March 19, 2017

"Going to law school was one of my biggest regrets, ranking right up there with the time I accidentally bought low-fat Brie."

Writes Akilah Green ("a writer for Netflix’s 'Chelsea'") in a NYT op-ed I read mostly because I was tempted by the desire to understand the illustration of a piece of cheese trying to tempt a graduation-gowned woman. Green's thesis is that it's bad that some law schools are now accepting applicants who haven't taken the LSAT but have a GRE score instead.

Accepting the proposition that many people go to law school who won't, in the end, enjoy being a lawyer, I don't see the connection to the recent policy change. We've had unhappy lawyers for a long time, when the LSAT was required. Why assume reaching out to the GRE-takers will bring in people who are even less likely to be happy?

I myself was not happy to be a lawyer, but my law degree got me to a great non-lawyer job — law professor. So there's that. I don't know if Green got her Netflix writing job in part because of her law degree, but I just want to nail down the point that law school is not just for those who picture themselves as transmogrifying into Atticus Finch or whatever. But the main thing I want to say about my having been a law professor is that over the years as I witnessed young people struggling to understand law, I often thought that the wrong people are going to law school. Many people have an inaccurate idea of what law will be and that they will learn specific rules and doctrines and gain authority in a system of order. But the law is a much more complex struggle with language and policy. Maybe it would be more suitable for the very people who are thinking it's not their sort of thing.

So why not open admissions up to the smart, industrious career-seekers who have opted to take the GRE? Green — a TV comedy writer — may only be trying to get funny words into print but she says:
See, the LSAT is a speed bump.... The LSAT was rough. The logic games that make up its most infamous section are real killers... Studying was grueling, repetitive and at times mind-numbingly boring, adjectives that happen to have quite a bit of overlap with the way some lawyers would describe their jobs.
As if law schools should set up a barrier so that only the grinds get in! That's not the diverse and exciting classroom experience we're looking for. And if being a lawyer is so terrible, what does it matter what kind of a barrier to entry we set up?
And remember, studying for the LSAT creates a lot of angst — but so will being a lawyer, if being a lawyer isn’t for you.
But that's the question: Who is it for? Green seems to be saying that being a lawyer is for people who put up with a lot of grueling, boring angst and that taking the LSAT is evidence that you do. But Green is talking about studying for the LSAT, not merely taking it — studying and studying hard. That may be something that boring, grind-y strivers do, but it's not necessary. I don't remember studying hard for the LSAT, and I scored in the top percentile. I know other people who can say that too. So the LSAT doesn't really measure for this quality Green assumes is key to being a happy lawyer. And I'm sure that many people who concentrated on taking the GRE are also capable of knuckling down to some hard work.

Why exclude them? Let them throw applications at law schools if they like. At least with law school, you are done in 3 years, and there are lots of well-paying jobs in the end. Compare that to the grad schools that are reaching out to the GRE-takers. What's the happiness percentage coming out of PhD programs?

70 comments:

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

My eleven year old daughter wants to be a lawyer specializing in contracts.

Where did I go wrong?

:)

Just kidding; she'll be great at it. She is both naturally creative and energetic, and disciplined. She does great on standardized tests and also on articulating her own creative approach to the world. She's good at both styles of achievement.

I just hope that by the time she gets to grad school, the oversupply of law schools, students, and freshly minted lawyers will be corrected.

traditionalguy said...

I like the logical argument that earning a JD is the worst possible form of Graduate Education possible except for all of the others.

But in truth the system is designed be so hard to limit the numbers.

Hagar said...

Not doing a very good job of limiting the numbers.

rhhardin said...

The logic section can't be that hard. Lots of women pass it.

I should do that as a syllogism.

rhhardin said...

Anything that's for the children is good.
Welfare is for the children.
Welfare is good.

Tank said...

Long ago I studied one day for the LSAT, just to refresh my recollection of math that I had not done for ten years. I got a very good score, similar in percentile to my SATs (unexpectedly !!!!!! .... not). I did not know you were supposed to study. My impression was, after going to law school and being a lawyer for a long time, that it tested the kind of thinking that you often do need to do to be a good lawyer (although there are many kinds of lawyers, and you don't need to be that bright to do much of the work we do).

