« on: July 03, 2012, 11:12:46 AM »
The LSAT isn't mastered by many. Practice courses allow you to develop strategies and help you improve your score to some extent, but it's not as if everyone who works hard and takes a practice course or two gets the score they want.
I'm not saying intelligence is the only factor in determining law school success, but it helps.
When it comes to law school success, I'd take someone with a fantastic memory, fantastic analytical brain, and decent work ethic over someone with a decent memory, decent analytical brain, and fantastic memory any day of the week.
Work ethic is very important, especially when it comes to being a good lawyer, but there are diminishing returns in law school. While 80 hours studying for civ pro is far better than 40, 300 hours provides little added benefit over 150 hours.
Law school success depends on your ability to identify the relevant facts, recall and identify all relevant black letter law (with a little dicta) and then apply the law to the facts in a way similar to what your professor would do.
The best lawyers have a good idea of where to find the relevant law, but they have absolute command over the facts. 60% of the job of a litigator deals with facts. Five percent of your time is spent analyzing the law, and the rest is analysis and personality.
Law school makes it seem like you are going to spend hours in libraries and online trying to find that one case out there that wins the day. But in most states, you find the relevant statute, quickly digest the rules in all the cases that cite the statute, and then you try to win the fact war.
My point is that the current model for law schools does a poor job of preparing students to be lawyers. Yes, it provides valuable training in some areas, but three years are two too many. The whole "professor interaction" and "feedback" argument simply didn't apply to me. I found great internships and got legal training on the job. I learned the material on my own and I did well. I never reviewed my notes after the first semester and I never read a textbook after the first year (with the exception of tax law classes). Maybe online education has limits, but B&M education has limits as well. If the online schools are honest about the bar passage rates and they have qualified professors, I think it's a joke that a graduate can't take the bar exam. My ABA approved school allowed people to be absentee students. Nobody cared.