Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:49 am

Grades aren't random, in that an A exam is going to include stuff that a B exam doesn't. (You can run into situations where the curve is very very tight and very little distinguishes the A and B grades, and the tighter the curve the closer to "random" grades probably become, but generally speaking there are reasons for the grades people get.)

But saying "grades aren't random" is not the same as saying that "doing X will lead to good grades." Some people outwork others to excel, but others don't, and as with everything here, you can't really know this going in to school (what you think "outwork" is may not be what someone else's "outwork" is).

Also, re: the study of factors going into grades - 1) I'm not that optimistic about law profs' ability to run whatever statistical analyses are pertinent (even less so do I believe you can really quantify that kind of analysis), and 2) that study is from 1976.

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

Postby romothesavior » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:21 am

lawsearcher wrote:
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.

Teach us your ways, oh sage!

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

Postby LawsRUs » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:15 pm

A 0L here.

This thread is super helpful, and I think every 0L should read this thread and understand what everyone is saying. I've read every post itt, and all of them have been helpful...well, with exceptions to some.

I guess what else would be helpful to a 0L is a subsidiary issue: listing current students or grads' opinion of all of the factors that may or may not influence someone's grades, whether they are significant or insignficant factors. Some people mentioned word count, the time a professor takes to read exams, stroking their ego, inter alia. I am interested in current students or grads' opinion of what exactly these "among other things" are. Can you either pm or post here a list pls? Because that would be helpful to 0Ls like me at this point in the thread.

Also, I want to note that I am coming with peace. It's super scary to be asking a question to current students or grads about a controversial topic.

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

Postby bjsesq » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:18 pm

Subsidiary? Inter alia? What the fuck is wrong with you?

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

Postby LawsRUs » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:20 pm

bjsesq wrote:Subsidiary? Inter alia? What the fuck is wrong with you?


sorry!!
its really intimidating to be talking with you all
like super scary
i dont talk like that tho

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

Postby bjsesq » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:22 pm

1) We're other people, chill out. Most of us are loser dipshits in different stages of regret about choosing this profession. If anything, you should pity us.
2) I sense some sarcasm.
3) Then don't, ergo, ipso facto, talk like that.

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

Postby prezidentv8 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:15 pm

bjsesq wrote:If anything, you should pity us.


Really all you need to know here young 0L.

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

Postby lawsearcher » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:30 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
But saying "grades aren't random" is not the same as saying that "doing X will lead to good grades." Some people outwork others to excel, but others don't, and as with everything here, you can't really know this going in to school (what you think "outwork" is may not be what someone else's "outwork" is).


I don't think doing X is the exact same for everyone, but there is a level of work that will guarantee good grades but most people aren't willing to push themselves to that point. Comb through the guides and info on TLS and you will see a number of ways to work hard and succeed. If you combine those, put in the time, you will do well. I know I can't convince you of this, but I have seen it work that way for myself and others.

I get annoyed with these threads because the wrong message gets out. The message, whether you're trying to send it or not, is: "Try hard but it won't matter because grades are random. You're already pre-destined for your grade." And I don't believe that to be true.

If nothing else, working harder and finding different ways to work with the material will virtually always improve your individual grade.

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

Postby lawsearcher » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:37 pm

romothesavior wrote:
lawsearcher wrote:
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.

Teach us your ways, oh sage!


You are completely missing my point if you think I'm trying to act better than other people. I am saying just the opposite, that there is room for most people to succeed just by working hard. That doesn't mean staring at your outline repeatedly, but following the guides on TLS, working on your test taking skills and your BLL, etc.

There is a reason people end up at the top of the class. You can believe there is some magical law school test taking skill but that should be debunked by the sheer variety of exams out there. The knowledge and skill comes from hard work that most people do not commit to in some form or another.

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

Postby thebobs1987 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:39 pm

lawsearcher wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
But saying "grades aren't random" is not the same as saying that "doing X will lead to good grades." Some people outwork others to excel, but others don't, and as with everything here, you can't really know this going in to school (what you think "outwork" is may not be what someone else's "outwork" is).


I don't think doing X is the exact same for everyone, but there is a level of work that will guarantee good grades but most people aren't willing to push themselves to that point. Comb through the guides and info on TLS and you will see a number of ways to work hard and succeed. If you combine those, put in the time, you will do well. I know I can't convince you of this, but I have seen it work that way for myself and others.

