mmelittlechicken wrote: downbeat14 wrote:
mmelittlechicken wrote:Why don't you tell them not to go to law school instead of stealing their money?
Not sure if you understand how money works. They sign up for the course and pay before I even meet them or see their score. My job is to improve their score from where they are starting. I'm very successful at that. Wouldn't exactly call that stealing...
Secondly, the ones that ask me, I tell them that it's not wise to go to law school unless there is a high chance that they will get a job as a lawyer (based on LST), or if they are going for free.
whatever helps u sleep at night
I wanted to bring this back, because this tutor was being unjustifiably attacked. I have tutored and worked with other tutors for a little over 4 years. The attacks against DownBeat 14 stem from two distinct logic patterns:
1.) Attack 1 - DownBeat14 is unethical, because those students starting with a score in the 120s or 130s probably don't belong in law school. By working with a tutor, one 3 things will result: (a) they won't make the 20 point improvement needed to go to law school and thus have wasted their time and money, (b) they will make the improvement and matriculate to a TTTT with a dismal employment outlook, or (c) they will improve 30+ points and go to a great school. (c) is the least likely outcome of the 3 choices so DownBeat14's tutoring is a negative.
less ethical because s/he is a cog on a chain that is likely to ultimate leave many of the clientele in a worse position. Either the clientele are too dumb to get into law school and are wasting their money, or worse they will wind up attending a school with poor job prospects. DownBeat14 contributes to this problem by directly or indirectly accepting money from the students.
2.) Attack 2- Because a majority of their students don't score a 163 or better, DownBeat14 is a bad tutor.
1.) Response to Attack 1
- You are right: it is likelier that anybody starting with a score in the 130s or 140s will be worse off by going to law school. Even pre-2008 most of the lower tiered schools struggled to place most graduates in high paying jobs, and these schools never justified the tuition costs. Your response is that we should put the burden on the people with the first opportunity to posit the truth to these poor souls: the LSAT tutors who "help" students get into these terrible schools.
You are operating under the logic that if an LSAT tutor told a student that law school is unlikely to be a good bet then they will research it for themselves and not go to law school. The tutor/company loses that particular student's business, and it's all done. The reality is not that simple.
Most people get an LSAT tutor with one goal in mind: Improve my LSAT score. They don't care about the tutor's career advice or anything like that. The reality is that many people below a certain baseline score don't view LSAT tutors as knowledgeable on law. They see the LSAT as a stupid gate in the way of their law school dream, and view the LSAT tutor as a higher paid cab driver or maid. They are not seeking their tutor's non-LSAT advice on law school or the legal profession.
The result of this is that prior to developing a level of friendship and trust, providing unsolicited advice pisses people off. From their perspective they came to you seeking help to get a higher LSAT score, and instead of helping them accomplish this have instead told them that their career goal is likely a poor choice. Now you have an angry client who may not have even paid you any money or even utilized your tutoring service in any meaningful capacity.
From a client's perspective an unsatisfactory relationship with a business results from 1 of 2 of the following: (1) they did not get "the benefit of their bargain"/were wronged/got the business' c-game or (2) they were not treated with respect. Even though law school wires us to associate (1) with a legal claim and (2) as fluff, the real world is really all about (2). It's incredible how forgiving people are about (1) as long as they are treated with respect. Anger, threats, poor word of mouth and bad reviews generally stem from (2). I would even go a step further and argue that 99% of bad reviews pertinent to (1) could all be avoided by upping (2). If you look at bad yelp reviews they almost always end discussing a subsequent conversation with the manager, and how the manager failed to provide (2).
I go off on this tangent simply to illustrate the importance of treating a client with respect. When you tell a client to not pursue law, a pursuit they have invested a large amount of their self-concept in, you're treading on deep water. You have to choose your words carefully, and there is a very specific speech you want to give. Otherwise you leave the customer very angry, and this customer will tell their friends and family, and may even post a bad review. You're risking the loss of future business, including future business from people who would do just fine in law.
With that said, because I always wanted to pursue law I didn't care as much about tutoring, and made poor business choices in the interest of ethics. I would constantly and I still do get literally 60% of my phone calls a month before a given LSAT. These people are desperate, and want to improve their score 30 points in a few weeks (from say a 135 to a 165). Just 2 weeks ago, I had a student call from Miami who's student visa ran out after this year, and needed to improve from the 120s or so on the December test. I gave my token, "We can work with you to improve your score as much as possible, but in the interest of full disclosure, you should realize that such a score increase is unlikely in such a short period." The response is generally, "Major Company YYY says they can help me make the 40 point improvement, and I only called you because you were cheaper. You're not capable of having students making a 40 point improvement?"
These calls just end in a loss of business, but even a legitimate act of kindness risks #2. In 2011, I commuted an hour each way to tutor one student. Frankly I could've made more tutoring others locally, but he was a good bro and I wanted to help him. He improved his score about 15 points on the December test, but this still only left him at about a 155. He saw this as a life saver, wanted to buy me a beer, invited me to the cool division-1 athlete parties I never would've gotten invited to in college, etc. Instead I informed him he needs a 165, and I'd be willing to tutor him for less money (basically cost) till he got there. Well, the social communication of this from his perspective was essentially, "I thought you were my friend, and now you're shaking me down." His parents called me (in LSAT tutoring the millenial generation, the parents are always actively involved), and boy were they pissed. Initially, many of his friends were contacting me for tutoring, and we were going to get classrooms going on. This all abruptly ended. From a business standpoint, if the popular kid at a college loves you then you can make $$ for years. Even after law school I would've probably been able to keep it going by just substituting another tutor in my place.
