T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

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WiltyMIZ

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T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby WiltyMIZ » Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:39 pm

Hi all. I'm new to the forum so I hope this thread isn't breaking too many rules or being redundant but I was just wondering just how drastic the difference would be for employment opportunities if an employer compares two identical resumes: one from a t14 ( for the sake of argument, let's say a northwestern or Georgetown) vs. a school in the top 20 (say Vanderbilt, UT-Austin, or WashU). Let's assume both applicants placed top 25% of their class and have identical extracurricular credentials.

With a GPA like I mine I've surrendered to the fact I will likely not get into a T-14, but with my LSAT prep scores consistently falling in the 167-171 range and with 4 more months before I take my LSAT I think it's feasible to improve to a score that lands me just outside of it. Just wanted to gather some opinions.

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby sublime » Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:41 pm

You can look at lawschooltransparency.com or their disclosures and make reasonable inferences from those stats.

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby oidsedidy » Fri Jul 15, 2016 1:45 am

WiltyMIZ wrote:Hi all. I'm new to the forum so I hope this thread isn't breaking too many rules or being redundant but I was just wondering just how drastic the difference would be for employment opportunities if an employer compares two identical resumes: one from a t14 ( for the sake of argument, let's say a northwestern or Georgetown) vs. a school in the top 20 (say Vanderbilt, UT-Austin, or WashU). Let's assume both applicants placed top 25% of their class and have identical extracurricular credentials.

With a GPA like I mine I've surrendered to the fact I will likely not get into a T-14, but with my LSAT prep scores consistently falling in the 167-171 range and with 4 more months before I take my LSAT I think it's feasible to improve to a score that lands me just outside of it. Just wanted to gather some opinions.


This was a question that plagued me for a long time before I made my decision. I think in some respects all law schools wind up being regional: the most highly ranked schools are by-and-large on the East Coast, and so are the principal locations of many of the best firms. People who do well at T14 schools in the East Coast tend to work there (NY, D.C., etc.). The same can be said for Boalt and Stanford on the West Coast and NU,M,C in the mid-west. I think the biggest advantage you have from graduating from a T14 school is that while you will likely work close to where you went to school, you have a greater opportunity to find Biglaw somewhere else. You will also be more competitive for Clerkships.

If you are top quarter at UT you will not struggle to find work- but the work will be predominantly in Texas. You certainly could find yourself in say, Atlanta, Chicago, or NY- but chances are someone from GULC with identical stats will have an edge on the UT grad in a wider variety of markets. I can't say if the edge is huge, but it is there.

Personally, I think if you have grades in the top quarter at 15-17 you have a great shot at Biglaw- you won't be working at Cravath, but you'll find something that pays 180k (or whatever else you might be looking for).

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Jul 15, 2016 7:58 am

WiltyMIZ wrote:Let's assume both applicants placed top 25% of their class and have identical extracurricular credentials.


That's the wrong assumption to make. Your question should be, "What's the difference in job outcomes between T14 and T25 (not really a thing, but ok) for a student at the school's median?"

And the answer is that it's a very large difference in employment outcomes. Median at most T14 schools still gets you biglaw (assuming that's your goal), and you have a lot more national flexibility. It was mentioned that "East Coast T14 schools place on the East Coast", but that's largely because most of the desirable jobs for biglaw, government, etc. are on the East Coast, as are most of the T14 schools. A student from Duke who wants to practice in California will likely have no trouble getting there. And that hypothetical student should not, for example, choose UCLA if their goal is a big law firm in California, because Duke will give them a better chance at a big firm, even though it isn't local.

This thread would be helpful to peruse: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=262376

As you can see there, if you ignore GULC (and there's a raging debate over why their biglaw+FC numbers are low), it's a 10% difference in employment chances as soon as you leave the T14. And that's not counting the massive difference in PI/government outcomes for people who want the more competitive jobs in those areas (which is part of the Georgetown debate).

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby favabeansoup » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:32 am

oidsedidy wrote:This was a question that plagued me for a long time before I made my decision. I think in some respects all law schools wind up being regional: the most highly ranked schools are by-and-large on the East Coast, and so are the principal locations of many of the best firms. People who do well at T14 schools in the East Coast tend to work there (NY, D.C., etc.). The same can be said for Boalt and Stanford on the West Coast and NU,M,C in the mid-west. I think the biggest advantage you have from graduating from a T14 school is that while you will likely work close to where you went to school, you have a greater opportunity to find Biglaw somewhere else. You will also be more competitive for Clerkships.

