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June 2011 Archives

June 4, 2011

Please Stand By...

It has been said that sitting on a wait list for entry into a law school has an uncanny ability to feel like one does when flying standby at the airport. You may or may not get on the flight. Trying to pry insiders' information out of the ticketing gate agent is fruitless. And if you wait too long, the available flights headed to neighboring destinations will become booked up as well.

Putting students on standby, or wait listing them, has become a popular trend amongst law schools. When building an entering class, admissions departments are well aware that their admitted students might in the end very well decide to choose another school from which their law career will take flight, leaving a vacant seat.

Our wait list experiences all begin the same; a generic email in our inbox lamenting the difficulty in choosing this year's entering class due to an overwhelmingly high number of qualified applicants, as a result the said applicant has been placed on the wait list. At which point an ensuing jumble of emotions descends upon the applicant--hope, frustration, annoyance, confusion and indecision.

The valid reasoning behind a wait list does little to ease the frustration. Playing a game of limbo with your future is risky. Many in my entering class quickly resolved themselves to attending our school that has admitted them, making silent promises to themselves not to play the game of "what if" further down the road. This path appears especially prevalent among those that have a heavier load of baggage they need to transport on the flight with them--jobs, families, property, etc. The financial and emotional stress of being summoned off the wait list two days before orientation is deemed not worth it and the available flight is taken.

But others, traveling with a lighter load, are hedging bets that a spot on a wait list at a higher ranked school will open up, despite having paid deposits at our school that has admitted them. The prospect of attending a superior school that could open more doors to career success is worth the short-term hassle and standby it is.

The fact of the matter is until a better system is developed, waiting out a wait list really is an individualized choice. We either show up at the airport, fingers crossed that we will be able to board that flight to our dream destination, or we play it safe and hop an available flight to a neighboring town. Myself, I took the flight to the neighboring town and luckily as I await take-off have found myself pleasantly surprised; things are looking pretty good sitting on the runway.

Joanna Lehmann
New York Law School 2014

June 15, 2011

What Would Shakespeare Say?

To quote Shakespeare: "What is in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet?" The answer--yes. But what about what we call a law school? That which we call Columbia or NYU by any other name would produce as much success? The answer--maybe.

Attending a less than top tier school in the already law school saturated market of New York City does give me pause for thought. I have seen the statistics on employment, read the horror stories overflowing the internet of graduates without jobs and am well aware of how much the level of prestige of an alumni law school matters in the early years of the job search. If the articles splashed across the Internet are to be believed, the law is a caste system in which we inherit our professional standing from the school we attend. No matter how hard I work, without having NYU Law graduate listed next to my name, my resume will automatically be weeded out by future interviewers without a second glance.

Despite this knowledge I have still decided to attend a lower tier school. And even though I have fully committed to going, I still have moments of frustration. In which my inner voice rails silently against a system in which it appears one LSAT score determines an entire law career. As we all know entry into a law school is based on it and the higher the tier, the higher the median LSAT. If this is the case---what is the point of law school at all? Yes, grades too influence an interviewer's decision to interview, but the first gatekeeper is more often than not--where one went to school.

So why have I chosen to still attend? Because we live in a society where any child can become president no matter what background they come from. Given this any 29-year-old woman can become a lawyer no matter what law school she comes from. The uphill battle to get there might be steeper for some than others--but it is not impossible. I believe I can do this. I have an uphill battle ahead of me but breaking into the legal profession and successfully rising through the ranks is not impossible and has been done in the past. I am bracing myself for hard work, lots of networking and the knowledge that there are no guarantees coming out this. In the end my game plan can be summed up in one word---perseverance. For many people NYU is the sweetest smelling rose. But with daily watering and lots of fertilization, I am determined to make New York Law School smell just as sweet for me.

Joanna Lehmann
New York Law School 2014

About June 2011

This page contains all entries posted to Law Students in June 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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