Law School Discussion

Law Students => Incoming 1Ls => Topic started by: smartandunique on September 29, 2010, 01:00:36 PM

Title: law school grades
Post by: smartandunique on September 29, 2010, 01:00:36 PM
GPA determines your career success, study finds


Submitted by Jack on Tue, 09/28/2010 - 11:04am
 
Law students have long known that grades are important in the job search. But a new study underscores just how important they are for long-term success as well. In fact, law school grades are far more important than the prestige of the school one attends, the study’s author’s state.

“The eliteness of one’s school, by itself, means little in the absence of high performance at school,” the report states. “The quantitative evidence also suggests that the importance of law school eliteness is exaggerated in most discussions about legal markets. Law firms, which once hired exclusively from a narrow set of elite firms, now hire associates from dozens of different law schools.”

The study found that grades are predictive of attorneys making partner at large law firms.

Jane Yakowitz, a law professor at Brooklyn Law School and one of the two authors of the study, said that student’s law school GPA today is far more predictive of success than the school’s ranking — which is different from the past.

Yakowitz wrote the article with Rick Sander, a law professor at University of California Los Angeles and a labor economist. It is based on several employment-tracking studies over the past few years. Sander undertook the study to determine whether admissions preferences help African Americans or hurt them in the long run.

“Law school should be viewed as the beginning of your legal career,” Sander said. “There is this remarkably pervasive conventional wisdom which dismisses law school as too theoretical.”

Sander advises students to take law school seriously and to avoid distractions.

Yakowitz said the study shows that night students are more distracted and don’t perform as well, as a result leading to less success in their legal career.

Sander said the study also shows that grades determine success on the bar exam.

“There is a widespread perception that bar review courses are really important,” he said. “That students can blow off three years of law school and take a bar prep course. And that is totally false. If you look at bar performance, law school grades predict 70 percent of bar performance.”

The study does not focus on why GPA is more predictive. But Sander said he feels that what law students are learning is directly relevant to skills as a lawyer.

“You get intellectual self-confidence from doing well in law school that helps you do better in your career,” he said.

Yakowitz said that it is a virtuous cycle. Once you start doing well, it motivates you through law school and your career.

But others see a different reason for the study’s findings.

William Henderson, a law professor at Indiana University-Bloomington, said the study’s data is solid. But he feels the reason behind it is more related to student’s motivation.

“There are two ways to get high grades,” he said. “You are really smart or you are somewhat smart and highly motivated. The purest form of motivation is found with people at the top of their class at regional law schools.”

He said students at regional schools are very aggressive and work hard, as they know they will not have the school pedigree to get by on.

Sander said the study shows that students who choose to attend a more elite school take a hit to their GPA. The study uses the following hypothetical to explain:

“Imagine an average student (GPA 3.25-3.5) at 47th ranked University of Florida,” the report states. “If she had attended 20th ranked George Washington University, her grades likely would have slipped to the 2.75-3.0 range, and her salary would drop considerably (by 22 percent.) If she had attended 80th ranked Rutgers, she probably could have improved her grades to land in the 3.5-3.75 range, and earned a 13 percent higher salary. Access to a top 10 school simply would not have been an option — even the weakest students at the top 10 law schools have higher entering credentials than the median student at a school in the middle of the rankings, so our comparisons are most meaningful within a range of 20-30 places in the rankings in either direction.”   

Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: nealric on October 02, 2010, 01:12:58 PM
Quote

“Imagine an average student (GPA 3.25-3.5) at 47th ranked University of Florida,” the report states. “If she had attended 20th ranked George Washington University, her grades likely would have slipped to the 2.75-3.0 range, and her salary would drop considerably (by 22 percent.) If she had attended 80th ranked Rutgers, she probably could have improved her grades to land in the 3.5-3.75 range, and earned a 13 percent higher salary

This is complete nonsense. Higher ranked schools have a higher curve- making it easier to have a higher GPA.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: bigs5068 on October 02, 2010, 04:06:08 PM
I can agree with a lot of that. A huge reason that I choose GGU is that an attorney family friend whose daughters went to Hastings and performed poorly warned me about the rankings etc. He said his daughters had a lot offers from other schools with huge scholarship money when they were applying, but he told them go to the best school they could get into. He regrets this advice, because both girls performed poorly finishing in the bottom 25% of the class. Neither has passed the bar after three tries. I imagine getting terrible grades your first semester and first year would hurt your confidence greatly. That probably effected them the rest of the way through school and on to the bar exam. They both went to an outstanding undergrad where they did well and had pretty solid LSAT scores so they are not dumb, but their confidence is rattled. Had they  gone to GGU or McGeorge they probably would have finished in the top 25%. That is pure speculation, but I imagine they would have performed better on the bar.

Bottom line I really think that if you get good grades no matter what school you go to your confidence will be through the roof. If you have confidence in what you are doing you generally perform well. So I think that getting good law school grades no matter school you went to would be a significant factor in the students future career success.




Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: marcus-aurelius on October 03, 2010, 07:18:46 AM
I asked the attorneys I interned with and between a 3.0 at Georgetown and a 3.8 at Fordham, they chose Georgetown
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: bigs5068 on October 03, 2010, 10:59:18 AM
That would make sense a 3.0 at Georgetown is pretty damn good. WIth a 3.0 you would probably be at least in the top 30% with a 3.0. A 3.0 in law school is nothing like a 3.0 in undergrad. I think if someone was in the bottom 25% at Georgetown compared to a 3.8 in Fordham it would come out differently, but who knows.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: marcus-aurelius on October 03, 2010, 11:46:43 AM
From my understanding, most law schools 50 percentile is a 3.0 or higher.  Am I incorrect in my thinking?
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: bigs5068 on October 03, 2010, 12:47:46 PM
In regards to my school at least it is. not 50%, You are on the Dean's list if you get a 3.0 or higher. All school's have different curves, but generally speaking I think  students with a 3.0 are in the top 25-30% of the class (that is a guess).  You can look at each school's student handbook and see the curve at each individual school.

Another way you see this 3.0 come into effect is that many scholarship offers are renewable if you maintain a 3.0. To someone intelligent enough to get into law school getting a 3.0 in undergrad was probably pretty easy. They assume by default if they put in a decent effort they are guaranteed a 3.0. That is far from the case and I know many students that lost their scholarships at my school and I have heard of it happening to others.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: nealric on October 03, 2010, 02:18:41 PM
Quote
That would make sense a 3.0 at Georgetown is pretty damn good. WIth a 3.0 you would probably be at least in the top 30% with a 3.0.


Not at all.

A 3.0 at Georgetown is hovering around bottom 25%. Median is 3.3. Top 1/3 cutoff is around 3.5 for graduating 3Ls.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: bigs5068 on October 03, 2010, 03:26:43 PM
Well that is a pretty lenient curve then and maybe they are entitled to one. As I said each school is different. Maybe the ELITE schools are more lenient about their grades.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: nealric on October 04, 2010, 09:05:30 AM
Quote
Maybe the ELITE schools are more lenient about their grades.

They are. That's why the study referenced above is misleading. They were comparing success based on absolute GPA's, not class rank. Higher absolute GPA's are much easier to obtain from topped ranked schools.

Even if they weren't, I'm not convinced at all that someone will do much better at a lower ranked school (within reason). While I think it's probably safe to say that the average Yale student will do quite well at Cooley, I don't think it's at all safe to say that your average UCLA student would do much better at Hastings. The differences between the student bodies are just too fine- 2-3 points on the LSAT does not indicate a significant difference in capabilities.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: bigs5068 on October 04, 2010, 10:30:34 AM
It makes sense that class rank opposed to GPA would matter. I had no idea that the higher schools were more lenient with their grades. I also completely agree that someone at UCLA might not do that much better at Hastings. A few points on the LSAT does not mean much in regards to how well you will do in law school. A 170 compared to a 151 maybe, but 159 to 164 or 155 to 159 does not guarantee success or failure at any given school.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 04, 2010, 01:27:22 PM
I asked the attorneys I interned with and between a 3.0 at Georgetown and a 3.8 at Fordham, they chose Georgetown

That's hearsay, anecdotal evidence, and an appeal to authority all in the same argument!

The skill set that it takes to get a 3.8 makes it very impressive at any school. I don't know how to compare a 3.8 from Fordham to a 3.0 at Georgetown or a 3.0 at Standford, or wherever, but I wouldn't frown upon anyone who can pull a 3.8 from any ABA law school, even Cooley. When you're entire grade is made up of one test, it's really easy to be off on one of those tests. A 3.8 basically means you have never gotten anything less than a B, and if you got a B, it happened once. That requires intense dedication.

I'm less impressed with big-name law schools than most people, so I am somewhat biased. The higher curve is one thing. Also, whether you get a 2.5 or a 3.5 from Stanford, you're probably still going to get a decent job. If you get a 2.5 from a tier 2, you might have some trouble finding your first job. So, motivation also plays a part. Someone who gets a 3.8 at Boyd is a rockstar because everyone is competing for a limited number of Big Law jobs in Las Vegas or in the Southwest region. Plus, the differene between an A in many classes and a B is a matter of just a few points on your raw score. So, you really have to be sharp to consistently get all As. That speaks volumes in both knowledge of the law and dedication to one's studies.

In short, I would hire a law student with a 3.8 out of Boyd or any ABA school over the guy with the 3.0 from Harvard, all other things being equal.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 04, 2010, 01:32:13 PM
It makes sense that class rank opposed to GPA would matter. I had no idea that the higher schools were more lenient with their grades. I also completely agree that someone at UCLA might not do that much better at Hastings. A few points on the LSAT does not mean much in regards to how well you will do in law school. A 170 compared to a 151 maybe, but 159 to 164 or 155 to 159 does not guarantee success or failure at any given school.

Even LSAT scores can be misleading. I got a 157 on the LSAT. I got straight As my first semester. Many students in my section had scores of 165 or better and pulled Bs and Cs. I think law school tests your ability to write a good exam. The LSAT may or may not be a good measure of that. Many times it is, but it often is not.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: nealric on October 04, 2010, 03:16:49 PM
Quote
  Also, whether you get a 2.5 or a 3.5 from Stanford, you're probably still going to get a decent job.

It's actually impossible to get either from Stanford. They no longer give letter grades. It's Honors/Pass/Fail.

Quote
In short, I would hire a law student with a 3.8 out of Boyd or any ABA school over the guy with the 3.0 from Harvard, all other things being equal.

No you wouldn't. There are no letter grades at Harvard either. You wouldn't be able to compare them.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 04, 2010, 03:48:58 PM
Then, I amend my statement to say that I would hire any T2 grad with a 3.8 GPA over any T14 grad with a 3.0 GPA. I am not an expert on the grading policies of any law school other than my own.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: jack24 on October 04, 2010, 04:26:50 PM
Then, I amend my statement to say that I would hire any T2 grad with a 3.8 GPA over any T14 grad with a 3.0 GPA. I am not an expert on the grading policies of any law school other than my own.

You can say you would do that all you want, but that doesn't matter unless you are hiring graduates.  The truth is, the top 14 destroys schools like Boyd in career placement.    So even though you would prefer the T2 graduate, most employers would not.   I go to a strong T2 school with a recognizable name, and I've talked to nearly 100 hiring partners at a variety of firms.  A huge percentage of those hiring partners have said stuff like,  "5 or 6 years ago your resume would have landed you a job here, but now we're getting flooded with resume's from places like columbia and NYU and it's a big factor"

Sure, in my market area, I'd rather be in the top 10 people in my class here than somewhere in the middle of a T14, but that's just because firms seem to love to brag about their new associates being elected to the order of the coif just as much as bragging about ivy league status.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 04, 2010, 06:19:20 PM
I suppose that reflects the biases of hiring partners at big firms. In terms of career placement, those T14 schools "destroy" Boyd today. However, Boyd is ranked higher in legal writing than almost all of the T14 schools. So, we may have a different ballgame 15 years from now... not that this will do me much good by then. I'll put my education against any T14 grad. I bet I win in a direct challenge of writing ability and substantive knowledge of the law on many occasions. Boyd puts out good students, and I bet I work a hell of lot harder than most T14 grads. Do I think that I can overcome partner bias? Probably not... at least not outside of NV. Boyd is 11 years old and doesn't have much of a reputation outside of Nevada. It will be 50 years until that reputation spreads. I'll be retired by then, or well on my way to retirement. So, my comments only reflect my opinion. Inside of NV, I'm not convinced that partners prefer Ivy League or T-14 grads over Boyd grads. I didn't get that impression from OCI. In NV, I think Boyd grads rule, even over T14 grads. There are not many "big firms" in NV, though. I think our largest firm has 80 attorneys. That's nothing compared to NYC, DC, LA, or Chicago. Can I compete in those markets? Not by virtue of just having a Boyd degree with a high GPA. However, big law partners are not rational in many of their choices, so I really don't care. They want to brag about the pedigree of their grads. I guess that impresses Chevron executives who employ such firms. If those firms want to believe that their associates are so great, good for them. When I smash them in court, then I'll buy them a consolation beer afterwards. They can wipe their tears away with their Ivy League degrees.

