Top law students vs. top med students

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follagordas

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Top law students vs. top med students

Postby follagordas » Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:40 am

Hey all,

Not sure if this has been asked before but was curious as to how the caliber/disposition of students at top law schools (T14 or perhaps even T6 or T3) compared to those of med students at similarly ranked institutions. As a current 1L at HYS with little (read: none) experience interacting with top med students (hence my question), I offer my preliminary thoughts, broken down into three categories: intelligence, work ethic, and personality (this is NOT a post about job prospects or student loan debt, so please refrain from posts regarding either of those topics. Thanks ;) ).

1) Intelligence (obviously an ambiguous term with several potential definitions, but defined here as the capacity to process information and learn about a given topic, also known as fluid intelligence)

a) Test Score Percentiles: although I haven't done an exhaustive analysis, the two seem to be equal on paper. For example, students at HLS actually score higher than HMS students on average (mean of 173 / 99th percentile, vs. 36.16 / 97-98th percentile), though this could obviously be argued by the fact that the caliber of MCAT test takers is probably higher than the average LSAT test takers (some also say that the MCAT is a "tougher" test, though I would argue that the LSAT is more of a test of fluid intelligence than the MCAT, which has more to do w/ knowledge learned in pre-med classes [which some may define as crystallized intelligence]).

b) gpa: Here they seem about "equal," though it is common knowledge that pre-med classes are generally harder (perhaps significantly moreso) than liberal arts courses (at least at my school, it seems like the majority of the class comes have lib arts degrees).

c) selectivity: this fits in more with the next factors imo, but it's worth pointing out the enormous discrepancy in acceptance rates between ls and ms. Even prior to the LS "brain drain," acceptance rates were 3-4 times lower at med schools than at law schools (a lot of this probably has to do w/ emphasis on soft factors in med school admissions, which intuitively seem less tied to intelligence than to work ethic. There's also the concept of "self-selection" that other law students have mentioned, though idk exactly what the means or how convincing that argument is).

2) Work ethic

I don't have much to say on this other than I believe that, on average, med students are probably harder working (perhaps a lot more). Even at my LS, there seem to be a lot of "high functioning procrastinators" (as described by a 3L), who are very intelligent but tend to wait until the last minute to work on assignments (not sure if this is a result of or a reason for the lower workload of a Lib arts degree). Idk from experience but this seems far less likely w/ med students, not just b/c of the larger academic workload but also b/c of the soft factors they must accrue. It's worth pointing out, however, that at least at HYS, people do seem to have a large number of "soft factors," (most of my classmates have intimidatingly impressive resumes, despite the stereotype that LS admissions are mainly a #s game.)

3) Personality

Despite my predictably limited knowledge about top med students, I would assume they are a much more homogeneous group than top law students (considering they most likely actually want to work in the field in which they are studying). In my experience, law students tend to fall into several (sometimes overlapping) categories:

a) serious desire to practice law (pretty small minority, sadly), further divided into:
i) The annoying "I've always liked to argue" subtype (far fewer in my class than I was expecting, thankfully, so perhaps they tend to fill up the lower ranked schools)
ii) The puzzling "I'm a former engineer and think it would be cool now to do patent law" subtype
iii) The naive "I want a prestigious big law job" subtype

b) desire to work in government, public interest, or academia

c) vague sense of wanting to "make a difference in the world," beliefe that law (or at least a law degree) is best avenue

d) total uncertainty regarding professional future, hope that prestigious law degree will salvage or enhance dismal job prospects (often possess high degree of regret and self-loathing for majoring in lib. arts instead of stem or business)

In the case of med students, I would assume their motivations are much less stratified and more defined, with 99% of them wanted to practice medicine and/or perform research. Not sure how this manifests itself into character traits (competitiveness, philosophical mindset, moral code, etc.), which is partly why I ask the question, and hence I look forward to what you have to say regarding this comparison.

In any case, those are my thoughts. Thanks in advance for your responses; as mentioned previously, I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

(Once again, this is NOT a post about job prospects or student loan debt, so please refrain from posts regarding either of those topics. Thanks ;) ).
Last edited by follagordas on Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

runinthefront

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby runinthefront » Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:42 am

how do you have time to think about this as a 1L?
Last edited by runinthefront on Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

Hikikomorist

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby Hikikomorist » Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:44 am

runinthefront wrote:how do you have time to think about this as a 1L?

1L isn't time-intensive at all in September.

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby BigZuck » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:01 am

That post is too long; I did not read it because it was so long

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heythatslife

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby heythatslife » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:04 am

Initially I thought OP might be a Yalie, since only Yalies lead such care-free lives during 1L, but the OP's masturbatory obsession with prestige and standard test percentiles point to his/her being an HLSer.

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lymenheimer

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby lymenheimer » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:04 am

follagordas wrote:As a current 1L at HYS with none experience interacting with top med students


Stopped reading here.

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lymenheimer

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby lymenheimer » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:05 am

heythatslife wrote:Initially I thought OP might be a Yalie, since only Yalies lead such care-free lives during 1L, but the OP's masturbatory obsession with prestige and standard test percentiles point to his/her being an HLSer.


