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LawAbroad35

University of Sussex - Brighton

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I'll never understand why this is contentious. Do you think law schools are a charity? Do you think they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year evaluating candidates for admission based on GPA and LSAT despite them being completely irrelevant for success. 

Think about what you're saying. In a world where GPA and LSAT had absolutely nothing to do with law school success you could replace admissions with a lottery. You could literally put all the names in a hat and draw at random to choose who you accept, all without any negative impact on graduation rates or career success. Law schools wouldn't give hundreds of thousands of dollars to employees that could be adequately replaced by a lottery system. 

And let's explore this further. In your hypothetical world a high school graduate with a C- average and no higher education, who got every question wrong on the LSAT would be as likely to succeed at law school as the 4.0 Engineering major with a 180 LSAT. Does that sound realistic? Of course not, that's a ridiculous assertion. 

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I don't think this takes anything away from my original statement, but I don't think law should be a second-entry degree and I think you've all been duped by LSAC into thinking the LSAT has anything to do with the study and practice of law -- except for its existence as a barrier devised by...demons? Trolls? The military-industrial complex?

As for whether or not I'm an outlier, I think it's hard to be objective about one's subjective experiences. Generalisations will always be drawn. The one I drew was that CDN law schools had it wrong about whom they admitted and when and how and why.

I drew it by looking at my own case, the numerous CDN grads in my UK class who are now successful lawyers both in Canada and abroad and who would otherwise not have been lawyers at all if they hadn't gone abroad, the UK/UK grads I know who are also successful lawyers without BAs in Medieval Poetry and who have never written the LSAT, and that of the CDN JD grads I know who struggled to find articles at all and/or flamed out thereafter.

I am, admittedly, leaving out the UK grads with 16 A levels who went to Oxford - 'cuz they wouldn't piss on me if I was on fire, the "top" CDN grads at the "top" firms with their toned abs and straight teeth - ditto, and the CDNs and Brits and others who just gave up after the LLB or never finished it at all, but if you can believe in the LSAT as hard as you clearly do, I can be selective about reality, too. Thanks for calling my assertion "ridiculous", Counsel.

PZ has, however, thankfully taken me down a logician's rabbit hole - again - "exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis" : http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/731/whats-the-meaning-of-the-expression-thats-the-exception-that-proves-the-rule

Edited by kcraigsejong
Typo.

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I do believe in the LSAT and GPA as predictors of success, because I've seen and read the studies on their utility. It's not being "selective about reality", it's called "evidence based decision making" – you should try it out one day. 

Now if you've got data that disproves the utility of GPA and the LSAT for predictors of success you're welcome to present it. I just doubt you do. Until then, I'll continue to call your anecdotal-evidence-based assertions ridiculous. Because it is. 

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9 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

I work with doctors, their writings skills are often attrocious. 

Also, it's pretty clear that GPA and LSAT score are indicative of ones ability to succeed in law school. There's tons of research into this and it's absolutely absurd to insist that it doesn't "have anything to do with" law school success. That's like arguing that high school success is not indicative of university success. There's a reason we use previous grades to determine eligibility for higher learning. 

Not succeed in law school - the outdated stats that are relied too heavily on indicate a correlation with performance in first year of law school.  The study indicates that the LSAT is only useful in predicting the performance in the first year of law school for some, but not all, of accepted students. 1L tests are often 100% exam based so it makes sense that if you succeed on a standardized test you will likely succeed on another test worth 100% of your grade.  You claim that you have seen the studies, but have you really?   There are plenty of scholarly articles poking holes in the LSAC funded study (which is based on American institutions btw). It's likely you haven't really looked into it and you are just making an argument for arguments sake.  Admittedly, Canadians schools are starting to move away from the strict GPA/LSAT admission model (U of T included) and although I find it hard to translate Craigs unique language I think he is making the fair argument that schools rely too heavily on this model.  What is the alternative?  Law schools in Canada are already taking steps to even out the playing field.    

