.

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

GW or W&M?

Poll ended at Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:32 am

GW
8
53%
W&M
7
47%
 
Total votes: 15

BigZuck
Posts: 10853
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:53 am

Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby BigZuck » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:55 pm

bruin91 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
bruin91 wrote:Is retaking not an option? You have a very good paying job, taking a year off can't hurt too much. I'd agree with you though on the point that only you know how strong your connections are, not a bunch of strangers on an online forum. But what we can offer you is advice on the prudent decision for the average person without said connections. Your COA at GW seems a bit too high and there seems like there is no urgency to attend law school this fall, so we just want to help you make the financially wise decision and not lose cash that you can save up. I'd take GW if you absolutely must go now. Graduating top 20% of your class would yield biglaw in DC. It's a risk, and obviously up to you. I'd also note that while no one is "special", it's silly to assume OP would not be 20% just as it silly to assume he will be. You know nothing to comment, and to make an assumption that he will be median, while convenient, misses the point about the exact tradeoffs for a decision to be made.


Wut? Not sure what you mean by the last sentence.

Without having ever gone to law school how can anyone assume they will be anything but average? The OP is just as likely to be top 20% as bottom 20% and statistically speaking neither are the most likely scenario. The most likely scenario is she will be smack dab at the middle.

Agreed on how tough it is to calculate the value of the connections. The OP said she would have to be top 15-20%. She should find out what the firms cutoff is for hiring a rando from one of these schools. If they would only consider top 3% or something then her connections might give her a little boost. But if they expect 15-20% for everyone then they are meaningless. She should also find out what class rank they would expect for her coming from Catholic or American or from GULC and other T14s that would accept a 3.5. The OP really needs to get a stronger grasp on what her connections mean before taking the gamble IMO.

But really she should probablu just keep the job or aim higher.


My point was that making the assumption that OP would be average, while convenient for analysis purposes, misses the point on explaining the tradeoffs. I just want you to be more conservative with your assumptions is all. Don't tell OP he is unlikely to get top 20%; you don't even know him or his capabilities. You can warn him that "no one is special" and warn him of his studious and intelligent peers, but to make the assumption that he will probably be average is fallacious. You can't assume averageness just as you cannot assume top 20%. You assume average because it's more fair and enables you to give uniform feedback, which I get. But I think it would be more prudent to give the feedback as "Median at GW has poor employment prospects", and "Only top 1/3 get big law" than to make the leap of judgement and tell a stranger that it is likely that he will rank median, because as you said, no one can possibly know until the end of 1L.

(For the record, I'm not attacking you. This is a flaw I see in most TLS posters. Good intentioned reasoning and fair analysis but a bit too strong of assumptions, often leading to overly cynical conclusions)


He=she and the average 0L will most likely become an average law student. When the OP proves otherwise after getting law school grades back then I will adjust my assumptions accordingly.

I fully expect to be mediocre in law school, don't you? I mean, even though my UG grades and LSAT score are higher than the incoming average at the school I will be attending and I am older with WE I'm not really banking on being any higher than median simply because I have never taken a law school exam before and I have never been subjected to a law school curve. Of course I want to finish high in my class and I will work hard to do so but that applies to everyone so how can I say with any confidence that I will be special and rise to the top?

To assume you will be good at law school without ever having gone to law school takes a lot of hubris or stupidity or both IMO.

bruin91
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:09 pm

Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby bruin91 » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:08 pm

BigZuck wrote:
bruin91 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
bruin91 wrote:Is retaking not an option? You have a very good paying job, taking a year off can't hurt too much. I'd agree with you though on the point that only you know how strong your connections are, not a bunch of strangers on an online forum. But what we can offer you is advice on the prudent decision for the average person without said connections. Your COA at GW seems a bit too high and there seems like there is no urgency to attend law school this fall, so we just want to help you make the financially wise decision and not lose cash that you can save up. I'd take GW if you absolutely must go now. Graduating top 20% of your class would yield biglaw in DC. It's a risk, and obviously up to you. I'd also note that while no one is "special", it's silly to assume OP would not be 20% just as it silly to assume he will be. You know nothing to comment, and to make an assumption that he will be median, while convenient, misses the point about the exact tradeoffs for a decision to be made.


Wut? Not sure what you mean by the last sentence.

Without having ever gone to law school how can anyone assume they will be anything but average? The OP is just as likely to be top 20% as bottom 20% and statistically speaking neither are the most likely scenario. The most likely scenario is she will be smack dab at the middle.

