James Pixton on Applying to Law School

James Pixton attended Brigham Young University from 1990 to 1993.
Go Cougars!

Back in 1992, I was finishing up a bachelor’s degree in political science on Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. At the time, I was taking classes part-time, living in married student housing with Jennifer and working full-time at WordPerfect Corporation. Remember WordPerfect?

Law school admission required taking the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). I signed up and took it the first time–I don’t remember where. I do remember, however, crushing the first three sections and then completely collapsing on the fourth section. It was a reading comprehension section, the second of the exam. That meant that one of the reading sections contained evaluation questions that didn’t count for my exam and were just being reviewed for possible inclusion in a future exam. The problem was that I had no way of knowing which of the two counted for me and which didn’t. I immediately went home that day, called the special number they’d given me and canceled my test score. Back to the drawing board.

When I took the exam the second time a couple months later, I struggled again with the reading comprehension section, but this time I was bumping up against applications deadlines so I just had to take whatever score I got. On the day my score came in the mail (back before the internet), I tore open the envelope, glanced out the score and nearly passed out: 96th percentile! That meant I was still in the running for all but the Harvards, Yales and Georgetowns. I had no problem with that.

I ending up applying to a bunch of schools: Emory University, University of Washington, University of Georgia, William and Mary, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Arizona, Duke, George Washington and Boston College. Ten schools.

My application to Duke crossed in the mail with their rejection letter. A “no” from the University of Washington followed closely. Then I got acceptance letters from Arizona, then Georgia, then Emory, then Illinois, then William and Mary. How about that! I was going to law school somewhere!

James Pixton attended Boston College Law School from 1993 to 1996.
Go Eagles!

I was wait-listed at Iowa, Boston College and GW. Eventually, I got acceptance letters from those three schools as well. Jen and I made plans to move first to Arizona then to Georgia and then to Illinois. When I finally got the call from Boston College Law School saying they had a place for me, that was the one we were waiting for.

In late August 1993, Jen and I packed up a U-Haul, strapped Jen’s Honda Prelude to a tow dolly and headed out of the cul de sac where Jen’s parents lived. As I drove around the corner I glanced in the side view mirror to see the Prelude rolling up over the curb and onto the sidewalk. The last thing I heard was Jen’s dad hollering, “Wide turns! Wide turns!” Sounded like a good idea.

[If you live in California and are considering bankruptcy, check out my bankruptcy law website at www.pixlaw.com.]

Alameda Pixton Kids Visit Animal Shelter

20121119-185732.jpg20121119-185745.jpgLast Saturday, the kids (with Emma in the lead) talked me into taking them to the Alameda City Animal Shelter. I’ve lived in Alameda for fifteen years and never could figure out where this animal shelter was that I kept hearing about. So the kids decided to show me. The shelter is actually down a tiny side street on the estuary end of Grand Street, right next to the Alameda City Maintenance Service Center.

20121119-185806.jpgWhen we pulled into the parking lot, I suppose I was a little surprised to see it full. The shelter is a bustling enterprise with a lot of volunteers. Through the main doors is the office and administrative area. Through a door to the right, down a short hall and through another door is the shelter itself. The dog area is around the outside with the cat room in the middle of the building.


There are a bunch of pit bulls in the dog area, each in its own cage. Cute little things just waiting to rip your throat out or eat your children. It was very telling that probably a third of the available dogs were pit bulls. A big chunk of the rest were chihuahuas.


The dogs all had this excited look look and barked hopefully when our little tribe passed by. When I mentioned this to one of the volunteers, she told me that one of the jobs of the volunteers is to acclimate the animals to humans so they’ll be pleasant and more attractive for adoption. There was a lot of tail wagging.


The cat room was also full of animals who seemed to be dying to get out and play with us. So we did. The kids favorite thing was the laser pointer that projected a red mouse that the cats chased around.

Emma found a cute little dog named Rusty that was neither a pit bull nor a chihuahua. He was actually a German Shepherd mix. Emma begged. I smiled and said, “Go home and ask your mom!” At that point, the kids realized there was no hope. They sighed resignedly, we thanked our hosts and headed home.