Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

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

Postby Desert Fox » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:30 pm

Median pwnd is such a stupid term. You are just as likely to hit top 10% as you are bottom 10%. Median is not fucking up, it's keeping up with the pack. You should be proud to get median

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

Postby ymmv » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:30 pm

thisone2014 wrote:
ymmv wrote:
thisone2014 wrote:Do people who had UG majors where exams were curved feel that law school grading is as "random" as the OP seems to suggest? It seems possible that the cliche that the "exam I felt best about, I got the lowest grade in" comes from people not used to being graded on a curve.


No. You are literally being thrown in a group of 200 of the strongest students in the country wherein which half the class are going to be arbitrarily forced into a mediocre/poor grade regardless of how good their work is. IDGAF what your "experience with curves" is, you cannot predict your law school performance reliably.



But how is that substantially different from people who had curved grades in top UG schools/majors? That just described what it's like to be in any highly competitive curved class.


Because (1) 1L is much more intense, (2) the two semesters of 1L matter infinitely more for employment prospects than all eight of your undergraduate semesters, (3) top law schools, of which there are only a scant few, are more difficult to get into that top undergrad institutions, of which there are arguably a hundred a more, and (4) your entire grade is the result of a single exam, which is rarely ever the case in American universities and which is something much harder to control the outcome of than multiple discrete assignments over the course of a semester, and (5) law school professors can be raving lunatics.

Or you could just take the word of the thousands of us who were at the very top of our UG classes, even when curved, and found our law school grades just north of random. That said, those who had curved UG classes will probably be a little more prepared for the brutality of the system.
Last edited by ymmv on Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Postby fats provolone » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:31 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Also, you seem to assume you're only talking to heterosexual men.

I'm sure he's very concerned by this

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

Postby ymmv » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:32 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
thisone2014 wrote:Do people who had UG majors where exams were curved feel that law school grading is as "random" as the OP seems to suggest? It seems possible that the cliche that the "exam I felt best about, I got the lowest grade in" comes from people not used to being graded on a curve.


Most of my UG exams were curved to B-.

Law school grades feel random:

A) because it is fairly random due to the subjective nature of grading. Prof might not like your argument even if you know what you are talking about.

B) since it is on a curve, you can't tell between this test is easy v. I'm destroying this hard test. So if you think you are doing well, everyone probably is too since it's easy. you have to distinguish yourself from the pack to get the A-.

C) law school exams value particular styles and values that are essentially capricious. It values vomiting out pretty straight forward analysis at insane paces rather than thoughtful, deliberate analysis.

D) the material is easy. No concept in law school is difficult to understand. So good luck standing out when competing against other people with similar skills. It would be like if Math School was just who could do the most multiplication and addition problems in 3 hours.


All of this.

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

Postby fats provolone » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:32 pm

i would crush it at math school

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

Postby bjsesq » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:33 pm

fats provolone wrote:i would crush it at math school

So long as you can use wiki during the exam

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

Postby fats provolone » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:34 pm

bjsesq wrote:
fats provolone wrote:i would crush it at math school

So long as you can use wiki during the exam

Don't EVER suggest using Wikipedia on a math school exam

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:38 pm

The only curved courses I know of from undergrad are engineering ones. I never had a curved class before law school.

I don't think law school grades are completely random, but I don't think any one person can predict how they are going to do (or much of the time, how they did). You just don't have enough information about other people's performance. (I'd also bet that in undergrad you have a wider range of abilities in any given course than in law school.)

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:39 pm

fats provolone wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Also, you seem to assume you're only talking to heterosexual men.

I'm sure he's very concerned by this

Oh, I'm sure he's not - consider it my version of Tourrette's that requires me to comment on stuff like that.