Agreed on how tough it is to calculate the value of the connections. The OP said she would have to be top 15-20%. She should find out what the firms cutoff is for hiring a rando from one of these schools. If they would only consider top 3% or something then her connections might give her a little boost. But if they expect 15-20% for everyone then they are meaningless. She should also find out what class rank they would expect for her coming from Catholic or American or from GULC and other T14s that would accept a 3.5. The OP really needs to get a stronger grasp on what her connections mean before taking the gamble IMO.

But really she should probablu just keep the job or aim higher.


My point was that making the assumption that OP would be average, while convenient for analysis purposes, misses the point on explaining the tradeoffs. I just want you to be more conservative with your assumptions is all. Don't tell OP he is unlikely to get top 20%; you don't even know him or his capabilities. You can warn him that "no one is special" and warn him of his studious and intelligent peers, but to make the assumption that he will probably be average is fallacious. You can't assume averageness just as you cannot assume top 20%. You assume average because it's more fair and enables you to give uniform feedback, which I get. But I think it would be more prudent to give the feedback as "Median at GW has poor employment prospects", and "Only top 1/3 get big law" than to make the leap of judgement and tell a stranger that it is likely that he will rank median, because as you said, no one can possibly know until the end of 1L.

(For the record, I'm not attacking you. This is a flaw I see in most TLS posters. Good intentioned reasoning and fair analysis but a bit too strong of assumptions, often leading to overly cynical conclusions)


He=she and the average 0L will most likely become an average law student. When the OP proves otherwise after getting law school grades back then I will adjust my assumptions accordingly.

I fully expect to be mediocre in law school, don't you? I mean, even though my UG grades and LSAT score are higher than the incoming average at the school I will be attending and I am older with WE I'm not really banking on being any higher than median simply because I have never taken a law school exam before and I have never been subjected to a law school curve. Of course I want to finish high in my class and I will work hard to do so but that applies to everyone so how can I say with any confidence that I will be special and rise to the top?

To assume you will be good at law school without ever having gone to law school takes a lot of hubris or stupidity or both IMO.


He=she and the average 0L will most likely become an average law student

This is statistically and practically speaking accurate. (For the poster who questioned by Algebra II skills)

But that isn't what I take issue with. All because a random OP would be more likely to be average, doesn't make it reasonable for you to assume that the same OP would be average. I'm trying to say, we know that we lack information to know (as does OP, I agree with you on that count) where any 0L would rank. So why assume anything at all?

All because it theoretically is more likely one would be average (thus the definition of average), that doesn't mean the assumption holds that one will be average. It's good to know the theoretical in the case that the information is limited (as is here) but to make a strong assumption that one must assume averageness in making a decision alone can lead to cynical conclusions.

User avatar
Ramius
Posts: 2005
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:39 am

Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby Ramius » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:12 pm

I'd rather fail safe on the cynical side than to end up financially effed on the more than likely chance I'm wrong. Call it cynical if you want, but I call it thinking prudently.

bruin91
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:09 pm

Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby bruin91 » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:15 pm

Simply saying the average student as X school can expect Y result suffices as good feedback for an OP.

What I see as trivial and counterproductive is: You will be average student at X school, therefore you should be expecting Y result.

(I'm honestly not trying to be one of those annoying kids who get all technical over silly details, but I really think there is a big difference between the two in terms of the force of the advice)

It's good to have a full explanation of the quartiles in ranking and employment prospect too, so the OP can make a calculated decision given the risks on the table.

BigZuck
Posts: 10853
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:53 am

Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby BigZuck » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:24 pm

bruin91 wrote:Simply saying the average student as X school can expect Y result suffices as good feedback for an OP.

What I see as trivial and counterproductive is: You will be average student at X school, therefore you should be expecting Y result.

(I'm honestly not trying to be one of those annoying kids who get all technical over silly details, but I really think there is a big difference between the two in terms of the force of the advice)

It's good to have a full explanation of the quartiles in ranking and employment prospect too, so the OP can make a calculated decision given the risks on the table.


I never said that the OP would absolutely, 100% without question be average. I said "probably" a bunch of times and then I said "almost certainly" at GW just because the PT class at GW is full of kids very similar to the OP when it comes to numbers and having WE. "Almost certainly" is probably a bit too strong, I guess I should have stuck with "probably."

