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Rejected From Harvard Law? No Sweat—Try Again.

Vivia Chen

November 25, 2013

For all you law school junkies out there who like to keep score on which school will get you where and how you can game the admissions process, here's the latest:

Woman_Studying by imgingiStock(1)1. How to reapply to law school in three steps. As you know, law school applications are at an all-time low, so you might squeeze into those reach law schools—including ones that rejected you in the past. If you didn't already jump at your backup school, here's what you should do when you reapply, according to U.S. News & World Reports:

1. Revamp the essay. "Consider adding a few anecdotes that occurred during the year after you applied to exhibit that you have made productive use of your time. Show that you took advantage of the opportunity to fully prepare for law school, rather than being distraught that you were not admitted to your school of choice."

2. Retake the LSAT. This is obviously obvious, unless your score was already spectacular.

3. Tell them why you are now awesome. "You may include an addendum to explain why your current application is a more accurate representation of your fit for the school than your original submission." Mention things like improved grades or LSAT score, or new work experience.

But, "you should not say that you were unfairly judged or deserve another chance."

In other words, don't tell the admissions people that they made a big boo-boo in not accepting you last year. Be cheery and tell them you have an unvanquished need to be part of their law school community (they love the "community" stuff). We all know law schools can't be so choosy now, but don't rub it in, okay?

2. It's all about pedigree, baby. Law schools want more female and diverse faculty members—so long as they went to Harvard, Yale or Stanford Law. "Pedigree trumps diversity when it comes to law faculty hiring," reports The National Law Journal, about a study of law school hiring by Tracey George of Vanderbilt University Law School and Albert Yoon of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

Women and minority did have an advantage in hiring at the initial stage. "But when it came making offers," says NLJ, it was based on the school's prestige.  Top schools accounted for 82 percent of the hires. Grads of Harvard, Yale, and Stanford law schools "were 27 percent more likely to land jobs than those from all other law schools."

3. So who wants to work at Greenberg Traurig's "residency" program? Short answer: Top students from low-ranked or no ranked schools, suggests Sun Sentinel. As Am Law Daily reported recently, the Florida-based firm launched its "residency" program for non-partnership lawyers who are paid less and are billed out at lower rates than their regular associates. Bradford Kaufman, one of the firm's shareholders, told Am Law Daily that the program "isn’t supposed to be some sort of second-class opportunity."

So is it a dead end? No, because the firm says some might be promoted to regular associates (let the hunger games begin!). In any case, the firm isn't divulging how much these "residents" are paid. Anyone know?

4. A portrait of Ted Cruz as a young law student. In case you're curious about what the Tea Bagger with the dreamy dark eyes was like as a Harvard Law student in the early 1990's. Apparently, folks remember him. 

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told the Boston Globe: “He came in with his right hand raised and basically kept it raised the entire semester.”

Melissa Hart, a classmate of Cruz's, told the Globe of sharing a ride with him from New York to Cambridge: "We hadn’t left Manhattan before he asked my IQ. When I told him I didn’t know, he asked, 'Well, what’s your SAT score? That’s closely coordinated with your IQ.' "

Well, that's one way to break the ice. (Hat tip: ABA blog )

 E-mail  Vivia Chen: vchen@alm.com     Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lawcareerist


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Yeah, I agree with you on most of the points stated in this post. However, if i was misjudged I will let it out.

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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