Don’t Die with Your Debt (Ep. 360)

Nathan Fox's headshot.

Law school can leave you with a lifetime of debt if you aren’t careful. On today’s episode, Nathan and Ben discuss a cautionary tale of a recent law school graduate who is $347,000 in student debt and can’t find a job. He thought that attending law school would set him up for a comfortable future. Instead, he’ll likely be in debt for the rest of his life. The guys implore listeners not to make the same mistake. Don’t pay for law school. They also answer a full mailbag of listener questions about how to structure your study schedule, whether testing accommodations are fair, and how high-scoring students achieve a deeper understanding of the LSAT.

As always, if you like the show and 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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7.26.2022 — September LSAT registration deadline

8.12.2022 — August LSAT begins

8.31.2022 — August LSAT scores released

9.9.2022 — September LSAT begins

9.28.2022 — September LSAT scores released

4:16 - Pearls vs. Turds

Listener Kash encountered a load of questionable advice on Reading Comprehension from an LSAT tutor on Reddit. Has he uncovered any pearls, or just more turds for the pile? The guys weigh in on what makes a wrong answer wrong and whether you should “save your attention” for the question stem and answer choices.

9:23 - Ideal Implementation Granularity

Setting goals that are too big can lead to burnout when success feels unattainable. Setting too many small goals, on the other hand, may cause you to lose sight of what’s really important. Ben discusses how to tap into your intuition and set goals that will motivate you to keep working.

13:00 - Advice for High-Scoring Students

Nathan and Ben advise most LSAT students to take no more than one full-length practice test per week. Listener Andrew asks whether that advice applies to students who are consistently scoring the 170s. The guys discuss why their advice may differ for high scorers and what sets those students apart.

21:11 - Are Accommodations Fair?

An anonymous listener has an obvious justification for receiving testing accommodations. But they feel uneasy about accepting them. They won’t receive extra help in their legal career, so why should they get them on the LSAT? The guys discuss the amoral nature of the legal profession.

28:06 - Balancing a Study Schedule

LSAT Demon student Peter struggles to find the right balance of drilling, practice tests, and lessons. He worries that his time management might be holding him back, as some four-hour study sessions feel less productive than other one-hour sessions. Ben and Nathan suggest that Peter avoid over-studying and deprioritize lessons in favor of drilling and timed sections.

37:58 - Tautology

Listener Olivia has been following Nathan and Ben’s advice to look up any unfamiliar words that pop up on practice tests. She recently discovered a word that she thought the guys might like for their critiques of future emails to the podcast.

40:00 - Advice for Non-Native English Speakers

Lawyers are knights of the English language. A typical law school student has above-average reading and writing skills. Ben and Nathan caution a non-native English speaker that they face an uphill battle in law school and legal practice. If they want to practice law in the United States, becoming fluent in English is a must.

46:26 - Value Zero

LSAT Demon student Sarah asks for advice on her letters of recommendation and personal statement. But Ben is distracted by a huge unanswered question: Does she have her best LSAT score on record? The guys advocate a “value zero” approach to tackling your to-do list.

56:47 - From 157 to 180

Former LSAT Demon student John shares news of his 180 on the June test. Way to go, John!

58:11 - Stuck in the 150s

An anonymous Canadian listener started with a diagnostic score of 158 but saw declining practice-test scores while studying with the “LSAT Prep Book That Must Not Be Named.” They just subscribed to the Demon in hopes of breaking into the 160s by August. Ben and Nathan encourage Anonymous to aim higher. The guys discuss the one-question-at-a-time approach to LSAT improvement and ponder whether Windsor is the Detroit of Canada.

1:05:24 - Can I Improve by 40+ points?

Listener Matthew is an ultramarathoner, but he faces a different kind of long-distance challenge in his LSAT prep. A low undergraduate GPA means he’ll need to crush the LSAT if he wants to go to law school for free. But to reach his goal score, he’d need to improve by more than 40 points. Nathan and Ben discuss his prospects and whether he should consider another path.

1:13:16 - Don’t Expect Law School to Be Interesting

Listener Jay yearns for intellectual stimulation, but the guys warn him not to expect that from law school. They also discuss why shadowing lawyers and gaining work experience might be helpful (hint: not because it’ll look good on a resume) and how law schools might judge his major in biomedical engineering.

1:19:28 - Unemployed and $347,000 in Debt

Listener Christin shares a Business Insider article about a first-generation law school grad who is $347,000 in debt and can’t find a job. He’s not eligible for federal student loan relief, and this mountain of debt will likely follow him to his grave. Ben and Nathan’s advice? Don’t fall into the same trap. Don’t pay for law school.

1:24:40 - Some Friendly Bad Advice

According to student Samantha’s lawyer friend, no one actually understands most of the questions on the LSAT and no one scores over 170. Samantha’s on a mission to prove him wrong and join the many Demon students who’ve scored 170+ on the LSAT.