Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

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Sheffield
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby Sheffield » Sat May 11, 2013 12:26 pm

The GPA needs to be included because there are too many schools who embrace the value of students demonstrating dedication, excellence and staying power for the long haul. I doubt if any school would select a 160/3.1 over a 158/4.0. In some form or fashion the GPA needs to be part of the equation.

Convincing the powers of a LSAT cutoff would be a monumentally difficult mission, dropping the GPA would take it to the next level…. Mission Impossible.

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jenesaislaw
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby jenesaislaw » Sat May 11, 2013 12:55 pm

So the argument I'm hearing right now is that the LSAT is not predictive enough for law school or lawyering, but it should nonetheless be used as the primary threshold to law school and becoming a lawyer.

Really?

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Sheffield
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby Sheffield » Sat May 11, 2013 1:11 pm

jenesaislaw wrote:So the argument I'm hearing right now is that the LSAT is not predictive enough for law school or lawyering, but it should nonetheless be used as the primary threshold to law school and becoming a lawyer.

Really?

What you are really hearing is that the system needs to be modified. LSAT and GPA is part of the system. It needs modification for a variety of reasons (noted ITT). Got it?

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justonemoregame
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby justonemoregame » Sat May 11, 2013 1:18 pm

I think these two things would dovetail nicely-

A) Require a median LSAT from all law schools - it could be low, like low 150s. This would prevent the exclusion of a particular candidate. That is, no one could say they were shut out of law school based solely on their LSAT score.

However,

B) there is a minimum composite score that you must meet to attend law school, which factors in both LSAT and GPA. If you're under the threshold, best of luck on the re-take. No more waltzing into Florida Coastal and Charlotte after limping through college as a socio-history-prelaw major and then taking a diagnostic LSAT, and not bothering to google shit about the profession you're so serious about entering.

This would cut enrollment where it really needs to be cut - among the group historically the least likely to succeed and the most likely to borrow the greatest sum of money to try.

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Sheffield
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby Sheffield » Sat May 11, 2013 1:29 pm

justonemoregame wrote:A) Require a median LSAT from all law schools - it could be low, like low 150s.

What part of this do you not get? (Granted it might be me not getting it).

Available 25,000 law jobs. 30,000 applicants. 5,000 will be unemployed. Why 30,000 applicants, because that is (for argument sake) the number of law students who would graduate if the LSAT was cutoff at 160. Of course, we could raise the number of the graduating class and simultaneously increase the number of unemployed. I cannot make it simpler than why 160 is the cutoff. Arithmetic tops bleeding heart.

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Clearly
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby Clearly » Sat May 11, 2013 2:02 pm

Sheffield wrote:The GPA needs to be included because there are too many schools who embrace the value of students demonstrating dedication, excellence and staying power for the long haul. I doubt if any school would select a 160/3.1 over a 158/4.0. In some form or fashion the GPA needs to be part of the equation.

Convincing the powers of a LSAT cutoff would be a monumentally difficult mission, dropping the GPA would take it to the next level…. Mission Impossible.

I'm not making a case for who they have to admit. Only for who is eligible to apply. Schools can continue to value GPAs, but they still can't be part of the minimum conpetency approach, just too variable based on school/major/grading scheme.

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Sheffield
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby Sheffield » Sat May 11, 2013 3:30 pm

Makes sense. 160 or higher the school still has the option to turn down an applicant just as they do now. Depending on the school the GPA might/might not factor into the school’s thinking.

Personally, I would like to factor in high GPAs, especially for those missing 160 by just a point (or two).

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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby 20141023 » Sat May 11, 2013 3:34 pm

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beepboopbeep
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby beepboopbeep » Sat May 11, 2013 3:45 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:1) It doesn't really matter if the LSAT is a good precursor as to how someone will do in law school, just as the bar might not be the best precursor to how one does as a lawyer. The point here is that it is a task that is required of all law school applicants. It is one of two things they usually have to do (the other is getting an undergrad degree)... It is no secret what the task is, and past tests are available online, so it there is no reason why someone can't break a 155 (~65th percentile score) with dedicated study. If they can't show the devotion to do this, then they probably shouldn't be going to law school. Using a 160 is too high (80th percentile score, meaning that 80% of test takers would "fail" and be unable to apply to law school), and using medians would be too loose and likely not accomplish anything in the long run.

2) As someone just stated, law schools would still use GPAs; the ABA just wouldn't use it as a standard for eligibility of applying.


