Quote from mom

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
jhudenbalger
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:25 am

Quote from mom

Postby jhudenbalger » Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:55 pm

Remember what ever program and school you chose, you want to be at the top. Better to be a big fish than a small fish! Read " David and Goliath" by Gladwell. Really good book about that.

I can't help but listen to my mother, but I know some here will disagree. Any truth in this in terms of choosing a law school?

lawschool2014hopeful
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:48 pm

Re: Quote from mom

Postby lawschool2014hopeful » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:01 am

I think you misunderstood his argument.

He is not saying that big fish in a small pond is always better, but that going to the "highest ranked possible" can have some detrimental effects for some individuals.

However that argument is almost completely irrelevant with law school, given the fact that lower ranked (non-t-14s) and t-14s have gigantic differences in employment rate

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13915
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: Quote from mom

Postby rinkrat19 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:02 am

Yes, it's better to be at the top, but law school grades are extremely unpredictable to the point of being arbitrary, so choosing a lower-ranked school because you think you'll be smarter than all your classmates and kill the curve is a bad plan. Better to attend a school where it's not a disaster to be median.

lakers180
Posts: 134
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:11 pm

Re: Quote from mom

Postby lakers180 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:02 am

big fish and a big pond

go big or go home

muskies970
Posts: 340
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:28 pm

Re: Quote from mom

Postby muskies970 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:10 am

jhudenbalger wrote:Remember what ever program and school you chose, you want to be at the top. Better to be a big fish than a small fish! Read " David and Goliath" by Gladwell. Really good book about that.

I can't help but listen to my mother, but I know some here will disagree. Any truth in this in terms of choosing a law school?



my 2 cents fwiw:

I think being a big fish in a small pond is a great idea for undergrad. It's a great way to stand out and get to know professors, and propel you into the next level whether it's a PHD program, law school, or even the business world (or whatever else). In undergrad the name of the school (except for maybe the few elite) isn't that important, but networking and doing well are. A lot of undergrad also correlates to being the "big fish in a small pond", grades are much more based on showing up (in small schools) and it's easy to get close to professors again at small schools.

However, at law school I don't think this is quite as possible. It's more difficult to be in touch with professors, your performance is based much more strictly on a curve, etc... Furthermore, a law school's rank really is important, so that being at median at top schools is greater than top 20% at a lower ranked school. While being top 1-5% and "big fish" may seem achievable, it isn't guaranteed.

Also, if being "big fish" is your goal, I would just choose a school with a smaller class size overall, not based on ranking. However being in a big pond, even if only a small or mediocre sized fish, still affords the opportunity for much more exploring and different experiences. So it's not necessarily a bad thing.

User avatar
PepperJack
Posts: 646
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:23 pm

Re: Quote from mom

Postby PepperJack » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:22 am

I actually agree with this argument for people who have full scholarship options. The LSAT explains 15% of the correlation with 1L grades overall, but the actual data shows it's actually only a few percentage points for most students, and actually does a damn good job with extremes (10+ points). So if someone has a 4.0 and after studying intensely for months can only snag a 160 then it might be smarter to take a full ride to a slightly lower school over sticker to a low t-14. However, the danger of taking "big fish in a little pond" advice is this is more likely to be used to justify not retaking and going to that lower ranked school at the same price as a t-14. I'm sure that even at a TTTT there are 1-2 people who would make law review anywhere that the #'s fail to accurately measure so when you're going to some schools there will really only be 1 fish who survives in the whole pond, or even an extinct pond so it's not really accurate. In the present economy there are very, very few schools where just being a median fish is sufficient. Literally, there's probably only 3-5.

In general, once you get to the fish and pond arguments you're probably over thinking it already. Metaphors are terrible baselines for making major life choices, and there's not really any ponds or anything like that. The plain truth is that when you look at firm's websites, most of them went to good schools so evidently the pond analogy is bad in terms of big fish or little fish. The big fish tend to all be in the same pond, because evidence shows they are eating all the little fish, thus becoming bigger. You can bank on being The Lone Survivor in the little pond, but that's assuming you're the Mark Wahlberg of shitty law schools.

User avatar
drawstring
Posts: 1933
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:52 pm

Re: Quote from mom

Postby drawstring » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:27 am

I think one of the best things about being in the biggest ponds (e.g. HYS) is that even if you're a fairly small fish your options will probably be good. There are just too many variables at play for me to bank on being near the top of my class, even if it's at school where I'm comfortably above medians, and that's usually what you need to do to land a decent legal job from outside the T14 .

