Saturday, January 28, 2017

Setting standards for the LSAT

A few years ago, when I was in law school, I tutored people on the LSAT. I told them that a 150 would get admission only to a lousy school and that a 140 would almost certainly be rejected everywhere.

Today, by contrast, a 150 will earn a large discount (deceptively called a "scholarship" in scamsters' jargon) from any of several dozen toilets. Forty-nine ABA-accredited law schools—almost one in four—have median LSAT scores of 150 or lower (often much lower). (I have omitted the three law schools in Puerto Rico for linguistic reasons: the low scores there probably reflect the fact that most students had to take the test in a non-native language.) And even a 140 is good enough for admission at many a toilet. At Appalachian and Arizona Summit, the LSAT score at the 25th percentile is 140; at Cooley, it is 138. I hesitate to estimate the floor for admission nowadays: the Univershitty of Texas, regarded as a "first-tier" institution by the standards of You Ass News (but as a fourth-tier institution by my outcome-based standards), has been known to admit people with scores in the upper 120s.

The limp-wristed ABA requires that applicants take the LSAT but doesn't set a minimum score. Unsurprisingly, law schools take full advantage of the hollow requirement by admitting applicants with scores that would make a garbage collector blanch. To understand just how frightfully bad the students at many toilets are, we need to examine the percentiles that correspond to the various LSAT scores. One convenient table is found here:

http://www.alphascore.com/resources/lsat-score-conversion/

Although the table is six years old, its percentiles are close to those of today. Here is an extract:

150: 44.3%
145: 26.1%
140: 13.4%
135: 5.6%

Thus a person scoring 150 outperforms only 44% of the people taking the test in the same administration. Remember that nearly a quarter of the accredited law schools have a median LSAT score of 150 or lower. That means that a quarter or more of the law schools drew most of their students from the bottom half of all people who took the LSAT.

Does that seem appropriate? Is the pool of people who sign up for the LSAT really so strong and distinguished that the great majority should be presumptively admissible, even at law schools far from the bottom?

Consider Cooley's data. At the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles of its latest entering class, the LSAT scores were, respectively, 138, 141, and 147. Converted to percentiles according to the table cited above, those scores correspond to 9.6, 15.2, and 33.0. In other words, at least a quarter of the students in Cooley's latest entering class fall in the bottom 10% of all test takers.

How can that be right? Does the bottom 10% of registrants spill over ipso facto with so much lawyerly potential that Cooley, by far the largest law school in the US, can appropriately draw upon it for a quarter or more of its class?

Is there any score on the LSAT that even hints at inadmissibility? Apparently not in the view of the ABA and the scam schools that it enables and defends. The very act of registering for the LSAT must mark a person with such godlike excellence that the score fades into anticlimax.

Well, maybe money-grubbing scamsters like Frank Wu feel that "law school is for everyone", but I don't. Not every Tom, Dick, and Harry is cut out for the legal profession. We lawyers should insist on high standards, not no standards. If (as I believe) the LSAT should be required of everyone, surely there must be some reasonable limit below which a candidate is at least presumptively inadmissible. I'd set the floor at the 80th percentile, which corresponds to a score of 160; but even the 70th percentile (157) or the 60th (154) would be a vast improvement—and would drive dozens of toilet schools out of business immediately. Perhaps each school should be allowed to admit a small percentage of students with lower LSAT scores, just to accommodate the common but unproven claims of brilliant applicants who Don't Do Well on Standardized Tests. But there should be some limit—and a damn sight higher than 120 (the lowest possible score).

I propose a slight reform that is triflingly easy to implement: get rid of the 120–180 scale and report the percentiles instead. Force Cooley to tell the world plainly that at least a quarter of its class scored in the bottom 10% on the LSAT. Make several so-called "first-tier" law schools admit to dipping well below the 60th percentile. Let prospective toileteers see just how horribly low their scores are. Straightforward percentiles in place of arbitrary scaled scores can cast much-needed light on shady admissions practices.