I get annoyed with these threads because the wrong message gets out. The message, whether you're trying to send it or not, is: "Try hard but it won't matter because grades are random. You're already pre-destined for your grade." And I don't believe that to be true.

If nothing else, working harder and finding different ways to work with the material will virtually always improve your individual grade.


No one is saying working harder won't make a difference. If you work intelligently and hard you will likely do well. But you are very unlikely to work yourself into the top 10%. Lots of other factors

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

Postby bjsesq » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:47 pm

lawsearcher wrote:The knowledge and skill comes from hard work that most people do not commit to in some form or another.

Oh, shut the fuck up.

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

Postby Paul Campos » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:12 pm

One of the most annoying aspects of this profession is that it socializes people to make assertions for which they have no real evidence, and furthermore to make such assertions with an air of great confidence and authority (the technical philosophical term for this is bullshitting).

Or maybe it just attracts that sort of person and reinforces these pre-existing tendencies.

Anybody who claims that how hard people work in law school largely determines what sort of grades they get does so on the basis of the underlying claim that he knows how hard people work relative to the grades they got. But of course nobody knows this, because nobody knows, except in an extremely limited and impressionistic (and therefore methodologically useless) way, how hard other people work relative to oneself.

What (some) people do discover is that the amount of work they personally put into particular classes very often ends up having no relationship at all to the grades they get in those classes. This suggests that, for them, law school grade outcomes bear little or no relationship to amount of work they put into this or that class (subject perhaps to certain minimal constraints, i.e., inter alia, did you at least study a good outline for a few hours before the exam).

But again, what's striking is the lack of respect for actual knowledge exemplified by claims that are based on essentially nothing other than an experimental N of 1 plus a couple of half-remembered anecdotes about other people. If nothing else, such claims illustrate another way in which law school fails to educate.
Last edited by Paul Campos on Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby bjsesq » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:15 pm

Paul Campos wrote:One of the most annoying aspects of this profession is that it socializes people to make assertions for which they have no real evidence with an air of great confidence and authority (the technical philosophical term for this is bullshitting).

Or maybe it just attracts that sort of person and reinforces these pre-existing tendencies.

Anybody who claims that how hard people work in law school largely determines what sort of grades they get does so on the basis of the underlying claim that he knows how hard people work relative to the grades they got. But of course nobody knows this, because nobody knows, except in an extremely limited and impressionistic (and therefore methodologically useless) way, how hard other people work relative to oneself.

What (some) people do discover is that the amount of work they personally put into particular classes very often ends up having no relationship at all to the grades they get in those classes. This suggests that, for them, law school grade outcomes bear little or no relationship to amount of work they put into this or that class (subject perhaps to certain minimal constraints, i.e., inter alia, did you at least study a good outline for a few hours before the exam).

But again, what's striking is the lack of respect for actual knowledge exemplified by claims that are based on essentially nothing other than an experimental N of 1 plus a couple of half-remembered anecdotes about other people. If nothing else, such claims illustrate another way in which law school fails to educate.


What Paul's saying, lawsearcher, is that you should shut the fuck up.

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

Postby romothesavior » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:16 pm

lawsearcher wrote:The knowledge and skill comes from hard work that most people do not commit to in some form or another.

lawsearcher wrote:You are completely missing my point if you think I'm trying to act better than other people.


orly

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

Postby JCougar » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:26 pm

lawsearcher wrote:You are completely missing my point if you think I'm trying to act better than other people. I am saying just the opposite, that there is room for most people to succeed just by working hard. That doesn't mean staring at your outline repeatedly, but following the guides on TLS, working on your test taking skills and your BLL, etc.

There is a reason people end up at the top of the class. You can believe there is some magical law school test taking skill but that should be debunked by the sheer variety of exams out there. The knowledge and skill comes from hard work that most people do not commit to in some form or another.


In the 10% or so chance that you're not a troll or just drunk:

Let's be honest here. Your ability to craft a persuasive argument sucks. 1) Your logic is bad, and full of fallacious reasoning. 2) You fail to support this bad reasoning with any sort of evidence pertaining to its assumptions or assertions. 3) Your writing skills are terrible.

I know this is an internet messageboard, so it's not anyone's best work, but if you really did as well as you claim to in law school, your posts on here only confirm what I've been thinking all along.

