• Ben Olson

Ep. 296: 149 to 178 with Jon-Yin Chong

Many students feel the need to apply to law school as soon as possible without reaching their potential on the LSAT. But good things come to those who wait. Nathan and Ben chat with former Demon student Jon-Yin Chong, who started his LSAT journey in 2019 and, after over a year of prep and five attempts at the official test, scored a life-changing score of 178. By postponing his law school applications, he also availed himself of several opportunities that led to his current position at Harvard Law School’s Federal Tax Clinic, which he discusses on today’s episode. Plus, Ben and Nathan consider whether all the questions on LSAT Reading Comprehension are “Must Be Trues,” answer lots of questions from the listener mailbag, and meet Ben’s biggest fan—Copper, the Golden Retriever.

As always, if you like the show and you want to get more from the Thinking LSAT community, check out the links below. You can connect with other folks studying for the LSAT, and get more useful resources from Nathan and Ben.

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Important Dates

06.12.2021 – Break out the short sleeves, it’s the June LSAT-Flex testing week!


4:20 – Interview with Jon-Yin Chong

Ben and Nathan are joined by former listener and Demon student Jon-Yin to talk about his LSAT journey and experience working with Harvard Law’s Federal Tax Clinic. Jon-Yin scored a 149 on his diagnostic in 2019 and worked his way up to an official 172 at the time he submitted his applications this past fall. He was offered a full ride to Villanova—a school that he feels is a good fit—but he didn’t get any other great offers. At the same time, Jon-Yin kept up his LSAT prep and, with help from Demon tutor Kalyn, got a 178 on the February test! Now he’s deciding whether to accept his scholarship offer or hold off and reapply with his 178. Nathan and Ben encourage him to apply again next cycle.


Jon-Yin joined Harvard Law’s Federal Tax Clinic as an intern last spring and then was hired as a paralegal in the fall. He shares stories about his experience preparing tax returns and providing tax guidance to low-income clients during the pandemic. Transitioning to virtual tax prep wasn’t easy for many clients who are disabled or lack the technology necessary to send documents virtually. So Jon-Yin put a laptop and printer in his car, donned PPE, and started providing tax prep services pizza-delivery style. Clients would slide documents through the window, and Jon-Yin prepared their tax returns in the back seat of his car. (Awesome new personal statement topic if he decides to reapply to law school, by the way.)


The guys also discuss the benefits of taking time to explore other opportunities before applying to law school. In the past year, Jon-Yin has had experiences that he wouldn’t trade for admission to any law school.


Here are some minor corrections Jon-Yin would like us to note:


The Big Mistake: Gambling income is reported on a W-2G, not a 1099-G. A 1099-G is for certain government payments (unemployment).


The Mistake No One Cares About: I started hearing about IRS automation being an issue for low-income taxpayers in 2017. During the podcast, I initially said it's been an issue for the past four years, then switched to seven. Four years is probably more accurate.


The Thing I Wish I Said: Our income guidelines are linked to your current income, not your income during the tax year at issue. If you made lots of money in 2020 but are currently unemployed, we could take you on as a client.


Here’s how to contact Jon-Yin: