Should a school's difficulty be a concern in choice?

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Notareallawyer123
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Should a school's difficulty be a concern in choice?

Postby Notareallawyer123 » Wed May 06, 2015 2:59 pm

I really hope this question does not come off as gunner-ish, it's just a nagging concern I've had.

Assuming scholarships and other financial considerations are the same, in a decision between two schools, should the law school's difficulty ever come into the equation at all?

Take, for example, UChicago, which has a reputation of being very academically rigorous (and attracting more people who are good at handing that rigor) as compared to say MVP. Would someone be better off (in career options) doing better in the class rank in MVP than doing relatively worse in the class rank at UChicago? As a completely arbitrary distinction, would someone in the top 25% at MVP have better/same/worse options in BL/Clerkships than someone at median at UChicago?

I know Law Schools grades are pretty unpredictable, but there is a scholastic difference between MVP and UChicago from what I've been told.

I don't intend for this to offend anyone, and I know that there's a lot of incredibly intelligent people at all of the mentioned schools, I'm just trying to get an abstract sense of this question.

Thanks.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Should a school's difficulty be a concern in choice?

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed May 06, 2015 3:05 pm

Essentially, you're asking "how deep into a particular law school's class will biglaw & federal judicial clerkships go". This does vary by school within the T-14.

Moneytrees
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Re: Should a school's difficulty be a concern in choice?

Postby Moneytrees » Wed May 06, 2015 4:21 pm

Is this a troll post? I seriously doubt there's a substantial difference in how competitive and smart students are within the T14. If you "get" law school and finish at the top of your class at a school like Penn, you probably would be at the top of your class at any T14.

Any reference to "scholastic differences" and differences in "rigor" are probably just based on anecdotal or biased information, which you shouldn't trust.

BigZuck
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Re: Should a school's difficulty be a concern in choice?

Postby BigZuck » Wed May 06, 2015 4:25 pm

If you're asking "Should I go to the University of Chicago?" I think the answer is an emphatic "Yes."

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usn26
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Re: Should a school's difficulty be a concern in choice?

Postby usn26 » Wed May 06, 2015 4:26 pm

It's still on a curve. So if it's more "rigorous" it's that way for everyone.

kcdc1
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Re: Should a school's difficulty be a concern in choice?

Postby kcdc1 » Wed May 06, 2015 4:36 pm

I think you're asking: "Will I have to work harder to achieve median at UChi than I would at UVA?"

No one has attended both schools. I've attended neither. But it's possible that the answer is yes.

If you're instead asking: "Assuming I work hard enough to keep pace, am I more likely to hit median at UVA than I would be at UChi?"

The answer here is: probably not. Your peers at either school will be very good at law exams.

Notareallawyer123
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Re: Should a school's difficulty be a concern in choice?

Postby Notareallawyer123 » Wed May 06, 2015 6:29 pm

kcdc1 wrote:I think you're asking: "Will I have to work harder to achieve median at UChi than I would at UVA?"

No one has attended both schools. I've attended neither. But it's possible that the answer is yes.

If you're instead asking: "Assuming I work hard enough to keep pace, am I more likely to hit median at UVA than I would be at UChi?"

The answer here is: probably not. Your peers at either school will be very good at law exams.
I see your point, but I feel like that's not quite what I mean.

If we accept the premise that law school is more than just working hard, say if Mary's max potential at UChi is median rank, and her max potential at MVP is 75th percentile rank (just for argument's sake), where is she better off for BL and Clerking?

Essentially, and this is way too broad of a question, does the extra placement power/"prestige"/whatever of Chicago overcome or match students with a better class rank at schools like Michigan and Virginia?

To other people, do you guys really think that there's no real difference between students at T14 law schools? I would imagine that there has to be some degree of self-selection.

kcdc1
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Re: Should a school's difficulty be a concern in choice?

Postby kcdc1 » Wed May 06, 2015 6:36 pm

Say if Mary's max potential at UChi is median rank, and her max potential at MVP is 75th percentile rank (just for argument's sake), where is she better off for BL and Clerking?

IMO, your Mary does not exist.

Assuming Mary works crazy hard at any school she attends and would be ~75th percentile at MVP, Mary would probably also be ~75th percentile at UChi.

I believe that differences in average law exam aptitude between schools in the T14 are negligible. Again tho, I'm only attending one school. And it's not any of the schools you're considering.

Between schools in the T14, I'd choose based on cost of attendance and geographic preference.

envisciguy
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Re: Should a school's difficulty be a concern in choice?

Postby envisciguy » Wed May 06, 2015 6:47 pm

BigZuck wrote:If you're asking "Should I go to the University of Chicago?" I think the answer is an emphatic "Yes."

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Should a school's difficulty be a concern in choice?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed May 06, 2015 6:47 pm

Notareallawyer123 wrote:To other people, do you guys really think that there's no real difference between students at T14 law schools? I would imagine that there has to be some degree of self-selection.

Whatever difference there might be would be so small as not to matter.

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bearsfan23
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Re: Should a school's difficulty be a concern in choice?

