nyclawguy wrote:I have been a semi-frequent visitor to TLS for quite some time. While I’ve only ever posted on the site on 3 or 4 occasions, I find it a great place to find information regarding the application process, and law school more generally. Nevertheless, in the course of my perusing, I’ve always been a bit perturbed by those posts in which people ask to have other users “chance them”, and have fairly deplorable numbers. Before I continue on, I am more than aware of the fact that numbers aren’t everything (I especially feel this way with the LSAT since I don’t believe that a four hour test is necessarily indicative of how one will do in law school or as a practicing attorney), but with that said, I think there is something to be said for one’s GPA (four years of sustained study, presumably on a topic that a person finds intellectually stimulating). Also, I do recognize that as it pertains to GPA, instances arise where students have a crisis that impacts their grades for a semester or longer (or even on occasion, just a really difficult class/course of study). And of course, one’s “soft” factors must be taken into account; there is certainly something to be said for students who hold a job during their undergraduate careers, are heavily involved in community service/leadership activities, who publish articles, win awards, etc.
Nevertheless, despite all of these aforementioned considerations, I cannot help but feel that in the United States today, anyone who wants to go to law school, can (I stop short of saying “become an attorney” because passing the bar is still a fairly formidable obstacle). Fifty years ago, there was something to be said for being a lawyer; it implied a sense of intelligence (true, academic intelligence—not “life experience”), and carried with it a degree of prestige. Going to law school was hard work, and not every John Doe who liked to argue, enjoyed politics, and was in student council went on to pursue a legal education. However, as the decades have gone by, I feel as if the industry has begun to corrode (quite precipitously), and I feel that this problem lies with the proliferation of law schools that really have no place issuing JDs. The 25th percentile GPA/LSAT of Southern University (which appears to be the lowest ranked school on TLS) is 2.48 and 143 respectively. Graduating with a 2.48 (and mind you, 25% of the class at this particular school has LESS than a 2.48) is slightly better than a C+ average, and on the October 2010 test, a 143 meant that you answered 45 out of 101 questions correctly (and again, 25% of the class at this school scored even worse). Looking at these statistics this way begs the question as to whether or not a student with those statistics (or worse) has any place practicing law. I asked a family member of mine who is the director of hiring for a clothing company if she would ever hire someone with a 2.48 GPA, and her answer was an unequivocal “no”.
No, not everyone is a gunner who shoots for the t14 or has aspirations of working at Wachtell or Cravath. Many people are more than content (and have wonderfully successful careers) practicing law at boutique firms or working as sole practitioners. Yet regardless of where you attend law school, or where you eventually practice, being a lawyer requires intelligence. The law is inherently complex, reading legalese can be worse than hyroglifics, and legal research can be a grueling undertaking. I cannot help but think that to do all of these things well (emphasis on well) one must be smarter than average. I remember going to an attorney’s office when my parents closed on their new home and left mortified that I wanted to pursue a career in law, because of the ineptitude, incompetence, and unintelligence of the man signing the coveted “Esq.” after his name. When I asked casually asked him what law school he attended, I was unsurprised by his answer.
I post this not to place myself on a pedestal or appear arrogant, but instead to foster a legitimate and respectful (emphasis on respectful) dialogue. I have always been drawn to the legal profession, and have always felt as if being a lawyer was predicated upon being smart, articulate, and disciplined. However, as I read through many of these “chance me” posts, look at statistics from 3rd and 4th tier law schools, and see many lawyers who practice outside of “big-law”, I can’t help but feel as if being a lawyer isn’t all that much to be proud of anymore. In the not too distant past, identifying yourself as an attorney automatically conveyed (the vast majority of the time) very specific characteristics about yourself. I do not feel as if the same can be said today. Unless you are remarkably inept or have a criminal record, I feel as if virtually anyone can receive their JD. I am worried about where this profession will end up in another fifty years. I seek the opinions of others, but I truly ask that the tone be respectful and constructive.
26 of our nations presidents were lawyers who NEVER took the LSAT. The list of NON-LSAT takers include many of the brilliant practicing attorneys out there today
Let us all not forget the LSAT is about 20 years old and there are tons of intelligent idiots out there with 4.0 gpa and 180 lsat scores
thanks for the topic