Articles published in June 2013

Friday Links: Top 100 Law Firms, Law School Grading, and More!


Hoping LSAT scores are released soon!

Still looking for something to do while you wait for LSAC to release  the June 2013 LSAT scores? Check out this week’s roundup of great tips and news about law school and the legal profession:

10 Things Every Summer Associate Needs to Know (The Careerist)

Here are 10 essential tips from Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In—Women, Work and the Will to Lead, that apply to lawyers (both men and women) and summer associates.

Vault Law 100 (Vault)

The 2014 Vault Law 100 is here. Nearly 17,000 law associates rated law firms based on a scale of 1 to 10 based on prestige.

Law Firms Hiring! (JD Journal)

Law School graduates can expect better returns, better job opportunities, and overall more hiring by larger firms, says JD Journal.

10 Surprising Things I Learned in Law School (Parade)

Attorney Vibeke Norgaard Martin and Matthew Frederick (creator, editor, and illustrator of the 101 Things I Learned series) offer insights into the world of law that can benefit everyone.

Can Law School Grading Be More Fair? (Above the Law)

Above the Law considers the proposals of one law professor who has thought through some modest ways to make grading exams “something less of a random crapshoot.”

Did we miss your favorite article from the week? Let us know what you have been reading in the comments or tweet @ManhattanLSAT.

How the LSAT Relates to Law School


lsat law schoolThe official position of Law School Admission Counsel (LSAC) is that the LSAT is designed to measure skills that are essential for a legal career.  As students approach the test, however, many of them view this test as a hurdle that must be overcome, then the skills gained can be abandoned.

This mentality does two things.  First, it makes it harder to take LSAT studying seriously.  If the work is only for a single test, even if that test represents the potential for getting into the best law schools, it seems to become less important and studying is harder.  Second, it takes skills that you have carefully honed in preparation to the test and throws them out before they’ve filled their potential. These skills will be useful both in law school and in the legal profession.

Reading Comprehension

Though this is the section that many people feel they cannot improve upon, it is actually one of the most representative sections the LSAT offers.  In law school you will read numerous briefs and opinions, each one based either on an argument or the rationale behind a ruling.  Though you’ll have to know the content, what is far more important is the logic behind each piece of writing.  You’ll discuss which side of the argument was strongest and why, what holes appear in the case, and what potentially important aspects have been overlooked.

Those strategies are exactly what reading comprehension tests.  In fact, what most people mistakenly do is try to read each passage and absorb the content.  Instead, reading it as if you’re a judge determining the relevance of each fact.  How does this point relate to the main point?  What is the main point to be made?  Is this area supporting that point or proposing a counter to it?  All these questions will be asked and hopefully answered both in reading comprehension and in the practice of law.
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LSAT Scores May Be Closer Than They Appear


For those of you who took the June LSAT and are waiting on pins and needles for your score, you may be interested to know that scores have generally been released two to four days before the official release date:

LSAT Test Date

Scheduled Score Release Date

Actual Score Release Date

Number of Days Early

June 14, 2004 July 6, 2004 July 2, 2004 4
June 6, 2005 June 27, 2005 June 25, 2005 2
June 12, 2006 July 3, 2006 June 29, 2006 4
June 11, 2007 July 2, 2007 June 30, 2007 2
June 16, 2008 July 7, 2008 July 3, 2008 4
June 8, 2009 June 29, 2009 June 25, 2009 4
June 7, 2010 June 28, 2010 June 25, 2010 3
June 6, 2011 June 29, 2011 June 27, 2011 2
June 11, 2012 July 6, 2012 July 2, 2012 4
June 10, 2013 July 5, 2013 ? ?

As you can see, chances are that your score will show up in your inbox prior to July 5 and possibly as early as July 1. When that day does come, here’s how it works: you’ll get an email sometime during it. The scores are released in batches and so your friends who also took the test may know their scores in the morning while you don’t get yours until evening. But once the floodgates open, you can trust that it’s on its way.

In the meantime, enjoy the sun and how slow time seems to be passing–that isn’t something we get to experience much in life! (Bright side?)

Free LSAT Events This Week: June 24 – June 30


free greHere are the free LSAT events we’re holding this week. All times local unless otherwise specified.

6/30/13 – Boston, MA- Free Trial Class– 1:00PM- 4:00PM

6/30/13 – New York, NY- Free Trial Class– 2:00PM- 5:00PM

Looking for more free events? Check out our Free Events Listings Page

Friday Links: Summer Associateships, Changing Law Schools, & More!



Summer reading

Happy first day of summer!

