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Author Topic: T1 non T20 Law Schools - Worth it?  (Read 8993 times)

Liz Lemon

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Re: T1 non T20 Law Schools - Worth it?
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2010, 02:49:49 PM »

I had thoughts about pretty much everything you said, but I'll just respond to this:   no.

I go to a T20, and I know a number of people who had 170s, and a number of people who had 164s.  Six points on the LSAT is a lot, right?  That's the difference between #20 and #50, in your case.

Anyway, trust me on this:  just, no.  You could probably say "modest chance" if you decided to go to a Tier 4.  You can't say "modest chance" with anything less than a 15 point LSAT swing.  1) The LSAT is mostly horseshit; 2) four months of studying for an exam, plus all the little vagaries on law school tests, levels the playing field in spades.

I'm not saying don't go to the #50.  I'm just saying don't go there thinking you have any variety of a leg up on anybody.

Thanks for putting into writing what I always think about the LSAT and it's accuracy as a predictor in law school performance.  The LSAT is the best indicator of law school performance.  That doesn't make it an actually good predictor.  Plus, I maintain that anyone can throw down money for private tutoring and study hard enough to bring their score up 15 points.  I feel to see how that helps accurately predict anything (as a side note, I did pay to take an LSAT class and I know that I would not have done as well as I did if I didn't pay for tutoring).

Anyway, I hate to derail the topic but this exact though process entered my mind a few days ago.  I was offered a substantial scholarship to a T2 school and when I asked a current student how easy it was for her to maintain it, she suggested it wouldn't be hard for me since my LSAT was higher than most other students would be in my class.  Although this boosted my confidence for about 2 seconds, I would never count on having a leg up on anyone based on LSAT score alone.  Once you step foot in a classroom, you are no different from your peers.

StonewallJacksonFan

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Re: T1 non T20 Law Schools - Worth it?
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2010, 07:48:07 PM »
A lot of people mistakenly suppose that since a law school is low ranked, it might be a lot less challenging than say Columbia Law.  That is not true.  In fact, T3 and T4 law schools are often more difficult to succeed in because they are overfilled by intelligent, ambitious and highly competitive candidates who just could not do well on LSAT.  LSAT does not measure how smart or how law-able you are, the only thing it measures is how well you take the LSAT.  LSAT creators state that fast pace of the test is justified, because if they give test takers more time, most people will get all questions right.  No.  First, in real legal/business life a professional will usually have months or years to get it right.  Secondly, in my professional experience, people who cannot get it right almost always will never get it right, be it 1.5 min, 7 weeks or 10 years.  You say because I cannot answer an absolutely uninteresting and uneccesary convoluted question in 1.5 min I am not quite up to snuff with the best future lawyers in America? No way.  Does correctly distributing councellors and campers in two boats correctly predict professional success?  Only if you will become a professional newspaper puzzle solver.  But this is the system our society has created.  I believe the result of this system is mainly counterproductive and resembles a caste system.  In the middle ages valiant, strong and able peasant could never become a knight, similarly, today extremely able law students who are not good at taking LSAT almost never can get into a top law school and face dire disadvantages in obtaining top law positions.

reez

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Re: T1 non T20 Law Schools - Worth it?
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2010, 02:29:24 AM »
Well listen, I don't want you to overstate my position on the LSAT.  I think it means a whole lot of things besides just whether you're good at the LSAT or not.  It's a decent measure of analytic ability on a number of levels.  (As a general matter, I agree with "Liz Lemon" that it's the best predictor of LS success, but not necessarily a great predictor.)

So my point isn't that the LSAT doesn't capture some pretty important lawyering abilities, but rather that it doesn't much capture your ability to position yourself for success on LS exams.  That's a months-long process that requires all kinds of stuff--personal devotion, very strong writing skills (and typing skills, for that matter), thorough organization, and so forth.  And even then, it requires a good deal of luck; I know kids with all A's and one B-, because who knows, maybe they missed some big issue, or just happened to go down the wrong path of analysis, or just took a different tack than the prof was looking for.  It doesn't require mental gymnastics to imagine that kids as smart and well prepared as they are could easily have had a couple bad grades, or maybe a half dozen.

You get the point.  Success in LS is pendant upon a thousand little things going your way over the course of several months.  Your LSAT score speaks to your ability to handle a very limited handful of those things--and even then, it just suggests the likelihood that you're capable of affecting them; doesn't guarantee a thing.

