Big Fish in a Small Pond? (For Big Law)

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AngryAvocado
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Re: Big Fish in a Small Pond? (For Big Law)

Postby AngryAvocado » Mon May 10, 2010 7:23 pm

ITT: A lot of people speaking out of their respective arses. Studies have already demonstrated a correlation between both LSAT and UGPA and first-year success, so it really doesn't matter what your opinions on the matter are. The issue with trying to use such a correlation to predict one's own success is two-fold:
A) the correlation, while clearly statistically significant, is only moderately strong (and, thus, hardly a foolproof predictor to begin with) and
B) it is predictive across a population, not a single person.

Fundamental rule number 81324.42 of statistics: Don't mistakenly believe that something that is predictive across a population is going to necessarily be predictive for an individual, particularly when it's only a moderately strong predictor to begin with (and especially since you're talking about two T20 schools, not a tier 1 school vs. a tier 3 or something). Without serious money or personal considerations, I sure as hell wouldn't wager my future on the assumption that I'd do 20% better at GW than I would at NU.

/end rant
Last edited by AngryAvocado on Mon May 10, 2010 7:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rayiner
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Re: Big Fish in a Small Pond? (For Big Law)

Postby rayiner » Mon May 10, 2010 7:23 pm

NerdmoD wrote:Well, so here was something I was thinking about while looking at some of the polls that frequent TLS for people interested in BigLaw...

General wisdom seems to be that all things equal, you should go to a higher-ranked school if you want to do BigLaw, because the school will have better recruitment, higher placement percentages, etc. But looking at the employment stats from this year's NLJ 250 Go-to Law Schools, it seems like the percentage placement spread among the T-20, though significant, only runs from somewhere around 56% at NW, down to 30% or so at George Washington.

Speaking generally, that seems to mean that you would likely need to be above the median of NW to get a BigLaw job, while you would only need to be top 30% at George Washington to get the same/similar placement. Even assuming that you would need to be top 20%, wouldn't it be more likely for a "typical" NW admit to be in the top 20% of George Washington than the top 50% at NW?

Not to belittle the academic challenge of George Washington in any way, but the odds seem to indicate that it would be more beneficial for some LS admits to be a higher-caliber student at a slightly less prestigious school, than a mid- to low- end student at the best school they get in to, if their goal is BigLaw (esp. if they are below the median admit.)

Thoughts?


You're positing that the student quality differences between schools are greater than the reputational differences. The case is actually exactly the opposite. The person at 45th percentile at NU who gets biglaw might've been 35th percentile at GW and still missed it.

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Bosque
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Re: Big Fish in a Small Pond? (For Big Law)

Postby Bosque » Tue May 11, 2010 10:15 am

NerdmoD, I know you just want to make yourself feel better about going for UCLA instead of sticking around on the Penn wait list. You want to convince yourself that even if Penn came a knocking UCLA was always the better choice. Honestly, it probably is for you should you want to end up in California.

However, there is no reason to try and lure other students astray. The fact remains that if you would have been median at a T14, you likely will be only slightly above median at anything in the top 20-30. The difference in student body is not that great. Honestly, that is something you should be happy about.

It is just as much a gamble at those schools, so if you can play with a bigger winning circle, you should.

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JCougar
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Re: Big Fish in a Small Pond? (For Big Law)

Postby JCougar » Tue May 11, 2010 10:30 am

AngryAvocado wrote:ITT: A lot of people speaking out of their respective arses. Studies have already demonstrated a correlation between both LSAT and UGPA and first-year success, so it really doesn't matter what your opinions on the matter are. The issue with trying to use such a correlation to predict one's own success is two-fold:
A) the correlation, while clearly statistically significant, is only moderately strong (and, thus, hardly a foolproof predictor to begin with) and
B) it is predictive across a population, not a single person.

Fundamental rule number 81324.42 of statistics: Don't mistakenly believe that something that is predictive across a population is going to necessarily be predictive for an individual, particularly when it's only a moderately strong predictor to begin with (and especially since you're talking about two T20 schools, not a tier 1 school vs. a tier 3 or something). Without serious money or personal considerations, I sure as hell wouldn't wager my future on the assumption that I'd do 20% better at GW than I would at NU.

/end rant


+ eleventy-billion

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JCougar
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Re: Big Fish in a Small Pond? (For Big Law)

Postby JCougar » Tue May 11, 2010 10:47 am

OP:

Your assumption is not safe to make. Although entering class statistics may lend some predictability to law school grades, the predictive difference between a school with a 167 LSAT median (GW) and a school with a 170 LSAT median (many in the T14) is incredibly small. LSAT only predicts less than 20% of your performance in the fist place, so a tiny variation in this number, even at the group level, says virtually nothing. Remember, LSAT scores range from 120 to 180. That's a good 60 points. 3 points on that scale with a correlation coefficient of .40 on performance tells you basically jack shit.

Anecdotally, from what I have heard, people who transfer into the T14 from TTT schools tend to have little trouble retaining their standing at the top end of the class. I think the general consensus is that students transferring up tend to do pretty well in their new schools, although that's hardly a sure thing.

As a 0L who knows nothing, my guess is that law school success is slightly related to intelligence, but also related to your willingness to open your mind to a new type of thinking, your willingness to quickly mentally adapt to a new environment and question your old thinking habits, and your desire to just want good grades more than you want anything else in your life. These are all factors that entering class statistics can't filter out. If you go to a better school, the kind of people who will succeed in law school anyways have far more of a margin for error. T14 is almost always better than going to a non-T14 in this regard. It might not be "fair," but that's the way things work. People are allowed to screw up some classes at a T14 and still get a great job simply because of the prestige of your degree. You can screw up one or two at a T30 and still be in the running. Anywhere outside of that, you have to be close to perfect.

