WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
thebigdog
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby thebigdog » Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:31 pm

0LNOOB wrote:Do any of you regret going to Wash U or law school in general?

I regret not tossing a transfer app out to a T14 school that places extremely high because someone within my grade percentile got in. The school has 8x as many employers at OCI and is probably the best school for placement in the market I want.

Other than that, I regret not using a teacher made outline on one of my tests that everyone else did and I dropped 10 percentiles in my overall class rank because of. If lucky enough to get an interview, will be fun explaining that one away.

thebigdog
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby thebigdog » Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:49 pm

Just saw ULCA's OCI list on symplicity to confirm. It's about 160 unique employers coming to interview on campus. Additionally, it lists how many interview slots are available.

Also, : Firm - Bryan Cave , Favorite School - St. Louis School of Law (6)
Source: http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... hbxlogin=1

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:09 pm

thebigdog wrote:
0LNOOB wrote:Do any of you regret going to Wash U or law school in general?

I regret not tossing a transfer app out to a T14 school that places extremely high because someone within my grade percentile got in. The school has 8x as many employers at OCI and is probably the best school for placement in the market I want.

Other than that, I regret not using a teacher made outline on one of my tests that everyone else did and I dropped 10 percentiles in my overall class rank because of. If lucky enough to get an interview, will be fun explaining that one away.

Well, I just figured out who you are. :lol:

thebigdog
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby thebigdog » Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:13 pm

romothesavior wrote:Well, I just figured out who you are. :lol:

:lol:

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:15 pm

0LNOOB wrote:Do any of you regret going to Wash U or law school in general?

I don't. I'm guessing some people ITT do regret it though.

I really like Wash U a lot, and I knew what I was getting into when I came here. Of course, OCI hasn't started yet and I may grow a little more bitter in the coming months if things don't work out there, but I knew coming in that the economy sucks, WUSTL isn't a biglaw power, and I couldn't predict my grades before the year started. I knew and accepted that coming in, and I was prepared to deal with the consequences if I finished outside the top 10%.

I really enjoyed my first year and I think the school has given me all the tools to find a job and be successful.

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:17 pm

thebigdog wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Well, I just figured out who you are. :lol:

:lol:

You missed out on a doozy last night... Didn't get into work until noon today.

thebigdog
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby thebigdog » Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:33 pm

I drove around for 10 minutes trying to find parking and then said forget it. What was going on down by the fountain on maryland - concert of some sorts?

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:37 pm

thebigdog wrote:I drove around for 10 minutes trying to find parking and then said forget it. What was going on down by the fountain on maryland - concert of some sorts?

It looked like a block party or something. I couldn't turn onto Maryland from Kingshighway and there were a ton of people out roaming around.

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stratocophic
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby stratocophic » Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:38 pm

romothesavior wrote:
0LNOOB wrote:Do any of you regret going to Wash U or law school in general?

I don't. I'm guessing some people ITT do regret it though.

I really like Wash U a lot, and I knew what I was getting into when I came here. Of course, OCI hasn't started yet and I may grow a little more bitter in the coming months if things don't work out there, but I knew coming in that the economy sucks, WUSTL isn't a biglaw power, and I couldn't predict my grades before the year started. I knew and accepted that coming in, and I was prepared to deal with the consequences if I finished outside the top 10%.

I really enjoyed my first year and I think the school has given me all the tools to find a job and be successful.
Same. I went to WashU because it was so much less crippling much more affordable than my other good option, and I had my eyes open going in. I'm really aiming for a secondary/tertiary market instead of the big cities anyway (though I'm diversified since I'll take what I can get) so going here instead if the other probably won't be determinative in the end. No regrets, just nerves. Law school will turn you into a frantic, neurotic mess if you let it... and TLS is about as beneficial as an adrenaline injection in that respect :lol:

thebigdog
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby thebigdog » Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:32 pm

Thompson Coburn added

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stratocophic
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby stratocophic » Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:59 pm

thebigdog wrote:Thompson Coburn added
Being wrong: never that bad for raging pessimists

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:03 pm

seatown12 wrote:
JCougar wrote:The only difference is that the model answers are twice as many words.

