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MistakenGenius
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Ti Malice
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Re: Higher rank in class vs Higher ranked School

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Aug 06, 2013 6:34 pm

There's so much that's terribly wrong with that advice, and the fact that it's coming from the executive director of NALP kind of blows my mind. I'm on my phone, so I'm not going to shred that idiot's comments point-by-point at the moment, but I'm sure plenty of others here will take care of that.

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ronanOgara
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Re: Higher rank in class vs Higher ranked School

Postby ronanOgara » Tue Aug 06, 2013 6:40 pm

I'd want to see the stats that support the claim that LSATs predict first year grades.

kyle010723
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Re: Higher rank in class vs Higher ranked School

Postby kyle010723 » Tue Aug 06, 2013 6:40 pm

Lets put it like this:

If you go to Harvard, you have 62% chance to work in Megalaw (500+) + Fed Clerk.
If you go to SMU, you have 11.3% chance to work in Megalaw (500+) + Fed Clerk.

For sake of argument, let me throw in a TTT. Oh I dont know, I'll pick DePaul
If you go to DePaul, you have 1.9% chance to work in Megalaw (500+) + Fed Clerk.

i.e., you can finish in the 40th percentile at Harvard and have a really really good job; whereas you need to finish in the 90th percentile at SMU to get the equally good job; and if you go to a TTT, you need to finish in the 99th percentile.

It comes down to statistic, it is much more likely to be at the median of your class than to be the top 1%.

Hence the conventional wisdom, go to the best law school you can afford.

Redfactor
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Re: Higher rank in class vs Higher ranked School

Postby Redfactor » Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:07 pm

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Higher rank in class vs Higher ranked School

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:18 pm

ronanOgara wrote:I'd want to see the stats that support the claim that LSATs predict first year grades.

http://www.lsac.org/jd/pdfs/lsat-score- ... rmance.pdf

LSAT's own analysis, which Leipold apparently missed:

"The LSAT, like any admission test, is not a perfect predictor of law school performance"

TLS poster Rayiner did an analysis a while back and found that even looking at the LSAT in the light most favorable to Leipold's statement a median student at Harvard would only be expected to finish at the 45th percentile at Georgetown. This would change slightly with Georgetown's LSAT median declining, but obviously not much.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Higher rank in class vs Higher ranked School

Postby Tom Joad » Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:30 pm

ronanOgara wrote:I'd want to see the stats that support the claim that LSATs predict first year grades.

Pretty sure the LSAT is the best predictor of law school rank. But it still is not that good.

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JCougar
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Re: Higher rank in class vs Higher ranked School

Postby JCougar » Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:34 pm

This is really not good advice unless you're choosing between a T2 and a T3 or something of the like, and the higher-ranked school only gives you an extra 5% chance of getting a decent job.

Law school grades are only very roughly correlated with how well you understand/know the law, how hard you work, etc. Someone in the bottom 50% at a T14 may very well be in the bottom 50% of a T2, despite being a much smarter person than his/her classmates. Don't underestimate the randomness of law school grades or their correlation to non-law-understanding factors, such as typing speed, ability to come up with extraneous/superfluous philosophical musings, etc.

The general advice on here is to "bank" whatever prestige you can get while you can, because you can't predict what will happen down the road. If you get into a higher-ranked school, you've banked the prestige from your LSAT score/uGPA, and that can't be taken away from you.

But that's not to say that paying full price is a good idea, even for the T14. Personally, I'd only attend any school besides HYS if they offered me at least a 50% scholarship.

The answer to this question is ultimately fact-dependent. If you're choosing between schools outside the T30 or so, definitely go to the cheaper one. If it's between schools roughly between 15-30, I definitely wouldn't pay full price, and would instead consider regional factors plus scholarships. This is where going to a school at the top end of this range may actually be worth the prestige boost if you paid more (but far less than full price), as long as the school you go to is in the area you want to practice. Within the T14, I'd definitely go to the cheaper T14 rather than the full-price but higher-ranked one. If it's between tail end of T14 and something in the T25, I'd have to get about a 75% scholarship from the T25, but I still wouldn't pay sticker for a bottom-end T14.