Take a look at Grutter v Bollinger, the court outlines that the exclusive use of the GPA/LSAT model is flawed.  Personally, I don't like how the LSAT is grades on a points system.  I understand that its a way of weeding out potential applicants, but why can't it be graded on a scale like "average, below average, above average" and be used in combination with UGPA and other holistic methods?  The LSAT tests a narrow range of cognitive skills and I think it is fair to question the weak data that is relied upon.  

 

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On ‎7‎/‎9‎/‎2017 at 2:02 AM, Diplock said:

 And I'll spell out why in explicit terms.

This is why we all love you dip

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6 hours ago, fromeo said:

Not succeed in law school - the outdated stats that are relied too heavily on indicate a correlation with performance in first year of law school.  The study indicates that the LSAT is only useful in predicting the performance in the first year of law school for some, but not all, of accepted students. 1L tests are often 100% exam based so it makes sense that if you succeed on a standardized test you will likely succeed on another test worth 100% of your grade.  You claim that you have seen the studies, but have you really?   There are plenty of scholarly articles poking holes in the LSAC funded study (which is based on American institutions btw). It's likely you haven't really looked into it and you are just making an argument for arguments sake.  Admittedly, Canadians schools are starting to move away from the strict GPA/LSAT admission model (U of T included) and although I find it hard to translate Craigs unique language I think he is making the fair argument that schools rely too heavily on this model.  What is the alternative?  Law schools in Canada are already taking steps to even out the playing field.    

Take a look at Grutter v Bollinger, the court outlines that the exclusive use of the GPA/LSAT model is flawed.  Personally, I don't like how the LSAT is grades on a points system.  I understand that its a way of weeding out potential applicants, but why can't it be graded on a scale like "average, below average, above average" and be used in combination with UGPA and other holistic methods?  The LSAT tests a narrow range of cognitive skills and I think it is fair to question the weak data that is relied upon.  

 

Sigh,  many assumptions of bad faith in a single post. Come on. 

1) A correlation with success does definitionally mean that it is "indicative". 

2) 1L success is almost certainly correlated with 2L and 3L success, so I think the studies work just fine.

3) I've read the studies. Seriously, assume good faith if you want to have an actual discussion. 

4) I agree that schools rely to heavily on the model. But Craig didn't forward that argument. He forwarded the argument that they have absolutely nothing to do with law school success, which is absurd.

5) You question weak data with data. Not with anecdotal responses like "then how did I get through?" Though I don't agree that the data is all that weak. Even the studies I've seen bashing the LSAT start from the premise that the LSAT is actually a pretty good predictor, and then carry on to argue that it's relied upon too heavily – again, an assertion I agree with, but one that wasn't forwarded here. 

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10 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

I do believe in the LSAT and GPA as predictors of success, because I've seen and read the studies on their utility. It's not being "selective about reality", it's called "evidence based decision making" – you should try it out one day. It might also be called dogma.

Now if you've got data that disproves the utility of GPA and the LSAT for predictors of success you're welcome to present it. I just doubt you do. Until then, I'll continue to call your anecdotal-evidence-based assertions ridiculous. Because it is. Are. Subject-verb agreement. Look it up.

 

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Just now, kcraigsejong said:

 

Brilliant response. 

Being accused of having an "evidence based decision making" dogma is probably one of the best compliments I've received on this site. Thank you. 

You'll forgive my grammatical error after 18 hours of work. If we're critiquing writing I could point out that you overuse the term "I think" to the point of exhaustion, but I like to think we judge ideas not grammar around here. Then again, maybe all you learned in the UK were grammar rules? 

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Okay, you two. Don't make me turn this car around.

Knock it off. Please and thank you.

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On 7/7/2017 at 1:00 AM, LawAbroad35 said:

My younger brother has just been accepted into a law program at University of Sussex Brighton for a 3 year LLB with politics (I think?). He has completed his UG at a Ontario University with decent stats and doesn't want to wait any longer. Now as a Canadian med school student, I know going abroad and coming back is tough, or "luck of the draw". I've read forum topics about the NCA exams and gaining articulating positions being difficult for UK grads, however I just want some more info before I completely block my brother from going to law in the UK. 

1) If you have connections in Canada for gaining articulating positions and summer jobs in Canada (specifically Ontario), would it make sense to go to the UK? 

