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Incoming 1Ls / Does LSAT predict Bar Exam performance?
« on: April 16, 2005, 12:36:08 PM »
Is an LSAT score a good predictor of someone's ability to pass the Bar Exam on the first attempt? 

One author has recently argued that the average LSAT scores peaked for first-year students at ABA schools in 1991 at 158.5 (representing the 75th percentile). He then noted that the current mean for all ABA schools was 155 (representing the 64th percentile). He wrote that students with a 155 have a "predictive pass rate" on the bar exam of about 72.5%. Nationally, the bar pass rate has fallen to below 75% (year 2000 data). He then argued that there is a nearly perfect correlation between LSAT score and passing the bar on the first attempt. The correlation he cited was 0.91 to 0.94--a perfect correlation is 1.0. See National Bar Examiner, (vol. 73, no 4 p 11-13).

However, the Law School Admission Council ("LSAC") wrote a Letter to the Editor in response to the author's claims. They said it was not statistically appropriate to only use aggregate data from the law schools (in other words, a law school's mean LSAT) to "predict" how an INDIVIDUAL student of that law school will perform on the bar exam. LSAC had conducted a lengthy study that evaluated data from over 23,000 INDIVIDUAL members of the law school class that entered in 1991. They found that LAW SCHOOL GRADES had the highest correlation with bar passage. (.38 - .41). LSAT score came in second (.30).  In other words, the vast majority of the factors that can predict how an individual will perform on the bar exam are unknown or not captured by these statistics. Law school grades, however, are a stronger predictor of bar exam success than the LSAT score.

Quoting from the LSAC

"LSAC, as sponsor of the LSAT, always walks a fine line between defending the utility of its test against the test's critics, and helping law schools understand that its utility as an admission tool is limited.  Should the mistaken notion that a school's LSAT mean has a direct and nearly perfect relationship with bar passage really take hold, there is a great risk that admissions committees will begin to evaluate individual applicants with that group result in mind.  Such a situation will almost certainly lead to an overreliance on the LSAT score in the admissions process, with one potential result being a decrease in racial and ethnic diversity among law schools." The Bar Examiner, February 2005, p 42. 

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Are you a gunner?
« on: April 16, 2005, 07:53:50 AM »
Well, I think to get a picture in your mind of a "gunner" you may remember the scene in The Paper Chase where Professor Kingsfield calls on one student and asks a question and the student thinks he has the answer. But the student obviously isn't sure of his answer, so the student answers under pressure. Then Kingsfield fires off another more subtle question, slightly changing the facts, and asking if the result would be the same. The student has to pause while thinking about the changed facts, and right down the row, everybody's favorite, "Liberty Bell," immediately shoots his hand up in the air, waiving it to the Professor, trying to let everyone know he's ahead of everyone.

Life isn't exactly like the movies, but sometimes the movies can come pretty close to life, and that scene shows how aggravating that kind of behavior is. One of the reasons the Socratic Method inspires terror is, sometimes there is a right answer, at least, in the professor's mind, or perhaps in an obscure footnote in a Hornbook, there is a "right answer." The Professor can lead you along with his questions, and you think you are exploring possibilties, trying to follow his thinking. Then he asks you a question that seems to follow from the previous answer you have given, and you answer and BANG, he's asked you a question involving a black letter law rule that you have answered incorrectly. It's like being directed around a strange room with a blindfold on and being led smack into a brick wall. Then while you're down on the floor wiping your bloody nose, there are the gunners with their hands raised, slightly shaking their heads to let you know they never would have answered that question the way you did. God love 'em. 

One example is Professor Flint. He has taught Oil and Gas at UT -Law in the Summer and he teaches at St. Mary's during the regular academic year. But you're right, I don't know of anyone who is commuting back and forth every day...

Interesting article. I thought about the quoted statement: "Now, he says the school must decide whether to trim diversity or risk remaining out of the top 50."

SMU's 2003 numbers, according to the ABA Official Guide to ABA Approved Law Schools, page 634, show total minority enrollment at 14.4 percent.  The 2004 edition shows total minority enrollment at SMU at 12 percent.

USNWR made an unanticipated change to their methodology. Now, people are putting a lot of emphasis on the rankings system in deciding which law school to attend. I hope that people will seriously consider the effects of the ranking system.   

St. Mary’s University was established in 1852, making the University the oldest Catholic university in Texas. In October of 1927, the San Antonio Bar Association opened and established the San Antonio School of Law. In 1933, St. Mary’s University agreed to administer the law school.  The first class of the re-named St. Mary’s University School of Law graduated in 1935. 

