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Messages - lisak

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Hey, I'm a Commercial banker in Manhattan....36, married 3 years with one kid on teh way....I took my LSAAT and got a 145...neeed to retake, might not start until fall 2010 now.....not feeling good about it, really wanted 2009 start.....any words of support would be greatly appreciated. :(

I know it is hard to do, but don't feel discouraged.  You have been blessed with having a child, and from what I hear (my husband and I are trying to have kids right now), that is the greatest blessing ever. :)  This way, you will have enough time to spend with your baby before you start the gruelling 1L experience. ;)

As for the LSAT, you can definitely improve your score significantly!  I was testing in the 160s (mid-to-high), but totally froze on the real LSAT and did not get much sleep the night before (my husband was snoring).  I got a 148.  Needless to say, I was shocked and mortified.  I had never scored anywhere near that range.  I also have been out of school for 10+ years.

I retook the LSAT 3 months later in a different location (the test site can make a big difference - something to keep in mind), and I got a 157.  This still is nowhere close to what I had been scoring on practice tests, but, again, I did not sleep the night husband again was snoring, and I get pretty bad panic attacks during tests (which I need work on)...but I figure if I get a good night sleep before the next LSAT (I will be sure to have my husband sleep in a different room that night so that his snoring won't keep me up), I *hopefully* will get a score in the 160s and maybe even in the 170s (hoping for at least upper 160s).

Anyway, this is just proof that the LSAT measures virtually nothing (if you can have a 20-30 point deviation depending on the day / time, that means that the test is very prone to luck / happenstance IMHO).

Notwithstanding all of this, my score of 157 was enough to get me into a top 100 / regional school so I have toyed with going there, but think I will probably just retake the LSAT next year to get into one of my target schools. 

I am going to try to calm my test anxiety through taking a dedicated prep course rather than just studying on my own, am going to study with some friends who are actually good at taking standardized tests (I am not naturally a good standardized is a skill / art IMHO), and am going to just pray that God's will will be done. 

I feel like with the economy in tatters as it is now, law firms laying off people by the dozens / hundreds, and me being gainfully employed, going to law school right now probably makes no sense.  In a year, hopefully, things will be more settled in the economy and, quite possibly, law firm salaries will shrink meaning that some people who were going into the field for impure reasons (e.g.  for the money) will rethink taking on such a sizable amount of debt for such uncertain returns / salaries.

Lastly, just as an FYI, a lot of law schools are taking the higher of the LSAT scores since that is all they have to report for US News & World Report nowadays.  This - I think - helps people like you and I who bombed one of their tests.

Just my two cents.  I hope this helps you and brightens your heart and your spirits today!

Studying for the LSAT / Need help with LR from PT#20, Section 4, Q #13
« on: October 30, 2008, 06:29:41 PM »
Hi everyone,

I took the LSAT in October and bombed it so I am retaking it in December and am intensively studying for the December test. :(

Prayerfully, I will do really well on the December exam.  ;)

Any helpful advice you have on how to excel on Reading Comprehension (esp if you are a slower reader, like I am) would be really appreciated!  RC is my worst section, but I am trying to improve all sections (hence, this question from LR).  Thanks in advance!

This question comes from PT #20, Section 4 - Question #13.

Mature white pines intercept almost all the sunlight that shines on them.  They leave a deep litter that dries readily, and they grow to prodigious height so that, even when there are large gaps in a stand of such trees, little light reaches the forest floor.  For this reason, white pines cannot regenerate in their own shade.  Thus, when in a dense forest a stand of trees consists of nothing but mature white pines, it is a fair bet that ______.

Which one of the following most logically concludes the argument?

A.   the ages of the trees in the stand do not differ from each other by much more than the length of time it takes a white pine to grow to maturity.
B.   The land on which the stand is now growing had been cleared of all trees at the time when the first of the white pines started growing.
C.   Competition among the trees in the stand for sunlight will soon result in some trees’ dying and the stand thus becoming thinner.
D.   Other species of trees will soon begin to colonize the stand, eventually replacing all of the white pines.
E.   Any differences in the heights of the trees in the stand are attributable solely to differences in the ages of the trees.

The answer to the above question is A, but I am very confused as to why.  I thought C sounded the most logical (though I was not blown over by that answer). 

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

:) Lisa

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Go to a T14 IN THIS ECONOMY!
« on: October 17, 2008, 12:36:38 PM »
I am sorry, but this sounds like you just aren't great at interviewing, or only participated in OCI and didn't look beyond that.   If you had realistic expectations, and did something other than go to class at school, you should be employed.  You should consider expanding your idea of what types of jobs you are looking at.

Are you looking for 2L summer?  You need to get going on some networking ASAP.