But saying the most likely outcome is probably what will happen doesn't strike me as highly cynical at all. I don't think it's even cynical. It's just math.

bruin91
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:09 pm

Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby bruin91 » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:32 pm

BigZuck wrote:
bruin91 wrote:Simply saying the average student as X school can expect Y result suffices as good feedback for an OP.

What I see as trivial and counterproductive is: You will be average student at X school, therefore you should be expecting Y result.

(I'm honestly not trying to be one of those annoying kids who get all technical over silly details, but I really think there is a big difference between the two in terms of the force of the advice)

It's good to have a full explanation of the quartiles in ranking and employment prospect too, so the OP can make a calculated decision given the risks on the table.


I never said that the OP would absolutely, 100% without question be average. I said "probably" a bunch of times and then I said "almost certainly" at GW just because the PT class at GW is full of kids very similar to the OP when it comes to numbers and having WE. "Almost certainly" is probably a bit too strong, I guess I should have stuck with "probably."


But saying the most likely outcome is probably what will happen doesn't strike me as highly cynical at all. I don't think it's even cynical. It's just math.



Most people on TLS know their basic stats. Re-read my post above. You could warn someone of the repercussions of going to a particular law school by simply referring to the former statement. And I don't think it's bad to think that it's mathematically most likely that you'll be average when you're making a decision. And that should factor in your calculus. But the bottom and top quartiles are also important to assess the risk associated with the decision you're about to make. I guess my issue is more with framing. And i was probably unconsciously in the mood to bring this up because of your almost certainly comment. But anyways, good luck to you BigZuck.

BigZuck
Posts: 10853
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:53 am

Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby BigZuck » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:51 pm

bruin91 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
bruin91 wrote:Simply saying the average student as X school can expect Y result suffices as good feedback for an OP.

What I see as trivial and counterproductive is: You will be average student at X school, therefore you should be expecting Y result.

(I'm honestly not trying to be one of those annoying kids who get all technical over silly details, but I really think there is a big difference between the two in terms of the force of the advice)

It's good to have a full explanation of the quartiles in ranking and employment prospect too, so the OP can make a calculated decision given the risks on the table.


I never said that the OP would absolutely, 100% without question be average. I said "probably" a bunch of times and then I said "almost certainly" at GW just because the PT class at GW is full of kids very similar to the OP when it comes to numbers and having WE. "Almost certainly" is probably a bit too strong, I guess I should have stuck with "probably."


But saying the most likely outcome is probably what will happen doesn't strike me as highly cynical at all. I don't think it's even cynical. It's just math.



Most people on TLS know their basic stats. Re-read my post above. You could warn someone of the repercussions of going to a particular law school by simply referring to the former statement. And I don't think it's bad to think that it's mathematically most likely that you'll be average when you're making a decision. And that should factor in your calculus. But the bottom and top quartiles are also important to assess the risk associated with the decision you're about to make. I guess my issue is more with framing. And i was probably unconsciously in the mood to bring this up because of your almost certainly comment. But anyways, good luck to you BigZuck.


Thanks bro. But I almost certainly won't need it. ;)

timbs4339
Posts: 2733
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:19 pm

Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby timbs4339 » Sun Jul 07, 2013 1:35 am

bruin- What these posters are doing has an education function. They are attempting to get past the: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimism_bias that OP seems to be suffering from.

Everyone who goes to law school has some convoluted reasoning why their special mix of life experiences/academic profile is going to give them an advantage over their classmates. The UG kids have their own thoughts. Since we have no data on how non-trads fare compared with K-JDs, how many years of WE provides a benefit, etc. etc., the best advice to give is not to count on a higher than average class rank.

OP: That is a very strange bargain you have struck. That you have to be top 15-20%, but they don't care as much what school you go to, seems to indicate that you should try to get a full ride at a lower ranked DC school, failing that, you should go to W+M. What's strange about it is that you seem to need to meet a firm's pre-select grade cutoff before they will even consider you for a position. In that case the connections don't seem to be of much help to you.

aliyblue
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2011 12:47 am

Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby aliyblue » Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:01 pm

EDIT: Removed.
Last edited by aliyblue on Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

timbs4339
Posts: 2733
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:19 pm

Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby timbs4339 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:43 pm

aliyblue wrote:I'm aware that I'd need to do very, very well at either of these two schools to have a chance at a large firm.


I was unclear. My point is that you can't take what you just said and assume that gives you a leg up in making the grades required to get that second look. In other words, you can't assume any of that will correlate with increased classroom performance on 6-8 essay exams. I have no doubt (in fact, I know from personal experience) that work experience makes the grade cutoffs to get a callback looser. But it's still very unlikely you'll make them from W+M. GW will give you a better shot, but nowhere near what would make that much debt advisable. Your OP makes it very clear that you think you will outperform your classmates- that's where the optimism bias is kicking in.

