Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

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notaznguy
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Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby notaznguy » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:39 pm

So I know a lot of people strongly recommend that, if you can, go to a T14 school. Of course, it makes sense because it gives you the best chance at meaningful legal employment and because those schools may be worth the debt.

However, going to a T14 also means you'll be with a large group of incredibly talented and intelligent people. The classes at T14s are small and most people that do get into T14 aren't just your average joe that worked really hard. A lot of them probably have natural talent - perhaps they are just very good at what they do, which will be reading and writing and logically reasoning. Law school is also curved, so that means if you aren't really that smart, you'll probably end up getting screwed over by your classmates because they'll do so much better than you.

Now the following is hypothetical:

If I'm someone that had to study a year just to break 170, and I ended up getting to a lower T14 school, isn't it better for me to go a lesser school like probably UCLA, USC, or even UC Hastings? I ask this because it took me 1 year to fully comprehend the LSAT while there were other really intelligent people I know that were scoring 175+ in 2 months of studying. Those guys were truly talented. I know that the main reason I got a 170+ is because I just worked my butt off. I'm not really smart at all and I don't really have any natural affinity for logical reasoning. If I ended up in the same law school and class as those guys, they will almost certainly do better than me. And if most of the class are filled with people like them, I will certainly end up below median. Perhaps I should go to a slightly lower school, where the school is still reputable, so I can perform decently and have a higher chance of finishing closer toward the top %?

/end hypothetical question

I ask this because this was the mentality I had coming to undergrad. I came from a low income community and our high schools were subpar. I didn't have a great education and the quality of it was inferior to many other local high schools. I was able to get into some very good schools (such as some Ivy Leagues) and some good regional schools (like UCLA and USC). However, I knew the only reason I got into those schools was because it was easier to get an A in my school as compared to other high schools. I knew if I went to a school like Brown, I would be a "fake" and I would know I'm not truly as smart as they are. So I went to UCLA/USC instead where it was more suitable for me. I ended up doing pretty well. Perhaps if I went to Brown, I would have been crushed by the academics and had a GPA that was lower than a 3.0?

Here's how I am seeing it:

1) Go to T14 --> Get owned by the curve cause your classmates are geniuses --> Finish below median --> Unemployed/Shit Law

2) Go to decent regional school --> Own others thanks to the curve --> Finish above median --> Employment with good/decent legal job upon graduation

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birdlaw117
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby birdlaw117 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:42 pm

LSAT skillz =/= law school skillz.

Now, if you go to a lower ranked school because you get a lot of $$, now that might be a reason. But don't go to a lower ranked school because you think the competition will be less. That's simply not true.

luthersloan
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby luthersloan » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:45 pm

Should have gone to brown and taken everything pass/fail. Also, something worth keeping in mind is that it is entirely possible that you will go to one of these lower ranked schools and end up below median as well (I would say around a 50% chance) below median at some of the t-14 (cornell for example) seem to do quite well. Also, most of the T14 have B-heavy grading, so while it is easy to tell who is bottom half, it is hard to tell much beyond that. I.E. it is easier to hide in the crowd of median below-median kids, whereas lower ranked schools tend to release class ranks (at least broken down in 5% increments).

Curious1
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby Curious1 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:45 pm

No, no, no. Go to the highest ranked school that accepts you, PERIOD.

luthersloan
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby luthersloan » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:50 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:LSAT skillz =/= law school skillz.

Now, if you go to a lower ranked school because you get a lot of $$, now that might be a reason. But don't go to a lower ranked school because you think the competition will be less. That's simply not true.



Well, of course it is not equal. If it were, they would be no need to grade in law school and we could just put out LSATs on our resumes. The OPs main point, that if he goes to a lower ranked school his grades will probably be better, is probably sort of true as far as it goes. The LSAT is a not terrible predictor of law school performance. Problem is that the LSAT differences between say Cornell and UCLA is zero, and the USC LSAT is only a point lower. So, really the differences in talent at these schools are not likely to be huge. If you went to a school with a median LSAT say, 10 points below yours the difference make a decent difference, but clearly you are giving up more then you are getting. Long and short of it, only go to the worse school if they give you money.