If you are top quarter at UT you will not struggle to find work- but the work will be predominantly in Texas. You certainly could find yourself in say, Atlanta, Chicago, or NY- but chances are someone from GULC with identical stats will have an edge on the UT grad in a wider variety of markets. I can't say if the edge is huge, but it is there.

Personally, I think if you have grades in the top quarter at 15-17 you have a great shot at Biglaw- you won't be working at Cravath, but you'll find something that pays 180k (or whatever else you might be looking for).


Yeah I'll second this from firsthand experience. If you intend to stay in TX, top quarter from UT probably gives you a stronger chance at TX biglaw than top quarter at NU/GULC/Cornell (absent really strong ties from those schools). Totally agree though that top quarter at UT vs. top quarter at GULC if say, Chicago, GULC would get the edge. It's the regional strengths of the schools that start to matter at that point, and why knowing where you want to practice becomes very important.

Someone from vanderbilt can comment on their placement, because they are kind of unique I believe in sending people to various places.

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby Chad_IRL » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:47 am

This was a question that plagued me for a long time before I made my decision. I think in some respects all law schools wind up being regional: the most highly ranked schools are by-and-large on the East Coast, and so are the principal locations of many of the best firms. People who do well at T14 schools in the East Coast tend to work there (NY, D.C., etc.). The same can be said for Boalt and Stanford on the West Coast and NU,M,C in the mid-west


This is kind of not great reasoning. You're confusing which phenomenon is causing what. When someone says that schools are regional in placement, they by and large mean that students from that school are generally restricted to working in that region--not out of choice, but out of a limit on the opportunities that are available to them. The fact that many top schools are on the east coast and place students into New York firms--and on the other side of the country, many students at Berkeley and Stanford choose to work in California--is a product of self-selecting for preferred markets, not limits on the opportunities available to students. One of the primary draws of going to a T14 school is that you CAN go into most markets if you'd really like to.

Also, using the "East Coast" as a region is so vague that it is basically meaningless. There is a big difference between working in Boston, New York, Miami, and Charlotte, but they are all on the "East Coast."

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby kcdc1 » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:59 am

IMO, the prestige difference is bigger than could be reasonably expected. I went to a T14, and because of that, people appear to assume I'm smart. For example, the other day, I met another lawyer in a non-work setting and mentioned that I was studying for the bar. When I mentioned that I went to Northwestern, she said something along the lines of, "You must be great at tests, you'll be fine." I strongly suspect attending UT (#15) would not have evoked the same response.

As to how directly the prestige difference converts to dollars and opportunities, it's hard to say (LST is one decent source). But you will seem more impressive on first impression to many lawyers if you attend Georgetown than if you attend UT.

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby Calbears123 » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:06 am

kcdc1 wrote:IMO, the prestige difference is bigger than could be reasonably expected. I went to a T14, and because of that, people appear to assume I'm smart. For example, the other day, I met another lawyer in a non-work setting and mentioned that I was studying for the bar. When I mentioned that I went to Northwestern, she said something along the lines of, "You must be great at tests, you'll be fine." I strongly suspect attending UT (#15) would not have evoked the same response.

As to how directly the prestige difference converts to dollars and opportunities, it's hard to say (LST is one decent source). But you will seem more impressive on first impression to many lawyers if you attend Georgetown than if you attend UT.


Ehh I've gotten same responses coming from Notre Dame, however id rather be median at NU than ND

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby kcdc1 » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:16 am

Calbears123 wrote:
kcdc1 wrote:IMO, the prestige difference is bigger than could be reasonably expected. I went to a T14, and because of that, people appear to assume I'm smart. For example, the other day, I met another lawyer in a non-work setting and mentioned that I was studying for the bar. When I mentioned that I went to Northwestern, she said something along the lines of, "You must be great at tests, you'll be fine." I strongly suspect attending UT (#15) would not have evoked the same response.

As to how directly the prestige difference converts to dollars and opportunities, it's hard to say (LST is one decent source). But you will seem more impressive on first impression to many lawyers if you attend Georgetown than if you attend UT.


Ehh I've gotten same responses coming from Notre Dame, however id rather be median at NU than ND

In what region of the country have you gotten those responses? It's hard to pin these things down because they're not really subject to measurement, but in my experience, NU's brand carries weight nationally (the anecdote I mentioned above occurred in DC). I'd be surprised if attorneys outside the midwest were frequently impressed by the Notre Dame name, but who knows.

