How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

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HarveyBirdman
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How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby HarveyBirdman » Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:14 pm

I'm not sure how to phrase this question succinctly, but I was thinking about this the other day and I wasn't sure how to answer it. Basically, when a high ranked law school looks at their applicants, by what rubric do they admit students? I know this sounds retarded and the answer might appear to be "GPA, LSAT, other stuff to a lesser extent," BUT what i'm really trying to get across here is, for example, are they going to be looking for applicants that will do well in law school or applicants that have somehow worked harder than others and "deserve" a spot in their prestigious school?

If a top ranked law school admissions person had a crystal ball and could see into the future, would they admit someone with a bad GPA and LSAT if they could see without doubt that that person would flourish in law school? Or if that same admissions person had a crystal ball and could see into the past to know that an applicant who maybe did a poor job presenting themselves really is a reliable, interesting genius who will do well in law school, will they admit that person?

Are they looking for good future students or good previous students? Or something else?

I guess what really got me thinking about this was reading an article about the LSAT. The position the article took was that the LSAT was the most important factor for law schools because it was the only thing they could use to compare students across different undergraduate schools and disciplines to predict if they would make good law school students. Heh, it made me stop and think about what the point of jumping through all these hoops to make one's application stand out was. I mean, I know I'll work hard in law school, but is the whole point then to convince them to believe that as well?

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PKSebben
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby PKSebben » Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:29 pm

Working hard =/= doing well in law school. HTH.

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HarveyBirdman
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby HarveyBirdman » Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:47 pm

PKSebben wrote:Working hard =/= doing well in law school. HTH.


Thing is, that's really not related to my question.

Tautology
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby Tautology » Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:55 pm

HarveyBirdman wrote:
PKSebben wrote:Working hard =/= doing well in law school. HTH.


Thing is, that's really not related to my question.


Thing is, your "question" is a barely coherent stream of consciousness.

Also, it certainly was related, at least as you phrased your "question."

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TheTopBloke
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby TheTopBloke » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:10 pm

Actually, your 'question' turns into half a dozen 'questions' on your OP.

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kalvano
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby kalvano » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:18 pm

HarveyBirdman wrote:The position the article took was that the LSAT was the most important factor for law schools because it was the only thing they could use to compare students across different undergraduate schools and disciplines to predict if they would make good law school students. Heh, it made me stop and think about what the point of jumping through all these hoops to make one's application stand out was. I mean, I know I'll work hard in law school, but is the whole point then to convince them to believe that as well?



Because a lot of people with good LSAT's will be applying to the same schools. So you want to seem like a good person to have at the school.

I'm sure the schools I applied to had a lot of people with similar numbers to mine. My desire was to make me seem like a more awesome candidate than those people. I knew I had no chance against someone with a better GPA / LSAT, no matter how much more awesome I might be than that person.

So in short, the answer to your overall question comes down to "LSAT, GPA, other stuff".

HarveyBirdman wrote:If a top ranked law school admissions person had a crystal ball and could see into the future, would they admit someone with a bad GPA and LSAT if they could see without doubt that that person would flourish in law school?


No. It brings their numbers down, and drops their ranking. Unless they are Yale. Yale can do whatever the hell it wants.

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TheTopBloke
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby TheTopBloke » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:23 pm

Great! So I have a shot at Yale! Wooohoooo!

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PKSebben
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby PKSebben » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:25 pm

I mean, I know I'll work hard in law school, but is the whole point then to convince them to believe that as well?


The two metrics you proffered in your incoherent mess of a post was 1) people who deserve a spot (which for some reason you equated to past hard work and 2) those that will do well in law school. Then you follow up with the part quoted above so I figured you were using future hard work as a proxy for doing well in law school.

To answer your question, I think law schools want people who will be successful using their law degree which is probably best indicated by past success, measured by GPA/LSAT scores. Sorry if I jumped the gun on thinking you're another of the "BUT I WILL WORK SO HARD IN LAW SCHOOL AND THEREFORE MY LSAT SHOULDN'T MATTER" type but given the popular sentiment on here I'm not unwarranted in playing the odds.

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Lawquacious
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby Lawquacious » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:27 pm

LSAT and GPA is pretty much it from what I can tell (apart a really screwed up application which could hurt, or from URM status/very unusual softs which could help).
Last edited by Lawquacious on Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

ze2151
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby ze2151 » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:28 pm

OP- nothing you wrote made a lick of sense to me.