The problem I have with LSAT minimums is that they aren't nimble. If the number of test-takers rises or falls by a large number, schools will want to compensate by being more or less restrictive - what will have changed is test-takers' perception of the value of a law degree, not necessarily the demand for the degree itself. An LSAT minimum means schools can't make this kind of adjustment themselves; there's an artificial floor to their restrictiveness.

Saying "by restricting the process to applicants with LSAT scores greater than 155/160/etc, we will have 30,000 students for 25,000 jobs" assumes that current rates will stay the same. That is not a safe assumption given the decline in applicants over the last three years.

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justonemoregame
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby justonemoregame » Sat May 11, 2013 3:50 pm

Sheffield wrote:
justonemoregame wrote:A) Require a median LSAT from all law schools - it could be low, like low 150s.

What part of this do you not get? (Granted it might be me not getting it).

Available 25,000 law jobs. 30,000 applicants. 5,000 will be unemployed. Why 30,000 applicants, because that is (for argument sake) the number of law students who would graduate if the LSAT was cutoff at 160. Of course, we could raise the number of the graduating class and simultaneously increase the number of unemployed. I cannot make it simpler than why 160 is the cutoff. Arithmetic tops bleeding heart.


If it's possible that it's you, why ask the question in the first place? I don't need you to make your strange crystal-ball arithmetic any simpler.

The reason I suggest a lower LSAT median, not score, is because it's a backdoor way for the ABA to effectively close the more insidious law schools, particularly the large TTTTs that are the biggest problem. I don't think you have to set the bar at 160 to get 30,000 graduates in future cycles. Even with a more-forgiving standard, the private TTTT's budgets would be hit pretty hard, not to mention the effect of continuing negative publicity.

Regarding the importance of inputs - hasn't there been a study which showed a reasonable correlation between LSAT/GPA and law school grades? And isn't this correlation more important than the correlation b/w LSAT and oratorical skills or business acumen, since, if you don't have the grades, you probably aren't getting the job? And wasn't the study put together from actual data at real law schools, where students participate within fairly narrow LSAT bands?

What would happen to the correlation if half a law class was made up of students with 173-180 and 3.6-4.0 vs. students with 140-147 and 2.8-3.4? Might the correlation move closer toward 1 rather than away from it?

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Sheffield
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby Sheffield » Sat May 11, 2013 4:42 pm

beepboopbeep wrote:Saying "by restricting the process to applicants with LSAT scores greater than 155/160/etc, we will have 30,000 students for 25,000 jobs" assumes that current rates will stay the same. That is not a safe assumption given the decline in applicants over the last three years.
I assume it is possible on the surface. Not a terrible problem to have, one grad for every opening — at present we are miles from that scenario. The solution could be a sliding scale, for every X applicants (up or down) the scale slides appropriately.
justonemoregame wrote:[The reason I suggest a lower LSAT median, not score, is because it's a backdoor way for the ABA to effectively close the more insidious law schools. . .

Ohhh yes, the backdoor way for the ABA to close schools… of course.

Okay clueless here is a new flash … The ABA isn’t going to close ANY LSs, EVER. Since the rest of what you wrote is incomprehensible, lets just stealth each other and be happy with that decision.

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jenesaislaw
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby jenesaislaw » Sat May 11, 2013 4:46 pm

Sheffield wrote:
jenesaislaw wrote:So the argument I'm hearing right now is that the LSAT is not predictive enough for law school or lawyering, but it should nonetheless be used as the primary threshold to law school and becoming a lawyer.

Really?

What you are really hearing is that the system needs to be modified. LSAT and GPA is part of the system. It needs modification for a variety of reasons (noted ITT). Got it?


Many ITT want a minimum competency set for law school attendance (and therefore practicing law). People think an LSAT floor would serve well and are suggesting a minimum threshold either by incoming class or individual. The purpose of an earlier post was to say it'd never fly. The purpose of my above post was to point out a substantive reason it's a bad idea. I can summarize why, but it'd not be as good as Bill Henderson and Rachel Zahorsky's summary in the ABA Journal:

Social science literature is replete with examples of how brainpower predicts job performance, but that predictive power carries much less punch in occupations made up of high-ability people. According to University of California at Berkeley education professor Arthur Jensen, who is sometimes cast as an IQ fundamentalist, differences in the upper part of the IQ scale “are generally of lesser importance for success in the popular sense than are certain traits of personality and character.”

