Know anything about getting into law school?

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    My qualifications to opine are: Yeshiva guy, scored in 170s on LSAT, was accepted to Columbia with a BTL and attended a lower tier school for the full scholarship. Made Law Review and graduated in top 2% of my class. Worked in BIGLAW for a decade and am now unemployed.

    In my experience. Knowing how to learn helps a lot for your usual exams, contracts, con law, etc. Professors don’t care about style hey want concise analysis arguing both sides. If you know how to learn you will excel. Also, you will get the hang of writing the exams before everyone else, which will help your GPA. Not having writing skills will hurt you for legal writing, but you will sweat it and do ok.

    The market is horrible now. Read the recent New York Times articles on this. Think very carefully before spending big bucks on lawschool. This may not correct for a decade.



    DG- Is this why you’re divorced because you lost your Parnossa? One of the reasons I am, is because I never had one. I just graduated now from something in the medical field. I don’t know where you live, but I know in Flatbush (I don’t live there) there are a lot of frum lawyers, some even have their owm firm. Maybe you can connect with them- to help you out.


    I know I’m late to the party, but while googling for information I came across this thread, and being in the “parsha”, I decided to offer my two cents.

    I am an 0l. I have a BTL from Lakewood, and a 99.9 percentile LSAT score. I am thus far in at a few T14s, including Columbia and higher – ranked.

    I personally know three former chavrusas who have done LS admissions before me. Two had BTLs (coincidentally, they both went to UPenn), and one got an online degree, and is in another of the T14. It seems pretty clear to me from these few people that the BTL was better than the online degree. Reb Online Degree was by far the best of the three LSAT wise, and had a far tougher admissions cycle. IMHO, if you want a secular degree, go brick and mortar.

    The beauty of law school admissions, as you know if you’re involved, is that because of the rankings, you can make yourself a desirable candidate. If it’s true that Columbia and NYU don’t love BTLs – there is still going to be a school that will like an above median GPA and LSAT no matter where the GPA is from. That’s why even Reb Online Degree got a fancy scholarship when he finally did get in.

    That is also why it’s hard to believe that any specific school “doesn’t take” BTLs. I understand that New York area schools may not want to oversaturate themselves with specific degrees, but with a good LSAT/GPA, they need you too. If you have flexibility, maybe Michigan (near the Detroit frum community), or Chicago or Northwestern would be worth looking into over a NY area school. Even UCLA is ranked right outside the T14, and I’m told there are some Jews in California.

    I find it hard to believe as well that BTLs are all in the top or bottom 5%. Of the (admittedly few) that I know, none are near either extreme. Of the people I know of, two are in Biglaw and seem okay, one has a good summer job lined up, and one is a 1L. A friend of a friend just graduated, failed the bar, and has nothing lined up right now.

    If there is one thing that my admissions cycle/process has taught me, it’s that there are few certainties, and few accurate generalizations. “Yeshiva guys can’t write” means nothing if you can write. “They don’t take BTLs” is not likely 100% true – it may just mean they need evidence that the stereotyped shortcomings of BTLs don’t apply to you.

    The same even goes for “Yeshiva guys are good/not good at law”. The fact is that the LSAT is a decent predictor of Law School success, and at least BMG has an insane performance history on the LSAT – in the same sphere as top secular undergrad schools. Maybe many yeshiva guys don’t have a writing background, but if they can do well at the reading comprehension on the LSAT, they at least understand English at a fairly high level. OTOH, if you know you have a writing weakness or a general knowledge weakness, don’t say “oh, the LSAT predicted that I’ll do well.” Work on your weakness until it’s not – read and write and read and write. I have found that participation in online forums has made me a much better writer.

    Oh, and re: that topic about Northwestern having bad employment – I don’t know where that could possibly be from, but according to last years statistics, Northwestern was the. top. school. in the country from big firm placement.


    To elaborate on some of Veltz’s points.

    Columbia is a tougher question, but NYU categorically does not accept BTLs. End of story.

    There’s a new year of statistics, Northwestern dropped to 8th place (from 55.9% to 44.37% biglaw placement). Columbia is at 55.2%, Harvard 49.7%, NYU 43.2%, Yale 33.8%. But keep in mind that these are only people who went into biglaw directly from law school. It’s more prestigious to go to a judicial clerkship first, and that wouldn’t count.


    Veltz Meshugener –

    Why do you think you know it all? I’m not saying you don’t have the right to comment, but a lot of posters here are already in the field. You haven’t even started. One friend I know started working for himself. Another guy here couldn’t find a job working for others so he went for the LLM. I hope you plan on working for yourself or for the gov. because there doesn’t seem to be high paying jobs around. One of the points I think people were making was that it used to be getting into top law schools was almost a guarantee to get a good job. That’s not true anymore. So who cares if they accept BTL’s or not? If you’re going to work for yourself or the gov., go to any school that is good for you,(close, cheap, etc.) you don’t need the best. But one thing I’ll tell you -if an employer (looking for a lawyer) after you graduate has a choice between a BTL and regular undergraduate degree, which one do you think they’ll pick?


