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Author Topic: Any thoughts on this?  (Read 1336 times)

cerealkiller

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Any thoughts on this?
« on: April 22, 2006, 11:41:37 PM »
Common wisdom, on this site and elsewhere, advises prospective law students to attend the highest ranked law school possible. There seems to be a problem with this approach, however. Namely, in order for someone to get into the higher ranked schools this would generally mean that the said school was intially part of the applicant's "reach" schools but was somehow accepted there. For instance, say someone has a lower-than-average LSAT and GPA combination but was accepted to T14 because he or she has extraordinary soft factors.

The problem I see with this is that acceptance to law schools without the requisite intellectual capacities, e.g., as evidenced by one's LSAT and GPA numbers, only disadvantages the student. Most certainly, LSAT and GPA combinations are not the be-all and end-all of gauging one's intellectual prowess, but it is a fairly good--not great--indicator of such. My point is this, and I welcome any dissent: one may argue, as I am doing, that if students attend law schools in which the majority of their classmates have much higher LSAT and GPA combinations they are likely doomed to inevitable failure. Not to say they would fail out of law school altogether. But they will, in my opinion, find themselves in the middle of the class or, perhaps, even near the bottom once grades come out. Obviously, this would preclude them from participating in Law Review and many other prestigious opportunities available to students at the top of the class.

In light of this, I think maybe prospective law students should lower their expectations a little and attend law schools where they have equal or even higher LSAT and GPA combinations than their counterparts. Ideally, this would enable them to compete on a much more even playing field--and hopefully rise to the top of their respective classes. It just seems to me that it would be better, as they say: "to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big lake."

Just a thought.     

Texas

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Re: Any thoughts on this?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2006, 11:58:49 PM »
The problem arises when you go to the lower ranked school, and their testing methods level the playing field. You won't see it discussed much, but take home exams and multiple choice exams make it hard to distinguish yourself, and I would think they are more common at lower ranked schools (they are at mine).

Plus at my school you have to be in the top 10% and Law Review to even sniff at the good jobs in the state...whereas top 1/2 or even top 3/4 at some T14 schools are automatic for most jobs...

bluebellag

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Re: Any thoughts on this?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2006, 12:32:02 AM »
I know this isn't very helpful, but I really think it depends on the individual and the specific circumstances. There are many reason that one's GPA or LSAT may not represent that person's true ability. Plus, even a student who is not as intelligent as some of his/her classmates could potentially overcome that disadvantage by being exceptionally diligent. I think that in most cases T14 schools will not accept students that they do not believe can handle the work. Therefore, if a person gets in to a T14 school, they probably have the ability to be competitive at that school. I'm sure there are situations in which it is better to go to a lower ranked school (ie geography, etc.), but I think that most people are better off going to the most prestigious program they can attend. I am not sure, though.

Budlaw

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Re: Any thoughts on this?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2006, 12:56:14 AM »
You've got some good points. However, people with high LSAT scores and High GPA's coming into lawschool wind up in the middle or near the bottom of the class as well. Further, its not like you're exactly brain dead if you wind up at a T14 school. (so what if you only had a 3.5 and a 164 and you luck up and end up at a T14...yet you've been a successful business person for 10 years...do you really think that you aren't as intellectual as the kids who just graduated college?)

The one thing I've noticed about lawschool is that the only thing that really matters is the amount of work you put into it. The fact of the matter is that there is a certain range of people that get accpeted into a specific lawschool. (you're not going to see a guy with a 3.0 and 151 end up at Northwestern...regardless of his or her soft-skills) There really isn't that significant of a variation in the LSAT and GPA scores. However, these people with roughly the same skills and abilities (according the the LSAT) still find themselves placed all along the spectrum of the grading curve. Sure there's some people who don't really apply themselves as much as someone else, and still end up in the top 10 percent, but this is the exception, not the rule. The great equalizer is the amount of work that one puts into his studies.

Finally, Law Review doesn't matter as much at a top 14 school. You're still going to get a great job out of school. I don't necessarily agree with your "its better to be a big fish in a small pond" argument because of this. If you can go to a top school, then you should go. This is because you can have a great GPA and LSAT score, and go to a mid-tier school, and then get schooled by everyone else because everyone realizes the importance of doing well at that lower ranked school, whereas you come in with the assumption that you will do well because of your higher than median GPA and LSAT and subsequently not try as hard.

Finally...You know what they call the guy who graduated last in his class at Harvard Law right?

And speaking of studies, I've got to get back to outlining.