51 comments:

  1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingJanuary 28, 2017 at 8:48 PM

    Maybe those $49.00 Chicagoland billboard traffic defense lawyers got a crappy LSAT score and they apparently know the value of their services. "Don't Pay That Ticket"

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  2. I had a 167, a STEM undergrad degree, and my career and life are in absolute shambles. I wouldn't be surprised if the people scoring 150s today outperform me in every life measure within 5 years.

    Timing is everything. And it seems like if you don't time it right at the start, you'll never recover. Plus the fact that, just like student loan debt capitalizes on you, so too does your youth tick away every day.

    Law is a very risky gamble because you're trading your very prime years, and the lower expectations of those years, to the expectation of a certain level that you HAVE to reach, because you are no longer allowed the luxury of time in the levels below.

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    1. 164 here and my life is completely destroyed. No reason to live anymore.

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    2. I outscored both of you (never mind the exact score), yet my life too is in a shambles. I don't know what to do.

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    3. Please, please don't give up hope. I survived a suicide attempt several years ago. Life can and will get better -- it has for me. Praying for everyone who feels hopeless.

      National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

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    4. Agree whole-heartedly with 10:12 and 3:31, except for the "no reason to live." Getting taken for a ride sucks, but don't let that prevent you from doing something else, as frustrating as it can be sometimes. Know you are not alone - many, many people got scammed over the years, which is one reason we do a site like this. People need to know, if for no other reason for their own mental health.

      I got a 151 several years ago with my STEM undergrad, STEM grad, and work experience. Big Mistake. Although, I would be treated like a king today with my 151, instead of the "also-ran" back in the early 2000s. Maybe could have gotten out of law school largely debt-free. As it stands, I will be paying my loans for another good 15 years or so.

      Timing is indeed everything.

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    5. @dupednontraditional -- You and I have a lot in common.

      I was a STEM double major, got a masters in biostatistics and also got a 151 on the LSAT. Then, I made the God-awful, career-cripling mistake of going to law school. For 10+ years it was OK. Although my career was nothing to brag about, I was working steadily as a patent lawyer at a small firm (and making decent money).

      Then I turned 40, lost my job (when my firm dissolved), could not find another job, and now my main source of income is doing clerical work at a doctors' office, which, by the way, I was only able to get because a family friend intervened (evidently, employers are a bit perplexed when an unemployed patent lawyer applies for a secretarial job).

      What kills me is that I realistically could have gone into a STEM field. My original goal was to get a PhD, but ironically I felt I'd have more security with a law degree. LOL .... oh, how dumb I was.

      Thus, I made one very unwise decision by going to law school, and all my hard work went down the drain. Very frustrating!

      My attitude, however, is very different than some of the posters above. I'm working on becoming a teacher now, and hopefully I'll be able to make all these frustrations worth it.

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    6. I don't consider myself a victim of the law-school scam. I knew better than to go to a toilet; I could see—and it was less obvious than it is today—that borrowing a quarter of a million dollars for a JD from Bumblefuck U would turn out badly. I wasn't even willing to consider borrowing money for law school, although I eventually had to take out a small loan (which I've repaid).

      No, I attended an élite law school, and excelled. No law school duped me. The fault was mine: I went into law not knowing that my efforts were all over before they began, for people of my age hadn't a snowball's chance in Hell of breaking into the legal profession. Had I investigated the facts first, I would have known that age-based discrimination would keep me out. I must, and do, bear full responsibility for my ill-informed decision.

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    7. @Old Guy -- the facts only became known in 2010. There was nothing to investigate.

      No rational person pre-2010 would have thought that an "elite" law school graduate that "excelled" at said elite school would have had career troubles, especially in an age where part-time law schools exist to accommodate non-traditional students.

      There was a whole culture that misled people, in addition to a lack of facts.

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    8. Perhaps you're right, 6:27. Thank you for attempting to console me.

      Evidence of rampant age-based discrimination in the legal profession goes back much farther than 2010, however. The Massachusetts Bar Institute published an article on the subject in 2001. The following article, though written in 2012, reports the author's experience of insuperable age-based discrimination back in the 1980s:

      http://www.agediscriminationatuconnlawschool.com/

      So apparently the information was available, though it may have been hard for the uninitiated to get.