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Cleareyes
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby Cleareyes » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:29 pm

PKSebben wrote:
To answer your question, I think law schools want people who will be successful using their law degree which is probably best indicated by past success, measured by GPA/LSAT scores.


Eh. This might be part of it but you're missing two important aspects:

A) Cynically wanting students who will help them in USNEWS rankings, something that seems important to many if not all schools.

B) Wanting students who will make the class 'interesting' in some way. Whether that be through diversity of background or some special skill/experience, I don't necessarily think that this is all about how good a lawyer someone will be vs how they will contribute to the law school community while they are there.

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TheTopBloke
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby TheTopBloke » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:32 pm

PKSebben wrote:
I mean, I know I'll work hard in law school, but is the whole point then to convince them to believe that as well?


The two metrics you proffered in your incoherent mess of a post was 1) people who deserve a spot (which for some reason you equated to past hard work and 2) those that will do well in law school. Then you follow up with the part quoted above so I figured you were using future hard work as a proxy for doing well in law school.

To answer your question, I think law schools want people who will be successful using their law degree which is probably best indicated by past success, measured by GPA/LSAT scores. Sorry if I jumped the gun on thinking you're another of the "BUT I WILL WORK SO HARD IN LAW SCHOOL AND THEREFORE MY LSAT SHOULDN'T MATTER" type but given the popular sentiment on here I'm not unwarranted in playing the odds.


Your second paragraph makes an excellent point. They are looking for students who will go forth into the real world and bring about or continue the brand's honor and prestige.

I'd just add that even though the LSAT may be an indicator of how someone will perform in law school, it is no indication as to how they will do in the real world. That is probably impossible to gauge, but if I had to speculate I'd say the softs do more for someone with a lower LSAT score, and certainly differentiate those individuals having very similar GPA/LSAT scores.

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Cleareyes
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby Cleareyes » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:37 pm

TheTopBloke wrote:I'd just add that even though the LSAT may be an indicator of how someone will perform in law school, it is no indication as to how they will do in the real world. That is probably impossible to gauge, but if I had to speculate I'd say the softs do more for someone with a lower LSAT score, and certainly differentiate those individuals having very similar GPA/LSAT scores.


LSAT predicts grades (to some degree.)

Legal employers (at least prestigious ones) seem to believe that grades predict performance as a lawyer at least in certain circumstances. Big firms don't hire associates with top grades because they think those who have them deserve the job. They hire them because they think they'll be better performers (and to some degree because clients think they'll be better performers and are willing to pay for them.) The same of DOJ Honors, federal judges, etc...

Now maybe grades don't predict performance, but that means that an awful lot of really smart people have this whole thing wrong and have for many years.

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TheTopBloke
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby TheTopBloke » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:39 pm

Cleareyes wrote:
TheTopBloke wrote:I'd just add that even though the LSAT may be an indicator of how someone will perform in law school, it is no indication as to how they will do in the real world. That is probably impossible to gauge, but if I had to speculate I'd say the softs do more for someone with a lower LSAT score, and certainly differentiate those individuals having very similar GPA/LSAT scores.


LSAT predicts grades (to some degree.)

Legal employers (at least prestigious ones) seem to believe that grades predict performance as a lawyer at least in certain circumstances. Big firms don't hire associates with top grades because they think those who have them deserve the job. They hire them because they think they'll be better performers (and to some degree because clients think they'll be better performers and are willing to pay for them.) The same of DOJ Honors, federal judges, etc...

Now maybe grades don't predict performance, but that means that an awful lot of really smart people have this whole thing wrong and have for many years.


I understand your point, but I'm not focused on biglaw or getting a job, or legal routine, I'm talking about lawyering.

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romothesavior
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby romothesavior » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:39 pm

HarveyBirdman wrote:I'm not sure how to phrase this question succinctly


So we noticed.

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Cleareyes
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby Cleareyes » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:45 pm

TheTopBloke wrote:I understand your point, but I'm not focused on biglaw or getting a job, or legal routine, I'm talking about lawyering.


And I'm saying that the most prized jobs go to people with the best grades because the gatekeepers to those jobs think that grades indicate something about lawyering ability. It seems likely they are on to something, since they have had the chance to observe hundreds or thousands of lawyers during their various careers. If they are properly measuring lawyering ability then those with top grades are, as a group though not necessarily individuals, doing the best job of representing the schools. If LSAT, then, predicts grades, it indirectly is predicting lawyering ability to some degree and measuring, however bluntly, how a candidate is likely to represent the school after they graduate.