These findings are consistent with a recent landmark study of thousands of lawyers and law students conducted by UC Berkeley professors Marjorie Shultz and Sheldon Zedeck: Identification, Development and Validation of Predictors for Successful Lawyering (PDF).

Drawing upon the techniques of industrial psychology, Shultz and Zedeck identified 26 competencies that form the basis for effective lawyering. Using behaviorally anchored rating scales that had been empirically developed, peers and supervisors were asked to evaluate the skills of 1,105 law alumni of UC Berkeley and UC Hastings, ranging from two to 35 years of practice experience, and approximately 200 students.

Remarkably, LSAT scores, undergraduate GPA and first-year law school grades (the basis for a significant portion of hiring decisions) were positively correlated at statistically significant levels with only six to eight of the 26 success factors, depending upon the subtest. The strongest correlations (albeit still only moderate) were to abilities associated with the traditional law school curriculum, such as writing, researching law, and engaging in analysis and reasoning.

Further, within the alumni sample, higher LSAT scores and first-year grades were negatively correlated with networking, serving the community and business development. In the student sample, high undergraduate GPAs were positively correlated with no effectiveness factors, but negatively associated with practical judgment, the ability to see the world through the eyes of others, skill in developing relationships, living with integrity and honesty, and contributions of community service. Similarly, high LSAT scores were negatively associated with networking and business development.

The Shultz-Zedeck study contained other surprises. Although traditional measures had limited power in predicting lawyer effectiveness, a variety of other psychometric tests were positively correlated at statistically significant levels with many of the 26 lawyer effectiveness factors. These tests focused on personality attributes, structured questions about biographical information, situational judgment and a candidate’s motivations, values and preferences.


Perhaps the negative correlations are because of arrogance emanating from those with slightly higher IQs?

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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat May 11, 2013 5:27 pm

justonemoregame wrote:Regarding the importance of inputs - hasn't there been a study which showed a reasonable correlation between LSAT/GPA and law school grades? And isn't this correlation more important than the correlation b/w LSAT and oratorical skills or business acumen, since, if you don't have the grades, you probably aren't getting the job? And wasn't the study put together from actual data at real law schools, where students participate within fairly narrow LSAT bands?

This feels like the tail is wagging the dog, somehow. You're saying you should limit admissions to people with higher LSAT scores because they get higher grades in law school, and those with higher grades get jobs. But the whole reason why grades are currently so important for getting a job is that there are way too many applicants; employers have to figure out a way to distinguish between them, and grades are an easy method (not a good proxy for lawyering skill, but an easy weeding mechanism). Employers hire according to grades because it's easy, and also because in biglaw - which is by far the most grade-driven segment of the profession - most associates are out by year 4-5, tops. So they don't have a huge incentive to assess people's networking skills/business acumen/skills relevant to being a lawyer, because that will all shake out naturally given the horrific attrition of big law. In terms of the profession as a whole, that there's a correlation between LSAT and law school grades doesn't really tell us anything useful. (Hence why there are government/public interest employers who don't particularly care about law school grades.) If you significantly shrank the pool of applicants, the role of grades would change.

(In fact, I'd argue that the high LSAT/law school grades that biglaw employers value demonstrates only the ability to grind and suffer, which biglaw employers value for the 4-5 years that associate will be in their firm.)

Also, jenesaislaw, thank you for the that Henderson/Zahorsky summary.

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Sheffield
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby Sheffield » Sat May 11, 2013 5:57 pm

Please tell me this is greatly misguided, negative and incredibly unbelieving — in the end no one is changing anything. The schools with meager employment scores will continue to fill seats and their tuitions will continue to increase (more so if the economy improves) A significant number of grads taking their chances outside the T14, and especially outside tier-1 will continue to be disappointed with their outcome.

While this thread might be a nice momentary escape into “gee, wouldn’t it be nice if we could fix…” it is all just innocent disillusions.

The one caveat is that the government [someday] might have to step in and curve their loans to some formula forcing law schools to adjust their tuitions.

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laotze
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby laotze » Sat May 11, 2013 6:27 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:Look at how many useless graduates these EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE law schools are flooding on the market.
New York Law School: 601
Brooklyn: 466
Cardozo: 387
Hofstra: 363
St. John's: 281
Touro: 244
Albany: 233
Pace:230
Syracuse: 185


But historically speaking Albany graduates have a 100% better chance of becoming POTUS than Stanford graduates. You cannot put a price tag on that kind of political opportunity.

