Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

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prezidentv8
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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby prezidentv8 » Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:40 pm

i feel like the underlying premise here is that "knowing the law" is difficult. but, for the most part, it just isn't, like, at all. learn law, do practice tests, get feedback, adjust, rinse, repeat. problem is you've only got about 25 actual exams (really 6-8 in your first year) to get it right. which, you know, isn't much at all.

related thought. maybe there is a place in the sabermetric community for guys who can judge ballplayers accurately based on their first 8 at bats. forget this law stuff, im gonna go be a saber-dude. hooray sample sizes.

here be nonsensical ramblings.


lawsearcher wrote:I guess you don't believe trying harder will result in better grades


excellent trolling/strawman. room for improvement tho. needs moar bootstraps. B+

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

Postby lawsearcher » Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:42 pm

JCougar wrote:
lawsearcher wrote:As a final explanation, I add this. Occasionally a professor will reveal how their tests are scored. They say, for example, last year the top grade in my class got 86% of the available points and the median score was 68%. We can argue about the numbers, but generally this is a possible result. And of course it can change year to year, but this is what students roughly achieve.

All I am saying is almost anyone can work hard and get to that 86%. It's not like curve is 98% top, 92% median. Nor does the curve work like jeopardy, where someone else's answer deprives you of the opportunity to earn points. It's all individual.You just have to learn and practice enough to score 86%. Following the steps laid out in the many guides on TLS can help you get significantly closer to 86%. And if you fall a little short, you're still doing well.


But the thing is, those "points" are somewhat arbitrarily awarded, no one knows what they are before the exam. A lot of them end up being stuff that people already know, but wouldn't know to say because they didn't know you would get points for saying that thing in particular.

In essence, not getting the points isn't a function of not knowing the material--it's a function of not knowing what you get points for saying.

There's kind of a ceiling effect. Once you know the law backwards and forwards, up and down, that's the extent of the work you can do. But doing this is really only enough to keep your grades out of the basement. Once you get to this point, studying the law more is just going to make you crazy and not help you on the exams. Like, it's stupid to keep studying your own name once you already know how to spell it. Studying it for an extra 3 hours isn't going to help you spell it better.

Lawsearcher, have you ever seen the movie Pi, by Darren Aronofsky? It's a film about a smart man that drives himself insane looking for patterns in the number Pi--a random stream of numbers. At some point, studying and re-studying stuff you already know is going to drive you bonkers. There's a line at which more studying doesn't benefit you, and most people at top-ish schools are able to make it to this line before exams. So it's not necessarily a matter of more effort once you put in an adequate amount.


I agree points are somewhat arbitrarily awarded. But can you agree if 10 torts professors graded the same torts exam, the grades at the top of the heap would follow a similar grouping?

I think my studying and plan works because it is holistic and focuses on a number of areas. Focusing on any one does not work as I have repeatedly said. Again, I wasn't writing an entire guide here, I just typed out some things I did to provide an example for why hard work can change grades.

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

Postby JohannDeMann » Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:43 pm

JCougar wrote:I still remember someone I know who did particularly well telling me he got points on a contracts exam by questioning whether the pen used to sign the contract might have run out of ink and thus there was no signature--even though there was nothing in the fact pattern about signatures.

I still can't tell whether he was bullshitting or not, but it wouldn't exactly be shocking to find out that he wasn't. Obviously, that's something that would not occur to me to say in order to incur law exam points. Which obviously means I didn't brief my cases enough!


A below average student at my school booked a 100 person crim law class for solely talking about equal protection in a fact pattern about a potential law for HIV+ people disclosing they have HIV before sleeping with anyone.
At that point I realized it was all bullshit and there was nothing that could be done, and mailed it in.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby prezidentv8 » Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:44 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:
JCougar wrote:I still remember someone I know who did particularly well telling me he got points on a contracts exam by questioning whether the pen used to sign the contract might have run out of ink and thus there was no signature--even though there was nothing in the fact pattern about signatures.

I still can't tell whether he was bullshitting or not, but it wouldn't exactly be shocking to find out that he wasn't. Obviously, that's something that would not occur to me to say in order to incur law exam points. Which obviously means I didn't brief my cases enough!


