Law School Discussion

Deciding Where to Go => Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses => Topic started by: ->Soon on September 13, 2007, 06:11:36 AM

Title: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: ->Soon on September 13, 2007, 06:11:36 AM
not talking admissions, but the actual curriculum

for ex, lets take the 4 public florida schools

UF
FSU
FIU
FAMU


they are all teaching the same basic stuff, im assuming, prob using alot of the same books.  will you learn "secret stuff" at UF?

will FIU be less stress/homework?


they all try and get you to the BAR, so im thinking there has to be a minimum threshold they all meet, and yet...
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: muharulz on September 13, 2007, 03:02:54 PM
i smell arrogance...  >:(
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: TeresaPinfold on September 13, 2007, 03:19:52 PM
i smell arrogance...  >:(
That wouldn't be my first choice of superpowers
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: ->Soon on September 13, 2007, 09:12:46 PM
why would some schools go out of their way to handicap their students like that?

and that seems to be true from both sides, easy or hard...
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: H4CS on September 13, 2007, 10:46:31 PM
You have to be able to beat the curve that much to land in the top of your class of 500 or so with a killer curve in a school where they actually give F’s. Top 10% from a school with a killer curve says something, it would mean nothing if Cooley and Georgetown both had B+ curves. Hence as well why many top schools don’t even rank, they don’t need to.

This makes no sense.  Comparing GPAs of differently ranked schools may give you the result you wish, but comparing class ranks does not.  A hard curve does not affect your class ranking at all as it applies to everyone. Lower ranked schools may be "harder" because you have to work more due to increased competition from your classmates (due to reduced job opportunities) but I think this tends to be overstated.  In short, no law school is particularly hard.  It's just voluminous.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 14, 2007, 02:38:49 AM
Wary tag.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: ->Soon on September 14, 2007, 05:02:38 AM
Wary tag.

no dipping your toes young lady!

you jump in with both feet!



anywho, anyone know of a site that lists all the schools and their curves?  (hehe)
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: t... on September 14, 2007, 08:00:04 AM
This will have grading information for each school.

http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_quick.asp (http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_quick.asp)

Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: ->Soon on September 14, 2007, 08:08:04 AM
This will have grading information for each school.

http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_quick.asp (http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_quick.asp)



http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp

this cant be right.  a b at yale = fail?


thats so screwed up it makes the system worthless!
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: t... on September 14, 2007, 08:11:45 AM
Yale has an alternative grading method. As does Boalt.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: ->Soon on September 14, 2007, 08:23:13 AM
if a school doesnt have the median listed, does it mean they dont curve, or is it an oversight?
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: ->Soon on September 14, 2007, 08:46:57 AM
http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp

ohio state has an a- avg?

a- at asu too  and a c is failing?!?!?   
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: ColdBlue on September 14, 2007, 09:04:09 AM
The higher ranked the school the easier it is.
Why?
Law school grade curves.

If your going to base how difficult a school is I think you have to look at how hard it is to do well there.

Lower ranked schools have harsher mean/median curves. Higher ranked schools have easier, or no curve. I know Lewis and Clarke (T2) used to have a C- mean/median curve, while Georgetown has a B+ curve, and I think Harvard and Yale donít curve at all. Lower ranked schools lower grades by curving to artificially inflate those at the top of the class. I.E. its ďharderĒ to have a cumulative 3.7 GPA with a C- curve than with a B+ curve. A 70 person class on a C- curve may only allow 3-4 Aís for the entire section, while a B+ school may allow 15-2o Aís.

This where class rank comes in, because law school curves can vary immensely between schools you have class rank to show where you shake out compared to your peers. Except at many schools, like mine, ranks donít come out until the first week of the next school year, so for 1L jobs it alls based on your GPA. A 3.1 might actually be top 15-20% at your C- school, but at a school with a B+ curve thatís going to be bottom 50% or worse. People like to think that every firm knows every schools grading curve, they donít, your 3.2 at a C- school looks crappy compared to a 3.7 with no curve.

Why is there almost zero academic attrition at top schools? Because its almost impossible to fail out. Show up, write some gibbersish and you will get a C+ at a school with a B+ curve, do that at a school with a C- curve and your getting a D or worse, they have to give out Dís and Fís there to make the curve work out because the mean is so low. Our cruve is a 3.0 mean meadian, I have only ever seen 1 F in four years, and the person did not turn in the exam. law schools don't give F's, unless the curve makes you give F's.

The hardest part about Yale Law School is getting in, the easiest part is having a high GPA, the easiest part about Cooley law is getting in, the hardest part is having a high GPA.

I donít think brain power has much to do with it, some, but not enough to offset the curves. Law exams are completely, 100% subjective. Your grade in part has to do with your knowledge of the material, but also in part how well you write, when your exam got graded (first or last) and what the prof had for lunch that day.


Couldn't you sue a public law school for giving you a C+ grade but then making it a D/F because of the curve? They donít do that in college! I know I would be raising hell and burning down the school...
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Kirk Lazarus on September 14, 2007, 09:05:29 AM
This will have grading information for each school.

http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_quick.asp (http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_quick.asp)



http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp

this cant be right.  a b at yale = fail?


thats so screwed up it makes the system worthless!


Yale has grades: Honors, Pass, Low Pass, Fail

Nobody fails. low passes are very rare.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 14, 2007, 09:49:25 AM
http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp

ohio state has an a- avg?

a- at asu too  and a c is failing?!?!?   

I think you are slightly misreading these scales, as the numerical systems are listed next to A-F but described as alternative grading methods.