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birdlaw117
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby birdlaw117 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:53 pm

luthersloan wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:LSAT skillz =/= law school skillz.

Now, if you go to a lower ranked school because you get a lot of $$, now that might be a reason. But don't go to a lower ranked school because you think the competition will be less. That's simply not true.



Well, of course it is not equal. If it were, they would be no need to grade in law school and we could just put out LSATs on our resumes. The OPs main point, that if he goes to a lower ranked school his grades will probably be better, is probably sort of true as far as it goes. The LSAT is a not terrible predictor of law school performance. Problem is that the LSAT differences between say Cornell and UCLA is zero, and the USC LSAT is only a point lower. So, really the differences in talent at these schools are not likely to be huge. If you went to a school with a median LSAT say, 10 points below yours the difference make a decent difference, but clearly you are giving up more then you are getting. Long and short of it, only go to the worse school if they give you money.

Bolded = Truth.

The LSAT is a good predictor for a population of students, but when you're looking at one data point it's pretty much a crapshoot. Plus, you'll still be at a school with other students with similar LSAT scores, maybe a few points lower, but OP won't end up at a school with a bunch of people that scored 140s.

crazyblink653
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby crazyblink653 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:55 pm

isn't the margin of error on the LSAT something like +/- 5 points? so by going to a school where the median LSAT is only 1 or 2 points lower isn't going to give you much of an advantage. plus, i disagree with your assumption that just because you had to work a little harder to get a decent score means you're not "up to par" with other students who didn't have to work hard. i can tell you that the LSAT, while the best predictor that's available, doesn't mean shit once you're actually in law school. i would assume you'll bring the same diligence you used to score so high on the LSAT to law school. people with that type of work ethic are the ones that tend to do the best in law school.

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AlexanderSupertramp
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby AlexanderSupertramp » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:57 pm

Plus, if you worked your butt off to get your 170 why can't you just do that in law school as well?

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cinephile
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby cinephile » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:58 pm

This is pretty silly. Go to USC/UCLA if you prefer staying in LA and/or you get more $.

Also, have more faith in yourself. You deserve your score and potential acceptances as much as anyone else. And for all you know, all the kids at the schools you passed up for undergrad went to similarly low ranked high schools, or all the kids with the 170+ studied for it just as you did.

TheFactor
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby TheFactor » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:00 pm

If hard work in studying for the LSAT helped even the playing field, then what's to say your hard work won't do the same in law school?

Also, I think you might be selling yourself short in regards to your intelligence level. Get some confidence brotha!

Curious1
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby Curious1 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:02 pm

cinephile wrote:This is pretty silly. Go to USC/UCLA if you prefer staying in LA and/or you get more $.

Also, have more faith in yourself. You deserve your score and potential acceptances as much as anyone else. And for all you know, all the kids at the schools you passed up for undergrad went to similarly low ranked high schools, or all the kids with the 170+ studied for it just as you did.


This is true and also not true.

Remember--some people can study for 50 years and not break 160, so the fact that you were able to score 170+ at all means you're doing pretty well.

But at the same time, there ARE people who straight up diag 175+. But trust me, those people tend to be lazy.

You'll do very well in law school with a good work ethic, but please, let's keep it T30.

HeavenWood
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby HeavenWood » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:54 am

notaznguy wrote:Here's how I am seeing it:

1) Go to T14 --> Get owned by the curve cause your classmates are geniuses --> Finish below median --> Unemployed/Shit Law

2) Go to decent regional school --> Own others thanks to the curve --> Finish above median --> Employment with good/decent legal job upon graduation

This is almost assuredly a flame, but...

You think the LSAT has that high a correlation with intelligence and law school success? That's cute.