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ResolutePear
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby ResolutePear » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:45 pm

HarveyBirdman wrote:I'm not sure how to phrase this question succinctly, but I was thinking about this the other day and I wasn't sure how to answer it. Basically, when a high ranked law school looks at their applicants, by what rubric do they admit students? I know this sounds retarded and the answer might appear to be "GPA, LSAT, other stuff to a lesser extent," BUT what i'm really trying to get across here is, for example, are they going to be looking for applicants that will do well in law school or applicants that have somehow worked harder than others and "deserve" a spot in their prestigious school?

If a top ranked law school admissions person had a crystal ball and could see into the future, would they admit someone with a bad GPA and LSAT if they could see without doubt that that person would flourish in law school? Or if that same admissions person had a crystal ball and could see into the past to know that an applicant who maybe did a poor job presenting themselves really is a reliable, interesting genius who will do well in law school, will they admit that person?

Are they looking for good future students or good previous students? Or something else?

I guess what really got me thinking about this was reading an article about the LSAT. The position the article took was that the LSAT was the most important factor for law schools because it was the only thing they could use to compare students across different undergraduate schools and disciplines to predict if they would make good law school students. Heh, it made me stop and think about what the point of jumping through all these hoops to make one's application stand out was. I mean, I know I'll work hard in law school, but is the whole point then to convince them to believe that as well?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hfYJsQAhl0

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BlueCivic
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby BlueCivic » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:49 pm

HarveyBirdman wrote:I'm not sure how to phrase this question succinctly, but I was thinking about this the other day and I wasn't sure how to answer it. Basically, when a high ranked law school looks at their applicants, by what rubric do they admit students? I know this sounds retarded and the answer might appear to be "GPA, LSAT, other stuff to a lesser extent," BUT what i'm really trying to get across here is, for example, are they going to be looking for applicants that will do well in law school or applicants that have somehow worked harder than others and "deserve" a spot in their prestigious school?

If a top ranked law school admissions person had a crystal ball and could see into the future, would they admit someone with a bad GPA and LSAT if they could see without doubt that that person would flourish in law school? Or if that same admissions person had a crystal ball and could see into the past to know that an applicant who maybe did a poor job presenting themselves really is a reliable, interesting genius who will do well in law school, will they admit that person?

Are they looking for good future students or good previous students? Or something else?

I guess what really got me thinking about this was reading an article about the LSAT. The position the article took was that the LSAT was the most important factor for law schools because it was the only thing they could use to compare students across different undergraduate schools and disciplines to predict if they would make good law school students. Heh, it made me stop and think about what the point of jumping through all these hoops to make one's application stand out was. I mean, I know I'll work hard in law school, but is the whole point then to convince them to believe that as well?


Law schools are looking for two correlated but distinct attributes in law students:

1. Successful additions to the law school class as predicted by lsat gpa and other attributes.
2. Help with the US News Rankings through high gpa and lsat.

My impression is that the first is more important than the second but that they both factor in and they both set a floor above with an applicant needs to be.

I think thats the answer to your question.

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ResolutePear
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby ResolutePear » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:52 pm

Cleareyes wrote:
TheTopBloke wrote:I understand your point, but I'm not focused on biglaw or getting a job, or legal routine, I'm talking about lawyering.


And I'm saying that the most prized jobs go to people with the best grades because the gatekeepers to those jobs think that grades indicate something about lawyering ability. It seems likely they are on to something, since they have had the chance to observe hundreds or thousands of lawyers during their various careers. If they are properly measuring lawyering ability then those with top grades are, as a group though not necessarily individuals, doing the best job of representing the schools. If LSAT, then, predicts grades, it indirectly is predicting lawyering ability to some degree and measuring, however bluntly, how a candidate is likely to represent the school after they graduate.


If I was hiring a lawyer, my frame of thought would be: How does this person run his life? On mediocrity or on perfection? Think about this; did the person 'just get by'? Or did he make the best possibility of the situation(law school)?

Why should I ask those questions? Well, it all boils down to two things: rainmaking and billable hours.

Why should I hire somebody interested in taking on cases, doing a mediocre job at it, and only for as long as he get the minimum amount of billable hours required? Your grades are by and far an extension of who you are in the eyes of any employer. In UG, did you ace all your LA classes but 'C' your way through the technical classes? Chances are a patent law firm isn't going to be a good fit for you, etc. You can see where I'm going with this I hope.

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TheTopBloke
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby TheTopBloke » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:55 pm

Cleareyes wrote:
TheTopBloke wrote:I understand your point, but I'm not focused on biglaw or getting a job, or legal routine, I'm talking about lawyering.