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    9. By the way, I worked in a "STEM" field for many years before going to law school. (I first encountered the term "STEM" on a scam-blog.)

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    10. I thought a Law degree also would be more beneficial with my STEM degree to go into the legal/management area of health. Turns out the MPA/MPH maybe work out for that, but who knows, many of those grads may never have wound up with anything either.

      I'm not sure it's only law that is in shambles. I suspect most of higher education is a scam, and that you are always better off being a member of the PPC. Outside of that, tokens can maybe get lucky, but the number gets restricted more severely the worse the economy is, and even when it's good a token is only allowed to a certain point and is most certainly going to go before the PPC ever do in any downturn.

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    11. I don't understand why there has not been a successful class action against the large law firms based on the youngish ages of most lawyers they hire for open jobs. If the supply and demand are so imbalanced, there are proportionally more entry level jobs than experienced jobs for each age group and law firms practice up or out and class year hiring, or limited experience hiring, older people have to get shafted.

      It is not only 46 year olds graduating from law school, it is 46 year olds and those older than than who worked in big law and now make half the starting salary or less in underemployment and unemployment, which is the necessary result of the numbers referred to above.

      If a court forced the law firms to hire and retain a proportionate number of older lawyers and ruled the experience limits are age discriminatory in a profession of vast oversupply, we would go a long way to solving the oversupply. There would be 2500 or 3000 big law jobs for each law school class, and maybe less. Would-be lawyers would know that their chances of getting a top job are about the same as the chances of getting into a T6 law school. Some of the bloom would fall off the rose, and applications would drop further.

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    12. Was flush with cash in the mid 2000s, decided to go to law school and get even richer doing patent work. I figured with a 169 LSAT and a CS background, how could I fail?

      Graduated 2009.

      Ended up going back to programming after a few years of misery and poverty. Still haven't fully climbed back out of the financial ruins. Hopefully debt free by the end of the year. Sadly, I am doing better than 90 percent of my classmates.

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  3. That is a good alternative. Then again, "social justice warriors" and special snowflake idiots might just say, "As long as I score above the bottom 10 percent of suckers, I can get into at least 20 law schools. Yay me!"

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    1. Oh, you're probably right. Why should a score in the bottom 10%, or even the bottom 1%, deter them?

      What we really need is a minimum score. Let's generously set it at 154 (I'd prefer 160) and allow each law school to exempt as much as 5% of its class from this requirement. There are 90 law schools—almost half—whose median LSAT score is below 154. Most of those would have to shut their doors, and many of the schools with higher medians would land in peril as well.

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    2. Well, somebody has to save the transgendered Syrian dolphins!

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  4. When I took the LSAT, back in 1979, I believe my score was in the 600 plus range (I remember my SAT scores.... not my LSAT..for some reason). I took it one time only without studying...I recall lots of grammar which I was never particularly good at... but still remember getting into every law school I applied to. I am wondering if admission requirements were much higher back than? Parenthetically... I ended up going to night school at what would be considered a TTTT today...even though I was also admitted to a top tier school....that was before rankings came out...and though I knew the school I chose was not as good as others I was admitted to...It wasn't that big a deal back than. And in my night school class we had some brilliant people...engineers, doctors...quite a few with over 700 LSATs.

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  5. Well, that takes us back to why is there so much overcapacity in law schools. All those people who scream the ABA is afraid of antitrust have to change their excuse now that the Republicans are fully in control. This is not 1996. Time to thin out the herd of schools!

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  6. The biggest thing with the low LSAT scores is they actually do corollate with low bar passage rates.

    So, it's really not something the law skools can sweep under the rug like it doesn't matter. No wonder the scammers oppose any real bar passage requirements for accreditation.

    Can you imagine any other professional school outside of law arguing that a 75% required license rate for its graduates is too onerous!?!?

    The pigs know full well the waterheads currently being admitted can't be trusted with heavy machinery, much less practicing law.



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    1. Can you imagine any other professional school that would admit anyone, never mind large numbers of people, from the bottom 10% of the pool of test takers?