Your argument has basically been "if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything." This isn't sage advice--this is a meaningless platitude that lacks any reasoning content at all. Anyone can see that it's wrong when the number of applicants outstrips the number of successful positions. The whole "bootstraps" argument doesn't create more jobs total. So if there's 10 applicants for every 1 good job (or 10 law students for every 1 magna cum laude spot, if 50% of the people work themselves to the death, then 40% of the total is going to do so and still fail.

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

Postby bjsesq » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:28 pm

What JCougar is saying, lawsearcher, is that you should shut the fuck up.

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

Postby JohannDeMann » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:35 pm

bjsesq wrote:
Paul Campos wrote:One of the most annoying aspects of this profession is that it socializes people to make assertions for which they have no real evidence with an air of great confidence and authority (the technical philosophical term for this is bullshitting).

Or maybe it just attracts that sort of person and reinforces these pre-existing tendencies.

Anybody who claims that how hard people work in law school largely determines what sort of grades they get does so on the basis of the underlying claim that he knows how hard people work relative to the grades they got. But of course nobody knows this, because nobody knows, except in an extremely limited and impressionistic (and therefore methodologically useless) way, how hard other people work relative to oneself.

What (some) people do discover is that the amount of work they personally put into particular classes very often ends up having no relationship at all to the grades they get in those classes. This suggests that, for them, law school grade outcomes bear little or no relationship to amount of work they put into this or that class (subject perhaps to certain minimal constraints, i.e., inter alia, did you at least study a good outline for a few hours before the exam).

But again, what's striking is the lack of respect for actual knowledge exemplified by claims that are based on essentially nothing other than an experimental N of 1 plus a couple of half-remembered anecdotes about other people. If nothing else, such claims illustrate another way in which law school fails to educate.



What Paul's saying, lawsearcher, is that you should shut the fuck up.


law researcher, the problem with predicting grades is because this is a prof above right here. if you dont see the problem with a prof who wrote this ranking student writing, then you're beyond hope. i don't even know wtf this means, but this would be an A+ answer in his book to the question of whether law students can predict grade performance with hard work.

edit- not to say Campos is wrong. just to say that people think different conceptially about things. and in LS, the prof is always right.
Last edited by JohannDeMann on Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby bjsesq » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:36 pm

What we're all saying, lawsearcher, is that you should: Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

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

Postby hitherim » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:41 pm

Wait.....what are we saying?

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

Postby romothesavior » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:51 pm

Desert Fox wrote:You can separate these into three questions.

1. How random is a law school exam at measuring how good you are at law school exams in general? It clearly isn't totally random, but people generally have a pretty big spread. The difference between Top 35% and Top 65% is pretty random. The difference between top 5% and top 95% really isn't.

2. Do law exams test anything of real value or does it favor randomly picked attributes? From what I can tell legal writing, written exams, multiple choice, and paper class grades aren't really that correlated. This wouldn't make exams random, but it would make them arbitrary and capricious. If law school just tests how quickly you can superficially analyze a simple fact pattern, then who really cares? I'm sure it isn't totally arbitrary, but I expect its significantly so.

3. How much do the relative differences in ability, as measured in #2, actually reflect objective ability. What is the difference between first and last place in an objective sense and how much is that worth. The difference between the first and median place marathon runner in the Olympics is like 11 minutes over 23 miles. That's about 8% better. Now what if you were looking for a guy to run between units of your Roman Army. Fast is better, but so ability to stay hidden, ability to communicate, ability to stay healthy and recoup for the next run, etc. etc. That 8% might be worth it or it might not. Maybe law schools are more like the difference between first and last place at the Boston Marathon, where it is many hours difference. Who knows.

When you combine all three, I'm not sure grades mean all that much. Sure the next brilliant jurist might get straight A's, but that doesn't mean everyone gets straight As is a brilliant jurist.


Professor Campos, I would be interested in your thoughts re: the above. It seems like a pretty good overview of some of the problems with Law school grades.

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

Postby JCougar » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:31 pm

romothesavior wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:You can separate these into three questions.

1. How random is a law school exam at measuring how good you are at law school exams in general? It clearly isn't totally random, but people generally have a pretty big spread. The difference between Top 35% and Top 65% is pretty random. The difference between top 5% and top 95% really isn't.