A below average student at my school booked a 100 person crim law class for solely talking about equal protection in a fact pattern about a potential law for HIV+ people disclosing they have HIV before sleeping with anyone.
At that point I realized it was all bullshit and there was nothing that could be done, and mailed it in.


these are both phenomenal and make me want to laugh and cry. LOL ALL OF US

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:45 pm

lawsearcher wrote:
bjsesq wrote:This bootstrap your way through law school argument is tired as fuck and stupid. Of course there are a few people who do jackshit in law school, but they are not the majority, or even close to it. Further, this fucking asshole seems to want to separate hard work from the right kind of hard work, as if there is some sort of objective truth as to what works for everyone. No, you fucking narcissistic dullard, it doesn't work that way. The thing that really pisses me off is that some impressionable kid may come on here and see that retarded shit and think he can simply muscle his way to stellar grades, and that's fucking stupid.


As opposed to your plan which is apparently to not bother? Or plan to be median? I feel bad for the people who fall for your line of thinking.

The only real lesson to be taught is speaking against certain TLS groupthink is not tolerated. Berate them rather than discuss. I am not writing for people like you. I want people to realize greater things are possible. Apply yourself, look for ways to edge out the competition, read the TLS guides. There is room for success. Results are not pre-destined.

If you think that's so bad, then I guess you don't believe trying harder will result in better grades. But apparently that's fallible logic here.

But I mean, it is. It just is. "Try harder" is just not a guarantee of better grades.

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

Postby lawsearcher » Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:47 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
lawsearcher wrote:
bjsesq wrote:This bootstrap your way through law school argument is tired as fuck and stupid. Of course there are a few people who do jackshit in law school, but they are not the majority, or even close to it. Further, this fucking asshole seems to want to separate hard work from the right kind of hard work, as if there is some sort of objective truth as to what works for everyone. No, you fucking narcissistic dullard, it doesn't work that way. The thing that really pisses me off is that some impressionable kid may come on here and see that retarded shit and think he can simply muscle his way to stellar grades, and that's fucking stupid.


As opposed to your plan which is apparently to not bother? Or plan to be median? I feel bad for the people who fall for your line of thinking.

The only real lesson to be taught is speaking against certain TLS groupthink is not tolerated. Berate them rather than discuss. I am not writing for people like you. I want people to realize greater things are possible. Apply yourself, look for ways to edge out the competition, read the TLS guides. There is room for success. Results are not pre-destined.

If you think that's so bad, then I guess you don't believe trying harder will result in better grades. But apparently that's fallible logic here.

But I mean, it is. It just is. "Try harder" is just not a guarantee of better grades.


I provided a few examples of what try harder means. I didn't just say "try harder" and leave. But when I did that I was insulted for providing a "wall of text."

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

Postby JCougar » Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:46 pm

lawsearcher wrote:I agree points are somewhat arbitrarily awarded. But can you agree if 10 torts professors graded the same torts exam, the grades at the top of the heap would follow a similar grouping?

I think my studying and plan works because it is holistic and focuses on a number of areas. Focusing on any one does not work as I have repeatedly said. Again, I wasn't writing an entire guide here, I just typed out some things I did to provide an example for why hard work can change grades.


Well, like I said, word count is an important factor simply because if you talk about more stuff, you're statistically more likely to hit on more points just by random chance. But in my experience, professors assign a lot more points for "analysis"--which is far more subjective--than they do for spotting issues, which is more objective. One of my first professors literally told the class that, although we should use IRAC, 80% of the points come from the "A" portion, and 20% of the points come from the IRC parts combined. I feel like most professors who use points-based grading follow a similar standard.

Under this standard, you can literally spot every single issue on an exam, and still fall behind based on whatever the professor subjectively thought should be analysis points.

Of course, some professors don't even do this at all--and grade holistically. God forbid you get one of these.

As a practicing lawyer, the most important thing is the "I." Analysis is very important, but once you've spotted the issue, almost any attorney that gives a shit, given a reasonable amount of time and a treatise/practice guide, can research a rule and construct a decent analysis.

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

Postby romothesavior » Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:53 pm

Okay now you lost me. If you think most lawyers are equally good at the "A" in practice, you must be spending your time around shit lawyers.

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

Postby JohannDeMann » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:02 pm

you're both right. its just very dependent on practice area. PI is all issue spotting, no analysis. insurance defense is the same. more complicated areas of the law like corporate litigation are based on the A.

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

Postby rpupkin » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:11 pm

JCougar wrote: most important thing is the "I." Analysis is very important, but once you've spotted the issue, almost any attorney that gives a shit, given a reasonable amount of time and a treatise/practice guide, can research a rule and construct a decent analysis.

No. No, they can't.

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

Postby AReasonableMan » Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:07 pm

JCougar wrote:
lawsearcher wrote:I agree points are somewhat arbitrarily awarded. But can you agree if 10 torts professors graded the same torts exam, the grades at the top of the heap would follow a similar grouping?

