Law School Discussion

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Messages - reez

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Basically everything here is credited.

There are three facets of "luck" which I think compound each other:

First, on a law school exam, you can go down the right path of analysis or down the wrong path.  Preparation increases the likelihood of the former.  But you can be unprepared and stumble down the right path, just like you can be well-prepared and wrongly decide that X issue requires more attention than Y issue.  This is baseline "luck."

Second, exams are exercises in semi-frantic writing; when you're operating in a state of controlled panic, your performance is going to be volatile.  Were a well-prepared student to take the exact same Property exam 10 times (like Groundhog Day, except he's Andie MacDowell--no memory), he might get two As, three A-'s, three B+'s, and two Bs.  And that doesn't account for the baseline "luck" of going down the right (or wrong) path as a fluky take on some specific fact pattern.  When you factor that in, if you take 10 different Property exams, you might wind up with everything from an A+ to a B-.

Third, finally, there's inconstancy inherent in the grading process.  No matter how well you know a prof's tendencies and areas of emphasis, she might write a specific question with something bizarre and unpredictable in mind.

So that's the exam-specific stuff.  You can also get sick or sit next to a girl who treats her keyboard like a game of Whac-A-Mole--so on and so forth.

This all might sound extreme, but I know a number of people whose transcripts have 15 As and A-'s, and one B- or C+.  It happens.

BUT BUT BUT, the fact that you see people with consistently high (or consistently low) grades is absolutely indicative of the fact that overall success is really just about preparation & ability.  My point is only that "luck" exists (it's just another name for uncontrollable variables, but whatever).

Also, OP mentioned writing skills, which for my money is the most important element in getting good grades.  I'd wager that SAT II Writing scores are as good or better than LSAT scores at predicting law school class ranks.  If you write quickly, cogently and stylistically, you're going to get good grades.  That's not luck, but it's also not a teachable ability.

Yeah yeah I know, TLDR.

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General Off-Topic Board / Re: Exile LSD: The Law School Years
« on: March 04, 2010, 04:30:10 AM »
blueskies' summer job is blowing up my newsfeed.  good stuff.

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General Off-Topic Board / Re: Exile LSD: The Law School Years
« on: March 01, 2010, 11:48:23 PM »
One of my friends got married during winter break (in India) and took a week off of school for the honeymoon.  None of our profs seemed to have a problem with that.  I also wouldn't risk asking to take off work, but I'd also imagine you'd have time near the  beginning or end of summer.

Credited.  I've known a good number of people who've taken weeks here and there.  It's maybe not in the Roadmap to 1L Success, but it generally works out okay.

With respect to taking a week from your summer job, remember that many positions don't start right after exams (if you get a firm, you'll probably have a whole month on either end).

Also, I'd suggest looking for an RA spot--I took a week in July, and extended it to two weeks basically without telling my Prof.  That's a common experience, especially since most of the work can be done on the road (personally, I hauled my research stuff halfway around the world but never got around to actually working on it).  Then again, I'm literally still spending 15 hours a week on the research I started last May, so I guess watch you don't slack too much.

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Where should I go next fall? / Re: T1 non T20 Law Schools - Worth it?
« on: February 26, 2010, 04:32:13 PM »
yes, but most law schools, e.g. UVA, have a grade inflation table for all accredited UG colleges in the US, which helps them adjust every applicant's UGPA to a single measure.

If you think your post required "but," you're an idiot.  Honestly, man.

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Where should I go next fall? / Re: Case Western v. Chapman v. MSU
« on: February 22, 2010, 10:40:40 PM »
I almost went to Case, but ultimately decided not to because 1. its in Cleveland

Watch it, punk.

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Where should I go next fall? / Re: T1 non T20 Law Schools - Worth it?
« on: February 22, 2010, 10:39:09 PM »
you can think quickly on your feet without getting 5 intentionally confusing options of what assumption your client/opponent is making...

Sounds right.

Quote
Several of law school admission deans I talked to said they do not believe that LSAT is a better predictor of law school success than GPA, but they have to pay attention to LSAT because of USNWR.

Also sounds right, insofar as your GPA is a lot more representative of your work ethic.  The big caveat, obviously, is that a 3.8 at College X and a 3.8 at College Y might require significantly different amounts of work.

There are schools out there with very low admissions standards and a school-wide mean GPA of 3.6.  Then there are schools out there with very high admissions standards and a school-wide mean GPA of 3.2.  To the extent that it's not always easy to control for those differences (let alone the differences in "difficulty" between different majors at the same school), it is helpful to use the LSAT (however imperfectly) in leveling the playing field.

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Acceptances / Re: U of Minnesota vs. UC Hastings
« on: February 22, 2010, 02:40:54 AM »
Honestly if your goal is to be an attorney in L.A. then go to school in L.A.

If his goal is to be an attorney in LA, he could probably get a degree online.

If his goal is to have a lucrative legal career reflective of the terrific amounts of time & money he'll invest in a JD, then he should choose a law school at which his probability of securing a high-paying associateship is maximized.  This requires a more nuanced approach than, "I know guys who went to Cooley and got rich!"  I assume I don't need to explain how absurd that sort of reasoning is.

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LSAT horror stories / Re: Seizure during LSAT
« on: February 22, 2010, 01:46:49 AM »
That's pretty wild.

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Acceptances / Re: U of Minnesota vs. UC Hastings
« on: February 21, 2010, 10:07:23 PM »
Great answer!

How about U of Minnesota with a $15,000 scholarship vs. Loyola (LA) with no scholarship?...assuming I'd like to end up in LA.

I don't know the answer to that one.  I think your goal should be to minimize your debt as much as possible--the job market sucks and will continue to suck, and the paying back 150k of loans on a 60k salary sounds terrible.  But at the same time, Minnesota really does handicap your ability to get back to LA.  Then again, Loyola's job prospects are (reportedly) truly terrible.

I don't know, man.  Your options aren't terrific, to be honest.

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Where should I go next fall? / Re: T1 non T20 Law Schools - Worth it?
« on: February 21, 2010, 09:58:07 PM »
I think that's all true as a general matter.  But basically any way you slice it, the practice of law is a deliberate endeavor.  It's a very limited set of circumstances in which you haven't had ample opportunity to consider any given question.  (Yes, those situations include client interviews, some aspects of trial practice, so forth--and even then, there's basically always an opportunity to think about an issue and come back to it, ask more questions, brief the question for the court, whatever.)

Though again, that's all really collateral to my point, which is that the LSAT is fine for what it is, but that you really can't use it to predict your performance on LS exams.

(As another collateral point, I think law school exams represent real practice more than they're given credit for--spending months learning everything you can about a set of issues, spending a couple of hours pouring it all into your facts, then moving on to the next set of issues.)

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