Law School Discussion

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Author Topic: law school grades  (Read 14792 times)

kenpostudent

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #60 on: October 07, 2010, 07:23:52 PM »
When a statistical correlation becomes a hard presumption, that is where I take offense. Personally, I really don't care how big law firms select their associates. For a litany of reasons, I would rather cut off a finger with a dull knife before accepting a position at most of those firms. However, there is just too much snootiness in the legal profession. As humans, we are just flawed. Collectively, our judgment sucks; hence, the need for a legal profession. Judging an individual solely by a statistical curve on a justification of "efficiency" is both wrong in a moral sense and a byproduct of flawed judgment. I would expect more from attorneys. However, I shouldn't because most attorneys are more flawed than the population they represent.

I don't have a problem with the assertion that most YHS grads are more qualified on the whole than most grads of lower-rated schools. When that judgment (I wouldn't call it a rule), is then applied to individual candidates syllogistically, that is where I take offense. Statistics are a form of inductive reasoning. To apply a statistical correlation deductively is not logically valid nor is it fair.

I don't mean to be rude, but you don't seem to be considering reality when you make your arguments.

Most medium and large firms get hundreds of applications for every one job opening.  They have to narrow it down using something, because they don't have the time or resources to do a full and proper check of every single candidate.  They have to use statistics to determine who to interview, and they also can rely on previous experience.  I'm sure that if firms were hiring a bunch of harvard grads that turned out to be chumps, they would start to look elsewhere, but I'm sure that's very rare. 
Also, the general public does influence what a firm does.  Firms realize that it looks good to have associates from top tier schools.  A partner dealing with a client would like to be able to say, "I'd like to introduce you to Stephen, he's just recently graduated from law school at Stanford and he'll be helping on your case." 

You say you wouldn't want to work at a firm that would value an ivy league education, and that's fine, but it's a bit odd to pretend that it's not rational for a firm to go for the most decorated candidates.

 

I'm an idealist. I'm also pragmatic. I completely understand why big firms have adopted their hiring practices. Efficiency is paramount. You're talking to an account... I'm well versed in concepts like efficiency and cost reduction. However, I don't see public perceptions as a valid concern. The general public is generally retarded... hence why we have a legal system. Corporate clients are even somewhat retarded, education level notwithstanding. I would not base my firm hiring policy on the superficial perceptions of clients.

I don't know if there is another way for big firms to recruit. Maybe there is not. Most of my opinions on this subject are colored by my strong bias against corporate clients, many of whom have been responsible for much of the harm in the world. So, naturally, I have little good to say about those who represent their legal rights.

kenpostudent

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #61 on: October 08, 2010, 02:26:16 AM »
While I sympathize with the burden imposed on Big Law by their status-conscious clients, and I fully understand that any large law firm gets 100s of resumes a week, can you honestly tell me that someone in the firm, maybe a paralegal or staff member, is not instructed to toss all applicants who are not from a certain school or from a certain group of schools unless from applicants in the top 5% of their class? No, because that is probably how it's done. Someone wades through the morass to decide who to call. I don't care what arbitrary criteria they use, personally. I would probably apply equally arbitrary (I might only hire associates who used to be amateur boxers or who have competed in wrestling or MMA - they have fighting spirit, and they will beat up many Harvard & Stanford grads! :)), yet very different criteria. However, I am only arguing the very narrow point that perceptions and reputation, no matter how strongly correlated to actual statistics, are still little more than broad generalizations. My broad generalizations may be no better or no less arbitrary, but at least I can face their true nature. At least I am intellectually honest.

louiebstef

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #62 on: October 08, 2010, 10:44:20 AM »
Ken,

I absolutely agree.  Nothing is worse than the slimy corporate hypocrisy that goes on.  I am an ass.  At least I'm honest and straightforward about it.

I played the corporate game for a few years and share your disdain.  I dream of being a part of an effort that hits some nasty gray-suited politically correct (corrupt) conglomerate right in the pocket (which is the "corporate nutz").
"Why be a lawyer? I'm already an ass.  Might as well go professional!"

bigs5068

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #63 on: October 08, 2010, 04:52:46 PM »
I think it is pretty reasonable the way they do it. I am sure they don't even go by school, but often by class rank. Sure Maybe Harvard etc will get a look, but if someone is in the the top 15% at almost any school they might get some consideration. There is just simply no way for firms that get hundreds or thousands of applicants to sort through them all. A really presitigous school or high class ranking is the best formula they can use. Most people who graduate and pass the bar can be taught to be decent attorneys, but what do you have that makes you that much better than anyone else. One of those two things.