    “Columbia is a tougher question, but NYU categorically does not accept BTLs. End of story.”

    I’ve heard that too. I guess I’ll find out, sooner or later.

    “There’s a new year of statistics, Northwestern dropped to 8th”

    That’s of interest. People assumed that the big jump was because they started focusing more on students with work experience. I guess time will tell where they settle. Regardless, they still outperform their rank.

    “Veltz Meshugener –

    Why do you think you know it all?”

    I’m not sure what I posted that makes it seem like I know it all. To the contrary, me and anyone who’s gone through this or knows someone who has, only has their own experience. That’s why it’s nice to contribute to a thread where people who search will have several different viewpoints in one place.

    I shudder at the amount of debt involved, and I have not yet put down a seat deposit. But in my judgment, a lot of the warnings don’t apply to me, personally.

    According to almost everything I’ve seen, the most important factors in hiring are school and class rank. Looking at the websites of the most prestigious firms, (Sullivan Cromwell, White and Case etc.) you will find plenty of former yeshiva students – look for fancy JDs together with BTLs or no listed undergrad. I imagine that between two closely similar candidates, a firm would choose the Ivy undergrad. But (I speculate) if a former yeshiva guy goes to Columbia, he’s way ahead of an Ivy grad who goes to Fordham, and if he makes law review, he’s way ahead of an Ivy grad who’s at median.


    Homeowner -What do you have to say regarding the following?

    “If you’re going to work for yourself or the gov., go to any school that is good for you,(close, cheap, etc.) you don’t need the best”

    “I shudder at the amount of debt involved, and I have not yet put down a seat deposit.”

    “But (I speculate) if a former yeshiva guy goes to Columbia, he’s way ahead of an Ivy grad who goes to Fordham, and if he makes law review, he’s way ahead of an Ivy grad who’s at median.”


    Good federal jobs are not very easy to get. They are highly sought by grads from top schools.


    Veltz, why on Earth do you think that YOU will be the one to do well in law school? You just saw that more than half of the people who graduated from Harvard Law School did not go to jobs that pay $160,000/year (yes, it’s true that some are getting clerkships, but it does not bridge the 50% gap at all). I know frum people at Harvard, Columbia, NYU, Fordham, etc. who have no job and are stuck with nothing. Nothing. Just don’t think there’s any reason that you’ll be any different.

    Also, yes, we’ve all seen yeshiva guys on the firm websites, but they’re getting rarer and rarer. First, you see how few of them actually make partner? Many are relegated to the Counsel position. Second, how many associates do you see that have graduated in the last five years?


    UMMMM. Actually, everybody from Harvard Law who wants a job paying 160 can get it.

    The clerkships are much harder to get, and much more highly sought.

    If you got into Harvard, I’d say you can go and not worry about the debt.


    A23, I don’t necessarily think that I’ll be the one to buck the trend. But it fits with my general take on the whole scene – I don’t need job rates to rise – I just need to find one job, and in that regard my personal risk/reward is definitely worthwhile. Do you know what the unemployment rate and pay scale are like for yeshiva graduates in general?

    In the worst economy since the Great Depression, 65% of Columbia grads had jobs within a short time of graduation – most of those in the high six figures. Recent recruiting and firm finances in general have been up. If I can’t make $160,000, income based repayment will allow me to make the same living I’m making now, with more opportunity to control my own career.

    Again, I’m not being an oiberchochom. I don’t claim to have a secret that no one else has. I am not comfortable AT ALL with the immense investment, but I’m even less comfortable with chickening out and getting stuck behind the counter of KFS.


    PBA, you are very, very, wrong about that. There are plenty of people at Harvard and the other top five schools that cannot find a $160,000/year job or a federal clerkship.

    And Veltz, I’m not trying to challenge you. I just want to make sure your eyes are open to the seriousness and gravity of this decision.

    Pashuteh Yid

    While I don’t know much about Law School, but I find it very hard that the LSAT score can be such an important factor in admissions. Usually schools (at least undergarduate) look for many other things besides SAT scores. They want extracurricular activities, scientific research, athletics, music, volunteering, social awareness, good essays, top recommendations, etc. etc. etc.

    If Harvard wanted, they could set their minimum score at 800 on all sections of the SAT, and still not have enough places for all qualified applicants! Since they have a range (usually in the 700’s) obviously they are using other criteria which they weight more heavily than the SAT alone.



    I am talking about Harvard, not Columbia.

    Please tell us just what your information is that Harvard grads cannot get Biglaw jobs or their equivalent in prestige.