Are T14 grads "better" on any objective or measurable level than other grads with comparable or higher GPAs? Probably not. Do most hiring partners think so? Probably so. Are they wrong? Mostly. It won't matter to me because I won't work for Big Law. I would rather start my own firm in five years or so after some experience at either a small firm or a government agency. I have the grades to work for the government. If I maintain my GPA, I'll be fine.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: nealric on October 05, 2010, 09:41:14 AM
Quote
I guess that impresses Chevron executives who employ such firms. If those firms want to believe that their associates are so great, good for them.   

I think the T14 preference at biglaw is as much about recruiting efficiency as anything else. It's much easier go to 10 top schools to hire 20 summer associates than to go to 50 schools to hire the same number. This is a byproduct of firms strong preference for getting candidates from OCI.

Quote
I think Boyd grads rule, even over T14 grads. There are not many "big firms" in NV, though. I think our largest firm has 80 attorneys. 

If the largest firm is 80 attorneys, most would say that there are no big firms. 80 is generally considered midlaw.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: bigs5068 on October 05, 2010, 09:46:39 AM
Boyd is ranked higher in legal writing than almost all of the T14 schools. So, we may have a different ballgame 15 years from now... not that this will do me much good by then.

Honestly, Harvard is better than Boyd or GGU. Even if your in the top 10% at Boyd I think the prestige of Harvard will win out. Getting into Harvard is just an accomplishment in and of itself. I almost feel like it is harder to get into some of those schools than it is to rank in the top 10% of a tier 2,3, or 4 school. With that said I have to go on another tangent about these rankings. Boyd is ranked higher in legal writing, Vermont is ranked highly in environmental law, Pepperdine is great at negotiations, but again WHERE DOES THIS COME FROM. I mean these subrankings do not even have any measurable statistics whatsoever. At least as awfully measure as the rankings are at least there is approximately 10% objective facts. These subrankings just seem like they are selected at random. I feel like U.S. News rankings has gotten Wizard of Oz type status.  The Wizard was "allegedly"  this great all knowing,  all powerful entity, yet he was nothing. Nobody questioned his power or how he got there they just accepted well he is the wizard you can't interrupt him, you can't see him, you can't interact with him, but he does know everything. We all know how that turns out.  U.S. News is the same thing I have no idea when they started ranking or why, or who determines these rankings, it is just THE GREAT ALL KNOWING U.S. NEWS. Who is on this committee how did they rank my school as a top 25 public interest school , how did they determine Boyd is a top writing school, how did they determine Pepperdine is great at negotiations. I would love answer to any of these questions, but none exists other than U.S. News said so. Based on what how these anonymous random people felt. It is so ridiculous.

The really sad part is that people take these rankings so seriously. I know a girl from my school that transferred to Santa Clara she was in the top 2% at my school and they gave her a full scholarship. However, she transferred because she wanted to do IP law.  She has no engineering background whatsoever, but Santa Clara is ranked 8th or something in IP according to U.S. News. So she is going to go 80,000 more in debt than she would have and even though U.S. News says they are the 8th best IP school she will probably lose out to anyone in the Bay Area with a J.D. from and an engineering background. Realistically, if she really wanted to do IP law it would have been better for her to save a ton of money staying at GGU and used the 80,000 in savings to get some type of engineering degree. IP is one of those industries where they don't really care what school you went to if you know how technical things work then you are set. Which is why the patent bar exists. However, U.S. News all knowing as they are and with no facts to support it said Santa Clara is the 8th best IP school. So she up and left leaving 80,000 on the table.  I hope it works for her she was a cool person, but odds are she is going to go 80,000 more in debt and not have anymore prospects from Santa Clara than she would from GGU. Maybe I am wrong, but I really think U.S. News is just an awful thing that people use to make life changing decisions.  U.S. News has no facts to support anything and yet people follow down the yellow brick road just as Dorothy did. To follow some unnamed, anonymous, thing, that is not there. It made for a great movie, but in real life people need to question these rankings and how they come about.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 05, 2010, 09:58:24 AM
There are some big law firms here in Las Vegas with relatively small offices, while those same firms have large offices elsewhere. However, the most interesting law in Las Vegas is done by small boutique firms of 20 or less attorneys. The "big firms" out here service mostly casinos and banks.

I do agree that efficiency is part of the big law recruiting model. It's also about reputation. Notice that all the T14 schools are also the oldest law schools. Those schools have had the longest amount of time to churn out graduates who have become partners in the big firms. Also, big firm partners also have had exposure to graduates of all those schools, even if that is not their alma mater. There is a hint of an "old boys club" model going on.

Are the big school associates "better"? Maybe, especially for some types of cases. Big law handles primarily corporate interests and complex litigation. So, I can see a legitmate interest in hiring the best and the brightest. The cases they work on are so complex that no one attorney (and in many cases no 10 attorneys) can handle them. You want VERY bright people working on that stuff. By contrast, how many individual clients who walk into a local lawyer's office have issues with a CDO or a credit default swap? Your T2-T4 grad with a high GPA can probably handle a basic PI case involving a car accident. A T2-T4 grad with a 3.8 GPA may not have a background to walk into a complex, multi-national, creditor-debtor litigation case or some international IP case. So, I understand the bias, but I don't think it is always warranted. Many T2-T4 grads are just as bright and trainable, but many are not given a chance. Either way, I don't care because I won't work for those big firms. I understand the complex litigation that they handle, but have no desire to be a desk jockey that NEVER ends up in a courtroom or a puppet to the interests of the world's richest people (who consequently are often responsible for much of the harm in the world).
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 05, 2010, 10:05:33 AM
Boyd is ranked higher in legal writing than almost all of the T14 schools. So, we may have a different ballgame 15 years from now... not that this will do me much good by then.

Honestly, Harvard is better than Boyd or GGU. Even if your in the top 10% at Boyd I think the prestige of Harvard will win out. Getting into Harvard is just an accomplishment in and of itself. I almost feel like it is harder to get into some of those schools than it is to rank in the top 10% of a tier 2,3, or 4 school. With that said I have to go on another tangent about these rankings. Boyd is ranked higher in legal writing, Vermont is ranked highly in environmental law, Pepperdine is great at negotiations, but again WHERE DOES THIS COME FROM. I mean these subrankings do not even have any measurable statistics whatsoever. At least as awfully measure as the rankings are at least there is approximately 10% objective facts. These subrankings just seem like they are selected at random. I feel like U.S. News rankings has gotten Wizard of Oz type status.  The Wizard was "allegedly"  this great all knowing,  all powerful entity, yet he was nothing. Nobody questioned his power or how he got there they just accepted well he is the wizard you can't interrupt him, you can't see him, you can't interact with him, but he does know everything. We all know how that turns out.  U.S. News is the same thing I have no idea when they started ranking or why, or who determines these rankings, it is just THE GREAT ALL KNOWING U.S. NEWS. Who is on this committee how did they rank my school as a top 25 public interest school , how did they determine Boyd is a top writing school, how did they determine Pepperdine is great at negotiations. I would love answer to any of these questions, but none exists other than U.S. News said so. Based on what how these anonymous random people felt. It is so ridiculous.

The really sad part is that people take these rankings so seriously. I know a girl from my school that transferred to Santa Clara she was in the top 2% at my school and they gave her a full scholarship. However, she transferred because she wanted to do IP law.  She has no engineering background whatsoever, but Santa Clara is ranked 8th or something in IP according to U.S. News. So she is going to go 80,000 more in debt than she would have and even though U.S. News says they are the 8th best IP school she will probably lose out to anyone in the Bay Area with a J.D. from and an engineering background. Realistically, if she really wanted to do IP law it would have been better for her to save a ton of money staying at GGU and used the 80,000 in savings to get some type of engineering degree. IP is one of those industries where they don't really care what school you went to if you know how technical things work then you are set. Which is why the patent bar exists. However, U.S. News all knowing as they are and with no facts to support it said Santa Clara is the 8th best IP school. So she up and left leaving 80,000 on the table.  I hope it works for her she was a cool person, but odds are she is going to go 80,000 more in debt and not have anymore prospects from Santa Clara than she would from GGU. Maybe I am wrong, but I really think U.S. News is just an awful thing that people use to make life changing decisions.  U.S. News has no facts to support anything and yet people follow down the yellow brick road just as Dorothy did. To follow some unnamed, anonymous, thing, that is not there. It made for a great movie, but in real life people need to question these rankings and how they come about.

Harvard is not better than Boyd in many areas: Gaming law (hello, we're in Las Vegas), arguably not in legal writing (I'll put any of my writing samples against those of Harvard grads and see how I compete, I may not beat every or even most Harvard grads, but I bet I compete with a very favorable showing). Objectively, Boyd requires more writing classes (3 to graduate) plus a scholarly (publishable - aka Law Review Note, minimum of 25 pages not including footnotes) from EVERY student to graduate. Harvard doesn't require that. Yes, Harvard admits a better crop of students, but their graduation requirements are not as stringent. It is very possible that the average Boyd admit is weaker than the average Harvard grad upon admission, but ends up equal to or stronger than the average Harvard grad at graduation because of a more rigourous legal writing program.

The subrankings come from law professors and the deans of law schools. So, they are based on reputations in the legal academic community.

Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: bigs5068 on October 05, 2010, 10:17:16 AM

The subrankings come from law professors and the deans of law schools. So, they are based on reputations in the legal academic community.

I am sure sure Boyd is a great school. I think most schools require 3 writing classes I know mine does as well, but at this point in law school career I don't really know or care what other schools graduation requirements are.  I care about my own and that is really it at this point.

Are you sure the sub-rankings are based on Deans and Professors? That would be some type of fact and it would better than how I thought they were ranking the schools. Even if that is the system how would the Dean of Gonzaga know how well Franklin Pierce's IP law program is. If employers wrote reports about how well student's from certain schools were performing and if they were getting raises or just still around then that would be some kind of fact. I don't know if these deans and law professors are involved in the rankings and if they are it is better than what I thought. However,I  still think it is completely inefficient to publish these subrankings or rankings period.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 05, 2010, 10:19:38 AM
As to your example on IP law at Santa Clara, I agree with you. Many of the subrankings are opinions, but they are the opinions of people in the field who should know the deal. You're acquaintance may get better education in IP law at Santa Clara, or she may not. A good education may or may not translate into jobs. However, let's say she has no education background whatsoever in engineering, but she takes every IP class the school offers, becomes a research assistant for a professor who is very prominent in the field, and gets a great recommendation from that professor, she may get a good job out of it. It's hard to say whether she will or won't be successful. Sometimes learning from an expert makes a big difference.

We have a professor here at Boyd that is one of the most prominent experts on Secured Transactions (actually 2 professors)... he was on the committee that re-wrote Article 9! He is mentioned in many of the major secured transactions texts. He is not the best teacher of the subject, though, at least in my opinion. He is very theoretical, but not necessarily practical. So, experts cut both ways. However, everyone who knows Article 9 well in legal academia knows his name (both professors, actually). So, taking his class may be helpful.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 05, 2010, 10:28:18 AM

The subrankings come from law professors and the deans of law schools. So, they are based on reputations in the legal academic community.

I am sure sure Boyd is a great school. I think most schools require 3 writing classes I know mine does as well, but at this point in law school career I don't really know or care what other schools graduation requirements are.  I care about my own and that is really it at this point.

Are you sure the sub-rankings are based on Deans and Professors? That would be some type of fact and it would better than how I thought they were ranking the schools. Even if that is the system how would the Dean of Gonzaga know how well Franklin Pierce's IP law program is. If employers wrote reports about how well student's from certain schools were performing and if they were getting raises or just still around then that would be some kind of fact. I don't know if these deans and law professors are involved in the rankings and if they are it is better than what I thought. However,I  still think it is completely inefficient to publish these subrankings or rankings period.

The subrankings are based upon polls. I don't know the exact methodology. However, legal academia is a small community. So, maybe not every dean responds where they have no knowledge of a particular school's IP program. Maybe the IP rankings are done by polling only schools with IP programs. I don't know. However, I do know that most professors are familiar with other prominent professors in their field.

