What GPA Do You Need To Get Into Law School?

Ever wonder what’s the lowest GPA you can have and still get into a top law school?

I used to think that everyone who went to law school had top college grades. I figured at the very least, those who got into the top schools had straight As. As someone with a C+ average, I thought it was impossible to get in.

After all, that’s what my advisors told me.

We couldn’t have been more wrong.

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Birth of a Salesman

Last year, I left the law world and joined a legal technology startup as a sales rep. My original hypothesis was that it’d be a great fit for me because I enjoyed sales (when I ran my own law practice) and because there was a great opportunity at the bleeding edge of an industry I was familiar with. (I never wrote about this specifically but alluded to it in my post Get Lucky By Knowing Your Industry and Knowing Yourself).

It’s now been eight months since I’ve entered the world of tech sales. Things haven’t gone exactly as I planned, but for the most part, things have gone well. Last month, I was promoted from being a Sales Development Rep (SDR) to Account Executive (AE) position on an accelerated timeline in part due to my performance. Sales has come to me much more naturally than law ever did.

Before I move on, a quick explanation: In software sales, you frequently see specialization in roles of sales reps. It’s like an assembly line for sales. SDRs are responsible for cold calling and setting appointments for AEs, who are then responsible for closing the deal. I joined my company as a SDR (a position typically held by someone with little to no experience right out of college).

My experience as a SDR (and in sales generally) has been pretty good. Cold calling may seem like a nightmare to most people, but I find it kind of fun. Certainly it’s no worse than doc review or cite checking. When I talk to my friends, they’re often incredulous that I enjoy calling strangers and getting rejected again and again. But it’s true. I don’t mind the rejection, and I love it when I’m successful and able to set that appointment.

My conversations with my law friends also got me thinking. The skills and talents that make for a great lawyer are often very different than those required to be a successful salesperson. I’ve done well because I have some natural competitive advantages in my role, such as having legal industry knowledge. But more importantly, the sales industry has certain values that mesh well with my personality. A few that come to mind:

Mistakes are encouraged. Sales skill development requires that you go out there and make lots of mistakes. You grow by having bad conversations, pitching people the wrong way, and just messing up in general. It’s very much a trial and error process. In law, mistakes aren’t just discouraged, they’re not even tolerated. Perfection is expected. In my former life, I was always criticized for making careless mistakes. Now I’m praised for thinking quickly and acting decisively. They’re really just flip sides of the same coin.

Your credentials and past matter less. Law is very pedigree-conscious. You’re assumed to be a good lawyer if you went to School X or Firm Y. We live in the past. (That’s also why litigators always worked off old forms and briefs; “precedents”). Not so in sales. As long as you have a college degree, you don’t really have an advantage if you went to a good school or previously worked for a big company. Sales pitches are also constantly evolving.

Asking open ended questions. As a SDR, I was constantly told to make sure I ask open ended questions that allow my prospect to talk about themselves and their processes. You never know what they might bring up, and if they raise an unexpected but important point, you have to run with that. On the flip side, in law you’re always trying to build a record. So you’re trying to get people to say certain things by framing your questions in a specific way. The most obvious example is through the use of leading questions during cross examinations. I’m not gonna lie-there were times I found myself doing a mini cross X when I was trying to pitch someone on the phone. It usually did not turn out well.

Results matter more than hours worked. As a lawyer, I’m rewarded more if I spend 100 hours on a matter but lose the case, than I am if I spend 50 hours and win a case. This creates all sorts of perverse incentives and just feels wrong. In sales, you are measured by what you generate. Whether that’s appointments or closed business, nobody really cares how long it takes you to get it done. As long as you produce results, you are rewarded.

Optimists win, pessimists lose. Being a great lawyer requires you to be prepared for all possibilities, so it’s super helpful to imagine everything going wrong. If you have a knack for this, you’re probably a pessimist. Being a great salesperson requires enormous persistence and resilience which means it helps if you can be sustained by a tiny glimmer of hope. If you’re good at this, you’re probably an optimist.

It hasn’t been all that long but so far sales has been a great fit for me. Hopefully things continue to go well. Stay tuned for more!

I Did Worse the Second Time I Took the LSAT. Help!

So you re-took the LSAT and did worse the second time. Maybe it was your third time. Regardless-don’t worry! This is a super common situation. When I applied to law school, I took the LSAT 3 different times. The second time I took the test, I scored a 170.

