Easier to stand out at lesser law school?

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Sheffield
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Re: Easier to stand out at lesser law school?

Postby Sheffield » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:17 pm

Easier to stand out at lesser law school? Not sure if “stand out” refers to “in class” (thinking that a 175/4.0 student will easily crush 160/3.3 classmates) or if “stands out” means that law firms gravitate to the top 5% of a Tier 2-3 school (which theoretically includes you).

I.E. If you attended a lesser school for track and field and were faster than your classmates you would land in the top 5%. However, the employer's attitude is, since you were only good enough to make it to a lesser school, nearly everyone at a T-14 is undoubtedly better/faster than you. Here is the rub. In track and field you could demonstrate that you can run 100 yard dash in 9 seconds (very cool) but in law school all they see is top 5% at a lesser school. It is very difficult to prove a “standout” case.

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: Easier to stand out at lesser law school?

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:10 pm

Sheffield wrote:Easier to stand out at lesser law school? Not sure if “stand out” refers to “in class” (thinking that a 175/4.0 student will easily crush 160/3.3 classmates) or if “stands out” means that law firms gravitate to the top 5% of a Tier 2-3 school (which theoretically includes you).

I.E. If you attended a lesser school for track and field and were faster than your classmates you would land in the top 5%. However, the employer's attitude is, since you were only good enough to make it to a lesser school, nearly everyone at a T-14 is undoubtedly better/faster than you. Here is the rub. In track and field you could demonstrate that you can run 100 yard dash in 9 seconds (very cool) but in law school all they see is top 5% at a lesser school. It is very difficult to prove a “standout” case.


I would agree with this logic if it weren't for the above premise. For example, at my upper T1, every single person in my circle of friends did not attend the highest ranked school they got into. Many, many people make the "T1 at 75k >>> T14/T20/T25 at 225k" decision. Or, perhaps a prospective student has a 3.9 and a 173, but has the goal of becoming a public defender in Oklahoma. Attending OU, even at in-state sticker $, would more often than not be a better decision than attending Stanford. Again, we all have different goals. Very rarely can you make a decent apples to apples comparison with human beings, and most employers know this.

That said, I fully understand that a school like, say, Columbia, would attract students who had somewhat more homogenous goals. * Nothing wrong with that, at all, by the way. I hope you don't feel like I'm making any negative judgements. I have no idea where you go to school (or where you would like to go to school, if that is the case), but perhaps you haven't had the pleasure of meeting any brilliant public defenders in Oklahoma. Who knows, I'm obviously just speculating.

* of course, students at Columbia, overall, have varied career interests.

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dingbat
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Re: Easier to stand out at lesser law school?

Postby dingbat » Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:20 pm

Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:
Sheffield wrote:Easier to stand out at lesser law school? Not sure if “stand out” refers to “in class” (thinking that a 175/4.0 student will easily crush 160/3.3 classmates) or if “stands out” means that law firms gravitate to the top 5% of a Tier 2-3 school (which theoretically includes you).

I.E. If you attended a lesser school for track and field and were faster than your classmates you would land in the top 5%. However, the employer's attitude is, since you were only good enough to make it to a lesser school, nearly everyone at a T-14 is undoubtedly better/faster than you. Here is the rub. In track and field you could demonstrate that you can run 100 yard dash in 9 seconds (very cool) but in law school all they see is top 5% at a lesser school. It is very difficult to prove a “standout” case.


I would agree with this logic if it weren't for the above premise. For example, at my upper T1, every single person in my circle of friends did not attend the highest ranked school they got into. Many, many people make the "T1 at 75k >>> T14/T20/T25 at 225k" decision. Or, perhaps a prospective student has a 3.9 and a 173, but has the goal of becoming a public defender in Oklahoma. Attending OU, even at in-state sticker $, would more often than not be a better decision than attending Stanford. Again, we all have different goals. Very rarely can you make a decent apples to apples comparison with human beings, and most employers know this.

That said, I fully understand that a school like, say, Columbia, would attract students who had somewhat more homogenous goals. * Nothing wrong with that, at all, by the way. I hope you don't feel like I'm making any negative judgements. I have no idea where you go to school (or where you would like to go to school, if that is the case), but perhaps you haven't had the pleasure of meeting any brilliant public defenders in Oklahoma. Who knows, I'm obviously just speculating.

* of course, students at Columbia, overall, have varied career interests.

You're looking at it from the student's perspective, not the employer's.

I've had a former biglaw partner and current CEO once say to me "if he had any ambition he wouldn't be in X"

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: Easier to stand out at lesser law school?

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:49 pm

dingbat wrote:
Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:
Sheffield wrote:Easier to stand out at lesser law school? Not sure if “stand out” refers to “in class” (thinking that a 175/4.0 student will easily crush 160/3.3 classmates) or if “stands out” means that law firms gravitate to the top 5% of a Tier 2-3 school (which theoretically includes you).

I.E. If you attended a lesser school for track and field and were faster than your classmates you would land in the top 5%. However, the employer's attitude is, since you were only good enough to make it to a lesser school, nearly everyone at a T-14 is undoubtedly better/faster than you. Here is the rub. In track and field you could demonstrate that you can run 100 yard dash in 9 seconds (very cool) but in law school all they see is top 5% at a lesser school. It is very difficult to prove a “standout” case.


I would agree with this logic if it weren't for the above premise. For example, at my upper T1, every single person in my circle of friends did not attend the highest ranked school they got into. Many, many people make the "T1 at 75k >>> T14/T20/T25 at 225k" decision. Or, perhaps a prospective student has a 3.9 and a 173, but has the goal of becoming a public defender in Oklahoma. Attending OU, even at in-state sticker $, would more often than not be a better decision than attending Stanford. Again, we all have different goals. Very rarely can you make a decent apples to apples comparison with human beings, and most employers know this.

