Ep. 154: Getting into law school with Ann Levine

With all the changes in law school admissions standards over the past year, the guys have received a bunch of questions about putting your best foot forward when applying to law school. Is it worth taking the GRE over the LSAT? Is it OK to take the LSAT like ten times to try and get your best score, or does that look bad? Do you need to write an addendum to explain multiple attempts at the LSAT? Who better to ask than friend of the show and Law School Expert, Ann Levine. Ann answers the guys’ questions and discusses the current law school admissions climate. Nathan and Ben also answer a stack of listener mail.

There’s only one week left to sign up for the Thinking LSAT live class in NYC! If you’re in the home stretch prepping for the fall tests, it’s a perfect way to get a new studying perspective, and have your burning questions answered by Nathan and Ben. Sign up today.

As always, you can connect with the Thinking LSAT community on Facebook (where we’re currently debating the wisdom of using the word “plebe” more often). Tweet to the show on Twitter. And now you can find us on Instagram—BOO YA. We’re all over the internets, people. If you dig what the guys do, you can support the show (even a lil’ bit helps) over on Patreon.

Last but not least, if you’re applying to law school in the upcoming cycle, you want to make sure your application is sharp. And that means having a compelling and well-written personal statement. Use the Thinking LSAT personal-statement service to make sure you present yourself to law schools in the best way possible.

25:33 – Major news, dear listeners. Nathan and Ben have been hard at work developing an all-new LSAT-prep resource. And it’s awesome. It’s called the LSAT Demon. The Demon asks you LSAT questions, and then provides in-depth explanations for each question from both Ben and Nathan. You’ll see written explanations as well as video explanations to help you understand every aspect of each question. As you answer more and more questions, the Demon learns your strengths and weaknesses, and tests you on question types where you need to improve. Terrible at In/Out logic games? The Demon will catch on and start serving you more In/Out problems to help you make serious gains. It’s the first time the guys have made an LSAT resource together, and it’s as cool as you would expect. Head over to LSATdemon.com to check it out.

28:30 – Email 1—Crystal received a bewildering email from Ole Miss law school. Apparently they are re-opening admissions just days before classes begin. The admissions office sent an email about it, and that shit is in all caps. The guys pick apart this hilarious and terrible missive. Crystal wants to know: are law schools this desperate to cram every last poor soul who feels like going to law school last minute into their program? The answer is ABSOLUTELY.

34:22 – Email 2—Ross is curious about why the guys prefer short emails. What’s so good about them? The guys happily explain. Short emails get to the point immediately, allowing your reader to answer you right away. A shorter email generally requires better writing. Plus, short emails respect your reader’s time, relieving them of the scanning and deciphering required when looking over a long-ass email. So, keep ‘em short y’all! You’ll have a better chance of getting your question bumped to the top of list (yet another benefit), just like Ross.

42:20 – Email 3—Will’s had a long road prepping for the LSAT. But all his hard work has paid off in spades! He started with Ben’s course back in the fall of 2017. His diagnostics were in the low 150s, but after almost a year of prep Will smashed out a 169 on the July LSAT. Freakin’ awesome, Will! But he may not be done dismantling the LSAT. His practice scores ranged from 167-172, so he wants to know if he should take the test again to try and reach even higher. He’s just nervous that if he scores lower than 169, he’ll undermine his chances of going to a great school. The guys weigh in on whether Will should get back in the LSAT game.

44:32 – Email 4—Jen just eeked out a 159 on record and she’s excited to start applying to law schools early in the cycle. Still, her practice scores have been as high as 161, so she’s signed up to take the November test. Should she hold off on applying until she takes the November test? Or is it better to apply early and then negotiate later on when she has a higher score? The guys point out that most schools will see that you’re signed up for another test through your LSAC account and will set your application aside anyway until after the November test. So you should definitely wait and get a better LSAT score.

