US News Revamps Rankings (Ep. 384)

Ben Olson's headshot.

US News & World Report is changing the way it ranks law schools. A recent letter to law school deans outlines updates to the ranking methodology, including reduced emphasis on reputational surveys. On today’s pod, Ben and Nathan predict the impact that these changes may have on the rankings and on the law school scholarship game. Later, the guys weigh the importance of GPA versus school reputation on law school applications, recommend strategies for networking with lawyers, and warn a new LSAT student not to aim too high too soon.

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0:59 - US News Ranking Methodology

Listener Kris shares information about upcoming changes to US News’s ranking methodology. The biggest change: US News will give less weight to reputational surveys, which previously accounted for 40% of a law school’s assessment. Ben and Nathan anticipate a shake-up in next year’s rankings.

19:26 - Pearls vs. Turds

Listener Ana passes along some sage advice: “you get good at what you practice.” Nathan and Ben see this philosophy as crucial to LSAT prep—practice incorrectly and you’ll just reinforce an approach that makes you worse at the test. Listener Alex then describes the “rule of thirds” for judging your progress toward a challenging goal.

32:14 - GPA vs. School Reputation

An anonymous listener asks whether attending an “easy A” religious college will be held against them on their law school applications. Ben and Nathan maintain that an applicant’s GPA matters more than the school they attended. The guys remind listeners that a law school is a business first. It’s not in any law school’s interest to discriminate on the basis of religious or political beliefs.

43:04 - Networking with Lawyers

Listener Sidney is interested in learning what it’s like to work as a family lawyer. Nathan and Ben recommend some networking strategies. The guys also warn Sidney that family law isn’t for most people.

54:32 - More Gladwell Shade

TLP producer Erik recommends an episode of the podcast If Books Could Kill that eviscerates Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.

57:32 - One Step at a Time

An anonymous student just began studying and aims to score 173. Ben and Nathan worry that this goal might be counterproductive: aiming too high too soon can tempt students to sacrifice accuracy for speed.

1:04:00 - Canadian Law Schools

Demon student G requests an episode focused on Canadian law schools. The guys recommend that G check out these episodes of LSAT Demon Daily:

1:06:40 - ABA 509 Confusion

Nathan and Ben share an anonymous listener’s frustration over confusing ABA 509 reports. These reports are imperfect, but they’re still an applicant’s best source of information regarding law school scholarships.