But beyond the psychological impact of getting a lot of As or a lot of Cs, I don't really know why the placement of the median along the A-F scale matters.  Unless employers are really unfamiliar with the school, they will know what an A or a C from the school means and how common it is.  And if they are unfamiliar with a school, they usually evaluate applicants by (or attempt to gauge) class rank.  Only a small number of schools -- most elite, and a handful alternative -- do not provide class rank or the data necessary to reverse-engineer it.

Also, btw, your links to search results don't work for us because they're cookie-dependent, I think. :)
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: ->Soon on September 14, 2007, 09:58:43 AM
http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp

ohio state has an a- avg?

a- at asu too  and a c is failing?!?!?   

I think you are slightly misreading these scales, as the numerical systems are listed next to A-F but described as alternative grading methods.

But beyond the psychological impact of getting a lot of As or a lot of Cs, I don't really know why the placement of the median along the A-F scale matters.  Unless employers are really unfamiliar with the school, they will know what an A or a C from the school means and how common it is.  And if they are unfamiliar with a school, they usually evaluate applicants by (or attempt to gauge) class rank.  Only a small number of schools -- most elite, and a handful alternative -- do not provide class rank or the data necessary to reverse-engineer it.

Also, btw, your links to search results don't work for us because they're cookie-dependent, I think. :)

yeah, i noticed that.  grrrrrrrrr
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Private David Lewis on September 14, 2007, 10:46:15 AM
Matthies with some scary straight talk!
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: paratactical on September 14, 2007, 11:55:00 AM
baff.


Though when it pops up in two weeks with a million replies from LindyLooWhoo, I may regret it.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: t... on September 15, 2007, 01:18:33 AM
http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp

ohio state has an a- avg?

a- at asu too  and a c is failing?!?!?   

I think you are slightly misreading these scales, as the numerical systems are listed next to A-F but described as alternative grading methods.

But beyond the psychological impact of getting a lot of As or a lot of Cs, I don't really know why the placement of the median along the A-F scale matters.  Unless employers are really unfamiliar with the school, they will know what an A or a C from the school means and how common it is.  And if they are unfamiliar with a school, they usually evaluate applicants by (or attempt to gauge) class rank.  Only a small number of schools -- most elite, and a handful alternative -- do not provide class rank or the data necessary to reverse-engineer it.

Also, btw, your links to search results don't work for us because they're cookie-dependent, I think. :)

TC.  The curve is essentially irrelevant in law school, as most employers go by class rank, and this eliminates the curve as a factor. 

The only time it matters is when a school drops people below a certain GPA (or cuts scholarships at that point.)

Eh, not quite.

Though you'd think that most hiring partners would look at class rank as an indication of law school performance, there are many cases in which they do actually look at grades.

For one, most firms have a GPA cut-off. This would negatively affect law schools that do not inflate their grades (Notre Dame and a good number of T3's do not practice grade inflation).

Also, some schools do not rank at all. Granted, the number of schools that do not rank are in the small minority (Notre Dame and U-Dub are two that come to mind), and those that do probably enjoy a great reputation and/or are already well-known for not ranking.

But the point is that many firms do indeed look at grades, and because grades are affected by a curve, a curve can indeed be very relevant (especially if you aren't fortunate to get OCI).
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 15, 2007, 01:21:55 AM
Eh, not quite.

Though you'd think that most hiring partners would look at class rank as an indication of law school performance, there are many cases in which they do actually look at grades.

For one, most firms have a GPA cut-off. This would negatively affect law schools that do not inflate their grades (Notre Dame and a good number of T3's do not practice grade inflation).

Also, some schools do not rank at all. Granted, the number of schools that do not rank are in the small minority (Notre Dame and U-Dub are two that come to mind), and those that do probably enjoy a great reputation and/or are already well-known for not ranking.

But the point is that many firms do indeed look at grades, and because grades are affected by a curve, a curve can indeed be very relevant (especially if you aren't fortunate to get OCI).

I think this is essentially right.  GPA cutoffs do affect people outside of law school-based decisions, definitely.  I still think based on my knowledge of the way firms reverse-engineer class ranks for Chicago and Stanford students that most firms also do this for other schools whose grading policies and class ranks are supposed to be more opaque.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: t... on September 15, 2007, 01:56:40 AM

This is true.  However, I strongly suspect that such cutoffs are themselves calcuated using class rank.  For example, top firms won't have the same GPA cutoff at Chicago, NU, and UIUC. The cutoff will vary, and it will presuambly be based on how deep the firms want to go into the class.

Yeah, I've seen both - top 1/3 of class, 3.3 GPA (for example).

I would say that grades are more relevant when applying to smaller non-OCI firms that don't take the time to figure out what the grades really mean at given schools. In that sense, the curve can potentially matter.  For most firms, however, especially in OCI, it probably doesn't mean much. Most firms recognize that what really matters are 1) the competitiveness of the school's student body, and 2) how each student did relative to their peers.

I would only suggest here that most firms are smaller non-OCI firms (or else more localized/regionalized firms). I could be wrong, but surely most firms do not consist of the Vault of Am firms, correct? Eh, just a quibbling point.

But I think in this case hiring is pretty much regional anyway, and said firms would have intimate knowledge of the local schools' grading tendencies. It would only be detrimental for those applying to firms out of region - the "grades" of a Northeastern grad would probably really confuse smaller firms in Cheyenne, Wyoming, whereas smaller Boston firms would know how to assess them.


Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 15, 2007, 02:01:58 AM
Look, it's not that complicated.  You get points for spotting the issue, stating the rule, and correctly applying it to the fact pattern.  You may get a few extra points for organization and clarity, but that's about it.

