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Messages - kslaw

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Studying for the LSAT / Re: LSAT as an indicator
« on: February 20, 2004, 12:48:34 PM »
I found your statement that until I take the LSAT and attend law school, I won't know what I'm talking about to be highly amusing.

As a future lawyer, you should know that your argument, applying your personal experience to a general concept, is poorly supported.

On the other hand, if you can show evidence that there is no statistically significant relationship between LSAT scores and law school success, then I would buy your load of bulls**t.

But the fact that you, an individual, scored low on the LSAT and has had success in law school tells me nothing except that you scored low on the LSAT and had success in the law school you are attending. I still do not know how that applies to the rest of America, or how it applies to your ability to pass the bar. it tells me nothing about your ability to actually be a lawyer. I also don't know if there were mitigating circumstances regarding the reason why you scored poorly on the LSAT.

Had I stated that I believed poor LSAT scores meant it to be absolutely impossible to do well in any law school in the country, you would've proven me wrong. I believe LSAT scores are an indicator that someone is able to think like an attorney, and thinking like an attorney will make it easier/more likely to succeed in law school, and make for a happier and more successful attorney.

Speaking in generalities. Looking at populations and trends, not at individual cases.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Don't forget your ID.
« on: February 20, 2004, 10:42:55 AM »
I was so paranoid about all of the "basic" instructions for some reason. Was sure that after spending so much time preparing, I'd screw it all up by overlooking the most basic things. so I read and re-read all the directions. stood outside the building and checked for my ID, pencils, admissions ticket, etc, then checked again as soon as I stepped into the building.

When I got there that day, I got caught up in the "proper marks" thing. All day I was erasing around the bubbles to be sure I didn't have stray marks. Then reviewed each section twice when they called "5 minutes". I'm still convinced that I'm going to end up with a 120 because I didn't properly fill in the bubbles. At one point, while reviewing a section, I discovered I'd skipped over an answer and the next 10 questions were all improperly marked on my sheet. Now I'm convinced that when I fixed it, I didn't erase the old answers completely enough and those will all come back as wrong because the machine will read two answers.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: LSAT as an indicator
« on: February 20, 2004, 10:33:11 AM »
hookem, there is clearly only one answer that is going to be correct.

however, in one of the prep books I read, they pointed out that almost all of the LR questions, they say, which BEST...

and so the answers are set up with three that are just wrong. one that will answer the question, and one that will answer the question better.the correct answer is the one that will answer the question better, since the true, literal question, is which one is BEST.

so yes, there's only one correct answer because there can only be one best.

but best can also be subjective.

Studying for the LSAT / LSAT as an indicator
« on: February 20, 2004, 09:21:56 AM »
I've seen many opinions expressed that the LSAT is too heavily weighted; that it should not be considered an indicator of law school success over GPA, which reflects 4 years of hard work.

I'm not necessarily denying the validity of this argument, but I am seeing another side of it.

I think most of us would agree that law school admissions is not meant to be a system of rewarding us for our past achievements. It's meant to be a system for screening candidates, selecting those who have the ability to be a successful attorney, and weed out those who lack the necessary skills and abilities or whose skills and abilities lend themselves to other fields.

With that said...a 4.0 in undergrad may be indicative of a person's work ethic. It may be indicative of the person's general intelligence and ability to succeed in America. It is probably very indicative of the individual's aptitude towards the field of undergraduate study they chose. it tells us nothing of their ability to "think like a lawyer" or whether, beyond their general intelligence, they possess the specific set of skills that make learning to be a lawyer easier.

Now...many of us grew up with the idea that if you are of above average intelligence, you can do anything you want to do, and so we may resist the notion that some people who are of above average intelligence lack a certain set of skills that would lend themselves to the field of an attorney. But in my recent years in the workforce, I've really come to appreciate how individual talents and abilities, when applied to the right field, can predict success; and when applied to the wrong field, can prevent success.

example...I know engineers who think like engineers and while they are incredibly good at what they do, you can never get them into, say, public policy. Because their obsession with detail and order would hinder them in a field that required them to look at big picture of everything.

My point is...maybe the LSAT should be considered a favor to US, the students, rather than just the admissions council. Maybe if we find "thinking like a lawyer" to be the most grueling, irritating moments of our life, we should consider the test a wake up call that our talents/abilities/interests are better suited elsewhere.

