Law School Discussion

LSAT Preparation => Studying for the LSAT => Topic started by: Marauder on June 15, 2012, 10:59:25 PM

Title: LSAT means nothing in the big picture
Post by: Marauder on June 15, 2012, 10:59:25 PM
I have spoken to, and read on what some lawyers have said about the LSAT. For the most part it has nothing to do on how successful you are in law school and in your law practice.  Now this is my opinion: Just another money making idea, and to place another obstacle for students that want to go into a field that already has to many lawyers.  For those on the fence become a paralegal and you will make decent pay if you are good and the demand for paralegals is actually higher than lawyers because they do similar work for a much cheaper price.
Title: Re: LSAT means nothing in the big picture
Post by: cerealkiller on June 16, 2012, 12:33:15 AM
Thanks for your contribution, Captain Obvious.
Title: Re: LSAT means nothing in the big picture
Post by: Marauder on June 16, 2012, 01:08:30 PM
Obvious too many but not everyone. BTW can't you be more creative with your name? Since you like cereal have you ever tried the cereal called Ass Clown Cereal.    But be careful you are what you eat!!! :P
Title: Re: LSAT means nothing in the big picture
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on June 16, 2012, 01:29:58 PM
The LSAT is not a perfect predictor of law school success, but it's not meaningless, either. The LSAT tests the type of logical reasoning and reading comprehension which are essential to law school success. It also tests how well the taker is able to prepare and to master new concepts. If the correlation between high LSAT scores and law school performance wasn't well established, why would law schools offer scholarships to applicants with high scores?

The law schools can simply look at the statistical data from previous classes and see the correlation between LSAT score, grades, and bar pass rates. They want students who will pass the bar the first time, and LSAT scores are indicative of this. 

Does any of this mean that a low LSAT score guarantees failure in law school or in legal practice? No, of course not. Anyone can have a bad morning and get a low score, but no one accidentally scores 170. A high LSAT score is a decent predictor of potential.
Title: Re: LSAT means nothing in the big picture
Post by: Cher1300 on June 16, 2012, 08:11:11 PM
That is true - it doesn't matter in the big picture.  Most of the students that did well my first year weren't necessarily the smartest ones, they were the ones that worked their @$$ off.  While the LSAT may predict how well one will do in law school, it is a test that can be mastered through practice and prep courses.  It really has no bearing on a student that doesn't want to work while in school or in the real world.    Academia and the real world are so different in any profession.  Unfortunately, standardized testing is the only tool available to determine a student's aptitude for undergrad or graduate schools.   
Title: Re: LSAT means nothing in the big picture
Post by: Julie Fern on June 17, 2012, 09:31:58 AM
female dog, female dog, female dog.
Title: Re: LSAT means nothing in the big picture
Post by: FalconJimmy on June 17, 2012, 11:50:19 AM
The LSAT is important because schools think it's important.  Unless you think the school you go to doesn't matter, the LSAT is a big fat hairy deal.
Title: Re: LSAT means nothing in the big picture
Post by: NiceOne on June 17, 2012, 05:45:18 PM
Most graduate programs require an entrance exam. Law Schools are no different.

That the LSAT is a bit difficult and abstract should come as no surprise as the concept of law is also a bit difficult and abstract.
Title: Re: LSAT means nothing in the big picture
Post by: jack24 on June 18, 2012, 01:09:36 PM
The LSAT is an incredibly important filtration system.  Is it a good predictor of law school success or eventual success as an attorney?  I really have no idea.   If you are smarter than average and you work hard, you can do very well in law school with a little bit of luck.

The attorneys who seem to find the most success financially are those rising stars at big firms, great entrepreneurship who build small firms and make money off their staff and associates, or brilliant salesmen.   I know several PI attorneys who are filthy rich and they hardly do any of the actual legal work.   I know one brilliant estate planning attorney who works at a medium firm and has a great reputation.  He makes just over $80,000 a year (decent for the market).  I know another estate planning attorney who is pretty dumb and procrastinates everything, but he manages to bring in clients who contest wills and he gets paid a 33% contingency on what he gets for them.  His take home last year was $400,000 +.
I worked for a medical malpractice attorney while I was studying for the bar.  He worked about 20 hours a week, but he settled a 5million+ med mal case. (Translation, he took home 1.5 million.)   He shares a secretary with some other solos and pays $800 a month in rent. 