Uses the ambiguous "at my LS" after singling out HLS and HMS as "an example". Definitely atttending HLS.

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heythatslife

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby heythatslife » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:08 am

lymenheimer wrote:
heythatslife wrote:Initially I thought OP might be a Yalie, since only Yalies lead such care-free lives during 1L, but the OP's masturbatory obsession with prestige and standard test percentiles point to his/her being an HLSer.


Uses the ambiguous "at my LS" after singling out HLS and HMS as "an example". Definitely atttending HLS.

God I hate my school sometimes

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anyriotgirl

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby anyriotgirl » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:10 am

law school is full of weeded out pre meds

don't kid yourself
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lymenheimer

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby lymenheimer » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:13 am

anyriotgirl wrote:law school is full of weeded out pre meds

don't kid yourself


I believe they prefer the term "marijuana infused". #nomenclature

but you actually make a great point. I've heard so many "well I started off as pre-med".

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heythatslife

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby heythatslife » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:14 am

anyriotgirl wrote:law school is full of weeded out pre meds washouts generally

follagordas

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby follagordas » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:27 am

anyriotgirl wrote:law school is full of weeded out pre meds

don't kid yourself


Even though I disagree with this, I appreciate the fact that you answered the question as opposed to strictly engaging in sanctimonious OP-bashing :D

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby Hikikomorist » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:32 am

Has anyone done a study comparing SAT scores for the two groups?

follagordas

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby follagordas » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:40 am

In any case, putting aside everyone's opinion of me and my potential institution, I feel like the question is still a pretty valid one, so I welcome any further thoughts on it.

Also, just to respond to some of the criticism (which I understand comes w/ the territory of writing this kind of post), I feel like it's a bit of an unfair double standard to both criticize someone for doing something other than studying 1L year, and then nitpicking every word and expecting the post to be perfectly and tactfully written as if 1L's had all day to spend on things other than studying (perhaps I'm seeing a double standard where there isn't, and if so I apologize, but like several people have mentioned, I'm a 1L and don't have time to think a lot of these things through).

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby follagordas » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:43 am

Hikikomorist wrote:Has anyone done a study comparing SAT scores for the two groups?


Wow, I didn't think about that, but it seems like that would be the best available measure to objectively compare the two groups. I'll have to look into that at some point.

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:45 am

follagordas wrote:I feel like the question is still a pretty valid one, so I welcome any further thoughts on it.

Why, though? what is the point of asking this question?

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby follagordas » Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:01 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
follagordas wrote:I feel like the question is still a pretty valid one, so I welcome any further thoughts on it.

Why, though? what is the point of asking this question?


Several reasons. A few that come to mind:

1) because answering it would allow us to know how competent and what type of people are shaping the legal profession, will be solving critical legal issues, and/or will form the next political, judicial, and academic leaders, in addition to providing a strong point of reference by comparing said individuals to those in medicine.

2) it's a topic that people are actually interested in, consciously or subconsciously (think of all the doctor vs. lawyer jokes)...answering the question would allow us to have a much more educated and critical answer than the lazy "lawyers are scum" / "politicians are idiots" / "law students are failed math/chem students" stereotypes (which may very well have an element of truth, but failing to answer them if we could would be foolish, imo).

3) it's a question that I imagine is significantly more well thought-out and enlightening than at least a fair portion of those you have encountered and decided to answer throughout your 21,000+ post career as a TLS member.

There are more, but these three are good enough I think..

Edit: For the record, I also think your question is valid (iow, trying to figure out whether a topic is worth pursuing), and hopefully my response doesn't come off as snarky. My only frustration is in seeing a legit question get immediately eviscerated, when I am sure less pertinent topics get straightforward responses.
Last edited by follagordas on Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:36 am

Oh, so are you going to pull the "you spend too much time on an online forum" thing? That's definitely new.

I don't agree with #1 at all and #2 sounds like someone is defensive about not going to med school.

Edit: okay, if you're not intending to be snarky - I actually think most other questions here are more straightforward and pertinent than this one. This one seems riddled with assumptions about competence, the backgrounds of law students v. med students, and about what admissions to either kind of program is supposed to measure. But one major thing to consider if you really care about this is that the two professions are structured entirely differently. Medicine weeds people out before they even get to med school (sometimes before they graduate undergrad), while law has much lower barriers to entry and relies on the bar exam/people not getting hired to weed people out. So you're not comparing apples to apples.

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby follagordas » Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:43 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Oh, so are you going to pull the "you spend too much time on an online forum" thing? That's definitely new.

I don't agree with #1 at all and #2 sounds like someone is defensive about not going to med school.


Looks like I edited my post too late (added caveat at the end). I wasn't trying to do an ad hominem or ridicule you. I apologize if it sounded like that. Obviously you're free to debunk all of my points, but it doesn't look like you provided a refutation for any of them (obviously saying "I disagree" to #1 doesn't count, nor does speculating about my intentions in #2 qualify as a decent counter. Same w/ calling #3 old).

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:44 am

Right, I edited after your edit.

(FWIW, re: #2, it is just not something I have ever heard law students/lawyers ever really discuss or worry about.)

