I'm currently in a non-ABA CA accredited law school. I know I can get a better grade on my LSAT. How can I get into an ABA school? I'm only considered an entering student. I haven't started the fall semester.

I've been a Paralegal for 5 years, have my BA in Paralegal studies. Due to my work experience and receiving great recommendation letter I was able to get into the non-ABA CA accredited law school. But, somehow, now I regret it because I really want to attend an ABA school. I know and I'm confident I can achieve a higher score on my LSAT if I retake it. Should I withdraw from my school and retake the LSAT?

Answers

Derek Meeker, Former Dean of Admissions for UPenn Law School & prior Recruiting Manager for global law firm

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I agree with Anne, and would just add that I advise you to think carefully about your career goals, what opportunities will be available to you after graduating from the non-accredited school, and your likely return on investment. Consider your out of pocket cost to attend the school, its bar passage rate, employment prospects, i.e., likelihood of landing a full-time job as a lawyer, and graduates' salaries based on that school's placement statistics. (It's very important to do this type of analysis for accredited schools, too, given the competitiveness of the current legal market). Also, when I worked at Penn, we often received inquiries from people who had attended or were attending non-accredited law schools asking if they could apply to transfer to Penn (because they were unexpectedly relocating to another state and would not be eligible to take the bar.) The answer is you cannot. You would have to apply as an entering student and would not get credit for any coursework taken at a non-accredited school, i.e., you would have to start over. Thus, it is important to consider the geographic/market limitations of attending a non-accredited law school.

Anne Richard, Former dean of admissions at UVA Law, GW Law and GMU Law; graduate of Yale Law School

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It is difficult to provide a comprehensive answer to your questions without knowing a little more about you - about your academic record, what your LSAT score is, what you hope to do in the practice of law, where you hope to practice, etc.

If your top priority is to attend an ABA-accredited law school, if you do not mind waiting another year, and if you are confident that you can do better on the LSAT, then you should prepare for the October or December 2015 LSAT and apply to a number of ABA-accredited law schools for fall 2016 admission. There may be some ABA-accredited law schools that are still accepting applications for fall 2015 admission but, at this late date, you likely will be looking at applying for fall 2016 admission.

If you would like to discuss your situation, I'll be happy to talk with you. Please feel free to call me at (571) 289-4712.

Anne

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jessica white, Answer to Derek and Anne

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Hi Anne and Derek, thank you for taking the time to respond to my question. I really appreciate it. A little more about me and my background in the legal field. I have my BA in Paralegal Studies. During my college years I volunteered at various law firms and clinics. I also have work experience in family law, PI, Workers compensation, DUI and Criminal Defense.

The CA accredited law school I'm attending in the city is a Part Time only night school (which is the main reason why the school is not ABA accredited) but within the city there is also a very well known and prestigious law school, which makes for high competition. My school is well known locally and involved with the community, courts, and has practicing attorneys and judges as teachers. However, compared to the other top tier law school in the city, my school is sometimes frowned upon by certain law firms and companies. I choose to attend the CA accredited non-ABA accredited school because fee's are affordable, I work full-time, location is convenient, and I have no plans to relocate outside CA. I also have no desire to work at a huge top law firm. I'm an entering student because I started in the Spring semester (February 2015). Beginning August I will take the doctrinal courses.

However, as I mentioned in my initial question, I know getting a higher LSAT grade is possible for me. As you may already know, LSAT score is not a deal breaker when applying for non-ABA CA accredited law schools. They focus more on your background, grades, and work experience. So, I'm not proud of the LSAT score I received and at the time I knew it wasn't going to be a deal breaker for me. But before I go any further into the school year and actually start the doctrinal courses I wanted to get some honest feedback. I spoke with practicing attorneys and judges before starting this school; but I feel that I'm not completely satisfied. Am I over-thinking this? Should I continue at this school and strive to be at the top 10 percent? Or should I withdrawal, study for the LSAT and hope to get into the one other law school here in the county?

Lastly, will the fact that I already took the LSAT and withdrew from law school affect my chances of attending another law school? I know that the other law school in the county will accept transfer students from my school after they've completed their first year and only if they're in the top 10% of their class. They also look at the LSAT score and GPA. I didn't get a good LSAT score because I knew it wasn't going to be determining factor in applying for this law school so, even if I make the top 10% in class, I'm not sure if my score will override everything else.

Thank you again!

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