I could be wrong (long time since I started looking for a lawyer job), but I think you are incorrect about "At least with law school, you are done in 3 years, and there are lots of well-paying jobs in the end." There are lots of those jobs if you are in the top 1% like Althouse; for the bottom ... let's say 80% ... not so much.

Achilles said...

The problem is the practice of law has been separated from morality. Whatever word salad you can justify passes muster now. The culmination of this are the decisions on the Trump EO's on immigration. They are pure overreach and have no legal basis. You watch disingenuous jerks somehow mangle the constitution to come up with reasons why we have to let people immigrate here.

The problem in the end is progressivism has taken over the legal industry. Now in law the ends justify the means. The members of the law profession will regret the day they lost the respect of the average citizen when they sacrificed integrity to the progressive cause.

Ann Althouse said...

"I like the logical argument that earning a JD is the worst possible form of Graduate Education possible except for all of the others."

No. I'm not saying that. I chose not to talk about Business School.

Business School is clearly the best. For one thing it's only 2 years. For another, it's a lot healthier and upbeat, more about getting things done. None of this unworldly brooding over ideas....

Tank said...


Ann Althouse said...
"I like the logical argument that earning a JD is the worst possible form of Graduate Education possible except for all of the others."

No. I'm not saying that. I chose not to talk about Business School.

Business School is clearly the best. For one thing it's only 2 years. For another, it's a lot healthier and upbeat, more about getting things done. None of this unworldly brooding over ideas....


I enjoyed the first two years of law school, so maybe there's something to that. I did not hate the last year either, and I mostly enjoyed being a lawyer and being my own boss for 33 years.

rhhardin said...

Anne Carson, LSAT logic exam Clearing Up the Question of Stesichoros' Blinding by Helen.

whitney said...

I accidentally bought low fat feta once. I'm still scarred

IgnatzEsq said...

The advice I, as a non practicing lawyer, give to those thinking about law school is this test.

1) Have you worked in a law office before?
2) Do you have (very) close family members who are lawyers?
3) Are you accepted to a top tier law school (T14)

If you answered yes to any of these then you should consider law school. If not, I'd recommend against it.

Hari said...

Should medical schools start accepting the GRE instead of the MCAT?

Roger Sweeny said...

and there are lots of well-paying jobs in the end.

Not any more. Potential law students and potential PhD students should both be given the sad truth before they embark on a journey that may be more shipwreck than passage.

AReasonableMan said...

Speaking of bad jobs, does anyone have a more difficult job than Sean Spicer? More contortionist than PR flak.

traditionalguy said...

Sean Spicer has the best of jobs, provided you like verbal wrestling matches. And Sean enjoys them. He is fast becoming the Chuck Berry of media mud wrestling.

Suzanne Lucas said...

The GRE has a logic section as well, so I don't know shy she thinks that's the big difference. FWIW, I got a perfect score on the GRE logic section and because of that, I got hired to teach LSAT prep.

robother said...

"I don't remember studying hard for the LSAT, and I scored in the top percentile." Same here, and I went on to have a long and generally very satisfying career in a large law firm. Its almost like the LSAT is very good at identifying people who might be successful in law school and a legal career (all due respect, Ann, but teaching law is a legal career).

The guys I knew in law school for whom it was nothing but a grind generally didn't have very successful careers, or dropped out of law school or practice. Law school is not a good choice for anyone who doesn't really know what they want to do after undergrad, but think that a law degree will give them some kind of upper middle class income guarantee. And that was true before the costs exploded to 100K plus.

AReasonableMan said...

Kellyanne Conway says she'd rather 'slit her wrists' than have Sean Spicer's job.

Douglas said...