    (And yes, equivalent in prestige is functionally the same thing, since the qualifications are the same or higher.)

    Pashut Yid: It is indeed astounding, but it is nevertheless true. Law schools are mainly interested in putting out a quality graduate, and they recognize that LSAT is the single largest factor.


    popa: in that case why isnt every single harvard law (and other top schools) student have a score of 800 on all sections of the test (or whatever the top score on each section is)? from what i understand, pashute yid is correct in that there are students in harvard that are not 800/800. harvard surely has sufficient 800 scorers applicants to fill every opening.

    also, you asked a23 how he got his info that every willing harvard grad isnt getting a 160k position. how do _you_ know that they *all* can get that biglaw or prestigious position, if they so desire?


    I agree with above posters- law is a poor career choice.

    But, if you are interested in going to law school, the key is to get a Bachelors in a good, solid humanities and social sciences-based discipline, such as a ombination of History, Political Science, Philsophy, etc.


    shlishi: We are talking about Law school.

    Harvard mainly accepts students in the 99%th percentile on LSAT.

    How do I know? I am well acquainted with the Law school world. Why don’t you go read some law school blogs and see if I am telling the truth?


    reb doniel:

    Welcome back. How have you been doing?


    It’s completely untrue that Harvard could get as many perfect scores as they want. Harvard has a class of 600, and they are contemporaneous (actually slightly below, lately) with Yale and Stanford. If 160,000 people take the LSAT, as happened last year, there would be only 160 people with marks over 178. Take into account that lower tier schools give nice scholarships for good numbers, while the top 3 only give need-based aid, and you see why high numbers are in such high demand.

    Yale, on the other hand, has a class of around 180, and indeed, they are less beholden to numbers.

    Popa, “Law schools are mainly interested in putting out a quality graduate,” is not really true. They are mainly interested in maintaining their US News ranking. Former deans openly admit that admissions falls back onto the numbers because that’s the best way they can rise in the rankings.


    popa: harvard could insist on the 100th percentile, and fill all position as such. if they are not, apparently they are using criteria other than exclusively lsat scoring.


    there is no 100th percentile.

    Besides, Harvard has nearly 600 people in their class.

    And further, they recognize that there really is no difference between the 99.8 percentile and the 99.6.

    Pashuteh Yid

    I guess the difference between SAT and LSAT is that the applicant pool is much smaller for the LSAT. Popa’s numbers make sense. I looked up some stats on an LSAT site. For the SAT, 1.5 million+ take it. Actually the number of perfect scorers on the SAT is less than I thought, being about 250, so my earlier statement is not entirely true, but you can still see that they take into account other factors, as the range of scores is wide.


    PBA, do you want the name of someone I know from Harvard that doesn’t have a ‘good’ job but wants one desperately? These people exist.

    Pashuteh Yid

    Sorry, it was Veltz Meshugener’s numbers that I was referring to, not Popa’s. I think he is right. Mathematically, there simply are very few applicants with really stellar numbers on the LSAT, so those who have them do have an advantage to any school that wants to maintain their very selective/prestigious image.

    Nevertheless, I am sure appearance and other factors comes into play. If you show up in a shlumpy mismatched suit, and speak or write Yeshivishe raid, I am sure it does not make a very good impression, neither on the Law School interview, nor on the job interview (pardon the double negative).

    One must always look and dress the part of the consummate professional. In addition, having a background in worldly studies makes for better client/professional relations. You need to be able to make clients from all backgrounds comfortable with you. Even be able to talk about sports or world events. It is part of being meurav im habriyos, and is necessary in the business world, as well. One who does not read any secular books or news will have trouble maintaining a confortable relationship with anybody not from the Yeshivishe world. This is probably a rationale of those schools that do not look favorably upon the BTL.


    I was at a total loss when all of you were talking about “BTL” and I had no idea what it meant. I had to google it and-surprise-it told me it means “Bachelor of Talmudic Law”. I had never heard of it beforehand and I still don’t know what it means.


    ROB – It means simply the degree you get from Yeshiva. If you go to Lakewood or other yeshivos that take gov. money, they are officially colleges and give degrees. BTL is given after 4 years of yeshiva. Usually this degree means nothing in the goyishe world, but certain (or most) law schools will accept this as an undergraduate degree. This helps the yeshiva guy become a lawyer without having to get a regular undergrad degree. It didn’t help me at all to even lessen credits I needed in the sciences and this is with Touro. But there might be other things that the BTL helps for- maybe Accounting degrees or maybe getting a Masters in Education. Each program in college has their own requirements, sometimes yeshiva credits will count towards the degree and sometimes it won’t!

    Pashuteh Yid

    I just heard from a reliable source that a bachur with a BTL from Darchei Torah in Far Rockaway scored high on his LSATs and just got accepted to Harvard.