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby Calbears123 » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:17 am

kcdc1 wrote:
Calbears123 wrote:
kcdc1 wrote:IMO, the prestige difference is bigger than could be reasonably expected. I went to a T14, and because of that, people appear to assume I'm smart. For example, the other day, I met another lawyer in a non-work setting and mentioned that I was studying for the bar. When I mentioned that I went to Northwestern, she said something along the lines of, "You must be great at tests, you'll be fine." I strongly suspect attending UT (#15) would not have evoked the same response.

As to how directly the prestige difference converts to dollars and opportunities, it's hard to say (LST is one decent source). But you will seem more impressive on first impression to many lawyers if you attend Georgetown than if you attend UT.


Ehh I've gotten same responses coming from Notre Dame, however id rather be median at NU than ND

In what region of the country have you gotten those responses? It's hard to pin these things down because they're not really subject to measurement, but in my experience, NU's brand carries weight nationally (the anecdote I mentioned above occurred in DC). I'd be surprised if attorneys outside the midwest were frequently impressed by the Notre Dame name, but who knows.


California, New York, Miami.

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby kcdc1 » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:20 am

Fair enough.

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby oidsedidy » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:22 am

Chad_IRL wrote:
This was a question that plagued me for a long time before I made my decision. I think in some respects all law schools wind up being regional: the most highly ranked schools are by-and-large on the East Coast, and so are the principal locations of many of the best firms. People who do well at T14 schools in the East Coast tend to work there (NY, D.C., etc.). The same can be said for Boalt and Stanford on the West Coast and NU,M,C in the mid-west


This is kind of not great reasoning. You're confusing which phenomenon is causing what. When someone says that schools are regional in placement, they by and large mean that students from that school are generally restricted to working in that region--not out of choice, but out of a limit on the opportunities that are available to them. The fact that many top schools are on the east coast and place students into New York firms--and on the other side of the country, many students at Berkeley and Stanford choose to work in California--is a product of self-selecting for preferred markets, not limits on the opportunities available to students. One of the primary draws of going to a T14 school is that you CAN go into most markets if you'd really like to.

Also, using the "East Coast" as a region is so vague that it is basically meaningless. There is a big difference between working in Boston, New York, Miami, and Charlotte, but they are all on the "East Coast."


I think you might be guilty of reading the first few lines of a post and then posting- you're now the second person to flesh-out the "poor logic" of my statement by essentially repeating what I've said. The critical line, which admittedly comes at the end of my tl;dr is this: Graduates from T14 may wind up working close to where they went to school, because as is abundantly clear that is where the best firms are concentrated, those grads have a greater opportunity to find work in regions other than where their respective schools are located.

If my post implies that those poor souls from Yale and Harvard are confined to NYC alone then I offer sincerest apologies- I hope that didn't deter anyone from applying to those regional powerhouses :(

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby RamTitan » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:48 am

oidsedidy wrote:
Chad_IRL wrote:
This was a question that plagued me for a long time before I made my decision. I think in some respects all law schools wind up being regional: the most highly ranked schools are by-and-large on the East Coast, and so are the principal locations of many of the best firms. People who do well at T14 schools in the East Coast tend to work there (NY, D.C., etc.). The same can be said for Boalt and Stanford on the West Coast and NU,M,C in the mid-west


This is kind of not great reasoning. You're confusing which phenomenon is causing what. When someone says that schools are regional in placement, they by and large mean that students from that school are generally restricted to working in that region--not out of choice, but out of a limit on the opportunities that are available to them. The fact that many top schools are on the east coast and place students into New York firms--and on the other side of the country, many students at Berkeley and Stanford choose to work in California--is a product of self-selecting for preferred markets, not limits on the opportunities available to students. One of the primary draws of going to a T14 school is that you CAN go into most markets if you'd really like to.

Also, using the "East Coast" as a region is so vague that it is basically meaningless. There is a big difference between working in Boston, New York, Miami, and Charlotte, but they are all on the "East Coast."


I think you might be guilty of reading the first few lines of a post and then posting- you're now the second person to flesh-out the "poor logic" of my statement by essentially repeating what I've said. The critical line, which admittedly comes at the end of my tl;dr is this: Graduates from T14 may wind up working close to where they went to school, because as is abundantly clear that is where the best firms are concentrated, those grads have a greater opportunity to find work in regions other than where their respective schools are located.

If my post implies that those poor souls from Yale and Harvard are confined to NYC alone then I offer sincerest apologies- I hope that didn't deter anyone from applying to those regional powerhouses :(

I literally lol at your last sentence.