I'm the same vintage as our hostess and I didn't study, at all, for the LSAT and scored in the top 1%, so obviously it measures something besides ability to study hard. As for going to law school - given the collapse of the law school market, it's much easier to get into a top law school today than 20 years ago. At the same time, it's much harder to get a great job out of law school - whether it's big law or the US Attorney's office or some public interest litigation shop. So my advice to young people is to only go to law school if their dream is to be a lawyer. It helps if that dream is tempered by some knowledge of what the law as a career entails, as Ignatz suggests above. If they really want to be a lawyer, then at the end of the day they'll be happy even if all they wind up doing is handling DUI cases (as one of my law school classmates has been happily doing for 30 years).

Michael K said...

"Have you worked in a law office before?"

Calvin Coolidge took what I consider the best approach to becoming a lawyer, He did a number of years as an apprentice and clerk in a law office. His close friend and Amherst classmate, Dwight Morrow, attended Columbia Law School and practiced law only a short time before he became a partner at J.P. Morgan & Co.

He is best know as the father of Ann Morrow Lindbergh and as an Ambassador to Mexico.

Who was a better lawyer ?

Michael K said...

One of my roommates did crossword puzzles for a couple of months as preparation for the MCAT. I did not study for either the MCAT or the SAT. To this day, I don't know the results I got. I don't think you could learn your SAT score at that time. If you could, I didn't know how.

PWS said...

How is being a law professor a non-lawyer job? Not too many law professors who don't have law degrees--I don't think(?) Your blogging is the better example.

Carol said...

I took both deductive and inductive Logic in undergrad but it did not help me on the logic part of the LSAT. It's something else entirely. I had a middling score and went on to law school anyway, and my grades came out a predictable 3.1. My friend had a high percentile score (43 in those days) and graduated in the top 8% with job offer. Yet in class when called on her answers made no sense to me. Same with the other top students. It was all gibberish to me...both her parents were lawyers so it seems to be in the genes.

And there is no math in the LSAT that I can recall. I would have done much better in that case. I suspect most the students were math-avoiders.

Wilbur said...

I didn't know one COULD study for the LSAT.

I went out the night before the Saturday morning test and prepared my mind in the usual fashion at that time in my life.

I walked out of the test knowing I had done very well on it.

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

"Have you worked in a law office before?"
This seems like good advice for many professions. Doing a year apprenticeship prior to any grad school should be the norm. It is a shame how many devote their time and go deep into debt only to discover they hate what they signed up for.

DKWalser said...

When I took the LSAT and the GRE, I wondered why both tests existed. I'd taken both the SAT and the ACT (a university I applied to did not accept the SAT; another did not accept the ACT) and had gotten comparable scores. When I took the LSAT and GRE, my scores were, again, comparable to my scores on the SAT and ACT. That is, in terms of the percentile ranking, my scores were in the top 1 (SAT) or 2 (ACT) of the nation. My scores from the LSAT and GRE fell within the same tight band. So, why bother with the graduate school exams? Of course, my case may have been a fluke in terms of how close the scores were to each other. But, given that the tests are basically IQ tests, it wouldn't be surprising to learn that most people who do well on their college entrance exams also do comparably well on the graduate school exams.

Ann Althouse said...

"How is being a law professor a non-lawyer job? Not too many law professors who don't have law degrees--I don't think(?) Your blogging is the better example."

It's a law job. But a professor isn't a lawyer.

Trumpit said...

If you are intelligent & logical, with good ethics (and know what the damn word means), and you know it - test or no test - and want to help people who need a good lawyer, then go for it. If you just want to make a lot of money then my advice is to kill your pathetic self. If you want to both help people and make a lot of money, you should still kill yourself for being a greedy & worthless pig. What motivates you in life is important. If it's money, and nothing more sublime, as with Trump, then I wish you the worst in life.

Ann Althouse said...

Not all lawprofs even have a law degree. Not all lawprofs have passed the bar exam. I was admitted to the bar in New York, but never in Wisconsin, and I've been "retired from the practice of law" from the point of view of the ABA, for decades (which means I've avoided paying dues).

Anyway, it's not that I'm offended to be called a lawyer -- as if it's like calling me a liar -- but it's just not accurate.

Eleanor said...