Common wisdom, on this site and elsewhere, advises prospective law students to attend the highest ranked law school possible. There seems to be a problem with this approach, however. Namely, in order for someone to get into the higher ranked schools this would generally mean that the said school was intially part of the applicant's "reach" schools but was somehow accepted there. For instance, say someone has a lower-than-average LSAT and GPA combination but was accepted to T14 because he or she has extraordinary soft factors.

The problem I see with this is that acceptance to law schools without the requisite intellectual capacities, e.g., as evidenced by one's LSAT and GPA numbers, only disadvantages the student. Most certainly, LSAT and GPA combinations are not the be-all and end-all of gauging one's intellectual prowess, but it is a fairly good--not great--indicator of such. My point is this, and I welcome any dissent: one may argue, as I am doing, that if students attend law schools in which the majority of their classmates have much higher LSAT and GPA combinations they are likely doomed to inevitable failure. Not to say they would fail out of law school altogether. But they will, in my opinion, find themselves in the middle of the class or, perhaps, even near the bottom once grades come out. Obviously, this would preclude them from participating in Law Review and many other prestigious opportunities available to students at the top of the class.

In light of this, I think maybe prospective law students should lower their expectations a little and attend law schools where they have equal or even higher LSAT and GPA combinations than their counterparts. Ideally, this would enable them to compete on a much more even playing field--and hopefully rise to the top of their respective classes. It just seems to me that it would be better, as they say: "to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big lake."

Just a thought.     

cerealkiller

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Re: Any thoughts on this?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2006, 01:40:55 AM »
yeah...a Harvard graduate;D.

HLS Fan

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Re: Any thoughts on this?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2006, 08:18:35 AM »
The above responses are dead-on.  If you're lucky enough to get accepted to a T14, then you should go even if your credentials place you at the bottom of your incoming class.  You won't be at the bottom by the time you graduate, because you'll actually work, whereas the people who do end up at the bottom at those schools are the ones who've gone to LS only because their parents forced them to and who don't give a sh!t about law.

I think the same is true if you're making comparisons among non-T14 schools -- e.g., T2 against T3.  But there the benefits of attending the higher-ranked school are not as obvious.

reverendlex

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Re: Any thoughts on this?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2006, 08:28:27 AM »
The correlation between LSAT and 1L grades is weak but relevant (.3-.4). Unfortunately, I'm living proof. I had a 90% LSAT score for my T2 school and offers from a T14. I picked the T2 for cost reasons, and I'm behind the curve there.

I'd argue that your LSAT & GPA scores are like the first hand in a poker tournament. Just because you got dealt a full house or a Philadelphia straight (five unrelated cards and a pistol) doesn't affect the next hand. Play the hand you got as well as you can. Go to the best ranked school you can, with one caveat- if you aren't sure that you want to do the Biglaw track, consider going to the best school that offers you $. I have a few friends graduating debt-free, and their options are much different than mine: they can take the public interest jobs with lots of resume-building experience instead of being slaves to insane billable hour requirements.


QUAKER OATS

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Re: Any thoughts on this?
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2006, 11:23:41 AM »
I have likely one of the lowest LSAT GPA combos in my school and I'm top 10%.  Just know yourself and think about why your combo is low.  If you studied all the time in college and took LSAT classes and ended up with low numbers, then you may have a problem.  On the other hand (linke me), you didn't care much about college studying, and took the LSAT with little or no practice, then those numbers are probably not good predictors.


Also, the rankings thing is way overblown on this board.  Of course rankings matter to a certain extent.  No informed person could argue that Vermont Law School is even comparable to Havard.  However, in less extreme comparisons, geography will make a difference.  Suppose for instance that you know you want to work in Denver.  Suppose further that you get into Denver (ranked 70) and Fordham (ranked 32).  Denver U is going to give you much better connections in Denver than Fordham will.  This is just an example I made up but the point is, when schools are not extremely great or extremely bad, geography matters more.

brewha

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Re: Any thoughts on this?
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2006, 11:38:33 AM »
I have likely one of the lowest LSAT GPA combos in my school and I'm top 10%. 

Disclosure: Learned Hand goes to a low-ranked tier 4.  Top 10% at that school is like winning the gold medal at the special olympics.. sure you're a champion, but you're still [in the special olympics].
pudding is delightful

QUAKER OATS

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Re: Any thoughts on this?
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2006, 11:51:06 AM »
that's pretty bad--almost as bad as trolling internet forums to point out the deficiencies of lower ranked schools.