      Remember too that law school comes with no prerequisite other than a simple bachelor's degree in anything. Medical school, by contrast, requires a list of courses—not exactly easy—in mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics. For law, a 2.0 in underwater basketweaving is plenty.

      Can you imagine another profession whose ejookayshunnal bureaucrats bill it as being "for everyone" and both publish and distribute lies about the value of their "million-dollar degree" even to people who never enter the profession?

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    2. Old Guy and Anon, here are some numbers to support what you are saying. In 2015, 94% of MD students from US/Canadian schools passed the USMLE step 1 exam. 93% of DO students from US/Canadian schools passed. Hell, even 72% of medical students from foreign medical schools passed. We have reached a point where many law schools are bigger scams than Caribbean medical schools.

      Regarding applicants scoring in the bottom 10% of test takers, here are some numbers. From 2013-2014 to 2015-2016, among applicants scoring in the 12th percentile or below on the MCAT, 41 out of 135,840 were accepted into at least one medical school. That is 0.03%. I would imagine that a handful of those applicants were related to wealthy donors.

      Interestingly, among applicants scoring in the 99th percentile with a GPA of 3.80-4.00, 93 applicants failed to gain admission to at least one medical school.

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    3. Thanks, 6:01, for the information about medical schools. I'm surprised that anyone at all from the bottom 12% was admitted to medical school; I thought that medical schools required a minimum score. As for those at the top that didn't get in anywhere, perhaps some of them applied only to a few very selective schools. There are people with a 180 on the LSAT whom Harvard and Yale turn down, but they would sail into almost any other law school.

      Interesting comparison of law schools to Caribbean medical schools.

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    4. I would tend to suspect that 6:01's last statistic represents people who, regardless of intellectual and academic ability, have got some serious issues. My torts professor used to say that there are in general two kinds of mental health problems: low voltage and crossed wires.

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    5. Some of the Caribbean medical schools have quite good outcomes with many really good residency matches. They would make all but the most competitive Harvard and Yale Law graduates look like poor runners up because the employment prospects are so much better for the Caribbean MDs long term.

      If you don't match, on the other hand, it is a disaster scenario, with tons of debt and poor employment prospects, so there is still that big risk with Caribbean medical schools.

      As far as people with high GPAs not getting accepted to med school, they likely did not apply to enough schools or had really terrible MCATs. For example, if you come out to California with you partner, are not a California resident, and you are applying to med school, you may get rejected with a 3.8+ average and relatively high MCAT scores. Happened to a brilliant person I know several years ago. That person applied more broadly outside of California and got in the next year.

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    6. Honest to God, we need to drop the comparison to medical school and the medical profession in general. That's a whole other animal.

      However, if we must go there, the only relevant comparison is as follows:

      Med school -- work your ass off with no pay until you hit 40, but then you make a good (and in some cases a VERY good) living.

      Law school -- work your ass off until you hit 40 (with widely differing salary possibilities), but then you lose your job and end up with nothing at all but a worthless law degree.

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  7. I took the LSAT on the old scores and got either 98th or 99th percentile. Went to T8 or better law school.

    I have earned about half of what a school teacher with my years of experience earns in my geographic area for the last 10+ years on average in spite of trying to work on a full-time basis as a lawyer in the private sector.

    Even with a top LSAT score and even going to Harvard or Yale, you still face extreme lawyer oversupply.

    The trick to staying employed as a lawyer is to hold on to your job for life. Unfortunately, that is not in the cards for most lawyers, no matter how talented. Once you lose a job and do not hop directly to a reasonably comparable job, you are very likely screwed, and there is a good chance to lose the entire economic value of that top law degree.

    Even being a big law partner does not help. It does not give you a very good guarantee of being gainfully employed for anything like a career in a lawyer job that provides a market return relative to EMPLOYED lawyers on the value of that top law degree. I should know. That is the risk you take by going into law today.

    So while a low LSAT may be an indicator of poor prospects in law, a high LSAT is essentially meaningless since it provides no reasonable guarantee of a viable legal career.

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  8. The dean of an on-line law school is ever-so-generously promoting institutions such as his own as solutions to the troubles at Charlotte:

    http://www.gastongazette.com/opinion/20170129/my-turn-important-option-overlooked-in-nc-law-school-crisis

    No doubt this proposal is wholly untainted by self-interest.

