Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby ballcaps » Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:28 pm

is this actually, like, on-topic?

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby Desert Fox » Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:30 pm

ballcaps wrote:is this actually, like, on-topic?


post ur tits and lets find out.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby lawsearcher » Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:37 pm

thebobs1987 wrote:
lawsearcher wrote:
romothesavior wrote:+1 to everything DF just said. Awesome post.

Also, TLS is made up of mostly people who went to good schools, got good grades, and wound up with good outcomes. The idea that people are saying grades aren't a good metric is hardly the result of frustration or envy.


I've seen enough of these threads to know you won't be convinced. Good grades from good schools are possible but fall into more of the randomness scale.

I am saying it's possible for most people admitted to a T1 to do great, if they truly put in the effort. If you really think you did the best you could, working from beginning of semester to the end, then great. I cannot sit and here and know exactly what you did. But I've seen enough of my classmate's work ethic to know who truly put in the time to learn the material from the first day on through. It wasn't a surprise who did well when grades came out.


I don't understand why you keep saying T1. Maybe at your school that is possible, but at my T1 school, I know plenty of people that work a lot harder than me and know the material inside and out, but still got median. Some are even great writers that ended up on law review, but just can't write a law school exam as well. I am not saying it is random, but as DF said, you can't simply work your way into the top 10%. The people in the top 10% mostly are a little smarter/better equipped to write exams. After that there is very little difference I have noticed from people down through median.


I keep saying T1 because I know there is a difference in talent and effort (on average) depending on the school's general ranking. I can't speak for higher ranked schools because there probably does come a point where there is enough high raw intelligence in people and potentially less effort variance. I do not know for sure though.

I don't know what to tell you about your experience. How do you know they knew the material inside and out? I can tell you from my study group experience there are tons of issues you think you "know" until your study group explains why you were wrong. Those were very important lessons.

Again, you speak to writing exams, but not all exams in law school are written and that doesn't alter the way grades turn out. I am not a good writer, I guarantee in the lower half of writing skills entering law school, and I didn't write a lot of on law school exams at all. But I hit all the key points because I knew the material and understood what the professor wanted. I suppose that is a skill but it's because I spent all semester studying, paying attention to the professor in class, thinking about potential issues, etc. Being able to recall an answer quicker is often directly related to much you have mastered the materials.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby JCougar » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:18 pm

lawsearcher wrote:I am getting tired of reading all of the dumb responses from people on this board. I am sorry you didn't do that well in law school. But the exams are not random. And while more words can help you get a higher grade, they are far from necessary. It seems everyone wants to justify why they didn't do well.

They key is to know the material and know the professor. Work hard ALL SEMESTER at learning those two things and you will do very well. A look at the guides written over the years almost always seem to emphasize this, especially at non-t14 schools.

You can outwork your other classmates. It's a myth that they all work hard. It goes something like this: 10% work really hard, 40% work pretty hard, 40% don't work that hard, 10% barely do anything.

You want to know if you studied hard enough? If you did, you should know your grade. With one exception, I have been able to predict all of my grades. Why? Because if you really know the material, you will know if you hit on all the major issues or if you struggled to articulate well. But it takes a lot of hard work. Most people are more interested in enjoying themselves than striving for grades (and they might be right, but I am only speaking to earning good grades)

Disclaimer: This only applies at T1 and below. I cannot speak for the T14 where the competition is more intelligent and the work ethic may be less variable. I am a 3L at a T1 who has never been outside of the top 5 (people, not percent) in my class after each semester.


You sound like an idiot.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby YibanRen » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:32 pm

lawsearcher wrote:I am getting tired of reading all of the dumb responses from people on this board. I am sorry you didn't do that well in law school. But the exams are not random. And while more words can help you get a higher grade, they are far from necessary. It seems everyone wants to justify why they didn't do well.

They key is to know the material and know the professor. Work hard ALL SEMESTER at learning those two things and you will do very well. A look at the guides written over the years almost always seem to emphasize this, especially at non-t14 schools.

You can outwork your other classmates. It's a myth that they all work hard. It goes something like this: 10% work really hard, 40% work pretty hard, 40% don't work that hard, 10% barely do anything.

You want to know if you studied hard enough? If you did, you should know your grade. With one exception, I have been able to predict all of my grades. Why? Because if you really know the material, you will know if you hit on all the major issues or if you struggled to articulate well. But it takes a lot of hard work. Most people are more interested in enjoying themselves than striving for grades (and they might be right, but I am only speaking to earning good grades)

Disclaimer: This only applies at T1 and below. I cannot speak for the T14 where the competition is more intelligent and the work ethic may be less variable. I am a 3L at a T1 who has never been outside of the top 5 (people, not percent) in my class after each semester.