I scored in the top percentile on the GRE. I don't know how the difficulty on the logic part of the exam compared between it and the LSAT. I know coming out of engineering school gave me an advantage on the math portion. The GRE is taken by a different swath of students than the LSAT so comparing scores is meaningless. Just like comparing SAT scores now to SAT scores 50 years ago. Back then only the top 15% or so of the class took SATs. Now the top half does. Many more college graduates take the GRE than the LSAT. But I'm going to go out on a limb and say the top percentiles of GRE takers could probably do well in law school if they had the interest. Since the GRE includes complex math, I'm also going to guess a lot of people would prefer to take the LSAT if they were sure they wanted to go to law school.

TWW said...

Went to law school forty years ago even though I had zero interest in becoming a lawyer. Finished near top of my class but, after three years, still didn't care to be a lawyer. However, I never regretted it. I used what I learned in law school nearly every day in a successful business career. When you deal with lawyers and CPA's every day in the business world, it doesn't hurt to be trained in the law and a CPA.

Sebastian said...

"that they will learn specific rules and doctrines and gain authority in a system of order. But the law is a much more complex struggle with language and policy." If so, it raises the question whether "logic games" are a valid test of relevant aptitude. Of course, law may be a "struggle," but student performance predicted by the LSAT may nonetheless depend on knowledge of fairly "specific rules and doctrines" any one professor tries to instill and on a gameable "system of order" in grading. General intelligence would seem to go a long way in both. If anyone knows of studies linking G to LSAT scores and law (school) performance, I'd be interested.

Ron said...

The only low fat Brie I want is Alison Brie! ;)

Michael K said...

Trumpit probably thinks that "community organizing" makes people's lives better.

"If it's money, and nothing more sublime, as with Trump, then I wish you the worst in life."

Says the person who has never built anything or signed the front of a paycheck.

MadisonMan said...

Low-fat cheese, and/or Low-salt cheese: Things to be avoided at all costs.

Bruce Hayden said...

Back when I first took the LSAT, I took a prep course that, essentially, taught us how to game the test. For example, it was scored as #Correct minus 1/4 x #Wrong, or something like that. That meant that if you could eliminate one answer (out of 5), you weren't penalized for guessing, and if you could eliminate two answers, you should guess. Taking that to heart, I guessed enough to do like that there's here, scoring in roughly the top 1% of applicants. I took the business boards the next weekend, and scored 100 pts lower, maybe partially, because the scoring was different (#Correct - #Wrong, which penalizes guessing). So, naturally, I went to Business School first. Took the LSAT again maybe 15 years later, didn't study, except as to the formula used to calculate scores, and did just as well, though the scoring had moved from an 800 pt scale to an 80 pt scale.

Looking back, I probably should have skipped B School, and maybe done Law School first. Some of it might have been aptitude, but part may have been that my father was a lawyer, practicing for better than 40 years. We grew up with "thinking like a lawyer", so 1L was a breeze, compared to other students, except for my Contracts class, where the prof obviously hadn't practiced, had been teaching for decades, and didn't quite get the concept that in real life, judges don't appreciate having cases cited that are minimally relevant, just to cite them (and memorizing case cites was counterproductive to being a good lawyer - better to look it up if you aren't using it all the time). But maybe better than my brother's Contracts prof who threw out his final because he answered a question both in terms of the Restatement AND UCC II (when the prof only wanted the former). He had to write a paper to redeem himself.

The reason though that I am probably glad that I waited to go to law school is that much of the practice of law is boring. By the time though that I went to LS, I had had a decent career in software development, and so the transition to patent law was fairly easy. Plus, you really are a better patent atty if you have spent time in the trenches as an engineer first. And as some wag put it, patent law is great because when you get bored with the law, there is the technology to master, and when you get bored with the technology, there is the law. Looking back, knowing what I know now, I likely would have finished at least a MS, and maybe even a PhD in CS, instead of an MBA, waited like I did, then gone to LS to help alleviate my mid-life crisis. I think I went the route I did, because most of the rest of my fraternity bros. were getting their MBAs, except for a couple who got their MDs (and all the JDs that year also ended up with MBAs). No PhDs my year or a year or two in either direction in the fraternity house.