Yes that is exactly how frequentist statistics work.

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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby 20141023 » Sat May 11, 2013 9:14 pm

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Clearly
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby Clearly » Sat May 11, 2013 9:39 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:
laotze wrote:
kappycaft1 wrote:Look at how many useless graduates these EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE law schools are flooding on the market.
New York Law School: 601
Brooklyn: 466
Cardozo: 387
Hofstra: 363
St. John's: 281
Touro: 244
Albany: 233
Pace:230
Syracuse: 185


But historically speaking Albany graduates have a 100% better chance of becoming POTUS than Stanford graduates. You cannot put a price tag on that kind of political opportunity.

Yes that is exactly how frequentist statistics work.

First, I didn't say that :P

Second, I also don't believe that the task force will accomplish much... I wish they had the power to, but with what they've recommended this far, "real change" just doesn't sound likely. We have all of these political issues that would prevent an LSAT floor from being established; also, without the government coming in and enforcing a strict rule, there is really no way to limit what schools charge for tuition. The government can easily limit what they will lend, but there are still tons of lazy rich kids or people with jobs/savings who will fill up seats at the Cooleys of the world. There are also private lenders out there, too. Accordingly, limiting loans would ultimately hurt the poorer applicants than it would the TTT schools.

As I mentioned earlier, even if the LSAT isn't a good predictor of law school / legal career performance, it is nonetheless the gate through which applicants must currently pass. The problem is that too many people are passing through the gates of admissions, traveling across the bridge of law school, and then reaching the parking lot of lawyering only to realize that there aren't enough spaces for everyone to park. An ideal solution would be to expand the parking lot, but that just isn't feasible. So, in order to resolve the current situation where several people are fighting to take your spot as soon as you back out, we need to stop letting people into the parking lot to begin with. How do we do that? We let fewer people across the bridge. People who are already on the bridge don't really have anywhere to go, so we need to stop people from even passing the gates to the bridge if we truly wish to fix the current predicament. How do we do this? Simple: we narrow the gates.

Exactly, and great analogy. It can't have anything to do about job prospects because the ABA can't CONTROL job prospects. The answer is simply we need less people going to law school. The only way this will happen fairly is to tighten the standards, and the only objective standard is the LSAT.


"The government can easily limit what they will lend, but there are still tons of lazy rich kids or people with jobs/savings who will fill up seats at the Cooleys of the world. There are also private lenders out there, too. Accordingly, limiting loans would ultimately hurt the poorer applicants than it would the TTT schools."

As to this, I would LOVE to see tighter regulation of federal funds for education. As crazy left-wing as it sounds, I think they should be reviewed on a case by case basis objectively with some fair formula, and someones interest rate should be set on the likelihood of them getting a job capable of paying the debt back, just like any other lending situation. We have kids getting approved for 200k to go to NYLS and paying the same interest as students at Harvard. The educational lending system looks an awful lot like the subprime mortgage industry did, anyone and everyone can get funding for an education/house that is an objectively terrible decision, and its taxpayer money funding it. I know the response is that the poor will be the ones getting hurt because the rich wouldn't need federal loans, but I honestly think that's only in the perception. Again, you could have said the same about the subprime mortgage market, but when that exploded the working class were among the hardest hit. I don't see how turning away a working class student with a 145 LSAT from 200k in debt to attend a school with no shot at paying it off is considered hurting them. Just like I don't see how lending someone 400k to buy a house with an ARM without any income verification, often knowing they'd default was helping them. It SEEMED like we helping them live the American dream, but we were really setting them up for failure just like we are setting them up to fail now by funding TTT decisions.

ETA: By the way, I don't think this would hurt minorities or the working class as much as it seems, as this evaluation process would take place after admission, but before school started, and would be based mostly on the viability of that career choice from that school being worth the loan, which means the URM boost isn't effected, schools would still admit whoever they want. Its a truly outcome based approach. In addition, I think the schools worth cutting just don't have enough rich kids to fill the class, and loss of federal funding would almost certainly be the end of them.

ETA2: I'm not communist/socialist/marxist etc. I don't want death panels, or any of the other keep the government out of everything stuff, and I know this plan would never happen in a million years, I'm just sharing what I believe is one of the major sources (or at least enablers) of the problem.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby Tom Joad » Sat May 11, 2013 10:10 pm

I don't know why you guys are saying the LSAT should be the standard and not GPA.

valrath
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby valrath » Sat May 11, 2013 10:18 pm

Tom Joad wrote:I don't know why you guys are saying the LSAT should be the standard and not GPA.


