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Messages - Mickey Ward

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Incoming 1Ls / Re: Michigan Class of 2011: where you should be
« on: April 25, 2008, 07:27:48 PM »
This whole recent discussion makes me want to drop out of law school and shove two pencils into my ears.

Why pencils?

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Michigan Class of 2011: where you should be
« on: April 25, 2008, 07:20:57 PM »
The fact that ED applicants are less likely to have very high numbers and more likely to be local is, I think, pretty uncontroversial, both from my experience and from simple rationality of applicants.

One reason people apply ED is because they think it gives them a boost in admissions (whether it actually does is a separate issue). If you have high numbers, so you likely don't need that boost, the benefit declines. At the same time, the cost rises, since you have destroyed your chance for scholarships (which a stronger applicant has a better chance for) and to consider other schools (of which a stronger applicant will get into better ones). With lower benefit and higher costs, it wouldn't make any sense for them to apply ED at the same rate.

The other major reason to apply ED is because you know for sure that you will go there. What kind of people know for sure that they will go to Michigan? It's generally people who want/need to stay in Michigan or who have some close attachment to the school i.e. residents.

If your objection is that humans aren't rational, for one, applicants to a top 10 graduate school are probably more rational than most. More importantly, not everyone needs to be rational - if ANYone is rational, there will be a trend, on average, towards the rational outcome, however diluted.

As for the second thing about applying for both terms, that was much more speculative - I said it was a reason they "could" be weaker. It makes some sense, but on the other hand, I said I don't know if it actually happens and cited some counterexamples.

I think you're over thinking this whole thing.  Are there differences in the curve?  Maybe.  If there are differences are they measurable? Not really.

As far as anecdotal evidence goes the two summer starters I know are both on law review and one was an ED admit.   

The problem with his model is its assumptions. LuckyAC says that the only assumption is that at least *some" individuals are "rational." What he's actually assuming is that these applicants are rational maximizers of law school admissions, and particularly that they are rational maximizers of a USNews ranking-to-"cost of attendance" ratio. Further, he's explicitly assuming that high-numbers applicants are more likely to be "rational maximizers" of this sort.

He also assumes that law schools are generally good substitutes for one another (he under-emphasizes individualized differences between schools.) The multiplicity of perfectly rational reasons applicants choose one school over another are missing- faculty and programs in particular specialties and disciplines, joint degree programs, the economic opportunities for working spouses, the availability of other higher education opportunities for family members and the admissions results of those family members, the quality of the local school system for applicants with children, the quality of life in the area, cost of living (which should factor into cost of attendance), cultural and recreational opportunities in the area, the availability of summer start, the presence or absence of an accepting culture and/or a strong LGBT, or religious, or ethnic community in the area, etc. etc. etc.

He's also assumed that people who are unsure of their chances are most likely to select both summer and fall, because they'll be more likely to hedge, which ignores the fact that likelihood of hedging behavior also varies with individual levels of risk aversion (the more risk averse, the more likely to hedge.) One could argue that risk-aversion and risk-preference are both irrational, but this analysis is flawed in that it ignores the broader welfare analysis.

More importantly, the model assumes that applicants with high numbers, who are confident of their ability to gain admission, and therefore select only one admissions option, will uniformly choose FALL admission over SUMMER admission. There's no evidence to substantiate this beyond his own assumption that Fall admission is preferable (he's assuming his conclusion.)

I agree with him that if at least *some* individuals are rational maximizers, it should push the group toward the predicted outcome in some way. But this is a ceteris paribus assumption: it assumes that the non-"rational" students are effectively chaotic, rather than manifesting contrary patterns which may be as strong, or stronger, than the "rational maximizer" pattern, and perhaps equally "rational" and predictable with a different model.

Ignoring that, it's sufficient to say that unless the percentage of admitted students (the *some*) who are pure "rational" maximizers of the cost-to-rank ratio is significant vs. the total population, the effect he's describing is likely to be insignificant. The predictive power is only as good as the assumed motivations are realistic.