Back to my first point: are Harvard grads better than Boyd grads? Probably, but maybe not. I do believe the top-ranked schools are largely overrated. However, almost every law grad is largely worthless upon graduation in real, practical terms. So, Harvard grads or Standford grads are not rated on true value but on "potential" value to a firm. The firms hope that the Stanford or Harvard grad will one day be a good attorney, even though they are worthless upon an offer of employment (certainly not worth $160-$200K). Boyd grads are equally worthless, but are probably at least as good writers as the T14 grads... in my opinion.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: nealric on October 05, 2010, 10:42:13 AM
Quote
, Boyd requires more writing classes (3 to graduate) plus a scholarly (publishable - aka Law Review Note, minimum of 25 pages not including footnotes) from EVERY student to graduate. Harvard doesn't require that. 

Harvard may not technically require that much writing, but I guarantee almost nobody gets through Harvard without doing reams of legal writing. I wrote five 30 page papers and a 70 page paper in law school (not including what I wrote in LRW) even though my school only formally required one paper.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: john4040 on October 05, 2010, 10:52:29 AM
It is very possible that the average Boyd admit is weaker than the average Harvard grad upon admission, but ends up equal to or stronger than the average Harvard grad at graduation because of a more rigourous legal writing program.

This is hilarious.  You can take all the legal writing courses you want, but there is simply no substitute for hard work, brainpower, and the ability to reason properly.  Most HLS students have, or are capable of utilizing, all three.  HLS doesn't have to put undue emphasis on legal writing because their students are expected to know basic grammatical rules and how to write in an organized manner prior to attending the school.


By the way, don't rely on specialty rankings.  They're a joke and no one takes them seriously.  When you graduate and take on a real case, you'll quickly learn that general knowledge of a particular field of law will rarely give you the "upper hand" on an opponent.  Cases boil down to issues.  Someone that has no general knowledge on a particular area of the law can skip all of the useless knowledge by narrowing down the issues and focusing only on those issues. 

*Caveat - There are some areas of the law where the law is so complex (i.e., bankruptcy) that a general knowledge of the field is virtually required.  "Gaming law", as well as a host of other USNWR "specialties",  do not fall into that category.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: smartandunique on October 05, 2010, 11:16:37 AM
I don't think it's fair to say Harvard is "better" than another law school. Yes, Harvard has better placement, a better reputation,higher expectations and is in the IVY League and all of that contributes to the awesome reputation and marketability that is has.Harvard students for the most part probably had better educational opportunities before law school as well.
 But there are students who wouldn't apply to Harvard possibly because of the location, cost,  and any other personal reason ( that student isn't me, but they do exist)
I'm assuming the Yale students are on the Top Law School board because I'd love to hear their opinion on Harvard.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: nealric on October 05, 2010, 11:37:28 AM
Quote
I don't think it's fair to say Harvard is "better" than another law school. Yes, Harvard has better placement,

From a prospective student's perspective, placement is the only thing that really matters.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: Thane Messinger on October 05, 2010, 12:32:32 PM
Quote
I don't think it's fair to say Harvard is "better" than another law school. Yes, Harvard has better placement,

From a prospective student's perspective, placement is the only thing that really matters.


Indeed so.  And it might be helpful (if a bit painful) to reverse the lens:  it's not just that hiring from a handful of schools is easier.  Firms are intensely status-conscious, becase they cannot reliably predict true quality.  The sheepskin serves as a proxy.   

Like it or not--and 90% do not--grades and prestige are not linear.  Just as with the decision of "which law school?", it is highly deceptive to think of ranking, because in our minds rankings are linear.  In the real world they are not.  This understates the importance of the point:  most employers will consider graduates from a handful of schools, and perhaps a handful of top grads from a grouping of reasonably-close schools thereunder.  This is not (just) because they (the hiring partners) are snobs; they simply cannot risk failure.  True, a Harvard grad might and will flub something--but when that happens, there's a teensy eensy bit of leeway (the first time).  With a school at the other end of the pool, none.  So, this is the way it is primarily because lawyers are exceedingly risk-averse.  And it's equally deceptive to simply say that there isn't underlying truth to the madness.

The scale of prestige (whether grades or school) is geometric.  Perhaps even logarithmic.  We might say that we would do differently, but when our partner salaries are on the line, not so much. 

It's unhelpful to point out the truth without a way to make that truth work for you.  How to, here?  First, re-think everything you've ever thought about "education."  If you're not yet in law school, re-think what "study" means; it's not what it meant before.  (And it wasn't all that helpful before.)  Take LEEWS.  Stop taking mounds of notes, color-coding, brown nosing, etc.  If in first year, and in October if you're confused in class, stop.  Law school is not brain surgery.  Stop and ask why it's so hard.  It shouldn't be THAT hard.  It isn't for those who do well.  Grades are absolutely essential.  Among better study habits, take  LEEWS.    There's a very short, very good book that's coming out soon: it's Law School Fast Track, about study habits.  If in second- or third-year, options narrow . . . but aren't closed yet.  Take LEEWS, take clinics, find internships, find part-time work (or volunteer) somewhere, anywhere (almost) . . . in a law office, of course.  And hang in.  The objective is to find a path for yourself.  Rail against the unfairness of it all, sure.  But that's the sideshow.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: smartandunique on October 05, 2010, 12:50:22 PM
Depends on the student. Someone can have the numbers to get in Harvard but decide they prefer the Midwest and apply to Univ of Chicago or Northwestern. ( or if they prefer the South, Vanderbilt, CA-Stanford or whatever) or maybe they want to stay in their hometown. Some people don't even apply to schools like Harvard because they don't think they will get in.
I understand Harvard has a very well earned rep. They have an abundance of talent but they don't have it on lock. Harvard, not the law school, rejected Tom Brokaw, Warren Buffett and Ted Turner and they did just FINE.
An IVY league degree makes u more marketable and desirable but it doesn't make u better.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: bigs5068 on October 05, 2010, 01:27:32 PM
I love the defense of your school, but I think everybody else is making good points. I will again go to a basketball analogy that I have made before. Going to Harvard is like being 7'0 and going to Boyd is like being 6'6. Both schools are solid and both of those heights are well tall people. However, a 7'0 guy just does not come along that often and there are only so many Harvard Grads. There are plenty of people that graduated from quality schools like Boyd, Hastings, Santa Clara, etc who finish highly. Still Harvard is going to get the upper hand and almost all 7'0 guys get a scholarship somewhere. Not all 7'0 foot guys are good at basketball, . but they will get the first look and still even if they are not good in high school based on POTENTIAL they will get into a school and possibly a scholarship. It doesn't even have to do with the 6'6 guy being better than the 7'0 guy. The 7'0 guy is 7'0 and that is an attention getter there are plenty of 6'6 guys out there, but the 7'0 guy has more potential. There are probably as  many 7'0 guys at any given time as there are Harvard, Stanford, Yale law school grads and most if not all of them will get an offer based on potential that they may or may not live up to.

A couple of professors went to Harvard and well they are SMART. Most people that go there are.  Just as many 7'0 guys are at least decent at basketball. Of course Plenty of 6'6 guys make it and in fact the best player in history Michael Jordan was 6'6 and so is Kobe.  There are plenty of Boyd and Santa Clara alumni that becomes superlawers, but Kobe and the grads from Boyd that really make it WORKED THEIR ASSES OFF to get. Shaq never put in a day of work into basketball in his life, but he is 7'1 and god only knows how much he actually ways and can move. He didn't have to work at it he just was set. Most people that get into Harvard, Stanford etc are in the same boat and are just brilliant.

 I have a friend that I grew up with who went to Stanford for undergrad and for law school and he was always the smartest guy in the room. Granted now we are learning the same thing from the same textbooks, but even with that fact if I was hiring someone I would choose him over me. He is just that much smarter than me what can I say. Of course I would love to litigate case against him one day it would be entertaining and I would give it everything I had and who knows maybe I would win, but if Vegas was going to put odds on the winner of that I would be the underdog.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 05, 2010, 01:53:19 PM
It is very possible that the average Boyd admit is weaker than the average Harvard grad upon admission, but ends up equal to or stronger than the average Harvard grad at graduation because of a more rigourous legal writing program.

This is hilarious.  You can take all the legal writing courses you want, but there is simply no substitute for hard work, brainpower, and the ability to reason properly.  Most HLS students have, or are capable of utilizing, all three.  HLS doesn't have to put undue emphasis on legal writing because their students are expected to know basic grammatical rules and how to write in an organized manner prior to attending the school.


By the way, don't rely on specialty rankings.  They're a joke and no one takes them seriously.  When you graduate and take on a real case, you'll quickly learn that general knowledge of a particular field of law will rarely give you the "upper hand" on an opponent.  Cases boil down to issues.  Someone that has no general knowledge on a particular area of the law can skip all of the useless knowledge by narrowing down the issues and focusing only on those issues. 

*Caveat - There are some areas of the law where the law is so complex (i.e., bankruptcy) that a general knowledge of the field is virtually required.  "Gaming law", as well as a host of other USNWR "specialties",  do not fall into that category.

I'm glad you find it funny. Because I have represented REAL clients, as a CPA, and worked with both Ivy League grads from both law school and business schools, I think I know what I'm talking about. Coming out of an Ivy League school doesn't make you great. Some of the WORST advice I've every seen given to a client came from a Harvard attorney working on Wall Street. He was a well-educated moron who didn't know his a$$ from a hole in the ground. Of course, this is not indicative of all attorneys who graduate from Ivy League schools. However, I've worked with at least 30 different attorneys from a variety of different schools on a variety of different clients. In my experience, the best did not come from Ivy League or T14 schools.

I'll put my knowledge, experience, and background against any 2L or 3L anywhere on earth! I may not be stronger in every instance but there is no one who is hands down going to mop the floor with me. If you don't believe, I hope I see you in court someday.

I don't believe the ink on your degree defines you. I also don't believe that simply because someone chose to go to a particular school or even because they are smarter in certain respects, that they are better. That is very ignorant. Big used a basketball analogy. I'll use a fighting analogy because I am a fighter. NO ONE thought Matt Sera could beat GSP, who has the much better fighting pedigree. GSP got KTFO. NO ONE gave Buster Douglas a chance against Mike Tyson. Tyson got KTFO. NO ONE gave Ali a chance against Foreman. Foreman got KTFO. Oh, I also love football. The 1972 Dolphins had not one superstar on their defense. Yet, they are still the only team with a truly perfect season. Oh, and the Minnesota Vikings that same year had one of the best defensive front-lines in history. They never one even on Super Bowl with the Purple Peaple Eaters. Pedigree doesn't always matter. Tom Brady was drafted in the 6th Round. Ryan Lief, Todd Marinovich, Tim Couch, Jamarcus Russell, Andre Ware, Tim Tebow, Matt Leinart, and Alex Smith were all first round picks. Every last one of them are busters... not fit to play in the NFL.... all with decent or even great pedigrees.

I could go on and on. But I'll quit. Pedigree can be deceiving.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: john4040 on October 05, 2010, 01:56:12 PM
I'll use a fighting analogy because I am a fighter. NO ONE thought Matt Sera could beat GSP, who has the much better fighting pedigree. GSP got KTFO. NO ONE gave Buster Douglas a chance against Mike Tyson. Tyson got KTFO. NO ONE gave Ali a chance against Foreman. Foreman got KTFO. Oh, I also love football. The 1972 Dolphins had not one superstar on their defense. Yet, they are still the only team with a truly perfect season. Oh, and the Minnesota Vikings that same year had one of the best defensive front-lines in history. They never one even on Super Bowl with the Purple Peaple Eaters. Pedigree doesn't always matter. Tom Brady was drafted in the 6th Round. Ryan Lief, Todd Marinovich, Tim Couch, Jamarcus Russell, Andre Ware, Tim Tebow, Matt Leinart, and Alex Smith were all first round picks. Every last one of them are busters... not fit to play in the NFL.... all with decent or even great pedigrees.

I could go on and on. But I'll quit. Pedigree can be deceiving.

I attacked your assertion that a Boyd graduate "ends up equal to or stronger than the average Harvard grad at graduation because of a more rigourous legal writing program."  I also criticized your reliance on USNWR "specialty rankings."  You give me an anecdotal listing of  extreme outliers to prove that you do not believe that the "ink on your degree defines you." 

There are so many things wrong with this.  You'll have to step up your reading comprehension skills in order to compete with those Harvard grads.  Care to try again?
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: marcus-aurelius on October 05, 2010, 02:01:50 PM
I'll assume that that are by far more hall of famers/all pros from the 1st round of the NFL draft than the 6th round.  I am too lazy to search for evidence.  Let me know if you find that I am wrong.

Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: smartandunique on October 05, 2010, 02:10:06 PM
You can be tall, good at basketball and not want to be in the NBA.Some guys are awesome but either go to the wrong school or aren't fortunate enough to know the right people to join the NBA.
What does Harvard's student profile look like? Haw many of their undergrads went to IVY league schools as undergraduates and prep schools before then?
I agree Harvard lawyers are in a better position than most lawyers but that doesn't mean they are better lawyers.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: bigs5068 on October 05, 2010, 02:44:11 PM
My friend went to a huge public high school with me and played basketball he had no pedigree prior to that. He was just really smart I also worked with a guy this summer who went to a public school in Vegas who also went to Stanford. I think the misconception that Harvard and Ivy League Grads are spoiled rich white kids is as unfounded as the people who say all these terrible things about lower ranked schools. The people I have met that go to Stanford and Berkley often did not come from money or anything they were either brilliant or worked their asses off. Of course there are some people that fit the rich, spoiled, white kid stereotype. However, generally speaking that is not the case at least from what I have seen from my friend from Stanford and his friends. They were all pretty well rounded people who just happened to get outstanding SAT/LSAT scores. Good for them.

I always hear people at my school saying I would do so much better than a Stanford Grad in an interview blah blah. All I want to say is probably not many Stanford and Berkley people are quite well rounded that is how they got their in the first place. There are also some very socially awkward people at my less than prestigious school. As Marcus said there are more 1st round picks that are hall of famers than 6th round picks. Tom Brady was a 6th round pick so it CAN and DOES happen, but you can't honestly tell me that if when you were applying that Harvard, Stanford, or Yale was going to let you in that you wouldn't have attended. Tom Brady would have rather been picked number 1 opposed to 224. He made the best of it and Jamarcuss Russel the number one pick did not. That kind of stuff does happen, but again if I was going to bet between a person from Boyd or Harvard having a more successful legal career I would bet on the Harvard Grad. If I was going to bet on two basketball players having a successful NBA career I would choose the guy that played at UNC over a guy that played for Virginia Union. There are players that are busts from UNC and Duke and Ben Wallace went to Virginia Union it happens, but again the odds are somewhat stacked against you. 

Boyd is not Harvard. GGU is not Stanford. The list goes on and on. You can have a successful or awful legal career no matter what school you go to, but Harvard gives you a leg up in most circumstances. Of course there can be some exceptions where a Harvard Degree might actually hurt you, but 98% of the time it is going to help you.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 05, 2010, 03:09:29 PM
My friend went to a huge public high school with me and played basketball he had no pedigree prior to that. He was just really smart I also worked with a guy this summer who went to a public school in Vegas who also went to Stanford. I think the misconception that Harvard and Ivy League Grads are spoiled rich white kids is as unfounded as the people who say all these terrible things about lower ranked schools. The people I have met that go to Stanford and Berkley often did not come from money or anything they were either brilliant or worked their asses off. Of course there are some people that fit the rich, spoiled, white kid stereotype. However, generally speaking that is not the case at least from what I have seen from my friend from Stanford and his friends. They were all pretty well rounded people who just happened to get outstanding SAT/LSAT scores. Good for them.

I always hear people at my school saying I would do so much better than a Stanford Grad in an interview blah blah. All I want to say is probably not many Stanford and Berkley people are quite well rounded that is how they got their in the first place. There are also some very socially awkward people at my less than prestigious school. As Marcus said there are more 1st round picks that are hall of famers than 6th round picks. Tom Brady was a 6th round pick so it CAN and DOES happen, but you can't honestly tell me that if when you were applying that Harvard, Stanford, or Yale was going to let you in that you wouldn't have attended. Tom Brady would have rather been picked number 1 opposed to 224. He made the best of it and Jamarcuss Russel the number one pick did not. That kind of stuff does happen, but again if I was going to bet between a person from Boyd or Harvard having a more successful legal career I would bet on the Harvard Grad. If I was going to bet on two basketball players having a successful NBA career I would choose the guy that played at UNC over a guy that played for Virginia Union. There are players that are busts from UNC and Duke and Ben Wallace went to Virginia Union it happens, but again the odds are somewhat stacked against you. 

Boyd is not Harvard. GGU is not Stanford. The list goes on and on. You can have a successful or awful legal career no matter what school you go to, but Harvard gives you a leg up in most circumstances. Of course there can be some exceptions where a Harvard Degree might actually hurt you, but 98% of the time it is going to help you.

I would not have attended Harvard or Yale. I hate cold weather. I would attend Stanford, but I would not pay for Stanford. So, if the choice were between a free education at Boyd and paying full price at Stanford, I would choose Boyd.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 05, 2010, 03:17:53 PM
I'll assume that that are by far more hall of famers/all pros from the 1st round of the NFL draft than the 6th round.  I am too lazy to search for evidence.  Let me know if you find that I am wrong.

Maybe, but many also went in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th Rounds. 1st round picks are often defined by a team's needs. In the NBA, your assertion would be more true. In the NFL, a team may need a defensive lineman more than a running back, so they choose the DL in the 1st round while their second round choice ends up being a Hall of Famer ten years later.

A better analogy is that NFL Hall of Famers come from a variety of colleges and conferences: some Division 1, others Division 1A. Some come from the Pac-10, others from the SEC, others from the Mountain West, others from the WAC (even the Weak A$$ Conference). I used my analogy only to say that the scouts' and coaches' assessment of even individual players (for whom they have video evidence and first-hand knowledge of) is often wrong. How much more are the assessments of Big Law partners of a prospective associate's potential as an attorney when based only what is on paper? Most hiring decisions are based upon personality, anyway. Your paper attributes get you to the interview. Yet, resumes or transcripts don't always tell the full story. I'm not suggesting that Big Law should start selecting people from a T4 with a 2.5 GPA. I am suggesting that their biases are not always accurate.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: smartandunique on October 05, 2010, 03:32:23 PM
Harvard can't accept everyone who is qualified and some people  with numbers to get into Harvard don't apply or were rejected. They went somewhere.Maybe another top law school,maybe Boyd or GGU.
Maybe someone should define better because I don't think having a degree from Harvard makes u smarter. It is a better funded school,has a better reputation,etc. Because of that some of their students have a halo effect.
I think it's insulting to students at other schools ,as well as presumptious to say Harvard is better.
I'm impressed with the degree/brand but I wouldn't be intimidated.
I apologize if this is a duplicate-my computer is having problems.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 05, 2010, 03:37:59 PM
I'll use a fighting analogy because I am a fighter. NO ONE thought Matt Sera could beat GSP, who has the much better fighting pedigree. GSP got KTFO. NO ONE gave Buster Douglas a chance against Mike Tyson. Tyson got KTFO. NO ONE gave Ali a chance against Foreman. Foreman got KTFO. Oh, I also love football. The 1972 Dolphins had not one superstar on their defense. Yet, they are still the only team with a truly perfect season. Oh, and the Minnesota Vikings that same year had one of the best defensive front-lines in history. They never one even on Super Bowl with the Purple Peaple Eaters. Pedigree doesn't always matter. Tom Brady was drafted in the 6th Round. Ryan Lief, Todd Marinovich, Tim Couch, Jamarcus Russell, Andre Ware, Tim Tebow, Matt Leinart, and Alex Smith were all first round picks. Every last one of them are busters... not fit to play in the NFL.... all with decent or even great pedigrees.

I could go on and on. But I'll quit. Pedigree can be deceiving.

I attacked your assertion that a Boyd graduate "ends up equal to or stronger than the average Harvard grad at graduation because of a more rigourous legal writing program."  I also criticized your reliance on USNWR "specialty rankings."  You give me an anecdotal listing of  extreme outliers to prove that you do not believe that the "ink on your degree defines you." 

There are so many things wrong with this.  You'll have to step up your reading comprehension skills in order to compete with those Harvard grads.  Care to try again?

Sure, why not? My argument is that pedigree is not the best indication of future performance, even when those who assess a candidates potential are experts or should be experts in doing so.

I did not say that "all Boyd grads are better legal writers than all Harvard grads." Nor did I say that "most" or even that "many Boyd grads are better legal writers than all or most Harvard grads." That is your failure in reading comprehension, Mr. Federal Clerk. Maybe reading all those complicated federal cases has fried your brain or fatigued your eyes. I did say that it is possible that a Boyd grad could be as good or better of a legal writer than a Harvard grad if Boyd's legal writing curriculum is more rigorous than Harvard's. I express an opinion that Boyd's legal writing curriculum is more demanding because increased requirements for graduation, although I offer no opinion on the quality of their program. So, if Harvard's program is equal in quality to Boyd's program, but we have more required classes and a writing requirement, it is POSSIBLE that the Harvard grad may have started law school as a better writer than the Boyd grad but end up at the same level upon graduation. I didn't even say that this is true in every case because I've seen terrible writers at Boyd. I only argue possibility. Although, I do argue that I will bet that I can compete with many Harvard writers. I bet many of my classmates can, as well.

Our legal writing writing courses are not just about grammar, as you have stated, or even mechanics. We learn how to write succinctly, accurately, objectively and persuasively. One focus is how to incorporate metaphor and narrative into legal writing into a context that paints a picture for a judge, using case law or policy (where policy is appropriate - issues of first impression or when seeking a ruling in derogation of common law or conflicting precedent). We also have specialized writing courses in Litigation (taking a case alll the way from complaint to motion for summary judgment), judicial writing (writing several types of opinions on cased argued before the 9th Circuit prior to opinion, we then compare our opinions to the court's opinion when published), Legislative and statutory interpretation, or transactional legal drafting. Every student must take one of those specialized writing courses to graduate (in addition to legal writing 1 & 2 and the scholarly writing requirement). The scholarly requirement must be either published or publishable or the student does not graduate... period. Even if you get a 4.0, you cannot graduate from Boyd until a tenured professor attests to the publishable quality of the scholarly thesis. Students have not taken the Bar because a professor refused to sign off on that requirement.

So, I believe that many Boyd students may be better writers than some Harvard grads.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: marcus-aurelius on October 05, 2010, 03:40:42 PM
I have no doubt good, even great attorneys come from all types of law school.  Natural intellect (and a little luck) can only take one so far.  Hard work will cause others to rise above(assurgam superne).  In general, I am willing to assume that the top quarter at Harvard (theoretically since there are no grades) would be in the top 5% (probably better) in most schools as you work down the rankings.  I am sure the top schools have those who are left behind, but I believe less than other schools.

My opinion only.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: marcus-aurelius on October 05, 2010, 03:46:52 PM
One last thing, I have no doubt some chose to go to schools outside the T14 and have great intellect.  The school is not always indicative.  In my LSAT prep course, I had 2 Princeton University graduates.  I was outscored them both on every test but the 1st (they scored higher by a point)  For the official test in June, I scored 8 points higher than one.  The other I no longer talk to. And I went to a lowly state school (and a county college for that matter).  I believe though, as they say, I am the exception that proves the rule.  In general, Princeton students will most likely score better than one who has gone to community college.  But sometimes circumstances dictate otherwise.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 05, 2010, 03:47:31 PM
I agree that the top 25% at Harvard would probably be in the top 10% or better in many lower rated schools. I don't necessarily believe that the top student at Boyd would not be in the top 10% of his class had he/she transferred to Harvard. That may or may not happen, but I wouldn't even attempt to offer a guess on that. I believe that the skillset necessary to be in the top 10% at any law school is pretty similar (assuming ABA accreditation). So, the #1 student at Boyd may still be in the top 10% elsewhere, or woudl at least have a fair chance of achieving similar results.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 05, 2010, 04:05:51 PM
One last thing, I have no doubt some chose to go to schools outside the T14 and have great intellect.  The school is not always indicative.  In my LSAT prep course, I had 2 Princeton University graduates.  I was outscored them both on every test but the 1st (they scored higher by a point)  For the official test in June, I scored 8 points higher than one.  The other I no longer talk to. And I went to a lowly state school (and a county college for that matter).  I believe though, as they say, I am the exception that proves the rule.  In general, Princeton students will most likely score better than one who has gone to community college.  But sometimes circumstances dictate otherwise.