Getting back to the LSAT, it does/did seem to have some predictive ability. One guy I knew a year gehind me as an undergrad was a chem major. He did better on his MCATs than his LSATs, so his profs were surprised that he wanted to go to Law School, instead of Med School. He had his heart set on LS though. They were right, and he was wrong - he struggled all the way through LS, getting marginal grades, while living on 4 hrs of sleep a night. Which is why I suspect that the GRE thing is mostly a ploy to open up the pool of LS applicants, in response to the recent crash in applicants, causing immense stress throughout much of the law school industry. They likely have no reason to believe that people who excel at the GRE, but not the LSAT, would do as well in LS, or the practice of law. That really isn't important to them. They mostly don't practice law, and don't care. What they care about is that law schools are laying off profs and shutting doors. Never mind that the reason for this is on the back end, with the lousy job prospects for newly minted lawyers.

Mark said...

Over in one of the court enjoins Trump EO discussions, I asked why the hell they teach Con Law in law school anymore since it has become a farce. Indeed, the judiciary as a whole and the entire legal profession have become a farce.

It is not about type of intellect or way of thinking as to be measured by this test or that. But then, it is about that in a certain way.

Many if not most of the kind of people that apply to law school have a certain innocent idealism about law - that it is about justice and right and wrong and doing good - and then later become totally disillusioned. They read the cases about things like the Constitution and a common law grounded in right reason and justice and good, and find that none of it has any application to reality today, except to be used as a tool/weapon to win over the caprice of judges, bureaucrats, politicians and juries.

The LSAT, as a tool to measure analytical thinking, which should be primary in law, should be better over GRE, which might include all sorts of emotional kind of thinking.

The problem is that law schools, the practicing profession, the judiciary and the administrative state have all been corrupted by the leftist CLS crowd, where reason and analytical thinking do not matter. Law, in fact, was indeed about good and right reason at one point, but now it is all about power -- doing anything, saying anything, twisting anything to obtain power and to wield power and to use that power against others. Too bad you have evidence, precedent, and fundamental principle on your side -- you lose. Now the law is for suckers, while other favored personages and groups can do whatever the hell they want.

And all those once innocent idealists that go into law school become unhappy, disgusted and jaded with the whole enterprise.

PWS said...

I guess if you narrow down the definition of lawyer enough what you're saying is true; (though I think a lot of people use the term more loosely). You're not licensed and not actively representing clients, but you're very much in the field of law. You're studying, teaching, examining and understanding the law; you're more steeped in the law in some ways than practicing lawyers who simply learn their field and then proceed to make as much money as possible without reflecting or advancing the field.

dreams said...

Ann Coulter feels fortunate that she found a good way to make money without having to practice law, I've heard her say.

Michael K said...

" you really are a better patent atty if you have spent time in the trenches as an engineer first. "

When I was a kid, the neighbor across the street was a patent lawyer who, as a hobby, used to fix everyone's TV that needed work. It was when TVs were a new thing and had lots of problems. I never asked but wondered if he was an engineer who went to law school.

Bruce Hayden said...

One reason for the crash in LS applicants is that the industry is overbuilt, and that is because law schools (and business schools) are cash cows for their universities. After pandering to ABA requirements (notably the library), running a law school is fairly cost effective. One prof can teach 30, 40, 50 1Ls at a time. And his salary is paid for by a handful or two of them, with the rest going to overhead and profit. No expensive labs or the need to work in small groups. Sure, you get some smaller classes in 2L and 3L, but still not nearly as much as in most other graduate programs.

Another is that much of the grunt work is moving towards computers and computerization. You need immense armies of junior attys less and less as a result. And, it is likely that the automation will continue up the food chain. Sure, the top lawyers are going to earn more and more (recently ran into a $1k/hr litigation atty from the Bay Area, and all I could think was that she was grossly overpaid for her expertise - she was being beaten by attys billing 1/3 an hour what she was billing). The work is great if you can get it, but most can't. And it is going to get worse, maybe much worse.

