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LSAT! Huh! Good God y'all! What is it Good For?

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An article by Amy Goodusky in the Connecticut Law Tribune blasts the LSAT as being completely useless to predicting success in law school or in practice:

"I have never understood how it is that being able to determine the number of black, white, gray and brown hats that hang from six pegs if one of the hats came from Argentina and only the black hats are lactose intolerant has anything to do with how to ask a concise and lucid deposition question, write a Motion for Order of Compliance, or calm an unhinged client who has just received a subpoena.

"If there is anyone who can tell me whether the fact that I understand a paragraph written by Gertrude Stein demonstrates that I will be able to put the two correct search terms into the virtual box for a WestLaw query with the appropriate number of words between them so as to produce a current piece of jurisprudence on point with the one I wish to prove, I would be most grateful."

The LSAT measures three abilities in law school applicants: deductive reasoning skills, reading comprehension, and the ability to perform under pressure.  What these could possibly have to do with law school or practice is beyond us.  We have never heard of a lawyer or law student who ever had to read, think, or act under pressure.

The LSAT is imperfect, but it's not supposed to be the sole measure law school applicants are judged by.  Schools look at other factors, such as your GPA.  But, comparing students based on GPAs is a dubious process.  Who is the better candidate, a student with a 4.0 in Women's Studies from Auburn, or a 2.8 Biochem major from Johns Hopkins?

Of course, this article comes with the standard mantra of those who hate the LSAT, "I'm just not good at standardized tests:"

First, for the record, I should state that I am an abysmal taker of standardized tests. The thought of filling in all those little bubbles with a Number Two pencil makes me want to run straight out and shoot a couple of bags of high-grade heroin. When it became apparent that to pursue a law degree I would be compelled to go through several hours of this onerous process, and that my performance would indelibly affect my future, I reacted wildly. I ate. I wept. I gnashed. I said “words you never heard in the Bible,” to quote Paul Simon.

You know that to become a lawyer, you have a 2-3 day standardized test that makes the LSAT look like a Cracker Barrel comment card, right?

While some people may truthfully have problems with their nerves that reduces their brains to soup when they look at a scantron sheet, we suspect there is a more common reason for poor test taking: not really being that smart.

The people who bomb the LSAT but insist on their smarts always point to their GPA and how everyone tells them they're so smart.  The problem is that it's easy to bullshit your way to a good GPA.  Take classes that are heavy on writing and group projects, and aim for smaller programs that are afraid to lose students (and funding) if they give low grades.

As for your peers thinking you're so smart, odds are you just talk such impenetrable circles of bullshit that no one can pinpoint exactly what's so stupid about what you're saying.

Now, the ability to do the double talk walk is incredibly useful for a lawyer, whether in front of a jury or trying to explain a bill to a client.  But, there still needs to be an objective test that you can't bullshit your way through.

"Stanley — who may be more familiar to some of us by his surname, after which his business is called, that is, Kaplan — drilled me into emotional numbness every weekday evening for 115 weeks."

That's 2 years, 11 weeks.  Ms. Goodusky attended University Connecticut, class of 1996.  U Conn is currently ranked #56 by US News, and has a median LSAT of 161.  As a fun comparison, 115 weeks before taking the LSAT, BL1Y was studying for AP exams as a high school senior.

[CT Law Tribune]

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