I credit all of this to the following: If a polished and tremendously successful TTT law school dean in a $2,000 suit parrots one speech and some regular joe in his 20s makes a contradictory speech, who is the consumer going to believe? Complicating matters further, the polished dean is also advocating what the consumer wants to hear. It's easier to believe that which tells you your perspective of seeing the world is correct and doesn't have to change. 2.) Response to Attack 2:
Top 10% scores are top 10%, because 90% of people fail to achieve them. After doing this for a while, you can get a feel for a student's range in a few minutes. When you speak with a student through the questions you can generally get a feel for how they think. Sometimes, and this happened to me yesterday, a student gets the wrong answer but you can tell from how she reasoned her way to the wrong answer that she's brilliant and much smarter than the tutor but just needs some shaping. These students make a tutor look good because she'll probably start in the 150s and crack a 170 with a little bit of work. Financially, they are also a goldmine because you can advertise them, and ultimately have them a tutor a market you leave.
On the other end of the coin many students approach LSAT tutoring with the logic: I pay $, I get better score. They simply don't work b/w the lessons, and constantly reschedule lessons. LSAT prep is the least important variable in their lives, and takes a backseat to UGPA, greek life, internships, etc. Many of these students don't appreciate how important the LSAT is if they want to pursue a legal career, and going back to my final point in (1) assume the LSAT tutor is biased for $ and self-assurance reasons. It's like hearing a maid say cleanliness is godliness.
It is very hard to generate major score improvements if the student doesn't do what the tutor tells them to. It's like blaming a personal trainer for a client being fat if the client goes to McDonalds every night. The major obstacle I run into and most of the tutors I run into is the following: the best tutors in terms of teaching ability and expertise are young. They have recently taken the LSAT, still have a semblance of yet to be jaded charisma and are pleasant to be around. A person in their mid-30s with a 99th percentile LSAT score working for $30/hour part time will either be (1) socially inept or (2) deeply depressed in financial turmoil. The one exception to this are house-spouses who are generally great to work with, but are harder to find outside the suburbs.
The reason I went off on this tangent is to support the following: people are less likely to follow commands given their peers than an older person. I run into this a lot with 2 of the following: (1) giddy overly upbeat women and (2) alpha men. With the former, I'm just a nerdy guy spending 2 hours with them and interested in how they think. To desperate women, this may be misconstrued as a sign of interest, and you get invited to their social functions, which is horribly awkward. It also means they aren't following my orders because I'm their friend, which benefits nobody as I don't want to be their friend and they aren't benefiting from tutoring. With alpha men, they legitimately react combatively to orders from me or my suggestions on how they should change their thinking. They're nearly impossible to tutor outside of logic games, because when you tell them how to break down another reasoning pattern they see this as an attack on their masculinity. Most aren't even aware they're doing this, but they generally won't do what their tutor assigns.
Moreover, people naturally like doing what makes them feel good. A person who is naturally good at something will keep doing it, because it makes them feel confident. A person who is naturally weak at something won't do it as much, because it makes them feel insecure. We're all wired to crave security so generally try to avoid acknowledging and working on our weaknesses. This applies to LSAT prep. The people who start with higher scores also work harder so there's really a two-fold advantage in having a great starting score.
There are always exceptions. I once tutored a guy who after doing one session at his place, I looked around his walls and noticed they were almost entirely engulfed with post-its of random shit I said. Although most of it was just observations and useless crap I made up on the spot, it was all up there. He obviously had a 20 pt improvement, because he was motivated to the point of insanity. But this was mostly his own doing. He was naturally motivated when he first called me. Relating back to unjustifiable blame/credit, I got a lot of business from the Pakistani community because of him. He was brilliant, but the public school education system failed him. He had some quirks, and just needed someone who could keep him motivated and feel better about himself so he could neurotically master it on his own with slight shaping.
Lastly, personality fits matter more than most think. People on here and in the open market obsess over credentials: I want the 180 over the 170, the Harvard Law grad over the loser wannabe actor, 10 yrs. experience over 2 years. For most people this is largely all useless as most people start with in the 140-150 range. What is most important is having the right connection with their tutor. Some tutors naturally forge connections better than others and experience helps this, but it's really all about the personality quirks of both the student and the tutor.
On this front: You have both great students and lousy students. The latter are a detriment, because with the great students - they are serious, do their work, respectful and pleasant. If it wasn't for the latter, even a company that is much cheaper could further lower the price. The latter are a drain, and cost time and money. The truth is that those starting in the 130s also tend to be the likeliest to constantly reschedule and not complete work. They're also the reason we can't offer free lessons. Many will try to negotiate lower rates with our tutors independently, ask for a payment plan and not pay, and you even have some who try to get free lessons or several free lessons in specific areas from every tutoring company (the small companies tend to talk to each other). Also, with smaller companies many students only come after taking a Testmasters or Kaplan course so you wind up getting people with the 140 after prep, which makes it harder.