Seems like the easy answer then is to take some typing classes so you can get your word count up, right?


It sounds absurd, but since this is such a prevelant factor on exam grades, it may not be the worst idea. Certainly, law students have spent more time on much less productive methods.

I don't think they'd do much good for me, because I'm just naturally a concise communicator. When I think about legal issues, my mind doesn't produce a flurry of words. I spot the issues, recite the rules, apply the facts, twist the interpretation of the facts to argue both sides, and move on. I can't come up with the fluff in between that the model answers seem to come up with. To me it's kind of meaningless fluff. I just don't think like that. Some people are able to really strain and stretch the boundaries of relevance when adding in the fluff. Some people completely invent their own issues and get points for it. Other professors are more opposed to giving points for this sort of thing. I've heard stories of people getting three points for saying, "That's why it's a good idea to hire a lawyer" on an exam.

Another bit of advice is don't try to think too much. Instead of examining the facts and figuring out what law applies, examine your outline and try to work everything into your answer if it is at all feasible. For some professors, a law exam is more like an outline copying contest than anything else...the more you copy straight from your outline onto your exam, the more points you will get, even if what you are copying is only marginally relevant. In my class where I got my highest grade, this was the cynical approach I took...just basically recopied everything on my outline and on the in-class handouts, and boom, top 10%. And this was in a class where the professor specifically told us not to just write irrelevant stuff just to prove that you know it.

The bottom line is that you have to figure out a way to stand out from 100 other extremely smart peers who are also spotting basically all the issues. Best way to do this is either figure out the psychology of the professor and really stroke their ego. The second best way to do this is type a shitload of words. Even if you come to the same conclusion as everyone else, the professor will see the amount of words and be impressed. Differentiating A exams from the rest of the pack is very hard for professors. So they look for anything they can, even if it's seemingly irrelevant or superfluous to someone with a lot of common sense.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:20 pm

flexityflex86 wrote:this seems to just demonstrate the importance of going to a very good school. if all you control is not being at the bottom, and the rest is luck, you shouldn't rely on luck.


You've pretty much hit the nail on the head.

Although by "good school," these days the phrase means about 4-5 law schools.

You could be going to NYU, take out $240K in loans, and finish in the bottom third, and be royally screwed.

At least WUSTL hands out scholarships liberally and is in a city that is probably half the cost of living as NYU or Georgetown. So instead of being $240K in debt and fucked, you're $120K in debt and fucked.

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:28 pm

JCougar wrote:I don't think they'd do much good for me, because I'm just naturally a concise communicator.

Based on both your lengthy posts on TLS and my personal acquaintance with you, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. :lol:

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:32 pm

0LNOOB wrote:Do any of you regret going to Wash U or law school in general?


I definitely don't regret going here or law school in general.

Just because exams are a mess doesn't mean it's overall a bad experience. I know for sure I want to be a lawyer, and I still might end up getting a good job out of this all. Networking's not as hard as it seems, and I've made a few decent contacts already.

I like St. Louis, I like WUSTL in general, and I like the campus. All the problems that WUSTL Law has are problems that every other law school has.

Christ, 50% of people going to T14 schools these days are boned, and they're probably paying a lot more in tuition. A 50/50 shot at Biglaw is far from a sure bet.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:36 pm

romothesavior wrote:
JCougar wrote:I don't think they'd do much good for me, because I'm just naturally a concise communicator.

Based on both your lengthy posts on TLS and my personal acquaintance with you, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. :lol:


Don't confuse the verbosity of my crotchety rants during downtime at work on a Friday afternoon with my writing style under extreme time pressure for a typing race at the end of a semester that costs $10,000 to enter. :wink:

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:44 pm

JCougar wrote:(Long post beating dead horse re: grading)

There are some nuggets of wisdom intertwined in here, but I think they are drowned out by your constant cynicism. Yes, typing more words helps, and if the prof won't ding you for it, you should include the extra stuff if it is relevant. Why is this shocking?