StonewallJacksonFan

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Re: T1 non T20 Law Schools - Worth it?
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2010, 05:50:17 PM »
I agree. Probably it is the best predictor there is available right now, but not the best predictor possible.  I have been successful in every test I studied for so far but was not very successful in LSAT, despite 3 months of day and night studying for it and practicing. I still got into 86 percentile but that was definitely not what I was getting at.  The main reason I did not do well was that I did not have enough time to think.  I am a little slower on thinking front than other people, but way more fruitful on the results on this thinking. It was this slow but ingenious thinking that allowed me to reach academic and professional success over my peers similarly to how a proverbial turtle hit the finish line before the hair.  So now this quality that has been instrumental in my prior success and will probably be in the future is now a huge disadvantage in a test that is supposed to simulate the conditions of achieving professional success.  Putting somebody in a hotbox to resolve arcane logical problems does not predict success in a legal world any more than an ability to quickly count the number of toothpicks that just fell on the floor predict somebody's ability to succeed in mathematics.  All in all, it could be the most retarded and most serious math-incapabale person in the group who did the best and quickest job in counting the toothpicks.  No disrespect to retarded people but I hope you get my point.

the white rabbit

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Re: T1 non T20 Law Schools - Worth it?
« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2010, 10:24:09 AM »
But there are times when the ability to come up with solutions quickly is important.  You don't always have control over your own timeframe unless you're the judge or something.
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Alamo

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Re: T1 non T20 Law Schools - Worth it?
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2010, 02:58:25 PM »
But there are times when the ability to come up with solutions quickly is important.  You don't always have control over your own timeframe unless you're the judge or something.

Very true (except the idea that judges don't have to think quickly on their feet).  Speed of thought is essential to many types of legal practice.  Even in having dialogue with clients, they're not looking for someone who is going to say "Let me think about that and I'll get back to you."  You need to know what follow-on questions to ask right away if you don't want to be horribly inefficient in your job.
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reez

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Re: T1 non T20 Law Schools - Worth it?
« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2010, 09:58:07 PM »
I think that's all true as a general matter.  But basically any way you slice it, the practice of law is a deliberate endeavor.  It's a very limited set of circumstances in which you haven't had ample opportunity to consider any given question.  (Yes, those situations include client interviews, some aspects of trial practice, so forth--and even then, there's basically always an opportunity to think about an issue and come back to it, ask more questions, brief the question for the court, whatever.)

Though again, that's all really collateral to my point, which is that the LSAT is fine for what it is, but that you really can't use it to predict your performance on LS exams.

(As another collateral point, I think law school exams represent real practice more than they're given credit for--spending months learning everything you can about a set of issues, spending a couple of hours pouring it all into your facts, then moving on to the next set of issues.)

StonewallJacksonFan

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Re: T1 non T20 Law Schools - Worth it?
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2010, 10:26:51 PM »
you can think quickly on your feet without getting 5 intentionally confusing options of what assumption your client/opponent is making... Several of law school admission deans I talked to said they do not believe that LSAT is a better predictor of law school success than GPA, but they have to pay attention to LSAT because of USNWR.

reez

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Re: T1 non T20 Law Schools - Worth it?
« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2010, 10:39:09 PM »
you can think quickly on your feet without getting 5 intentionally confusing options of what assumption your client/opponent is making...

Sounds right.

Quote
Several of law school admission deans I talked to said they do not believe that LSAT is a better predictor of law school success than GPA, but they have to pay attention to LSAT because of USNWR.

Also sounds right, insofar as your GPA is a lot more representative of your work ethic.  The big caveat, obviously, is that a 3.8 at College X and a 3.8 at College Y might require significantly different amounts of work.

There are schools out there with very low admissions standards and a school-wide mean GPA of 3.6.  Then there are schools out there with very high admissions standards and a school-wide mean GPA of 3.2.  To the extent that it's not always easy to control for those differences (let alone the differences in "difficulty" between different majors at the same school), it is helpful to use the LSAT (however imperfectly) in leveling the playing field.

StonewallJacksonFan

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Re: T1 non T20 Law Schools - Worth it?
« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2010, 10:03:57 AM »
yes, but most law schools, e.g. UVA, have a grade inflation table for all accredited UG colleges in the US, which helps them adjust every applicant's UGPA to a single measure.