I'm not really sure to what degree one's LSAT score accurately predicts law school performance. Studies indicate a correlation between first-year grades and the LSAT score. I'm not convinced, but I believe that one's ability to perform well on any standarized test is probably indicative and predicitive of bar passage. I've heard the arguments on both sides of the LSAT debate. I don't really have an opinion either way. Almost no one, however, believes that the LSAT has any correlation to success as a lawyer (assuming one can score high enough to get into law school). Many good attorneys had average or low LSAT scores. I'm not sure if there is any empirical research on the difference in overall career success between someone who scores a 150 versus someone who scores a 180 after say 20 years after law school. I'm not even sure how you would measure that success: monetarily, status of a job, number of trial wins, ect. I would imagine that those who score lower on the LSAT have fewer options in the first 5-10 years of their careers because of the law schools they attend. However, some people score low on the LSAT, go to a low-ranked school, kick ass in their first year, and transfer to a top school in their second year. Any such research would have to capture those people. We had a Boyd student do just that last year. He graduated #1 in the class, had an average LSAT score, then transferred to Stanford. He is now on their Law Journal.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 05, 2010, 04:08:03 PM
Lest you call him an outlier, Boyd has had at least a few graduates a year transfer to a T14 school for the last four years (mostly Georgetown, for some reason they like Boyd grads).
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: bigs5068 on October 05, 2010, 05:01:24 PM
The pedigree only does mean so much, but it does mean something. As Marcus-said he kicked ass against people from higher ranked schools. A lot of people at GGU went to Berkley, Stanford, Notre Dame, etc for undergrad which are great schools, but I did better in my first year than they did. I don't think there is any question that once your in the game or in a trial that the name of your school does not matter. I saw a lot of court cases this summer and the law school someone went to never came up. 

However, getting a job is easier from a pedigreed school and I do think top schools attract better faculty and students. You said you hate cold weather and did not attend Stanford, because of the cost. If you got a 180 on the LSAT and had a realistic shot I imagine your tune might have changed. I chose GGU for the scholarship money and would not change for anybody.  "Sure"  if Stanford came calling I would be there. Stanford is a better school than GGU. (PERIOD). (EXCLAMATION POINT).  I didn't transfer to Hastings, Santa Clara, or USF because the difference there is minimal. Two more LSAT points and I probably would have gotten into USF with a scholarship. However, there is no way I was pulling a 174 on the LSAT no matter what I did, which is basically what you need for Stanford.

Of course anyone can have a great legal career, but to say Boyd is on par with Harvard or Stanford is off. You can think what you want I won't stop you, but Harvard has more credibility to it than Boyd does. I imagine more top professors, administrators, etc want to live in Boston, New York, San Francisco, or L.A and work at Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, UCLA.  The top people in any industry generally speaking don't seek to work in Spokane at Gonzaga. Of course there is probably an exception and some great professor loves Spokane and nature, but generally speaking they would choose a top school. I personally like my school, but if Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc let me in I would go. My phone is not exactly ringing of the hook to go to those schools and I have still gotten some decent job offers from GGU and hopefully I will have a great legal career. However, I won't deny that people at Stanford had more potential than me to become good attorneys when they applied to law school and when they went to school they were exposed to better faculty and facilities at Stanford and there potential combined with better facilities and faculty puts them at advantage over me.  I will have to work harder to compete with them and I am hopeful and confident that I will. However, I would much rather have the easier path by going to Stanford, just as I would have liked to have been 7'7 when I was playing basketball. 

A final example is that Michigan is better at football than Appalachian State despite that huge upset. If they played 100 more times Michigan would probably win every game. Even if they lost again no Blue Chip High School Prospect is going to choose Appalachian State over Michigan and no Big Time Coach is going to choose Appalachian State over Michigan.  University of Michigan has better facilities, more exposure to NFL coaches, a chance to play in the BCS, plays against more competitive schools, and better athletes go there.  Any player would be crazy to turn down Michigan for Appalachian State. Again there probably is some exception where some guy was recruited by a top program and went to Division IAA school. There are also great players from Division IAA schools see Kurt Warner and Tony Romo. Your ability to perform the job is the most important thing, but Kurt Warner was bagging groceries and only got on the field because Trent Green got his knee shattered. He stepped up when he needed to, but he definetly did not have anything handed to him. Same for Tony Romo Drew Bledsoe had to play awfully for him to even get a shot. As a lower ranked student you will have less opportunities to shine, but they will probably present themselves and you need to be ready. 

Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: Morten Lund on October 05, 2010, 09:38:43 PM
Almost no one, however, believes that the LSAT has any correlation to success as a lawyer (assuming one can score high enough to get into law school).

Depending on one's definition of "success," of course, this statement appears false almost by definition.

If we assume these  two premises:

(1) a reasonably strong correlation between LSAT score and rank of law school attended

(2) a reasonably strong correlation between rank of law school attended and "success"

Then, unless math fails me, it necessarily follows that there is a non-negligible (and probably strong) correlation between LSAT score and "success."

(I suspect there would be plenty of range interactions and other effects, but for any data set where (1) and (2) are true, the conclusion will follow.)

Premise (1) is almost tautological, yes?  Premise (2) is trickier, but certainly if we go by income, employment position, or other objective socioeconomic status measures, premise (2) has been shown to be pretty consistent (again, subject to range effects, etc.).

Sorry.  Didn't mean to derail a perfectly good school discussion.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: Morten Lund on October 05, 2010, 09:40:26 PM
A final example is that Michigan is better at football than Appalachian State despite that huge upset.

A football analogy?  You're slipping.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 06, 2010, 09:07:39 AM

However, getting a job is easier from a pedigreed school and I do think top schools attract better faculty and students. You said you hate cold weather and did not attend Stanford, because of the cost. If you got a 180 on the LSAT and had a realistic shot I imagine your tune might have changed. I chose GGU for the scholarship money and would not change for anybody.  "Sure"  if Stanford came calling I would be there. Stanford is a better school than GGU. (PERIOD). (EXCLAMATION POINT).

You're a pretentious bastard if you somehow presume to know where I would have gone to law school had I had a certain LSAT score! How do you have any idea what I value? Maybe my ties to Las Vegas (10 years of personal and professional relationships) is worth more to me than a degree from Stanford, even if the cost was equal to that of Boyd. Furthermore, maybe I want to practice in Las Vegas. Therefore, attending Boyd would make far more sense than attending Stanford because Boyd gives me access to internships and part-time jobs during law school that Stanford would not. Get the F*ck off your high horse! You don't know me and you have no clue what I would do.

That said, I can't honestly say what I would have done had I been offered a full-ride to Stanford. It would have been a very tough decision because I love my girlfriend; I have valuable contacts in Las Vegas; I want to practice in Las Vegas, I hate CA; and, I would still incur more debt even with a full-ride to Stanford because of a higher cost of living in Palo Alto as compared to Las Vegas.

I don't think Boyd is a better school that Harvard, Stanford, Yale, any T14, ect. I, however, don't think any of those schools are necessarily better than Boyd. To argue that Stanford is necessarily better than Boyd is nothing more than an opinion. The conclusion depends on what criteria one values. From on objective perspective, all T14 schools do place better on a national level than Boyd. I have never argued otherwise. However, I will vigorously challenge the notion that a T14 places better than Boyd in Nevada. I do not believe they do. Given a choice between a Harvard grad and a Boyd grad (assuming equal applicants in every way except for their alma mater), I don't think most Nevada firms would hire the T14 grad simply because of where they went to school. The reverse is not true. If I went to Manhattan to apply for a big firm job, I would have virtually no chance of getting a job, unless 1. I clerk for SCOTUS, 2. My dad owns the firm, or 3. I blow the hiring partner and he has the orgasm of his life. Because I don't suck c*ck, my dad does not own an NYC law firm, and I will never clerk for SCOTUS, I don't like my odds. Moreover, I don't see how Harvard, Yale, Stanford NECESSARILY produces better attorneys simply because they managed to get into Harvard. What you do in law school and how hard you work has great bearing on the skills you develop and the trajectory of your career. That is the sum total of my argument.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 06, 2010, 09:08:34 AM
Almost no one, however, believes that the LSAT has any correlation to success as a lawyer (assuming one can score high enough to get into law school).

Depending on one's definition of "success," of course, this statement appears false almost by definition.

If we assume these  two premises:

(1) a reasonably strong correlation between LSAT score and rank of law school attended

(2) a reasonably strong correlation between rank of law school attended and "success"

Then, unless math fails me, it necessarily follows that there is a non-negligible (and probably strong) correlation between LSAT score and "success."

(I suspect there would be plenty of range interactions and other effects, but for any data set where (1) and (2) are true, the conclusion will follow.)

Premise (1) is almost tautological, yes?  Premise (2) is trickier, but certainly if we go by income, employment position, or other objective socioeconomic status measures, premise (2) has been shown to be pretty consistent (again, subject to range effects, etc.).

Sorry.  Didn't mean to derail a perfectly good school discussion.

Your argument depends on how you define "success". Sucess can be defined a variety of ways. Also, your argument does not take into account one's capability to develop over skill over the course of one's career. So, let's say student A gets a 155 on the LSAT and attends the University of New Mexico. Student B scores 175 on the LSAT and attends Harvard (we'll exclude GPA to avoid confusing issues). It is possible, though maybe not necessarily likely, that Student A may develop the reasoning skills through the course of law school and subsequent experience thereafter to match the reasoning skills of Student B. Maybe after three years of law school and five years of practice, both students would retake the LSAT and both score 175. If so, then could Student A be as good or even better of a lawyer than Student B? Maybe.

My argument presumes that Student B does not develop much during his time in law school or practice. Maybe Student B does develop substantially, but Student A develops so as to match him. Is that possible? Maybe. Some people are diamonds in the rough. Many are not. If two people can score the same on the LSAT after five years of law practice, what then separates them? The prestige of their degrees, which is subtantial depending on their career asperations. What else separates them? The sum total of their experiences and relationships. Can Student A gain experience and/or develop relationships to match Student B over the course of his career? I don't know, but maybe.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: bigs5068 on October 06, 2010, 09:37:02 AM



You're a pretentious bastard if you somehow presume to know where I would have gone to law school had I had a certain LSAT score! How do you have any idea what I value? Maybe my ties to Las Vegas (10 years of personal and professional relationships) is worth more to me than a degree from Stanford, even if the cost was equal to that of Boyd. Furthermore, maybe I want to practice in Las Vegas. Therefore, attending Boyd would make far more sense than attending Stanford because Boyd gives me access to internships and part-time jobs during law school that Stanford would not. Get the F*ck off your high horse! You don't know me and you have no clue what I would do.


Relax. I take it you did not get a 180 on your LSAT and of course even if you did you may have still chosen Boyd forreasons. I worked for a guy that got a 177 and probably could have gotten into any school in the country. However, he was legally blind and had a family and went to Cal Northern a CBA school in Chico where he lived. He was valedictorian of the school and has a good job in Chico. He can't leave there and some people have similar situations. There are always some exceptions and really talented people at lower ranked schools. However, Stanford has more resources and the students have more potential when they arrive. Yes they do have more potential you need to have gotten a 3.8 or something in undergrad, which means the individual was more focused or just more intelligent. I partied my ass of in undergrad and did not get a great GPA. People that got 4.0's in undergrad were focused. This focus continues into law school and as I said I could not get a 178 on the LSAT the person that got into Stanford can. They also have to write more admissions essays etc. It is just more competitive to get in and they are dealing with a better crop of students. They also have better facilities, they have more money and they have a huge advantage based on those two things. Being focused in undergrad, a high LSAT score, and going to a school with more funding and facilities is not a guarantee that they will be a better attorney than someone from Boyd or Santa Clara, but it sure helps. I don't know what else to say I hope you go out and kick ass when you become a lawyer. That is really all that matters at the end of day is how you do once your out there, but Ivy League and Elite schools have an advantage.

You might be right in regards to Boyd placing well in Vegas. Location is a huge factor when considering what law school you are going to choose. Boyd might beat out a Harvard grad in Vegas. However, a Harvard degree makes you more competitive nationally and gives you more opportunities. In some limited situations a Boyd Degree might be better, but generally it is not.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 06, 2010, 10:32:34 AM
We generally agree on the fact that national schools offer a greater breadth of career prospects than even the best of regional schools. We disagree on the notion that national schools provide a better education. I'm not sure that is true, but I have never attended a national school. For those who have, I'll defer to your wisdom, but I remain skeptical.

I did not get a 180 on the LSAT. I probably never will. If I had, I'm not sure what I would do. I can confidently say that I would NEVER attend Harvard, Yale, NYU, Michigan, UPA, or any other school in a cold weather state. I may have attended either Stanford or USC if I got a full ride... maybe even UCLA. It would have been such a hard choice, though.