Jen goes on to ask the guys about their prep services. Does Nathan or Ben focus more on reading comp in their courses? What will help her application more—an online course, or the guys’ personal statement service? Nathan and Ben jump in and make some recommendations.

51:46 – Email 5—Ethan wants to rebut a presumption. He has some pretty lofty goals: to clerk for the SCOTUS and to become a supreme court judge one day. Ethan points out that all current SCOTUS judges have gone to Harvard or Yale and that many SCOTUS clerkships go to alumni of these prestigious schools. But he also points out that it’s unlikely he’ll get a scholarship to either, even with his 3.85 GPA and 175 LSAT score. He wants to know, are his ambitions enough of a reason to pay for law school? Nathan and Ben note that one has a higher chance of playing in the NBA than becoming a supreme court judge. They give Ethan some food for thought.

1:05:38 – Email 6—On a recent episode, Ben and Nathan mentioned that it may not be possible to hold a job during your 1L year. Anonymous heard the episode and wants to know if this is true. After all, she has worked her way through getting a nursing degree while raising two awesome kids. That’s a lot of work to stomach, and she took it in stride. The guys explain that it’s not about capacity to work (even though that’s a factor, too), but that the ABA may prohibit you from working during 1L year. There may be an exception for part-time students. Nathan and Ben go on to offer advice to anonymous, who’s considering shifting careers from being an RN to slicing and dicing poorly run hospitals as an attorney.

1:19:17 – Email 7—Thinking LSAT patron, Dieken, listens to the show while rolling on eighteen wheels hauling thousand-pound containers across on the interstate highway system. But he also hosts his own podcast, possibly while driving. He throws his microphone into his cowboy hat and records the Supreme Court Decision Syllabus podcast. On his show, Dieken reads supreme court decision syllabi, which might be of interest to you law nerds out there. Thanks for the support, Dieken!


  1. Does “Inbox Zero” mean that you delete all your emails after replying or do you use some system for filing or flagging for follow-up?


    1. I haven’t deleted an email in the past 10 years, because I use gmail. The “archive” button is your friend.


      1. “All Mail ∞” slightly beats “Inbox ∞.” You don’t typically flag or file?


        1. No need, since I can google search every email received or sent for all time. Once in a while I tag emails that are related to an ongoing project if I know I will later want to see them together in a single search. But I only do this a handful of times per year.


  2. 1. I usually retrieve emails by searching, but occasionally have to retrieve all emails generally pertaining to a subject. Is there an advantage to tagging other than uniformity in retrieval method?
    2. How do you handle situations in which your reply depends on someone else’s action? This might not be a common occurrence for you.
    I’m not trying to find holes in your system, just trying to learn. Unlike the listener in this episode, I have a job that requires reading many emails (200-300/day). Thanks for answering!


    1. If you tag, then you can see all emails with one click. Searching can miss emails (if they don’t contain the right search term) or give you messy results that have tons of false positives (because they accidentally contain the search term).

      If my reply depends on someone else, I will probably forward the email to them and say “What should we do about this” or something similar, then archive it. If it’s really important I’ll also put it on a to-do list or my calendar.

      FYI, I’m sitting in a cafe in New Orleans (here for a wedding) and I just sat here with a coffee and processed my inbox down to zero. Feels good! Really isn’t that hard once you get in the habit.


      1. But what if your reply depends on someone else and but it is on you to get the reply? Do you just add it to your to do list?

        I really like the idea of Inbox Zero, to be sure, and will start getting in the habit of at least striving to do it (i’m at Inbox 115 at the moment). Sorry for all the questions!


        1. A better way of phrasing that first question: What if your reply depends on someone else but it is your responsibility to get that other person to reply?


          1. 1) yell at the other person immediately to get their shit done.

            2) put it on a to-do list or calendar to yell at them again about it in a few days.

            I think gmail also has a new “reminder” thing where emails can automatically come back to your inbox if you need to follow up, but I haven’t played with it.

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