And I'm saying that the most prized jobs go to people with the best grades because the gatekeepers to those jobs think that grades indicate something about lawyering ability. It seems likely they are on to something, since they have had the chance to observe hundreds or thousands of lawyers during their various careers. If they are properly measuring lawyering ability then those with top grades are, as a group though not necessarily individuals, doing the best job of representing the schools. If LSAT, then, predicts grades, it indirectly is predicting lawyering ability to some degree and measuring, however bluntly, how a candidate is likely to represent the school after they graduate.


Is there room then for those individuals that would have lower GPA/LSAT scores and still make great lawyers?

There was a thread on TLS about famous lawyers, and many of them did not go to the top schools. So it seems like lawyering skills may not be what the top law schools are interested in, but rather paper pushing skills. Don't mind to sound abrasive, but how them would you count for those attorneys? What other things might illustrate that those attorneys will be very good attorneys regardless of the quality or prestige of their law school? Shit, now I sound like the OP.

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ResolutePear
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby ResolutePear » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:56 pm

BlueCivic wrote:
HarveyBirdman wrote:I'm not sure how to phrase this question succinctly, but I was thinking about this the other day and I wasn't sure how to answer it. Basically, when a high ranked law school looks at their applicants, by what rubric do they admit students? I know this sounds retarded and the answer might appear to be "GPA, LSAT, other stuff to a lesser extent," BUT what i'm really trying to get across here is, for example, are they going to be looking for applicants that will do well in law school or applicants that have somehow worked harder than others and "deserve" a spot in their prestigious school?

If a top ranked law school admissions person had a crystal ball and could see into the future, would they admit someone with a bad GPA and LSAT if they could see without doubt that that person would flourish in law school? Or if that same admissions person had a crystal ball and could see into the past to know that an applicant who maybe did a poor job presenting themselves really is a reliable, interesting genius who will do well in law school, will they admit that person?

Are they looking for good future students or good previous students? Or something else?

I guess what really got me thinking about this was reading an article about the LSAT. The position the article took was that the LSAT was the most important factor for law schools because it was the only thing they could use to compare students across different undergraduate schools and disciplines to predict if they would make good law school students. Heh, it made me stop and think about what the point of jumping through all these hoops to make one's application stand out was. I mean, I know I'll work hard in law school, but is the whole point then to convince them to believe that as well?


Law schools are looking for two correlated but distinct attributes in law students:

1. Successful additions to the law school class as predicted by lsat gpa and other attributes.
2. Help with the US News Rankings through high gpa and lsat.

My impression is that the first is more important than the second but that they both factor in and they both set a floor above with an applicant needs to be.

I think thats the answer to your question.


I think I'd be hard pressed to give either one a rank in relation with the school; but would definitely give it that rank in relation to the student. Students have nothing to benefit from more competition. Sure everybody's competing, but at the end of the day - you'll be a better lawyer because of it. The latter gives more prospects to use those skills acquired.

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TheTopBloke
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby TheTopBloke » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:58 pm

"Why should I ask those questions? Well, it all boils down to two things: rainmaking and billable hours."

This statement more accurately reflects my point. How does the law school determine based on your GPA/LSAT that you are a rainmaker type and not a billable hours type?

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romothesavior
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby romothesavior » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:00 am

Glad to see this thread devolved quickly into a pissing contest that is only tangentially related to the OP.

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TheTopBloke
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby TheTopBloke » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:02 am

romothesavior wrote:Glad to see this thread devolved quickly into a pissing contest that is only tangentially related to the OP.


Lay off the shibby.

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PKSebben
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Re: How do law school admissions people evaluate applicants?

Postby PKSebben » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:02 am

Cleareyes wrote:
TheTopBloke wrote:I understand your point, but I'm not focused on biglaw or getting a job, or legal routine, I'm talking about lawyering.


And I'm saying that the most prized jobs go to people with the best grades because the gatekeepers to those jobs think that grades indicate something about lawyering ability. It seems likely they are on to something, since they have had the chance to observe hundreds or thousands of lawyers during their various careers. If they are properly measuring lawyering ability then those with top grades are, as a group though not necessarily individuals, doing the best job of representing the schools. If LSAT, then, predicts grades, it indirectly is predicting lawyering ability to some degree and measuring, however bluntly, how a candidate is likely to represent the school after they graduate.


I like how you called the gatekeepers "smart." I'm not so sure about that.




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