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Messages - MachuPicchu

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Go to Beer's link  for testimony. (Mojo Riley). Apparently the lower half of U of MN's class can't even find jobs in-state.

Black Law Students / Re: BLACK LOVE
« on: July 30, 2007, 01:56:04 PM »

I am not attracted to fat men so I will definitely pass up a fat man who meets all my other requirements. I will also pass up a bisexual man who meets all my other requirements and I will pass up a short man who meets all my other requirements. Why is it problematic to want someone one is physically attracted to?

If by "pass up" you mean you will refuse to go out on a date with a fat or short man, I would argue that you've never given yourself a chance to feel attraction to men who fit this description. Looks matter the most initially/during the first stages of courtship. I have gone out with people not "attractive" by any means but who, over a few months, became sexy/attractive to me by virtue of other characteristics. People would look sideways at me and say "What do you see in that person?" but I had stopped being able to see my partner as "ugly." Or maybe I never stopped, but I no longer cared.

I seriously do not get why this is such a big deal among African-Americans. Apart from hurting some people's egos, can anyone offer a serious reason why it is so terrible to be attracted to people of only certain skin colors?

So-called "personal preferences" become a big deal when they are historically or otherwise charged. If you were a member of a community that had been ostracized for a few hundred years for having lots of short members, and then you up and declare "I'm just not attracted to short men; I want a tall one," you can bet your "personal preference" for tall men will come under a lot of scrutiny. I can see how you might view this as unjust, and perhaps it is--but combing through personal preferences and trying to separate them from deep-rooted social standards is really difficult.

Society shapes what we think is beautiful or attractive. Many North American/European people think long straight hair is the most beautiful but is that because it is inherently superior to short straight hair or curly hair or because youthful fairy tale princesses have long hair and it is usually older women who appear in media with short hair? On the other hand, some groups of people in the world think bald-headed young women are the most feminine, and see long hair in a young woman as bizarre and off-putting.

Black Law Students / Re: This Song Sums Up 400 Years of Oppression.
« on: July 30, 2007, 01:18:52 PM »
The lyrics are great. Piano accomp. is good, too. The melody could use some fiddling with, though, and the whole thing might be called repetitive (although some might argue that's what gives the song its hypnotic effect). This is the first video of his I've seen, so it might take a while for his "idosyncratic" performance style to grow on me.

The comments on You Tube are asinine.

Matthies, you raise some interesting points. Beyond merely studying potential correlations between amount of test prep and LS grades, I think the LSAT is due for an overhaul (not the minor "comprehensive reading" changes they've made for the next round of tests). I think the"standardization" conceit needs to be problematized and re-interpreted. Whenever I talk to people from other countries, they express disbelief over "the American system" of standardized multiple choice tests (I elected not to shock them further with the idea of 'Christmas Tree-ing' a test). Many countries' medical, law and other professional schools rely much more heavily on essay-writing, which both they and I believe can shed a lot more light on an applicant's thought processes, style of analysis, etc.

Essays exams--for example, the AP tests in English Lit or Composition--can be pretty standardized with the use of the same questions for all applicants (they've already eliminated the choice of essays on the new LSAT, from what I've heard), a limited time frame, etc. Graders can be instructed to overlook spelling and grammar and award points using a rubric of sorts that emphasizes analytical pattern, argument making, use of supporting evidence/argument, etc. There can be two or more essay-graders for each essay and rules can be made about averaging the graders' marks if they differ more than, say, two letter /numerical points. And, like an AP Lit exam, a "standard" score can be arrived at.

Admissions committees would not have access to the scored/graded essays like they do with the current unscored ones, because they may unconsciously favor applicants with better spelling/grammar and more sophisticated writing skills.

In fact, I know from experience (a free Law School prep class offered as a promo for a company) that a person who has never been to law school can attempt to write a law-school-type exam based on scenarios, spotting issues, etc. by making use of a simplified list of black letter law pertaining to the essay question's scenario and provided alongside the question. In my proposed system, graders would obviously not expect test-takers to know how to take a law school exam proper; I just want to emphasize that an essay LSAT can be administered in a way that gives a better idea of individual analytical strengths than the current multiple choice system alone. 

Also, to address your point of test prep, I think essays would narrow the gap between those who prepared and those who didn't. The Logic Games, for example, seem to scare a lot of people off the test because they are so different from what most people have experienced in most undergrad exams or courses of study. But we all know that learning a "system" to navigate the games (through an LSAT course or a good book) can dramatically improve a person's games scores. This is where I think your "test prep" argument really holds up.

By giving far more weight to scored essays than to Games, the proposed LSAT could ameliorate the current favoring of "test-preppers" (especially Testmasters, Kaplan, etc. formal courses) over those who could only afford to work through a 25 dollar book or CD ROM on their own.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: give it to me straight
« on: July 28, 2007, 04:49:45 PM »
Sorry to hear about your mother.