In brief, it's an "economic" model- it ignores the multiplicity of motivations individuals have in choosing their actions. Economic models of this sort make sense only if you assume a very specific sort of "rationality" which is, by necessity, one-dimensional.

Which is why their predictive power is, approximately, goose-egg.

p.s. I'd like to express that I don't have any problem with LuckyAC, or this kind of analysis as a general matter, but I feel the need to supply an opposing viewpoint. It's offered merely to contribute to the debate. No offense intended, Lucky.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Michigan Class of 2011: where you should be
« on: April 23, 2008, 09:58:45 PM »
I still don't know who littlemisssunshine is...

hi!!!  ;D



Hint: ponder the implications of her sig...

I don't know enough of the girls in our section to figure who's from East Lansing (or attended Michigan State, for that matter), so that's no help.

Oh, well.  :D

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Michigan Class of 2011: where you should be
« on: April 23, 2008, 05:20:25 PM »

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Michigan Class of 2011: where you should be
« on: April 23, 2008, 04:39:13 PM »
I still don't know who littlemisssunshine is...

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Michigan Class of 2011: where you should be
« on: April 22, 2008, 09:22:12 PM »
Ha! I'm glad that you're perhaps dorkier than I am.  BTW, my favorite part of my post was its cite to the wrong provision of the UCC ;).  Clearly, Farnsworth has served you better than studying the backs of old mastercard contracts has served me.

There are some things law school can teach... for everything else, there's Mastercard.

P.S. I don't actually own a copy of Farnsworth, sad to say. There's this one term of that offer I just couldn't accept. c.f.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Michigan Class of 2011: where you should be
« on: April 22, 2008, 09:06:33 PM »
I spent an excruciating amount of time on mine, and I swear you've spend four times as much.  Finish it, and do not throw it away and start over again!!

That's the plan for tomorrow: hiding in a carrel.  BTW My offer remains open as a firm offer for the next three months (UCC 2-305).  However, just to warn you, after May 1 I'll try to avoid contract bc of frustration of purpose (cf. Krell v. Henry).

Also, yay for star trek geeks.  There are two of us 1Ls as I know...but we're pretty much in the closet.

Oh, Bouzie. You can't extend a firm offer under 2-205! You're not a merchant (to the best of my knowledge), the offer is not for the sale of goods, and I don't think your post qualifies as a "signed writing", though a message board post MIGHT possibly satisfy the requirement of a writing under UCC 2-211, if it is reliably attributable to you under UCC 2-212. But you'd need to authenticate the writing with a unique sound, symbol, or process, serving as a signature, UCC 2-103(1)(p)(ii).

Note to observers: Behold the deleterious effects of law school on the human brain... the slavish adherence to arcane statutory codes... the inability to finish a normal sentence without including citations...

"This is your brain on Contracts."

*smacks egg repeatedly with leatherbound copy of Farnsworth*

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Michigan Class of 2011: where you should be
« on: April 19, 2008, 11:34:23 AM »
Looking for roommates.  ;D

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Michigan Class of 2011: where you should be
« on: April 18, 2008, 09:48:53 PM »

You must have REALLY cheap rent.  I'm wondering if it would be cheaper just to forgo the LC and find something else. 


Incoming 1Ls / Re: Michigan Class of 2011: where you should be
« on: April 17, 2008, 09:47:58 PM »
I live off-campus and find the budget to be more than adequate. I don't have a car in town and don't have to pay for health insurance at the moment, which helps a lot. I also have a longer walk (or bus ride, when the weather sucks) to school (20 minutes or 12 minutes, respectively), but I really like the neighborhood, don't mind the walk, have a great landlord, and my rent is dirt cheap.

I eat out and drink decent scotch, and I've still retained enough of the budget to pay the rent on my AA place for the summer. And pay down some consumer debt, to be perfectly honest.

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