That said, I fully understand that a school like, say, Columbia, would attract students who had somewhat more homogenous goals. * Nothing wrong with that, at all, by the way. I hope you don't feel like I'm making any negative judgements. I have no idea where you go to school (or where you would like to go to school, if that is the case), but perhaps you haven't had the pleasure of meeting any brilliant public defenders in Oklahoma. Who knows, I'm obviously just speculating.

* of course, students at Columbia, overall, have varied career interests.

You're looking at it from the student's perspective, not the employer's.

I've had a former biglaw partner and current CEO once say to me "if he had any ambition he wouldn't be in X"


My point is a general one-- that people are complex and different from one another. When people make assumptions they forget this, which is generally the problem with assumptions.

To your post--Well, I think generally speaking, it is true that ambitious students go to the best schools, and I have no doubt that many employers have made similar statements to the one you quoted. However, it seems like you are assuming that all employers are similar, in that they all want "ambitious" students, as opposed to say, a somewhat less ambitious student who might make them more money, stick around for more than a couple years, or even be more fun to be around. Employers are human beings too-- you still cannot make apples to apples comparisons. Finally, you seem to assume that all of the 0Ls who ask questions like the one in the subject line have similar employment goals. Maybe, as Sheffield pointed out, "stand out" means to make the best grades at school, and not necessarily to stand out to prestigious employers. There are many potential reasons why students might be more interested in standing out in the former way; it would be too time consuming to name a substantial portion of the reasons because human beings are complex and different, with thousands of different combinations of factors that influence their decisions.

That said, I think that I agree with your basic sentiment. Prestigious employers generally, though not always, look for "ambitious" students, who much less often attend "lessor" schools.

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Sheffield
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Re: Easier to stand out at lesser law school?

Postby Sheffield » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:06 pm

Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:. . . perhaps a prospective student has a 3.9 and a 173, but has the goal of becoming a public defender in Oklahoma.

Using your example, the person is golden. Attending law school for [nearly] free to accomplish their goal. . .it does not get better than that. Ditto someone who only needs a JD because of family connections, etc.

On the other hand, using your stats example, they could select a nearly free T14 (or close to it). I might be mistaken, but I did not believe the point of this thread was to “get in free” at the best school possible. I thought it was about an employment advantage a lessor school might present. Granted, I might have misinterpreted. All is good.

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shifty_eyed
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Re: Easier to stand out at lesser law school?

Postby shifty_eyed » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:58 pm

empyreanrrv wrote:This is very relevant for this thread-- wanted to cross-post in case anyone missed it.

SPerez wrote:
justonemoregame wrote:Dean Perez,

Hail Mary!

I was wondering if there is any way you could share some data re: the performance of high LSAT scorers relative to much lower-scoring students. Like low 160s vs. 150/151.


This is going to vary by school, but overall the predictive value of the LSAT of first year performance has a correlation coefficient of about .45 (more or less). According to my over-simplified understanding of stats, this is actually pretty strong. (A "perfect" correlation, i.e. it predicts perfectly, would be 1.0.) When you combine LSAT and UGPA, it goes up to 0.49.

Every year we (and all law schools, I would guess) provide the first year grades for our last class to LSAC and their statisticians give us back a report on how well the LSAT and GPA predicted how well those students did. (They use that to continuously improve and refine the value of the LSAT.)

What you would see is a scatterplot with a general relationship, but not perfect. So the person with the best combined stats in the class is virtually never ranked #1 in the class after the first year, but they're also virtually never outside the top 25%, either. On the other side, the person with the weakest LSAT/GPA combo isn't a lock to flunk out, but also almost never gets the grades to be in the top half of the class.

Everyone starts off equal in law school. 170 doesn't get you extra points on your law school exams and doesn't guarantee you will make law review. I've seen people with LSATs in the high 140s make law review, and I've seen people in the mid-160s flunk out. There's no substitute for hard work, which is why I often see very hard working 152-155/3.6-3.9 types eat the lunch of 160-164/3.1-3.3 types in law school. The first group is smart "enough" and has the attitude and work ethic to squeeze every bit of potential out of themselves. The latter group is very smart and gifted, but has usually cruised by on talent without ever being pushed to actually work hard.

Dean Perez


This is really interesting, and definitely makes sense. I know I need to change my study habits to overcome my slacker nature. I also wonder if GPA loses its predictive power the farther out of undergrad you go. I know that I am much more motivated now that I've had some time off from school (I went to a relatively intense undergrad).

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: Easier to stand out at lesser law school?

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:05 pm

Sheffield wrote:
Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:. . . perhaps a prospective student has a 3.9 and a 173, but has the goal of becoming a public defender in Oklahoma.

Using your example, the person is golden. Attending law school for [nearly] free to accomplish their goal. . .it does not get better than that. Ditto someone who only needs a JD because of family connections, etc.

On the other hand, using your stats example, they could select a nearly free T14 (or close to it). I might be mistaken, but I did not believe the point of this thread was to “get in free” at the best school possible. I thought it was about an employment advantage a lessor school might present. Granted, I might have misinterpreted. All is good.


I think I see what's happened here. FWIW, I would think the only employment advantage of going to a lessor school would occur in the immediate city or region of the school. For medium or large firm jobs anywhere, a student would rather be middle of the road at Michigan than top 10% at a T1.

I interrupted the main point of the thread differently, perhaps wrongly. No worries.

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stillwater
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Re: Easier to stand out at lesser law school?

Postby stillwater » Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:06 pm

LOL, so easy to standout at a lesser law school!!! Enroll now!!!!!

JWalker
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Re: Easier to stand out at lesser law school?

Postby JWalker » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:23 pm

Maybe if you go from YLS to a TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT.




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