The myth of subjective grading probably arose because people studied hard and didn't do well.  That, however, is inevitable in a competitive pool. 

It is, of course, possible to know the law very well and still not get an A, and this is probably the primary sources of this idea.  The thing about LS exams is that it's not enough to know the law, but you also have to be good at issue spotters.  If you can't spot the issues and apply the law properly to the facts (including stating the likely outcome), it won't matter if you know all the rules. 

People worried about this stuff should read some books on law school exams, and review some model answers for each course during the semester.  It's not that complicated, and it's not that random.  It's just tougher than undergrad because the competition level is (generally) higher.

Again, I think you're half-right.  I kind of buy the old maxim that you can study for a B+ but you can't predict whether you'll end up with a B+ or an A+ (but perhaps I'm still smarting over that B+ in torts...).  There are multiple reasons for this, e.g.: some exams are easier (or harder) than others so the results don't square well with a normal bell distribution; some professors aren't very careful or balanced graders or exam writers (e.g., they value spotting marginal concepts more than understanding the basic tenets of the law, they concentrate exams on one section of the course); professors like different amounts of analytic depth, factual detail, and case citation, and they don't always do a good job of communicating their criteria; some professors prefer that you explain why you are not addressing an issue and some would just like you to address the issues that are most salient...
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 15, 2007, 02:02:59 AM
I would only suggest here that most firms are smaller non-OCI firms (or else more localized/regionalized firms). I could be wrong, but surely most firms do not consist of the Vault of Am firms, correct? Eh, just a quibbling point.

But I think in this case hiring is pretty much regional anyway, and said firms would have intimate knowledge of the local schools' grading tendencies. It would only be detrimental for those applying to firms out of region - the "grades" of a Northeastern grad would probably really confuse smaller firms in Cheyenne, Wyoming, whereas smaller Boston firms would know how to assess them.

Yes.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: t... on September 15, 2007, 02:18:57 AM
Again, not necessarily. Some scholarships maintain a strict GPA cutoff.

Which would, ahem, suggest the curve does very much indeed matter.

:)
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 15, 2007, 02:20:40 AM
uggh, stop writing pages about grades and curves

All that matters is class rank and scholarships, neither of which are affected if the curve is set at A- or D+.

You will have to do better than X% of your class to get the job or keep the scholarship, no matter what your GPA is.

That's not always true.  At some schools, scholarship requirements are set according to GPA.  You can argue that this is based on class rank, but it isn't, technically, since different distributions of grades can produce very different class rankings.  Moreover, some outside scholarships and other decisions (such as eligibility for a job interview) can depend on maintaining or achieving a certain GPA.

ETA: what tj. said more succinctly.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: ->Soon on September 15, 2007, 07:31:27 AM
http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp

ohio state has an a- avg?

a- at asu too  and a c is failing?!?!?   

I think you are slightly misreading these scales, as the numerical systems are listed next to A-F but described as alternative grading methods.

But beyond the psychological impact of getting a lot of As or a lot of Cs, I don't really know why the placement of the median along the A-F scale matters.  Unless employers are really unfamiliar with the school, they will know what an A or a C from the school means and how common it is.  And if they are unfamiliar with a school, they usually evaluate applicants by (or attempt to gauge) class rank.  Only a small number of schools -- most elite, and a handful alternative -- do not provide class rank or the data necessary to reverse-engineer it.

Also, btw, your links to search results don't work for us because they're cookie-dependent, I think. :)

TC.  The curve is essentially irrelevant in law school, as most employers go by class rank, and this eliminates the curve as a factor. 

The only time it matters is when a school drops people below a certain GPA (or cuts scholarships at that point.)


thats the points im concerned with

if you need to keep a B to keep a scholarship, and the curve is a c...  :(
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 16, 2007, 08:54:47 AM
To the extent different profs grade differently, one can (and should) usually review model exams / answers from that prof. 

We don't get model answers for our practice exams, sadly.  I think it makes a big difference.  The tradeoff is that professors make themselves available to evaluate students' practice answers sometimes, but this is not as useful as a model answer (or the highest graded answer) would be since it is not comparative and professors still have difficulty communicating their criteria.  Or so my friends who have done this tell me.

Quote from: Lindbergh
There is in fact so much to know and spot that it's difficult to ever guarantee straight A's, even if you study hard.  On the other hand, some people still manage this, and I doubt that's completely random.

I really think it's less about the volume or difficulty of the material than it is about the other "randomizing" factors I listed above.  Nonetheless, you're right about this last bit in that the people who have made their straight As known are, near uniformly, people who have failed to distinguish themselves in class and who have very few social skills.  So no, not completely random -- or it is random, and it's something that really causes some people to act like boobs.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 16, 2007, 09:19:52 AM
It's definitely not (primarily) random -- for one thing, we know that GPA+LSAT predicts a significant degree of law school performance.  If one controls for easy majors and UG's, obstacles during college, etc., predictive value is probably even higher.  Ultimately, grades probably tend to reflect 1) how "law-school" bright you are, 2) how well you do on issue-spotters and 3) how hard/smart you study. 

I again acknowledge there is probably some degree of subjectivity in how different profs grade exams, and maybe even in how they might grade the same exam at different times.  This is perhaps something that can be worked on by schools.  (One reason I like the LSAT and other standardized tests is because they are in fact so much less subjective.) 