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

Postby nick417 » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:41 pm

onionz wrote:
DaRascal wrote:I feel so bad for everyone in there who went to truly elite schools, did well, and couldn't find employment. Then I see people who went to T1's and were in the top 20% of their classes and they also struggled to find employment. Law school is a really scary proposition. Let me share a quick anecdote that some posters on here might be familiar with. It's not the most riveting tale, but I think it's one of extreme transformation. A few months after I graduated from college, I nearly made an awful decision to attend Notre Dame; I was accepted off the waitlist on August 2nd, 2013. The only thing that stopped me were the e-mails I got from Duke and NU a few days later asking me to confirm my interest in attending, if admitted off either waitlist, so I banked on getting into one of them. I had to respond to ND with a seat deposit by mid-August, but I didn't have a lot of money because I had worked a crappy retail job that summer and gambled away half of my summer earnings on a well-known offshore site throwing down money on sports and poker. I could only afford the ND seat deposit, but I couldn't afford to throw that one down and pay for another seat deposit if I had gotten off the WL at Duke or NU.

Anyway, I'm so grateful that I neither matriculated at ND (sticker price) nor was accepted by Duke or NU. I could have made the worst decision of my life! I never improved my best LSAT score and I hurt myself with some things I did between the beginning of my last year as an undergrad at UVA and the present so I can't pretend that my law school options improved from two years ago, but my life perspective certainly has.

With my GPA, I really couldn't expect much in terms of acceptance AND scholarship money at the top schools unless I saw a really significant improvement on the LSAT (6+ points), so I can't feel like I came up just short of the promised land; what I came up just short of was soul-crushing debt. I would have never considered taking a full-ride at a T30 two years ago. My mind was so set on going to a T14, any T14, at any cost and I was assured I'd work hard there and pay off any debt I would have assumed. How naive of me!


Do you 0L's realize what we're in for? You could go to a law school on a full-ride and end up at the median or worse even after investing every iota of effort into excelling! Law school is a gamble of the highest degree. I might call this a... polemic against bad decision making. We all need to realize that we're human beings and we're prone to this fallacious line of thinking that deludes us into believing we can avert disaster by outworking each other. That might hold true for some, but most of us are not the "special snowflakes" we think we are and we can't assume we'll be top of our law school classes with enough effort by going to schools where our numbers are stronger than most of the rest of the classes' numbers. There's little statistical correlation. We just have to put forth our best effort with few expectations and accept who we are when the grades come back. That's all there is to it! :P


We can do this, my friends. Let's all make wise decisions and go to (at least) T1 schools with a bunch of scholarship or family money. Look in the mirror and find yourself. There's a tempest ahead and you have to either find a way to brave it or at least be able to bring the ship safely back to the harbor if you can't get through it. We need to sift carefully through the "Vale of Tears" thread and through the threads in the legal employment forum and understand the pitfalls of going to law school before we can choose a law school.


I read these threads and wonder if I go to law school in the same country as everyone else. Although doing well in LS isn't a sure thing, I think the whole idea that it's a "total gamble" is false. The distribution at my school worked out about as I expected based on the effort put in by various students. Granted, there were outliers and certainly students who thought they would work harder than they ended up doing, but ultimately there seems to be a strong correlation between hours work and results. (Especially in things like the writing class where most people wait until the weekend before to start their briefs).

That's not to say there isn't some randomness, and students who work hard but luck out. The story also changes the further from YHS you go. There are a ton of bad law schools charging a lot of money for bad outcomes. And of course law school isn't for everyone. (A lot of the arguments for advising people to postpone law school and see if it's what they really want also apply toward encouraging a gap year in undergrad, which I think would also help solve the problem).

But the idea that it's totally random or you individually only have 10% to be top 10% is wrong. You should know yourself and what you can commit to. This is not to give hope to what I think is well-described "special snowflake" syndrome. As has been repeated-there are a lot of smart kids with similar credentials around you. Typically you can't just turn it on and be someone else if that's not your MO.

There are other hurdles to jump through-students who did do well and don't have jobs, but again it was the students who didn't mass mail, network, cast a wide net or practice interviewing who had a problem.