    (I do not recommend this approach for all.)

    ROB, I believe a BTL is a degree that Yeshivos offer which is non-accredited by any recognized national or regional entity, which is supposed to mean the person took enough credits of whatever the Yeshiva offered to satisfy their requirement for something equivalent to a Bachelors degree from a university.

    I do not know if these are all learning credits, or some history and philosophy or maybe even some secular courses are required by the Yeshiva. I think it probably depends on the Yeshiva.


    Pashuteh Yid – You are so wrong. They have to be accredited in order for the gov. to give them education money. Did you ever learn in a yeshiva that’s not your YU type? If not, why are you commenting about regular yeshivos?

    Pashuteh Yid

    Health, I may have made a mistake. I checked on Wikipedia and they list some accredting agencies. I do not know how the process works, so I will stay out of it.

    Pashuteh Yid

    Health as far as education money, please explain how the govt can give money to a religious school? I thought the tuition crisis is caused by that problem.


    Beth Medrash Govoha is accredited by the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools, which is sufficient for its students to qualify for federal government financial assistance. There are no comparable programs for K-12 education in private religious schools.


    “I just heard from a reliable source that a bachur with a BTL from Darchei Torah in Far Rockaway scored high on his LSATs and just got accepted to Harvard.”

    Pashuteh, you are hearing right now from an anonymous guy who’s been participating in an online discussion with you that he himself got into Harvard. I also know at least one other. Frankly, I don’t look down on the my yeshiva education the way some people in this discussion do, so I don’t know how to respond to the “I don’t recommend this for everyone”.

    As far as accreditation, I don’t know much about specifics, but I do know that many yeshivas issue credit without being accredited, and (I think) those degrees are not accepted by the Law School Admissions Council. My first post-secondary yeshiva was like that – I had to get transcripts from them, but if I didn’t have a degree from the yeshiva I attended afterward, the transcripts would not have sufficed (for those who took the LSAT, they would have been necessary but not sufficient. 🙂 ) Other yeshivas go through a process to gain accreditation, and they then issue legitimate degrees which can be the basis for a further education that does not require prereqs. BMG, Ner Israel, Shaarei Torah and a few others come to mind.

    As far as government money, I know that at least some of the aid that yeshivos benefit from are Pell grants. I don’t know the specifics, but I think they’re technically allotted to the student.

    Pashuteh Yid

    Veltz, what I meant by I don’t recommend it to everyone, is that not everyone is an illuy who can ace the LSATs and get into Harvard with no other qualifications. Many people benefit from a structured, full-curriculum bachelors degree. In addition, even if all Yeshiva guys could do as well on the LSATs, you can be sure Harvard is not going to take 600 Yeshiva guys. They place a lot of emphasis on diversity, gender equality, well-roundedness, etc. So how many places would they be willing to offer them? Probably not more than one or two a year.


    Just quickly, this comment: “The fact is that the LSAT is a decent predictor of Law School success,” makes no sense. Outside of Yale and a few other places, generally where it doesn’t matter, law school grades are curved. Since most people in law school have similar LSAT scores especially at the top schoos, and law school success is usually determined by GPA, unless you go to a significantly lower ranked school than you can get into, which, if Biglaw is your goal, is a really bad idea, especially in this market, you’ll likely have roughly the same LSAT score as 75% of your class regardless of where you finish.


    Mosheemes, the correlation is debated ad nauseum on dedicated LSAT and law school websites. It’s like the Rashi in Parshas Noach – some people say that the scores can’t indicate anything, because everyone in each school is so close together. Other people say, if there’s a correlation when the difference is so small, imagine how predictive the LSAT would be if there was a broad range among peers.

    Regardless, for purposes of the point I was making, there is a correlation.


    I like this conspiracy theory.

    The LSAT is just a big scam run by the LSAC, which brings in lots of money from it.

    The schools do it because US News does, and US News does because they are buddy buddy with LSAC.

    LSAC can never get caught because they are part of a secret society that the president and congress are part of. The president was brought in from Kenya (where he was born) to run this conspiracy. In fact, the twin towers were knocked down by the cabal in order to make Bush go to war, so that republicans would lose and Obama could come into power. Bush was also part of the conspiracy, but he thought it was so his oil buddies could make money. (he was double crossed.)

    PROOF: Notice how almost all politicians did really well on the LSAT. Coincidence? I think not.


    PBA – I love it. And I wouldn’t be surprised if half of it was true. The last decent repub pres was Reagan. And the last decent dem pres was LBJ.


    Hey! Hey! LBJ.

    How many kids did you kill today?

    (Does that qualify me for the old timers thread?)


    If it were true, though, there would be no reason for President Obabma’s LSAT score to be suppressed the way it is.

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