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Messages - TheCause

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Current Law Students / Re: Diminishing Returns in Law School
« on: April 12, 2010, 01:54:53 PM »
Your overthinking it. Just do your studies and pass your exams. You'll be fine if you do that.

I'm done with Law School.  But thanks for the advice.

Current Law Students / Diminishing Returns in Law School
« on: April 12, 2010, 12:44:51 PM »
I was on Law Review Staff and on the Law Review Board, so I've worked with some amazing law students.   I've always been around the top third in my class, and I got on Law Review either because I am a good writer, or I'm just lucky.
I also hang out with a bunch of students who are ranked around the middle of the class.

I feel like I have a good understanding of what it takes to be in the top half, top third, and top ten percent of the class. 

Granted, the top 4 or 5 students might just be smarter than everyone else, but I think work (both hard work and smart work) makes all the difference.

Think of law school as a speeding car.   It takes a certain amount of power to maintain 50 mph for a period of time.  How much more power do you think it takes to maintain 100 mph for the same period of time?  Twice as much?  Much more. Probably 4 or 5 times as much. 

For example
50MPH in a standard SUV probably requires around 20 horsepower.
100 MPH probably requires around 100 horsepower.

So the faster you go, the more horsepower per MPH you need.

As you go up the rankings in law school, the more effort per ranking spot you need.

Let's say you are ranked 75/150 and you maintain that ranking by studying an average of 10 hours a week. (doable)
To be ranked 50/150, you probably would have to jump up to an average of 20 hours a week.
To be ranked 25/150 (Twice as many spots)  You probably have to jump up to 50 hours a week.

This is caused by the bell curve that most law schools use.  It's like a distance cycling race where everyone is huddled in a pack, and when someone breaks away some people chase them, and some people conserve their energy and stay in the pack.  At the end of the race there are usually a few crazy people who are out front, followed by a small chase group a few minutes behind, and then slowly the groups get larger and larger.

At some point, most students realize that they can't keep up with the leaders, and that ranking 50/150 is just not worth twice the effort of ranking 75/150.

This psychology probably means that if you basically kill yourself all year long, You are almost guaranteed a spot in the top 25% of the class.  (Granted, the first 1L semester is full of flukes and anomalies, but my theory holds true in the long run)

Law school is littered with people like me who fall comfortably close to the middle as soon as they realize they can't quite get into that top ten percent.

Next question, for whoever wants to answer it, is whether ranking 50/150 instead of 75/150 will even help you get a job?


You should choose a law school in this order.

1: Top 14 (this is flexible) Yes, go to Yale if you get in.
2: Debt Free Options.
3: Highest Ranked School with in-state tuition
4: Highest Ranked School in your geographic region  (Unless the price is Way more than 5, 6, 7, 8. )
5: Highest Ranked School in the city you want to work.
6: Cheapest School in the City you want to work in.
7: Cheapest School in the Geographic region you want to work.
8: Cheapest School in the City you want to work in.
9: A T3-T4 if you have tons of money or have a job lined up at a family firm.
10: Go get a job somewhere and save up 50,000 before you go to law school.

That block was not there before, but it is for the best. The article was beyond idiotic, basically the article consisted of someone  saying that law school was difficult and that they were shocked that they had to lift a finger to find a job. It was just retarded that is only word to really explain the article, consider yourself blessed for not having to read it.

Your posts on this website kind of blow my mind.  You are like the T3-T4 defender.  I've read your responses in other forums, and I think you can be pretty reasonable.

The decision to go to law school has to be based on something.  I find statistics to be particularly helpful.   I know of one school, ranked in the 60's, where only 53% of the class of 2009 had a job lined up at graduation.  The career services office estimates that the class of 2010 would be lucky to get half of that percentage.  The percentages at graduation are particularly helpful because they don't include as many "back-up to my back-up" jobs.  

Many applicants who are considering a T3 or T4 school will probably base their decision on data for the class of 2008.  It is highly unlikely that the class of 2013 will see job placement rates anywhere in the neighborhood of the class of 2008.  
So I think posters on this board want to express a few major points:

1: The placement rates in US News and other sources will probably be 50-75% smaller when you graduate.
2: The alumni salaries posted on school websites and other sources will probably be substantially smaller for the class of 2013.
3: Somewhere around 30-60% of students in law school believe they can be in the top 10%.  Only 10% actually reach that level.
4: Law school is not designed to educate you in the law, and it is not designed to prepare you to pass the bar.  It is basically a right of passage.  You should try to get as much out of it as possible, but level of prestige trumps level of education in the eyes of most employers.
5: The legal market is flooded, and you might have opportunities now that make more financial sense than going to law school.
6: Most people don't love studying law, even if they thought they would.

So there are 6 factors that might stand in the way of a cooley grad in 2013 that maybe weren't deal-killers in 2008 or 2009.  It makes good sense for current students to discourage potential students from going to law school in order to balance out the horribly inaccurate information that is available.

I agree with some of your points, but I have a few questions.

1:  Why would the ABA want more people to "attend" (distance or otherwise) law school and take the bar?

2:  Does California need more lawyers?

