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Author Topic: law school grades  (Read 16090 times)

kenpostudent

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2010, 01:05:33 PM »
Boyd is ranked higher in legal writing than almost all of the T14 schools. So, we may have a different ballgame 15 years from now... not that this will do me much good by then.

Honestly, Harvard is better than Boyd or GGU. Even if your in the top 10% at Boyd I think the prestige of Harvard will win out. Getting into Harvard is just an accomplishment in and of itself. I almost feel like it is harder to get into some of those schools than it is to rank in the top 10% of a tier 2,3, or 4 school. With that said I have to go on another tangent about these rankings. Boyd is ranked higher in legal writing, Vermont is ranked highly in environmental law, Pepperdine is great at negotiations, but again WHERE DOES THIS COME FROM. I mean these subrankings do not even have any measurable statistics whatsoever. At least as awfully measure as the rankings are at least there is approximately 10% objective facts. These subrankings just seem like they are selected at random. I feel like U.S. News rankings has gotten Wizard of Oz type status.  The Wizard was "allegedly"  this great all knowing,  all powerful entity, yet he was nothing. Nobody questioned his power or how he got there they just accepted well he is the wizard you can't interrupt him, you can't see him, you can't interact with him, but he does know everything. We all know how that turns out.  U.S. News is the same thing I have no idea when they started ranking or why, or who determines these rankings, it is just THE GREAT ALL KNOWING U.S. NEWS. Who is on this committee how did they rank my school as a top 25 public interest school , how did they determine Boyd is a top writing school, how did they determine Pepperdine is great at negotiations. I would love answer to any of these questions, but none exists other than U.S. News said so. Based on what how these anonymous random people felt. It is so ridiculous.

The really sad part is that people take these rankings so seriously. I know a girl from my school that transferred to Santa Clara she was in the top 2% at my school and they gave her a full scholarship. However, she transferred because she wanted to do IP law.  She has no engineering background whatsoever, but Santa Clara is ranked 8th or something in IP according to U.S. News. So she is going to go 80,000 more in debt than she would have and even though U.S. News says they are the 8th best IP school she will probably lose out to anyone in the Bay Area with a J.D. from and an engineering background. Realistically, if she really wanted to do IP law it would have been better for her to save a ton of money staying at GGU and used the 80,000 in savings to get some type of engineering degree. IP is one of those industries where they don't really care what school you went to if you know how technical things work then you are set. Which is why the patent bar exists. However, U.S. News all knowing as they are and with no facts to support it said Santa Clara is the 8th best IP school. So she up and left leaving 80,000 on the table.  I hope it works for her she was a cool person, but odds are she is going to go 80,000 more in debt and not have anymore prospects from Santa Clara than she would from GGU. Maybe I am wrong, but I really think U.S. News is just an awful thing that people use to make life changing decisions.  U.S. News has no facts to support anything and yet people follow down the yellow brick road just as Dorothy did. To follow some unnamed, anonymous, thing, that is not there. It made for a great movie, but in real life people need to question these rankings and how they come about.

Harvard is not better than Boyd in many areas: Gaming law (hello, we're in Las Vegas), arguably not in legal writing (I'll put any of my writing samples against those of Harvard grads and see how I compete, I may not beat every or even most Harvard grads, but I bet I compete with a very favorable showing). Objectively, Boyd requires more writing classes (3 to graduate) plus a scholarly (publishable - aka Law Review Note, minimum of 25 pages not including footnotes) from EVERY student to graduate. Harvard doesn't require that. Yes, Harvard admits a better crop of students, but their graduation requirements are not as stringent. It is very possible that the average Boyd admit is weaker than the average Harvard grad upon admission, but ends up equal to or stronger than the average Harvard grad at graduation because of a more rigourous legal writing program.

The subrankings come from law professors and the deans of law schools. So, they are based on reputations in the legal academic community.


bigs5068

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2010, 01:17:16 PM »

The subrankings come from law professors and the deans of law schools. So, they are based on reputations in the legal academic community.

I am sure sure Boyd is a great school. I think most schools require 3 writing classes I know mine does as well, but at this point in law school career I don't really know or care what other schools graduation requirements are.  I care about my own and that is really it at this point.

