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Messages - Aerst2

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An aced final exam is an aced final exam... as long as the student doesn't cheat, no one cares how the final exam was aced.  Likewise, a 165 is a 165... and will beat the bejesus out of a 155 whining about how "natural" he or she is.
Here again, how can this be interpreted other than you are saying "[the LSAT] is a qualified measurement regardless of prep?"

Like I said above, I'm confused you either saying the LSAT is predictive only for those who prep, or its predictive for everyone regardless of prep but no one has any 'natural ability', or LSAT is more predictive for those who prep. These seem to be mutually exclusive options

I say, like before, doesn't that mean the test is just arbitrary?

I know you are not responding to me, but it seems like he is saying that whether or not you prep for the LSAT is actually part of the test. The idea is this: the test is a rough, rough test of aptitude. Someone good at the test without studying has a somewhat better chance of being a good lawyer. The test is also easy to prep for - meaning that even someone without an inherent or learned ability has an opportunity to show how they can make up for their lack by studying. In that regard, it is fair to both groups. People who are already apt (for whatever reason) can get by without studying. People who are not, can study. People who don't bother to take practice tests, who don't bother to study, or who are unable to prep for a test even with tons of available material are weeded out. It seems to me that those are likely to be the worst law students.

Also - studies can show whether or not the LSAT is actually predictive for law school pretty easily. It's a simple statistical test (I don't know the answer.) You should keep in mind, though, that studies can't show the true importance of the LSAT: whether or not you will make a good lawyer, not law student. As far as a student being a good lawyer, it is my opinion that whether or not the student chose to actually study for the LSAT is has some validity as an indicator.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Anyone else who just might not go?
« on: March 14, 2006, 08:31:08 PM »
I have a similar problem. The law school choice seems too clear.

1) I want to do something different with my life than I have been. Drastic change.
2) I have plenty of time to waste right now - no relationships or commitments other than my job.
3) I think I would enjoy the satisfaction I would get by succeeding in this. I really feel like I missed out on having a real intellectual challenge in undergrad. I breezed through two degrees with a 3.94.
4) I have spare money right now, and no debt.
5) Even though I *may* not pursue law, I don't see myself with a JD making any *less* than I do now, regardless of the career that I end up in. Plus, I believe that a JD would be a definite help in whatever I pursue. I could handle the debt, which by my plans should be about $50k, even on my current salary.
6) I'd like to spend some time in another city.
7) I see the practiced ability to apply myself and improved range of social skills that I could get from law school as more valuable than what I would learn with another three years at my current job.
8) Even though I am steadily advancing in my current job, I get the feeling that I will stagnate if I stay there too much longer. I know 'stagnate' is not the greatest term, but it is something I see every day in the people I work with. Maybe it happens at all jobs, but I would REALLY like to avoid it.
9) I know that the chances of this are low, low, low low low, but I would love to become good enough as a lawyer to make a difference in the current IP situation in the US. Even a little itty-bitty difference: a precedent-setting case would be awesome, but even just getting into a position to advise someone who really does have a chance to make a difference. It's just such a screwed up situation, and so many of the people involved seem like they don't really understand it.
10) Law school, and many of the potential career paths afterward, seem like they might really feed my competitive spirit >:).

See what I mean? Too clear. The only real risks I see are:

1) I might fail out, be out of a job and in an indeterminate amount of debt. Possible but unlikely.
2) My career path in my current job is really, really open and I am making lots of money with a job I generally like at a very stable company. Somehow I think I may regret leaving it (for the rest of my life.....)
3) I might dislike the rigors of law school more than I expect, and I might hate being a lawyer. It's so hard to tell.

I think I can live with those risks. Something inside me still screams "DON'T DO IT!" though.

My two cents about Duquesne: It's a great school in a great area. Most non-lawyers I talk to in Pittsburgh seem to think that Duquesne is ranked higher than Pitt. The few lawyers I know all hold Duquesne in high regard as well.

The Pittsburgh area is very nice in general, and inexpensive. The bus/trolley system is reliable, if not top-of-the-line. Housing is cheap - my current 1BR apartment  close to Pitt is $475/month. Many areas on the bus lines are even cheaper.

I hope to come back to Pittsburgh after going to school wherever I end up going.

Thus I’m totally confused.

Heh, it's more likely that you are 'proffering' a bit of fun than expressing genuine confusion (or at least I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt)... but I'll still bite.

At no point did I "infer that it [the LSAT] is a qualified measurement regardless of prep".  Your contrived, in-a-vacuum illustrations fail to hold up precisely BECAUSE of the impossibility in separating prep as a factor of performance in a well-known standardized test.  You speak of "natural ability"... as if analytical reasoning, reading comprehension, and ability to cope with stress, time, and fatigue constraints are intrinsic properties of a person (like height, skin color, or whether they hate the taste of mayonnaise).  However, they are very much malleable... just as an athlete's "genetic potential" is relevant only the context of the training done to reach that potential.