    Note as well the references to the desperate shortage of lawyers in Mayberry, North Carolina. Why, 94 of the 100 counties in the state have no law school! A crying shame!

    Only California is irresponsible enough to allow the "graduates" of for-profit on-line law schools to sit for the bar (just as it does for every unaccredited toilet registered with the state), so anyone in Mayberry who pursued this course of action wouldn't be able to serve Mayberry's thriving demand for legal services anyway. But of course this puff piece on on-line law schools serves to promote the recognition of such establishments by other states.

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    1. Fortunately only a small minority (~20%) of online & distance "graduates" pass the "baby bar". And I doubt that of the few who pass the "baby bar" actually go on to pass the real deal. As far as I'm concerned, the dozen or two that run the whole gauntlet each year and survive can practice law. They've shown enough grit and determination to defend me in traffic court. I'll call one of them before I ever ring up a TTTT attorney.

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  9. Not that anyone at the ABA's section on education listens to me, but I'd be in favor of OG's suggested "floor at the 80th percentile, which corresponds to a score of 160", while permitting a very few at each school of "brilliant applicants who Don't Do Well on Standardized Tests".

    Say, 5% of the total admits, over all ABA accredited schools, spread in even numbers across all schools. So that way large schools like Cooley and GW don't get any more of these "brilliant applicants who Don't Do Well on Standardized Tests" than do, say, UGA or OSU.

    What I don't know is how many LSAT test takers score 160-->, so I don't know how 105% of that number translates into actual butts in seats. I'd hope it's few enough that we'd undersupply current demand for several years, giving people standing in food lines with their good credentials but no law job a shot. Then take a look at relaxing after a few years, if proven need for more exists.


    This next may be a bit unpopular but I'm going to speak up on behalf of Frank Wu. Yes, in 2009, all Chef Gusteau-like, he proclaimed that LS was for everyone. But just a couple of years later he was singing another tune.

    Here's one from May 2012, although I think he started coming around some time in 2011, IIRC. I don't recall that he has since recanted this apostasy.

    https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/05/01/one-law-school-reduces-admissions-says-thats-future-legal-education

    “The critics of legal education are right,” said Wu, the chancellor and dean of the University of California Hastings College of the Law. “There are too many law schools and there are too many law students and we need to do something about that.”

    So as (then) dean, he cut enrollment at Hastings fairly sharply over the next 4 years, getting it to around 70% of where it was. Maybe not sharply enough, but he did something.

    Of course, he stepped down in 2015 and the new dean/chancellor started cranking the numbers back up. I don't know 2017 enrollment, but 2016 over 2015 was on the order of 120%...

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    1. Since 160 is at the 80th percentile, about 20% of the test takers score 160 or higher. Last year about 106,000 people took the LSAT (down dramatically from 172,000 in 2009–10), so about 21,000 people scored in that range. About 38,000 people started law school last year.

      Frank Wu is a self-serving snake in the grass. Yes, he began posing a few years ago as friendly to our position. But his toilet school was suffering sharp declines in enrollment, and he merely let the school shrink rather than taking the shameful and reputation-spoiling measure of admitting everyone with two neurons to rub together. He shouldn't get credit for that.

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    2. The number of people matriculating into law school should be around 20,000 per year.

      2-3 thousand of those who matriculate should be weeded-out after the first year, so only about 17,500 people who started should actually be allowed to graduate.

      The ones who fail to graduate can be awarded a masters degree (like they do with PhD candidates that don't complete the program), provided they complete the first year and maintain a GPA above a 2.0 (i.e., a "C" average or better).

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    3. And, 1:22, who exactly is going to make that happen? No one except the Congress and the President who need to shut off the student loan spigot by drastic reforms to the results that schools must produce before their students can get anywhere near student loans.