I have several friends and family members who are attorneys. I've noticed something lately. They all either love it or hate it. The ones who hate it, hate thinking like a lawyer or have a hard time thinking like a lawyer. they were generally also the ones who hated the LSAT and didn't do well on it. On the other hand, I know quite a few people who thought the LSAT was fun, and starting buying books of logic games long after the need to take the test had passed. and they love being a lawyer, and have always thought like a lawyer.

I know there will always be some people whose scores on the LSAT are not even indicative of their own abilities for logical and/or analytical reasoning.  If that's because you don't test well, I would think carefully about your decision to go to law school. Because your success the rest of your life is going to depend on school exams, the bar exam...and if you want to do any litigation, every case is going to feel like a test.

Now I can see someone who doesn't test well, but does have strong analytical and logical skills being great at a job that requires behind-the-scenes legal work...but you still have to pass the bar.

and if you're upset now that the score on a test can determine your acceptance into law are you going to feel after three more years of hard work, when your score on another test determines whether you can even practice in that field for the rest of your life?

I acknowledgethat there are certain flaws to my argument. I've discussed examples from my personal life that should not be generalized to the public because the people I know are not reflective of all attorneys.

Also: I do think there is a certain flaw to the logical reasoning section of the test. Because of the nature of the questions (pick the "best answer" though several could be correct) it allows for a certain subjectivity. One could be incredibly good at "thinking like a lawyer" but score poorly on the LSAT by always picking the second best answer, while someone else scores higher than them just from picking answers at random.

But...I'm trying to argue the unpopular side right now. So...anyone want to discuss?

Law School Admissions / Re: Critique the LSAT/Law School books you have
« on: February 12, 2004, 12:25:30 PM »
I took six. The four most recent, ordered from the, and the two in the Princeton Review Cracking the LSAT. I took the first one untimed, got a 161. Went over the tips and strategies in the book, took the second one, got a 166. Went over the logical reasoning strategies again.

Took a timed practice exam, got a 159 (ran out of time). Second timed exam, 164. Third and Fourth, 169 and 171.

actually, I took 7 tests, I had one timed one (last one) that was 174.

Here's my question, people who took the December or October did you do relative to your practice exams? and how did you think you did leaving the test? I felt like I did better on the real exam than I did on the timed practice ones (no dog yipping at my heels, I actually finished the real exam and never finished a practice one in time). anyway, I interpret that to mean I did horribly on the real exam. did anyone come out of the real exam, feeling they did better than the practice exams, only to be surprised by a score 10 points lower than any practice exam?

I'm just so anxious.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: LSAT Horror Story
« on: February 12, 2004, 06:04:42 AM »
Just a thought...since schools are going to also be concerned with the individual's ability to pass the Bar exam, will telling them you don't test well have a negative effect?

Law School Admissions / Re: Low GPA...address this?
« on: February 11, 2004, 02:01:46 PM »


Law School Admissions / Re: "personal experience"
« on: February 11, 2004, 02:00:43 PM »
Responsibility for the plight of individuals rests with the individual. However, when trends emerge among specific populations in a society, it is the responsibility of that government to analyze the trends, identify the cause, and rectify the situation. In addition, because the plight of entire subgroups present potential problems for the society as a whole, then in an obligation to protect the society as a whole, that government must take preventative measures. so while the government should not necessarily be responsible for the lives of individuals, it is responsible for the future of the society.

giving points for "overcoming adversity" to members of minority groups is actually seen as just giving them a little boost. These are not individuals who have been picked up off the street with heroin needle in hand, given a textbook and a check, and sent to law school. These are individuals who have worked towards their goal, but are being given an extra hand up to reach their goal.

What is the justification for this when another individual has worked harder and doesn't get that same hand up? Well, the argument is out there that the non-minority individuals have already received an extra hand up just by being born into that race. Kind of...a minority was already born with one strike against them, likely two strikes against them because minorities are also more likely to be socially and economically disadvantaged. So...let's give them extra points to make up for those strikes. is that the government's responsibility? there are two perspectives to say it is. first, because analyzing history shows that the slavery this gov't imposed kept past generations of that race down, and so they had a different starting point than the non-minority group. while that happened many generations ago, it still goes that advantages (and disadvantages) are passed down from generation to generation. second, the government is making up for those two strikes the individual is born with because it is the solution to problems plaguing society, which are the responsibility of the government.