Bruce Hayden said...

@Dr K - he may well have been. Patent attys seem to fall into two categories - attys with engineering/scientific degrees, and engineers/scientists with law degrees. Those of us in the latter category believe that we have an advantage because we can, much more quickly, actually understand how inventions work. To an extent, a college degree teaches theory, but you don't get the experience of applying it, again and again, in real life, until you get out and work in the field. Patent attys who haven't worked as engineers or scientists first tend to think like lawyers, and not engineers or scientists, which is why I think that you may be right.

The other part of it is that you can talk to the inventors, because you speak the same language. Just like you slip into Doctor talk when talking to other physicians, and the lawyers slip into atty talk when talking to other lawyers, you slip into engineering talk and mindset when talking to engineers. Patent attys who never worked as engineers or scientists mostly can't do that, which is why it is usually very easy to identify them. (I say mostly, because I had a boss who was a ham radio nut, and could do it, and that hobby may have been why he could pull it off).

RigelDog said...

I think that a person HAS to study for the LSAT now--at least most students do. I didn't study before I took it either, 30-some years ago, but then again, there wasn't any way to study. There was a short booklet with some practice questions and that was the sum total of the resources available to prepare. I scored in the 97th percentile. Recently I looked over a sample test and realized that some of the material was beyond me. Today I would have a mediocre score if I took the test without major tutelage. Makes me sad.

Unknown said...

I have two lawyers in my family. The one that is practicing wants to be a stay at home mom, but can't as she owes too much in student loans and her husband works in a start up and his earnings aren't enough to sustain the young family yet. The other one stays at home and had parents who paid for her entire education. She has several children and would like nothing better than to start working again, but mommy guilt keeps her home. Life is funny like that. Both seem to not regret their choices, despite the high cost of law school in one case and the effort it takes to be a practicing attorney in the other.

Michael K said...

"The other part of it is that you can talk to the inventors, because you speak the same language."

I wound up accumulating a group of engineers in medical school that way. USC has an active MD/ MS or PhD biomedical engineering program. I had a group of six such students that last few years.

They were really sharp, more so than most medical students, and that is saying something.

I am not as enthusiastic about medicine as a career as I used to be but the biomed people will be fine as long as the loans aren't too heavy. Medicine is going genetics or engineering the next few years.

Achilles said...

Blogger Hari said...
"Should medical schools start accepting the GRE instead of the MCAT?"

There are immediate social and personal consequences for a bad doctor. So no.

Lawyers are at this point jumped up community organizers so they can let things slide.

Otto said...

I have to ask the question since most of your posts references the NYT, do you get any special privileges from them? Do you read anything else besides the NYT?
What is amazing is that the NYT is a leftist paper with zero credibility for comprehensive reporting, even it's feature reporting save maybe science and yet it seems to be your primary source of information.

Michael K said...

" leftist paper with zero credibility for comprehensive reporting, "

Do you know of one that is not ?

I used to rely on the Wall Street Journal but, since Murdoch has turned it over to his sons, it is swinging left as well.

The Orange County Register used to be fiercely libertarian but it is gone, too.

Unknown said...

"I have to ask the question since most of your posts references the NYT, do you get any special privileges from them? Do you read anything else besides the NYT?
What is amazing is that the NYT is a leftist paper with zero credibility for comprehensive reporting, even it's feature reporting save maybe science and yet it seems to be your primary source of information."

Althouse, you need to use Breitbart, WND, Info Wars, and Gateway Pundit as sources for your blog posts!

Sarc

Kathryn51 said...

Althouse said:
But the main thing I want to say about my having been a law professor is that over the years as I witnessed young people struggling to understand law, I often thought that the wrong people are going to law school.

Like Douglas, I am the same "vintage" as Althouse which means that women were just beginning to go to law school in any significant number (my class was 12 women out of 150 total; the previous year was only 3 women). Anyway, Women's Lib was teaching us all that we needed to do something more than going to a 4 year college in order to "catch our man" and that we owed it to the movement to strive harder or do bigger things or whatever.

