Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
User avatar
JCougar
Posts: 3175
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:47 pm

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

Postby JCougar » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:43 pm

Here's an interesting article about student loan repayment from a general perspective.

http://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfe ... OtVVXZUw4J

Doesn't break it down by degree, but frankly, I don't see the JD situation being any better than average. Even the top salaries in this profession are basically canceled out by mega-debt.

The bottom line is that only 37% of student borrowers are paying their loans on time. The only way I could see the JD field approaching this number is if you account for people who have family helping to pay off their loans or paid for a good proportion of their tuition (but not all of it, because then they wouldn't have any loans at all and thus not show up in these stats). Because maybe only 15% or so get biglaw or midlaw that pays enough to make a full loan payment on your average JD debt. Maybe another 5% or so will get PSLF.

User avatar
JCougar
Posts: 3175
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:47 pm

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

Postby JCougar » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:48 pm

bjsesq wrote:Yeah, I would definitely say that it is not something you can count on. It's really a kinda "stars align" situation for a particular person's expertise.


The exceptions I have heard about in particular is that employee benefits consulting is good for ERISA (this one because ERISA is such a clusterfuck that anyone that has a year or two under their belt learning it is valuable to a law firm), and that human capital can be decent for employment if you can get into a top-ish consulting firm (less for the complexity here than the fact that you're already working a job servicing Biglaw's clients, albeit in a slightly different capacity).

I have no idea if M&A firms look the same way upon people that do accounting/i-banking type stuff in the meantime.

User avatar
JCougar
Posts: 3175
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:47 pm

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

Postby JCougar » Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:32 pm

Here's a rather fresh perspective from a former law dean:

http://www.newsweek.com/law-schools-ref ... ust-308339

Basically restates the CW on here, so not much is new.

The enrollment decline is going to continue to get worse, but it seems like the ABA is just going to keep whistlin' Dixie and pretending like this is just a bump in the road.

As someone else said, nevermind the scam blogs. The biggest factor in the law school enrollment decline isn't the stuff in the media. It's that the massive army of failed JDs out there telling friends and family to stay the hell away. Older siblings telling younger ones not to follow in their footsteps. Friends telling other friends. Cousins telling other cousins. Parents of failed law school grads telling other parents of potential law school matriculants to stay the hell away from this obvious scam.

Of the two dozen or so people in my wider social circle with a law degree that I knew before law school, almost none of them have decent jobs--or even a law career at all. Granted, quite a few of them went to TTT schools. But I even know people from T14 schools that have burned out or struck out. I think I know two or three so far where it's actually working out.

Moneytrees
Posts: 646
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:41 pm

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

Postby Moneytrees » Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:35 pm

As a 0L, I have a few questions about law school grading. I am genuinely interested in this.

Intuitively, it seems to me plausible that there would be a degree of randomness in the grading of exams at top law schools. When you take a bunch of smart, hard working people and test them on topics that have a finite number of "correct" answers or interpretations, it seems reasonable to think that some people are gonna get shafted. Difference between top 10% and bottom 10% is probably relatively easy to discern, but the difference between top 30% and median? Probably not so easy.

So my question is: Why is it that some students tend to have the best grades in every class they take? Is it because they "get" law school exams and are able to replicate their success by sticking to a specific formula? Are they just better prepared for law school in some way that isn't easy to put your finger on?

It seems to me that there is definitely a degree of chance and randomness in grading, but that some people have figured out a way to finish on top regardless of that. Since we've established that hard work probably isn't the reason why, since virtually everybody puts in hard work, what else accounts for this?

User avatar
ymmv
Posts: 12915
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:36 pm

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

Postby ymmv » Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:38 pm

Moneytrees wrote:So my question is: Why is it that some students tend to have the best grades in every class they take? Is it because they "get" law school exams and are able to replicate their success by sticking to a specific formula? Are they just better prepared for law school in some way that isn't easy to put your finger on?