3:  The ABA doesn't decide whether or not people can study law.  Many Law libraries are open to the public, study aids and books are widely available... almost anyone can attend bar prep courses if they want to pay.  So I assume you are defending the right of people to take the bar, not defending the right to study law?  Correct?  So if distance learning is OK for the bar, then why wouldn't independent learning be OK?  Why does someone need to learn through a law school at all?

When I say decent, I mean schools like Louisiana State University, or Missippi college. The job that I am currently doing would pay more if I were an attorney, I know exactly what I want to do with my degree, I just need one that would allow me to pursue my bar in Louisiana, Texas, and possibly Mississippi. I am not really wanting to "practice" law, I just need to get a law degree so that I can pursue higher positions in my current field. The work that I currently do has MANY attorneys doing it, the only difference is that they can advance to supervisory positions whereas I will top out sooner. I am not really interested in "being" an attorney rather I am looking into the future of my current career. It really boils down to the fact that I need an expensive piece of paper so that I can attach it to my resume!

Start Here:
then go here:

And then you should just apply to all of the places you think you have a shot at and see where you get in.

IT looks like the LSDAS calculator gives you basically no chance at getting into LSU, and about a 50/50 shot at Mississippi College.
Those numbers are unreliable, but they can help steer you in the right direction.

Law School Admissions / Re: Physician with 3.98 161 LSAT
« on: March 13, 2010, 06:58:02 PM »
Just because other people have done something does not make it practical.  50 million people voted for George W. Bush.  I rest my case.

How in God's name can a person juggle the stress and perpetual pressure to learn more for medicine, while dedicating themself to law school, and not to be discounted, if applicable, fulfilling their responsibilities as a father and husband?  What I don't understand is that medicine is higher on the prestige ladder than law, yet by going to law school you would be sacrificing your dedication to a profession more highly regarded and needed to fulfill the requirements to enter a profession that is saturated on the supply side and less highly regarded.

It's your life, so do you want, man.  Just my two cents.

why don't you go to med school if it's so much better?  Couldn't cut it in your math classes?

Law School Admissions / Re: 2.2 GPA, 179 LSAT- Who will take me?
« on: March 10, 2010, 08:42:57 AM »
I screwed up in school, clearly, but are there any decent law schools that would give someone like myself a chance?

1 Post, a 179 LSAT and doubts that a "decent" school will take you?
Kind of unbelievable.

warning: listening to random people online who claims to be top whatever percent of their class can lead to miserable first year experience. Do study. Do prepare. Do whatever it takes to learn the law. Understand the structure of law school. Most of the advice people give are 'common sense' that you already know, but won't help you at all once you get to law school, this is because law school demands many things from you that you might not have. Understanding this can take a long time, especially for those who are stubborn about their approach. Be humble, but be smart and selective about what you listen to. Don't listen to trashy advice. That's deadly.

Yeah, this is probably true, which is why I said:

I don't know you (OP), so take my advice for what it's worth.

I don't think my advice was novel or outstanding, I just gave general advice.
Everyone is different, and that's why focusing on the basics (or "common sense") is a good strategy.


Incredibly helpful post, thank you very much.  This is some of the stuff I was actually wanting to get into, the "meat and potatoes" of law school.

Speaking to your first point, "The ability to smartly outwork your classmates in the first 2/3rds of the semester.", when you speak about prepping for a test as soon as I feel comfortable, how do you recommend?  Do you mean through class notes, legal briefs, or other supplements like practice exams? 

This will depend on your style.
I would get a good outline from a 2L or 3L for your teacher's class from a previous year, and then take notes on it as you go.
I started taking practice tests about 2 months before finals.
It's probably good to spend the first 3 or 4 weeks just taking good notes and reading the cases, and then you can start reading through supplements.
(Crunch Time, Examples and Explanations, Legalines, High Court Case Summaries, Emmanuel Flash Cards, etc.)

Also, can I begin studying any of the applicable materials for each course I may be taking in advance so I can be ahead of the game or does that have to wait until class begins?  If I can start in advance, can you lead me to any preferred books, for example like the book by Glannon that you mentioned, Civil Procedure?   And in regards to energy level, do you mean relaxing in the summer in order to “recharge the battery” for the coming fall semester? 

All I can tell you is that advance study would have done me no good.  It might be a good idea to contact and make friends with 2Ls and 3Ls and ask them how to approach your different classes.

I liked the E & E for property, torts, and civ pro. 
The flashcards (law in a flash) worked very well for torts, UCC (contracts 2) and crim pro, and they started from scratch.

Some people say flash cards are useless, but they are basically hundreds of mini hypos that prepared me for the test.

And it's more than recharging your batteries.  Do whatever you can to immunize yourself from burnout.  If you are a high energy person who never gets cynical or burned out, then you'll be fine. 
It would have helped me to get into great habits before law school started.  Eat right, start running/cycling, find a few TV shows that you can watch for a short distraction.

Also, as I understand it, what I gleaned as the underlying message of the post was that if you truly immerse yourself in the study of law, meaning you study with the intent of understanding the law not just for the grades or ranking, the positives will just come naturally?  Am I correct in that assumption? 
I think so.  If you like studying law you will be in a better position come finals time.  Briefing cases and reading boring material kind of sucks.  If you get confused about the law in a particular area, don't read the case 10 times, go ask the teacher or pick up a supplement for some background.  The case method (socratic method combo) is a good exercise, but you can't depend on it.

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