I defend my school not because I have some emphatic or misplaced fealty to it. I defend Boyd because I truly hate the notion that T14 or Ivy League schools provide a better education. I think they have just been around longer. It may be, though I don't know this is true, that the schools live on a repuation that was developed and deserved 50 years ago but is no longer warranted. I doubt that because legal professionals would shift their practices in 50 years. I do believe that an old law school like Stanford can offer a comparable education as a younger law school, such as Boyd, but Boyd wouldn't get the respect for at least another 20-50 years. Afterall, Standford was not on par with NYU, Columbia, Harvard, and Yale in the early 70s (so I am told, I wasn't alive then). I am told by Stanford alum that Stanford really became an "elite" law school in the late 70s. Again, I don't know that for sure because I was 2 in 1979. If that is true, however, then it is possible that Boyd will be comparable to UCLA in 20-30 years. That may or may not happen. So, Stanford was a quality school... and offered elite level education long before it developed a repuation for doing so. Because of this lag time in garnering a reputation, it is possible that many T2 schools are now offering fine legal education but do not get the respect of the more "elite" schools. I'm also not sure that reputation and quality always go hand-in-hand.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: bigs5068 on October 06, 2010, 11:21:58 AM
I think we are in agreement. You don't need to tell me how ludicrous the rankings are. I mean they are based on literally nothing. It works like this judges and attorneys are given a sheet to fill out that says very good, good, average, or marginal. So these anonymous people from all over the country fill out these horribly detailed Scantron about 195 schools most of which they have never heard of. So a Nebraska judge is ranking Boyd as one of very good, good, average, or marginal, but odds are he has never met a soul that went to Boyd or has any idea if it is a good school or not. It is AWFULLY done and yet it retains the stigma.

However, when you get to Stanford or Harvard I think the story changes. Stanford and Harvard may or may not provide education, but they have a lot more money. Harvard I think has a 37 billion dollar endowment granted it is the whole university, but that can buy a lot of programs etc. My school I think has a 50 million dollar endowment. More money means more resources, better professors, better facilities, etc. I think they can probably do provide a better education simply because they have more money.

On top of the massive difference in money  the admissions standards are incredibly difficult. . Look at that Marcus-Aurellius poster's thread he is writing numerous essays and putting a lot of thought into it and he got a 173. He still probably won't get into Yale, although I hope he does. He has a shot, but that just goes to show how hard it is. The people that can even meet these standards are then exposed to a school that quite literally has 100x more money and resources. It is just hard to compete with that and that is why the education is probably better. Most students I have met from Stanford and my professors that went to Harvard are the least cocky people I know. They are not these Ivory Tower types they seem to really know what they are talking about.

I agree there is no difference between the majority of schools. The admission standards between a tier 2 and tier 4 are about 3 LSAT points and sometimes the tier 4 has higher admission standards. If a school is ranked 88 spots higher because their students is 4 or 5 MC questions that might have been guesses I don't think it says much. That is why I am completely against the rankings once it gets out of the top 10 or 25. However, when the school is ELITE there are reasons for it having that status. There of course some f*** ups that go to Harvard and Yale. Actually one of the worst professors I have ever had in my life went to NYU a pretty elite school. I really question if she knew what she was talking about and I think I could beat her in a tort case and she taught torts. Of course there are going to people who underwhelm you that go to these top schools, but for the reasons above that is the exception not the rule.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 06, 2010, 02:53:40 PM
Harvard, Yale, & Standford have tons of money. I can't and won't argue with that fact. Those schools can offer more programs and ammenities. I don't know if that always translates to a better education. I suppose it may. That is still speculative. What specific programs do those schools offer that so enriches the educational experience? I'm not asking rhetorically, I simply don't know.

I have professors from Harvard, Standford, and Yale. They were awesome and quite knowledgeable. Of the five best professors that I have had, 4 went to Tier 2 schools and one went to Harvard. Is that indicative of anything? Not really. None of the best attorneys I have met or worked with went to an elite law school. That is not indicative of anything either.

A state school like Boyd, in the midst of a budget crunch and facing less funding than previous years, can't possibly compete with huge private schools in terms of endowments and fudning. So, if your definition of a better education includes funds spent on students, we lose hands down. Do we lose by other measures? I'm sure Boyd is no match for Harvard (certainly not across the board). I just wonder how wide the gap is and if that is a gap that one can bridge with hard work and dedication.

In this debate, everyone always references admission standards. I concede that many schools have higher admission standards than Boyd, certainly elite law schools. How do higher admission standards translate into better graduates? Harvard starts with the best so they graduate the best? Sort of. Maybe. This assumes that all law schools develop attorneys at the same rate and to the same degree. It also assumes that a school's repuation or endowment directly translates into a better educational experience so that no other school who admits "less qualified" applicants could not develop their grads more thoroughly. I don't necessarily believe that. It may be true, but I'm not resting that conclusion on a school's reputation or US New Ranking. It is possible for a school to build a better mouse trap but not get the recognition in the school's general reputation. For instance, the University of Phoenix generally admits anyone. It's widely considered a diploma mill. However, while students often start their education with lower qualifications that state university's, many UoP grads are on equal footing with state school grads. UoP often takes the underqualified and makes them qualified. Can a law school do the same? I think so. I'm not saying that happens in regards to Boyd vs. Harvard. In fact, I bet it does not (overall). However, could it? Sure.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 06, 2010, 09:38:13 PM
Update: A good friend of mine and classmate just received an offer for a summer associate position from Fennemore Craig over Harvard and Standford applicants. He is on both law review and the moot court team (our moot court team is invitation only). He is also in the top 10 of our class. While this is anecdotal evidence, at best; it does prove that some Boyd students can beat out some Harvard students. As I said, Harvard does not rule in this market.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: bigs5068 on October 06, 2010, 10:00:30 PM
Good for him that is awesome! Again, I don't think anyone was trying to say that Harvard always wins and nobody from Boyd or any other school ever does anything of substance in the legal field. There are plenty of top lawyers from lower ranked schools, but the fact that it is news that your friend got this position shows the disparity between the schools. If a Harvard grad got the job you would say oh well he went to Harvard that is what you expect. When your friend got the job it is an awesome story. As always law school and your legal career is what you make of it. Your buddy got his foot in the door and if he gets a ton of clients and makes the firm a ton of money he will be more valuable than any Harvard Grads hired this year. Nobody says it can't happen and it does all the time. However, if I was in Vegas and you could bet on whether a Harvard or Gonzaga grad would get a 100k a year salary first I would choose the Harvard grad. I think most people would do the same.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: Morten Lund on October 06, 2010, 11:43:43 PM
Adding more anecdotal evidence:  I have personally recommended against hiring many candidates from YHS, and recommended in favor of hiring several candidates from Marquette Law and similarly ranked schools.  There is certainly no rule that being from a higher-ranked school means you get the job.

At the same time, however, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the quality of the average candidate from YHS far exceeds the quality of the average candidate from Marquette.

But at the same same time, however, some of the finest lawyers I know graduated from Marquette, or schools ranked well below Marquette (such as the GGU graduate I mentioned in a prior thread).

Are top-ranked schools "better" than low-ranked schools?  From my perspective that is the wrong question.  What I do care about, and what is absolutely true in my experience, is that, statistically speaking, the graduates from top schools tend to be better candidates than graduates from schools with a significantly lower ranking.

Hiring associates is a bit of a crap-shoot, and fishing in the top schools will on the average yield a better crop.  Therefore firms prefer to hire from well-ranked school.  There are other factors, of course, but simple statistics will take you most of the way there.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 07, 2010, 07:40:35 AM
When a statistical correlation becomes a hard presumption, that is where I take offense. Personally, I really don't care how big law firms select their associates. For a litany of reasons, I would rather cut off a finger with a dull knife before accepting a position at most of those firms. However, there is just too much snootiness in the legal profession. As humans, we are just flawed. Collectively, our judgment sucks; hence, the need for a legal profession. Judging an individual solely by a statistical curve on a justification of "efficiency" is both wrong in a moral sense and a byproduct of flawed judgment. I would expect more from attorneys. However, I shouldn't because most attorneys are more flawed than the population they represent.

I don't have a problem with the assertion that most YHS grads are more qualified on the whole than most grads of lower-rated schools. When that judgment (I wouldn't call it a rule), is then applied to individual candidates syllogistically, that is where I take offense. Statistics are a form of inductive reasoning. To apply a statistical correlation deductively is not logically valid nor is it fair.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: nealric on October 07, 2010, 07:41:13 AM
Quote
  Fennemore Craig over Harvard and Standford applicants. H

Almost everyone would agree that going to Harvard won't give you much of a leg-up in regional midlaw. I'm sure it's a great place, but that type of firm isn't even on the radar for most Stanford applicants. A lot of those firms don't really consider the Stanford/Harvard types to be serious applicants.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: jack24 on October 07, 2010, 08:50:18 AM
When a statistical correlation becomes a hard presumption, that is where I take offense. Personally, I really don't care how big law firms select their associates. For a litany of reasons, I would rather cut off a finger with a dull knife before accepting a position at most of those firms. However, there is just too much snootiness in the legal profession. As humans, we are just flawed. Collectively, our judgment sucks; hence, the need for a legal profession. Judging an individual solely by a statistical curve on a justification of "efficiency" is both wrong in a moral sense and a byproduct of flawed judgment. I would expect more from attorneys. However, I shouldn't because most attorneys are more flawed than the population they represent.

I don't have a problem with the assertion that most YHS grads are more qualified on the whole than most grads of lower-rated schools. When that judgment (I wouldn't call it a rule), is then applied to individual candidates syllogistically, that is where I take offense. Statistics are a form of inductive reasoning. To apply a statistical correlation deductively is not logically valid nor is it fair.

I don't mean to be rude, but you don't seem to be considering reality when you make your arguments.

Most medium and large firms get hundreds of applications for every one job opening.  They have to narrow it down using something, because they don't have the time or resources to do a full and proper check of every single candidate.  They have to use statistics to determine who to interview, and they also can rely on previous experience.  I'm sure that if firms were hiring a bunch of harvard grads that turned out to be chumps, they would start to look elsewhere, but I'm sure that's very rare. 
Also, the general public does influence what a firm does.  Firms realize that it looks good to have associates from top tier schools.  A partner dealing with a client would like to be able to say, "I'd like to introduce you to Stephen, he's just recently graduated from law school at Stanford and he'll be helping on your case." 

You say you wouldn't want to work at a firm that would value an ivy league education, and that's fine, but it's a bit odd to pretend that it's not rational for a firm to go for the most decorated candidates.

 
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 07, 2010, 04:23:52 PM
When a statistical correlation becomes a hard presumption, that is where I take offense. Personally, I really don't care how big law firms select their associates. For a litany of reasons, I would rather cut off a finger with a dull knife before accepting a position at most of those firms. However, there is just too much snootiness in the legal profession. As humans, we are just flawed. Collectively, our judgment sucks; hence, the need for a legal profession. Judging an individual solely by a statistical curve on a justification of "efficiency" is both wrong in a moral sense and a byproduct of flawed judgment. I would expect more from attorneys. However, I shouldn't because most attorneys are more flawed than the population they represent.

I don't have a problem with the assertion that most YHS grads are more qualified on the whole than most grads of lower-rated schools. When that judgment (I wouldn't call it a rule), is then applied to individual candidates syllogistically, that is where I take offense. Statistics are a form of inductive reasoning. To apply a statistical correlation deductively is not logically valid nor is it fair.

I don't mean to be rude, but you don't seem to be considering reality when you make your arguments.

Most medium and large firms get hundreds of applications for every one job opening.  They have to narrow it down using something, because they don't have the time or resources to do a full and proper check of every single candidate.  They have to use statistics to determine who to interview, and they also can rely on previous experience.  I'm sure that if firms were hiring a bunch of harvard grads that turned out to be chumps, they would start to look elsewhere, but I'm sure that's very rare. 
Also, the general public does influence what a firm does.  Firms realize that it looks good to have associates from top tier schools.  A partner dealing with a client would like to be able to say, "I'd like to introduce you to Stephen, he's just recently graduated from law school at Stanford and he'll be helping on your case." 

You say you wouldn't want to work at a firm that would value an ivy league education, and that's fine, but it's a bit odd to pretend that it's not rational for a firm to go for the most decorated candidates.

 

I'm an idealist. I'm also pragmatic. I completely understand why big firms have adopted their hiring practices. Efficiency is paramount. You're talking to an account... I'm well versed in concepts like efficiency and cost reduction. However, I don't see public perceptions as a valid concern. The general public is generally retarded... hence why we have a legal system. Corporate clients are even somewhat retarded, education level notwithstanding. I would not base my firm hiring policy on the superficial perceptions of clients.

