A mix of low GPA and long working experience?


MChief
Hey Guys,

I got a LLB degree with a low GPA (2.91/4) from a law school in China several years ago, which was caused by some family economic issues during my first 2 years. LSAC report evaluates my grades to be "Average".

It seems my working experience should be ok. I have been working with international law firms' Chinese offices in the last 6 years (previously a USA firm and now a British firm). And I got an IBT score of 105 and am also admitted to practice Chinese law.

Now planning to apply for LLM of 2012 fall. YHS is too top for me to reach and then I'm considering limiting my scope of schools to be from CLS to WUSTL.

I know I am actually facing to an awkward situation where the low GPA will definitely be an obstacle for me to obtain good admissions.

Do you think it is possible for me get in CLS, NYU or PENN? Other than the regular application documents, would you suggest me to explain on my low GPA in my PS or prepare an addendum to "defend" it?

Any comments will be welcome. Thank you very much.

MC
Hey Guys,

I got a LLB degree with a low GPA (2.91/4) from a law school in China several years ago, which was caused by some family economic issues during my first 2 years. LSAC report evaluates my grades to be "Average".

It seems my working experience should be ok. I have been working with international law firms' Chinese offices in the last 6 years (previously a USA firm and now a British firm). And I got an IBT score of 105 and am also admitted to practice Chinese law.

Now planning to apply for LLM of 2012 fall. YHS is too top for me to reach and then I'm considering limiting my scope of schools to be from CLS to WUSTL.

I know I am actually facing to an awkward situation where the low GPA will definitely be an obstacle for me to obtain good admissions.

Do you think it is possible for me get in CLS, NYU or PENN? Other than the regular application documents, would you suggest me to explain on my low GPA in my PS or prepare an addendum to "defend" it?

Any comments will be welcome. Thank you very much.

MC



quote
From what I have read, the top tier LLM programs really are considering law school GPA over everything. It is certainly not similar to MBA admissions where experience counts. These top LLM programs would actually prefer to have 4.0 gpa students with no experience than a 3.0 student with 10 years of terrific experience. The purpose, it seems, is to create future professors. And, we all know that a typical tenure law professor understands law in the vacuum of a textbook. This is why LLM degrees are not considered very valuable (aside from tax) in practice.
From what I have read, the top tier LLM programs really are considering law school GPA over everything. It is certainly not similar to MBA admissions where experience counts. These top LLM programs would actually prefer to have 4.0 gpa students with no experience than a 3.0 student with 10 years of terrific experience. The purpose, it seems, is to create future professors. And, we all know that a typical tenure law professor understands law in the vacuum of a textbook. This is why LLM degrees are not considered very valuable (aside from tax) in practice.
quote
scllm
Currently pursuing my LLM from one of these 'top schools', GPA is just one of the many determining factors. Law schools look for an overall well rounded application and if your GPA is compensated with good experience + something else on your resume you have a very fair shot.

Yale however does look at GPA over everything else.
Currently pursuing my LLM from one of these 'top schools', GPA is just one of the many determining factors. Law schools look for an overall well rounded application and if your GPA is compensated with good experience + something else on your resume you have a very fair shot.

Yale however does look at GPA over everything else.
quote
alex_c
Currently pursuing my LLM from one of these 'top schools', GPA is just one of the many determining factors. Law schools look for an overall well rounded application and if your GPA is compensated with good experience + something else on your resume you have a very fair shot.

Yale however does look at GPA over everything else.


Considering your statement, does that mean you too did not have a fair GPA score but still managed to get admitted ?

I am assuming that aside from the LL.M. admission, applying for a scholarship would seem rather far-fetched considering the low GPA. What I mean is that, you may have a chance for admission with a low GPA, however chances for a scholarship are dim.
<blockquote>Currently pursuing my LLM from one of these 'top schools', GPA is just one of the many determining factors. Law schools look for an overall well rounded application and if your GPA is compensated with good experience + something else on your resume you have a very fair shot.

Yale however does look at GPA over everything else. </blockquote>

Considering your statement, does that mean you too did not have a fair GPA score but still managed to get admitted ?

I am assuming that aside from the LL.M. admission, applying for a scholarship would seem rather far-fetched considering the low GPA. What I mean is that, you may have a chance for admission with a low GPA, however chances for a scholarship are dim.
quote
Wavshrdr
This is a pretty old thread you are replying to. What mattered then, may not be as relevant now as the market is different now.

GPA is not the only metric as you likely know but it does have a big impact. If you have outstanding LORs and an excellent work history, it might pull you up. Then again Emily didn't have that high of marks and got into a decent school it seems.

