Putting the LSAT in Perspective

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With the December 1, 2007 LSAT a week away, many law school applicants are feeling like the entire future trajectory of their lives and careers are resting on this four-hour exam.

I read all the discussion boards and blogs and I know this is a self-perpetuating stress-inducer. It seems like you’re doomed without a 160 (or 165 or 170 or whatever you’ve decided is the only possible score you’ll be happy with) and you shouldn’t bother waking up in the morning unless you can at least get into Georgetown.

Allow me to put this in perspective for you.

Is the LSAT a serious thing? Yes.
Does it matter in the world of law school admissions? Yes. Of course. I’d be an idiot to tell you otherwise.

However, please keep the following in mind:

The LSAT Is an Aptitude Test

If you prepare adequately, it serves as a statistical indicator for your academic performance in law school and likelihood of passing the bar exam on the first try. However, there are people for whom standardized test scores are not reliable indicators of aptitude. Law schools know this.

The LSAT Is Not A Label

Your LSAT score is not a label you will wear your entire life. No one but you and the law school has to know about it. You don’t have to advertise it to friends or family members. It’s private, like how much money you make and your preferred method of being kissed. Seriously. If more people kept this information off the web, fewer people would feel as though they aren’t measuring up in life.

Employers Won’t Ask

Your LSAT score is not something employers will ask about – your grades in law school will count though. If a prospective employer asks your LSAT score, I’d say “The LSAT, as you know, is an aptitude test for law school. As you can see, I’m doing very well in law school…..”

It’s One Indicator

Getting into a law school where your LSAT is really low for that school is nice and all, but if it means you’ll be at the bottom of the class then perhaps it’s not serving you all that well to be at that school. I believe there’s a lot to be said for being a big fish in a smaller pond. (Of course, if you go to a school where your LSAT is low and still kick butt with the grades, then that’s awesome. You have to know yourself a bit to make this determination).

LSAT Doesn’t Equal Grades

People with low LSATs often do just fine in law school. I kid you not, when I was serving as director of admissions for an ABA law school, an administrative error occurred and someone was admitted accidentally with a 138 LSAT. You know what? She ended up graduating right in the middle of her class! This shows the limits of the LSAT in predicting success.

Doing Well Isn’t Bad

Ok, so for those of you that aren’t familiar with my work – I’m not against performing well on the LSAT. Right now, I have clients whose scores range between 129 – 180. I have clients who hired me to give them every possible opportunity just to attend an ABA law school, and others who want to make sure they are the ones chosen for the nation’s “top” law schools (and everywhere in between).

I’m all for doing well on the LSAT, but don’t beat yourself up over a 155 if that’s the right score for you. After all, with a 155, you’re still outperforming 67% of all LSAT takers!

My wish for you on the December 2007 LSAT is this: Do your personal best, demonstrate your own aptitude, and agree to adjust your strategy for law school admission accordingly. For more stories about people who are admitted to law schools with LSAT scores at or below the 25th percentiles for those schools see here.

P.S. Though I don’t usually link to blogs of other law school applicants (I don’t believe in having the blind lead the blind…), here is a good article.

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