Law School Finances with an Actual Economist (Ep. 337)

Ben Olson's headshot.

On this week’s episode, Ben and Nathan interview Harvard-trained economist Laurence J. Kotlikoff! But first, the guys answer a bucketload of listener emails about LSAT strategies, law school admissions, undergraduate majors, GPAs, and more. This episode is chock full of advice for students at any stage of the LSAT and law school application process.

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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3.3.2022 — February LSAT scores released

3.11.2022 —  March LSAT begins

3.16.2022 — April LSAT Registration Deadline

3.30.2022 — March LSAT scores released

4.29.2022 — April LSAT Begins

3:09 - Breaking 170

Student Eve reports that she improved her score from 162 to 168 using LSAT Demon’s free prep materials. Now with a Demon Basic subscription, she is finally breaking into the 170s on her practice tests. Nathan and Ben congratulate her on her progress and add that 10 LSAT points could mean the difference between paying full price for law school and earning a free ride. Eve has already signed up for the March LSAT and is well on her way to not paying for law school.

6:09 - Reading Comprehension Advice

Listener Valeria asks for advice on reading comprehension. She describes being stuck on a question because she didn’t know the definitions of two words in the answer choices. Ben and Nathan recommend reading more books in general and taking more LSAT practice tests to become familiar with the language commonly used. Developing better reading habits will help her not only on the LSAT but in law school and legal practice as well.

12:07 - Logical Reasoning Strategy

Listener Everardo writes in to discuss a quote he pulled from the book Nudge. Everardo found some of the advice in this book applicable to his LSAT studies, especially Logical Reasoning. Ben and Nathan agree with Everado’s analysis and emphasize the need to slow down and predict the answer before reading the answer choices.

17:56 - Live Classes

New student Sharon has found the Demon’s video and written explanations very helpful. She would like to attend live classes as well. The only problem is her time zone—being on East African time, she would have to get up at around 4:00 a.m. to attend a class live. The guys discuss the importance of getting enough sleep and recommend that Sharon watch the class recordings at a time when she’s most alert. A Demon Live subscription unlocks two years and thousands of hours of recorded class content from Ben, Nathan, and the rest of the Demon crew.

23:04 - Scholarship Correction Email

Listener J shares an email he received from Widener University Commonwealth Law School. It notes that some incorrect scholarship offers were sent out and “an extra zero was added to the end of the award amount.” Ben and Nathan have a good laugh and appreciate J for sending this email into the show.

25:05 - Retake and Reapply?

Listener Jennifer applied to law school this cycle with a 149 LSAT and a 2.7 UGPA. She asks Nathan and Ben for advice on whether to wait until she hears back from three schools or to just start studying to take the LSAT again. The guys’ advice is simple—Jennifer should retake the LSAT and reapply with her best LSAT score at the beginning of an admission cycle.

34:34 - 173 by April?

Student Greg’s goal is to end up in big law, so he’s hoping to attend a higher-ranked law school. He wants to know if it is possible to get a 173 by April when he’s currently scoring in the 159–163 range. Ben and Nathan advise Greg not to set such a strict timeline for his LSAT prep. He should plan to study until he is consistently scoring in the 170s. Greg should also consider what life will be like as a big-law attorney before choosing a law school based solely on that end goal.

45:54 - GPA Addendum

Listener Eben asks for advice on whether to write a GPA addendum. She explains that her 3.4 GPA is due to working full time while in undergrad. Eben is currently a junior in college, so she still has time to bring her grades up. The guys encourage Eben—and any listeners who are still in undergrad—to make their GPA their first priority. Once your GPA is sorted, then focus on getting your best LSAT score.

50:18 - Using All Your LSAT Attempts

An anonymous student shares that they improved from a 144 diagnostic score to an official 172 using LSAT Demon. But why stop there? This student is now averaging in the upper 170s on practice tests, so they registered for the March LSAT and plan to retake until they get a score in their PT range or run out of attempts. Ben and Nathan applaud Anonymous for getting greedy.

53:23 - Choosing Your Major

Listener Sophie is a Women’s Gender and Sexuality major. She’s worried that law schools might look down on her choice of major and asks whether she should talk about it in her personal statement. Ben and Nathan don’t think law schools will look down on her major. The most important thing for Sophie to worry about while she’s still in undergrad is getting straight A’s. Law schools care about your GPA more than your major.

1:00:16 - Interview with Economist Laurence J. Kotlikoff

Nathan and Ben became interested in Professor Kotlikoff after reading his recent CNBC article on money management. First on the list of Prof. Kotlikoff’s “21 money rules” is not borrowing money for college. The guys chat with him about law school debt, employment outcomes, and more.