First of all, median isn't a bright line between biglaw/unemployment at the lower T14. Second, the "top 10%" at decent regional schools will have grades and/or LSAT scores on par with the lower T14. Finally, unless you're referring to UCLA and Texas as "decent regional schools," merely finishing above median won't mean shit. You'll need to be more in the neighborhood of top 1/3 or top 10%, depending on how decent said regional school is.

You specifically mention UCLA and USC, which respectively have LSAT medians of 168 and 167. The lower T14 LSAT medians range from 167-170--that is, at most, a median difference of three points, IE, a few LSAT questions. I suggest you read up on the meaning of statistical significance. Differences in LSAT scores just aren't meaningful in such a close range.

But that's just coming from a guy who snuck into a lower T14 with a 25th %ile LSAT. Guess I'm screwed. :roll:

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chem
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby chem » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:03 am

notaznguy wrote:So I know a lot of people strongly recommend that, if you can, go to a T14 school. Of course, it makes sense because it gives you the best chance at meaningful legal employment and because those schools may be worth the debt.

However, going to a T14 also means you'll be with a large group of incredibly talented and intelligent people. The classes at T14s are small and most people that do get into T14 aren't just your average joe that worked really hard. A lot of them probably have natural talent - perhaps they are just very good at what they do, which will be reading and writing and logically reasoning. Law school is also curved, so that means if you aren't really that smart, you'll probably end up getting screwed over by your classmates because they'll do so much better than you.

Now the following is hypothetical:

If I'm someone that had to study a year just to break 170, and I ended up getting to a lower T14 school, isn't it better for me to go a lesser school like probably UCLA, USC, or even UC Hastings? I ask this because it took me 1 year to fully comprehend the LSAT while there were other really intelligent people I know that were scoring 175+ in 2 months of studying. Those guys were truly talented. I know that the main reason I got a 170+ is because I just worked my butt off. I'm not really smart at all and I don't really have any natural affinity for logical reasoning. If I ended up in the same law school and class as those guys, they will almost certainly do better than me. And if most of the class are filled with people like them, I will certainly end up below median. Perhaps I should go to a slightly lower school, where the school is still reputable, so I can perform decently and have a higher chance of finishing closer toward the top %?

/end hypothetical question

I ask this because this was the mentality I had coming to undergrad. I came from a low income community and our high schools were subpar. I didn't have a great education and the quality of it was inferior to many other local high schools. I was able to get into some very good schools (such as some Ivy Leagues) and some good regional schools (like UCLA and USC). However, I knew the only reason I got into those schools was because it was easier to get an A in my school as compared to other high schools. I knew if I went to a school like Brown, I would be a "fake" and I would know I'm not truly as smart as they are. So I went to UCLA/USC instead where it was more suitable for me. I ended up doing pretty well. Perhaps if I went to Brown, I would have been crushed by the academics and had a GPA that was lower than a 3.0?

Here's how I am seeing it:

1) Go to T14 --> Get owned by the curve cause your classmates are geniuses --> Finish below median --> Unemployed/Shit Law

2) Go to decent regional school --> Own others thanks to the curve --> Finish above median --> Employment with good/decent legal job upon graduation



Wrong to think the curve at a lower ranked school would be easier first of all.

Secondly, the reason it is always better to go to a higher ranked school is because employers dip lower into the class, so getting hurt by the curve isnt as bad

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ahduth
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby ahduth » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:12 am

What's "lower T14" in this scenario? I might take UCLA over GULC. The money question is always paramount of course, but there's not even that much of a difference in job prospects between those two, is there?

And when did Penn become lower T14? People need to keep me abreast of this shit, because I care about rankings. A lot. Because they truly reflect job prospects. Really.

HeavenWood
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby HeavenWood » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:13 am

ahduth wrote:What's "lower T14" in this scenario? I might take UCLA over GULC. The money question is always paramount of course, but there's not even that much of a difference in job prospects between those two, is there?

And when did Penn become lower T14? People need to keep me abreast of this shit, because I care about rankings. A lot. Because they truly reflect job prospects. Really.