I think my studying and plan works because it is holistic and focuses on a number of areas. Focusing on any one does not work as I have repeatedly said. Again, I wasn't writing an entire guide here, I just typed out some things I did to provide an example for why hard work can change grades.


Well, like I said, word count is an important factor simply because if you talk about more stuff, you're statistically more likely to hit on more points just by random chance. But in my experience, professors assign a lot more points for "analysis"--which is far more subjective--than they do for spotting issues, which is more objective. One of my first professors literally told the class that, although we should use IRAC, 80% of the points come from the "A" portion, and 20% of the points come from the IRC parts combined. I feel like most professors who use points-based grading follow a similar standard.

Under this standard, you can literally spot every single issue on an exam, and still fall behind based on whatever the professor subjectively thought should be analysis points.

Of course, some professors don't even do this at all--and grade holistically. God forbid you get one of these.

As a practicing lawyer, the most important thing is the "I." Analysis is very important, but once you've spotted the issue, almost any attorney that gives a shit, given a reasonable amount of time and a treatise/practice guide, can research a rule and construct a decent analysis.

All true, but on law school exams you do what you'll never do in real life. You get something that can go both ways, and you articulate the best arguments for each, stating why the majority rule isn't a good call for this issue. That's how you get laws changed in appellate courts, and at the end of the day appellate judges are equally subjective. I understand this isn't what most people do in real life, but why should that be the criteria? Would you judge a college basketball player based on how well of a high school coach he'll make even if this is the most likely outcome?

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

Postby JCougar » Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:20 pm

romothesavior wrote:Okay now you lost me. If you think most lawyers are equally good at the "A" in practice, you must be spending your time around shit lawyers.


Maybe I should rephrase that.

It probably does depend on the practice area.

But also, I think a lot of cases actually get settled or sent to ADR before the "A" part becomes necessary. For settlements, it's mostly the "I" that's important. You basically have to 1) draft a complaint that survives motion to dismiss, which is heavily "I" and some "R" for stuff like jurisdiction, 2) go through discovery, which is mostly canned, snarky motions/requests copied/pasted together from previous stuff, and even then, if there is something for the lawyer to do other than copy n' paste like spot violations of the discovery rules or recognize privileged information, it's pretty much all "I," and so is going through documents/depo transcripts/interrogatories, and 3) settle. The only time you would get to use a lot of "A" is if you get to the MSJ stage, which may or may not happen, but I think most attorneys are able to do the "A" part well enough to bring attention to the right facts to the judge, and these motions are often a lot of boilerplate anyway. And most judges I think pretty much look at the facts and do their own "A" irrespective of the parties' motions. It's not totally irrelevant, but I still say the "I" part is far more important. Probably the most important decision you make is whether to take a case or leave it, and that's all "I."

But I guess that's coming from a plaintiff-side perspective. From a defense standpoint, "I" is still the most important for looking for ways to get the case thrown out procedurally, spotting defenses, and evaluating total damages involved so you know whether it's worth the risk to fight it or if you should settle. Not that A is not important, it's just that the big decisions/fuck-ups come from fucking up the "I". Spotting the "I" and muddling through the "A" on a brief is 10x better than missing the I in the first place. I'd take a lawyer that's ridiculously good and detail-oriented about the I any day over someone who's a master at the "A".

I suppose if you're in area of law where jurisdictional battles are more common, there might be more complex motions required to remove/transfer/remand, etc., and for that, "A" is probably more helpful. It's probably also different for transactional attorneys, but even stuff like contract drafting is a lot of boilerplate. It's definitely different for people who do appellate work.

Being good at the "A" part helps you impress your bosses by writing kickass memos mostly. Which I suppose makes you a better attorney if it helps your boss make better decisions. But also, probably half the memos you write aren't on issues essential to the case--and instead on whatever random paranoia that recently popped into your boss' head that he or she wants you to "check on" to keep you busy/bill hours. Either that, or they're on stuff that opposing counsel simply made up and you have to research it just to "make sure" that it's bullshit.

I mean, I still see poorly written stuff going around, but it's mostly because lawyers can't write. Also, the "A" that impresses judges is different from the "A" that gets you points on a law exam.
Last edited by JCougar on Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Postby JohannDeMann » Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:29 pm

Agree with all of the above. Was just too lazy to write all that out.

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

Postby JCougar » Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:32 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:All true, but on law school exams you do what you'll never do in real life. You get something that can go both ways, and you articulate the best arguments for each, stating why the majority rule isn't a good call for this issue. That's how you get laws changed in appellate courts, and at the end of the day appellate judges are equally subjective. I understand this isn't what most people do in real life, but why should that be the criteria? Would you judge a college basketball player based on how well of a high school coach he'll make even if this is the most likely outcome?


