Student Name: Michael TiptonUAKRON Tipton

Law School: University of Akron School of Law

Status: 3L

Undergraduate: B.A.; Religion and Business Management; Ohio Christian University

Other Degrees: Master of Divinity, Wesley Biblical Seminary

Home City/State: Circleville, Ohio

Finding the right fit is how Michael Tipton, a 3L at the University of Akron School of Law in Ohio, describes his first years working at a nonprofit.

“I really liked where I was – executive director of Project SPY, which provides emergency home repairs to families in need in southwest Virginia,” Tipton said in a telephone interview. “But I saw how attorneys could both protect us as needed and improve our effectiveness.” Continue reading


CRRJ: Justice Restored: A Community Effort in Mayflower, Texas |It seems fitting that a lawyer who litigated for the future of civil rights in the U.S. should now be working to remedy civil rights injustices of the past.

“I love law – its complexity, its importance in human life and experience,” said Margaret A. Burnham, a professor at Northeastern University School of Law. “I believe that law students need to develop that sense or else change professions.”

Burnham is the founder and director of the law school’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, which engages students in investigating every racial killing in the Jim Crow South from 1930 through 1970. The goal is to work with victims’ families and communities to bring these cases to a just close. “We want to draw current meaning from this legacy of racial violence, which often involved local officials and the police,” Burnham said in e-mails and a telephone interview. Continue reading


Which LSAT Should You Take?

The LSAT is a somewhat unique test, in that it is offered only four times each calendar year. And because of the nature of admissions, as well as college schedules (which affect the majority of test takers), each of those four administrations has certain pros and cons that need to be weighed as you consider your planned test date.

With that in mind, I want to take a moment to examine each test administration and outline some of details involved, so you can make the best possible decision about which LSAT is right for you.

The truth is, while the biggest factor in taking this test is making sure that you’re well-prepared (in short: don’t take the LSAT until you know you’re ready), the decision should ultimately be based on a little more than that. Your chosen exam should also be as beneficial as possible to your application cycle.

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Let’s start with this: “Why is my LSAT score so important in the law school admissions process?”  However, there’s no hard and fast rule as to which LSAT administration is the absolute best.

Contrary to some myths, there aren’t “easier” administrations of the LSAT, as I’ve pointed out in the past (although, some would argue, the fact that the June test takes place in the afternoon makes it a bit more manageable).

As far as the test itself goes, though, all of them are calibrated to be as close to the same level of difficulty as possible, so one isn’t “better” than another.

As far as which administration is the worst, I would say that it’s probably the February one, for the simple reason that it is non-disclosed, meaning you get your score and percentile, but not a copy of the test or your answers. If you’re going to take the LSAT, you may as well take one that gives you as much feedback as possible.

So, I hear you asking, if there isn’t one administration that’s better than the rest, what difference does it make which one I take? Trust me, it makes a difference.

Assuming you are entering law school in the fall of next year, you should consider the following factors when choosing a test administration date:


The June LSAT is a great option if you want to submit your applications at the start of the admissions cycle.

  1. PRO: Taking the June LSAT frees up your summer so that you can work on the other aspects of your law school application (résumé, personal statement, letters of recommendation, etc.) instead of studying for the October administration (assuming you don’t retake in September/October, but even then your prep is likely to be less strenuous).
  2. PRO: If you don’t do as well as you’d like on the June LSAT, you can easily retake it in September/October or December, and have plenty of time to get applications in.
  3. PRO: Taking this LSAT gives you the ability to submit your application at the very start of the admission cycle, in mid-September or early October (depending on when applications become available).
  4. CON: If you’re still in school, you’ll have to spend your spring semester studying for the LSAT, which may be the last thing you want to do (or have time to do).


The September/October LSAT is the most popular test of the year because it falls at the start of the application cycle, and many students take it as they “officially” start working on their law school applications.

  1. PRO: Taking the September/October LSAT allows you to spend the summer preparing for it, which means that you don’t have to juggle studying and school at the same time (although you may have to juggle work and studying).
  2. PRO: If you take this LSAT and don’t do as well as you’d hoped, you still have the December LSAT to try your hand at it again. But, CON: The December LSAT will be your last chance if you don’t want to be submitting your apps either right at application deadlines, or just before them.
  3. CON: As mentioned above, this is the most popular test of the year, which means that testing centers fill up fast and usually well ahead of the registration deadline. If you decide to take this LSAT, make sure to sign up early!
  4. CON: If you’re dead-set on submitting your applications as early in the cycle as possible, you may not be able to if you take this LSAT, since scores aren’t available until mid- to late October.


  1. PRO: All schools accept the results of the December LSAT. But, CON: This makes it a popular choice for many applicants, which means that if you don’t register early, you may not get the testing center you want.
  2. CON: December LSAT scores become available in January of the following year, which means your application won’t be complete until late in the admissions cycle. It also means you’ll spend the holidays freaking out, on top of waiting to complete your apps.
  3. CON: For most top law schools, the December LSAT is the last test they will accept for admission the following year. So it’s basically your last chance to get the score you’re looking for and, if this is your only score, it’s your only chance.
  4. CON: If you live in a place that gets gnarly winter weather, you may end up getting snowed out on the day of the test, which can wreak havoc with your mental LSAT preparation.