To a small extent. Mostly it's just the law of averages. In a class of hundreds graded on a curve across only a small handful of 1L courses, it's almost inevitable that a few people will get all good grades and a few people will get all bad grades.

1L performance doesn't predictably carry over into 2L and 3L btw, since some people stop giving a shit, some take easier/harder/uncurved courses, etc.

User avatar
crazycanuck
Posts: 3036
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:04 pm

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

Postby crazycanuck » Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:43 pm

I would just like to point out that govt jobs won't give any points for a JD if it is not part of the checklist. If you're applying for a customer service position it's at best neutral as they won't even say the JD is preferred. If you are going for a policy position where it's preferred you will get points. It seems that twenty keeps assuming the JD gets you points because it allows the box to be checked, but if the box isn't there you're just competing with all the others.

Moneytrees
Posts: 646
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:41 pm

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

Postby Moneytrees » Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:44 pm

ymmv wrote:
Moneytrees wrote:So my question is: Why is it that some students tend to have the best grades in every class they take? Is it because they "get" law school exams and are able to replicate their success by sticking to a specific formula? Are they just better prepared for law school in some way that isn't easy to put your finger on?


To a small extent. Mostly it's just the law of averages. In a class of hundreds graded on a curve across only a small handful of 1L courses, it's almost inevitable that a few people will get all good grades and a few people will get all bad grades.

1L performance doesn't predictably carry over into 2L and 3L btw, since some people stop giving a shit, some take easier/harder/uncurved courses, etc.


How small are classes? Like 30 people? So you are saying that across 6-8 classes, it's statistically probable for some students to always be at the top? I'm admittedly not the best at stats, but that seems improbable to me.

User avatar
ymmv
Posts: 12915
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:36 pm

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

Postby ymmv » Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:46 pm

Moneytrees wrote:
ymmv wrote:
Moneytrees wrote:So my question is: Why is it that some students tend to have the best grades in every class they take? Is it because they "get" law school exams and are able to replicate their success by sticking to a specific formula? Are they just better prepared for law school in some way that isn't easy to put your finger on?


To a small extent. Mostly it's just the law of averages. In a class of hundreds graded on a curve across only a small handful of 1L courses, it's almost inevitable that a few people will get all good grades and a few people will get all bad grades.

1L performance doesn't predictably carry over into 2L and 3L btw, since some people stop giving a shit, some take easier/harder/uncurved courses, etc.


How small are classes? Like 30 people? So you are saying that across 6-8 classes, it's statistically probable for some students to always be at the top? I'm admittedly not the best at stats, but that seems improbable to me.


No. Classes (in the sense of a grade cohort) are typically hundreds of students. Out of 500 people in the class of 2016 at X School of Law, it's very statistically probable that some will be at the top of the curve in all 6 or 7 of their 1L courses, i.e. they will get all A's.

User avatar
prezidentv8
Posts: 2821
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:33 am

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

Postby prezidentv8 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:50 pm

ymmv wrote:
Moneytrees wrote:
ymmv wrote:
Moneytrees wrote:So my question is: Why is it that some students tend to have the best grades in every class they take? Is it because they "get" law school exams and are able to replicate their success by sticking to a specific formula? Are they just better prepared for law school in some way that isn't easy to put your finger on?


To a small extent. Mostly it's just the law of averages. In a class of hundreds graded on a curve across only a small handful of 1L courses, it's almost inevitable that a few people will get all good grades and a few people will get all bad grades.

1L performance doesn't predictably carry over into 2L and 3L btw, since some people stop giving a shit, some take easier/harder/uncurved courses, etc.


How small are classes? Like 30 people? So you are saying that across 6-8 classes, it's statistically probable for some students to always be at the top? I'm admittedly not the best at stats, but that seems improbable to me.


No. Classes (in the sense of a grade cohort) are typically hundreds of students. Out of 500 people in the class of 2016 at X School of Law, it's very statistically probable that some will be at the top of the curve in all 6 or 7 of their 1L courses, i.e. they will get all A's.


Especially given that we're talking about a sample size of like, 6 classes per student and curved exams.