As to your last point, I would simply point out that not all people who get straight A's publicize that fact.  In fact, I don't think most do.  So to the extent such people are boobs, it may relate more to their crassness in bragging about such sensitive topis than to their ability to consistently excel on LS exams.  Most people with social skills would know better than to do so, and I definitely know some folks who did very well, and yet both contributed in class and also had social skills.


lol, Lindbergh, I was kidding about that last bit.  I referred to people "who have made their straight As known" -- not people who have good grades in general.  As an aside, though, at least at a school with a B or lower curve, there aren't usually very many of these people.  A dean told a group of us recently that there were only four or five people in our class (of approx. 450) who didn't have at least one grade lower than A-.  I don't know where you're meeting all these straight-A students, but at a school with a lower curve, I think it would be hard to make generalizations from their experience given their tiny numbers.

Also, I know you're bright enough to get this, so I wish you would stop inserting the "GPA+LSAT is predictive" bit into every conversation no matter the relevance.  I take it you had both a high GPA and a high LSAT score, and I hope that the same qualities that got you there also will allow you to do well in law school.  Nonetheless, you and I both know that GPA+LSAT are not predictive at the level of precision you imply.   
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: ->Soon on September 16, 2007, 09:27:57 AM
arent most scholarships conditional on maintaining a certain gpa?
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 16, 2007, 09:35:11 AM
arent most scholarships conditional on maintaining a certain gpa?

It depends on the school.  Some scholarships are conditional only on maintaining good standing; some are conditional on class rank; and some are conditional on GPA.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: ->Soon on September 16, 2007, 09:47:55 AM
grrrrrr
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 16, 2007, 07:50:27 PM
Tag for later when I have time to read all of this.

I doubt it'll be worth your time.  :D
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 16, 2007, 09:49:26 PM
Oops, left this tab open for a while.

I know you were partly joking, but I did see an interesting angle in that assertion, and thought I'd note it.  The truth is, anyone who would brag about their grades in LS is clearly a feminine hygiene product, and there are also many people who do very well and yet keep it quiet.

I agree, except that there aren't "many" people -- at least not if "very well" is defined as straight As.  As I mentioned, after only one year, ten classes, there are no more than five people in my class, one percent, with all A- through A+ grades.  Everyone else has at least one B+ or below.  So while I agree that doing well, in general, is not random, I do think it's hard to figure out what, besides luck, separates these four or five from the other forty or fifty people who also have mostly As and A-.  

Well, I've never given you any reason to assume that I had both a high GPA and a high LSAT.  Moreover, I specifically qualified my statement by introducing educational obstacles, etc., into the predictive equation.  However, I do think the issues of aptitude and effort are highly relevant when others are claiming that law school grading is completely subjective or random (admittedly, two distinct concepts, but I hear a lot of people also claim the latter.) 

The truth is that academic success in law school, as elsewhere, does largely come down to aptitude and (carefully applied) effort.  Some of that aptitude can be measured by the LSAT, some cannot.  As noted, it probably comes down (mainly) to 1) how "law-school" bright you are, 2) how well you do on issue-spotters and 3) how hard/smart you study.  (Do you disagree with that interpretation?)

The joy of debate aside, I think this issue is important to future students, as it is in fact quite easy to grow discouraged and feel overwhelmed during first year.  Recognizing that exams aren't completely random, and that you can efficiently prepare for them, is an important insight.  I again advise all students to review model exams and answers where possible, read books on how to approach LS exams, etc.  There are never any guarantees, of course, but you'll also generally do better if you commit to law school studies than if you screw around. (I don't think anyone disputes that.)

As far as the objectivity of the LSAT vs. LS (or most other) exams, this also appears an interesting related point, especially given all the hate the LSAT gets on this board.  To the extent people resent any subjectivity that does exist in LS (and other essay exams), it is presumably worth nothing that this is one problem the LSAT really have.  I, for one, appreciate that fact, as I'm sure Matthies does as well.

Finally, I'm certainly not claiming that LSAT+GPA has 100% predictive power, but they do have significant predictive power, and it's difficult to find other concrete factors that predict LS success as well.  This alone makes clear that LS grading is not completely subjective or random, which is all that I was saying.  It is also, presumably, a relevant point to note when it arises, given how it relates to many other issues.  If we ignore such predictive factors in admissions, for example, we're apt to end up with even more people frustrated with their law school performance, something I've witnessed first-hand. 

However, you're certainly welcome to ignore such posts if you disagree or find them unnecessary.  :)

Either I have been misunderstanding you, or you have missed my (admittedly minor) point.  I agree that law school grades are neither completely random nor completely subjective (I find this concept difficult to pin down, but I'm using it in the sense that there would be significant variation in how someone with the same skill, knowledge, and effort would do on different exams, graded by different professors, for the same subject); indeed, though I failed once, I believe it is always possible to study for a B+, assuming a B curve -- which means that grades are definitely quite predictable up to a certain threshold where other factors (such as those I mention) play a bigger role.

My point about the LSAT/UGPA index was simply that it didn't predict whether someone would get a B+ average or an A- average, an A- or an A.  It's not that precise of a predictor.  The correlation between the index and first-year average in the last LSAC report is 0.47 +/- 0.09.  This is high enough to establish a connection between LSAT/UGPA and LGPA (especially first-year GPA), but it is not high enough to suggest that, say, within score bands, the person on the bottom end will be the A- to the person on the top end's A.  I'm sure Piggy or someone could do a better job of explaining this than I can with my one trimester of statistics back in 1990.  (I'd also like to point out that the only studies of these data are conducted by LSAC iself, hardly a neutral arbiter given its self-interest in the universal LSAT requirement in law school admissions.)

