Ep. 119: New ABA 509 WTF

This week the guys take a look at the recently revised ABA 509 reports and discuss the shortcomings of its updated design. It’s like, a big wtf. Where are the bar passage rates? Where’s the information about your part time programs? Why is the all-important scholarship information moved down the page? Nathan and Ben cover the changes and give you a call to action to encourage a return to sanity. Plus, Nathan talks about his golfing habits, and of course, the guys answer some emails.

14:34 – Email 1—Josh wants to point out that accommodated testing isn’t just for would-be lawyers. In pharmacy school, several of Josh’s classmates didn’t fare so well in their first year. When said students would fail a course, they were allowed to meet with a school psychologist and all of them ended up with time and a half testing for their remaining graduate careers. Little bit scary maybe? Think about that the next time you’re having your cough syrup filled.

16:39 – Email 2—

Wes: I bought the Kaplan book.
Nathan (cutting Wes off mid-sentence): Burn it.

So went the phone meeting between Wes and Nathan. Wes followed Nathan’s advice and has since been destroying LR sections. He writes in to describe and proselytize his new approach, and Ben and Nathan jump on board to discuss further.

22:50 – Email 3—Jas took the September LSAT with barely any prep and scored a 150. Not bad, Jas! Still, he was disappointed that he lost a few points on his prep-test average of 157. He wants to know how to best avoid another test-day drop. The guys oblige. Here’s the pro tip, Jas – don’t swing for the fences. Don’t try to annihilate the test on test day—just take the test as if it’s another practice run. Jas goes on to ask about whether to read the question stem or stimulus fir…

I’m not even going to finish that sentence. You know where it’s headed. And the guys talked alllll about it in episode 118.

Lastly, Jas unwittingly received some god-awful advice about LR and asks the guys if it’s a strategy he should implement. Nathan and Ben reveal the tactic for the turd of wisdom it is.

38:56 – Email 4—Should married couples apply to law school… together? That’s what Samantha and Will want to know. After doing some soul-searching, Samantha and Will independently decided they both. wanted. to be. lawyers. IN BIG LAW. Does that blow your minds, y’all? Because it sure did puzzle the guys. The married couple wants to know: are they crazy? And will their dreams of being a law-school duo cause problems during the admissions process? Ben and Nathan weigh in on the ups and downs of being in a relationship in law school and do their best to give some friendly advice to Samantha and Will.

54:46 – Email 5—Thomas has heard that a combo JD/MBA degree program can be a major asset if you want to go into corporate law. And with his sights set on being a patent attorney, he’s wondering if a JD/MBA program would be a good move for him. The guys talk about the merits of getting an MBA—like, are there any? Or is it just a world of cocktail parties and fancy Powerpoint presentations? Ben and Nathan agree that the JD trumps the shit out of an MBA, and they don’t see the value in getting an MBA in the first place. Plus, the guys weigh in on whether law schools will weigh Thomas’s GPA differently, given he is in a challenging engineering program.

Don’t forget Ben’s free online LSAT course, and Nathan’s free online LSAT course.


  1. Hello Nathan and Ben,

    To push for scholarships should an applicant be in the 75th percentile or higher for BOTH the LSAT and GPA of the school they are applying to?

    Context: I am 1 point behind my target schools LSAT 50th percentile, but I am in their 90th percentile for GPA. Their latest 509 indicates they gave 1/2 to full + stipend scholarships to 51% of their students last year.

    All other factors aside, what do you think my chances are of getting at least 1/2 tuition?

    Thanks for your help! Keep up the hilarity and insightfulness.


  2. Do my ears deceive me? Ben drops the F-bomb for the first time at 43:22…
    I’ve replayed this part of the recording 10x now. Still in shock.


  3. Hi! I’m a new listener, but I am enjoying it so far! I am looking to take the LSAT in November. While it’s almost a year in advance, I wanted to know your opinion on how to schedule out and allocate time per day and/or per week. I am the type of person who has to see the big picture timeline before sitting down and getting to the nitty-gritty. Sorry if this has been covered in a past podcast. I listened to the first two and now the most recent two!

    And as a follow-up, I received a friend’s prep books. He recently took the December LSAT. I am itching to do a baseline/cold turkey LSAT practice test, but should I hold off?



    1. Glad you like the show, Grace!

      1. Take the test sooner, so you can take it again if necessary.

      2. In general, just plan on taking and carefully reviewing one 35-minute section per day until you learn the test. Also, consider taking one of our online classes. You can try them for free here:


      3. Yes, the first thing that you should do is take the June 2007 LSAT, which both of our trial courses cover.

      June 2007 LSAT

      Good luck!


  4. Hi Nathan and Ben,

    Are we supposed to assume intermediate conclusions are true, if they act as premises for the main conclusion, or should we assume that there is a missing connection between the premises and the intermediate conclusion that could possibly make the conclusion false?


    1. Although an intermediate conclusion is a “premise” for the main the conclusion, you don’t have to accept it as true because it is still a conclusion. So yes, there might be a missing connection between a premise and an intermediate conclusion, or between an intermediate conclusion and the main conclusion, or both.


  5. Hi Ben and Nathan,

    In case you haven’t heard by now, I found that apparently there will be a new, separate “Bar Passage Rate Questionnaire” released in March 2018: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/new_bar_passage_questionnaire_will_give_better_information_along_with_more.

    According to the ABA Journal article above, the March 2018 questionnaire will report 2016 and 2017 passage rates. Going forward, the report will cover just one year. Here is a brief summary of my positive takeaways on the new questionnaire:
    – Data released will be from the most recent year, not the prior year
    – Data will include ultimate bar passage rates as well as first time passage rates
    – It seems to have annoyed at least one vice dean who is concerned that aspects of the new questionnaire will place a burden on law schools. Here’s his blog post on the issue: https://lawschoolassessment.org/2017/11/19/collecting-ultimate-bar-passage-data-weighing-the-costs-and-benefits/.

    Here is a sample report which contains more details: https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/legal_education_and_admissions_to_the_bar/Questionnaires/2017QuestionnaireTraining/2017_bar_passage_questionnaire.authcheckdam.pdf.

    I’m interested to hear your thoughts. Thanks in advance!


    1. More work for law schools has to be a good thing. They’ve been riding high for too long, which is why their industry has been suffering for the last few years. Thanks for sharing!


  6. Yo, waddup guys? So I was expanding my options for law schools in Florida because I was listening to older podcasts and I heard you guys saying that I should apply to all schools I could see me going to and I found FIU. I was reviewing there disclosure information on scholarships and seen this:


    It states “Conditional scholarships that are not renewed are redistributed to rising 2L and 3L students who are selected as scholarship recipients based on 1L academic performance.”

    That being said, do you know if this is the case at all schools? If I don’t get a scholarship or a small one going in will it still be possible to get one later in my law studys? Also, where do I find class GPA’s for the entering classes? I want to see how many of them students end up keeping their discounts.


    1. Hey, I don’t know what happens at most schools, but if you’re serious about any school, just call and ask them. That said, I doubt that you can ever plan on getting money as a 2L or 3L.

      First, they already have you, so there’s not that much of an incentive for them to throw you money at you, unless you did so well as a 1L that you might transfer.

      Second, if you can’t get the scholarship now, it’s unlikely that your first-year GPA will surprise them enough to give you money as a 2L. I’m not saying that you can’t get awesome grades in law school. I’m just saying that most people do as well (or as poorly) in law school as their incoming LSAT and GPA numbers suggest.

      Good luck!


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