User avatar
JCougar
Posts: 3175
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:47 pm

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

Postby JCougar » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:20 pm

Moneytrees wrote:How small are classes? Like 30 people? So you are saying that across 6-8 classes, it's statistically probable for some students to always be at the top? I'm admittedly not the best at stats, but that seems improbable to me.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal_distribution

User avatar
JCougar
Posts: 3175
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:47 pm

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

Postby JCougar » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:29 pm

Moneytrees wrote:Intuitively, it seems to me plausible that there would be a degree of randomness in the grading of exams at top law schools. When you take a bunch of smart, hard working people and test them on topics that have a finite number of "correct" answers or interpretations, it seems reasonable to think that some people are gonna get shafted. Difference between top 10% and bottom 10% is probably relatively easy to discern, but the difference between top 30% and median? Probably not so easy.


However, this is generally correct, though, even though I'm a GPA cynic. The difference between top 10% and bottom 10% is probably pretty easy to determine at any school. Difference between top 30% and 50% is essentially random error coupled with some intervening variables unrelated to how smart and well-prepared you are as far as knowing the material. Difference between top 10% and median is probably somewhat material, but not a sure thing at the better schools. And even less of a sure thing when you try to use that as a predictor of success at your first law job.

The point is that such a finite control of your GPA is impossible. Knowing the law and hard work are generally enough to maybe guarantee you top 60% or so. The problem is that at all but a small handful of schools (possibly the top 10 or so, but not more than top 13--GeorgeTTTown is pretty much a trap school these days), top 60% isn't going to guarantee you much of anything. And the options drop off very steeply beyond that.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22787
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:33 pm

Also, I don't think anyone has gone so far to say that the top few people always getting As just luck out on grade distribution. Some people do just "get" LS exams more quickly than others. Or they "get" more kinds of exams (someone who's great at issue spotting but bad at policy, or vice versa, may or may not get top grades depending on what kind of exams their profs give, but if you're good at all of them it doesn't matter).

User avatar
JCougar
Posts: 3175
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:47 pm

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

Postby JCougar » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:39 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Also, I don't think anyone has gone so far to say that the top few people always getting As just luck out on grade distribution. Some people do just "get" LS exams more quickly than others. Or they "get" more kinds of exams (someone who's great at issue spotting but bad at policy, or vice versa, may or may not get top grades depending on what kind of exams their profs give, but if you're good at all of them it doesn't matter).


Yeah, I agree with this. My point is not necessarily to show that it is definitely all just random error--it's to show that such a distribution based on random error alone is simply possible.

Thus, it's not safe to make a prima facie assumption that since a small sliver of people consistently do well, that it can't be random noise. Even where variance is mostly random noise, it's not only possible, but probable that a handful of ~300 or so students will end up looking like they stand out from all the rest.

User avatar
ExBiglawAssociate
Posts: 2080
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:06 pm

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

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:40 pm

Can we make a new rule on TLS that people are not allowed to use the phrase "prima facie" in any context?

User avatar
bjsesq
TLS Poet Laureate
Posts: 13383
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:02 am

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

Postby bjsesq » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:41 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Can we make a new rule on TLS that people are not allowed to use the phrase "prima facie" in any context?

ipso facto, no.

User avatar
rpupkin
Posts: 3864
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:32 pm

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

Postby rpupkin » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:44 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Can we make a new rule on TLS that people are not allowed to use the phrase "prima facie" in any context?

Seconded. And the ensuing sanction should be particularly severe if the phrase is italicized.

User avatar
ymmv
Posts: 12915
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:36 pm

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

Postby ymmv » Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:07 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Can we make a new rule on TLS that people are not allowed to use the phrase "prima facie" in any context?


Do you want ten pages of bukkake jokes every time someone says "facially" instead?

Moneytrees
Posts: 646
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:41 pm

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

Postby Moneytrees » Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:59 pm

Well, this is certainly a must read for any 0L. I appreciate all the information regarding this topic.

