djgoldbe wrote:Maybe they took a lot of work for you - but they don't take a lot of work for many. Especially considering how little weight is given to the UG institution, class rigor (thus why you see people taking BS classes to raise their GPA) and grade inflation.
This is pretty belittling to people who spend four years trying to get a 4.0 or close to it. However, I do acknowledge the difficulty does vary by institution and program, which is probably one reason why adcomms are biased more toward the LSAT than GPA.
Of course, if it doesn't take a lot of work for many as you say, what's the problem with using it as a differentiating factor? In that case everyone who's worth letting into a law school ought to have a high GPA because it's so easy to get one.
djgoldbe wrote:And for the LSAT - I really don't think it tests the skills you think it tests all that well. You allude to the fact that it is a largely learn-able test - which I agree with - but you didn't address the fact that many many people do not have the time or resources to spend learning it (or the fact that it's being learn-able makes it a limited test of intellectual ability).
It's not a test of "intellectual ability", it's a test of analytical and reasoning skills
. Those skills are important in the legal world. "Intellectual ability" is a broad thing, and one of the reasons that the LSAT is the most reliable predictor of bar passage out of any pre-law-school factor is that it focuses specifically on the subsets of abilities that lawyers have to call on most. The fact that you can learn what answers are expected doesn't really change its predictive ability all that much, because what you're demonstrating is that you can learn logical reasoning skills
, which are what are necessary for success in law.
I don't address the fact that some people don't have the time or resources to spend learning the LSAT, because if they don't have the time or resources to spend taking a single test, how does that make them at all qualified to spend three years learning the law? If you want to succeed, you make
time to succeed. I prepped for the LSAT while working a full-time job.
djgoldbe wrote:And I don't really think the 'fairness' of the admissions process is the concern here. A school (especially a private one) can admit whoever it wants - that is the schools prerogative. The issue is the ability of the school to admit who it wants without undue pressure, such as the many situations where a school would like to admit an applicant but cannot because he/she's numbers would bring down the median. If a school would otherwise like to admit an applicant, I do not think that student should be penalized because of ranking concerns.
Wait, you're saying fairness shouldn't be a concern? You don't care about fairness in law admissions? Your argument is entirely
about fairness; you think it's unfair for schools to "like" these applicants but be "unable" to admit them.
There's a huge problem there, and that's that schools "like" many
applicants they have to turn away. UVA gets over 7,000 applications, and in one conversation with an adcomm here, I was told that the adcomms end up seeing about 3,000 applications they like
and would want to admit
, but they don't have room for them. It doesn't matter how you change the way adcomms rank students, there are always
going to be plenty of likeable candidates applying who can't get in. At least the current system is objective, transparent, and relatively straightforward. That makes it more fair... and because the rankings only worry about a median, that leaves a lot
of leeway for schools to admit a number of students who are below median but really strike them as desirable in other ways.
The ideal societal role of a lawyer is, in general, to be someone who grasps the law well, who is able to reason through it effectively, and who can predict future legal outcomes based on past precedent and court policy concerns. Those who can do this best will make the best lawyers in whatever field they pursue, and those who have the greatest commitment to their work and legal reasoning skills will be those who can do this best.
That has nothing to do with the societal role of lawyers. That may be an accurate delineation of what makes an effective
lawyer, but it surely doesn't speak at all to the larger role of lawyers in society. Again, there is a big difference between 'best' and 'effective'. I am quite sure John Yoo is an effective lawyer, and possesses all of the traits you espouse, but I am also quite sure he is not the best lawyer.
The most effective lawyers are
the best lawyers, from an educational standpoint. It's not the job of law schools to play politics and choose students based on their political beliefs. We teach a diverse array of people with differing beliefs, and I'm offended by any notion that law schools should be pre-screening students based on political values. While you may think this is a good idea because a school that's in line with your values will keep out the people who you think are in the moral wrong, but the problem is that you're assuming that line will be fairly drawn. That goes back to the fairness argument I brought up, and which you seem incapable of understanding.
I don't like John Yoo either, but he is someone who will tell you he has deep moral convictions and believed he was doing the right thing for his country. How would you pre-screen against him? There's no way to do it, not without putting into place a terrifyingly discriminatory system that would be far more harmful to America than any single memo John Yoo could ever write.
djgoldbe wrote:Sorry if that was unclear. Having below median numbers and being accepted on 'holistic' concerns is not indicative of most applicant's results. Because of the way the ratings are done, it sounds like your high LSAT splitter scenario would have still made you a net-positive for the school. So, perhaps your cycle was indicative of normal admissions and the 'holistic' concerns you talk about were not really relevant. Hard to tell without specific information.
This is your problem, you're too black and white. You assume that things are either
numbers-based. The truth is that it's actually both. I got in because I had a high LSAT score and
because they liked the rest of my application. I actually asked, and was told, that it was my personal statement and work experience that sold them on me. While I did have a high LSAT score, there were many high-LSAT splitters on TLS that applied to UVA last year and got WL purgatory instead.
Schools that accept people based on GPA and LSAT do
look at the full applications and make decisions based on more than just the numbers. The problem, and what you're not realizing, is that people with high GPAs and high LSATs are typically rather capable people who are going to also look good in the PS and LORs anyway. It's not like someone gets a 170/3.8 and then gets three LORs that say he never paid attention in class and writes a PS about how he wants to become the first Emperor of the United States and make everyone ride horses to work and school because they're more environmentally friendly than cars.
It's not like schools are typically faced with a choice between a 156/3.2 with a great PS/LORs and a 170/3.8 with a poor PS and LORs. No, top schools are often faced with hundreds and hundreds of 170/3.8s and then forced to choose between them. If one of them has a poor PS/LOR, they can reject him and still find enough kids with great well-rounded applications and
high numbers to fill their seats.