Ah, the LSAT. For those of you who are still considering the practice of law, this test should be the first indication of the epic toolishness you will encounter when you enter the hallowed halls of a law school. This is usually where the bragging begins, folks. Your “friends” not only studied harder than you did (they didn’t), but they also got better scores than you did (they didn’t).
But worse than all of the bragging is the fact that some — but not all — people will get special accommodations for the LSAT (and law school exams, and the bar exam, and every other exam, ad infinitum). These special little snowflakes will get extra time and other perks to take the same exam that you’re taking.
The question is, who really deserves these special testing accommodations? Boobs or brains?
If you want to go to law school but can’t get into an ABA-accredited one, something is wrong with you. Sorry. Maybe you were raped by a scantron sheet when you were young or a freak boating accident left you unable to read brochures, but something is not right if you can’t get into law school but really want to.
And I really don’t care if you had some kind of culturally difficult upbringing or have some kind of trumped-up attention disorder or if you are a deaf-freaking-mute, because I’m sure that intelligent abused orphaned deaf-mutes suffering from ADHD with Daddy issues can easily get into accredited law schools, given the totally minimum barriers to entry into such programs. You have to fill out some forms and take a multiple choice exam without scoring significantly worse than random chance, and you’re in!
A while ago, The Economist came out with an article that we’re just circling back to now. It talked about a book written by Clifford Winston and Robert Crandall, of the Brookings Institution, and Vikram Maheshri, of the University of Houston, in which they argue that there is actually an undersupply of American attorneys, due to the stiff barriers to entry into the profession.
I’m not sure that these guys understand that the barriers to entry — such as they are — aren’t just there to protect lawyer salaries. Lawyers are trying to protect the consumers of legal services too…
What’s going to be funny for me is that I’ll now be able to tell laypeople that most prospective law students are like Vinny from the Jersey Shore.
Yes, we’ve reported before on Vinny Guadagnino’s law school aspirations. We’ve looked at the Jersey Shore star’s GPA. We’ve listened to him opine on why going to law school is just more work than he’s willing to do right now. I don’t really know why everybody is so fascinated with what one random reality TV star will do if and when his fame runs its course. Maybe it’s because people think the Jersey Shore people are “dumb” while people who go to law school are “smart”?
Anyway, mine is not to wonder why: Vinny is now talking about his LSAT score, and his take on things is not going to sound strange to anybody who has spent time around recent law school applicants.
If he does go to law school, maybe he’ll be able to help his Shore castmates with their recent legal entanglements. Oh that’s right, this post is a full on mash-up of Jersey Shore legal-ish news….
Performance on the LSAT is negatively correlated with networking ability.
– Vice Provost and Professor Sheldon Zedeck of UC Berkeley, at a panel entitled Beyond Grades and Scores: Factors Predicting Lawyer Success and Effectiveness, at the annual NALPconference (which concluded yesterday).
Whether or not you think that the LSAT should be important, we all know that it is important. Scoring well on the LSAT is absolutely crucial to getting into a good law school.
But usually the power of the LSAT fades after you matriculate to a law school. Usually people who are concerned about your LSAT score are the people who consider their own LSAT score their greatest achievement in life. Pathetic, I know, but I’ve met these people in real life. They really think that scoring well on a standardized test means something more than being able to score well on a standardized test.
We accept that law schools need to be focused on the LSAT — they need some way to compare people from different schools and programs. But should employers still care about your LSAT score? Should legal employers really be concerned about a test that you took years ago, before you had any legal training?
* Speaking of Tunisia, MLK Day is important and everything — but maybe, just maybe, U.S. officials in Tunisia should GO TO WORK ON MONDAY. Give them a floating holiday or whatever, but given current events, the U.S. Embassy there should probably stay open. [Gawker]
* Meanwhile, Australian lawyers are getting a flood day. [ABA Journal]
Really, it’s a good news/bad news kind of thing. The good news: the ABA committee reviewing the accreditation standards for law schools is starting to remember it has some power over how law schools operate. The bad news: the committee is contemplating a change that will only result in making it easier for schools to recruit any and all with the ability to pay (or go into debt), while at the same time gaming the U.S. News law school rankings.
The latest brain nugget to come from the ABA is a proposal to remove the LSAT requirement for admission into law school. Currently, the committee requires prospective law students to take a “valid and reliable” test. But a number of schools already have a waiver so they can admit their own undergraduates without taking a rankings hit due to low LSAT scores. The new ABA proposal would simply drop the requirement altogether.
I don’t think the LSAT is indicative of whole lot more than one’s ability to study for the LSAT. Being able to take standardized tests is an important skill — at least if you ever want to pass your state bar exam — but it’s not the only skill. From an educational standpoint, I don’t think it really matters if students have to take the LSAT or not.
But given the proliferation of law schools more concerned about generating tuition dollars than preparing the next generation of lawyers, the LSAT exists as one of the few barriers to entry to a profession that is already overrun with applicants. Dropping the requirement is a move in the wrong direction that will only make it easier for diploma mills to churn out the next generation of unemployed, wage-depressing attorneys….
In the former case, the Above the Law readership overwhelmingly voted for the 1L to drop out of law school. In the later case, I strenuously argued that the person should go to the funeral and take the LSAT later.
We have updates on both people. It appears that Above the Law readers are more persuasive than I am…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
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