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Re: Higher rank in class vs Higher ranked School

Postby JCougar » Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:36 pm

Tom Joad wrote:
ronanOgara wrote:I'd want to see the stats that support the claim that LSATs predict first year grades.

Pretty sure the LSAT is the best predictor of law school rank. But it still is not that good.


Right. Just because the LSAT is the best predictor doesn't mean it's a good one--especially when the LSAT range at any given school is severely restricted. People confuse this a lot.

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ronanOgara
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Re: Higher rank in class vs Higher ranked School

Postby ronanOgara » Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:42 pm

I guess I didn't express my concerns with Leipold's statement about the LSAT clearly enough. I understand that higher LSAT means you can better grasp the logical reasoning which is similar to law school course work, but I would never agree with the argument that a kid who scored a 173 on his lsat and got in to Harvard would be better suited to attend SMU because he will be the smartest thing to ever walk through SMU's doors and will be top of his class.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Higher rank in class vs Higher ranked School

Postby Tom Joad » Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:44 pm

ronanOgara wrote:I guess I didn't express my concerns with Leipold's statement about the LSAT clearly enough. I understand that higher LSAT means you can better grasp the logical reasoning which is similar to law school course work, but I would never agree with the argument that a kid who scored a 173 on his lsat and got in to Harvard would be better suited to attend SMU because he will be the smartest thing to ever walk through SMU's doors and will be top of his class.

I would certainly rather be valedictorian at SMU than median at a lower T14.

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Re: Higher rank in class vs Higher ranked School

Postby ronanOgara » Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:48 pm

Tom Joad wrote:
ronanOgara wrote:I guess I didn't express my concerns with Leipold's statement about the LSAT clearly enough. I understand that higher LSAT means you can better grasp the logical reasoning which is similar to law school course work, but I would never agree with the argument that a kid who scored a 173 on his lsat and got in to Harvard would be better suited to attend SMU because he will be the smartest thing to ever walk through SMU's doors and will be top of his class.

I would certainly rather be valedictorian at SMU than median at a lower T14.


Well, yeah..so would I. I think we are agreeing here. I agree it would be better to GRADUATE at the top of your class at SMU rather than graduate at median at lower t14. But I don't think it would be wise to ATTEND SMU with the idea of being at the top of your class simply because you had the highest LSAT in the entering class.

I've heard the TLS motto of "assume you'll be at median"

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guano
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Re: Higher rank in class vs Higher ranked School

Postby guano » Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:00 pm

ronanOgara wrote:I guess I didn't express my concerns with Leipold's statement about the LSAT clearly enough. I understand that higher LSAT means you can better grasp the logical reasoning which is similar to law school course work, but I would never agree with the argument that a kid who scored a 173 on his lsat and got in to Harvard would be better suited to attend SMU because he will be the smartest thing to ever walk through SMU's doors and will be top of his class.

Thing is, it's usually not that stark. To give NYC as an example, someone who gets dinged at Columbia and accepted off the waitlist at NYU will probably get half off at Fordham and a free ride to Cardozo. Lets say that person would be around 60% at NYU, top 1/3 at Fordham, or top 15% at Dozo. For good measure, let's add top 1% at NYLS. In each case, said student will be within grasp of a real job (biglaw/fed clerk) but barely, and it'll be a struggle.
That's nice in dreamland, but until the student takes an exam, we don't know if that student is closely correlated to the benchmark I gave, or is one of the, what, 50%, who deviate noticeably? Lets give a range to the class rank.
NYU: 40%-80%
Fordham: 15%-60%
Dozo: 1%-35%
NYLS: 1%-10%
If said student goes to NYLS, any deviation and a/he's fucked. For Dozo, again, small chance if being very competitive, bigger chance if being out of the running. At Fordham, it's the difference between struggling for a V10 or struggling for a legal job. On the other hand, if our hypothetical student goes to NYU, maybe s/he's competitive for top firms, maybe struggling to get a desirable job, but even someone in the 80th percentile at NYU has a reasonable chance if getting a full time JD required job (but guaranteed, but at least under consideration).

