Law School Discussion

I'm a URM and I'm opposed to racial AA. How about we replace it with class AA?

The ability to prep extensively is a compelling argument; it hadn't occurred to me.  It seems plausible that those whore are economically disadvantaged person might spend less time or money on prep (again, we have to speak in great generalities here; I'm sure there are plenty disadvantaged kids who took a prep course or put in the hours, and plenty of rich kids who didn't).

So, you two are almost certainly right about that, with the caveat that choosing candidates who truly couldn't afford to prep and choosing candidates who half-assed it would be difficult.  I would imagine that we could view GPAs on similar terms.

I'm still not sure about the whole scheme, though.  If these kids are smarter (or whatever) than their numbers indicate, then they should thrive at a school full of students with those numbers (though, of course, I do see the general social good that is born from putting them in higher-ranked schools).  But I just wonder whether (new numbers!) a class-AA 156 should want to compete against 166s for his livelihood, when only, say, 1/3 of that class will have the full breadth of career and earning opportunities.  I suppose we could make it the 156's choice (by giving him the AA admit to take or not take).

"Intellectually overmatched?!" Are you serious? So a person with a larger penis is necessarily better in bed? A person who bench-presses more weight can automatically fight better? That's your logic.

Also, I'm not ready to cast off the idea that numbers don't matter.  My logic isn't that a larger penis means you're better in bed; my logic is that when you're dealing with large classes of persons (entire applicant pools across all the law schools in the nation), you need a barometer to prospectively gauge expected performance.  The LSAT and the GPA aren't perfect--for all the reasons stated.  But they're the best indicator that we have, and, as I understand it, are in fact correlated to law school performance.  Again, it's not whether X could beat Y, but whether 10,000 Xs will enjoy success against 100,000 Ys.  Anyway, I don't mean to sound like an numbers-centric ideologue or whatever, but gosh, these things aren't irrelevant.  (Yeah, a 162 and a 165 are the same thing, in a sense--but if we're playing with score bands, to say that the 162 and the 165 are the same, those same people could be a 159 and a 168.  On a macro level, you've got to play the cards you're dealt.)

First, I believe numbers ARE "useful"...but not "definitive"; there's a difference. You sound like many people, including me at times. We all do it. I think it's human to want to categorize and quantify things because it's the easiest and safest way to live - which is why this dialogue is so important. These tendencies have held mankind back, creating divisions between us in every way possible.

As for the score bands? You are right. But what the test-makers say is, do not make that jump. The 159 and 162 are the same, ALL ELSE BEING EQUAL. The 162 and 165 are the same, ALL ELSE BEING EQUAL; and that last phrase is the missing cog, here. This means that if two candidates look the same in respects outside of the LSAT, and the LSAT is the only disparity between them, you should not take their score differences as "definitive", i.e., as an indication that the higher scorer is likely a "better" candidate. But in making the statement that two scorers of the same band are equal, we must control for the other aspects of the profile.

Based on that supposition, how likely is it that a 165 test-taker and a 159 test-taker have the same profile? And how likely is it that if they took the exam again, they'd be in the same score band? And how about after three sittings each? Not highly likely, but it happens often enough for the LSAC to say that schools put too much emphasis on the LSAT. Statistically, it happens more often between test-takers within 3 points of each other. This is why the schools are misusing the test scores. They are taking scores literally, which is exactly what the LSAC says they shouldn't do.

We must simply expand the way we think, because, obviously, none of us has had it correct...and that means nobody...ever. This dialogue is important, and you are an important part of it. 


What we need to end this debate is a correlation study that specifically tracks the level of prep for the exam and first year LS GPA.

We agreed simultaneously.
I'll third that :)