Skip to comments.Study Offers a New Test of Potential Lawyers
Posted on 03/11/2009 6:41:22 AM PDT by reaganaut1
Just what makes a good lawyer?
In trying to answer that question, professors at the University of California, Berkeley, have come up with a test that they say is better at predicting success in the field than the widely used Law School Admission Test.
The LSAT, as the half-day exam is known, does not claim to predict much beyond a students performance in law school. But critics contend that it does not evaluate how good a lawyer someone will be and tests for the wrong things. They also say it keeps many black and Hispanic students who tend to have lower scores out of the legal profession.
Marjorie M. Shultz, a law professor who retired last year from Berkeley and is one of the studys authors, said she began to examine the issue after California voters approved Proposition 209, which banned consideration of race in admissions.
Proposition 209 and the reduced numbers of minority admits prompted me to think hard about what constitutes merit for purposes of law school admission, and to decide LSAT was much too narrow, as well as having big adverse impact, Professor Shultz said.
The Law School Admissions Council, which administers the LSAT, helped finance Professor Shultzs research, which has not appeared in any scholarly journals. Nonetheless, Wendy Margolis, a council spokeswoman, defended the LSAT, saying that how a student does in law school has a great deal to do with ultimate success as a lawyer.
Ms. Margolis added, We think it would be difficult to predict success as a lawyer prior to law school.
But that is exactly what Professor Shultz and Prof. Sheldon Zedeck, a colleague in the universitys psychology department, wanted to do.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
“Please close your eyes, tilt your head back and touch the end of your nose with your index finger”
My kid sister wants to be a lawyer. Bright, homeschooled...it pains me to think we’ll have to put her in college to realize her dream. I hate the thought of her attending some liberal snakepit where her conservative views will not be respected.
This is absolute BS. There is a very strong correlation between LSAT scores and success as a lawyer. Ask any Wall Street law firm and they will tell you that it is a strong predicter of success.
The majority of day-to-day lawyering as practiced on behalf of average private individuals involves thorough knowledge of a set of rules, attention to detail, and the ability to follow through. When picking a lawyer for almost all the things I need done I’m not primarily interested in intellectual brilliance or creative thinking, I’m a lot more concerned about whether the paperwork will be accurately prepared, carefully reviewed, and filed on time. It’s a job for a highly-organized, bright-average individual temperamentally attracted to highly repetitive work, and more intelligent and more creative individuals are likely to be frustrated by it, and often in their frustration start to perform at a level well below their “ability”.
For this reason it’s often seemed to me that there really ought to be several legal career paths: one for this kind of practice, one for criminal litigation, one for more complicated commercial law, and so on.
And I’ve little doubt that you could create standards to evaluate aspirants to each that would do a better job of predicting success than the LSAT.
THIS is the best example of a rigorous question the promoters of this new test would use compared to the LSAT? What a joke.
And they claim this new "test" correlates well with "success" as a lawyer, but the article omits to describe what it is these Berkeley professors consider to be "success" in a lawyer. Working for the ACLU or ACORN?
I strongly suspect the questions they ask, putting aside the ridiculous example given in the article, have a significant political component, and that more minorities (undoubtedly to these Berkely professors meaning blacks and hispanics, but specifically NOT asians) give doctrinaire liberal answers to the political questions than whites and hispanics, pulling their scores up.
The Democrats are planning to do to law schools what they have done for the black family.
meant to say “whites and asians” not “whites and hispanics” in my last sentence.
The only real problem this guy has with the LSAT is the fact that blacks and some hispanic groups do poorly on it. The rest of his arguments are simply drivel conjured up after the fact.
It’s probably better that she be exposed to that, because otherwise she will not be prepared for dealing with adversaries in the professional world (both opposing counsel and the political game of inside one’s own firm). Many people are going to think differently than her, sometimes on an institutional level.
1. Can you parse the word 'is'?
2. Can you bill the time you spend dreaming about the case?
3. When you come upon a mult-car accident with major injuries, do you first call 911 or hand out business cards?
higher LSAT score means better law schools which means better teachers, brighter peers, higher prestige, better offers down the road, better firms, more support/resouces.
i.e.: better lawyer.
not in all cases, of course. but it does help overall.
Are you implying that we have a shortage of lawyers?
So the test keeps people with lower scores out of the legal profession. In other words, those who don’t know what they’re doing don’t succeed? OH MY GOD! We clearly must change that!!
There really are. These and more.
Now, opening the bar to a much wider pool of applicants will increase the supply of lawyers, resulting in a deflationary effect on their fees. Once fees drop AND law school is not the only route to practice law, law schools will close. Between the closure of law schools and the decrease in remuneration for lawyers, the supply will maintain equilibrium, thus resulting in a greater number of lawyers, but at much lower cost.
IMHO, the only reason it seems like there are too many lawyers today is because they have taken over government and vote themselves benefits, by creating new regulatory schemes and opposing tort reforms. These things create demand for lawyers. If we can win the battle against these liberal forces and put a stop to their schemes, the demand will decrease, and we'll end up with BOTH fewer lawyers and cheaper lawyers. Good thing, no?
Thanks for the input. Probably right. Adversity hones skills and character.
Still, I wish there were another way.
Maybe talk her into a new field!
Kidding, sort of. :)