Going to a school just because it's ranked a few spots higher won't help if you come across as unpolished in interviews.  Do some mock interviews with career services and hone those skills.  You are probably better off doing that than posting ridiculously untrue comments on the internet.

This year is nothing like last year...

Exactly!  Check out where even UPenn Law School (definitely a T14 school) sent around a letter to students today, urging them to make a decision if they have multiple offers (partially because it is good form and will free up spots for other people who don't have multiple offers and partially because of offer can be rescinded and that has apparently happened already to at least 1 UPenn student).

So, make no mistake about it, the economy is not good right now (it is NOT limited to just the financial sector because the financial sector and the ability to get credit is at the heart of the free-market economy that Western democracies embrace).  And IMHO the economy will NOT be getting better for a pretty long time (at least 1 year, probably closer to 2 years).  I work in the legal profession (and have for over 10 years), and I can say that I do not think that this is a good time to be looking for a job as a 1st Year Associate or a Summer Hire.  Most law firms have NO IDEA how this financial meltdown is going to play out so there is unprecedented uncertainty in all markets (including the legal market), and since attorneys tend to be cautious people by nature, they are likely risk averse in hiring (i.e.  they only will hire the bare minimum that they think they will need and hire temps and paralegals to fill in the gaps since they don't want to have to layoff staff except as a very last resort). 

Until we get a new President and the market assumes some semblence of normalcy, I think that law firms will continue to hold off on their normal hiring trends.

I mean VC money is drying up - e.g.  one of the major VC firms just had a meeting with its startups to tell them to trim costs / presume that they are not going to get additional rounds of financing for a while - and since law firms work very closely with venture capitalists, this hurts many law firms' bottom lines.  Similarly, the IPO market has all but dried up / closed...yet again, something that will affect firms that do a lot of transactional work.  And while it is true that certain aspects of legal work has business up (like bankruptcy), I would caution that even in that field there is so-o-o-o much uncertainty in the market as to how bankruptcies and foreclosures are going to be handled by the government (read: regulations) that I don't think this will necessarily be a boon for lawyers in the short-term.  And in litigation, some lawsuits that would have been filed may be delayed because companies realize that they don't want those litigation costs (which are quite high) to impact their bottom-line in a severe recession (which is what we are in and / or headed for).  The stock market will likely be very harsh in punishing companies for missing earnings targets and litigation costs could be a cause for companies missing earnings targets...I mean having extremely large litigation costs is an above the line adjustment that affects short-term profitability with the prospect of long-term benefits (and many companies will be cutting back on discretionary spending and litigation costs, unless the litigation is essential to the companies' well-being to defend and / or has a huge upside potential to prosecute IMHO).  So, I think many companies will likely delay extraneous litigations that they might otherwise have pursued in a "normal economy".

In general, I think, like most businesses, law firms are having a wait and see attitude about how this financial meltdown will unfold. 

Also, another thing to think about is that a lot of law firms have pretty significant turnover after about 2-3 years (many lawyers decide they want to go in-house for a better work-life balance after paying their dues at a big firm), but since companies are not hiring as much, there will be less of this turnover from seasoned Associates and, hence, possibly less open slots for greener 1Ls to replace those Associates who in a normal market would have left voluntarily.

This is just my opinion (but I have a feeling that people who are used to getting multiple offers may have less to choose from in the next year or 2).  Also, based on supply and demand, I project that salaries may fall a bit (or at least not escalate like they have been in recent years for 1Ls).  This is not as bad as it seems though because 1L salaries have been increasing like crazy (far exceeding inflation and B-School grad salaries), and IMHO starting salaries of 1Ls at big firms are pretty excessive and out-of-line compared with other high-demand professions (e.g.  engineering, consulting, etc). 

And I just saw on,0,2059582.story that "Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal let go of about 24 lawyers out of 680, the second round of dismissals this year, and Katten Muchin Rosenman laid off 21out of 650, the firms confirmed Thursday", which further backs up my theory that hiring will not be very strong for the next year or 2.

So, I have a feeling that this economic downturn is definitely affecting and will continue to affect the legal market for at least 1-2 years.  I know I am being pessimistic but that is how I see things.  ;)

Studying for the LSAT / Re: PT 42- section 2- LR 15
« on: November 27, 2007, 08:54:41 PM »
Also, does C really weaken the argument at all.  It could well be the case that actions designed for personal gain do not result in personal gain, but that does not attack the argument (which is about motivations).

To see this better, lets look at the argument.  The conclusion of the argument is that "Technological innovation rarely serves the interests of society as a whole."  The premise behind this conclusion is that the people responsible for technological innovations are primarily motivated by personal gain not societal gain.  So, you need an answer choice that says something like it does not matter if a person is motivated by personal gain, they can still create technological innovations which are important and serve society.  This is what answer choice D does in a more abstract, convoluted way.