I consider this to be least favorable test administration. It’s basically a “last resort” for many students applying for admission in the fall of the same year.

  1. CON: Although many schools accept the results of the February LSAT, they often recommend you take an earlier administration in order to maximize your admissions chances. Very few top law schools take the results of the February LSAT.
  2. CON: Scores typically aren’t available until early March, which means you’re submitting your applications very late in the cycle (which harms not only your admissions chances, but also–and most importantly–your financial aid chances).
  3. CON: This test is non-disclosed.
  4. CON: Just like with the December LSAT, beware of foul winter weather. Testing centers regularly get snowed out.
  5. PRO: If you’re not planning on applying for admission that same year, then it’s a good chance to get the LSAT completed well in advance. However, this is rarely the reason students take it.

Clearly there is no perfect answer for everyone, while the pros and cons of each administration make the decision an important one! Consider your schedule, application timeline and general test-readiness. Then make the choice that’s right for you.

SPONSOR’S MESSAGE: This article was written by Jon Denning, LSAT Course Developer and Instructor at PowerScore Test Preparation. Other resources from PowerScore include its  LSAT self-study guides, a variety of in-person and online LSAT courses, private tutoring, and additional helpful articles and lessons in the PowerScore website’s Free Help Area.



LAW SCHOOL: William Mitchell College of Law

STATUS: 1L, Part-time ABA-approved hybrid (online-on campus) program

UNDERGRADUATE: B.A., Social Science Studies, cum laude, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

OTHER DEGREE: Graduate coursework in History, Sam Houston State University; TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language), St. Cloud State University.

HOME CITY/STATE: Currently in Twin Falls, Idaho; originally from Phoenix, Arizona.

Living outside the U.S. left Colby Jones and his wife, Melissa, with a unique appreciation for the challenges faced by immigrants inside the U.S.

Now, even though they’re no longer abroad, the experience continues to wield an influence. Colby Jones plans to use the law degree he’s obtaining in a singular online-on campus degree program at William Mitchell College of Law to provide community legal training that empowers immigrants and refugees. Continue reading


LOYOLANO LOPEZThe career-turning points for María Pabón López, the dean of Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, came in the form of a person and a job.

The person “was an Italian American woman, a lawyer for the teacher’s union who took the time – and had the ability – to explain how the law affects people in their everyday lives,” López said in a telephone interview. This was during her year as a science teacher in New Jersey, right after graduating from Princeton. “I knew right then that I wanted to be that woman,” López said. “So I went to law school.”

The job was as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Criminal Division, for the District of Puerto Rico, where her parents were born and the family’s home for many years. “I was actually prosecuting immigrants for marriage fraud, re-entry after deportation, for a host of immigration-related issues that compelled me to better understand what was going on,” she said. Continue reading


Mark-GordonMark Gordon remembers Mario Cuomo not just as a three-term governor of New York and a former employer, but as the man who convinced him to change careers.

Not by talking Gordon into it, at least not in the sense that phrase usually implies. Rather, the governor routinely used the argumentation skills honed in law school to talk through public-policy issues with Gordon and other aides. The debates, which Cuomo invariably won, helped him evaluate different sides of public policy-issues and determine his own position.

Although Gordon had just completed a master’s degree in international affairs at Columbia University in 1982, watching Cuomo, he said, convinced him to enroll in law school. It was a decision that led, ultimately, to his selection in January as president and dean of the William Mitchell College of Law. Continue reading


NORTHEASTERN AdamsStudent: Hannah Adams

Law School: Northeastern University School of Law

Status: 3L

Undergraduate: Vassar College, B.A. in Drama and Art History

Home City/State: From Boston, Massachusetts; living in New Orleans, Louisiana 

The ability to think creatively, work cooperatively and use theater as a tool for social change is what drew Hannah Adams, a 3L at Northeastern University School of Law, into the world of stage production and lighting design as an undergraduate. After five years helping with fair housing enforcement in New Orleans, the ability to think creatively, work cooperatively and use law as a tool for social change is what convinced her to pursue a legal career and starting at a school known for its commitment to and connections in public interest law.

What she didn’t expect was the profound effect of a clinic unique to Northeastern, one based on the principle that justice delayed 70 years or more is justice denied to many generations of a family. Continue reading


Golden Gate Law Dean Rachel Van CleaveIf perseverance, selfless service and a can-do approach to personal growth are Rachel Van Cleave’s watchwords – as even brief conversations with the Golden Gate University School of Law dean confirm – then the veterans of the Bay Area and their military values are her touchstones and guides.

“Veterans bring with them a wealth of leadership knowledge, particularly in the face of great adversity,” Van Cleave said in e-mails and a telephone interview. “Through them I’ve come to recognize that mindfulness, humility and grit are what generate true leadership adaptability. Because of them I’m continually working to apply this lesson in my own small way.”

One result? “I’ve learned that we can’t always have the answers, but with the right mindset and an excellent team, we can find some pretty good – maybe even very good – solutions,” she said.

That she has such a team in her faculty, staff and advisers, she said, enables her to see what are arguably troubled times for law schools including Golden Gate as a “transformative opportunity for legal education that can only benefit students.” Continue reading