Like you said, such a small fraction of lawyers do appellate work that it's not worth measuring. But even then, the ones who are doing appellate work regularly only do so after having like 20 years of experience. So suitability for appellate work is probably best assessed during your legal career. And by appellate work, I mean real, law-changing appellate work. Not some shitlawyer trying to cover his ass by blaming the outcome on the judge and then telling the client that he can "appeal" if he puts another chunk of money down on retainer.

I don't even know why I'm venturing down this red herring path though. I guess I started it, so I'm to blame. There's a reason why most legal employers don't care much about grades--because they suck at predicting how good of a lawyer you'll be. Even Biglaw firms will admit it's mostly for marketing prestige to the clients, and that grades mostly don't tell you anything about the attorney's ability.

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

Postby AReasonableMan » Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:35 am

JCougar wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:All true, but on law school exams you do what you'll never do in real life. You get something that can go both ways, and you articulate the best arguments for each, stating why the majority rule isn't a good call for this issue. That's how you get laws changed in appellate courts, and at the end of the day appellate judges are equally subjective. I understand this isn't what most people do in real life, but why should that be the criteria? Would you judge a college basketball player based on how well of a high school coach he'll make even if this is the most likely outcome?


Like you said, such a small fraction of lawyers do appellate work that it's not worth measuring. But even then, the ones who are doing appellate work regularly only do so after having like 20 years of experience. So suitability for appellate work is probably best assessed during your legal career. And by appellate work, I mean real, law-changing appellate work. Not some shitlawyer trying to cover his ass by blaming the outcome on the judge and then telling the client that he can "appeal" if he puts another chunk of money down on retainer.

I don't even know why I'm venturing down this red herring path though. I guess I started it, so I'm to blame. There's a reason why most legal employers don't care much about grades--because they suck at predicting how good of a lawyer you'll be. Even Biglaw firms will admit it's mostly for marketing prestige to the clients, and that grades mostly don't tell you anything about the attorney's ability.

Right but you keep assuming that grades should match practical use.

Pretend we weren't talking about law school, and we were discussing culinary school. The final was on tuna casserole. One student could make the most amazing tuna casserole ever - the artistry, presentation, etc., but in practice it would cost $50 a plate. A bunch of students can make ok tuna casserole, and it would cost $5 a plate.

In reality, the $5 is probably going to make more money, because most people don't want to spend $50 for tuna casserole. But I'm sure the better tuna casserole plate will get the higher grade. The purpose of law school is to get a job, no doubt. But everyone knows law school doesn't train you to be a lawyer. It's much more like the artistry of law than the raw bones of it.

Also, I don't think law schools claim their grading you on practical use. Generally you write exams like how a judge would analyze a case, not as a lawyer. I'm also confident the vast majority of professors would give you points for doing practical things (odds are P would win so D should settle).

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

Postby JCougar » Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:50 am

AReasonableMan wrote:Right but you keep assuming that grades should match practical use.


Of course I am. Otherwise, why bother?

Pretend we weren't talking about law school, and we were discussing culinary school. The final was on tuna casserole. One student could make the most amazing tuna casserole ever - the artistry, presentation, etc., but in practice it would cost $50 a plate. A bunch of students can make ok tuna casserole, and it would cost $5 a plate.

In reality, the $5 is probably going to make more money, because most people don't want to spend $50 for tuna casserole. But I'm sure the better tuna casserole plate will get the higher grade. The purpose of law school is to get a job, no doubt. But everyone knows law school doesn't train you to be a lawyer. It's much more like the artistry of law than the raw bones of it.

The market also works itself out. The types of firms where having that ability is not valuable are also the types that care less about grades, and it isn't just because they can't get other candidates. Even if the skill is never utilized and cases never go to trial, the idea that you could maybe win on appeal would enter the calculus of the settlement.


But now you're presupposing that law exams actually do measure some sort of valuable, practical ability here...when most evidence shows that they're somewhere between "fairly poor" and "completely ineffective" at doing so.

Also, big firms don't hire new associates based on what they might be able to write on appeal. They have laterals/partners that will do that. 98% of the people that they hire from OCI will either quit or get fired before they get close to writing an appellate brief. It would be utterly wasteful to neglect the skills that 98% of their workers use every day in lieu of an extremely poor assessment of what people might do 20 years down the road. In any event, if a Biglaw firm wants an appellate lawyer, it's going to be far more concerned about your work experience, references, and writing samples than your GPA. And they're probably going to hire you as a lateral from somewhere else.