270910
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Re: Big Fish in a Small Pond? (For Big Law)

Postby 270910 » Tue May 11, 2010 10:52 am

JCougar wrote:As a 0L who knows nothing, my guess is that law school success is slightly related to intelligence, but also related to your willingness to open your mind to a new type of thinking, your willingness to quickly mentally adapt to a new environment and question your old thinking habits, and your desire to just want good grades more than you want anything else in your life.


You are clearly a 0L who knows very many things. This is accurate and perceptive.

I wouldn't go quite so far as to say you have to want good grades more than anything else, because I've seen plenty of people who poured their hearts into it and got burned plus some people who too a laid back approach and did great. But your first points are spot on. 1L success has everything to do with being willing to adapt to something completely foreign while being smart enough and hard working enough to not hamstring any talents you might have in the new field.

NerdmoD
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Re: Big Fish in a Small Pond? (For Big Law)

Postby NerdmoD » Tue May 11, 2010 10:54 am

Bosque wrote:NerdmoD, I know you just want to make yourself feel better about going for UCLA instead of sticking around on the Penn wait list.



No that's not it -- I have no interest in leaving Southern California, and I withdrew from Penn a while ago -- I am quite happy with my position (in fact I'm debating between going to USC or UCLA...USC, though lower ranked, incidentally, has better NLJ placement, and may make more sense for what I'm looking to do.)

As I had said in the first place, I was merely curious of what people's thoughts were on this.

thwalls
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Re: Big Fish in a Small Pond? (For Big Law)

Postby thwalls » Tue May 11, 2010 10:55 am

Off topic, but the title of this thread reminded me of that Moxy Fruvous song, "big fish".

"In the small pond you'll be a big fish."

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sanpiero
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Re: Big Fish in a Small Pond? (For Big Law)

Postby sanpiero » Tue May 11, 2010 10:59 am

NerdmoD wrote:I mean, GW placed 289 ppl (43%) in NLJ spots last year, and NU placed 239 (50%)


FTR, GW did not place 43% of the CO 2009 in NLJ, it placed 31%.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... hbxlogin=1

NerdmoD
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Re: Big Fish in a Small Pond? (For Big Law)

Postby NerdmoD » Tue May 11, 2010 11:00 am

rayiner wrote:You're positing that the student quality differences between schools are greater than the reputational differences. The case is actually exactly the opposite.


This makes sense.

JCougar wrote:SAT only predicts less than 20% of your performance


You are the second person to quote this figure...is there some study on this?

NerdmoD
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Re: Big Fish in a Small Pond? (For Big Law)

Postby NerdmoD » Tue May 11, 2010 11:00 am

sanpiero wrote:
NerdmoD wrote:I mean, GW placed 289 ppl (43%) in NLJ spots last year, and NU placed 239 (50%)


FTR, GW did not place 43% of the CO 2009 in NLJ, it placed 31%.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... hbxlogin=1



Oops, meant Georgetown. My bad.

270910
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Re: Big Fish in a Small Pond? (For Big Law)

Postby 270910 » Tue May 11, 2010 11:03 am

NerdmoD wrote:You are the second person to quote this figure...is there some study on this?


The LSAC publishes detailed surveys of how LSAT, uGPA, and LSAT + uGPA predict 1L performance. The answer is: better than any other metric, but still terribly. The wider the range, the more predictive - and the range in entering aptitude I would argue greatly narrows once you hit the T25/T14/T10 area - everyone in that pool is 'past the post' where they can succeed well in law school if given the right mindset, tools, instruction, and motivation.

NerdmoD
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Re: Big Fish in a Small Pond? (For Big Law)

Postby NerdmoD » Tue May 11, 2010 11:08 am

Interesting.

Thanks for all the feedback guys. Yeah I was just curious if a school's reputations outweighed their actual relative value in terms of job placement...and it sounds like general consensus is that it does not.

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JCougar
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Re: Big Fish in a Small Pond? (For Big Law)

Postby JCougar » Tue May 11, 2010 11:27 am

disco_barred wrote:
JCougar wrote:As a 0L who knows nothing, my guess is that law school success is slightly related to intelligence, but also related to your willingness to open your mind to a new type of thinking, your willingness to quickly mentally adapt to a new environment and question your old thinking habits, and your desire to just want good grades more than you want anything else in your life.


You are clearly a 0L who knows very many things. This is accurate and perceptive.

I wouldn't go quite so far as to say you have to want good grades more than anything else, because I've seen plenty of people who poured their hearts into it and got burned plus some people who too a laid back approach and did great. But your first points are spot on. 1L success has everything to do with being willing to adapt to something completely foreign while being smart enough and hard working enough to not hamstring any talents you might have in the new field.


Oh...I meant "more than anything else" as in more than you want to bang undergrads or sit around and play Xbox and brag on facebook about how "I iz in prestigious lawl skool." Not "more than anything else" as in that's more important than the adaptive mind/intelligence thing.

I'd rather err on the side of wanting it too much my first semester, but it's nice to know that it's possible to succeed without completely torpedoing your freedom and the rest of your life for the first year, at least. I'm going in with the expectation that 1L year will be stressful and boring at times, and that I won't have much time for fun. Hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised and I will "get it" on the exams without driving myself too crazy.

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YCrevolution
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Re: Big Fish in a Small Pond? (For Big Law)

Postby YCrevolution » Tue May 11, 2010 11:29 am

..




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