Do not think you'll be the only one with partner recommendations or relevant WE. I did some PT work on a project for a guy in LS that was totally unrelated to anything big firms do. He ended up forwarding my resume on to his former lawyer, who happened to be managing partner of a major biglaw firm, who then forwarded it onto HR. If that's enough to get a second-look, then there are way more people with much stronger connections and WE who are also getting a bump.
Last edited by timbs4339 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Monochromatic Oeuvre
Posts: 1929
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 9:40 pm

Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:00 pm

aliyblue wrote:timbs: Optimism bias is one thing, but several solid years of work experience spent proving yourself in a legal setting, gathering recommendations, and building a resume ARE things that lend someone an advantage when a future employer is taking a look at your file. I've spoken with recruiters at two firms (both white-shoe) at which I've worked, and they both have told me the same thing: kids who are straight out of undergrad are relying solely on their LS transcripts, and they prefer people who have actually held down a job (especially at a law firm) for a few years after college. This experience makes you more of a known quantity as far as dealing with clients, reliability, and having real-world experience in the workforce are concerned. Neither of these recruiters are friends of mine, and they probably have a better view of the legal employment market than anyone else out there, so I'm inclined to believe them.


This was absolutely not what anyone disputed. We said that just because you have WE doesn't make you more likely to finish in the top 20% of your class. And to reaffirm: statistically, you probably won't finish in the top 20% of your class. You thinking you will, or being "not too concerned" about it, is what the optimism bias was.

User avatar
TheSpanishMain
Posts: 4118
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:26 pm

Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby TheSpanishMain » Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:52 pm

Just to play devil's advocate...when people talk about how you should fully expect to be average in law school, they usually point out that you haven't ever been exposed to law school before, and therefore you can't assume you'll do well. Doesn't this sort of imply that GPA and LSAT don't predict anything?

I mean, if I went to a school where I was 5 points over the median LSAT score, wouldn't it be a reasonable assumption that I would probably do better than average? To take an extreme example, if you took a student and put them at Cooley, don't you think that same student would place higher than if they were at Yale?

Of course, there are always outliers/people who don't conform to trends. I'm sure there are plenty of people who did poorly on the LSAT and ended up at the top of their class, and people who crushed the LSAT and struggled throughout. In general though, the LSAT must have some predictive power.

User avatar
Monochromatic Oeuvre
Posts: 1929
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 9:40 pm

Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:24 pm

TheSpanishMain wrote:Just to play devil's advocate...when people talk about how you should fully expect to be average in law school, they usually point out that you haven't ever been exposed to law school before, and therefore you can't assume you'll do well. Doesn't this sort of imply that GPA and LSAT don't predict anything?

I mean, if I went to a school where I was 5 points over the median LSAT score, wouldn't it be a reasonable assumption that I would probably do better than average? To take an extreme example, if you took a student and put them at Cooley, don't you think that same student would place higher than if they were at Yale?

Of course, there are always outliers/people who don't conform to trends. I'm sure there are plenty of people who did poorly on the LSAT and ended up at the top of their class, and people who crushed the LSAT and struggled throughout. In general though, the LSAT must have some predictive power.


But we know exactly the numbers on this. The LSAT has a correlation of like 0.43 with 1L grades, while GPA/LSAT together has a correlation of .55. The problem with that is that even if you are the top student in the class coming in, you have around a 25% chance of finishing below median. At any school where a mere mortal could possibly be one of the top of the class coming in, you have to do much better to get Biglaw than your numbers would predict. E.g. I could be the top student coming in to W&M with my numbers, but I'm still a coin flip to finish outside the top-third-ish, which is way less than what you need to get Biglaw from W&M. Not saying the risk of finishing below top X percent is necessarily (100 - X) percent, but it's still substantial no matter how much better your numbers are than those of your classmates.

User avatar
TheSpanishMain
Posts: 4118
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:26 pm

Re: GW ($) vs. W&M ($$ and Fellowship)

Postby TheSpanishMain » Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:44 pm

Ah, I wasn't aware that it had been quantified that exactly.

For the record, I wasn't arguing that going to a school where the only desired outcome depends on you finishing at x percentile. Still strikes me as way too risky, even though there is a correlation.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: curry4bfast, OhMyLaw, Sushi and 7 guests