My point is that financial success may have a lot more to do with your personality, work ethic, and even luck than it does with intelligence.  So it's possible that the LSAT is a decent indicator if intelligence even if it's not correlated with law school success or career success.
Title: Re: LSAT means nothing in the big picture
Post by: oiuiuko on June 20, 2012, 09:47:46 AM
The LSAT is an incredibly important filtration system.  Is it a good predictor of law school success or eventual success as an attorney?  I really have no idea.   If you are smarter than average and you work hard, you can do very well in law school with a little bit of luck.

The attorneys who seem to find the most success financially are those rising stars at big firms, great entrepreneurship who build small firms and make money off their staff and associates, or brilliant salesmen.   I know several PI attorneys who are filthy rich and they hardly do any of the actual legal work.   I know one brilliant estate planning attorney who works at a medium firm and has a great reputation.  He makes just over $80,000 a year (decent for the market).  I know another estate planning attorney who is pretty dumb and procrastinates everything, but he manages to bring in clients who contest wills and he gets paid a 33% contingency on what he gets for them.  His take home last year was $400,000 +.
I worked for a medical malpractice attorney while I was studying for the bar.  He worked about 20 hours a week, but he settled a 5million+ med mal case. (Translation, he took home 1.5 million.)   He shares a secretary with some other solos and pays $800 a month in rent. 

My point is that financial success may have a lot more to do with your personality, work ethic, and even luck than it does with intelligence.  So it's possible that the LSAT is a decent indicator if intelligence even if it's not correlated with law school success or career success.

Your argument is assuming that these lawyers did not score exceptionally well on the LSAT.
Title: Re: LSAT means nothing in the big picture
Post by: GlenRPierre on June 20, 2012, 02:43:38 PM
As with anything, it probably depends on what factors you are looking at to make a determination of what constitutes a "successful" attorney.    I'll take my two brothers, both attorneys, as examples.

 One did decent on the LSAT (170 range) and, after a stint in "big law", decided to go the solo route.  His goal was never "money-oriented" and his practice is focused on what he loves doing, which he describes as "helping people."  He still makes decent money, around $120k/yr and has flexible hours.  Now, did his fabulous LSAT score matter? I think most would probably say no.

My other brother didn't have a great LSAT score, but did well in a T2 law school and still practices in a "big law" shop.  He's commented many times that one of his weaknesses, even 5 years in, despite his other formidable strengths that have allowed him to propser, is the fact that he sometimes gets caught up and takes longer to analyze statutes.  For him, this mostly arises when he's working on securities matters and he's often said that if it were the "older brother" reading the same statute, the older brother would probably take half the time because he does better with logical reasoning, as evidenced by his LSAT score.  So, from his perspective, although he does not believe his LSAT score has hampered his career in the "big picture" he admittedly feels like he is at a disadvantage for certain areas that require an immense amount of logical thinking. 

LSAT scores might also matter more if they were actually closely correlated to law school success.  I understand that they're "supposed" to be, but once you figure out the law school "game" most people can probably excel, regardless of LSAT scores (for the most part).  Frankly, I think that if you're smart enough to cut through the typical law school BS and understand what to focus on to be in the top of your class, then "big picture," you'll be in a good position to succeed.  But, if you can't make it in law school, regardless of LSAT score, you may have a more difficult time succeeding as an attorney.  Exceptions always exist and my points above admittedly fall prey to one's mental bias to use specific anecdotes to form opinions even with more general, statistically sound evidence available, but that's my two cents.

I'll also note I've heard plenty of stories of brilliant attorneys who aced the LSAT and law school and end up in top law firms, but don't end up "succeeding" in the big picture because their personalities make business generation and client service difficult...they can end up as the attorneys who do all the work but never get client face time.  Again, all comes back to what your yardstick is in measuring "success"