I don't know if there is another way for big firms to recruit. Maybe there is not. Most of my opinions on this subject are colored by my strong bias against corporate clients, many of whom have been responsible for much of the harm in the world. So, naturally, I have little good to say about those who represent their legal rights.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 07, 2010, 11:26:16 PM
While I sympathize with the burden imposed on Big Law by their status-conscious clients, and I fully understand that any large law firm gets 100s of resumes a week, can you honestly tell me that someone in the firm, maybe a paralegal or staff member, is not instructed to toss all applicants who are not from a certain school or from a certain group of schools unless from applicants in the top 5% of their class? No, because that is probably how it's done. Someone wades through the morass to decide who to call. I don't care what arbitrary criteria they use, personally. I would probably apply equally arbitrary (I might only hire associates who used to be amateur boxers or who have competed in wrestling or MMA - they have fighting spirit, and they will beat up many Harvard & Stanford grads! :)), yet very different criteria. However, I am only arguing the very narrow point that perceptions and reputation, no matter how strongly correlated to actual statistics, are still little more than broad generalizations. My broad generalizations may be no better or no less arbitrary, but at least I can face their true nature. At least I am intellectually honest.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: louiebstef on October 08, 2010, 07:44:20 AM
Ken,

I absolutely agree.  Nothing is worse than the slimy corporate hypocrisy that goes on.  I am an ass.  At least I'm honest and straightforward about it.

I played the corporate game for a few years and share your disdain.  I dream of being a part of an effort that hits some nasty gray-suited politically correct (corrupt) conglomerate right in the pocket (which is the "corporate nutz").
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: bigs5068 on October 08, 2010, 01:52:46 PM
I think it is pretty reasonable the way they do it. I am sure they don't even go by school, but often by class rank. Sure Maybe Harvard etc will get a look, but if someone is in the the top 15% at almost any school they might get some consideration. There is just simply no way for firms that get hundreds or thousands of applicants to sort through them all. A really presitigous school or high class ranking is the best formula they can use. Most people who graduate and pass the bar can be taught to be decent attorneys, but what do you have that makes you that much better than anyone else. One of those two things.

I get to go to a basketball analogy now. My friend is a college coach and he goes to the big AAU tournaments to scout high school players. Everyone at these tournaments is good there is not a bad player out there. There is only distinguish them really is by size so if there is a 7'0 guy out there well that gives him the edge. Being 7'0 tall is like going to Harvard in the legal world. It doesn't necessarily mean you will be great, but you will get noticed and have some potential. For the guys that are 6'1 in these tournaments the only way to get noticed is by dominating and scoring 20 points otherwise the guy is just another 6'1 guard like everyone else. Scoring 20 points in one of these tournaments is like ranking in the top 10% of your class. Nobody would notice another 6'1 guy, but if you stand out for that moment then you will get noticed. The 20 points is not necessarily maybe the team was not playing good D on him, maybe he had the game of his life etc. However, it is something and you could not possibly do an in-depth look at every 6'1 guard out there.

 So my point is that these tournaments are like law school. Everyone in the tournament is a pretty good basketball player from and everyone is law school is pretty smart. However, these teams and these firms only have a few spots to fill and they are looking at thousands of players or students. You can set yourself apart in the legal field by going to a badass school or getting really good grades at a lower ranked school. In basketball you get noticed if you are really tall or you put up some solid numbers when people are watching you. It is not a perfect system, but it is the only way to scour through the sheer numbers of people.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 09, 2010, 12:22:25 AM
Height is a static characteristic, basically (after a certain age). Height has measurable utility in basketball. Where one went to school has little real utility after they graduate (save the reputation of their school, or more accurately, the weight that others give to that reputation). NBA teams truly need centers that are 7'0" or taller to guard other 7 footers. No one needs a Harvard grad to litigate against a Stanford grad or to review a contract drafted by a Columbia grad. I can review the contract as well as anyone, or at least be taught to do so. Mental abilities, unlike physical characteristics, can be developed and improved to a much greater degree. I may workout very hard to get more agile or more muscular, but I cannot do anything to get 2" taller. However, I can develop my reasoning skills and wits to match Scalia or Thomas (not much of a contest).
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: marcus-aurelius on October 09, 2010, 06:49:36 AM
Ken,

I have no doubt that Boyd can provide a quality legal education.  The difference is resources and the quality of the student between Boyd and 1,2,3.  To stick with the sports analogy, lets look at baseball.

The New York Yankees have nearly unlimited resources and a household name.  They attract many players with the best talent.  They often have several all stars and a couple of hall of famers within their ranks.  They also have some big busts (Carl Pavano anyone).

Now take a team like the Minnesota Twins.  Their resources are exponetially less than the Yankees and not as popular.  They have mostly average players as compared to the Yankees.  Although they so have a superstar or two on the team that could start on the Yankees.  Most though would not be able to sit the bench on the Yanks.  Thus the potential is lower.

As I said, I believe Boyd is a fine educational institution.  The top of the class could probably succeed elsewhere.  It is the middle of the class where the difference is, IMO
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: nealric on October 09, 2010, 08:31:14 AM
Quote
can you honestly tell me that someone in the firm, maybe a paralegal or staff member, is not instructed to toss all applicants who are not from a certain school or from a certain group of schools unless from applicants in the top 5% of their class? No, because that is probably how it's done

That's exactly how it's done. If it were done otherwise, the hiring partners would have to spend 5 hours a day sifting through resumes. Keep in mind that most big firms really don't do much entry-level hiring outside of OCI- someone cold-mailing is already suspect. It makes sense to cut out anybody who is not an academic superstar and go from there.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 09, 2010, 01:05:50 PM
As I said, I believe Boyd is a fine educational institution.  The top of the class could probably succeed elsewhere.  It is the middle of the class where the difference is, IMO

I agree with that.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: Thane Messinger on October 09, 2010, 01:35:51 PM
Quote
can you honestly tell me that someone in the firm, maybe a paralegal or staff member, is not instructed to toss all applicants who are not from a certain school or from a certain group of schools unless from applicants in the top 5% of their class? No, because that is probably how it's done

That's exactly how it's done. If it were done otherwise, the hiring partners would have to spend 5 hours a day sifting through resumes. Keep in mind that most big firms really don't do much entry-level hiring outside of OCI- someone cold-mailing is already suspect. It makes sense to cut out anybody who is not an academic superstar and go from there.

Sad but true, this is indeed exactly how it is done.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 09, 2010, 08:03:09 PM
I wouldn't do it that way, but I will never be a hiring partner at a big firm, either. If all goes well, I'll own my own firm in five years or so (or at least be a partner in a small firm that I start with colleagues). I'll never put any emphasis whatsoever on the school a prospective associate attended.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: bigs5068 on October 10, 2010, 02:31:13 AM
Then how will you grant interviews. You will be inundated there are a lot of law school graduates out there and you will need some type of filter. Everyone at every law school is pretty smart and will put together a competent resume. Will you have the time to interview 100 people and even if you do they will all generally be pretty smart. You will need to do something to differentiate them. I don't think it is a perfect system, but it is something. Class ranking is another way. I don't think any of it is necessarily fair, but everybody is a decent candidate so I can why they go with it. I mean even in OCI I see people before me and when I come out of it and I know the people. The ones that get the interviews are pretty smart themselves and all trying to get one position. I imagine most people are not absolutely awful in an interview so they either need to use the school prestige or class ranking to make a decision. Or if there is some special skill or work experience involved that can also set you apart.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 11, 2010, 09:31:19 AM
Well, because I won't run a large national firm, I will be able to evaluate candidates more holistically. I will argue that my proposed approach could be adapted by big firms; however, we all know that they never will. I would use a performance approach, similar to what Big suggests. First, I would select candidates for further review by class rank and GPA, regardless of school. So, a candidate with a 3.8 from Cooley gets the same consideration as a Harvard grad (maybe more because Harvard does not issue grades). Because my firm will be local to Nevada (mostly likely, and for argument's sake), I would give the most weight to manifest and objective ties to NV. Therefore, graduates of Boyd, and graduates from other law schools who have lived in Las Vegas or in NV for a significant period of time get preference. The reasons for this are manifold: Las Vegas has peculiar climate (nearly an 80-degree temperature change from Summer to Winter); Las Vegas is a 24-hour town that exploits those with predisposition to addictions or lack of self control; Las Vegas is generally a transient town. So, naturally, I want people who are likely to stay in Nevada long-term.

My second factor would be manifest evidence of relevant legal experience or superior academic performance (which tends to show capacity to learn). The types of things that would embody this requirement are too numerous to list. However, I prefer real experience to academic potential. That real world experience must involve some form of demonstrable success in real life, but not necessarily law (it could be accounting, business, teaching, nursing, ect.) Real world success (that involves or approximates the representation of real clients or embodies equivalent skills) trumps academic success without experience.

So, in selecting a pool of people to interview, I would also randomly select a few "underdogs". Then, I would interview the pool on a purely subjective standard (likeability). Those who I don't like lose, regardless of qualifications. Once I get a pool of 5, I would subject those five to a battery of objective tests. I would use performance on the tests (both academic and practical) to wittle the pool down to two. Those two would compete against one another in some objective trial by ordeal (moot court or mock trial or writing competition or some combination thereof). The best candidate would win.

This is a time-consuming and costly approach. It also is worth its weight in gold to me. It will ensure the best candidates get hired. Because I don't take shortcuts, I usually create better mousetraps. I learned this from the USMC. Afterall, only the few and the proud can be Marines.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: jack24 on October 11, 2010, 09:53:57 AM
kenpostudent:

Your idealism is commendable.

Do you really think you can just disregard all of the factors that got someone into Harvard in the first place?  Would you consider a 3.8 at Cooley and a Harvard grad equally if the Cooley grad got a 2.7 ugpa and a 151 on the LSAT when the Harvard grad got a 3.85 and a 176 on the LSAT?

Your approach relies on the assumption that your interviewing ability will give you more information than a student's academic record.  Previous Job performance is usually subjective and can be easily manipulated, and how can you tell if their experience would translate well into your law firm?  What if someone excelled in their sales job and broke a bunch of sales records?  How would you know if they can meet deadlines well, handle the structure and stress of a law firm, and deal with mounds of paperwork every day?   What if someone had a lot of management experience and received many promotions?  How would you know if they would be a good associate and do well with taking assignments?

And you say you'd use a bit of a likeability approach in your interviewing.   It's very possible that you will have several of likeable candidates if you interview enough of them.  And how can you really know whether or not you will like them in a workplace environment?  You'd have to hire them to clerk for your firm first so you could get a summer-long interview, and then undergrad performance would come even more strongly into play because you'd have less law school performance to go on.

I honestly don't know what the best way is, but I do know that I've never heard decision makers at an actual firm say something like, "Man, I'm getting so tired of all these T-14 law grads... we really need to start mining the T4 more often."

People assume that the lower ranked schools produce candidates that have qualities the top schools don't, and I think that's a faulty assumption.  The top schools have plenty of hard working people with great personalities and a lot of experience.  They aren't completely full of spoiled intellectuals.

   
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: bigs5068 on October 11, 2010, 11:53:04 AM
That is true Jack. I do like Kens idea though. One thing that does boggle my mind is people at my school have the idea that they are so much more practically trained and would do better in an interview than the Stanford Grads. I feel like the sterotype of Stanford kids as spoiled and unadapted to social situations is ridiculous and perpetuated by the people at lower ranked schools that are just bitter. Honestly, most Stanford students I have met and have been really well rounded awesome people. A lot of people at my school are cool to, but I always hear people say I WILL NAIL THE INTERVIEW. Once they look past my resume and meet me I will nail it. However, everyone says that. In general most people intelligent enough to get into any school will put on a decent enough personality to be likeable for twenty or thirty minutes. So a lot of times it does come down to grades or school prestige. The law is COMPETITIVE! Sometimes things will not be fair and you will need to get used to it. All you can do is keep working your ass off and hope for the best.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 11, 2010, 11:59:13 AM
kenpostudent:

Do you really think you can just disregard all of the factors that got someone into Harvard in the first place?  Would you consider a 3.8 at Cooley and a Harvard grad equally if the Cooley grad got a 2.7 ugpa and a 151 on the LSAT when the Harvard grad got a 3.85 and a 176 on the LSAT?

Short answer: I would give them both a shot at passing a series of objective and measurable performance-based tests, assuming that I like both of them enough to want to hire them.