2. Do law exams test anything of real value or does it favor randomly picked attributes? From what I can tell legal writing, written exams, multiple choice, and paper class grades aren't really that correlated. This wouldn't make exams random, but it would make them arbitrary and capricious. If law school just tests how quickly you can superficially analyze a simple fact pattern, then who really cares? I'm sure it isn't totally arbitrary, but I expect its significantly so.

3. How much do the relative differences in ability, as measured in #2, actually reflect objective ability. What is the difference between first and last place in an objective sense and how much is that worth. The difference between the first and median place marathon runner in the Olympics is like 11 minutes over 23 miles. That's about 8% better. Now what if you were looking for a guy to run between units of your Roman Army. Fast is better, but so ability to stay hidden, ability to communicate, ability to stay healthy and recoup for the next run, etc. etc. That 8% might be worth it or it might not. Maybe law schools are more like the difference between first and last place at the Boston Marathon, where it is many hours difference. Who knows.

When you combine all three, I'm not sure grades mean all that much. Sure the next brilliant jurist might get straight A's, but that doesn't mean everyone gets straight As is a brilliant jurist.


Professor Campos, I would be interested in your thoughts re: the above. It seems like a pretty good overview of some of the problems with Law school grades.


I know I'm not Professor Campos, but some of these are addressed in the study I cited. #1 is essentially law exam's reliability measure. The Klein & Hart study suggests that while law school exams are rough around the edges, there is some level of reliability. It's not totally like rolling the dice. But this is inter-rater reliability on the same exams. I need to see the whole study, so I don't know what the reliability is from class to class. I think it is probably fairly decent as well. But I also think there is some level of noise in here as well. Possible signal-to-noise ratio of 60/40. Maybe even 70/30.

#2 is a validity measure--in this case, whether the exam measures a meaningful skill, or whether it's really measuring a confounding variable, such as typing speed, word barf, etc. Just from my personal opinion, this is probably the biggest source of error in law exam grades. It measures stuff that is somewhat reliable and repeatable, but, in essence, it measures something that's mostly irrelevant as a real-world skill as a lawyer.

#3 is a different validity measure--construct validity. What skills are you actually measuring, and how much do they actually contribute to the kind of outcome you're trying to seek out as a legal employer? My guess is that law exams are essentially useless in this regard. The amount of words you can spit out in a 3-hour time frame is not a skill that is necessary or relevant to work as an attorney. The issue-spotting part is probably the most relevant from a construct validity standpoint, but law exams are easy enough on the issue-spotting level that most of the class sees almost all of them, or would if they weren't distracted trying to word-barf about other things--and thus it is impossible to differentiate yourself through issue spotting alone. But this aspect might be the source of the small bit of information that these exams actually provide. (I didn't say they're totally useless).

The thing is, in the real world, fact patterns are often many times more complex than the kind of issues that show up on a law exam, and you don't have OMG only three hours to think about them and blurt out words about them. Instead, the goal is to write up a logically- and grammatically-precise summary or argument about them where "arguing both sides" and semi-speculation are distractions that don't get you points unless absolutely necessary. Writing ability from an editing/publishing standpoint is a key skill. Stuff you have to submit to a judge has to be clear, precise, somewhat succinct, and persuasive. Attention to detail is a key skill. And not just attention to misplaced commas. I mean attention to every single line of a deposition transcript or document for statements that may discredit a witness. You miss/spot one of these, it can turn an entire case on a dime.

It's really impossible to glean much about a lawyer's future potential from law grades, given how law exams are constructed. Smart people certainly do well, but smart people also fail. Some people who end up having very poor judgement also do well.

The real solution is to close down about 100 law schools, bump admissions standards, improve the law school curriculum so that it's both teaching you and evaluating you based on skills necessary to be a successful lawyer, slash tuition at least for 1L so that if you try it and don't like it or realize that you suck at it after 1 year, it's not so much of a sunk-cost, and make sure that everyone left has some sort of fellowship, practicum, "residency," or placement where they can actually prove their worth in real life (instead of being relegated to surviving on welfare with $250K of debt and no hope).

Not that rationality or critical analysis has any place in a profession where blind tradition and empty prestige are king. But still, it's worth saying.

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

Postby JCougar » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:46 pm

lawsearcher wrote:You can believe there is some magical law school test taking skill but that should be debunked by the sheer variety of exams out there.


