Law School Discussion

My take on the first year of law school

Re: My take on the first year of law school
« Reply #150 on: June 28, 2008, 09:37:06 AM »
Quote
Not that Texas wasn't being kind of an arrogant male private part about it . . . and his view was a bit extreme ("YOU ARE DOOMED TO FAILURE BWAHAHA!!").  But to embrace the opposite extreme isn't right, either.

I completely agree with this, although I still think TexasGuy's assertion was unsupported. Then again, stating "luck" is the determining factor isn't much better.

Re: My take on the first year of law school
« Reply #151 on: June 28, 2008, 09:50:13 AM »
I would say innate ability is something that exists and plays a role.  That doesn't mean it is the sole or even the primary determinant of success in law school.

Re: My take on the first year of law school
« Reply #152 on: June 28, 2008, 09:52:22 AM »
To clarify: I didn't do extremely well. But I did perform wildly out of whack with what the prep levels talked about in this thread would seem to dictate for someone who [didn't] prep as I did[n't]. Also, I'm pleased with my grades. So, there's that.

I withhold judgment on the question of whether the difference between doing well and doing sick-well might be in prep or in natural Texas-a-hole "ability." It's entirely possible.

But the point remains that there are many pathways to law school success. I firmly believe this. And I firmly believe that you will be the best judge of what might work for you and what is working for you. Trust yourself, just a little, you know? You've been doing this school thing for a long time. A lot of it is translatable.

But whoever said the exam was the weapon and your classmates are the enemy seriously understands the nature of a grade curve. Sad but true. The trick is not to care so much.

goaliechica

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Re: My take on the first year of law school
« Reply #153 on: June 28, 2008, 09:59:05 AM »
To clarify: I didn't do extremely well. But I did perform wildly out of whack with what the prep levels talked about in this thread would seem to dictate for someone who [didn't] prep as I did[n't]. Also, I'm pleased with my grades. So, there's that.

I withhold judgment on the question of whether the difference between doing well and doing sick-well might be in prep or in natural Texas-a-hole "ability." It's entirely possible.

But the point remains that there are many pathways to law school success. I firmly believe this. And I firmly believe that you will be the best judge of what might work for you and what is working for you. Trust yourself, just a little, you know? You've been doing this school thing for a long time. A lot of it is translatable.

But whoever said the exam was the weapon and your classmates are the enemy seriously understands the nature of a grade curve. Sad but true. The trick is not to care so much.

How did you translate it?

Would you advise trying to think about how and why you learn?

::smacks forehead::

dischord

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Re: My take on the first year of law school
« Reply #154 on: June 28, 2008, 10:18:55 AM »
I disagree, Joey Ramone.  By virtue of being at the same law school (where they came in with presumably similar numbers), you would expect that the "natural" differences would be minimalized.

Yes, Wally, because numbers are a perfect distillation of innate ability  ::)

Anyway, putting aside the LSAT->intelligence/performance debate, I think that within any score range there's substantial diversity in how each individual thinks.  Even just thinking of my friends who are going/have gone to law school, who by and large must have gotten pretty similar LSAT scores because they're at closely ranked schools . . . yeah, these people just have TOTALLY different intellectual styles.  Which ones will be best suited for law school exams, it's hard to say, but I'm sure some of them have had to or will have to work harder than others.

Oh, and let's not forget that not all LSAT scores are created equal.  It may come as a shock to you, but not everyone studies for the LSAT as much as the people on this board, and some of those people who don't still manage to do pretty well.

Re: My take on the first year of law school
« Reply #155 on: June 28, 2008, 11:11:22 AM »
To clarify: I didn't do extremely well. But I did perform wildly out of whack with what the prep levels talked about in this thread would seem to dictate for someone who [didn't] prep as I did[n't]. Also, I'm pleased with my grades. So, there's that.

I withhold judgment on the question of whether the difference between doing well and doing sick-well might be in prep or in natural Texas-a-hole "ability." It's entirely possible.

But the point remains that there are many pathways to law school success. I firmly believe this. And I firmly believe that you will be the best judge of what might work for you and what is working for you. Trust yourself, just a little, you know? You've been doing this school thing for a long time. A lot of it is translatable.

But whoever said the exam was the weapon and your classmates are the enemy seriously understands the nature of a grade curve. Sad but true. The trick is not to care so much.

How did you translate it?

Would you advise trying to think about how and why you learn?

::smacks goaliechica's forehead::

::wonders about dash's plans for next summer::

dischord

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Re: My take on the first year of law school
« Reply #156 on: June 28, 2008, 11:27:21 AM »
I'm not dismissing the debate, I just think that rehashing that same issue for the millionth time on here would be tedious and kind of tangential to what we're arguing about here.  In fact, I assumed for the sake of brevity (but don't necessarily believe myself) that the LSAT DOES mean something about aptitude for legal studies, whether those skills were learned through studying for the LSAT for 500 hours or not.