Are you sure the sub-rankings are based on Deans and Professors? That would be some type of fact and it would better than how I thought they were ranking the schools. Even if that is the system how would the Dean of Gonzaga know how well Franklin Pierce's IP law program is. If employers wrote reports about how well student's from certain schools were performing and if they were getting raises or just still around then that would be some kind of fact. I don't know if these deans and law professors are involved in the rankings and if they are it is better than what I thought. However,I  still think it is completely inefficient to publish these subrankings or rankings period.

kenpostudent

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2010, 01:19:38 PM »
As to your example on IP law at Santa Clara, I agree with you. Many of the subrankings are opinions, but they are the opinions of people in the field who should know the deal. You're acquaintance may get better education in IP law at Santa Clara, or she may not. A good education may or may not translate into jobs. However, let's say she has no education background whatsoever in engineering, but she takes every IP class the school offers, becomes a research assistant for a professor who is very prominent in the field, and gets a great recommendation from that professor, she may get a good job out of it. It's hard to say whether she will or won't be successful. Sometimes learning from an expert makes a big difference.

We have a professor here at Boyd that is one of the most prominent experts on Secured Transactions (actually 2 professors)... he was on the committee that re-wrote Article 9! He is mentioned in many of the major secured transactions texts. He is not the best teacher of the subject, though, at least in my opinion. He is very theoretical, but not necessarily practical. So, experts cut both ways. However, everyone who knows Article 9 well in legal academia knows his name (both professors, actually). So, taking his class may be helpful.

kenpostudent

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2010, 01:28:18 PM »

The subrankings come from law professors and the deans of law schools. So, they are based on reputations in the legal academic community.

I am sure sure Boyd is a great school. I think most schools require 3 writing classes I know mine does as well, but at this point in law school career I don't really know or care what other schools graduation requirements are.  I care about my own and that is really it at this point.

Are you sure the sub-rankings are based on Deans and Professors? That would be some type of fact and it would better than how I thought they were ranking the schools. Even if that is the system how would the Dean of Gonzaga know how well Franklin Pierce's IP law program is. If employers wrote reports about how well student's from certain schools were performing and if they were getting raises or just still around then that would be some kind of fact. I don't know if these deans and law professors are involved in the rankings and if they are it is better than what I thought. However,I  still think it is completely inefficient to publish these subrankings or rankings period.

The subrankings are based upon polls. I don't know the exact methodology. However, legal academia is a small community. So, maybe not every dean responds where they have no knowledge of a particular school's IP program. Maybe the IP rankings are done by polling only schools with IP programs. I don't know. However, I do know that most professors are familiar with other prominent professors in their field.

Back to my first point: are Harvard grads better than Boyd grads? Probably, but maybe not. I do believe the top-ranked schools are largely overrated. However, almost every law grad is largely worthless upon graduation in real, practical terms. So, Harvard grads or Standford grads are not rated on true value but on "potential" value to a firm. The firms hope that the Stanford or Harvard grad will one day be a good attorney, even though they are worthless upon an offer of employment (certainly not worth $160-$200K). Boyd grads are equally worthless, but are probably at least as good writers as the T14 grads... in my opinion.

nealric

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2010, 01:42:13 PM »
Quote
, Boyd requires more writing classes (3 to graduate) plus a scholarly (publishable - aka Law Review Note, minimum of 25 pages not including footnotes) from EVERY student to graduate. Harvard doesn't require that. 

Harvard may not technically require that much writing, but I guarantee almost nobody gets through Harvard without doing reams of legal writing. I wrote five 30 page papers and a 70 page paper in law school (not including what I wrote in LRW) even though my school only formally required one paper.
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john4040

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2010, 01:52:29 PM »
It is very possible that the average Boyd admit is weaker than the average Harvard grad upon admission, but ends up equal to or stronger than the average Harvard grad at graduation because of a more rigourous legal writing program.

This is hilarious.  You can take all the legal writing courses you want, but there is simply no substitute for hard work, brainpower, and the ability to reason properly.  Most HLS students have, or are capable of utilizing, all three.  HLS doesn't have to put undue emphasis on legal writing because their students are expected to know basic grammatical rules and how to write in an organized manner prior to attending the school.