I'm not saying the Cooley grad will win. Maybe the Harvard grads win the vast majority of the time. If so, great... then I get the best candidates. I don't want to leave good candidates at the interview table simply because of an assumption of their potential based on the school they happened to attend. Even if the Cooley grad was a total screw up in undergrad and failed to do well on the LSAT, there is a small possibility that if he pulled a 3.8, he's learned some real skills. I would give him a chance to prove that in open competition.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: Thane Messinger on October 11, 2010, 12:54:29 PM
kenpostudent:

Do you really think you can just disregard all of the factors that got someone into Harvard in the first place?  Would you consider a 3.8 at Cooley and a Harvard grad equally if the Cooley grad got a 2.7 ugpa and a 151 on the LSAT when the Harvard grad got a 3.85 and a 176 on the LSAT?

Short answer: I would give them both a shot at passing a series of objective and measurable performance-based tests, assuming that I like both of them enough to want to hire them.

I'm not saying the Cooley grad will win. Maybe the Harvard grads win the vast majority of the time. If so, great... then I get the best candidates. I don't want to leave good candidates at the interview table simply because of an assumption of their potential based on the school they happened to attend. Even if the Cooley grad was a total screw up in undergrad and failed to do well on the LSAT, there is a small possibility that if he pulled a 3.8, he's learned some real skills. I would give him a chance to prove that in open competition.


This is indeed a commendable (if unworkable) idea. 

To make matters worse, interviews are perhaps the single least-reliable way of determining quality.  And any skills-based approach would have to test either pre-skills (very much what law school tests) or real skills, which most graduates will not yet have.

Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 11, 2010, 01:46:21 PM
I'm not sure I agree, but I am also not yet an attorney, graduate, hiring partner, nor employer. So, I'll defer to the wisdom of those who are in a legal context. However, I have interviewed and hired accountants. I share your concern with interviews. I would use an interview only to determine whether I like a candidate. However, the process could go one of two ways:

Option 1:

1. Pre-screening of Resumes

2. Preliminary Interview

3. Preliminary battery of aptitude tests

4. Interview with "Most Qualified Applicants"

5. Face-off between top 2  to 4 candidates.

Option 2:

1. Pre-screening of Resumes

2. Preliminary Interviews of Selected Resumes

3. Objective testing applied to most likeable candidates

4. Second interviews

5. Face-off of top 2-4 candidates

I'm not sure which way is best. I would have to experiment. BTW, many multi-national companies use similar models for screening employees. Why is such a model workable in business but not in law?
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: Morten Lund on October 11, 2010, 02:51:05 PM
Option 1 is more or less how it works now, except that we don't to step 5 (unless you consider a summer clerkship a "face-off").

For the "battery of aptitude tests" we use writing samples if available - otherwise we use (you guessed it) grades as a proxy, which is part of the pre-screening.

I wouldn't be opposed to your battery of tests, I just can't figure out what it would look like.  Actually, I can take a guess:  it would look a lot like a summer clerkship.  If there were a series of aptitude tests that could predict workplace success I would be greatly in favor, but what would these tests test that isn't already tested by high school, college, and law school exams, or the LSAT?  Those various tests cover a variety of relevant subject matters, and I am not sure what I could add to that with another test.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 11, 2010, 03:12:16 PM
Is an LSAT score taken 3-5 years ago still relevant today? Is that score still relevant after law school, the bar and professional experience? Maybe, but I doubt it.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: Morten Lund on October 11, 2010, 04:22:54 PM
Is an LSAT score taken 3-5 years ago still relevant today? Is that score still relevant after law school, the bar and professional experience? Maybe, but I doubt it.

In my opinion, without a doubt.  And LSAT is, in essence, an IQ test.  Like the ACT, the GRE, and - to a lesser extent - the SAT, the LSAT doesn't test knowledge of any specific subject (other than gamesmanship, sadly), and from a test design perspective bears a significant relationship to the WAIS-R, Stanford-Binet, and other "official" IQ tests.

Of course, the LSAT/ACT/GRE are more susceptible to preparation bias than the WAIS and S-B, but preparation bias isn't necessarily a bad thing from an employment perspective.

That said, I don't particularly want to see your LSAT score when looking at your resume.  Putting your LSAT score on your resume is distinctly crude and will count against you.  But I don't need to see your LSAT score, because I rely instead on a proxy measure that incorporates your LSAT score and your undergraduate GPA.  That proxy measure is the ranking of your law school.  Most people tend to attend the highest-ranked school they can, so employers can and will use school ranking as a convenient proxy for initial estimates of intelligence and academic ability. 

This proxy is obviously a blunt instrument, but has the significant advantage that employers don't have to spend time or money doing any testing of their own.  The law schools do it for us.  This initial estimate is then modified by class rank/GPA in law school.  This is why most large employers have cutoff hiring criteria that read something like this:  Call-backs only for:  All YHS; top 50% class rank at top ten schools, top 25% at top 25 schools; top 5% at tier 2 schools.  For instance.  The lower ranked your school, the better your law school performance has to be to modify the initial assumption.

Could we devise a better system?  Absolutely.  But the employers have little motivation to do so.  The current system works well enough from their perspective.  Yes, lots of good candidates are overlooked, but that isn't the employers' problem so long as they get their fill of good candidates. 

Most of the posts in this thread suggesting alternate systems appear to be motivated by a desire to reward the worthy candidate who doesn't get identified in today's system.  That's certainly a laudable goal, but it is not the purpose of the hiring system.  The hiring system exists to meet the need of employers, not to meet the needs of candidates.

"Fair" is not an applicable concept.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: Thane Messinger on October 11, 2010, 05:28:17 PM
* * *

Could we devise a better system?  Absolutely.  But the employers have little motivation to do so.  The current system works well enough from their perspective.  Yes, lots of good candidates are overlooked, but that isn't the employers' problem so long as they get their fill of good candidates. 

Most of the posts in this thread suggesting alternate systems appear to be motivated by a desire to reward the worthy candidate who doesn't get identified in today's system.  That's certainly a laudable goal, but it is not the purpose of the hiring system.  The hiring system exists to meet the need of employers, not to meet the needs of candidates.

"Fair" is not an applicable concept.


I can imagine the mental responses to Morten's post (and especially the last sentence).  While I share the underlying observation of the many earlier posts--the system as it exists now IS crude, and often unfair--the system does work from the perspective of employers.  Morten's words are thus very much on point.  Even if you happen not to have an opinion in this debate, it's worth re-reading his thoughts on why employers screen as they do.

The good news: if you can get that first step, to a large degree the process starts fresh.  You can impress interviewers with interpersonal facility, and overcoming obstacles can count.  They clearly won't override the above, but once you're actually face-to-face with future (potential) colleagues, other factors emerge.

Unfortunately, here too we often take the wrong lessons into the interview room.  We're often boisterous when we should be more circumspect, or we're tentative when we should be ore assertive, or, most delicate of all, we're incapacitated by nervousness when we should be more at ease in our own skin.  Take a look at the Insider's Guide to Getting a Big Firm Job.  In short, with each new step partners need to know that you'll do the work, extremely well and conscientiously, and that you won't be a pain in the ... or, worse, an embarrassment to them or to the firm.  In one sense, this is a fairly simple challenge.  In another, especially in a market such as this, this is harder than getting the actual scores to put you in the room.

Thane.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: kenpostudent on October 13, 2010, 08:02:56 AM
Could we devise a better system?  Absolutely.  But the employers have little motivation to do so.  The current system works well enough from their perspective.  Yes, lots of good candidates are overlooked, but that isn't the employers' problem so long as they get their fill of good candidates. 

Most of the posts in this thread suggesting alternate systems appear to be motivated by a desire to reward the worthy candidate who doesn't get identified in today's system.  That's certainly a laudable goal, but it is not the purpose of the hiring system.  The hiring system exists to meet the need of employers, not to meet the needs of candidates.

"Fair" is not an applicable concept.

The fact that condoms come in different sizes proves that life is just not fair. I agree that the system should be employer-centric. However, my contentions are less about fairness and more about a more intellectually-honest and accurate system. It's a cop out to say that a better system could be had, but alas, we just have no incentive to make one. That statement is a truism, but it also reflects an apathy that; if carried to its logical extreme and overlaid upon other decisions, would stifle societal growth. Every decision has costs and opportunity costs. We both agree that the current hiring system meets the needs of most legal employers. I argue that the costs of developing a more accurate and honest system (at least for smaller firms) would not outweigh the benefits derived. I speculate that such a system could be adapted and used by larger firms, but we are both in agreement that this will NEVER happen because there is no incentive to do so.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: Morten Lund on October 15, 2010, 06:45:17 PM

The fact that condoms come in different sizes proves that life is just not fair.

Made me laugh.


Quote
It's a cop out to say that a better system could be had, but alas, we just have no incentive to make one.

Not a cop-out. The employers who fail to improve the hiring system - it isn't that they don't have "incentive" to make a better system, it is that (from their perspective) the system is perfectly fine.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  No apathy there at all, just prioritization.  They have approximately a million things to do that are more important than "design a hiring protocol that is more fair to applicants."

Quote
I argue that the costs of developing a more accurate and honest system (at least for smaller firms) would not outweigh the benefits derived. I speculate that such a system could be adapted and used by larger firms, but we are both in agreement that this will NEVER happen because there is no incentive to do so.

I was with you up until the very last part.  There is plenty of incentive to design a better system, just not with the employers.  If you feel strongly about this last paragraph, then I believe you have just identified an excellent business opportunity for a bold entrepreneur.  Design a better mousetrap hiring system, sell the system to law firms, and then phase 3: profit.  Law firms may not be willing to spend the time and effort to do this type of thing themselves, but law firms love paying consultants who can save them money.  A pitch along the lines of "if you implement my program it will save you $200,000/year forever in wasted recruiting efforts, and it can be your for the low low price of only $100,000" would likely be quite successful.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: Thane Messinger on October 15, 2010, 07:40:46 PM
The paradox is that all firms would be better off with a system akin to medical residencies, and so too would the vast majority of graduates--but the key to this is not firms individually, but the bar as a whole.* 

So, when you're appointed to the ABA's board of governors, this will be your second task, yes?


*  For anyone interested, the "Cravath System," upon which our current model is built, was designed to feed the best firms with the best fresh meat.  And to the Devil goes the hindmost.



The fact that condoms come in different sizes proves that life is just not fair.

Made me laugh.


Quote
It's a cop out to say that a better system could be had, but alas, we just have no incentive to make one.

Not a cop-out. The employers who fail to improve the hiring system - it isn't that they don't have "incentive" to make a better system, it is that (from their perspective) the system is perfectly fine.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  No apathy there at all, just prioritization.  They have approximately a million things to do that are more important than "design a hiring protocol that is more fair to applicants."

Quote
I argue that the costs of developing a more accurate and honest system (at least for smaller firms) would not outweigh the benefits derived. I speculate that such a system could be adapted and used by larger firms, but we are both in agreement that this will NEVER happen because there is no incentive to do so.

I was with you up until the very last part.  There is plenty of incentive to design a better system, just not with the employers.  If you feel strongly about this last paragraph, then I believe you have just identified an excellent business opportunity for a bold entrepreneur.  Design a better mousetrap hiring system, sell the system to law firms, and then phase 3: profit.  Law firms may not be willing to spend the time and effort to do this type of thing themselves, but law firms love paying consultants who can save them money.  A pitch along the lines of "if you implement my program it will save you $200,000/year forever in wasted recruiting efforts, and it can be your for the low low price of only $100,000" would likely be quite successful.
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: louiebstef on October 16, 2010, 12:23:34 PM
Thane (and Morten),

Maybe the old genteel "apprenticeship" could actually work in the modern world.

Leaving aside the resistance to change, etc.  Do you think that some system like that could be workable, from your perspectives as experienced attorneys?
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: Thane Messinger on October 16, 2010, 01:35:41 PM
Thane (and Morten),

Maybe the old genteel "apprenticeship" could actually work in the modern world.

Leaving aside the resistance to change, etc.  Do you think that some system like that could be workable, from your perspectives as experienced attorneys?


The problem, to follow Morten's comments, is that not only does the system work (from the perspective of the top firms), but it works rather well.  It's expensive, true, but that expense adds to their relative advantage.  And it's not just that they're getting the best talent--which is only roughly true--but that these graduates are, by and large, the only ones getting the in-depth training and back-up needed to make for strong legal skills.

This reminds me of a capstone project I had in business school, where the expected response to the issue of the awful Nestle business practices of the 1970s was for them to be nice.  It was problematic, at best, to expect businesses to disobey their selfish interests.  The issue was deeply problematic, with numerous concerns and implications, but the answer in the end was systemic; nothing less would work
Title: Re: law school grades
Post by: EarlCat on February 02, 2011, 11:57:25 AM
RSS Test Bump.