But Christ, Wally, we are not robots, and our brains are not computers.  Two, or 200, people who get a 170 on the LSAT do not have the same brain and the same way of going about solving/analyzing problems.  Similarities in their ways of thinking might converge in the narrow realm of skills that the LSAT tests, but even then, there's more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak.

I don't totally disagree with your assessment of why some people don't do as well as others (a lot of small, learnable/improvable skills), and I certainly don't think that grades are always awarded based on intelligence alone.  There is a HUGE amount of room for hard work, and in my experience, it is those who aren't astonishingly bright but who are total workhorses who consistently do best.  But that doesn't change the fact that natural aptitude exists, and IMO, in finer delineations than the LSAT, or really any standardized test, is capable of measuring.

Let's think about who earned the best grades in UG.  Was it the "smartest" person in your English class?  Maybe.  But, at my school, it was often the kid who:

1. wrote a lot
2. used big words
3. quoted tons of secondary literature (i.e., blinding the professor with footnotes)
4. showed up
5. wrote the paper a month in advance, rather than waiting until the night before it was due.


Finally, this sure as *&^% isn't how we were graded at my UG -- this basically sounds like a surefire way to land a B or B+ where I went.

Re: My take on the first year of law school
« Reply #157 on: June 28, 2008, 11:29:11 AM »
I like how you dismissed that debate without a second thought.  Even if they're not a perfect distillation of ability, they're a decent proxy, and innate ability is probably related.  You could make the argument that everyone is near the same level of innate ability, albeit it might be hard to isolate.

Why do we give such mystique to a simple concept?  Let's think about who earned the best grades in UG.  Was it the "smartest" person in your English class?  Maybe.  But, at my school, it was often the kid who:

1. wrote a lot
2. used big words
3. quoted tons of secondary literature (i.e., blinding the professor with footnotes)
4. showed up
5. wrote the paper a month in advance, rather than waiting until the night before it was due.

Is it possible that very simple things are keeping some of us from performing at our limit?  Maybe some people are merely bad at organizing the material?  Maybe others can't write good on-the-fly prose?  Maybe some are better at using legalese to make it sound like they know what they're talking about?  Maybe, just maybe, some people can write 8,000 words while others can write only 4,000?

Why do we assume that a higher grade is truly deserved, or a reflection of the person's ability in the first place?   This is what I have to say to your argument, Joey.  I'm prepared to argue that, sometimes, all you need is simple adjustments; and I'm willing to focus on those in lieu of the major debates and conventional wisdom.  Maybe, like Blink 182, we're missing the small things.  When you're grading 40 good papers, why wouldn't you give the higher grade to the guy who punned on "punitive" damages over the guy who hit the same issues with worse prose and awkward organization?

Could it be that some of those who got the best grades did more than just "write a lot" and "use big words?" Natural (or learned, whatever) writing ability shouldn't be underrated. Those who can write a paper the night before, going under or just over a professor's word minimum (if there was one) and still get top marks on papers are out there. The intelligent slacker is almost a cliche. Now, I'm of the persuasion that one can improve his or her writing ability by just writing a lot, and by critiquing his or her writing constantly, but the person that has already cultivated this skill has a lot shorter hill to climb when writing exams.

dischord

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Re: My take on the first year of law school
« Reply #158 on: June 28, 2008, 11:51:29 AM »
Jesus Christ, Wally, WTF is up with you today?  That was needlessly aggressive.  

When I said that I don't totally disagree, I mean to say that there ARE learnable, improvable skills that are factors in law school performance, and that the particular things you pointed out are certainly plausible reasons why someone might not do well.  I DON'T think, however, that they are the only things that might "make or break" a student.

As for the "tree falls in the forest" comment, let me ask you this (and in a non-confrontational way, lest you freak out at me again) -- what kind of test would measure intellectual creativity?  Or do you not think that that actually exists?  I personally am not much of an empiricist (as if I needed to tell you that . . . or maybe I did).


Your UG is hardly representative.  Judging by the anecdotes I've heard about it, it's a prison for liberal art students.

What the hell does this even mean?  Representative of . . . yeah, I also don't know why you're lashing out at my UG, but I can tell you that the criteria you're describing certainly wouldn't fly in any graduate program in the liberal arts, either.

Re: My take on the first year of law school
« Reply #159 on: June 28, 2008, 12:02:25 PM »
Just calm the [email protected]#@ down, people.  It's only school.

um.