And this impossible hypo is quite generous

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Higher rank in class vs Higher ranked School

Postby Doorkeeper » Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:22 pm

This is quite possibly the stupidest law-related article I have ever read.

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Re: Higher rank in class vs Higher ranked School

Postby Volake » Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:36 pm

kyle010723 wrote:Lets put it like this:

If you go to Harvard, you have 62% chance to work in Megalaw (500+) + Fed Clerk.
If you go to SMU, you have 11.3% chance to work in Megalaw (500+) + Fed Clerk.

For sake of argument, let me throw in a TTT. Oh I dont know, I'll pick DePaul
If you go to DePaul, you have 1.9% chance to work in Megalaw (500+) + Fed Clerk.

i.e., you can finish in the 40th percentile at Harvard and have a really really good job; whereas you need to finish in the 90th percentile at SMU to get the equally good job; and if you go to a TTT, you need to finish in the 99th percentile.

It comes down to statistic, it is much more likely to be at the median of your class than to be the top 1%.

Hence the conventional wisdom, go to the best law school you can afford.
guano wrote:
ronanOgara wrote:I guess I didn't express my concerns with Leipold's statement about the LSAT clearly enough. I understand that higher LSAT means you can better grasp the logical reasoning which is similar to law school course work, but I would never agree with the argument that a kid who scored a 173 on his lsat and got in to Harvard would be better suited to attend SMU because he will be the smartest thing to ever walk through SMU's doors and will be top of his class.

Thing is, it's usually not that stark. To give NYC as an example, someone who gets dinged at Columbia and accepted off the waitlist at NYU will probably get half off at Fordham and a free ride to Cardozo. Lets say that person would be around 60% at NYU, top 1/3 at Fordham, or top 15% at Dozo. For good measure, let's add top 1% at NYLS. In each case, said student will be within grasp of a real job (biglaw/fed clerk) but barely, and it'll be a struggle.
That's nice in dreamland, but until the student takes an exam, we don't know if that student is closely correlated to the benchmark I gave, or is one of the, what, 50%, who deviate noticeably? Lets give a range to the class rank.
NYU: 40%-80%
Fordham: 15%-60%
Dozo: 1%-35%
NYLS: 1%-10%
If said student goes to NYLS, any deviation and a/he's fucked. For Dozo, again, small chance if being very competitive, bigger chance if being out of the running. At Fordham, it's the difference between struggling for a V10 or struggling for a legal job. On the other hand, if our hypothetical student goes to NYU, maybe s/he's competitive for top firms, maybe struggling to get a desirable job, but even someone in the 80th percentile at NYU has a reasonable chance if getting a full time JD required job (but guaranteed, but at least under consideration).

And this impossible hypo is quite generous


I agree with the conclusion that you want to go to the better school, but this reasoning is flawed. If we're talking about a given student, that student likely performs better vis-a-vis her peers at SMU than Harvard. Saying 80% at Y school have a favorable outcome and 20% at Z school have a favorable outcome, ergo, student X has a 20% at Z and 80% chance at Y is ridiculous. The student is more inclined to be better compared to her peers at the lower-ranked school.

I don't think most at TLS are arguing against this conclusion, but rather that this factor still won't make it a better deal to go to the lower ranked school. Most would still prefer the 80% favorable outcome chance Y school gives even if student X would have an 40% chance at such an outcome and was offered significant money or even a fulll ride.

*edit* Your analysis toward the end of your post seems to incorporate the sort of shift that I suggested in my post, and seems like pretty solid analysis of why to go to the higher ranked school. I just wonder why you suggested something erroneous and quite different at the beginning of your post

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UnicornHunter
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Re: Higher rank in class vs Higher ranked School

Postby UnicornHunter » Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:48 pm

The message of the statement was this: most people should not assume/try for BigLaw therefore it is better to minimize debt than to take on a ton of debt at a school where you're not likely to get good enough grades for BigLaw.