Most of the women in my class were miserable because they didn't know why they were there except that they were very smart and were almost guilted into doing something "more" with their brains. The two married women (whose husbands were sacrificing to support their "dream") ended up getting divorced. 3 of the women dropped out after the 1st year. I knew what I wanted - to work for a corporation (preferably non-union) in the business side of the house.

At graduation (late '70s) the job market was terrible; only 10% of the class had job offers - I was one of them and it was exactly where I wanted - Contracts in local non-union aerospace company. [It didn't last forever - when the company was sold to a Fortune 500 conglomerate, I was required to move into the Corporate counsel office].

hombre said...

Studying for the LSAT? Seriously?

A lot of the wrong people did go to law school. Many of them are ACLU lawyers. Some of them, as we've seen lately, are federal judges.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Suzanne Lucas has it right. One large section of the GRE is exactly like the LSAT. There might be some difference in scores, but it probably isn't large.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

RigelDog, I had the same experience. Not with the LSAT, but with the GRE. I took the general and the mechanical engineering exam. I was exhausted even when I got to the test site, but my scores on the general were 780/800/800 (that last is the one that's like the LSAT), and even on the engineering GRE I was 90+ percent. I didn't study at all.

I am very tired of stories alleging that expensive tutoring makes all the difference in passing exams. It does not. Everything (and I mean everything) a tutor can do for you, a relatively inexpensive text can. It's just a number of timed sample tests, supplemented with elementary advice (like the aforementioned "guess when you've eliminated two answers") and vocabulary lists. All I did for the SAT was two sample tests. For the GRE, I did nothing at all.

David Begley said...

Bruce Hayden

Best cross examination I ever saw was by a patent lawyer of Apple's expert in Tyler, Texas. Small company hasn't collected a penny despite winning three multi-million jury verdicts against Apple. With the PTAB and money spending ability of Apple and others, our patent system is screwed up. Apple must have had a dozen lawyers in the courtroom.

Steven said...

The LSAT is a heavily g-loaded test (that's a fancy way of saying it's an IQ test). Which means it's very hard for study to affect (though the "logic games" section rewards a trained familiarity with how such games work) -- it measures your underlying ability to think. People who grind at study for it have mostly proven that they aren't smart enough to work out that it doesn't measure how much you studied.

Barry said...

I took the LSAT in SE Asia. I got the USO guy to procter it. Did not know you could study for it but pre-internet and being up-country in Thailand, that was not an option. Went to UT LS and worked my ass off but enjoyed it in a way. Used my GI Bill and a working wife so we had no student loans. Worked 25 years, retired early and would do it all again, in a heartbeat.
My fellow students were extremely bright and worked very hard, it was a challange to keep up.

The Godfather said...

I went to law school for the usual reasons (I didn't want to go to work after college, I could never have gotten into medical school, etc.) and also because I was interested in politics and it seemed that law was a good way to get into politics. About midway through the first semester of law school I realized that I really liked this stuff, a lot more than politics. So I happily finished and got my degree and practiced for as long as I could find anyone to pay me for doing what I loved.

But that's me, and that's then. It's a totally different world today. I couldn't give credible advice to anyone now about whether or not to go to law school.

Francisco D said...

AA asked: "What's the happiness percentage coming out of PhD programs?"

I don't know the answer. A lot of the 12 people who made it into my doctoral program were drummed out. The faculty really tried to scare the shit out of us (e.g., loss of scholarship) and many could not handle the pressure. Maybe they found better lives afterwards.

One of the students said on the second day, "Forget this bullshit. I'm going to law school." Maybe he is happier. Who knows?

Michael K said...

" "Forget this bullshit. I'm going to law school." Maybe he is happier. Who knows?"

My middle daughter quit a PhD program after several years because she decided she didn't want to be a professor. It was a history program and she wanted to study Arabic manuscripts in Spain so she learned Arabic and Spanish. She picked up Portuguese from a guy who rented their second bedroom. She lived in Spain a year with her boyfriend.