Good thread

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby Chad_IRL » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:48 am

I think you might be guilty of reading the first few lines of a post and then posting- you're now the second person to flesh-out the "poor logic" of my statement by essentially repeating what I've said.


Look, my guy, I'm hung over at work and I have a lot of shit posting I have to do on multiple online forums. I can't read all of the sentences in a paragraph when I find out that the paragraph is a lost cause.

And I've now re-read your post 3 times, and while you did eventually convey the thought in my post, I stand by my decision to criticize you. You very strangely started out with the regional quality of law schools that are known for having a national profile. If the topic sentence of a paragraph is "all law schools have a regional character," you may be blunting the conclusion of that paragraph, "but this insight doesn't apply to the T14."

One thing that I try to do is to make sure that every word that I write is a logically valid statement in and of itself. You could think of this as a Kantian/Hemingway approach to writing. Think about using it.

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby CoGar » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:52 am

kcdc1 wrote:IMO, the prestige difference is bigger than could be reasonably expected. I went to a T14, and because of that, people appear to assume I'm smart. For example, the other day, I met another lawyer in a non-work setting and mentioned that I was studying for the bar. When I mentioned that I went to Northwestern, she said something along the lines of, "You must be great at tests, you'll be fine." I strongly suspect attending UT (#15) would not have evoked the same response.

As to how directly the prestige difference converts to dollars and opportunities, it's hard to say (LST is one decent source). But you will seem more impressive on first impression to many lawyers if you attend Georgetown than if you attend UT.


How can you be sure that this "non-lawyer" has conceptual knowledge of rankings enough to differentiate between two schools ranked 12 and 15 respectively?

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:53 am

kcdc1 wrote:
Calbears123 wrote:
kcdc1 wrote:IMO, the prestige difference is bigger than could be reasonably expected. I went to a T14, and because of that, people appear to assume I'm smart. For example, the other day, I met another lawyer in a non-work setting and mentioned that I was studying for the bar. When I mentioned that I went to Northwestern, she said something along the lines of, "You must be great at tests, you'll be fine." I strongly suspect attending UT (#15) would not have evoked the same response.

As to how directly the prestige difference converts to dollars and opportunities, it's hard to say (LST is one decent source). But you will seem more impressive on first impression to many lawyers if you attend Georgetown than if you attend UT.


Ehh I've gotten same responses coming from Notre Dame, however id rather be median at NU than ND

In what region of the country have you gotten those responses? It's hard to pin these things down because they're not really subject to measurement, but in my experience, NU's brand carries weight nationally (the anecdote I mentioned above occurred in DC). I'd be surprised if attorneys outside the midwest were frequently impressed by the Notre Dame name, but who knows.

I think this kind of thing REALLY depends on the person you're talking to. There are plenty of people (including lawyers) who are going to assume that going to UT makes you smart. There may be regional biases, sure, but I don't think the difference between GT and UT (or Vandy or the like) is that stark, to lots and lots of people out there. I think you're right generally that the T14 does confer a lot of prestige (to people who care) but I don't think there's a quantifiably steep drop-off between T14 and say T20. Employment stats, sure, but prestige is a weird and subjective thing.

(Also, strictly speaking the attorney who commented that you must be good at tests was acknowledging that NU is hard to get into, not commenting on its prestige - they're not exactly the same thing, nor is being good at tests actually necessarily the same as being smart.)

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby lymenheimer » Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:00 pm

CoGar wrote:
kcdc1 wrote:I met another lawyer in a non-work setting


How can you be sure that this "non-lawyer" has conceptual knowledge of rankings enough to differentiate between two schools ranked 12 and 15 respectively?


retake

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby oidsedidy » Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:01 pm

Chad_IRL wrote:
I think you might be guilty of reading the first few lines of a post and then posting- you're now the second person to flesh-out the "poor logic" of my statement by essentially repeating what I've said.


Look, my guy, I'm hung over at work and I have a lot of shit posting I have to do on multiple online forums. I can't read all of the sentences in a paragraph when I find out that the paragraph is a lost cause.

And I've now re-read your post 3 times, and while you did eventually convey the thought in my post, I stand by my decision to criticize you. You very strangely started out with the regional quality of law schools that are known for having a national profile. If the topic sentence of a paragraph is "all law schools have a regional character," you may be blunting the conclusion of that paragraph, "but this insight doesn't apply to the T14."

One thing that I try to do is to make sure that every word that I write is a logically valid statement in and of itself. You could think of this as a Kantian/Hemingway approach to writing. Think about using it.