      If you cut off the loans in general you're going to get whacked with the old saw that you are hurting traditionally underrepresented minorities who don't have the wherewithal to pay without loans. Tie it to results, however, and the whole paradigm shifts. The underrepresented minorities are going to have the same shot as anyone else to get into a school that produces results. Sure, you can say they are hampered by their disadvantaged backgrounds but most schools already practice some form of affirmative action to address that, and you seize the moral high ground by saying you're protecting unqualified applicants from the likes of Charlotte.

      Because in the end higher education nowadays is largely about selling dreams to the delusional. I know parents whose sons were teammates of or in the scouts with my son and their sons are studying things like film, sports management and music business at non-descript colleges with low admissions standards. Someone should be making these kids see what the score is but so far, for the most part, the kids and the parents aren't doing it.

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    4. France and Germany ruthlessly eliminate large numbers of law students after the first year, and for that matter at various other points on the long path to licensure.

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    5. You are correct, Old Guy. The key there is that the education is mostly funded by the government. Look at our service academies. Great financial deal but with very limited seats so the standards are very high and the wash-out rate not to be ignored. The armed services are willing to commission officers out of ROTC and OCS so they could obviously expand academy enrollments if they wanted to, but as with lawyers and judges in Germany and France they know how many officers they need and control the supply. If we're not ready to shut off all legal education that is not funded by the government, which will never happen, the best we can do is set higher standards for which schools' students have access to loans and bleed the ttts white.

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    6. @6:36 -- I said "should be". I'm not a fool. I know it will take a miracle to get there.

      Also, Old Guy -- it's not just with law students.

      My friend graduated from a university in Germany with a journalism degree (many years ago). They determined how many the workforce needed, and they were certain to graduate no more than that. They were weeded out in stages.

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    7. At least they were weeded out when they were mostly young enough to start other careers. Law is different in the U.S. because people end up stranded with no employment options not only right after law school, but many times in middle age, or many years before they want to retire.

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  10. I will say this for struggling lawyers....everybody is very down on solo practice, but the fact is that if you gain skill in a particular niche area, say Erisa...you will find plenty of work. For example, in Erisa, the Court can award attorney fees to the prevailing party . . . . In Florida where I practice, there are lots of attorney fee shifting statutes wherein the opposing side pays your fees...whether it be divorce work, or general civil litigation. Its not like there is not money out there to be made. Seems to me that anybody going to law school these days must recognize that sooner or later, they need to be willing to work for themselves. And is that really so bad?

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    1. You need to know what you are doing to undertake complex litigation like ERISA. Much of the defense is done by big law firms who know how to fight the cases every step of the way. It would take a solo years to learn what the defense knows. In the meantime, you will likely make enough "mistakes" which means not knowing the tricks of the trade, to not make much money at all. Only a few expert law firms of lawyers who probably learned their crafts at the big defense firms are going to make money. There are plenty of those lawyers around, given how many lawyers the big law firms fire each year.

      You are living on poorly founded dreams of success as a solo.

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    2. Gaining skill in ERISA is more easily said than done. Typically that sort of thing is handled by a big firm, where even a fifth-year "litigator" might not get her paws on it.

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    3. >Its not like there is not money out there to be made.

      No, that's exactly what it's like.

      Hate to rain on your parade, but every area where there is any sort of paying work to be had, there are a hundred experienced attorneys fighting for the work like seagulls. This is true in solo shitlaw and it's true inside the big firms. There just aren't enough billables for everyone to eat.

      Also, as a (no longer practicing, thank god) FL attorney, I can tell you that attorney fee awards in circuit civil are vanishingly rare. The vast majority of litigants are judgment proof anyway. Which reminds me, always remember Foonberg's Rule.

      Anyway, the moral of the story is that every angle you can think of has already been thought of by another attorney with a bigger advertising budget and more experience. And even those guys are slowly bleeding to death keeping the lights turned on.

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  11. Agree with 10:12, 8:17 and 10:58.
    It is an especially tragic end when talented STEM graduates, physicians, PhD scientists, and engineers, get conned and fall for the law school scam. I'm still working in the patent field, but many of my talented colleagues are not, including many former biglaw partners who once offered me jobs. In 1993 in California, there were between 600 and 700 registered patent attorneys. In 2016 a couple of months ago, according to the USPTO roster, there were 8,116 still on the roster plus all those scores or hundreds who no longer respond to the USPTO questionnaire and have been removed, plus all the hundreds (or thousands) who have left California and are in other parts of the country either employed or unemployed. From my observation of friends and colleagues, the unemployment rate for patent attorneys is at least 33%, and the underemployment rate is at least 50%. I bet the law school charlatans are still droning on about all the opportunities for STEM graduates in law. It is a complete lie. The supply far outstrips the demand.