I get to go to a basketball analogy now. My friend is a college coach and he goes to the big AAU tournaments to scout high school players. Everyone at these tournaments is good there is not a bad player out there. There is only distinguish them really is by size so if there is a 7'0 guy out there well that gives him the edge. Being 7'0 tall is like going to Harvard in the legal world. It doesn't necessarily mean you will be great, but you will get noticed and have some potential. For the guys that are 6'1 in these tournaments the only way to get noticed is by dominating and scoring 20 points otherwise the guy is just another 6'1 guard like everyone else. Scoring 20 points in one of these tournaments is like ranking in the top 10% of your class. Nobody would notice another 6'1 guy, but if you stand out for that moment then you will get noticed. The 20 points is not necessarily maybe the team was not playing good D on him, maybe he had the game of his life etc. However, it is something and you could not possibly do an in-depth look at every 6'1 guard out there.

 So my point is that these tournaments are like law school. Everyone in the tournament is a pretty good basketball player from and everyone is law school is pretty smart. However, these teams and these firms only have a few spots to fill and they are looking at thousands of players or students. You can set yourself apart in the legal field by going to a badass school or getting really good grades at a lower ranked school. In basketball you get noticed if you are really tall or you put up some solid numbers when people are watching you. It is not a perfect system, but it is the only way to scour through the sheer numbers of people.

kenpostudent

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #64 on: October 09, 2010, 03:22:25 AM »
Height is a static characteristic, basically (after a certain age). Height has measurable utility in basketball. Where one went to school has little real utility after they graduate (save the reputation of their school, or more accurately, the weight that others give to that reputation). NBA teams truly need centers that are 7'0" or taller to guard other 7 footers. No one needs a Harvard grad to litigate against a Stanford grad or to review a contract drafted by a Columbia grad. I can review the contract as well as anyone, or at least be taught to do so. Mental abilities, unlike physical characteristics, can be developed and improved to a much greater degree. I may workout very hard to get more agile or more muscular, but I cannot do anything to get 2" taller. However, I can develop my reasoning skills and wits to match Scalia or Thomas (not much of a contest).

marcus-aurelius

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #65 on: October 09, 2010, 09:49:36 AM »
Ken,

I have no doubt that Boyd can provide a quality legal education.  The difference is resources and the quality of the student between Boyd and 1,2,3.  To stick with the sports analogy, lets look at baseball.

The New York Yankees have nearly unlimited resources and a household name.  They attract many players with the best talent.  They often have several all stars and a couple of hall of famers within their ranks.  They also have some big busts (Carl Pavano anyone).

Now take a team like the Minnesota Twins.  Their resources are exponetially less than the Yankees and not as popular.  They have mostly average players as compared to the Yankees.  Although they so have a superstar or two on the team that could start on the Yankees.  Most though would not be able to sit the bench on the Yanks.  Thus the potential is lower.

As I said, I believe Boyd is a fine educational institution.  The top of the class could probably succeed elsewhere.  It is the middle of the class where the difference is, IMO

nealric

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #66 on: October 09, 2010, 11:31:14 AM »
Quote
can you honestly tell me that someone in the firm, maybe a paralegal or staff member, is not instructed to toss all applicants who are not from a certain school or from a certain group of schools unless from applicants in the top 5% of their class? No, because that is probably how it's done

That's exactly how it's done. If it were done otherwise, the hiring partners would have to spend 5 hours a day sifting through resumes. Keep in mind that most big firms really don't do much entry-level hiring outside of OCI- someone cold-mailing is already suspect. It makes sense to cut out anybody who is not an academic superstar and go from there.
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kenpostudent

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #67 on: October 09, 2010, 04:05:50 PM »
As I said, I believe Boyd is a fine educational institution.  The top of the class could probably succeed elsewhere.  It is the middle of the class where the difference is, IMO

I agree with that.

Thane Messinger

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #68 on: October 09, 2010, 04:35:51 PM »
Quote
can you honestly tell me that someone in the firm, maybe a paralegal or staff member, is not instructed to toss all applicants who are not from a certain school or from a certain group of schools unless from applicants in the top 5% of their class? No, because that is probably how it's done

That's exactly how it's done. If it were done otherwise, the hiring partners would have to spend 5 hours a day sifting through resumes. Keep in mind that most big firms really don't do much entry-level hiring outside of OCI- someone cold-mailing is already suspect. It makes sense to cut out anybody who is not an academic superstar and go from there.

Sad but true, this is indeed exactly how it is done.

kenpostudent

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #69 on: October 09, 2010, 11:03:09 PM »
I wouldn't do it that way, but I will never be a hiring partner at a big firm, either. If all goes well, I'll own my own firm in five years or so (or at least be a partner in a small firm that I start with colleagues). I'll never put any emphasis whatsoever on the school a prospective associate attended.