2) How many NCA exams would my brother write after completing his studies in the UK? I'm guessing it would take a year plus a half year for the bar (so 4.5 years total including studies for LLB)?

3) Is there anything I'm missing in terms of UK law schools? It is a difficult path but if finances aren't an issue and gaining positions after the fact and summer experience in Ontario is possible, would it be worth trecking over the Atlantic?

Thank you for your help in advance!!

If your brother wants to finish his law degree quickly, then the UK might give him somewhat of a head start. However, as someone already pointed, I don't understand why he is taking the 3-year LLB. Is there a particular reason why he's not doing the 2-year LLB? This would definitely hold him back and delay the process further. Before I go on with this point, I will answer your questions:

1) I wouldn't ask whether or not it makes sense to go to the UK. Rather, I would ask whether or not it would make it easier. Indeed, having connections would make the process slightly easier for your brother for articling and summer positions. However, I wouldn't necessarily bank solely on this decision to choose to go to the UK. It will always be a high-risk move, one that involves a gamble (in that case, his brother relying on the promise of his connections to get a job) and it may fall through (a non-exhaustive list which includes: a) whether they can afford to hire your brother, b) financial difficulties, c) stigma as a foreign trained lawyer, d) poor qualifications, or e) a combination of all these factors).

2) If he were to do the 3-year LLB, the standard would generally be 5 exams if he received at least 50% on his modules. If he does worse than that, NCA will likely give him additional exams to complete. When you are calculating a year and a half for the completion of the licensing process, you are using the best case scenario, which is a really naive way of thinking. A more realistic timeline would be at least two years or more after completion of his LLB studies.

3) When people are telling you that it's a difficult path, they mean it. Even if you can afford it, doing your studies in the UK isn't an easy walk in the park where you suddenly end up with an LLB. Again, you are referring to the best case scenario where your brother manages to complete his modules without any issues and manages to pass through all the obstacles smoothly. What if anything happens along the way? I hate to break it to you, but whether it's worth it or not is completely dependent on whether or not you are agreeing to the risks and dangers that lie ahead. 

Good luck with everything and I hope your brother takes heed of this advice. 

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So I understand what many of you have said and I'm thankful for clarifying and providing advice! It's out of my control that he wants to still go even after reading all this so I'll just support him from a distance, knowing its a tough road ahead. I'll keep updating this thread for future students thinking of going about this experience...lets see what happens!

As for my writing skills, they are shit/need improvement but hey, I can diagnose health issues pretty well so I guess its a fair trade off! 

 

Edited by LawAbroad35
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On 2017-07-09 at 11:28 PM, BlockedQuebecois said:

And let's explore this further. In your hypothetical world a high school graduate with a C- average and no higher education, who got every question wrong on the LSAT would be as likely to succeed at law school as the 4.0 Engineering major with a 180 LSAT. Does that sound realistic? Of course not, that's a ridiculous assertion. 

I wasn't an outstanding high school student, have no university degree and did not do great on the LSAT (mind you, I didn't get EVERY question wrong). I still made it into law school, am keeping up with/exceeding some of the 4.0 Engineering majors and landed what some would regard as prestigious articles. Not such a ridiculous assertion. 

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1 hour ago, Lawtender33 said:

I wasn't an outstanding high school student, have no university degree and did not do great on the LSAT (mind you, I didn't get EVERY question wrong). I still made it into law school, am keeping up with/exceeding some of the 4.0 Engineering majors and landed what some would regard as prestigious articles. Not such a ridiculous assertion. 

Congratulations, you've discovered the concept of "outliers". 

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20 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Congratulations, you've discovered the concept of "outliers". 

Exactly, you appeared to have forgotten about the concept when you attempted to support your argument with a very incorrect assertion. 

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1 minute ago, Lawtender33 said:

Exactly, you appeared to have forgotten about the concept when you attempted to support your argument with a very incorrect assertion. 

Yeah, look. He really didn't. I don't have a horse in this argument (to badly mix metaphors) but the key word in his assertion was "likely." As in, "as likely to succeed." He didn't preclude the possibility of success. Only said it was less likely - and I'd go farther, personally, and say it's dramatically less likely - in candidates who have thus far failed to distinguish themselves.