So who knows what is going on with some of the school right now. They may be desperate for people to apply. That isn't likely for the top 3 or 5 though. From talking to others at the school where I am at, SLS, nobody had anywhere close to average grades.

Scholarships have lots of different criteria for award. Some are need based so if you get in, even with mediocre grades, you may still be eligible for some so don't give up hope there.

Ties to certain countries may help as well for admission.
This is a pretty old thread you are replying to. What mattered then, may not be as relevant now as the market is different now.

GPA is not the only metric as you likely know but it does have a big impact. If you have outstanding LORs and an excellent work history, it might pull you up. Then again Emily didn't have that high of marks and got into a decent school it seems.

So who knows what is going on with some of the school right now. They may be desperate for people to apply. That isn't likely for the top 3 or 5 though. From talking to others at the school where I am at, SLS, nobody had anywhere close to average grades.

Scholarships have lots of different criteria for award. Some are need based so if you get in, even with mediocre grades, you may still be eligible for some so don't give up hope there.

Ties to certain countries may help as well for admission.
quote
This is a pretty old thread you are replying to. What mattered then, may not be as relevant now as the market is different now.

GPA is not the only metric as you likely know but it does have a big impact. If you have outstanding LORs and an excellent work history, it might pull you up. Then again Emily didn't have that high of marks and got into a decent school it seems.

So who knows what is going on with some of the school right now. They may be desperate for people to apply. That isn't likely for the top 3 or 5 though. From talking to others at the school where I am at, SLS, nobody had anywhere close to average grades.

Scholarships have lots of different criteria for award. Some are need based so if you get in, even with mediocre grades, you may still be eligible for some so don't give up hope there.

Ties to certain countries may help as well for admission.


Why do you talk about emily? She's not even in this thread and you're giving her example (supposedly).
<blockquote>This is a pretty old thread you are replying to. What mattered then, may not be as relevant now as the market is different now.

GPA is not the only metric as you likely know but it does have a big impact. If you have outstanding LORs and an excellent work history, it might pull you up. Then again Emily didn't have that high of marks and got into a decent school it seems.

So who knows what is going on with some of the school right now. They may be desperate for people to apply. That isn't likely for the top 3 or 5 though. From talking to others at the school where I am at, SLS, nobody had anywhere close to average grades.

Scholarships have lots of different criteria for award. Some are need based so if you get in, even with mediocre grades, you may still be eligible for some so don't give up hope there.

Ties to certain countries may help as well for admission.</blockquote>

Why do you talk about emily? She's not even in this thread and you're giving her example (supposedly).
quote
Wavshrdr
Because she is the one who had marks that I know of that was relevant. Simple enough - she was a relevant example that potentially could give hope to the person that posted.

Is that a bad thing or are you trying to say something else?
Because she is the one who had marks that I know of that was relevant. Simple enough - she was a relevant example that potentially could give hope to the person that posted.

Is that a bad thing or are you trying to say something else?
quote
Because she is the one who had marks that I know of that was relevant. Simple enough - she was a relevant example that potentially could give hope to the person that posted.

Is that a bad thing or are you trying to say something else?


I don't think everyone is aware who Emily is. Besides, I think it's rude to remind that her academic record "isn't good enough" and yet she could get in a "decent school". You're lacking in both empathy and education.
<blockquote>Because she is the one who had marks that I know of that was relevant. Simple enough - she was a relevant example that potentially could give hope to the person that posted.

Is that a bad thing or are you trying to say something else?</blockquote>

I don't think everyone is aware who Emily is. Besides, I think it's rude to remind that her academic record "isn't good enough" and yet she could get in a "decent school". You're lacking in both empathy and education.
quote
Wheretogo_
Admissions are fairly subjective procedures tbh. While GPA may well be a very important thing for the top 5, I think most other schools certainly within the top 20 take a more holistic approach of things.

I don't think education is going to be much different say at the University of Texas, University of Minnesota or say Georgetown or even Chicago. I guess most students are looking for the brand name, which in turn makes the top 5 schools so competitive because the students that were top in their classes apply to those same programs.

The good thing is there is a school out there for everyone and I take a view that a lot of applicants are not really interested in the top 5. For example, I applied to schools in the top 20, because the chances of funding are very high and the programs are smaller, which in turn can mean a better experience!
Admissions are fairly subjective procedures tbh. While GPA may well be a very important thing for the top 5, I think most other schools certainly within the top 20 take a more holistic approach of things.

I don't think education is going to be much different say at the University of Texas, University of Minnesota or say Georgetown or even Chicago. I guess most students are looking for the brand name, which in turn makes the top 5 schools so competitive because the students that were top in their classes apply to those same programs.