Postby bearsfan23 » Wed May 06, 2015 6:49 pm

As a Chicago 2L, I highly doubt there is any difference in student quality between here and any of the rest T14, or even somewhere beyond that.

The only thing that is really different here is our grading system, which results in the most highly stratified grade ranges of any T14 school (since its 160-186) rather than A, B, C, etc. So, for example, we have 3 different levels of a "B+", whereas almost everywhere else it would just be a 3.3 (or whatever it is).

That's the biggest thing I envy about Yale, so little pressure on grades, especially 1L. Chicago is pretty much the opposite, especially being on a Quarter system.

That doesn't have anything to do with whether the quality of the students is better/worse - it almost certainly is non-existent in terms of difference between Chi and MVP, so I wouldn't let that affect a deicision

timbs4339
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Re: Should a school's difficulty be a concern in choice?

Postby timbs4339 » Thu May 07, 2015 5:14 pm

I'm not even sure how you'd go about measuring the differences between "rigor" of class sizes between schools that select from the same group of people - all of whom were successful enough in UG and on the LSAT to get into T14 schools - and who have dozens of different variables they use to choose between law schools (cost, geography, job prospects, "feel," neighborhood, facilities).

Perceived reputation (CLS - cutthroat, Chicago - striverish nerds, NYU - laid back PI kids might enter into the equation for some people, but it's highly unlikely that this changes the makeup of the student body in any meaningful way.

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beepboopbeep
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Re: Should a school's difficulty be a concern in choice?

Postby beepboopbeep » Thu May 07, 2015 5:22 pm

bearsfan23 wrote:As a Chicago 2L, I highly doubt there is any difference in student quality between here and any of the rest T14, or even somewhere beyond that.

The only thing that is really different here is our grading system, which results in the most highly stratified grade ranges of any T14 school (since its 160-186) rather than A, B, C, etc. So, for example, we have 3 different levels of a "B+", whereas almost everywhere else it would just be a 3.3 (or whatever it is).

That's the biggest thing I envy about Yale, so little pressure on grades, especially 1L. Chicago is pretty much the opposite, especially being on a Quarter system.

That doesn't have anything to do with whether the quality of the students is better/worse - it almost certainly is non-existent in terms of difference between Chi and MVP, so I wouldn't let that affect a deicision


Yea pretty much agreed as a fellow UofC 2L. Smiley face grades are also probably better reflective of the actual differences between most law school exams.

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twenty
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Re: Should a school's difficulty be a concern in choice?

Postby twenty » Thu May 07, 2015 6:15 pm

Speaking from a complete lack of knowledge other than being at a school with graded LRW and on the semester system, ungraded LRW would have made 1L a LOT easier, but I can't imagine having three sets of finals. That'd suck a lot.

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xael
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Re: Should a school's difficulty be a concern in choice?

Postby xael » Thu May 07, 2015 6:37 pm

beepboopbeep wrote:
bearsfan23 wrote:As a Chicago 2L, I highly doubt there is any difference in student quality between here and any of the rest T14, or even somewhere beyond that.

The only thing that is really different here is our grading system, which results in the most highly stratified grade ranges of any T14 school (since its 160-186) rather than A, B, C, etc. So, for example, we have 3 different levels of a "B+", whereas almost everywhere else it would just be a 3.3 (or whatever it is).

That's the biggest thing I envy about Yale, so little pressure on grades, especially 1L. Chicago is pretty much the opposite, especially being on a Quarter system.

That doesn't have anything to do with whether the quality of the students is better/worse - it almost certainly is non-existent in terms of difference between Chi and MVP, so I wouldn't let that affect a deicision


Yea pretty much agreed as a fellow UofC 2L. Smiley face grades are also probably better reflective of the actual differences between most law school exams.

Speaking from experience, nope.

Probably a grass is always greener issue, though.

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beepboopbeep
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Re: Should a school's difficulty be a concern in choice?

Postby beepboopbeep » Fri May 08, 2015 4:38 am

twenty wrote:Speaking from a complete lack of knowledge other than being at a school with graded LRW and on the semester system, ungraded LRW would have made 1L a LOT easier, but I can't imagine having three sets of finals. That'd suck a lot.


It's not too bad. Two of the quarters you only have two exams.

I didn't mind having graded LRW; it made me try at a thing that I think was a good thing to try at. What stinks is how idiosyncratic the LRW professors were (or at least mine) in terms of what they wanted. Mine encouraged passive voice and basically graded on how many citations you had, regardless of their quality - which I guess was good prep for journal work, but was a bummer to realize after the fact.

xael wrote:Speaking from experience, nope.

Probably a grass is always greener issue, though.


Speaking from grading experience? Unless we're misunderstanding each other, I don't see how else you'd know. But yea I'm sure I'm underestimating the downsides to having basically black-box grades except on the extreme high/low end. It just feels like our system is more granular than you could possibly get w/r/t telling a 177 exam from a 178 one (median, and very slightly higher than median). On the very low and high end it makes more sense.




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