Law School Discussion

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Messages - kenpostudent

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11
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: law school grades
« on: October 09, 2010, 11:03:09 PM »
I wouldn't do it that way, but I will never be a hiring partner at a big firm, either. If all goes well, I'll own my own firm in five years or so (or at least be a partner in a small firm that I start with colleagues). I'll never put any emphasis whatsoever on the school a prospective associate attended.

12
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: law school grades
« on: October 09, 2010, 04:05:50 PM »
As I said, I believe Boyd is a fine educational institution.  The top of the class could probably succeed elsewhere.  It is the middle of the class where the difference is, IMO

I agree with that.

13
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: law school grades
« on: October 09, 2010, 03:22:25 AM »
Height is a static characteristic, basically (after a certain age). Height has measurable utility in basketball. Where one went to school has little real utility after they graduate (save the reputation of their school, or more accurately, the weight that others give to that reputation). NBA teams truly need centers that are 7'0" or taller to guard other 7 footers. No one needs a Harvard grad to litigate against a Stanford grad or to review a contract drafted by a Columbia grad. I can review the contract as well as anyone, or at least be taught to do so. Mental abilities, unlike physical characteristics, can be developed and improved to a much greater degree. I may workout very hard to get more agile or more muscular, but I cannot do anything to get 2" taller. However, I can develop my reasoning skills and wits to match Scalia or Thomas (not much of a contest).

14
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: law school grades
« on: October 08, 2010, 02:26:16 AM »
While I sympathize with the burden imposed on Big Law by their status-conscious clients, and I fully understand that any large law firm gets 100s of resumes a week, can you honestly tell me that someone in the firm, maybe a paralegal or staff member, is not instructed to toss all applicants who are not from a certain school or from a certain group of schools unless from applicants in the top 5% of their class? No, because that is probably how it's done. Someone wades through the morass to decide who to call. I don't care what arbitrary criteria they use, personally. I would probably apply equally arbitrary (I might only hire associates who used to be amateur boxers or who have competed in wrestling or MMA - they have fighting spirit, and they will beat up many Harvard & Stanford grads! :)), yet very different criteria. However, I am only arguing the very narrow point that perceptions and reputation, no matter how strongly correlated to actual statistics, are still little more than broad generalizations. My broad generalizations may be no better or no less arbitrary, but at least I can face their true nature. At least I am intellectually honest.

15
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: law school grades
« on: October 07, 2010, 07:23:52 PM »
When a statistical correlation becomes a hard presumption, that is where I take offense. Personally, I really don't care how big law firms select their associates. For a litany of reasons, I would rather cut off a finger with a dull knife before accepting a position at most of those firms. However, there is just too much snootiness in the legal profession. As humans, we are just flawed. Collectively, our judgment sucks; hence, the need for a legal profession. Judging an individual solely by a statistical curve on a justification of "efficiency" is both wrong in a moral sense and a byproduct of flawed judgment. I would expect more from attorneys. However, I shouldn't because most attorneys are more flawed than the population they represent.

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

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

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

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

 

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

I don't know if there is another way for big firms to recruit. Maybe there is not. Most of my opinions on this subject are colored by my strong bias against corporate clients, many of whom have been responsible for much of the harm in the world. So, naturally, I have little good to say about those who represent their legal rights.

16
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: law school grades
« on: October 07, 2010, 10:40:35 AM »
When a statistical correlation becomes a hard presumption, that is where I take offense. Personally, I really don't care how big law firms select their associates. For a litany of reasons, I would rather cut off a finger with a dull knife before accepting a position at most of those firms. However, there is just too much snootiness in the legal profession. As humans, we are just flawed. Collectively, our judgment sucks; hence, the need for a legal profession. Judging an individual solely by a statistical curve on a justification of "efficiency" is both wrong in a moral sense and a byproduct of flawed judgment. I would expect more from attorneys. However, I shouldn't because most attorneys are more flawed than the population they represent.

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

17
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: law school grades
« on: October 07, 2010, 12:38:13 AM »
Update: A good friend of mine and classmate just received an offer for a summer associate position from Fennemore Craig over Harvard and Standford applicants. He is on both law review and the moot court team (our moot court team is invitation only). He is also in the top 10 of our class. While this is anecdotal evidence, at best; it does prove that some Boyd students can beat out some Harvard students. As I said, Harvard does not rule in this market.

18
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: law school grades
« on: October 06, 2010, 05:53:40 PM »
Harvard, Yale, & Standford have tons of money. I can't and won't argue with that fact. Those schools can offer more programs and ammenities. I don't know if that always translates to a better education. I suppose it may. That is still speculative. What specific programs do those schools offer that so enriches the educational experience? I'm not asking rhetorically, I simply don't know.

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

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

In this debate, everyone always references admission standards. I concede that many schools have higher admission standards than Boyd, certainly elite law schools. How do higher admission standards translate into better graduates? Harvard starts with the best so they graduate the best? Sort of. Maybe. This assumes that all law schools develop attorneys at the same rate and to the same degree. It also assumes that a school's repuation or endowment directly translates into a better educational experience so that no other school who admits "less qualified" applicants could not develop their grads more thoroughly. I don't necessarily believe that. It may be true, but I'm not resting that conclusion on a school's reputation or US New Ranking. It is possible for a school to build a better mouse trap but not get the recognition in the school's general reputation. For instance, the University of Phoenix generally admits anyone. It's widely considered a diploma mill. However, while students often start their education with lower qualifications that state university's, many UoP grads are on equal footing with state school grads. UoP often takes the underqualified and makes them qualified. Can a law school do the same? I think so. I'm not saying that happens in regards to Boyd vs. Harvard. In fact, I bet it does not (overall). However, could it? Sure.

19
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: law school grades
« on: October 06, 2010, 01:32:34 PM »
We generally agree on the fact that national schools offer a greater breadth of career prospects than even the best of regional schools. We disagree on the notion that national schools provide a better education. I'm not sure that is true, but I have never attended a national school. For those who have, I'll defer to your wisdom, but I remain skeptical.

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

I defend my school not because I have some emphatic or misplaced fealty to it. I defend Boyd because I truly hate the notion that T14 or Ivy League schools provide a better education. I think they have just been around longer. It may be, though I don't know this is true, that the schools live on a repuation that was developed and deserved 50 years ago but is no longer warranted. I doubt that because legal professionals would shift their practices in 50 years. I do believe that an old law school like Stanford can offer a comparable education as a younger law school, such as Boyd, but Boyd wouldn't get the respect for at least another 20-50 years. Afterall, Standford was not on par with NYU, Columbia, Harvard, and Yale in the early 70s (so I am told, I wasn't alive then). I am told by Stanford alum that Stanford really became an "elite" law school in the late 70s. Again, I don't know that for sure because I was 2 in 1979. If that is true, however, then it is possible that Boyd will be comparable to UCLA in 20-30 years. That may or may not happen. So, Stanford was a quality school... and offered elite level education long before it developed a repuation for doing so. Because of this lag time in garnering a reputation, it is possible that many T2 schools are now offering fine legal education but do not get the respect of the more "elite" schools. I'm also not sure that reputation and quality always go hand-in-hand.

20
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: law school grades
« on: October 06, 2010, 12:08:34 PM »
Almost no one, however, believes that the LSAT has any correlation to success as a lawyer (assuming one can score high enough to get into law school).

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

If we assume these  two premises:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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