Since dropping the PhD program she has worked for an artist and an art gallery. Now she is in extensive discussion with Apple about joining their design team. She has done some painting of her own and has had a few items published.

No regrets and no law school although her brother, a lawyer, wanted her to apply.

Freeman Hunt said...

The quote in the title makes me think the writer doesn't regret law school much at all. If you buy food that turns out to be terrible, you toss it. The end. (Unless you are too poor to give it up, but in that case, one is probably not buying brie.)

Achilles said...

What 5 judges on the 9th think of the 3 judge panel's decision

The progressive judges are destroying the position judges hold in our republic just as they are destroying the legal profession. These 5 judges realize the precarious position the federal judiciary is on right now. Trump isn't going to play games of pretend like the GOPe did.

Have fun progs. You will be in the political wilderness forever soon with your globalist masters.

richardsson said...

Although the LSAT was designed to tell whether a student had the aptitude for the law. When I took it, it had three parts. I did well on two parts but I found out once I got in the application process that the one part that I did not do as well on was the only part that counted. It became clear that the school I wanted to attend was overwhelmed with applications and they needed a simple method to thin the pool. It was especially the case that they need to cull the pool of "Code 01 Males" to use Affirmative Action language. I know because they admitted several Latinos I knew who had lower scores. They had done even worse than me on the "one part of the LSAT that mattered." Both of those guys transferred to the business school because the next step in the process was the first year washout and they washed out in a matter of weeks. Close to my BA graduation, I was beginning to see all of higher education as a scam. I worked part time as a swamper helping the truck drivers unload the trucks. It was hard work but it paid very well. One of the truck drivers I worked for told me he had an M.A. in English Lit. He read the expression on my face and he said, "It was this or teaching 9th Grade English. I taught 9th Grade English for one year. This is better."

As the news that law school enrollment was dropping and law schools were coming up short, I knew it would only be a matter of time before the LSAT would no longer be required. In all of public education, what it all comes down to is this one question: Do you have enough butts in the chairs?

Zach said...

What's the happiness percentage coming out of PhD programs?

Honestly, grad students tend to enjoy geeking out about their subject. (If you don't enjoy geeking out about your subject -- don't go to grad school!) It's the job market that's terrible.

Zach said...

Still, there's no point in going to grad school if you don't want to get a job in your subject. Plans can change, of course, but it's too big an investment of time and effort to make without a plan for making it pay off.

Zach said...

I would also caution prospective students that law schools which change their admissions standards right when the supply of quality students is plummeting are unlikely to have your best interests at heart.

Ann Althouse said...

I remember when the LSAT had a section on artificial language. I loved that part, but they got rid of it before I took the test, I think because it just flummoxed some people.

I always disliked the parts of tests like this and the SAT that required you to read a passage and then answerquestions. I had never learned any tricks like read the questions first and felt too stressed to read well. Reading badly written hard to understand passages actually is a lot like law, but the idea of reading them under weird stress is not like anything in real life.

Sigivald said...

Let's stick to the important things, people.

Why does low-fat Brie even exist?

(Why would anyone buy anything but triple-cream in the first place?)

Sigivald said...


Best cross examination I ever saw was by a patent lawyer of Apple's expert in Tyler, Texas. Small company hasn't collected a penny despite winning three multi-million jury verdicts against Apple. With the PTAB and money spending ability of Apple and others, our patent system is screwed up. Apple must have had a dozen lawyers in the courtroom.


Or maybe the "small company" was a patent troll and the juries in that Texas town (hint: why are all theses suits filed in Texas?) like to think they're Sticking It To The Big Guy?

I can't say for sure, because you don't mention the company (if it's VirnetX, well, they're not "small" but they sure do look a lot like patent trolls - but equally the Appeals Courts keep throwing the awards and judgments in their favor out).

Alexander Ignatiev said...

I scored top percentile on the LSAT, studied not a jot. My best friend in college studied a lot, and got the same score I did. He's a federal judicial law clerk; I'm a full-time public defender.