There's nothing wrong with assuming a certain range of scores based on practice long as you've taken at least a dozen+ full-length, timed practice tests from a variety of years (say, '99 to the present), and so long as the the range you assume is 4-5 points lower (arbitrary but reasonable, IMO) than your average practice test score.

I think you should research more schools that fall in the 4-5 point lower range. That way, you don't end up high and dry if you do get a particularly evil incarnation of the exam on test day, but you're pleasantly surprised if you do score 171-174.

In that spirit, I would add American and WUSTL to your (apparently mostly urban) list of schools to research and prepare applications for but not yet submit. If your scores come back in the lower range, apply to all of these, but if you break your 171 threshold, I think you can take bamf's advice and apply to only those 18-30 schools you're really interested in/save on your application fees.

BTW, according to a rep I spoke with, Adcomms unsually emphasize only the GPA from the degree-granting institution, so I'm not sure how "county" college would factor in (is that the same as community college?)

For most people who have studied a few months for the LSAT and emerged with an unsatisfactory score, I have been hesitant to recommend re-taking, only because a close friend and I have each had experience with re-taking (non-LSAT) standardized tests and scoring either lower or only a few points higher (which in some cases can look worse, IMO)  the second time around.

But in your case, if you really only did a practice test or two and worked through half of a prep book, for example, I I think it's likely that a formal course could help you raise your score several points. It sounds like Appalachian is anathema to you, and other posters are correct in pointing out how difficult it is to transfer (anecdotally, I only know one true transfer succcess story out of the three or four transfer-attempt friends I have, and that was a Top 5% from Hastings to NYU).

I think the biggest benefit to re-taking is your peace of mind; if you settle for a school you don't care for, you may always question what a re-take could have done for you. Solid preparation for and re-taking of the exam--even if the resulting score only gets you into a T3 or T2 school--will assuage any fears of "settling." And you'll probably get financial awards at lesser-known schools located in large urban markets.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: It's the title of the forum
« on: July 26, 2007, 05:26:53 PM »
wish i was lucky enough to have been born dark

Wish you were lucky enough to have store clerks give you "the Eye," schoolmates mock your appearance, and LSD trolls overlook your 172 LSAT in their haste to bray about perceived URM advantages and The Bell Curve?

BTW, OP said s/he was URM (Black), not "dark."

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Being refused a withdrawal
« on: July 24, 2007, 02:15:01 PM »
What was the wording of the agreement? Was it a case of you not reading closely enough/believing you had the option to withdraw even after depositing $, or did you know a withdrawal would be a violation/were you hoping to take your chances and not get called out on it?

Beer's link contains a wrenching (but, for those of us who have read lots of similar blogs, unsurprising) post from a U of MN grad considering moving to Ireland to avoid repayment of law school debt due to an inability to find a job. Kind of like Michael Moore's Sicko focused on the horror stories of people WITH health insurance, this woman's post serves as a corrective to those who think a Top 25 school is a free ticket to six-fig salaries; it is not only the T2-T4 grads who suffer. (I especially enjoyed her point about even small, 40K-paying firms that feel "entitled" to require top qualifications/LS pedigrees/grades from law students).

Such posts bothered me the most when I was taking the first tentative steps toward applying to/thinking about LS. A bit of hard thinking about my current finances and (non-trad) situation has made the negative aspects of post-LS prospects sit a little easier with me. Since undergrad, I've worked (in some cases, been exploited) for almost ten years in other fields (have a non-tech, non-business graduate degree) and have become used to low salaries in a city with a very high cost of living. My job has required me to work closely with certain elements of the law and with lawyers, and I've found it to my liking. I'd be pleased to find legal employment paying around 55-60K (or 10-15K less in a less expensive area), but I am prepared for the fact that I may not be able to find a job immediately after LS (and have planned accordingly), and that when I do, it may be for considerably less than 55K.

Non-Trads might come off as condescending sometimes, and perhaps unjustifiably so (I'd like to be entering LS a few years younger, for e.g.), but one advantage we may have is years of perspective on the type of jobs that would satisfy us after graduation, and, more importantly, the type of job we may have a real shot at. A few things I've ruled out are relying on Career Services/OCI to find a job; taking on more debt than I will be able to comfortably pay off; and assuming that even good grades at the Top 18-30 schools I am considering will net me a high-paying job.

 Or maybe I'm just easy to please.   ;)

I am choosing between W&M and some other schools ranked similarly to/higher than Washington and Lee, and I too have been interested in how much of a help W&M Legal Skills has been/; I've been soliciting advice from several students. A few said you "get what you put into it" (if you blow it off, you won't learn much), one said it helps students make contacts/network with older law students and with the professors that role-play as firm "partners," and a few others confirmed my suspicion that it helped prepare them for law practice/shorten the learning curve. Two people I spoke with in particular mentioned that when they summered at large firms (D.C. and Chicago), their supervisors/co-workers were astonished at how much more adept they were than grads/2Ls from other schools, including T14.

Still, most said that as helpful as Legal Skills can be to some students, the biggest benefit of W&M is the professorship (accessible and amiable) and the just-right- class size (not too small, not too big).

Hope that helps.

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