Too many variables that can affect a student's GPA, including course load/major/extenuating circumstances. The LSAT is just a more universal standard for predicting law school success.

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jenesaislaw
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby jenesaislaw » Sat May 11, 2013 10:22 pm

Social science literature is replete with examples of how brainpower predicts job performance, but that predictive power carries much less punch in occupations made up of high-ability people. According to University of California at Berkeley education professor Arthur Jensen, who is sometimes cast as an IQ fundamentalist, differences in the upper part of the IQ scale “are generally of lesser importance for success in the popular sense than are certain traits of personality and character.”

These findings are consistent with a recent landmark study of thousands of lawyers and law students conducted by UC Berkeley professors Marjorie Shultz and Sheldon Zedeck: Identification, Development and Validation of Predictors for Successful Lawyering (PDF).

Drawing upon the techniques of industrial psychology, Shultz and Zedeck identified 26 competencies that form the basis for effective lawyering. Using behaviorally anchored rating scales that had been empirically developed, peers and supervisors were asked to evaluate the skills of 1,105 law alumni of UC Berkeley and UC Hastings, ranging from two to 35 years of practice experience, and approximately 200 students.

Remarkably, LSAT scores, undergraduate GPA and first-year law school grades (the basis for a significant portion of hiring decisions) were positively correlated at statistically significant levels with only six to eight of the 26 success factors, depending upon the subtest. The strongest correlations (albeit still only moderate) were to abilities associated with the traditional law school curriculum, such as writing, researching law, and engaging in analysis and reasoning.

Further, within the alumni sample, higher LSAT scores and first-year grades were negatively correlated with networking, serving the community and business development. In the student sample, high undergraduate GPAs were positively correlated with no effectiveness factors, but negatively associated with practical judgment, the ability to see the world through the eyes of others, skill in developing relationships, living with integrity and honesty, and contributions of community service. Similarly, high LSAT scores were negatively associated with networking and business development.

The Shultz-Zedeck study contained other surprises. Although traditional measures had limited power in predicting lawyer effectiveness, a variety of other psychometric tests were positively correlated at statistically significant levels with many of the 26 lawyer effectiveness factors. These tests focused on personality attributes, structured questions about biographical information, situational judgment and a candidate’s motivations, values and preferences.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby Tom Joad » Sat May 11, 2013 10:27 pm

valrath wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:I don't know why you guys are saying the LSAT should be the standard and not GPA.


Too many variables that can affect a student's GPA, including course load/major/extenuating circumstances. The LSAT is just a more universal standard for predicting law school success.

Lots of smart people are poor test takers though. Neither measure future career success. At least GPA measures hard work and dedication for 4 years. Lots of people can study for a month and get a 170, that doesn't show much.

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Clearly
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby Clearly » Sat May 11, 2013 10:36 pm

Tom Joad wrote:
valrath wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:I don't know why you guys are saying the LSAT should be the standard and not GPA.


Too many variables that can affect a student's GPA, including course load/major/extenuating circumstances. The LSAT is just a more universal standard for predicting law school success.

Lots of smart people are poor test takers though. Neither measure future career success. At least GPA measures hard work and dedication for 4 years. Lots of people can study for a month and get a 170, that doesn't show much.

Along those lines we should scrap the bar too?

20141023
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby 20141023 » Sat May 11, 2013 10:37 pm

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valrath
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby valrath » Sat May 11, 2013 10:50 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:
valrath wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:I don't know why you guys are saying the LSAT should be the standard and not GPA.


Too many variables that can affect a student's GPA, including course load/major/extenuating circumstances. The LSAT is just a more universal standard for predicting law school success.

Lots of smart people are poor test takers though. Neither measure future career success. At least GPA measures hard work and dedication for 4 years. Lots of people can study for a month and get a 170, that doesn't show much.

No, it doesn't... But what we're saying is that even if they "pass" the LSAT then they still need a decent GPA to get into a decent school.

Even if someone isn't smart, if they spend enough time they will eventually get at least a 155 on the LSAT. We're only suggesting that they get a 65th percentile score... Not too much to ask. :wink:


Seems fair to me, even a modest 155 LSAT floor would reduce the amount of new lawyers each year by a ridiculous amount.

20141023
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Re: Tell the ABA how to fix our Profession

Postby 20141023 » Sat May 11, 2013 10:57 pm

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