Well, I accept your criticism as valid- but mostly because I also accept the sweet, sweet satisfaction of compelling you to read my shitty paragraph 3x.

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby kcdc1 » Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:07 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Also, strictly speaking the attorney who commented that you must be good at tests was acknowledging that NU is hard to get into, not commenting on its prestige - they're not exactly the same thing, nor is being good at tests actually necessarily the same as being smart.

Yeah, I think "oh, you went to a school that's hard to get into" is really all you can hope to get out of your school, at least for first impression purposes. I see no reason to believe that any school provides meaningfully better training / education than others, at least until you start considering really the really sketchy options.

As to your main point, yeah, this is all anecdotal and inherently unmeasurable. The smart play is to figure out what you want to do, and then make a decision based on whatever data is most relevant. Just wanted to register my observation that, based on my personal experience, the T14 prestige effect is bigger than I expected when I was a 0L.

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:11 pm

Yeah, I don't mean to suggest it's not a big deal at all. I met a guy once who went to UIUC for undergrad and then Chicago for law school, and he said it was funny how he's the same person he's always been, but suddenly once he went to Chicago everyone decided he was smart. I just get kind of twitchy over prestige discussions so tend to butt in.

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby bmathers » Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:25 pm

"smart" and "good at tests". Mismatched concepts! Oh LSATs... what have you done to me?

The (nec) assumption being if you are good at tests, you are smart. The flaw is assuming smart and good at tests are the same :-)

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby Yeezus Wept » Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:42 pm

Chad_IRL wrote:
I think you might be guilty of reading the first few lines of a post and then posting- you're now the second person to flesh-out the "poor logic" of my statement by essentially repeating what I've said.


Look, my guy, I'm hung over at work and I have a lot of shit posting I have to do on multiple online forums. I can't read all of the sentences in a paragraph when I find out that the paragraph is a lost cause.

And I've now re-read your post 3 times, and while you did eventually convey the thought in my post, I stand by my decision to criticize you. You very strangely started out with the regional quality of law schools that are known for having a national profile. If the topic sentence of a paragraph is "all law schools have a regional character," you may be blunting the conclusion of that paragraph, "but this insight doesn't apply to the T14."

One thing that I try to do is to make sure that every word that I write is a logically valid statement in and of itself. You could think of this as a Kantian/Hemingway approach to writing. Think about using it.


Is nobody going to point out how patently absurd this line is?

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby rpupkin » Fri Jul 15, 2016 4:04 pm

Yeezus Wept wrote:
Chad_IRL wrote:
One thing that I try to do is to make sure that every word that I write is a logically valid statement in and of itself. You could think of this as a Kantian/Hemingway approach to writing. Think about using it.


Is nobody going to point out how patently absurd this line is?

LOL @ your logically invalid word-statements. Read some Hemingway, bro.

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby sfs33 » Fri Jul 15, 2016 4:28 pm

WiltyMIZ wrote:With a GPA like I mine I've surrendered to the fact I will likely not get into a T-14, but with my LSAT prep scores consistently falling in the 167-171 range and with 4 more months before I take my LSAT I think it's feasible to improve to a score that lands me just outside of it. Just wanted to gather some opinions.


I wouldn't count T14 out. I don't know how bad your GPA is but I'm sub-3 and I got into Penn. Get your LSAT up and you could very easily get a full ride at WashU or money at a T14. It doesn't take that many more correct answers to go from a 170 to a 175+ and you have four months.

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Re: T14 vs the top 15-25. Just how big is the difference?

Postby Chad_IRL » Fri Jul 15, 2016 4:44 pm

Is nobody going to point out how patently absurd this line is?


All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know. -Hemingway

It's pretty simple. Take Hemingway's statement as a categorical imperative for the art of writing. Lest you argue that Hemingway used artifice or "untrue" statements in his writing as an attempt to disprove the universality of this command, remember that Hemingway's writing was a sophisticated process of sharing revealed truth through conventional narrative form. A seemingly "untrue" statement that Hemingway deployed in service of the communicability of his ideas may in fact be true by placing it in relation with other statements, resulting in a composite truth. A careful reading of Hemingway will reveal this is the case with all of his writing.

However, since in this model "true" statements are created only by their relationships with other statements, then the underlying statements must be true, otherwise the composite is rendered untrue by its deficient component parts. Thus, in order to write a "true" story, each sentence must be "true," and carrying this logic to its furthest extent (Cardozo), each component part of the sentence must be "true." Hence each word must be able to stand alone as its own valid truth.

Get smarter or get BTFO.



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