The "sheer variety" actually raises yet another red flag: there's no standardized method for assigning points to law exam answers. Even skilled talent evaluators have difficulty making valid and reliable subjective judgements as to someone's ability. Look at how bad baseball scouts are when it comes to the draft. Look at how bad managers are at picking good workers through informal interviews alone (hint: they're mostly better off picking names out of a hat).

But law school professors are never trained how to teach or trained how to professionally evaluate--even at a subjective level. They're left to make up their own standards, and these standards vary from professor to professor. Contrary to what you would say, this makes grades even less reliable--and as a result, less valid. It also shows that nobody has a clue as to what they're doing. I don't blame them: a degree in education/assessment is not a job requirement for law professor.

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

Postby LawsRUs » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:04 pm

I'm scared for law school. very very scared.

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

Postby lawsearcher » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:17 pm

I understand you will not agree with me. But I am providing an alternative voice so that 0L's don't make the faulty assumption that law school is random. You have control over your law school grades.

Unfortunately, having a different view is not acceptable on TLS. For disagreeing with my personal results, I get attacked repeatedly and told to be quiet. Is this a forum for discussion and ideas or a forum for a few select people to talk amongst themselves and lecture others?

I worked hard and it made a difference in both my knowledge of the material and my ability to recall it. For example, here is how I prepared for class every day:

I read cases over three times before class, and I never left a case until I really felt I understood what it meant (although I was often wrong, but I learned from those mistakes). First, I gave a thorough read. Second, I went through and highlighted the case in full, picking up all of the major points and supporting information with a color highlighter that by following the highlights walks you through the case. Next, I did a third read through where I typed all of that highlighted info into a brief (that later turned into an outline). I did the same with notes cases.

It was a time consuming process, but I never missed a day. I also always did my assignment before class so it was still fresh. And when I got to class, which I never missed, I paid attention. I never got on Facebook or other internet sites. I spent the class taking notes on how my interpretation varied from the professor, challenged the concepts in my head and questioned things like why we had the rule or how we could change it for the better if possible (and other various thoughts). That just includes my class and pre-class prep. I am willing to bet I put more work into this than most of the people posting in this thread.

Challenge me if you will, but that is the type of work ethic I mean, and that just covers class prep. Most people will read the case and brief, or read the case and highlight. They read to get the assignment done, not to truly understand what the case meant other than a cursory sentence or two. They might look to an E&E if they don't understand right away. They didn't take the time and meticulous effort to map out all of the cases. But I always felt if I did a big chunk of the work up front, I would be able to piece out more later and have more time for outlining and test practice.

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

Postby lawsearcher » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:25 pm

Paul Campos wrote:One of the most annoying aspects of this profession is that it socializes people to make assertions for which they have no real evidence, and furthermore to make such assertions with an air of great confidence and authority (the technical philosophical term for this is bullshitting).

Or maybe it just attracts that sort of person and reinforces these pre-existing tendencies.

Anybody who claims that how hard people work in law school largely determines what sort of grades they get does so on the basis of the underlying claim that he knows how hard people work relative to the grades they got. But of course nobody knows this, because nobody knows, except in an extremely limited and impressionistic (and therefore methodologically useless) way, how hard other people work relative to oneself.

What (some) people do discover is that the amount of work they personally put into particular classes very often ends up having no relationship at all to the grades they get in those classes. This suggests that, for them, law school grade outcomes bear little or no relationship to amount of work they put into this or that class (subject perhaps to certain minimal constraints, i.e., inter alia, did you at least study a good outline for a few hours before the exam).

But again, what's striking is the lack of respect for actual knowledge exemplified by claims that are based on essentially nothing other than an experimental N of 1 plus a couple of half-remembered anecdotes about other people. If nothing else, such claims illustrate another way in which law school fails to educate.


I don't know what you want me to say to this. Your point seems to be there is no definite evidence. I agree. But you also imply that it therefore means I am wrong. You only seem to correct people that paint a positive picture about law school. For some of us, it worked out. I know that goes against your agenda, but I want people to know there is a place for law school and they all shouldn't be chased away. I was almost chased away and it would have been a big mistake for me.

If you think I am wrong, what kind of exams do you use? How are you altering the system in your classes to account for these fallacies in the law school system?




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