I guess ultimately I'm just surprised to keep seeing espoused the accepted view that it's all "a gamble." Like anything in life, there's *some* risk, but the more you put into it the more likely you'll get something out of it. I think running a marathon is a good example. If you train a lot more than someone else, you'll probably do better than them- but you could also have a shitty day, which is less likely if you trained well. But someone else might do better than you without training nearly as hard. Finally, it's probably very likely you didn't train as hard as you expected or wanted, and you didn't cut back on other things like you thought you would. What did you expect?


I agree with your assessment. The people at my school at the top are the (1) hardest working; (2) best prepared; (3) and genuinely smart people who I could envision hiring as my attorney. The people at the bottom are simply not. They either don't work as hard, are not as prepared for school/class/or exam; or generally lack the skills that I would consider a good lawyer to have.

Also, the ones who are getting jobs/internships are the ones who are putting in the effort to find jobs. They aren't putting off applying; they visit career services, they check simplicity, they network. The ones who are struggling don't do this. The problem I see is laziness. I understand the collapse of the legal field and the lack of jobs; but individual laziness must be a factor too. The problem is some people don't realize they are lazy until they get to law school and see what being "not lazy" means.

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

Postby bjsesq » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:45 pm

nick417 wrote:Also, the ones who are getting jobs/internships are the ones who are putting in the effort to find jobs. They aren't putting off applying; they visit career services, they check simplicity, they network. The ones who are struggling don't do this. The problem I see is laziness. I understand the collapse of the legal field and the lack of jobs; but individual laziness must be a factor too. The problem is some people don't realize they are lazy until they get to law school and see what being "not lazy" means.

I sent out over 900 applications before I landed a job after my firm tanked. You keep telling yourself that, though, if it makes you feel better. People who aren't landing stuff are just lazy.

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

Postby JohannDeMann » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:47 pm

I was pretty confident in my ability to do well in law school, but that's because I had a 4.0 in the three semesters of college I tried before skipping 90% of class, went to a TTT, and had an LSAT >75th for my school that I got with minimal prep on 3 hours of sleep.

So if you've basically mailed in your college career and LSAT prep and go to a bad school, you can be pretty certain you'll do reasonably well (top 20/25%).

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:50 pm

Yeah, some people like to assume laziness because it's a lot more reassuring than reality, which is that ability does not always lead to positive outcomes. People, there are simply more people graduating law school than there are jobs, and the distribution of who gets those jobs isn't always logical or reasonable. You simply can't control this shit.

And Johann, how does that help anyone? They should just go to a crappy school and hope it all works out?

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

Postby ymmv » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:51 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Yeah, some people like to assume laziness because it's a lot more reassuring than reality, which is that ability does not always lead to positive outcomes. People, there are simply more people graduating law school than there are jobs, and the distribution of who gets those jobs isn't always logical or reasonable. You simple can't control this shit.

And Johann, how does that help anyone? They should just go to a crappy school and hope it all works out?


He's just pointing out the limited (and undesirable) context within which all these delusional 0L snowflake beliefs are actually true.

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

Postby Desert Fox » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:53 pm

In my estimation, effort is only worth like 25% of the grade once you get past a minimal knowledge of the subject (which virtually everyone does). The guy at the top is prepared and good at law exams. The guy at hte bottom is poorly prepped and bad at them.

But you can be the best prepped person and you sorta suck at taking legal exams and you'll get bottom 25% pwnd. Beaten by poorly prepared people who are good at it.

I know people who studied 3X as much as I did and did worse. And I didn't even do particularly good.

Finally, studying hard in law school is very very different than studying in UG. Probably 75% of the people do all the reading, plus supplemental reading. Everyone has well prepped outlines. Virtually everyone knows the black letter law pretty good. At least half the people at your law school will be the same super nerd, super studier that you are.

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

Postby fats provolone » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:53 pm

the exams -> practice link seems super tenuous. i was really good at exams but i am probably median at work

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

Postby JohannDeMann » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:54 pm

No my point is it doesnt help anyone. The only way of knowing you can do well in law school is if you havent put your best foot forward in life and youre capable of much more than your UGPA and LSAT say.