As an aside, one provocative recent study (Henderson 2004, I believe) suggests that the reason the LSAT is so predictive may not be that it is a reliable gauge of any of the skills and attributes you mention (which I do not dismiss) or, more discouragingly, a straight index of race, class, and parental education, but rather that the LSAT tests one's ability to take time-pressured exams and time is a significant variable in the in-class exams that are likely to determine first-year grades.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 16, 2007, 10:45:59 PM
As an aside, one provocative recent study (Henderson 2004, I believe) suggests that the reason the LSAT is so predictive may not be that it is a reliable gauge of any of the skills and attributes you mention (which I do not dismiss) or, more discouragingly, a straight index of race, class, and parental education, but rather that the LSAT tests one's ability to take time-pressured exams and time is a significant variable in the in-class exams that are likely to determine first-year grades.

I find it odd that anyone would find that surprising.  I always figured that was the main reason why the LSAT correlates at all with law school grades. 

Well, the surprising part is how little the LSAT correlated with take-home and paper grades.  UGPA still correlated with both, at about the same rate as it did with in-class exams.  If LSAT is really a test of reasoning ability at all, you would expect it to have at least as strong a correlation with the more organized and clear arguments students write out on longer exams, no?  I guess one response is that people with less reasoning ability are able to catch up to their more able classmates when they have more time.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 16, 2007, 11:06:59 PM
Plus you have to remember that when you're studying the correlation between GPA and LSAT, you can only compare the grades of people who go to the same school, and people who go to the same school will have similar LSAT scores.     

I don't understand the point of this.  I mean, they will have similar LSAT scores yet... the LSAT is correlated at almost 0.3 with first-year GPA.  So even within their range of LSAT scores, there is a significant correlation between LSAT and test results.  That result is negligible when you switch testing formats.

I think if they have reasonable time limits, take-home exams and papers are better assessments since the skills tested (argument, issue-spotting, research, and editing) correspond more with actual lawyering than in-class issue spotters, on which people generally spew rules [from] their outlines and spend more time on counterarguments for the purpose of exhaustion than they do on carefully reasoning out their choices and exclusions.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 16, 2007, 11:27:54 PM
On the second point, maybe.  I'm sure there are good and bad points for each format, even though I'd be curious why profs don't assign 8-hour take homes and give you a 3,000 word limit instead of assigning you a 3 hour issue spotter and giving you a 3,000 word limit.  You'd think there be some reason for their consistently doing the latter? 

You're right, and I've puzzled on this many times.  My best guesses are institutional resistance and fear of rampant collaboration/cheating.

Quote from: HR
On the first point, all I am trying to say (probably not well) is that the whole idea of measuring correlation between the LSAT and LSGPA is flawed.  A kid with a 170 may finish in the top 5% at Harvard, while the kid with the 176 finishes at the median.  A kid with a 158 may finish at the bottom of Texas Tech, while the kid with the 153 finishes in the top 5%.  In both cases the person with the lower LSAT score had a higher GPA than the person with the higher LSAT score, and I'm sure that happens all the time, but what does it tell us about correlation?  Not much since we will never know how the kid with the 170 would have fared against the kid with the 153 or the 158, or how the 176 kid would have done at Texas Tech. 

I still don't totally understand.  I agree both that it is not a very good predictor on the individual level and that schools' choice of LSAT as an admissions criterion on the basis that it predicts grades is rather dubious given that the curve effectively establishes the distribution of the grades, if not student consistency (and I see little reason that a school would want some students with all As and some students with all Cs any more than it would want the majority of students to have a mix).  Nonetheless, I think you've misinterpreted the data somewhat.  The LSAC studies consistently show that, all things being equal, the people with the 75%ile UGPA/LSAT indexes are reasonably likely to end up in the top quartile of the class, and the people with the 25%ile UGPA/LSAT indexes are reasonably likely to end up in the bottom quartile of the class.  (This is especially true when looking at white and Asian students.) Sure, a kid with a 170 at Harvard can end up at the top of the class (and this probably happens with some frequency) and a kid with a 177 can end up at the bottom.  The LSAC studies suggest that the reverse is more likely.  They also suggest that the kid with the 170 would end up near the bottom of the class at Harvard, at the median at Penn, and near the top at Fordham.     
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 17, 2007, 12:09:07 AM
I don't see how they could predict this though, or how if they really believe this they could come up with the magic "0.3" or whatever.  Maybe I'm just cynical, but people can twist statistics to mean anything.  Maybe someone who gets a 176 but jacks around because he's at Harvard would actually do really well if he were made to work harder at a school with a harsher curve.  Or maybe the person with the 153 who is at the top of his class at TX Tech would wilt under the pressure at HLS?  I have no idea, and neither do statisticians.  I bet I could produce a study that proved there was no correlation just as easily as I could prove a correlation of 0.8 or something. 

Yes, I think a lot of it is how the data points are defined, frankly.  But I hardly understand statistics well enough to argue this point.

Another issue is that at some schools, the LSAT doesn't seem as predictive as it is at others.  So is that because in the upper and lower ranges LSAT is somehow more or less predictive than it is in the middle?  Or is it because some admissions committees do more supple evaluations of applications that bring out indicia of success beyond numerical credentials?  Or is it because the curricula, pedagogy, and testing are somehow different at these schools, and grades there depend less on the characteristics the LSAT assesses?  I have no idea.  I'm just babbling at this late hour.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: cui bono? on September 17, 2007, 07:03:58 AM
The higher ranked the school the easier it is.
Why?
Law school grade curves.

If your going to base how difficult a school is I think you have to look at how hard it is to do well there.