One take away from this thread is that hard work is not a sufficient requirement to do well in law school. Lawresearcher seems to think that it's merely sufficient to work hard and apply yourself in order to be at the top of your class. This might have been true in college, for most classes, but for law school it seems like a fairly outrageous proposition. There seem to be a huge number of students who were hard workers but who finished median or below.

I will say that there seems to be a current of thought on TLS that goes something like this: "at every T1, every student is gunning for top 10% and studying incessantly". I don't necessarily think this is true. At least not for every T1 school; perhaps things are slightly different in the T14. The friends that I have who went to T1 law schools right out of undergrad simply did not have that mind set, and finished right where you would have expected them to finish. I think there are many K-JD students don't realize how high the stakes are. That's not to say they are lazy or dicking around; they just aren't approaching law school like a full time job.

User avatar
JCougar
Posts: 3175
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:47 pm

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

Postby JCougar » Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:02 pm

Oh, come on...prima facie wasn't that superfluous there. It actually has meaning in that sentence.

It's not like I used inter alia or anything.

User avatar
ymmv
Posts: 12915
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:36 pm

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

Postby ymmv » Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:21 pm

Moneytrees wrote:
I will say that there seems to be a current of thought on TLS that goes something like this: "at every T1, every student is gunning for top 10% and studying incessantly". I don't necessarily think this is true. At least not for every T1 school; perhaps things are slightly different in the T14.


Yes it really is shocking how easily your own strawmen can be dispatched isn't it.

User avatar
MagicMike80
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:29 pm

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

Postby MagicMike80 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:58 pm

There's a difference between

1. Working as hard as people at a t14 worked in undergrad
and
2. Working effectively in law school.

Someone in the top 30% probably has one horror story about one particular exam or two that wiped them out, while someone in the top 5-10% does not. This almost universally derives from people bailing on their class notes and trying to learn contracts from a supplement in the two weeks before the exam.

As someone said above, adapting to the different types of exam question is key, but even more important is adapting to the different kinds of professors. There's always that one professor everyone hates, or just ignores during class. 1L I was able to motivate myself to power through those moments of extreme rage/boredom; 2L less so.

Anecdotally, I'd say around 40% of people legitimately try as hard as 0Ls imagine they are going to try.

User avatar
ymmv
Posts: 12915
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:36 pm

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

Postby ymmv » Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:09 pm

MagicMike80 wrote:Someone in the top 30% probably has one horror story about one particular exam or two that wiped them out, while someone in the top 5-10% does not. This almost universally derives from people bailing on their class notes and trying to learn contracts from a supplement in the two weeks before the exam.


No it fucking doesn't.

User avatar
prezidentv8
Posts: 2821
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:33 am

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

Postby prezidentv8 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:15 pm

ymmv wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Can we make a new rule on TLS that people are not allowed to use the phrase "prima facie" in any context?


Do you want ten pages of bukkake jokes every time someone says "facially" instead?


Yes, actually.

Moneytrees
Posts: 646
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:41 pm

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

Postby Moneytrees » Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:27 pm

It's not my strawman. I'm not saying only 40% of trying, like the guy above me. I have no idea what percentage it is. But a lot of people on these boards assume it's the vast majority, and I'm not so sure about that. Maybe at the T14, probably not at the rest of the T1.

User avatar
ymmv
Posts: 12915
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:36 pm

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

Postby ymmv » Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:32 pm

Moneytrees wrote:It's not my strawman. I'm not saying only 40% of trying, like the guy above me. I have no idea what percentage it is. But a lot of people on these boards assume it's the vast majority, and I'm not so sure about that. Maybe at the T14, probably not at the rest of the T1.


Ok since you apparently can't read your own posts:

Moneytrees wrote:I will say that there seems to be a current of thought on TLS that goes something like this: "at every T1, every student is gunning for top 10% and studying incessantly"


Nobody says these things. If you don't want people to call you out on your bullshit reductionism, don't do it in the first place.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: carlos_danger and 5 guests