Penn's always been lower T14. And I hope you're joking about that second part.

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ahduth
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby ahduth » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:16 am

HeavenWood wrote:
ahduth wrote:What's "lower T14" in this scenario? I might take UCLA over GULC. The money question is always paramount of course, but there's not even that much of a difference in job prospects between those two, is there?

And when did Penn become lower T14? People need to keep me abreast of this shit, because I care about rankings. A lot. Because they truly reflect job prospects. Really.

Penn's always been lower T14. And I hope you're joking about that second part.


Sarcasm is tough to convey over the internet, yeah.

HeavenWood
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby HeavenWood » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:16 am

ahduth wrote:
HeavenWood wrote:
ahduth wrote:What's "lower T14" in this scenario? I might take UCLA over GULC. The money question is always paramount of course, but there's not even that much of a difference in job prospects between those two, is there?

And when did Penn become lower T14? People need to keep me abreast of this shit, because I care about rankings. A lot. Because they truly reflect job prospects. Really.

Penn's always been lower T14. And I hope you're joking about that second part.


Sarcasm is tough to convey over the internet, yeah.

Jess makin' sure.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby Bildungsroman » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:17 am

Curious1 wrote:No, no, no. Go to the highest ranked school that accepts you, PERIOD.

This is terrible advice without serious qualification.

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Grizz
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby Grizz » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:18 am

Curious1 wrote:No, no, no. Go to the highest ranked school that accepts you, PERIOD.

Also a bad idea.

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JoeMo
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby JoeMo » Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:09 pm

crazyblink653 wrote:isn't the margin of error on the LSAT something like +/- 5 points? so by going to a school where the median LSAT is only 1 or 2 points lower isn't going to give you much of an advantage. plus, i disagree with your assumption that just because you had to work a little harder to get a decent score means you're not "up to par" with other students who didn't have to work hard. i can tell you that the LSAT, while the best predictor that's available, doesn't mean shit once you're actually in law school. i would assume you'll bring the same diligence you used to score so high on the LSAT to law school. people with that type of work ethic are the ones that tend to do the best in law school.


Truth

HeavenWood
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby HeavenWood » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:38 pm

Grizz wrote:
Curious1 wrote:No, no, no. Go to the highest ranked school that accepts you, PERIOD.

Also a bad idea.

He claimed YHS grads had only a 50% chance of getting jobs. I'm calling troll.

Curious1
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby Curious1 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:41 pm

HeavenWood wrote:
Grizz wrote:
Curious1 wrote:No, no, no. Go to the highest ranked school that accepts you, PERIOD.

Also a bad idea.

He claimed YHS grads had only a 50% chance of getting jobs. I'm calling troll.


Err no. Lots of people claim YHS grads have a 50% chance at getting GOOD jobs (real biglaw). I hope very much that that isn't true.

Also I was talking about OP's hypothetical--where he can choose between a T14 and shit school. He said nothing about scholarships so I didn't either.

HeavenWood
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby HeavenWood » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:58 pm

Curious1 wrote:
HeavenWood wrote:
Grizz wrote:
Curious1 wrote:No, no, no. Go to the highest ranked school that accepts you, PERIOD.

Also a bad idea.

He claimed YHS grads had only a 50% chance of getting jobs. I'm calling troll.


Err no. Lots of people claim YHS grads have a 50% chance at getting GOOD jobs (real biglaw). I hope very much that that isn't true.

Also I was talking about OP's hypothetical--where he can choose between a T14 and shit school. He said nothing about scholarships so I didn't either.

WTF is "real biglaw" to a YHS grad? A v25 firm? Puh-leeze...

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ahduth
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby ahduth » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:19 pm

DLA Piper is really big.

HeavenWood
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Re: Choosing a lower ranked law school if its right for you....?

Postby HeavenWood » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:26 pm

ahduth wrote:DLA Piper is really big.

I don't think anyone who lands any V100/NLJ 250/secondary market "biglaw"/prestigious midlaw should be complaining.




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