I'm sorry, but it's you that's deploying the fallacy here. And that fallacy is, just because (almost) anything is possible, then all of what's possible becomes equally probable. It's a delusion common to mediocre students, to awkward teens who can't get a date, to aspiring writers who can't sell a word, and to really everyone who wants to believe that a Hollywood ending is just around the corner for them, if they just persist a little while longer.

This is why I always distinguish the specific from the general. I never advise a single, specific person to give up on their dreams or to stop believing in possibilities. But I do caution regarding general trends, and point out the importance of considering the odds. When we're talking about general trends with no specific person in sight, it's just idiotic to pretend that all outcomes are equally likely. Over statistically sufficient samples, not only to do we know the odds, we can know the outcome with certainty in advance. That's the whole point of statistics.

If people get snitty about their personal lives in general discussions, there's nothing we can do about that. Foreign law students, as a group, are weaker students and are less likely to succeed. Ugly kids in high school are, as a group, much less likely to become beautiful and glamorous adults. Uncoordinated athletes are less likely to become good at sports in the future. And so on, and so on. If you are any of those things, I'm sorry to offend. If you were any of those things in the past and, despite overcoming the odds, are offended in retrospect, well, I'm sorry for that too. But we don't owe it to you, out of some misguided attempt to spare your feelings, that we should ignore reality.

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I take your point on the Blocked's use of the term “likely”, and agree with you that its use is not to the exclusion of all other possibilities. 

 I still do not agree with Blocked's position on this, and not because I live in a fairy tale land of endless possibility. I agree, that there are limitations to possibility, and in some (and often few) circumstances exceptions to the norm. 

Blocked's post referred to the LSAT and GPA being used as markers for success in law school. I disagree. I do not agree that high LSAT and GPA scores are predictors of how successful someone will be in law school. I believe they are predictors of who will get into law school, which are two different things. GPA and LSAT scores are a necessary evil for admissions given the thousands of applications that each school receives each year – but I regard them as nothing more than a filter. Mature or special access applicants who, by virtue of life experience, have more diverse applications and don’t really make up a high percentage of applicants are not included in my argument. Focusing on those who make the transition from undergraduate / grad school straight into law school make up the bulk of the applicant pool and generally look similar on paper (with obvious exceptions). Weighing the merit of all of these applications in a timely manner ultimately boils down to who has the highest stats. So yes, it is 100% correct to say that a 4.0, perfect LSAT scoring individual IS more likely to get into school than a C- high school student with no undergrad and a poor LSAT score. Whether or not they will be more successful than said student once in law school is an entirely different story. Once you've made it over the hurdle of being admitted to school, your previous academic achievements are no guarantee of how successful you'll be. 

I understand that there are definitely holes in my position on this, like that i have completely neglected to consider the critical thinking, writing and exam skills that one obtains through postsecondary education (and the likelihood of these skills translating to an advantage over non-traditional candidates), as well as high GPA and LSAT being overall indicators of a commitment to academic achievement. On the other hand, those with low stats are more often than not precluded from attending law school through the admission process so it's really impossible to gauge, statistically, how they would stack up against traditional candidates if provided the opportunity. Any statement on the likelihood of success is really just a best guess. 

I was not personally offended by Blocked's statement (I did get pissed off at their sarcastic response) and don't need my feelings spared - i am doing more than ok. I do see your point Diplock and agree that my statement, void of context, deployed the fallacy above. 

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Blocked's post referred to the LSAT and GPA being used as markers for success in law school. I disagree. I do not agree that high LSAT and GPA scores are predictors of how successful someone will be in law school.

Ok, you can believe whatever you want, but the research (which has been cited here ad nauseum, but here is but one example) is that LSAT and GPA are moderately strong indicators of first year law grades.  I will concede that your previous performance is no guarantee of your future performance - but no one is arguing that - it is a strong predictor of your future performance.     

Edited by maximumbob
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Yeah, you're free to believe whatever you want. If you want to believe that unicorns exist then go right ahead. That belief is just completely unsupported by all the evidence we have. 

 

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