A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

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Duralex
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby Duralex » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:01 pm

Kobe_Teeth wrote:What I think is more interesting is that this was posted on ATL days ago, is on Volkh today and TLS has barely acknowledged it.


This is the same Sander study at UCLA that was discussed here a week ago. Note that a lot of other papers using the "After the JD" data exist--and the AJD data is pretty rich, so you may want to look at the NALP report itself and the other papers if you don't like what the UCLA analyses had to say about it.

Previous thread: ABA Journal on UCLA Study: LS Grades > Elite School (& more)

NALP AJD report
NALP AJD Publications page

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acharyainc
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby acharyainc » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:04 pm

By far the best insight I have gotten on this issue was from a highly respectable professor from Catholic Univ School of Law. he said that for the first job, your grades outweigh the prestige of your law school (in the aggregate). However, your law career is going to extend far beyond your first job and it is at that point that the prestige of your law school is tremendously more beneficial than your grades.

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Nom Sawyer
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby Nom Sawyer » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:05 pm

Kobe_Teeth wrote:What I think is more interesting is that this was posted on ATL days ago, is on Volkh today and TLS has barely acknowledged it.


This article came out Aug. 10 actually and was discussed several times on TLS over a week ago.

If you actually read it, their isn't much empirical data supporting the fact that a student will do much better if they change from say a T6 to a T14 school... its basically kind of vague/ relies on the prior LSAT/GPA correlation stuff/ and is more applicable to larger tier variations.

Basically, their study is slightly flawed its implications only good for certain segments of students or situations.

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Duralex
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby Duralex » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:11 pm

The article linked from Volokh was posted on SSRN on 7/15/10 and is dated 7/29/10.

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Dick Whitman
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby Dick Whitman » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:12 pm

Bumi wrote:I reject the conclusions of this empirical study because they do not hold for extreme edge cases or anecdotal exceptions, and because they do not conform to my worldview.


You are finally ready for law school, grasshopper.

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Nom Sawyer
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby Nom Sawyer » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:15 pm

Duralex wrote:The article linked from Volokh was posted on SSRN on 7/15/10 and is dated 7/29/10.



Oh yeah, that's what i meant.. the August 10 thing is when its revised

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Dick Whitman
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby Dick Whitman » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:16 pm

acharyainc wrote:By far the best insight I have gotten on this issue was from a highly respectable professor from Catholic Univ School of Law. he said that for the first job, your grades outweigh the prestige of your law school (in the aggregate). However, your law career is going to extend far beyond your first job and it is at that point that the prestige of your law school is tremendously more beneficial than your grades.


They discussed that. The high grade, low rank graduates performed better at making partner.

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presh
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby presh » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:50 pm

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romothesavior
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby romothesavior » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:17 pm

Comparing the top of the class at one school to the bottom of the class at another doesn't really seem fair, nor do I think this study is inherently contradictory to what anyone on TLS says. TLS conventional wisdom simply says that going to the better school maximizes your odds of gainful employment because employers are willing to dip farther into a class. Median at Chicago is going to do better than median at Northwestern, which is going to do better than median at WUSTL.

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presh
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby presh » Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:10 pm

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miamiman
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby miamiman » Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:14 pm

presh wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Comparing the top of the class at one school to the bottom of the class at another doesn't really seem fair, nor do I think this study is inherently contradictory to what anyone on TLS says. TLS conventional wisdom simply says that going to the better school maximizes your odds of gainful employment because employers are willing to dip farther into a class. Median at Chicago is going to do better than median at Northwestern, which is going to do better than median at WUSTL.


Interesting that no one on TLS seems to talk about what happens to those below median. It's like the TLS equivalent of a BLACK HOLE OF DOOM.


below median anywhere outside of YHS is ... generally speaking a black hole of doom.

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romothesavior
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby romothesavior » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:46 am

miamiman wrote:
presh wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Comparing the top of the class at one school to the bottom of the class at another doesn't really seem fair, nor do I think this study is inherently contradictory to what anyone on TLS says. TLS conventional wisdom simply says that going to the better school maximizes your odds of gainful employment because employers are willing to dip farther into a class. Median at Chicago is going to do better than median at Northwestern, which is going to do better than median at WUSTL.


Interesting that no one on TLS seems to talk about what happens to those below median. It's like the TLS equivalent of a BLACK HOLE OF DOOM.


below median anywhere outside of YHS is ... generally speaking a black hole of doom.


Eh... not necessarily at CCN. Pre-ITE sub-median was still models and bottles for most T10 schools as long as you weren't dwelling in the cellar.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:52 am

That grades are a better indicator of law school success than the LSAT (no shit?) doesn't change the fact that transfer students provide a solid empirical foundation that shreds the premise of this article.

