Lawl Shcool wrote:
EDIT: do not for a second think that going to a lower-tiered school will be any easier or the students won't be as smart.
I generally agree that predicting grade success based on the LSAT is futile, and people shouldn't base their decisions on an assumption that going to a lower tier school will produce much better grades. Getting good grades requires a lot of things, and some people just aren't able to produce high quality exam answers, even really smart people. To some degree, doing well in law school is one of those things you just "get" or you don't. And obviously assuming better grades at schools that are close in student quality (like a lower T14 with a 170 LSAT median will be more difficult than a T30 with a 167 LSAT median) is just downright stupid, because the difference in scores is negligible.
But you really think there is no difference at all
in the intelligence of the students or the difficulty of the curve between a T4 or a T1? You think the competition at an Ave Maria (150/3.2) is going to be anywhere near on par with a middle T1 school like, say William & Mary (165/3.7)? That just seems ridiculous to me. There is little doubt in my mind that if I or any of my colleagues at WUSTL were picked up and dropped into a T4, we would all have significantly better grades.
So yeah, I agree with your general conclusions (don't think going to a T4 will enable you to kill it and transfer), but let's not overstate it either.
You're taking what I'm saying too far. The t10 students, on the whole, are smarter. They don't necessarily all work that hard and nobody seems to be busting their asses like students were at the t4, but that could also be 1L year vs. 2L/3L. The curve is almost certainly harder at the t4, people actually fail. In the t10, grades are basically fake and you pass just for showing up.
If you got dropped into a t4 school, worked like you wanted to get good grades, then you probably would do a little better, but like you said there is a lot that goes into exams, including luck. The key is that you would still need to work for it.
Lawl Shcool wrote:
If you can get into a school, you are smart enough to be #1 in the class. The biggest difference maker is the FOCUSED effort you put into it.
And I'm sorry but this is just in no way my experience or the experience of any of my friends, both those on TLS and IRL. Most of the people I go to school with are fairly intelligent, but to say that any one of them has the capability to be #1 in the class is just ridiculous. And while a sufficient level of hard work is necessary to doing well in law school, it is by no means determinative. I'd even argue its not very correlative to the curve. The people who are at the top of my class aren't just there because they outworked everyone; they're there because they worked hard, are really smart, write reasonably well (and quickly), know how to channel that on a law school exam, and yes, had a bit of luck. They didn't just outhustle everyone. This mentality is such a myth and it is a dangerous one to perpetuate.
I disagree with all of this, especially at the t4 I was at. I know that I did well because I outworked people. I don't just mean longer hours, I committed my outlines to memory, went over practice exams with professors, worked on improving my typing speed. I have never scored above the 70th percentile on a standardized test or had a gpa over 3.4 (until law school), natural ability just isn't there.
IMO, and where the sentiment that if you can get into a school, you can be #1 comes from, is that law exams aren't that hard. It isn't math where there is 1 correct answer. If you can spot the issues (easy if you know the issues from studying), write out full complete and correct rule statements (easy if you have your outline memorized cold), connect facts from the exam to the rule statements (the hard part - but still not that hard because there are only so many facts), and give a conclusion (which doesn't matter because there is no correct answer), then you will get good grades. I would guess most students don't do all of these fully, especially the memorizing.
At the t10, the student with the best grades I have heard of is a transfer that, by his own admission, isn't very smart but he just out grinds everyone. Most of what you say goes into an exam is learnable and you can get better at by practicing. Hence, the person who works the hardest (again this isn't just total hours) will win.