So instead of comparing a 1% shot at BigLaw at New York Law School vs a 20% shot (or whatever*) at 'Dozo... you're comparing a 45% shot at a job that can service your debts vs a 20% shot...and that's before you factor in being more likely to do well at NYLS vs Dozo.



*All statistics have been completely made up

kyle010723
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Re: Higher rank in class vs Higher ranked School

Postby kyle010723 » Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:52 pm

Volake wrote:I agree with the conclusion that you want to go to the better school, but this reasoning is flawed. If we're talking about a given student, that student likely performs better vis-a-vis her peers at SMU than Harvard. Saying 80% at Y school have a favorable outcome and 20% at Z school have a favorable outcome, ergo, student X has a 20% at Z and 80% chance at Y is ridiculous. The student is more inclined to be better compared to her peers at the lower-ranked school.

I don't think most at TLS are arguing against this conclusion, but rather that this factor still won't make it a better deal to go to the lower ranked school. Most would still prefer the 80% favorable outcome chance Y school gives even if student X would have an 40% chance at such an outcome and was offered significant money or even a fulll ride.

*edit* Your analysis toward the end of your post seems to incorporate the sort of shift that I suggested in my post, and seems like pretty solid analysis of why to go to the higher ranked school. I just wonder why you suggested something erroneous and quite different at the beginning of your post


I agree with your analysis. However, to rationally forgo 60% favorable outcome (Harvard) for a school with 10% favorable outcome (SMU) means that a below median Harvard student (40th percentile) would be top 10% (90th percentile) if she goes to SMU.

While I think an average student at Harvard would probably be above average at SMU, I am not willing to conclude that below average at Harvard can and will translate into top 10% at SMU.

Granted, these are just hypothetical arguments as we do not have empirical data on this matter. In fact, the best indicator would be to look at people's grade when they trade up schools with transfers. If the person was Top 10% at T50 and dropped to median at T14, maybe we can conclude that admission credential has a direct and substantial correlation with law school performance.

Volake
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Re: Higher rank in class vs Higher ranked School

Postby Volake » Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:53 pm

I agree with your analysis. However, to rationally forgo 60% favorable outcome (Harvard) for a school with 10% favorable outcome (SMU) means that a below median Harvard student (40th percentile) would be top 10% (90th percentile) if she goes to SMU.

While I think an average student at Harvard would probably be above average at SMU, I am not willing to conclude that below average at Harvard can and will translate into top 10% at SMU.

Granted, these are just hypothetical arguments as we do not have empirical data on this matter. In fact, the best indicator would be to look at people's grade when they trade up schools with transfers. If the person was Top 10% at T50 and dropped to median at T14, maybe we can conclude that admission credential has a direct and substantial correlation with law school performance.


The posts from people on this board have suggested that, in most cases, there is some drop in ranking within school from transfers to higher ranked schools. These transfers, however, may have a bit of an advantage because their averages do not factor 1L grades, which tend to be graded, in absolute terms, a bit more harshly than 2L and 3L grades. Another factor that complicates things in the other direction is that transferors tend to claim to be less motivated once at their new schools.

Regardless, the two most significant factors, UGPA and LSAT, in conjunction, are the best, albeit modest, predictors of 1L performance, and the scores of students in these regards are higher at higher-ranked schools. There is [/i]some[/i] added difficulty in ranking well with peers from a higher ranked schools. But even with this added difficulty of attaining a given ranking, there is a greater likelihood of a favorable outcome given identical inputs. It is simply that the difference in chance for favorable outcomes for a given student, X, will be less dramatic than the difference between favorable outcomes of the average student at the respective schools.

We agree that, even given this factor, it is still rational to attend the school with better average outcomes, perhaps even with vast disparities in scholarships favoring the school with weaker outcomes.

TLDR: Choosing the school with better outcomes over one with worse outcomes will increase your chance of a favorable outcome, but less so than a direct percentage comparison of favorable outcomes would suggest.




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