So...the other side of it...that there are major flaws in this so-called solution. first of all...we are looking at the strikes an individual was born with (minority status) but we are not adjusting for the inequalities experienced later in life. a minority individual in suburbia with wealthy parents is more likely to get the scholarship than the minority in the inner city who received subpar schooling and can't afford to go to college on their own. so this solution is actually not narrowing the gap. In fact, it's widening the gap.

it's also creating new gaps, because the lower middle class nonminorities are also missing out. pretty soon, instead of narrowing the gap between races, they'll be widening the gap between economic classes.

we can view it from the perspective of the individuals...that those individuals can reach their goals if they work hard enough, that it is not fair to other individuals who've worked harder, etc, but the government doesn't work in terms of individuals. They work in terms of populations and trends and statistics. What they need to see is that there are larger numbers of minorities attending college, that the charts and graphs do not show the disparities anymore. and if they can't change the disparities, they at least have to show numbers that say they're trying, and giving appropriate funding to the effort.

The truth is, trends that have emerged in the last few decades have shown that the plight of some minorities has actually grown worse. An underclass has emerged from all of this. whether it can be tied directly to these slightly misguided attempts to improve the situation...who knows. wouldn't surprise me.  the populations who could most benefit from the help aren't getting it. but...what will likely happen in the near future is the effort will likely shift....minority status will probably play a much less significant role than will low economic status. we'll see, i guess.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Do rankings really matter?
« on: February 11, 2004, 01:10:06 PM »
I'm going to have to say it really depends on your own personal goals for your life, and how the schools will help you reach those goals.

If your first priority is to someday be a top candidate for a Wall Street law firm that pays $95,000 per year, then you probably have to concern yourself with rankings.

If you aleady know you have no interest in that type of career, maybe because you know you'd hate the 80-hour work weeks, or because you want to be a public defender, then consider the other factors...tuition and financial aid, location, etc. you have to evaluate your own priorities. If someone wants to be a public defender, it would make little sense to pass up scholarships as lesser ranked schools and instead incur $100,000 of debt to go to the big name.

Law School Admissions / Re: "personal experience"
« on: February 11, 2004, 12:51:45 PM »
I would never give you a negative response for that. This is, after all, a board full of people who want a career that involves debating and arguing.

Actually, I'm torn on this subject. There are two ways of looking at it. what you have described is making an excellent case for the first perspective.

If we consider the direct effects on the individuals as first priority, we have to take into consideration that there are times when minority students have had less difficulty and fewer obstacles than the non-minority students over whom they are being selected. Those individual minority students are, in a sense, being unfairly rewarded while the non-minority students are being unfairly penalized. To consider race only, while ignoring all other socioeconomic factors, will have very 'unfair' and not easily comprehensible results.

the other side of the argument is that instead of looking at present direct effects on the individuals, we take as priority the long-term indirect effects on society as a whole. In this argument, we acknowledge that the plight of certain minority groups have led to a socioeconomic imbalance between those groups and the majority.That imbalance, if left unchecked, will grow and ultimately have disastrous and widespread results.

the solution, then, is thought to be to try to shorten the gap in socioeconomic factors. If more minority students attend college, receive high-paying jobs, etc, than that gap will be shortened and those generations will become future parents who will pass the benefit along to their children until eventually, society sees no gaps. in other words, implement strategies to alleviate the long-term problem, though the short-term effects may be unfair or unjust or even bordering on illegal (since we claim not to discriminate based on any race or ethnicity). here's where it gets really interesting. one perspective was simply to make standards lower for minority applicants than for non-minority. except that this is discrimination. different standards for different races. so the next solution: to put the race issue into that gray area...extenuating circumstances. how do we make it fit there? by assuming/accepting that by virtue of their race alone, all minority candidates have overcome adversity non-minority candidates have not.

which I consider to be a faulty assumption. If they want to give points out for adversity, they should do it on a case-by-case basis. except that would not show the general public that there are attempts being made to rectify the socioeconomic disparity between minority and non-minority groups.

So, there really isn't an easy solution. the long-term problem of economic disparity cannot be ignored. however, our laws clearly state that discrimination on the basis of race (any race) is not legal.

and..most 'solutions' that address the long-term problem facing society also have deterimental short-term effects on individual lives. so i guess in some ways it depends on which you value more...the future vs. the present, the individual vs. society.

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