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

Postby BigZuck » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:57 pm

nick417 wrote:they visit career services


This is how I know that you're trolling

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:58 pm

fats provolone wrote:the exams -> practice link seems super tenuous. i was really good at exams but i am probably median at work

This is depressingly true. Also, I polished up my writing skills like mad to get my current job...where I write something longer than 2 pages of boilerplate maybe once every 6 months.

@Johann: oh, I get it, sorry.

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

Postby notgreat » Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:02 pm

Don't know if grades are random, but based on the evidence and anecdotal experience you cannot predict how you will do. I went to a top 20 UG, all my classes were curved because it was a technical major and I was top 5%. 99th percentile LSAT. Got well below median pwned first semester (like 20th percentile owned) despite working 65 hours a week and maybe more. Did almost no work second semester of 1L and was top third. Good luck in predicting how you will do.

Who the fuck knows what these fart sniffers are looking for. Other than organizing your answers, giving a clear roadmap of where you are going and working fast, I couldn't find much to distinguish between top 25% and top 70%.

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

Postby fats provolone » Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:05 pm

at the end of the day your grade comes down to one dudes brief read through of a few thousand words. you don't have to be a scientist to figure out that's gonna have some variance.

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

Postby LeDique » Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:05 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
fats provolone wrote:the exams -> practice link seems super tenuous. i was really good at exams but i am probably median at work

This is depressingly true. Also, I polished up my writing skills like mad to get my current job...where I write something longer than 2 pages of boilerplate maybe once every 6 months.

@Johann: oh, I get it, sorry.

yea i think my strengths/talents match up well with what most profs ask for on law school exams, but they aren't really that great for actual lawyering. so i don't think grades are random, there are certainly ways of thinking/problem solving/writing that lend themselves to doing well on exams. i couldn't tell you what exactly those are or if you have them. but those skills come up…basically never. the closest they ever come to appearing is sj/appeal briefing which happens like…twice a year?

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

Postby JohannDeMann » Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:12 pm

I got the top grade in a class and the professor let me be his RA for a little while before he decided it wasnt working out. So lol at grades being indicative of anything at all. Clearly the day the prof read my final was way different than the 2 months we worked together in which he hated everything I did for him. Had he asked a different question on that exam, I could have gone from top grade to median pretty easily I bet.

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

Postby nick417 » Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:12 pm

Too many times these conversations turn into individual experiences, which are simply not helpful to a 0 L making a tough decision to attend law school. Law school is a risk, like gambling is a risk. Therefore, generalities about how to be successful or who is successful is more helpful then individual experiences. Example: If I told you to play video poker because I was just dealt a Royal Flush, is that helpful information? OR if I told you to play video poker because your return on investment is close to 99%, compared to 90% at a slot machine. Which is more helpful information?

Also, If grades are even remotely random, then logic dictates there would be no one with 4.0's, or even close to that. But yet, there are. Somehow, a group of students get "A's" and "A-" in every single class they take. I guess that is just random.....

This "snow flake" example thing is also easily explainable: individuals don't realize they aren't as hard working or prepared for law school (i.e., the "snow flake") until they get here. Once here, a line is drawn between the ones who are prepared versus the ones who are not. By the way, "Hard working" doesn't mean hours your put in. It means knowing the material. Do you know the material better than everyone else in your school. The ones who are at the top of the class tend to work harder at knowing the material better than everyone else. Just because you "work hard" doesn't mean you have "worked harder" at knowing the material better than everyone else.

As for job prospects, we are talking in generalities. But, at my school, your job prospects are in correlation with your grades. Special circumstances play a role, but highers grades = higher job opportunities. Since my premise is grades are dictated by working harder at knowing the material than everyone else, my conclusion is the hardest workers succeed more often.

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

Postby fats provolone » Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:16 pm

your premise is dumb and you apparently don't know how a curve works




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