Lower ranked schools have harsher mean/median curves. Higher ranked schools have easier, or no curve. I know Lewis and Clarke (T2) used to have a C- mean/median curve, while Georgetown has a B+ curve, and I think Harvard and Yale donít curve at all. Lower ranked schools lower grades by curving to artificially inflate those at the top of the class. I.E. its ďharderĒ to have a cumulative 3.7 GPA with a C- curve than with a B+ curve. A 70 person class on a C- curve may only allow 3-4 Aís for the entire section, while a B+ school may allow 15-2o Aís.

This where class rank comes in, because law school curves can vary immensely between schools you have class rank to show where you shake out compared to your peers. Except at many schools, like mine, ranks donít come out until the first week of the next school year, so for 1L jobs it alls based on your GPA. A 3.1 might actually be top 15-20% at your C- school, but at a school with a B+ curve thatís going to be bottom 50% or worse. People like to think that every firm knows every schools grading curve, they donít, your 3.2 at a C- school looks crappy compared to a 3.7 with no curve.

Why is there almost zero academic attrition at top schools? Because its almost impossible to fail out. Show up, write some gibbersish and you will get a C+ at a school with a B+ curve, do that at a school with a C- curve and your getting a D or worse, they have to give out Dís and Fís there to make the curve work out because the mean is so low. Our cruve is a 3.0 mean meadian, I have only ever seen 1 F in four years, and the person did not turn in the exam. law schools don't give F's, unless the curve makes you give F's.

The hardest part about Yale Law School is getting in, the easiest part is having a high GPA, the easiest part about Cooley law is getting in, the hardest part is having a high GPA.

I donít think brain power has much to do with it, some, but not enough to offset the curves. Law exams are completely, 100% subjective. Your grade in part has to do with your knowledge of the material, but also in part how well you write, when your exam got graded (first or last) and what the prof had for lunch that day.


TITCR.  :) A lot of ppl don't realize that.  The standard to move from a 1L to 2L and then from a 2L to 3L at a lower tiered school is actually much higher than at a higher ranking school. 
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: ->Soon on September 17, 2007, 09:35:05 AM
uh, was the consensus that some law schools are easier than others?
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 17, 2007, 10:12:20 AM


I have had some discussions with professors on this subject. The general consensus of what I have been told is this:

1)Professors tend to give the type of exam they preferred to take in law school (be that open book, closed book, take home)

2)70-100 3,000 word exams would be a huge effort to grade if not for the relatively easy (to grade) issue spotting grade criteria

3)There is a general feeling among law school administers and professors that the role of law school, at least the first year, is to prepare student to take the bar, not to practice law. It is generally thought that time sensitive closed book exams better reflect the kind of preparation for the bar one will need. While the opposite type of exam better reflects the actual work you will do as a lawyer. Our school, after an absolutely miserable showing on the February bar, has now mandated all closed book in class exams. My understanding is this is for all classes, but Iím not sure as it just started. I think past the first year this will do more harm than good for most students.


I think you're missing a key point, which is that while the issue-spotters may be easier to grade, they are also more objective than grading 100 three-hour dissertations on whether or not a bunch of 1Ls think strict liability is superior to negligence.  Not only would a bunch of 1Ls probably not have much intelligent to say on the subject, they would probably just parrot the professors' views in order to get on his good side.   

Why not eight-hour take-home issue-spotters where students can organize their answers more thoughtfully, analogize and distinguish cases more carefully, refer to specific authorities, and spell check, though? I had three of these my first year and I thought they were excellent exams.  Of course, I am very slow.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: t... on September 17, 2007, 10:14:02 AM
uh, was the consensus that some law schools are easier than others?


Yeah, the higher ranked law schools are - they have more favorable job opps, and tend to have more favorable grading, curves, etc.

But it really depends on you.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: ->Soon on September 17, 2007, 10:45:30 AM


I have had some discussions with professors on this subject. The general consensus of what I have been told is this:

1)Professors tend to give the type of exam they preferred to take in law school (be that open book, closed book, take home)

2)70-100 3,000 word exams would be a huge effort to grade if not for the relatively easy (to grade) issue spotting grade criteria

3)There is a general feeling among law school administers and professors that the role of law school, at least the first year, is to prepare student to take the bar, not to practice law. It is generally thought that time sensitive closed book exams better reflect the kind of preparation for the bar one will need. While the opposite type of exam better reflects the actual work you will do as a lawyer. Our school, after an absolutely miserable showing on the February bar, has now mandated all closed book in class exams. My understanding is this is for all classes, but Iím not sure as it just started. I think past the first year this will do more harm than good for most students.


I think you're missing a key point, which is that while the issue-spotters may be easier to grade, they are also more objective than grading 100 three-hour dissertations on whether or not a bunch of 1Ls think strict liability is superior to negligence.  Not only would a bunch of 1Ls probably not have much intelligent to say on the subject, they would probably just parrot the professors' views in order to get on his good side.   

Why not eight-hour take-home issue-spotters where students can organize their answers more thoughtfully, analogize and distinguish cases more carefully, refer to specific authorities, and spell check, though? I had three of these my first year and I thought they were excellent exams.  Of course, I am very slow.

what are you, a masochist or something?   :o :P
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 17, 2007, 10:49:26 AM
what are you, a masochist or something?   :o :P

The idea is that the professor gives you eight hours for an exam similar to what s/he would give you in class for four.  It makes the exam easier and allows people who need a little time to think and organize their responses a better shot.  In four-hour exams, you prep for approximately 15-30 minutes and spew for the rest of the time.  I frequently fail to finish.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 18, 2007, 08:34:41 AM
I was just thinking to myself, I wonder what Lindbergh thinks about this issue. 

lol
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Kirk Lazarus on September 18, 2007, 08:07:45 PM
I was just thinking to myself, I wonder what Lindbergh thinks about this issue. 

lol
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: t... on September 18, 2007, 09:32:42 PM
I was just thinking to myself, I wonder what Lindbergh thinks about this issue. 

lol


Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: t... on September 24, 2007, 05:20:17 PM
Most new computers are fine. You might check with your school if you can use a Mac, and/or if they're Vista compatible yet.