Point 1: Student X is at a T50, at the top 5%. Transfers to a T6, stays in the top 5-10%, or even improves to top 1%.

Without evidence to the contrary, it is more reasonable to assume, from point 1, the following:

Point 2: Student Y is at a T50, at median. In alternate-world where the median student would be able to transfer to a T6, Student Y would be at median;

than it is to assume what the article assumes, i.e.:

Point 3: Student Y is at a T50, at median. In alternate-world where the median student would be able to transfer to a T6, Student Y would be significantly below the median.

Annecdotally, Point 1 is true for far, far more transfer students than any variation (i.e., student transfers, falls to the top 20% or falls to median). Would be interesting to see an actual study done on that; but the article's failure to do so, in the face of a large amount of annecdotal evidence that supports the idea that transfer students do not, in fact, slip in their rank, renders the premise of the article highly suspect.

Edit: Also, you're off your rocker if you think large firms do any appreciable hiring outside of OCI. They don't. HTH. If a firm isn't interviewing at your school, you are not going to get a job there.

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Dick Whitman
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby Dick Whitman » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:09 am

ToTransferOrNot wrote:That grades are a better indicator of law school success than the LSAT (no shit?) doesn't change the fact that transfer students provide a solid empirical foundation that shreds the premise of this article.

Point 1: Student X is at a T50, at the top 5%. Transfers to a T6, stays in the top 5-10%, or even improves to top 1%.

Without evidence to the contrary, it is more reasonable to assume, from point 1, the following:

Point 2: Student Y is at a T50, at median. In alternate-world where the median student would be able to transfer to a T6, Student Y would be at median;

than it is to assume what the article assumes, i.e.:

Point 3: Student Y is at a T50, at median. In alternate-world where the median student would be able to transfer to a T6, Student Y would be significantly below the median.

Annecdotally, Point 1 is true for far, far more transfer students than any variation (i.e., student transfers, falls to the top 20% or falls to median). Would be interesting to see an actual study done on that; but the article's failure to do so, in the face of a large amount of annecdotal evidence that supports the idea that transfer students do not, in fact, slip in their rank, renders the premise of the article highly suspect.

Edit: Also, you're off your rocker if you think large firms do any appreciable hiring outside of OCI. They don't. HTH. If a firm isn't interviewing at your school, you are not going to get a job there.


I got two callbacks last fall outside of OCI.

You're assuming what holds true for the best students would also hold true for the average students, without any evidence to support your assertion. But transfers continuing to do well at their new schools shows that top students at lower-ranked schools are superior to the average students at higher-ranked schools.

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Dick Whitman
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby Dick Whitman » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:11 am

presh wrote:Now a student might look at this combined with other factors, like a scholarship and region of preference, and decide that attending the lower-ranked school is the best choice for him/her. I did. However, if I had performed worse than I did on exams, I would probably be kicking myself right now for turning down a T14.


This data is exactly why 0Ls should take scholarship offers and region of preference heavily into account. But there are plenty of posters on here who would encourage them to go to the higher-ranked school no matter what.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:16 am

I addressed that point. My presumption is more reasonable than the article's, because my presumption at least has solid data from transfer students to back it up. It might be comparing apples to oranges, but at least I have another fruit to compare things to. I'll take that fruit over terrible logic spun off from LSAT correlation any day of the week.

You say it is unreasonable to assume that median at T50 would stay median at T6. I challenge you to point to *anything* that even remotely supports that assertion. Just as top students at lower ranked schools are superior to median students at higher ranked schools, median students at lower schools are superior to bottom-of-the-class students at higher schools.

There's no support for the prospect that if the low-ranked student at the t6 transferred down, they would suddenly be higher ranked and have better job prospects, and that's exactly what the article argues.

09042014
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby 09042014 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:27 am

ToTransferOrNot wrote:I addressed that point. My presumption is more reasonable than the article's, because my presumption at least has solid data from transfer students to back it up. It might be comparing apples to oranges, but at least I have another fruit to compare things to. I'll take that fruit over terrible logic spun off from LSAT correlation any day of the week.


But you are selecting only the people who perform much better than their GPA/LSAT predict.

However it appears this study is vastly overstating the predictive ability of GPA/LSAT. Just because Boalts 75% = Harvards 25% doesn't mean the 25%th at Harvard would be top 75%th at Boalt.

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presh
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby presh » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:38 pm

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ToTransferOrNot
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:41 pm

presh wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:I addressed that point. My presumption is more reasonable than the article's, because my presumption at least has solid data from transfer students to back it up. It might be comparing apples to oranges, but at least I have another fruit to compare things to. I'll take that fruit over terrible logic spun off from LSAT correlation any day of the week.