But I'd also suggest that the reason for the strong correlation between more words and higher grades is because the extra words = extra analysis. For example, if exam A says, "X battered Y by hitting him in the face" and exam B says, "X intended to cause harmful contact to Y by striking Y in the face, and the harmful contact occurred. Thus, X committed battery against Y," which is the better exam answer? Clearly B, because it applies the law (it weaves the elements into the analysis) to the facts (X hit Y). Student B is getting more points, not because his analysis is longer, but because his analysis is better. You're assuming that the extra points are coming from more words, but often those words aren't just word vomit; they're the key points that distinguish a median paper from a top 25% paper, or a top 25% paper from a CALI.

Of course people who write more are going to (generally) get higher grades. Most exams require you to 1) spot the issue and 2) analyze it thoroughly. Why is anyone surprised that a person who writes more information and analyzes the issue more thoroughly is going to get a higher grade?

I'm sorry to continue debating you on this, jcougar. I like you a lot and I've always enjoyed your input on TLS. But I fundamentally disagree with you on this (and I believe the majority of our class would as well), and I don't want 0Ls coming in this fall with the idea that grades are random or meaningless.
Last edited by romothesavior on Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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fl0w
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby fl0w » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:46 pm

Ok.

So I've sat down and thought about it, and I'm starting to feel a bit better. As of today I've managed to string 10 interviews together for this summer without OCI.

I'm in that 'zone of twilight' (sorry I had to... OLs you'll get that reference after ConLaw) we call the middle 1/3.

So if any of the newbies to law school are worried about not getting looked at because your grades blow; you can talk to me :lol:

Like Strat said, law school just makes you panic about stuff. In reality I'll be ok, but there is just this crazy sense of urgency and scent of fear (and smell of blood) in the air.

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:48 pm

fl0w wrote:So I've sat down and thought about it, and I'm starting to feel a bit better. As of today I've managed to string 10 interviews together for this summer without OCI.

Congrats! Good to hear. This is exactly how to go out and hit the pavement.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:55 pm

romothesavior wrote:
JCougar wrote:(Long post beating dead horse re: grading)

There are some nuggets of wisdom intertwined in here, but I think they are drowned out by your constant cynicism. Yes, typing more words helps, and if the prof won't ding you for it, you should include the extra stuff if it is relevant. Why is this shocking?

But I'd also suggest that the reason for the strong correlation between more words and higher grades is because the extra words = extra analysis. For example, if exam A says, "X battered Y by hitting him in the face" and exam B says, "X intended to cause harmful contact to Y by striking Y in the face, and the harmful contact occurred. Thus, X committed battery against Y," which is the better exam answer? Clearly B, because it applies the law (it weaves the elements into the analysis) to the facts (X hit Y). Student B is getting more points, not because his analysis is longer, but because his analysis is better. You're assuming that the extra points are coming from more words, but often those words aren't just word vomit; they're the key points that distinguish a median paper from a top 25% paper, or a top 25% paper from a CALI.

Of course people who write more are going to (generally) get higher grades. Most exams require you to 1) spot the issue and 2) analyze it thoroughly. Why is anyone surprised that a person who writes more information and analyzes the issue more thoroughly is going to get a higher grade?

I'm sorry to continue debating you on this, jcougar. I like you a lot and I've always enjoyed your input on TLS. But I fundamentally disagree with you on this (and I believe the majority of our class would as well), and I don't want 0Ls coming in this fall with the idea that grades are random or meaningless.


I agree with you on that much. But I do contend that the second example (person B) is only enough to maybe get you a top 60% grade. That's what I would call a good, concise analysis. To CALI the class, you'd have to talk about the policy of intent, and bring up some absurd sophism about "what is intent, really" and then add some more bullshit on top of it.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:21 pm

romothesavior wrote: I'm sorry to continue debating you on this, jcougar. I like you a lot and I've always enjoyed your input on TLS.