The good thing is there is a school out there for everyone and I take a view that a lot of applicants are not really interested in the top 5. For example, I applied to schools in the top 20, because the chances of funding are very high and the programs are smaller, which in turn can mean a better experience!
quote
jojobow
You are right Wheretogo, there is a lot to be said for the smaller programs. At this point legal jobs are hard to come by and so the questions become (for me at least) more about the quality of the networking and less about the brand. It depends on your intent after the LLM also, as what may be a T14 may be almost unheard of in your country. I'm also looking at where I will enjoy being, not just which logo I can wear. I must say that in the current law school crisis in the US it is harder to find a small and diverse LLM program as they seem to be expanding rapidly in size.
You are right Wheretogo, there is a lot to be said for the smaller programs. At this point legal jobs are hard to come by and so the questions become (for me at least) more about the quality of the networking and less about the brand. It depends on your intent after the LLM also, as what may be a T14 may be almost unheard of in your country. I'm also looking at where I will enjoy being, not just which logo I can wear. I must say that in the current law school crisis in the US it is harder to find a small and diverse LLM program as they seem to be expanding rapidly in size.
quote
Wavshrdr
I don't think everyone is aware who Emily is. Besides, I think it's rude to remind that her academic record "isn't good enough" and yet she could get in a "decent school". You're lacking in both empathy and education.


By continuing to bring "Emily" up, I am sure you will help her cause. ;-)

You are the one in this thread who said she wasn't good enough. Obviously if you get into a school, then it is good enough for that school. At the end of the day, that is all that matters.

Attack my lack of empathy, education, etc. as you have no relevance to me. I rarely attack anyone personally and IRL, I've done far mo

If I am going to be empathetic, I'll save my true empathy for someone more deserving of it such as orphans in a 3rd world country, not someone who sometimes comes across snobbish and as a know it all. Who knows how she is in real life.

As for my education, I am secure in my academic accomplishments as well as my career accomplishments. I am here to generally help people. Too often people disappear after they are in school. I am here trying to help others. I could be instead devoting more time toward my studies than I already do. I post a lot of useful and constructive suggestions. My inbox is filled with people asking for help and thanking me for the help I've given them.

As to topic at the topic at hand, as I've mentioned elsewhere, they look at all areas. You can be deficient in one area and if you are exceptional in other areas, still get into a good school. To get into a great school, typically demands excellence in every area - as it should.

Having said that, is the elite of the elite school where you need to be? Only you can answer that question for yourself. Does the prestige of the school matter in your area of law? Does it matter in your home country? Do you want to possibly stay and work in the US? Will it really improve my earning potentially, job prospects, etc.? You know your situation better than I do.

All I can do is post my experience inside the system so to speak. At the end of the day, I think it can make a difference and sometimes quite significant. I know there are interviews and connections that were made solely on the basis of where I went to school. Networking is really key.

If you want to stay in the US, I think it is quite important the pedigree of your school. The elite schools have access to employers and job fairs that lesser schools don't. Is that going to get you a job? Who knows but at least you are getting exposure and making connections.

Of course balance that with the affordability of your education. Sometimes top schools give less financial aid. They already have so many competing for their programs so why "discount" their product? For example, Stanford offers NO financial support for foreign LLMs. Ask yourself why is that? Do I like it? No but I turned down offers from other top schools with VERY generous scholarship offers.

For me the cost of my education is staggering not to mention not working for a year at my previous high level position. It was a big risk as the position I held was very difficult to come by in my home country.

So it is obvious to shoot for the best school you can. You define the criteria. They'll look at your total package. Look at the academic profile of the students there and see how you actually stack up against the people accepted. If your GPA is a 2.9 and the average is 3.9 for those accepted try and see if you can write and incredibly compelling personal statement and get LORs from very prominent people to bolster your case.

You are trying to package yourself in such a way that the admissions officers don't have to be convinced to admit you. Take the time to refine everything as much time allows as you'll only get one chance typically.

On the plus side, school enrollment is down for a lot of schools so they might be a bit more relaxed in letting people in. Use that to your advantage. I think this is more obvious in schools other than the top 5 or 6. If you are female, your chances might be a bit better depending on the school. Look at the demographic makeup of the schools.

Regardless good luck of where you end up. Based on the current market though I don't see why most people here can easily get into a top 50 school. If you do get a scholarship, don't be afraid to go back and ask for more. It doesn't hurt to ask.

