Mise en Place (Ep. 214)

Nathan Fox's headshot.

September LSAT scores are rolling in and the October and November tests are just around the corner. Not only that, but the school year is kicked off and campuses are a-flurry with campus tours, interviews, and busy admissions staffers sorting through piles of applications. It’s busy in the world of LSAT, and the guys settle in for a show that’s jam-packed with advice. They take a look at a bunch of insider wisdom from Stanford and UC Berkeley staff, and they offer their own advice about law school personal statements, diversity statements, and letters of recommendation. 

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.

LSAT Demon

Personal Statement Review Package

Strategy PrepFox LSAT

Thinking LSAT Facebook Group

Instagram (upcoming events)

Important Dates

10/14 September LSAT score release

10/15 last day to register for November LSAT

10/28 October LSAT

11/25 November LSAT

3:22 – Pearls vs. Turds

Bennett says he’s got a controversial technique that he puts into action during LR sections—and he wants the guys to weigh it on the turd scale. At the 5-minute warning, he “randomly” guesses his remaining unanswered questions. Then he goes back and tries to answer 1-3 additional problems—whichever ones are the shortest. The guys mull over this technique and ultimately give it a tie. The reality is, you’ve got to focus on accuracy and nab most of your points before the five-minute warning. Then randomly guess. And, yeah, if you can get another question right after that, you’re getting an edge over most of your peers. 

11:40 – Advice for beginners?

Esther writes in to ask the guys for advice for folks who are in their early 30s and raring to go to law school. The guys are quick to question Esther’s decision to go to law school at all! They suggest reading Don’t Go To Law School Unless and thinking hard about her rush to head into this career. 

Check out Don’t Go To Law School (Unless) by Paul Campos: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Law-School-Unless-Opportunity-ebook/dp/B009D13IA6

20:55 – Law school mise en place

The guys read through a blog post out of the Stanford University admissions department. The blog encourages students to take some principles from the kitchen—like preparedness (mise en place) and passion (being engaged with your work)—and apply them to your law school admissions cycle. Some of the advice perplexes Ben and Nathan who analyze and share the essay in real-time. 

42:38 – Personal statement dos and don’ts from UC Berkeley

On the UC Berkeley Career Center website, you’ll find an amazing document. It’s all about the law school personal statement. It covers the importance of the personal statement, offers some dos and don’ts, and shares how law school admissions staffers consider the personal statement in the mix of a law school application. It’s awesome and has many a pearl of wisdom. Nathan and Ben read through the entire page and discuss all things personal statements. 

Check out the Personal Statement page here: https://career.berkeley.edu/Law/LawStatement

1:09:18 – More on personal statements

Two listeners write in with some questions about their personal statements. They both ask the guys what they should write about in their personal statements. This can be tough, especially if you’ve got a lot of work experience and feel like you could write from several different angles. Both correspondents offer a couple of options, and the guys weigh in. 

1:16:52 – On diversity statements

The advice train keeps on a-chuggin’ along. Several folks write in asking whether they should write diversity statements about particular subjects or moments in their lives. The guys consider them and offer their advice. Pro tips? If you are writing about events in your life, try to present recent events that showcase who you are today. Reaching back into the distant past isn’t always compelling, even if it proved to be an important moment in your life.  

1:20:56 – Letters of rec. quandary!

LB’s got a serious plan when it comes to applying to—or maybe not applying to law school. They’re going to take the LSAT in October, then take a few months off, then re-evaluate in January. Do they need to retake the test? Do they even want to go to law school? And amidst all of this (over)planning, LB’s wondering about letters of recommendation. LB has some folks in mind they want to ask for letters—primarily recent professors—but they’re worried about asking them next year, because of the time away from the courses LB took from the teachers. However, LB’s also worried that if they ask the professors now, and end up not applying to law school, that it’s kind of an asshole move. Should LB worry? The guys say no. Just get the letters of rec and be done with it!