I don't think you are an idiot, but there is a threshold where things are pretty random. I went to a top-5 school. About 80% of people could beat 80% of people on a given day. I twice didn't study for classes and ended up with As because I simply knew one complex area of the law well and that was what was tested. I also studied my A off for some classes and got B-s just because because.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby JCougar » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:49 pm

And in the interest of constructive criticism, let me explain why you sound like an idiot.

lawsearcher wrote:I am getting tired of reading all of the dumb responses from people on this board. I am sorry you didn't do that well in law school. But the exams are not random. And while more words can help you get a higher grade, they are far from necessary. It seems everyone wants to justify why they didn't do well.


The data support what I am saying. Not what you are flatly asserting as an unsupported certitude. I agree that there's not a robust data set out there, but from everything I've seen, somewhere between 50-60% of a law exam grade is akin to blowing smoke up the reader's ass--irrespective of the legal content of the analysis.

And in the case of you accusing law exam critics of self-serving bias...yes, it is true that anyone who finished outside of the top 10% who wanted not to might have a motive for criticizing law exams. But it is also true that anyone that finished within the top 10% has a self-serving motive for defending their validity.

So the important thing isn't people's possible underlying motives--the important thing is the data. And on that point, I win.

They key is to know the material and know the professor. Work hard ALL SEMESTER at learning those two things and you will do very well. A look at the guides written over the years almost always seem to emphasize this, especially at non-t14 schools.


There's an entire body of research out there--volume after volume--that shows that humans are very bad at subjective decision-making. Extremely bad--to the point that humans are almost better off just picking somebody at random. There's no reason to think that law professors are any better. If you talk to any of them, most of them despise grading, don't spend a ton of time on it, and don't even put much stock into the grades they hand out.

You want to know if you studied hard enough? If you did, you should know your grade. With one exception, I have been able to predict all of my grades. Why? Because if you really know the material, you will know if you hit on all the major issues or if you struggled to articulate well.


This is a pretty good example of the logical fallacy of begging the question. I hope you don't try to use this kind of logic when you're out there practicing law. A judge will eat you up.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby twenty » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:56 pm

I don't really know what "outwork" looks like, to be entirely honest. The material itself is pretty intuitive, outlines are in abundance, and "what your professor wants" is usually some combination of shitloads of words/meticulous analysis/memorizing everything for the MC section/policy questions to BS/etc. Barring the fuckboys who basically go out of their way to not learn things, there doesn't seem to be much tangible difference between a B- student and an A+ student.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby prezidentv8 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:12 am

lawsearcher wrote:But what you keeping missing is they aren't working hard enough to truly learn the material.


The material isn't dat hard tho.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:19 am

JCougar wrote:The data support what I am saying. Not what you are flatly asserting as an unsupported certitude. I agree that there's not a robust data set out there, but from everything I've seen, somewhere between 50-60% of a law exam grade is akin to blowing smoke up the reader's ass--irrespective of the legal content of the analysis.

I don't agree with lawsearcher (and I went to a T1), but where is there data/research to support the above? Because I think that's overstating it as well.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby JCougar » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:26 am

prezidentv8 wrote:
lawsearcher wrote:But what you keeping missing is they aren't working hard enough to truly learn the material.


The material isn't dat hard tho.


It really isn't. And even the hard parts, there's canned outlines, E&Es, etc. The material is basically spoon-fed to you, and the tests are mostly open book. The fact patterns are like tailor-made to the outline you studied from, too.

IRL, it's not like that. There's overlapping doctrines, facts that fall into grey areas that have not yet been addressed by courts, etc. The same set of facts can trigger Civ Pro, Evidence, Con Law, and possibly multiple substantive state and federal doctrines--not to mention damages/remedies--all at the same time. There's no outline for that. You have to be able to attack legal questions you've never been exposed to before, and you have to do it succinctly and clearly, because a lot of judges put page limits on briefs because they get tired of reading sophistry day in and day out.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby JCougar » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:27 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I don't agree with lawsearcher (and I went to a T1), but where is there data/research to support the above? Because I think that's overstating it as well.


I just posted a link to it on the previous page.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:48 am

Sorry, I should have caught that.

I'm not actually convinced it tells us much, because exams with longer word counts are also likely by their nature (not guaranteed, but likely) to hit more points than exams with lower word counts, and even English majors who don't know the law should be able to identify whether one exam raises more arguments than another. I'm not saying that exams necessarily measure anything super relevant to lawyering, and I realize that you get artificial compression where exams with very little difference get significantly different grades due to the curve. But I'm not convinced the process is entirely subjective - or at least, in any way more subjective than any other kind of essay exam.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby cyrilfiggis » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:12 am

Completely anecdotal but...

In 2/3 doctrinal 1L classes last semester, when going over practice tests with other people shortly before the exam, I could generally get a good sense of when people 1) knew the material better/worse than myself and 2) could apply it better/worse.

How hard people worked didn't really seem to correlate that closely with how well they knew/could apply law. Some people that worked way harder than me seemed to struggle with applying and some who didn't work as hard during the semester seemed to naturally pick up certain things that others didn't.

That's not to say that there weren't people who worked really hard and did very well, but there were definitely people that worked their asses off and seemed to struggle considering the amount of hours they put in. Obviously there is something to say about 'working smart' and practicing the right things, which admittedly, it seems like many focused on learning BLL w/o practicing application. Still though, just some more anecdotal evidence that sheer effort =/= good grades.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby JCougar » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:15 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Sorry, I should have caught that.