Do we really have solid data on this though? I could be wrong, but it seems like we only have anecdotal evidence from TLS users about how transfers do. This isn't to say that you are not correct about this, but a) TLS is a self-selecting group and b) transfers that kick ass at their new school are more likely to come here and talk about it. This just doesn't add up to solid data for me.

I do agree that the study is flawed.


Which is why I admitted that doing an actual study on transfer student performance would be good. All I have to go on is knowledge of other transfers' grades, which is admittedly a fairly limited pool (though not limited to the TLS sample, by any means). But that information is a stronger reed than the article's "zilch."

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vanwinkle
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:46 pm

Success in law school (that us, finishing at the top of your class) requires more than just intellect, it requires a strong work ethic and self-starting; it takes an ability to figure out on your own what it takes to succeed. Given that, it seems far from surprising that higher grades correlate to higher success in the real world.

This is also why anecdotally there seem to be so many transfers that do well at their new school despite "smarter" competition. All that, and these results, show is that grades and real world success depend on things beyond GPA/LSAT.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:00 pm

lol reading this thread, im a bit unsure as to what ppl are even arguing about

it seems to me like virtually everyone agrees that the study is flawed, and the transfer question is so hard to actually solve w/o empirical evidence, it could swing either way

i mean i dont doubt that top of the class at say T25 could do above median at a T6; that seems very plausible, but is anyone really even arguing that?

lebroniousjames
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby lebroniousjames » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:07 pm

presh wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Comparing the top of the class at one school to the bottom of the class at another doesn't really seem fair, nor do I think this study is inherently contradictory to what anyone on TLS says. TLS conventional wisdom simply says that going to the better school maximizes your odds of gainful employment because employers are willing to dip farther into a class. Median at Chicago is going to do better than median at Northwestern, which is going to do better than median at WUSTL.


Interesting that no one on TLS seems to talk about what happens to those below median. It's like the TLS equivalent of a BLACK HOLE OF DOOM.



What are you, stupid? No one on TLS gets below median. (We) only flip double-sided coins.

miamiman
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby miamiman » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:11 pm

I just find it hard to swallow that someone who finishes at the bottom of CLS would, with any strong likelihood, finish at the top at UF.

I don't think the correlational studies that have been done on LSAT/GPA can predict that with statistical significance.

castanea
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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby castanea » Thu Aug 12, 2010 5:29 pm

miamiman wrote:I just find it hard to swallow that someone who finishes at the bottom of CLS would, with any strong likelihood, finish at the top at UF.

I don't think the correlational studies that have been done on LSAT/GPA can predict that with statistical significance.


The way they deal with that in the paper is by looking at students who chose to attend their "second or third" choice school.

By using OLS regression to predict standardized law school grades in the BPS, we obtain
consistent estimates that attending one’s first‐choice school is associated with a drop in law
school GPA of about one‐fifth of a standard deviation. We also find that first‐choice students
attend schools that are, on average, about one‐third of a “tier” more elite than their secondchoice
peers who are otherwise similar in their credentials. Our preliminary inference from
these findings is that moving up a tier in the BPS hierarchy is associated with a GPA drop of
about three‐fifths of a standard deviation (about two tenths of a point in a typical law school
4.0 scale). The detriment to GPA was even greater for law students in the top two law school
tiers in the BPS (roughly equivalent to schools ranked 1‐50). For these students, attending a
first‐choice school resulted in a highly statistically significant loss of .39 standard deviations in
law school grades, suggesting that trading up an entire tier could result in a half point drop in
GPA.37


Isn't Florida's 75th percentile around 163? That's 7 points below CLS's 25th percentile. With a correlation coefficient of .4, the results from this regression are basically the same result as what the LSAT/GPA correlation studies would say. Considering the correlation is expected to get stronger when you consider how tightly bounded LSAT scores are at law schools and you still have a correlation of .4.
Why do people have a hard time believing that someone from a top 5 school would do significantly better at a school at the bottom of tier 1? Is it a vocal minority of people on TLS who think there is no predictive value in the admissions process? Or is it a widely held belief?

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Re: A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom to Chase Prestige

Postby Hey-O » Thu Aug 12, 2010 5:30 pm

The problem with applying this article to TLS is that many TLSers are choosing between two elite schools, like Michigan vs. Duke. The study doesn't really have a lot to say about those differences. It is specifically talking about students who choosing between schools that are separated by twenty or thirty places. Say a student who was accepted at Duke with below median numbers and also accepted at UC Davis with numbers above the 75th percentile.

The study's point is that the average student will perform better at UC Davis than at Duke and thus would have better career outcomes at UC Davis than Duke. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but I don't think this is an unreasonable assertion for most students.

I disagree with the extent that the study says that GPA and LSAT will accurately determine law school grades, but I think the overall point the study is making is a good one: go to the school where you think you will perform the best, not just the highest ranked school.




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