Right back at you.

romothesavior wrote: But I fundamentally disagree with you on this (and I believe the majority of our class would as well), and I don't want 0Ls coming in this fall with the idea that grades are random or meaningless.


We will have to agree to disagree then, because studies show there's little to no connection between grades and your ability to practice law, as long as you're not a slacker that fininishes in the bottom of the class due to poor or even average work ethic.

And whatever correlation there might be, no matter how small, could easily be the result of a student's increased sense of self-efficacy simply from receiving good grades, or the law partner's perception of that person's efficacy.

The truth is that law exams are a sloppy, horribly designed relic from 50 years ago, before we really knew how to develop effective tests that predict future performance. There's a reason they drive people to the brink of madness: they don't make any intuitive sense. They were intended to be an incentive for students to study hard. They were NEVER intended to be treated as an employment test. Because Biglaw has realized they can turn law grades into a marketing opportunity doesn't mean they actually measure any skills or predict any future performance. It's just that 50 years ago, some squirrely-faced law partners in New York figured out that they could profit based on the illusion of increased competence they created. Their business strategy worked, and everyone else followed suit.

The biggest law firms are just recently adopting the same kind of hiring practices that the business industry has been adopting for the last 30 or so years. It's a much more scientific method of selecting employees who will be happy and competent in Biglaw, and who will last a long time and thrive in the Biglaw environment. It involves considering a large number of factors other than grades. Since law grades don't correlate to retention or success, they are using them more as a minimum benchmark than anything else...simply to weed out people that have a bad work ethic.

Strict grade cutoffs will become more of a thing of the past, until law schools decide to change their testing methods and produce an exam score that actually measures competence in understanding complex legal matters. Until they do so, law exam grades reflect more of an arbitrary number than anything else. It does take a lot of brains and effort to do well on them, but they don't necessarily have any differentiating power or validity other than the people who get straight B- or C+ grades due to lack of effort.

The only lesson I'm trying to teach is to not let these archaic academic exercises define who you are. Lots of law students have extremely high standards for themselves and have never before dealt with anything less than academic success. I don't mean not to try hard, because trying hard and the challenge of law school is in itself a reward, and it's very humbling, which is good for your character. But don't lose your sense of self-efficacy if you don't kill these exams.

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Hannibal
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby Hannibal » Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:43 pm

JCougar wrote:We will have to agree to disagree then, because studies show there's little to no connection between grades and your ability to practice law, as long as you're not a slacker that fininishes in the bottom of the class due to poor or even average work ethic.

And whatever correlation there might be, no matter how small, could easily be the result of a student's increased sense of self-efficacy simply from receiving good grades, or the law partner's perception of that person's efficacy.


I'd like to see these studies, since it's hard for me to imagine a quantitative way to measure one's ability to practice law. Even so, we aren't talking about ability to practice law. It's entirely possible that the exams are somewhat effective at determining someone's ability to do strict legal analysis, but that ability isn't as important as things that exams don't measure (such as ability to politic, treat a client and paralegals, etc).

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Hannibal
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby Hannibal » Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:45 pm

Here's an post from the Volokh Conspiracy:

http://volokh.com/2010/01/16/thought-on ... ol-grades/

Important quote:

But there are two important reasons why grades may seem random when they are not. First, in law it’s hard to know how much or how little you know. It’s surprisingly easy to have a false sense of security, or a false sense of insecurity, about an exam. Most law school exam questions are “issue spotters,” and it’s quite hard to gauge how well you answered an issue-spotter. If you miss all of the big difficult issues, you will think that the problem is easy for you and that you totally aced it. If you see all of the big issues, you will think that the problem is impossibly hard and consider yourself a miserable failure for being unable to know for sure how to resolve all of the difficult questions. The more you know, the more you see the difficulties of the problem and the more you know how little you know. Of course, the student who sees all of the hard issues on an exam and grapples with those difficulties gets the highest grade. The student who misses the issues and wrongly thinks the hard questions are easy does poorly.