I'm not actually convinced it tells us much, because exams with longer word counts are also likely by their nature (not guaranteed, but likely) to hit more points than exams with lower word counts, and even English majors who don't know the law should be able to identify whether one exam raises more arguments than another. I'm not saying that exams necessarily measure anything super relevant to lawyering, and I realize that you get artificial compression where exams with very little difference get significantly different grades due to the curve. But I'm not convinced the process is entirely subjective - or at least, in any way more subjective than any other kind of essay exam.


Well, I didn't say I think it's entirely subjective, either.

I realize that what I posted is just one study. I'd like to see more, but I'm suspicious as to why there's not more. My guess is that most people don't want to know the answer.

Nevertheless, it's as good a starting point as any.

To the extent that there's collinearity or multicollinearity between word count and hitting points of legal analysis, a regression analysis, if performed properly, should have filtered that out.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby cyrilfiggis » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:17 am

That being said, I don't really think LS grades are 'random'. I think it can definitely be random how well people are naturally going to be at 'doing law school exams', but I don't really think that translates into grades being random.

The A exam is always going to be written better and hit more points, more thoroughly than the B+ exam.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby lacrossebrother » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:19 am

That's literally the opposite of what a regression analysis would be able to do

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby JCougar » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:23 am

lacrossebrother wrote:That's literally the opposite of what a regression analysis would be able to do


Ummm, no. Most programs that run regression analyses can easily (and often automatically) check for correlation among predictors.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby lacrossebrother » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:25 am

Sooo if it reveals that they're highly correlated...then...what?

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby JCougar » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:27 am

lacrossebrother wrote:Sooo if it reveals that they're highly correlated...then...what?


Then you have a problem.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby lacrossebrother » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:29 am

So the regression doesn't filter it out...

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby JCougar » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:37 am

lacrossebrother wrote:So the regression doesn't filter it out...


Nobody does a straight regression analysis without checking for stuff like multicollinearity.

If you'll note, I said, "if performed properly." The implied assumption there is that you check for stuff like correlation among predictors, residuals, etc. It's honestly one of the most obvious things you would do. If you're trying to parse the meanings of words by saying, "yes, but multicollinearity tests aren't inherent in a regression analysis itself," then good job.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby shifty_eyed » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:17 am

cyrilfiggis wrote:That being said, I don't really think LS grades are 'random'. I think it can definitely be random how well people are naturally going to be at 'doing law school exams', but I don't really think that translates into grades being random.

The A exam is always going to be written better and hit more points, more thoroughly than the B+ exam.


IDK, I still think my best 1L exam was one I got a B+ on.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby lawsearcher » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:36 am

I don't know what to tell you about these studies. They are probably correct to some extent but do not seem to hold true in my case. Like I said, I am a weak writer, especially compared to most law students. I did not graduate with any type of liberal arts degree. I also don't type a lot of words on any exam. First year I CALI'd a class and met with the professor to find out how I could improve. I was told I had the highest grade by a large margin. I wrote 3,500 words and the next highest grade wrote 9,000. I also typed my answers obviously so handwriting isn't the issue.

But your plunge into the randomness discussion skips over my main point. I am saying at the top of the curve there is no/much less randomness. If you read all of the exams and knew the material (i.e. like a professor), you would clearly see differences in answer quality at the top.

The fact you think the material is so easy and can be picked up by using an E&E or whatever probably gets to your problem. On some basic level, yes, every case can be distilled to one or two sentences. But there's much more going on that can be used on an exam. I am not saying those aren't helpful, but I only used secondary sources after I was done completely outlining and preparing.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby lawsearcher » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:44 am

And yes, part of working hard is application. I didn't start taking practice tests until like a month out. And I knew the material pretty well by then. But it isn't until you start taking practice exams that you realize how difficult it is to write out what you really want to say efficiently. And it isn't until you meet with your study group that you realize you could have written more on a particular angle, or missed a creative way to use a case, etc. It helps to have a study group with a mix of students as well.

All of that goes into the process of hard work. It's why I said 1L has so much more work. Those are things you need to do.

I am just saying if you really committed yourself in every possible way to law school, especially at a lower ranked school, there is room for most people of good intelligence to outwork their way to the top. The top exams are not perfect and there is a lot of room for error. Most people don't apply themselves in every way and thus fall into a zone where randomness can play a bigger role.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby lawsearcher » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:48 am

cyrilfiggis wrote:Completely anecdotal but...


That's not to say that there weren't people who worked really hard and did very well, but there were definitely people that worked their asses off and seemed to struggle considering the amount of hours they put in. Obviously there is something to say about 'working smart' and practicing the right things, which admittedly, it seems like many focused on learning BLL w/o practicing application. Still though, just some more anecdotal evidence that sheer effort =/= good grades.


To my point, you aren't working your ass off if you only study BLL.




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