It may be true that a "prepped" 165 needs to work a little harder in law school than a "natural" 165.  However, I believe it's more likely that the "prepped" student WOULD work a little harder.  I just don't buy this attitude from some people that, "I didn't do as well as I could on the LSAT because [I didn't have time] / [life got in the way] / [I wasn't sure what my goals were] / etc... but once I start law school, I'll be focused like a laser beam when it matters!".  Yeah, maybe you will, but you can't really expect admissions committees to work "on spec" like that.  They need to see BEFORE admitting you how well you can peform "when it matters".

An aced final exam is an aced final exam... as long as the student doesn't cheat, no one cares how the final exam was aced.  Likewise, a 165 is a 165... and will beat the bejesus out of a 155 whining about how "natural" he or she is.

Damn. I read this whole thread just to say this...and you beat me to it.

My opinion is that the LSAT does have some validity aside from the content that it tests. An individual dedicated to success in law and with the common sense required to be successful in a legal career would recognize the value of putting some time into prepping for the test.

It is, in my opinion, a very prep-able test. The logic games especially are just that: time-limited games with verifiable correct answers. The previous x years of tests are cheaply available straight from the source. Your task is to study to the point of being able to spit out the answers to these types of questions in the time allotted. Period.

There is no excuse for not prepping for this test. Your wife, father, brother and dog could all be dying of cancer just after your house burned down and Bush got re-elected, and it is still not a valid excuse. If you want to proceed to Law school all by yourself, you should be at a point in your life where you can handle these things, and be mature enough to recognize the need to delay the test or cancel your scores if you simply do not have the time to prepare. If you can't do that, you deserve a low score.

Even if you really wanted to stick with a low score, you should still be able to use your life skills and persuade admissions committees through addendums, etc. Gaming the system is just as valid as studying hard to get a high score.

IMO, the real cheaters are the ones who naturally score a 170+. They are short-circuiting the system :).

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Calling the law school?
« on: January 26, 2006, 03:25:39 PM »
But don't just call and say... am I in?

Why not just call and say, "I was just calling to ask whether you have made a decision on my file yet." ?

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Calling the law school?
« on: January 26, 2006, 07:37:03 AM »
is it bad etiquette to call the law school and inquire if they have made a decision on your file? i want to call so badly, but i am afraid it will look bad if i do...  ??? :-\

Why even hesitate? This isn't voodoo magic...the school knows you are interested in whether a decision has been made, just like everyone else. Just call and ask; they will probably be prepared for such requests and immediately look it up in your file.

On the other hand, I wouldn't call every single day - then you might actually annoy someone :)

If you have done any homework on these cities, could you tell me what you found please?

I am looking for a 2 BR house/apartment within 10-15 minutes of campus. Thanks.

I am currently living in a very nice 1BR apartment on the outer edge of Shadyside for $475/month, utilities included. It's about 5-10 minutes by car to the Pitt campus - about two miles. It wasn't too hard to find a place, and I saw many 2BR's for 600-800 that are even closer to campus.

Choosing the Right Law School / Temple vs. U. of Pittburgh?
« on: January 23, 2006, 05:10:18 PM »
According to USNews - Temple is ranked 65...and Pitt is ranked 52. It seems like a bit of a difference. But, according to the stats, Temple seems pretty clearly the better school. What's up with that?

These stats are from The Princeton Review's 159 Best Law Schools book:
Academics   80
Selectivity   83
Career Rating   83
  Placement   93
  Bar pass rate   88

Academics   74
Selectivity   82
Career Rating   74
  % employed after 9 months   98
  Bar pass   82.5

The only area where Pitt beats Temple is in 'placement', but seems like they must be tallying the numbers differently. They are also similar in employment by field, except Temple has twice as many Government jobs (14% compared to 7%) and slightly less private practice jobs (49% to 63%). In terms of numbers of applications, Temple is about twice as high (in applicants and acceptees.

Sooooooooo what's up?

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: For those of you interested in $$$
« on: January 23, 2006, 01:07:43 PM »

why don't undergrad business programs just do an intensive MBAesque business program?

wouldn't that make more sense?

Some schools have programs where you can get a BBA/MBA in five years, but they're highly selective.

I can say from experience, the five-year MBA program at my alma mater (Robert Morris U. in Pittsburgh, PA) was not at all selective. Anyone had the option, and the course work was no more challenging than the regular undergraduate work.

I really think that kind of program will continue to cheapen the value of all MBAs, which is somewhat questionable to begin with. Really, an undergrad who continues straight to an MBA is setting themselves up to fail, in most cases. They are overqualified for the entry-level work that they need to get their business feet on the ground, too inexperienced for many of the management-level jobs that an MBA is expected for, and they lack the clear career progression available with many other degrees/specialities. It takes a lot of luck, good connections, and hard work to get a good job with just an MBA and no solid experience.

You have a hard decision ahead of you.  $100K is a great starting salary, but assuming that people at Fordham stay in NYC, it's not really all that impressive. However, if you want to go to the Northeast, Baylor is probably your worst option. Why aren't you really considering Temple or Pitt if you want to work in the Northeast?

Well, right now I live in sight of the Pitt campus. I had kind of a bad experience trying to transfer there as an undergrad, though, and I applied thinking of it as a last resort. Temple is interesting, and much cheaper than Fordham, but Fordham seems like a better school, with a better range of opportunities afterward (and I would love to try living in NYC.)

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