Think about this argument from a personalized perspective by drawing on an analogy.  Think about a company when it is a start-up like Google was 5 years ago.  Were Google employees interested in personal gain (probably...they were probably interested in doing good work but also cashing in on their stock options)?  So, I would say that the employees were probably primarily interested in personal gain (or at least some employees were).  So, did that make it so that their technological innovations did not serve society.  I would say no.  Their technological innovations served society (better internet search results) but were motivated primarily by personal gain (employee stock options).  So, this argument is weak, and D attacks precisely this Achilles heal of the argument (i.e.  just because there was no society goal does not mean that it cannot help society).

Anyway, I hope this helps.

:) Lisa

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Starting to get irked by LR. Dec 2001 #24
« on: November 27, 2007, 08:39:16 PM »
I am glad that my analysis helped a bit, OTALSH.

And I understand your point, I was debating between these 2 choices (B and E) myself. 

But think about it, if you knew the answer to E (how many people actually read the books they mentioned), would that help you in being able to validate whether the columnists' argument is accurate?  I don't think it adds to that body of knowledge very much.

Moreover, the survey was asking only which book most influenced them, not necessarily whether they read that book (though I would certainly hope that people read books that most influence them).  Moreover, the stimulus only mentions "readers" in terms of "newspaper's readers", it never specifically mentions book readers.  This (I think) is another ploy to get you to read beyond what the stimulus really says.

I know this is not a perfect answer, but try to personalize the argument.  If you were a reporter / journalist and could only ask 1 question to be able to ascertain whether the columnist's argument was valid, which would you choose...B or E.  B, while potentially helpful in understanding whether the survey was conducted of a representative populace, whether the survey really has merit / teeth, etc, does not help evaluate whether the argument that the book 1984 was very influential of the readers (only that they read the books they said were influential).  E, on the other hand, helps you understand whether 1984 was truly influential to a great many readers or only a small sliver of readers (at least according to the readers responses, which is all we have to go from).

Also, I completely agree with Jeffort's comment.  It is very succinct and on point in drawing on an easy to understand analogy.  Well done, Jeffort!

Hope this helps.  Good luck in studying for the LSAT!  I will be taking it myself this Saturday!


I tend to use process of elimination to pair it down to *hopefully* a couple of choices.  Then, I look back at the answer choice and compare it against the passage to see which seems more right.  If that still does not work, then I do the symbolic / formal logic approach.

I used to do the symbolic logic approach to these formal logic questions ad nauseum, but I saw that it was eating up too much time and not necessarily always getting me the right answer so I have more recently been looking at the passages and comparing them against the answer choices to see if the answer choices have to be right.  In these must be true questions, if there is one part that does not have to be true, then the whole answer does not have to be true (and that means it is the wrong answer).

For example, in the first question (Dec 06, Sec 1, 21), this is how I approach it:

A - can be eliminated because the passage says "if the garden is well coordinated with the room and contributes strong visual interest of its own." whereas the answer choice confuses the concepts and says "cannot be well coordinated with the room unless the garden contributes strong visual interest"
B - can be eliminated because it says that in winter "will not visually merge into a single space unless the garden is well coordinated with the room" but this is more because the door would be closed than the season...also, it does not mention the "strong visual interest" which is a requirement along with coordination with the room for the closed-door winter scenario
C - can be eliminated for similar reasons as is not the season (summer in this case) but rather that the doors are I don't think there is any reason that what would typically happen in winter could not happen in summer...that is if the garden is well coordinated with the room and creates a strong visual interest then it should be a single space
D - The correct answer for the reason Luke mentioned
E - can be eliminated because it tries to say that only in summer can opening the sliding glass doors that separate a garden from an adjoining living room not intensify the effect of the garden and room visually merging into a single space...the stimulus says "this effect will be created if it does not already exist and intensified if it does"...again, it confuses the intensification element

For the second question (Dec 06, 3, 21), my process is similar:
A - can be eliminated because it says that, "Young opera singers without great vocal power are unlikely to ruin their voices by singing demanding roles"...unlikely is an is just that those with vocal power are most likely too...that is different
B - can be eliminated because this is basically what the author is saying does not necessarily occur...this is what "it has been said" occurs that the author is countering
C - can be eliminated because while the answer choice says many years of technical training, the stimulus does not specify a time frame (only that they should have technical training to make sure they do not overstrain their vocal chords)
D - can be eliminated because there is no mention that only mature singers can sing without straining...rather, it goes back to proper training
E - The correct answer for the reason Luke stated (also, it is pretty much the author's conclusion (unstated but strongly pointing to) too).