That was a pretty good score, I thought, until I saw that most top law school median LSATs went up that year, AND they decided to change the rules to accept the highest score. (In the past, they averaged ALL of your scores so there was a significant downside to re-taking.)

I can’t even begin to describe the amount of stress I went through when I scored lower that third time. I thought I really screwed myself over by taking the risk of sitting for the LSAT after I’d scored a 170.

But in the end it didn’t matter. Here’s why:

Law Schools Only Care About Your Highest Score

If you examine the self-interest of law school admissions departments, you’ll find that maximizing their LSAT medians (and quartiles) is a huge priority. As long as they can report your highest score, they’re not really going to care that much about your second highest score. Now maybe–maybe, if there’s a gigantic drop of say, 8+ points, they’ll have second thoughts. But even then they might just defer your decision until later.

It Says Nothing About Your Ability

Most applicants believe that the LSAT somehow suggests how ready they are for law school, or how smart they are. In reality, the LSAT is an imperfect measure of legal aptitude–and law schools know this. If you score a 165, for example, your “true” score is probably anywhere from 162 to 168. That’s a huge range! So if your score drops by a few points, that’s just your standard measurement error. Law schools know this.

An Otherwise Solid Application Will Make Up For It

If you’ve got great grades (or even just OK grades) this probably won’t be a huge issue. Schools will look at the totality of your application, and won’t reject you outright. If you’ve got a long record of academic success, your total record will carry the day. However, if you’ve got bad grades, AND a big score drop, you’ve got a little bit more of a concern. But that’s where putting together a strong, coherent applicant with recommendations that mitigate your weaknesses, artfully deployed addenda, and a strong personal statement comes in.

Take the LSAT a Third Time!

If you did worse your second time, absolutely go for it again. Don’t just let that second score sit there. If you take it a third time, and that ends up being your highest score, law schools will–out of self interest–consider that the only LSAT score that really matters. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of the LSAT to the admissions committee. Admissions Deans have lost their jobs due to plummeting law school rankings due to falling LSAT medians. You better believe they’re looking out for themselves.

So keep your head up. Re-take that LSAT. Double down on your preparation, and make sure you’re preparing the right way. If you’re not sure if you need to take a course or self-study, take a look at my post Should You Take a LSAT Prep Course? Five Questions to Ask Yourself First.

A New Year

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since I updated my blog. Sometimes work and life gets super busy and I just get out of the habit of posting.

Anyways, since it’s a new year, I thought I’d sum up the big events of 2016 and what I’m excited about for 2017!

Visited Taiwan – For the first time since 2005, I visited Taiwan. This time was different than the other times because I didn’t go with my family. Mrs. Lexaholik and I went on our own. See this post for a recap of our trip!

Got Married! – Mrs. Lexaholik and I technically got married in 2015 but we spent 2016 celebrating with our friends. We had a big party (“wedding reception”) for us and our friends. Our reception was a bit unconventional and included fun games like Wedding Family Feud.

Became an Uncle – In March I officially became an uncle! Being an uncle is super fun because you don’t really have to do all the hard parenting work but you get to play with and spoil the baby. Watching my niece grow up week by week is pretty nuts. The speed at which developmental changes happen make it seem like she’s a completely new person every time I see her.

Closed My Business – After running my own business for about a year, I decided to close it down. I do plan to go back to entrepreneurship later down the road, but for now I’m back to working for other people. See the post where I announced to my decision and what I learned for more details.

Became a Salesman – I began a new career by taking an entry level sales job for a tech startup. I sell software to lawyers, so my legal background is a pretty good fit. I haven’t posted about my new job at all, but I plan to in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Visited Japan – This year, Mrs. Lexaholik and I took another trip out to Asia, this time to Japan. It was a lot of fun and I saw a lot (also plan to post about this down the road.) We got a JR Pass, which gave us access to the high speed train, which allowed us to explore beyond Tokyo. It was super fun and super tiring–it took me weeks to get over the jetlag!

Those are all the big highlights for the year. Before I go, I’ll leave you with this:

It’s Your Fault Donald Trump Got Elected

If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you are a well-educated, moderate to liberal U.S. citizen. You are shocked and horrified that Donald Trump has beaten Hillary Clinton in the general election. Perhaps you’re angry that the country has more bigots and racists than you thought. Perhaps you are upset at Bernie supporters who didn’t come out for Hillary.

At the end of the day it comes down to you. It was YOUR fault that Trump got elected.

Here’s why:

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