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby follagordas » Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:58 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Edit: okay, if you're not intending to be snarky - I actually think most other questions here are more straightforward and pertinent than this one. This one seems riddled with assumptions about competence, the backgrounds of law students v. med students, and about what admissions to either kind of program is supposed to measure. But one major thing to consider if you really care about this is that the two professions are structured entirely differently. Medicine weeds people out before they even get to med school (sometimes before they graduate undergrad), while law has much lower barriers to entry and relies on the bar exam/people not getting hired to weed people out. So you're not comparing apples to apples.


I agree w/ your considerations, but I don't think they negate this being a valid question (indeed, I don't see how they even factor in to the equation. Obviously they are structured differently, but how does that take away the importance of measuring their personalities or intelligence? If anything, answering the question is especially important now, as many are concerned about the "brain drain" in legal education and wondering if that will translate into a lack of talent in the legal profession). As for it being riddled w/ assumptions, idk what you mean; I clarified at the beginning that they were my preliminary thoughts, and that I welcomed all responses. The responses I did get seemed quite "riddled with assumptions" (speculating on my own motivations for asking the question, describing my use of statistics as a "masturbatory obsession w/ percentiles", etc....)

Perhaps I'm being off-base here, but It almost seems to me like you guys don't want to know the answer to this question...I, personally, find it a fascinating one; who wouldn't want to know how someone like Obama, Cruz or the Clinton's compares in intellect to a primary physician or surgeon (like Ben Carson?)

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lymenheimer

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby lymenheimer » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:04 am

follagordas wrote:as for it being riddled w/ assumptions, idk what you mean.


follagordas wrote:with little (read: none) experience interacting with top med students

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landshoes

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby landshoes » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:05 am

law students and med students are both quite incurious compared to other grad school students, so there's something they have in common

also med students seem much happier

the reason why people aren't super into this is because we can't actually answer it given the info that we have

so it's sort of like "do you think libras are more angry than leos, but they just keep it all inside?" in terms of how much discussing it matters. both on a practical level and on a pure analytical/puzzle solving level. if this is a problem you actually want to solve, talking to us about it does nothing. and there's no new approach or insight, either, that might make it interesting. just "let's compare stuff"

so since there's no real point and it's not adding anything to the world, it should be enjoyable, but you're sucking the fun out of it by doing that "no no this is SERIOUS wankery" thing. and geez, that's the worst of both worlds (and avoiding SERIOUS wankery is why I didn't major in philosophy)

~hope that helps~

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:08 am

follagordas wrote:b) gpa: Here they seem about "equal," though it is common knowledge that pre-med classes are generally harder (perhaps significantly moreso) than liberal arts courses (at least at my school, it seems like the majority of the class comes have lib arts degrees).

This is an assumption about majors that is difficult to quantify in any way.

c) selectivity: this fits in more with the next factors imo, but it's worth pointing out the enormous discrepancy in acceptance rates between ls and ms.

See previous comment on the difference between the two professions.

I don't have much to say on this other than I believe that, on average, med students are probably harder working (perhaps a lot more). Even at my LS, there seem to be a lot of "high functioning procrastinators" (as described by a 3L), who are very intelligent but tend to wait until the last minute to work on assignments (not sure if this is a result of or a reason for the lower workload of a Lib arts degree). Idk from experience but this seems far less likely w/ med students, not just b/c of the larger academic workload but also b/c of the soft factors they must accrue. It's worth pointing out, however, that at least at HYS, people do seem to have a large number of "soft factors," (most of my classmates have intimidatingly impressive resumes, despite the stereotype that LS admissions are mainly a #s game.)

Again lots of assumptions about med students and academic workloads. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure med students work hard, but the programs are structured very differently. If law students can get excellent grades by waiting till the last minute (which they can based on the way law school courses are taught) then there's no reason they should structure their workload differently. But that doesn't really say anything about work ethic as much as responding rationally to each program's incentives.

a) serious desire to practice law (pretty small minority, sadly), further divided into:
i) The annoying "I've always liked to argue" subtype (far fewer in my class than I was expecting, thankfully, so perhaps they tend to fill up the lower ranked schools)

Or maybe they are another assumption.
ii) The puzzling "I'm a former engineer and think it would be cool now to do patent law" subtype

Why are these people puzzling?

b) desire to work in government, public interest, or academia

Apart from academia, why are these groups not part of the "serious desire to practice law" category?

In the case of med students, I would assume their motivations are much less stratified and more defined, with 99% of them wanted to practice medicine and/or perform research.

Is this a function of personality type or of the medical profession offering less variety than the legal profession? What are you basing this assumption on?

Re: your last comment - no, I don't actually care about the answer to this question; and I feel pretty comfortable drawing my own conclusions about Obama/Cruz/Clinton v. Carson based on their actual achievements and statements and so on. Not sure how generalizations about law students and med students writ large tell you anything about specific individuals.

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landshoes

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Re: Top law students vs. top med students

Postby landshoes » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:10 am

also my guess is YLS and one of asha's goofy admits, not a prof-scored admit



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