Grades aren't everything, but they still mean a lot.
<blockquote>I don't think everyone is aware who Emily is. Besides, I think it's rude to remind that her academic record "isn't good enough" and yet she could get in a "decent school". You're lacking in both empathy and education. </blockquote>

By continuing to bring "Emily" up, I am sure you will help her cause. ;-)

You are the one in this thread who said she wasn't good enough. Obviously if you get into a school, then it is good enough for that school. At the end of the day, that is all that matters.

Attack my lack of empathy, education, etc. as you have no relevance to me. I rarely attack anyone personally and IRL, I've done far mo

If I am going to be empathetic, I'll save my true empathy for someone more deserving of it such as orphans in a 3rd world country, not someone who sometimes comes across snobbish and as a know it all. Who knows how she is in real life.

As for my education, I am secure in my academic accomplishments as well as my career accomplishments. I am here to generally help people. Too often people disappear after they are in school. I am here trying to help others. I could be instead devoting more time toward my studies than I already do. I post a lot of useful and constructive suggestions. My inbox is filled with people asking for help and thanking me for the help I've given them.

As to topic at the topic at hand, as I've mentioned elsewhere, they look at all areas. You can be deficient in one area and if you are exceptional in other areas, still get into a good school. To get into a great school, typically demands excellence in every area - as it should.

Having said that, is the elite of the elite school where you need to be? Only you can answer that question for yourself. Does the prestige of the school matter in your area of law? Does it matter in your home country? Do you want to possibly stay and work in the US? Will it really improve my earning potentially, job prospects, etc.? You know your situation better than I do.

All I can do is post my experience inside the system so to speak. At the end of the day, I think it can make a difference and sometimes quite significant. I know there are interviews and connections that were made solely on the basis of where I went to school. Networking is really key.

If you want to stay in the US, I think it is quite important the pedigree of your school. The elite schools have access to employers and job fairs that lesser schools don't. Is that going to get you a job? Who knows but at least you are getting exposure and making connections.

Of course balance that with the affordability of your education. Sometimes top schools give less financial aid. They already have so many competing for their programs so why "discount" their product? For example, Stanford offers NO financial support for foreign LLMs. Ask yourself why is that? Do I like it? No but I turned down offers from other top schools with VERY generous scholarship offers.

For me the cost of my education is staggering not to mention not working for a year at my previous high level position. It was a big risk as the position I held was very difficult to come by in my home country.

So it is obvious to shoot for the best school you can. You define the criteria. They'll look at your total package. Look at the academic profile of the students there and see how you actually stack up against the people accepted. If your GPA is a 2.9 and the average is 3.9 for those accepted try and see if you can write and incredibly compelling personal statement and get LORs from very prominent people to bolster your case.

You are trying to package yourself in such a way that the admissions officers don't have to be convinced to admit you. Take the time to refine everything as much time allows as you'll only get one chance typically.

On the plus side, school enrollment is down for a lot of schools so they might be a bit more relaxed in letting people in. Use that to your advantage. I think this is more obvious in schools other than the top 5 or 6. If you are female, your chances might be a bit better depending on the school. Look at the demographic makeup of the schools.

Regardless good luck of where you end up. Based on the current market though I don't see why most people here can easily get into a top 50 school. If you do get a scholarship, don't be afraid to go back and ask for more. It doesn't hurt to ask.

Grades aren't everything, but they still mean a lot.
quote
imnc
Leaving aside long rambling posts like the one above, Voice.of.reason has a good point to make in one of the older(2009) posts - an emphasis on grades which is still followed today at all the top schools.

There is simply no substitute for high grades. What constitutes 'high' may change a bit but generally you will not find applicants out of the top 15% getting an offer from the best schools.

The difference between being in the top 2% and the top 15% can be partly overcome by work experience and LORs and there is a 'sweet spot' of about 5-6 years PQE that seems to work best for candidates not having the benefit of top grades. But even these 'low' candidates are still within the top 15% (in some cases higher)cut-off.

Once you are out of that bracket in terms of grades, it's nearly impossible to get an offer no matter what work experience and LORs you bring.
Leaving aside long rambling posts like the one above, Voice.of.reason has a good point to make in one of the older(2009) posts - an emphasis on grades which is still followed today at all the top schools.

There is simply no substitute for high grades. What constitutes 'high' may change a bit but generally you will not find applicants out of the top 15% getting an offer from the best schools.

The difference between being in the top 2% and the top 15% can be partly overcome by work experience and LORs and there is a 'sweet spot' of about 5-6 years PQE that seems to work best for candidates not having the benefit of top grades. But even these 'low' candidates are still within the top 15% (in some cases higher)cut-off.

Once you are out of that bracket in terms of grades, it's nearly impossible to get an offer no matter what work experience and LORs you bring.
quote

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