User avatar
Cicero76
Posts: 1276
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:41 pm

Re: Quote from mom

Postby Cicero76 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:13 am

Who cares about being the biggest fish in law school? T-14s make you the big fish in the legal employment world, which is infinitely more important. Assuming you beat median, the OCI gods, etc etc etc

User avatar
patogordo
Posts: 4827
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:33 am

Re: Quote from mom

Postby patogordo » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:14 am

you aren't a big fish, bro. your LSAT score doesn't mean shit.

User avatar
chneyo
Posts: 410
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:46 pm

Re: Quote from mom

Postby chneyo » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:50 am

...
Last edited by chneyo on Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:55 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
M&ADE
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:18 pm

Re: Quote from mom

Postby M&ADE » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:29 am

jhudenbalger wrote:Remember what ever program and school you chose, you want to be at the top. Better to be a big fish than a small fish! Read " David and Goliath" by Gladwell. Really good book about that.

I can't help but listen to my mother, but I know some here will disagree. Any truth in this in terms of choosing a law school?

In addition to what other posters have said, his comments were not just directed at the school but also the type of major. You can be a math genius in your hometown of Middle-of-Nowhere, SD and then you go to Harvard thinking you're Baby Einstein and then, BOOM, you see that you're middle of the pack, get discouraged/disheartened, and realize you'll never be at the top of your class.

Also, remember that statistics dictates that only half the class can be in the top 50%. No matter how warm and fuzzy you feel about your chances at performing well in LS, the curve is a dream-crusher. The difference between a "A" and a "B" can be relatively small sometimes. In order to mitigate your risk, the best best is to go to (1) T-14 or (2) top regional school where you want to work (w/ scholly $$). Which school will depend on your career goals (Big/Mid Law, Clerkships, PI, etc.)

I mean, do you want to be #1 in your class at the University of Phoenix (or whatever they call it these days)? Not everyone can Sparkle from Brooklyn Law School and become a SCOTUS clerk from a TTTT.

TL;DR - Going to the best school you can get into is by no means a guarantee of your desired employment outcome, but it does provide more cushion/leeway for those who do not perform as well as they hope. Alternatively, lots of scholarship $$ to strong regional schools has the same effect.

User avatar
banjo
Posts: 1345
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:00 pm

Re: Quote from mom

Postby banjo » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:56 pm

I agree with the posters who say you cannot predict your law school grades. You're better off being a regular fish in the the T14 pond, where all the biglaw firms fish.

User avatar
theramblingfool
Posts: 336
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:34 am

Re: Quote from mom

Postby theramblingfool » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:02 pm

There's also the issue of basing important life decisions off of the pseudo-scientific extrapolations and unwarranted whims of Malcolm Gladwell.

User avatar
cron1834
Posts: 1920
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:36 am

Re: Quote from mom

Postby cron1834 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:43 pm

theramblingfool wrote:There's also the issue of basing important life decisions off of the pseudo-scientific extrapolations and unwarranted whims of Malcolm Gladwell.

User avatar
PepperJack
Posts: 646
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:23 pm

Re: Quote from mom

Postby PepperJack » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:09 pm

You can't predict LS grades as a 0L but you kind of need to be confident in order to do well, just able to see your shittiness to make it less shitty.

I mean data does show that URMs tend to struggle as a group, but are the same when they attend schools where their numbers are around the median. That's why it makes sense for them to my opinion take a full ride over sticker because it seems likelier to balance out. At the same price though, you always do the t-12, no question. It's also unclear how the curves differ between particular schools. Are UVA and UPenn equally difficult? Nobody knows. I do know that a TTT is much easier to get top 10 percent in than a t-14 because of a friend explaining how over half the class couldn't keep up with 5 pages a day of reading.

User avatar
ManoftheHour
Posts: 3401
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:03 pm

Re: Quote from mom

Postby ManoftheHour » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:13 pm

lakers180 wrote:big fish and a big pond

go big or go home

User avatar
heythatslife
Posts: 896
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:18 pm

Re: Quote from mom

Postby heythatslife » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:28 pm

Cicero76 wrote:Who cares about being the biggest fish in law school? T-14s make you the big fish in the legal employment world, which is infinitely more important. Assuming you beat median, the OCI gods, etc etc etc

This.

norkanite
Posts: 83
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:34 pm

Re: Quote from mom

Postby norkanite » Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:44 am

.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 12 guests