to foreclosure) or because they have a moral conscience. Stop tarring all boomers with a single brush. It's ugly, inaccurate, and most importantly, splits potentially important coalitions.

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  127. Boomer hater here... why do you think we don't know how old people are? You think we are that stupid?

    We are not in the same boat. You had a lifetime of chances we may never have. You, your health care and your retirement are going to be our problem for decades. What are you doing to help us, your own children? Nothing, that's what.

    We don't care about coalitions with you, solve your own problems while we try to get organized. After we are organized, we might let you join. But thanks for the model of AARP! We won't have to worry about limiting the age of our members!

    BTW: try to find boomers who don't talk about us as a generation. We are just treating you the way you treated us.

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  128. Dear Boomer Hater,

    I'm sorry to hear that your parents did not try their best to provide you with a decent future. However, in my experience, they are the exception, not the rule. The overwhelming majority of boomers that I know and have known care passionately about their children and make huge sacrifices to pay for their education, health needs, etc. Forgive me, but it does seem that the most vehement boomer haters are the ones who have poor relations with their own particular parents.

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  129. boomer hater here: actually I was speaking generally about your generation destroying your children to live off our work.

    See how typical of boomers your response is: attacking the poster instead of looking at the validity of the content. And then expanding it to include all critics of boomers... "poor kids, their parents must not have loved them" What you should be saying is "poor kids, my generation will be living off the next generation for the rest of our lives."

    How could you possible claim to know about my relationship with my parents, you don't even know who I am. You are ridiculous.

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  131. I was allowed to apply late in the 2005 cycle after getting a 170+ on the February LSAT. 7 schools out of the top 14 and 4 out of the top 10 allowed me to apply past their application deadline. However, they told me that I would be at a disadvantage for merit aid and I decided to wait a year and got a full ride to a top 10.

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  132. My guess is top schools still accepting apps hoping to pull in some late applicants who can boost their medians, and if not, there's another ding they can use to boost their acceptance rate. Other lower ranked schools may really be hurting for enrollment though.

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