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

Postby Louis1127 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:58 am

This thread was started by da rascal.

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

Postby BigZuck » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:01 am

I like the formula that AReasonableMan's posts take, without exception.

First sentence is (at least somewhat) responsive to the post/topic at issue

Second sentence is the beginning of an off the wall analogy

Words

Words

Then an attempt to bring it back around to the topic at hand that usually falls flat on its face but is occasionally really insightful

I just wish they were consistently funny
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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby JCougar » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:11 am

AReasonableMan wrote: Even if the skill is never utilized and cases never go to trial, the idea that you could maybe win on appeal would enter the calculus of the settlement.


Also, with regard to this, the idea that you could maybe win at trial enters in to the calculus of the settlement 100 times more than the idea that you might just win on appeal.

And law school grades test about 0% of trial skills.

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

Postby JCougar » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:20 am

AReasonableMan wrote:Also, I don't think law schools claim their grading you on practical use. Generally you write exams like how a judge would analyze a case, not as a lawyer. I'm also confident the vast majority of professors would give you points for doing practical things (odds are P would win so D should settle).


This is exactly the kind of specious point-giving that I've been talking about this entire thread. You can't make these kinds of decisions in real life by reading a fact-pattern (whether D should settle). The decision is far more complex than that, and depends on how discovery goes, personal situations, etc. That's not something that a reasonably-minded man would think of as proper "analysis" on a law exam. It's not something I'd think of to write in that I would get points for it on an exam.

Yet I'm glad you brought it up, because now that you did, I can totally imagine a few random lawprofs giving people points for saying something like that--even though it's basically unfounded, wild speculation within the context of a law exam fact pattern. But if you're one of those word barf people, perhaps you'll score a hit.

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

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:53 am

lol @ people obsessing about things they can't control. just do your absolute best in law school. figure out how to work smart and then work as hard as you can. keep your body healthy: good sleep, food and enough exercise. spend as much time as you can studying while staying sane at the same time. talk to your profs to figure out how to do well on exams, etc. all of this shit is well documented on TLS.

your grades will fall where they will, and there's nothing you can control about it. all you can control is YOUR effort. constantly WORRYING about what you can't control can only hurt you

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

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:02 am

I was talking to someone who was near the top of his class at HYS at our firm Christmas party a couple of months ago. He is now a partner at my firm. He was a journalism major and worked in journalism before law school. He said that being trained as a top notch journalist gave him such an advantage in law school that he attributed almost 100% of his performance to a combination of hard work and his journalism training: he could break down a story (or fact pattern), isolate the key points, craft on-point analysis and do all of this incredibly quickly, as his journalism job required. He told me that these skills have very little to do with the practice of law and did not help him become partner, but they obviously helped him in law school.

My takeaway was that grades measure one kind of skill set, and your intelligence and worth as a lawyer are not reflected by or determined with your law school grades.

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

Postby JCougar » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:26 am

I find that very believable. The Klein & Hart study showed a layman's impression of writing quality was the top factor aside from word count in determining law exam grades.

But that seems to be one that would actually carry over into law practice. I mean, lay writing and legal writing are somewhat different, but you would think the former would at least be a good starting point. It obviously impresses lawprofs--not that they've ever actually practiced law or anything...

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

Postby twenty 8 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:29 am

The system is pretty simple. Firms take their OCI field trips to the highest ranked schools because that’s where the smart kids attend (smart as in GPA/LSAT). These bright kids duke it out and the firms make offers to those at the top of their class. But wait, many of those are in high demand so as a backup plan firms go to the median level realizing they they’re still dealing with bright kids. Of course there is more to it than that, but that is the gist of it.

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

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:30 am

JCougar wrote:I find that very believable. The Klein & Hart study showed a layman's impression of writing quality was the top factor aside from word count in determining law exam grades.

But that seems to be one that would actually carry over into law practice. I mean, lay writing and legal writing are somewhat different, but you would think the former would at least be a good starting point. It obviously impresses lawprofs--not that they've ever actually practiced law or anything...


Practicing law for a few years improves your writing and analytical skills very quickly. After a while, you notice that pretty much every biglawyer has good quality writing and is making the same or similar points in their briefs. Mimicking the same kind of analysis over and over again in emails, motions, briefs, depo outlines, etc. makes you a "good" lawyer, as long as you are also making creative arguments that help your client. The fact that someone with a journalism background may have a leg up probably only matters at the beginning of careers.




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