The second reason grades may seem random is that grades are curved. You are graded not on how well you did in an absolute sense, but rather on how well you did relative to everyone else in your class. This means that your grades won’t necessarily correlate with the quality of your answers: Instead, they correlate with the quality of your answers relative to your classmates. If you totally clicked with crim law, but hated and never understood civ pro, you may get a higher grade in civ pro than crim because lots of other people in the class felt the same way. (And as a crim law prof, I have to say, who can blame them?) Similarly, if the exam in a particular class was unusually hard, you may end up with a top grade in the course simply because you were less lost than most of your classmates. Self-perceptions of performance won’t always match the curve-induced reality.

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stratocophic
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby stratocophic » Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:38 pm

JCougar wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
JCougar wrote:(Long post beating dead horse re: grading)

There are some nuggets of wisdom intertwined in here, but I think they are drowned out by your constant cynicism. Yes, typing more words helps, and if the prof won't ding you for it, you should include the extra stuff if it is relevant. Why is this shocking?

But I'd also suggest that the reason for the strong correlation between more words and higher grades is because the extra words = extra analysis. For example, if exam A says, "X battered Y by hitting him in the face" and exam B says, "X intended to cause harmful contact to Y by striking Y in the face, and the harmful contact occurred. Thus, X committed battery against Y," which is the better exam answer? Clearly B, because it applies the law (it weaves the elements into the analysis) to the facts (X hit Y). Student B is getting more points, not because his analysis is longer, but because his analysis is better. You're assuming that the extra points are coming from more words, but often those words aren't just word vomit; they're the key points that distinguish a median paper from a top 25% paper, or a top 25% paper from a CALI.

Of course people who write more are going to (generally) get higher grades. Most exams require you to 1) spot the issue and 2) analyze it thoroughly. Why is anyone surprised that a person who writes more information and analyzes the issue more thoroughly is going to get a higher grade?

I'm sorry to continue debating you on this, jcougar. I like you a lot and I've always enjoyed your input on TLS. But I fundamentally disagree with you on this (and I believe the majority of our class would as well), and I don't want 0Ls coming in this fall with the idea that grades are random or meaningless.


I agree with you on that much. But I do contend that the second example (person B) is only enough to maybe get you a top 60% grade. That's what I would call a good, concise analysis. To CALI the class, you'd have to talk about the policy of intent, and bring up some absurd sophism about "what is intent, really" and then add some more bullshit on top of it.
100% depends on the class. My contracts teacher didn't feel that way, and Goldwasser definitely didn't either. Analysis was sufficient in those two, policy probably would've been a waste of time unless there was something minor they harped on in one topic. Carfield for sure did though.

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stratocophic
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby stratocophic » Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:47 pm

Hannibal wrote:
JCougar wrote:We will have to agree to disagree then, because studies show there's little to no connection between grades and your ability to practice law, as long as you're not a slacker that fininishes in the bottom of the class due to poor or even average work ethic.

And whatever correlation there might be, no matter how small, could easily be the result of a student's increased sense of self-efficacy simply from receiving good grades, or the law partner's perception of that person's efficacy.


I'd like to see these studies, since it's hard for me to imagine a quantitative way to measure one's ability to practice law. Even so, we aren't talking about ability to practice law. It's entirely possible that the exams are somewhat effective at determining someone's ability to do strict legal analysis, but that ability isn't as important as things that exams don't measure (such as ability to politic, treat a client and paralegals, etc).
Not to mention the fact that 'the law' is a joke. None of this stuff is conceptually hard - none of it. Can occasionally be confusing, but then you work at understanding it for like 2 hours and you've got it. Testing for comprehension of the law wouldn't do anything but separate the kids who waste their time looking up every footnote from everyone else... and I don't think that's productive, because it seems to me there's even less correlation between that and success than there is between success and whatever's measured by the current system.




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