Happy Friday and happy first day of summer! We’ve rounded up your first batch of summer reading– full of great tips and news about law school and the legal profession:

Do You Have to Be an Annoying Suck-Up to Succeed as a Summer Associate? (The Girl’s Guide To Law School)

Take some personal advice from The Girl’s Guide To Law School for how to proceed at your associateship this summer.

Consider Law Schools With In-House Firms, Incubators (U.S. News Education)

At school-based firms, attorneys may spend between one and three years honing their skills.

The Absolute Worst States for Job Hunting Law-School Grads (The Atlantic)

New research shows which corners of the country have the biggest oversupply of young lawyers.

Law Schools: Get Back to Basics (The National Law Journal)

The National Law Journal makes the case for why students should be provided with more opportunities to engage in practical legal writing.

Law Schools Are Changing, But How and Why? (part two) (Lawyerist)

How, exactly, are law schools changing? How will they change in the next 5 years or so? Lawyerist has some interesting insight.

Did we miss your favorite article from the week? Let us know what you have been reading in the comments or tweet @ManhattanLSAT

Beware of Sleeper Rules


Could believe Lady Gaga and the LSAT have something in common?!

I recently had a conversation with a student about what he refers to as “sleeper rules” in games. Sleeper rules are the rules that don’t jive with the rest of the rules. They’re the odd man out, the lone ranger. In a Western, they’d be mavericks. On a playground, they’d be last picked. They’re Lady Gaga in the 2000s and Madonna in the ’80s. They’re the green circle next to the four blue … You get it.

We see sleeper rules all over the places in games, but a really good example is the standalone numbered-ordering rule in a relative ordering game: you are given seven rules, say, and six of them are relative (“X is before Y but after V”). The last one is not. It reads, “V can’t be third.” How many of you have gotten to a rule like this–one that you cannot easily incorporate into your diagram–and decided, I’ll just keep it in my head? Aha! Caught!

My guess is that it’s come back to bite you in the bum, as the ol’ “just keeping it in my head” is known to do in logic games.

While it may be your intuition to just keep it in your head, for most of us the best way to handle sleeper rules is actually to do the opposite. Rules that don’t conform to the expectations of the whole game should generally be treated like royalty. Give them a prominent spot on the page, circle them, underline them, shine a giant spotlight on them–that is, make them graphically obvious, and do so close to your diagram. In the example above, this might mean putting a big slash over “3” underneath the V in your diagram, or a big “V NOT THIRD!” note alongside it.

Obvious, nonconforming rules should be notated in the same way: conspicuously. This is the safest way to handle them.

Friday Links: Clerkship Applications, LSAT Stress Management, & More!


June LSAT scores will come. Patience is key!

If you took the June 2013 LSAT this week, it’s now time to play the waiting game. Here are some of this week’s top articles for you to read while you pass the time.

Law Schools Shift Focus for Grads (U-T San Diego)

In the face of a grim job market, some law schools are steering students toward legal areas where careers are more promising.

Evaluate Professors to Find a Good Law School Fit (U.S. News Education)

Prospective students can get a feel for a teacher’s style by observing a class.

The Top Five Law Schools for Jobs, Cost, Clerkships, and More (Above the Law)

Here are the top five law schools based on each individual data point that composes Above the Law’s rankings formula.

The Time is Now: Start Preparing Clerkship Applications this Summer (Lawyerist)

If you just finished your 2L year, this summer is the time to start getting your clerkship applications together

LSAT Sanity: Stress Management (Part 1) (jdMission)

Did we miss your favorite article from the week? Let us know what you have been reading in the comments or tweet @ManhattanLSAT

The Week After the LSAT



Note: This is Manhattan LSAT instructor Emily Dugan‘s first post for our blog. Welcome her in the comment section!

The June LSAT is finally over.  At this point, one of two things are likely going through your head.  Either “Yes, I am done, and I can finally stop worrying,” or “Oh crap, that was so much harder than I was expecting, I think I did awful.”  Both reactions are totally normal, but one is more useful than the other.

If you fall into the first group and are just relieved it’s over, you’re doing well.  If any major errors had been made, you would have noticed at the time, so your confidence is a great sign.  Just wait for your score to come in and give yourself some much needed rest.

Most people, however, have some qualms about how well the test went.  This is a much more normal reaction.  Know that almost everyone who walks out those doors is disappointed in their performance.  The truth is that most of these fears aren’t well founded.  Unless you can point to some specific thing like you forgot to fill in one section of the test on the answer sheet or you got violently ill during the logic games, you probably did exactly as you’d been doing on your practice exams.

It’s tough to tell in the heat of the moment which questions you got right or wrong.  The LSAT is a difficult test, so it’s rare that you’ll be 100% sure that the answer you put was the right one.  Add to that the stress of test day, and people often assume that they got all those questions wrong.  You didn’t.