The Law School has the capacity to admit around 300 first-year law students.  In 2003, about 1,800 applicants applied for about 300 first-year seats. Total law school enrollment is around 800 full-time students.  The Law School is housed in four modern brick buildings, landscaped with live oaks, cottonwoods, and mountain laurel. 

The Law School library contains an impressive amount of holdings and is internet-friendly.  There is a court-yard and a plaza for students to gather between classes.  The courtyard is popular with the law students during most of the regular academic year; however, Texas summers, especially in the afternoons, are known for setting record high temperatures so this area thins out during the hottest parts of the year. St. Mary’s law school has no part-time law study program. 

The Law School also operates the Center for Legal and Social Justice in a 28,000 square foot building located one-half mile from the Law School campus. One of the missions of the Law School is to provide legal services to traditionally underserved portions of the population. There is also a new center for the Study of Terrorism Law.

St. Mary’s University School of Law received its American Bar Association approval in February 1948.   The School of Law received is charter from the International Legal Fraternity of Phi Delta Phi in October 1949.  The nationally-recognized St. Mary’s Law Journal published its first issue in 1969.

In 2003, St. Mary’s took top honors for three years in a row at the Lone Star Classic National Mock Trial competitions.

San Antonio and Austin do not have the enormous legal markets that Houston and Dallas have. A great deal of legal business goes on in both San Antonio and Austin, but associates’ ability to lateral between firms in somewhat restricted. Austin, of course, benefits from the many quality graduates from the University of Texas School of Law.  The graduates trade off the salaries they could receive in Houston, Dallas, or outside the state for the quality of life issues that exist in Austin. In San Antonio, firms have a preference for San Antonio natives or St. Mary's University School of Law graduates. Because Austin and San Antonio are only about an hour and a half apart, some professors teach at both schools.

A VERY SHORT LIST of just some of the elected alumni of St. Mary’s School of Law include U.S. Senator John Cornyn, Justice Paul Green on the Texas Supreme Court, Judge Barbara Hervey, Court of Criminal Appeals, Charles A. Gonzalez, 20th  Texas Congressional District, Michael McCaul, 10th Texas Congressional District, Thomas Corbett, Jr. Pennsylvania Attorney General, Peter Kindler, Missouri Lt. Governor, Justice Sandee Bryan Marion, Texas Fourth Court of Appeals, Phylis Speedlin, Texas Fourth Court of Appeals.

Well, St. Mary's isn't trying to be known as the"terrorism-law" law school.  It's true they do have some expertise in that area (largely due to one professor, Professor Addicott), but the school's focus is really on the core classes such as business associations, wills, community property, secured transactions, commercial paper, Texas civil procedure, federal income tax, etc.  It's not as though every law student is graduating with a specialization in terrorism. Many of the state's largest law firms recruit at St. Mary's. St. Mary's graduates go into corporate law, litigation, judicial clerkships, family law, immigration, and many, many other fields of law. Some do go into government--United States Senator John Cornyn (R--Tex.) is one example. 

Incoming 1Ls / Should Texas allow unaccredited law schools?
« on: March 11, 2005, 07:26:29 PM »
There is a bill in the Texas legislature that would allow graduates of unaccredited law schools to sit for the Texas Bar.  State Rep. Robert Talton, an attorney, authored H.B. 826, which would mandate the Texas Supreme Court to adopt rules allowing attorneys whose law degrees came from study by correspondence to sit for the Texas exam, if the graduates have passed another state's bar exam and they are licensed in another state to practice law. According to Talton's bill, the distance-learning law school graduates could be admitted to Texas law practice if the graduates pass the Texas bar exam.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: law school prep course
« on: March 05, 2005, 06:55:11 PM »
As I wrote, I took part of the one put on by Barbri. They offered a week long program. I could not go for the entire week. They also allowed you to go to just three days of the week long program for a reduced rate. While that sounded better, I still couldn't go because I was working. So I called them up and said I wanted to go to just the exam writing day. They said that was fine and pro-rated it.

They gave me many of the books they used. The day consisted of a Barbri presenter explaining study schedules, course loads, the importance of grades and competition. He went through the various supplemental materials (commercial outlines, etc.). He then explained about hornbooks, casebooks, briefing, the Bluebook, case citations, reporters, etc. Then they went into a detailed explanation of IRAC.  We had been given an assignment to read and brief a case.  A law professor then came in and lectured and grilled some students in the Socratic method. Then we took an exam question and you tried to write out an answer under timed conditions. I thought it was  pretty decent simulation of law school and I'd do it again.  That's all I can think of right now.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: law school prep course
« on: March 05, 2005, 06:45:33 PM »
Well, do you recall if one was put on by Barbri.  If it was, I took it (part of it, actually) and can comment on it.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: law school prep course
« on: March 05, 2005, 06:32:40 PM »
Which law school prep course?

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