By the way, don't rely on specialty rankings.  They're a joke and no one takes them seriously.  When you graduate and take on a real case, you'll quickly learn that general knowledge of a particular field of law will rarely give you the "upper hand" on an opponent.  Cases boil down to issues.  Someone that has no general knowledge on a particular area of the law can skip all of the useless knowledge by narrowing down the issues and focusing only on those issues. 

*Caveat - There are some areas of the law where the law is so complex (i.e., bankruptcy) that a general knowledge of the field is virtually required.  "Gaming law", as well as a host of other USNWR "specialties",  do not fall into that category.

smartandunique

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2010, 02:16:37 PM »
I don't think it's fair to say Harvard is "better" than another law school. Yes, Harvard has better placement, a better reputation,higher expectations and is in the IVY League and all of that contributes to the awesome reputation and marketability that is has.Harvard students for the most part probably had better educational opportunities before law school as well.
 But there are students who wouldn't apply to Harvard possibly because of the location, cost,  and any other personal reason ( that student isn't me, but they do exist)
I'm assuming the Yale students are on the Top Law School board because I'd love to hear their opinion on Harvard.

nealric

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2010, 02:37:28 PM »
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I don't think it's fair to say Harvard is "better" than another law school. Yes, Harvard has better placement,

From a prospective student's perspective, placement is the only thing that really matters.
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Thane Messinger

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #28 on: October 05, 2010, 03:32:32 PM »
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I don't think it's fair to say Harvard is "better" than another law school. Yes, Harvard has better placement,

From a prospective student's perspective, placement is the only thing that really matters.


Indeed so.  And it might be helpful (if a bit painful) to reverse the lens:  it's not just that hiring from a handful of schools is easier.  Firms are intensely status-conscious, becase they cannot reliably predict true quality.  The sheepskin serves as a proxy.   

Like it or not--and 90% do not--grades and prestige are not linear.  Just as with the decision of "which law school?", it is highly deceptive to think of ranking, because in our minds rankings are linear.  In the real world they are not.  This understates the importance of the point:  most employers will consider graduates from a handful of schools, and perhaps a handful of top grads from a grouping of reasonably-close schools thereunder.  This is not (just) because they (the hiring partners) are snobs; they simply cannot risk failure.  True, a Harvard grad might and will flub something--but when that happens, there's a teensy eensy bit of leeway (the first time).  With a school at the other end of the pool, none.  So, this is the way it is primarily because lawyers are exceedingly risk-averse.  And it's equally deceptive to simply say that there isn't underlying truth to the madness.

The scale of prestige (whether grades or school) is geometric.  Perhaps even logarithmic.  We might say that we would do differently, but when our partner salaries are on the line, not so much. 

It's unhelpful to point out the truth without a way to make that truth work for you.  How to, here?  First, re-think everything you've ever thought about "education."  If you're not yet in law school, re-think what "study" means; it's not what it meant before.  (And it wasn't all that helpful before.)  Take LEEWS.  Stop taking mounds of notes, color-coding, brown nosing, etc.  If in first year, and in October if you're confused in class, stop.  Law school is not brain surgery.  Stop and ask why it's so hard.  It shouldn't be THAT hard.  It isn't for those who do well.  Grades are absolutely essential.  Among better study habits, take  LEEWS.    There's a very short, very good book that's coming out soon: it's Law School Fast Track, about study habits.  If in second- or third-year, options narrow . . . but aren't closed yet.  Take LEEWS, take clinics, find internships, find part-time work (or volunteer) somewhere, anywhere (almost) . . . in a law office, of course.  And hang in.  The objective is to find a path for yourself.  Rail against the unfairness of it all, sure.  But that's the sideshow.

smartandunique

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #29 on: October 05, 2010, 03:50:22 PM »
Depends on the student. Someone can have the numbers to get in Harvard but decide they prefer the Midwest and apply to Univ of Chicago or Northwestern. ( or if they prefer the South, Vanderbilt, CA-Stanford or whatever) or maybe they want to stay in their hometown. Some people don't even apply to schools like Harvard because they don't think they will get in.
I understand Harvard has a very well earned rep. They have an abundance of talent but they don't have it on lock. Harvard, not the law school, rejected Tom Brokaw, Warren Buffett and Ted Turner and they did just FINE.
An IVY league degree makes u more marketable and desirable but it doesn't make u better.