You can use your laptop in most classes. Some professors and/or schools either ban wireless access, or laptops altogether, but par for the course is that students will use laptops to take notes. Or rather, they'll @#!* around during class playing games, chatting, and surfing the internet.

Most schools have their own exam software that you'll install on your laptop to take the exams with. There's no worries as to chatting during an exam, though, for a lot of reasons. Also, most schools have an honor code you should follow.

Curves suck. They'll affect you more than anything else in law school, depending on where you go. Which is why you should go cheap, unless you score a top 14 or so.

Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: H4CS on September 24, 2007, 07:49:06 PM
Most schools have their own exam software that you'll install on your laptop to take the exams with. There's no worries as to chatting during an exam, though, for a lot of reasons. Also, most schools have an honor code you should follow.

I'm not sure if most use software.  Some do, some don't.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 24, 2007, 10:03:59 PM
Lower-ranked schools are easier to place well in, because the competition pool is less stiff. 

This conclusion was under some dispute.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: ->Soon on September 25, 2007, 12:11:33 PM
http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2007/09/24/the-dark-side-of-legal-job-market/

worth a read...
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: cui bono? on September 25, 2007, 12:47:54 PM
http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2007/09/24/the-dark-side-of-legal-job-market/

worth a read...


yeah i agree with those students, no one really 'splains this side of the profession
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: cui bono? on September 25, 2007, 01:23:18 PM
http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2007/09/24/the-dark-side-of-legal-job-market/

worth a read...


yeah i agree with those students, no one really 'splains this side of the profession

 ???

Loyola 2L?

nope.  There really is  a "dark side" that no one knows about until it's too late.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 26, 2007, 07:20:19 PM
Just because more first generation millionaires come from NYU than from Princeton or Harvard doesn't mean you are more likely to become a first generation millionaire coming from NYU...

At least someone said it.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 26, 2007, 07:42:02 PM
Do I count as a first generation millionaire if my parents were millionaires but didn't give me any inheritance money?

I don't think so, and I'm pretty sure this is part of it. 
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Private David Lewis on September 26, 2007, 10:13:44 PM
We don't need to know his name.  I would be grateful if he simply graced us with his anonymous presence. 
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 27, 2007, 08:58:18 AM
We considered the competitiveness and the (in)ability of students, but we never really considered that some schools just have higher expectations than others.  At school A, professors might expect you to study 9 to 5, and at school B, professors might expect 8 to 8.  I would guess that there is a positive correlation between a school's USNews ranking and their difficulty.  I think it's worth discussion, though.

What makes you think this kind of expectation would be higher at a higher-ranked school?  Liberal arts colleges tend to see the reverse, for whatever that's worth.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: LetItRide on September 27, 2007, 09:32:20 AM
In short, no law school is particularly hard.  It's just voluminous.

This seems to be relatively well-accepted here.

Why, then, is the LSAT such a strong predictor of law school success?  If this were true, it would seem that GPA would be a much stronger indicator of success (at least if you consider the UG institution as well).
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 27, 2007, 09:41:47 AM
In short, no law school is particularly hard.  It's just voluminous.

This seems to be relatively well-accepted here.

Why, then, is the LSAT such a strong predictor of law school success?  If this were true, it would seem that GPA would be a much stronger indicator of success (at least if you consider the UG institution as well).

I agree with this, share your question, and understand your reasoning above.

Anecdotally, however, as a student at a lower-ranked school, I find that I do have a tremendous amount of work (when I choose to do it), and, having spoken to friends at higher-ranked schools about their curricula, I often get the impression that my curriculum is at least as if not more rigorous than theirs (beyond the grading policies).  For instance, I read close to 100 pages of constitutional law per week in my first semester of conlaw, which was two credits.  And at my school (and other lower-ranked schools), we have graded legal writing plus four or five substantive-law classes first year, while most higher-ranked schools have ungraded legal writing plus three substantive-law classes.  (The number of credits may be similar or the same, but in terms of exam preparation, at least, the number of classes makes a difference.)
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: H4CS on September 27, 2007, 10:08:17 AM
Why, then, is the LSAT such a strong predictor of law school success?  If this were true, it would seem that GPA would be a much stronger indicator of success (at least if you consider the UG institution as well).

1,  The LSAT is a very bad predictor of law school success.
2.  UG GPA, when properly weighted, may be a better predictor.  There's no non-circular way to find this out.
3.  The LSAT isn't hard, either.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: cui bono? on September 27, 2007, 10:43:15 AM
In short, no law school is particularly hard.  It's just voluminous.

This seems to be relatively well-accepted here.

Why, then, is the LSAT such a strong predictor of law school success?  If this were true, it would seem that GPA would be a much stronger indicator of success (at least if you consider the UG institution as well).

I agree with this, share your question, and understand your reasoning above.

Anecdotally, however, as a student at a lower-ranked school, I find that I do have a tremendous amount of work (when I choose to do it), and, having spoken to friends at higher-ranked schools about their curricula, I often get the impression that my curriculum is at least as if not more rigorous than theirs (beyond the grading policies).  For instance, I read close to 100 pages of constitutional law per week in my first semester of conlaw, which was two credits.  And at my school (and other lower-ranked schools), we have graded legal writing plus four or five substantive-law classes first year, while most higher-ranked schools have ungraded legal writing plus three substantive-law classes.  (The number of credits may be similar or the same, but in terms of exam preparation, at least, the number of classes makes a difference.)