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What Does the LSAT Have to do With Being a Lawyer?” -Everyone (studying for the LSAT)


iStock_000015742269XSmallPeople are often surprised to learn certain things about the Law School Admissions Test, in particular that a substantial portion of its content appears irrelevant to “being a lawyer.” A typical LSAT “game” reads something like, “If Frank lets go of his balloon first and Anna lets go of her balloon last, how many different combinations of kids could lose balloons in between?” Imagine sudoku but with words. This, and yet law schools give applicants’ LSAT scores tremendous weight in making their admissions decisions.

But they haven’t always. The test itself is only 65 years old, and the history of the LSATprovides some insight into why, exactly, it can seem to have so little to do with the field of law.

Prior to the LSAT, there wasn’t one admissions test that all law schools used–there were a couple of well-known ones, but their use wasn’t universal. In 1945 the admissions director at Columbia Law School, unsatisfied with the tests currently available, wrote to the President of the College Entrance Examination Board that he wanted to discuss the creation of a new one. When they finally met two years later, they envisioned a test intended to correlate with first year grades “on the assumption that first-year performance is highly correlated with later success in law school and in legal practice.” The key was law school performance, not bar exam passage since, they noted at the meeting, “everybody passes [bar exams] sooner or later” (quote pulled from the same article linked to above). With this goal in mind, they invited Harvard and Yale to sign on to the plan, which they did, followed by other schools.

The LSAT was never intended to measure aptitude for the practice of law; it was designed to measure potential success as a law student based on the belief that LSAT performance would correlate with law school performance, and that law school performance would correlate with one’s professional success thereafter.

So how have all these expected correlations played out?

A 2011 report by the Law School Admissions Council (which administers the LSAT) claims that the LSAT is a better predictor of law school performance than undergraduate GPA, and that GPA and LSAT score combined is a better predictor than either one, alone, concluding that “these results, combined with similar results from previous studies, support the validity of the LSAT for use in the law school admission process.” I know: shocking that an LSAC study would affirm LSAC’s continuing usefulness. But there is also, interestingly, some evidence that preparing for the test itself alters your brain–that learning LSAT-relevant reasoning can actually make you smarter. Silvia Bunge, associate professor in the UC Berkeley Department of Psychology and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute says:

“A lot of people still believe that you are either smart or you are not, and sure, you can practice for a test, but you are not fundamentally changing your brain … Our research provides a more positive message. How you perform on one of these tests is not necessarily predictive of your future success, it merely reflects your prior history of cognitive engagement, and potentially how prepared you are at this time to enter a graduate program or a law school, as opposed to how prepared you could ever be.”

But the process of studying for the text had visible effects on brain connectivity:

The structural changes were revealed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) scans of the brains of 24 college students or recent graduates before and after 100 hours of LSAT training over a three-month period. When compared with brain scans of a matched control group of 23 young adults, the trained students developed increased connectivity between the frontal lobes of the brain, and between frontal and parietal lobes.

If this is true, perhaps what’s ultimately so useful about the LSAT isn’t how well it’s correlated with first-year grades, or how well it predicts overall success, but how preparing for it actually makes people better at reasoning. That may make them better at the LSAT sure, but ultimately it’s because they’ve been made better thinkers, which we can infer without getting too crazy likely means better law students and lawyers. That would make the LSAT, rather than just a weeding out tool or a litmus test, a kind of phase of legal training, itself.

As for whether doing well in law school makes you a better lawyer, well, a 2010 studydoes suggest that it’s a good predictor of your career: “the consistent theme we find throughout this analysis is that performance in law school–as measured by law school grades–is the most important predictor of career success. It is decisively more important than law school ‘eliteness.’” This should dispel some worry that what school you get into matters more than how you do once you get there (a commonly held viewamong law school applicants).

So if the LSAT is a reasonably reliable predictor of law school performance, and if law school performance is a reliable predictor of career success, can we say that the LSAT can predict if you’re going to be a good lawyer? I’ll leave that one for you to reason out, for your own sake.

Free LSAT Events This Week: June 9 – June 15


free greHere are the free LSAT events we’re holding this week. All times local unless otherwise specified.

6/9/13 – Online- Free Trial Class– 4:00PM- 7:00PM (EDT)

6/10/13 – Washington, D.C.- Free Trial Class– 6:30PM- 9:30PM

6/11/13 – New York, NY- Free Trial Class– 6:30PM- 9:30PM

6/15/13 -New York, NY- Free Proctored LSAT Practice Exam– 2:00PM- 5:00PM

Looking for more free events? Check out our Free Events Listings Page