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    1. My specialty practice area has had a slew of high profile firings due to lack of work. People who spent years in big law. Some people from in house. All very talented with years in big law.

      The ethics of big law leaving substantial numbers of lawyers unable to make a living either immediately after big law or a few years down the road are horrific.

      There are only a limited number of "boutiques', solos, lawyers who work from home with virtual offices, temps and unemployed and underemployed lawyers who can make a living in my small practice area because the work is not there. It is like dry cleaners dotting every street in a city. They will drive each other out of business.

      This practice area is not easily translatable into anything else - lawyers cannot develop the necessary skills without different work experience from law.

      You are going to have lawyers in their 40s, 50s and 60s who spent years as associates, counsel or partners in big law vying for close to entry level or paralegal jobs to put food on the table. This has to end badly with much too many post big law entrants into the fringes of the practice area.

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    2. @8:46 -- your last sentence is very true, which is why people need to leave the practice of law entirely, if possible.

      My advice to suffering lawyers: GET OUT OF LAW AS SOON AS POSSIBLE !!!!!

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    3. I never made more than 60k a year as a lawyer. And mostly it was in the 40k range. I never got headhunted. In fact, you pretty much can't get a lawyer job without sending out hundreds of resumes and doing a ton of competitive interviews against dozens of candidates. I clearly remember an interview 5 years ago at a state agency where they outlined for me how it was basically 60-70 hours a week, "some of the judges are really horrible," you'll never accomplish anything meaningful, you'll be constantly miserable, etc. And I was like "how much does this incredible job pay?" 42k a year. I redid my resume and accepted a software engineering job for 85k a few months later.

      Anyway, I'm in software engineering now, finally making biglaw money for 3 years straight now. I work for a company in the health care/insurance industry. Recruiters constantly harass me with 100k a year job offers.

      My wife is a nurse. She was making 60k the year she graduated nursing school. If she puts in anything approaching lawyer hours, overtime puts her in the 100k+ range. She is also constantly harassed by recruiters.

      So yeah, definitely leave law. It's not just the money, it's having employers treat you like a valued member of the team rather than a lowly piece of scum who should be grateful they're getting to lick boots for a starvation wage. It's about having job security and a low-stress life. It's about having a life. I'm finally going to be done with my student loans this year.

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  12. Honestly, after reading some of these comments, I don't think an LSAT minimum standard is the way to go.

    Just half the number of law schools, thereby shrinking the overall number of lawyers graduated per year by 50% (or more). Let the schools' individual admission committees determine how much weight they should give the LSAT.

    The effect will be the same. Only applicants with scores of 160+ will have a realistic shot of being admitted. However, the schools will still have the option of overlooking a low LSAT score in certain extraordinary cases.

    Also, as Old Guy noted, law schools (just like medical schools) should require some prerequisite classes. They don't need to be as specific as the ones for medical school, but aspiring lawyers should have to take a certain number of "hard" classes from specific categories of subjects BEFORE applying.

    There should also be an interview process, which includes standing before a panel of "judges" and engaging in some sort of "debate". After all, lawyers do need to be able to speak and communicate. If they have no "stage presence," they shouldn't be in this profession.

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  13. I recently saw an advertisement for an experienced lawyer that asked for the LSAT score along with the résumé. Interesting to see the LSAT score used in this way long after admission to law school.

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  14. Law School Transparency on the worst toilet schools:

    http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/lsat_scores_at_high_risk_schools_getting_worse_says_paper_in_favor_of_tight

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  15. The ABA does nothing. Film at eleven.

    http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/aba_house_rejects_proposal_to_tighten_bar_pass_standards_for_law_schools

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  16. Just wondering why the hate on Texas Law, OG?

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