TITCR
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: ->Soon on September 27, 2007, 11:54:30 AM
In short, no law school is particularly hard.  It's just voluminous.

This seems to be relatively well-accepted here.

Why, then, is the LSAT such a strong predictor of law school success?  If this were true, it would seem that GPA would be a much stronger indicator of success (at least if you consider the UG institution as well).

I agree with this, share your question, and understand your reasoning above.

Anecdotally, however, as a student at a lower-ranked school, I find that I do have a tremendous amount of work (when I choose to do it), and, having spoken to friends at higher-ranked schools about their curricula, I often get the impression that my curriculum is at least as if not more rigorous than theirs (beyond the grading policies).  For instance, I read close to 100 pages of constitutional law per week in my first semester of conlaw, which was two credits.  And at my school (and other lower-ranked schools), we have graded legal writing plus four or five substantive-law classes first year, while most higher-ranked schools have ungraded legal writing plus three substantive-law classes.  (The number of credits may be similar or the same, but in terms of exam preparation, at least, the number of classes makes a difference.)

TITCR

@#!* yea!
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: H4CS on September 27, 2007, 11:15:19 PM
3.  The LSAT isn't hard, either.

The LSAT is generally recognized as the most difficult non-knowledge based standardized exam in existence.  for people with extremely strong LR/AR/RC aptitude, it's actually not that difficult.  (See, e.g., Robin Singh, who got a pefect score after one night of study.)  However, for most people, it clearly is.

Ok, so I think we all now know who Lindbergh is.  Don't know why this wasn't obvious before.

And anyone who believes this nonsense deserves whatever they get when they follow it.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: H4CS on September 27, 2007, 11:20:16 PM
He's Robin Singh?  I swear, you're like Sherlock Holmes. 

Stick around a bit and maybe you'll pick up some reading comprehension.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: H4CS on September 27, 2007, 11:40:02 PM
What do you mean?  We should believe the LSAT isn't hard, and act accordingly?

No.  I mean absolutely nobody should feel better than anyone else because of what they got on their LSAT.  It's like gloating about tic-tac-toe.  People should feel proud of their accomplishments when compared to their own goals, but to pretend that you've conquered a hard test is just ludicrous.

If they wanted to make the LSAT hard, they would have 7 different types of sections of which 5 were randomly selected.  Instead of three types of sections which repeat in a predictable order.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: H4CS on September 28, 2007, 12:12:13 AM
Who says anyone should feel better than anyone else based on the LSAT? We're talking about law school aptitude, not general worth as a human being.  Most HYS students are total douches, no one disputes that.

You're the one who insists that the test has great worth as a predictor of law school success (it doesn't) and that it's generally acknowledged (by the voices in your head?) as the most difficult of it's type.  I'd posit this one is a little harder: http://wilderdom.com/personality/intelligenceOriginalAustralian.html

And to insist that it's non-knowledge based is to naturalize a specific world view.  The LSAT is as unbiased as the link above.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: Miss P on September 28, 2007, 12:19:21 AM
I'm very good at tic tac toe.

Shall we play a game?

:D 

I hate this argument.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: paratactical on September 28, 2007, 06:11:22 AM
I'm very good at tic tac toe.

Shall we play a game?

(http://proliberty.com/observer/wargames.jpg)
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: cui bono? on October 01, 2007, 01:22:13 PM
I like that suggestion. I think I'll keep it in mind. I'm one of those people like you describe -- high-ish scores untimed, with a VERY large drop when I take it timed. In my personal life circumstances I think this is as much an issue of familiarity as anything else. I want my cubicle, my coffee cup, my cushy chair; I want the attractive young women to stop jiggling and start looking like the mustachioed bloated behemoths I used to work with so I can concentrate; I want to be free to drop everything if an email pops up in my in-box, and then return to it undisturbed three hours later, especially if the email is about a more important project.


 :D  jiggling?  lmao
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: I am Penny Lane on October 03, 2007, 02:13:59 PM
Tag for later when I have time to read all of this.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: paratactical on October 04, 2007, 06:09:57 AM
Tag for later when I have time to read all of this.

Don't. It will eat your brain.
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: paratactical on October 04, 2007, 11:30:13 AM
Tag for later when I have time to read all of this.

Don't. It will eat your brain.

Its good practice for law school

Yum. Brains. You can fry 'em up.

(http://www.voidspace.org.uk/python/rest2web/gallery_test/subfolder/gallery2/fried_brains.jpg)
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: paratactical on October 04, 2007, 12:20:30 PM
Tag for later when I have time to read all of this.

Don't. It will eat your brain.

Its good practice for law school

Yum. Brains. You can fry 'em up.

(http://www.voidspace.org.uk/python/rest2web/gallery_test/subfolder/gallery2/fried_brains.jpg)

Everything tastes better fried

Even worms!

(http://www.worldtravelingpartners.com/Th06.JPG)
Title: Re: Are some law schools "easier" than others?
Post by: paratactical on October 04, 2007, 12:24:10 PM
Tag for later when I have time to read all of this.

Don't. It will eat your brain.

Its good practice for law school

Yum. Brains. You can fry 'em up.

(http://www.voidspace.org.uk/python/rest2web/gallery_test/subfolder/gallery2/fried_brains.jpg)

Everything tastes better fried

Even worms!

(http://www.worldtravelingpartners.com/Th06.JPG)

So much for having chinise for lunch today

Trust me. It hurts me more than it hurts you.