Anyway, I hope this helps.  This is the approach that I have started to use.  For the most part, it has helped a decent has brought my time down (though this first question was a bit tricky and took me about 4 minutes to figure out...of course, I was also looking at the computer rather than hardcopy for it, which might have slowed me down a bit, and the second question only took me about 1 minute).  This approach has also increased my accuracy (I miss about 1-4 per LR section now whereas before I used to miss a lot more).

Good luck to everyone on the Saturday LSAT!  I will be there taking it along with you all!


Studying for the LSAT / Re: Last Minute RC Advice
« on: November 27, 2007, 07:46:43 PM »
You might want to summarize each paragraph as you go.  This has definitely helped me.  It may add a bit of time (though not too much because you only write a few words or a sentence), but it decreases your # wrong (or at least it does that for me) because it makes you become a more engaged and active reader.

Hope this helps.

:) Lisa

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Starting to get irked by LR. Dec 2001 #24
« on: November 27, 2007, 07:43:46 PM »
This is definitely a tricky question, but it actually is not too hard once you see the pattern.  As you know, the LSAT is all about recognizing patterns. ;)

The concept is as follows: 
Basically, even though 1984 is the 2nd most influential book, it may be a very distant second (and probably is IMHO).  So, it is quite possible that The Bible was the most influential for 95% of people surveyed and that 1984 was the second most influential by influencing, let's say 3%.  And 2 other books influenced 1% of the surveyed people.

This would satisfy the conditions, but, obviously, in this situation, the book 1984 did not influence a great number of the readers.  Rather, it influenced a small number (30 of the 1,000 readers surveyed to be exact).

Conversely, it is possible (though not likely IMHO) that the Bible could have influenced only something like 50% of the readers and that 1984 influenced 45% and a compilation of other books each influenced the rest of the 5% of readers.  In this situation, The Bible influenced 500 of the 1,000 readers and the book 1984 influenced 450 of 1,000 the readers.  So, in this second case, the book 1984 did in fact influence a large number of readers.

As such, understanding how many of the readers chose the book 1984 can help you understand how strong the argument is.  Unfortunately, that is not one of the answer choices.  So, then you have to evaluate the answer choices and see if any of them will help you obtain this same information in a slightly more round-about way.  And indeed, answer choice (B) does precisely this.  Because if you can find out how many books other than 1984 influenced the readers surveyed, then you can help you to ascertain whether or not 1984 actually influenced a large number of readers. 

Does this make sense?  I hope this explanation helps.


Studying for the LSAT / Re: "only"
« on: September 24, 2007, 12:37:58 PM »
In this sentence, "the only way to achieve success is to work hard", "to achieve success" is a prepositional phrase.  The word "to" indicates this.  So, the sentence could be rewritten, the only way is to work hard.  So, work hard is the necessary condition and achieve success is the sufficient condition (though I have a hard time remembering what is necessary vs what is sufficient...I am better at just spotting what should be before or after the arrow in formal logic).  My mom was an English grammar teacher so I am pretty good with sentence construction.

But it might be easier to think of it in terms of rephrasing the sentence in terms of if and then...they are easier to translate into formal logic (at least IMHO).  Doing this, which makes more sense "if you achieve success, then you must have worked hard" or "if you work hard, then you must have achieved success".  Obviously, the former is the proper translation (not the latter).

So, based on the new if, then construction, the stimuli should be written: achieve success --> work hard (because if you have achieved success, you must have worked hard).

First of all, I want to say, "CONGRATULATIONS!!!"  I have talked with a bunch of co-workers who are attorneys who graduated from the T14 schools, and they have said that law school is a great time to have a baby (because taking classes is in many ways more flexible than working...and that a lot of their fellow students had babies during the year...not the majority...but it was not an infrequent event either).  And I am getting up there in age as well so I have thought about having a baby in LS (if my husband and I can, which we don't know if we can, but LS seems as good a time as any to have a baby).  I think you should search your heart and determine if you want to try to juggle having a baby in 1L though...I might just try to defer myself...but that is me...and that is a very personal choice.  Anyway, I did some research for you and found (what IMHO) is a good article at:

It is written about and by someone going to Harvard, Pia Owens, who is pregnant right now and how she is viewing her experience there as a positive one for having a baby...and that is at Harvard...but granted she is a 2L (so that might be different as a 1L...indeed she says she probably wouldn't recommend having a baby as a 1L...but everyone has different life circumstances happen to them).  So, this might be a good article to read.

But I would definitely call the school(s) that you are interested in to see what your options are as far as deferring (because it is always better to have more, rather than less, options).  And explore all options (decreasing your work schedule, etc.).  Anyway, that is just my opinion.

Hope it helps.  And once again, CONGRATULATIONS!!!  I know you will make the right choice for you and your family.  Best of luck with the soon-to-be-bundle-of-joy.

 ;) Lisa

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