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June 03, 2008

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Propecia online

I think you can be happy without peace of mind. You can have conflicts with people or constantly perceiving the fore coming of conflict and still be happy. I think it depends entirely on the person and that no generic formula can represent a person accurately 100 percent. A NASCAR driver constantly risking his or her life, racing at high speeds just for the "rush" associated with it. Risking his/her life doesn't exactly fit the definition of "peace of mind." A consciencness of complete self fuliment or just simply doing what makes you happy seems to be a more precise pillar.

Max

Just do what your intuition and logic tells you. Don't listen to anything from anyone. "no" or "Yes" - it is your decision and you will be solely responsible for this. After 10 years it will seem totally different. This is your life and your future, and not those who tell you what is better to do will pay the price for your decisions but you will. After you made a decision - don't second-guess, just deal with it.

housefly

steve b, great post!

steve b

If accepting transfers is "gaming" the system, then it is the system that is flawed. LSAT and GPA represent very loose predictors of a law student's success in law school. For obvious reasons, 1L performance represents a very accurate predictor of success in law school. How absurd that a student who got five more answers correct on the LSAT should be desperately sought after and wooed by top schools and scholarships, while the student who has proved her legal aptitude beyond a doubt should have her job prospects and future weighed down by her slightly lower LSAT score!

Refusing transfers smacks of the worst kind of elitism, where merit cannot undo what chance has done the better part of.

0L 2008

I'll tell you what it tells me, two things:
1. U.S. News rankings are destroying higher education. Schools obsess about the USN rankings like meth addicts worrying about their next fix. The rankings are a self perpetuating evil. Schools at the top stay at the top because of the methodology. LSAT & GMAT scores are a shortcut that provides a tidy and conspicuous number to wear like a giant cubic zirconia ring.

2. I am starting law school next month. For a variety of reasons, I will be at a T4 and the mere fact that I am on this post tells you that I am already preparing to transfer. There are 3 Tier 1 schools in range and if I can transfer in from my T4, that equates to thousands of $$$ and half the work during the job search.

I have an MBA from a top program and if I am in the top 10% at the end of 1L, I would likely be a very attractive trans candidate. I would rather just stay at my T4 because it is in my hometown where I will eventually practice, but I know that my career would suffer irreparably. It's a shame, but that the way you play the game.

Transfer Kid

Another [albeit singular] data point:

I transferred to a top 20 from a tier 3. I actually ended up taking a job back in the tier 3's home market for personal reasons.

My grades at the tier 3 were good but not stellar and my firm only takes students from the tier 3 who have stellar grades. When I interviewed with them as a 2L, I only had my grades from the tier 3 (although I did make the law review at the top 20) but yet still got the job. In fact, no one in my summer class was from the tier 3 and all from much higher ranked schools.

What does that tell you?

Corey

Well that is a classic collective action problem, why should you sacrifice your transfer leg up and wait for the firms to figure out what they should already know about whole-person review? It worked for me perhaps only because my school is just above the line where firms will still go to "cherry pick." But it didn't work for you so I should shut up about it. I am sorry that you were punished for doing the right thing.

When faced with a prisoner's dilemma, either we all trade in our better natures in the name of rational self-interest, or the solution has to come from the top (i.e. the warden should stop conditioning clemency on the prisoner's willingness to sell out others). The real messed up thing here is there is no warden, the system is self-referential. The firms pressure the schools and the students to be prestige whores, but then they turn around and compete against each other for client business based on the number of prestige hires they can make. Why should the number of Harvard grads at the firm show up in a pitch-book? If I was a CEO that would be a counter-indicator, but even assuming Harvard teaches law, how does that translate to better client service? But then that's why I am not a CEO, in order to get that job you have to be a prestige-whore in MBA-land, which colors your whole outlook on merit when you start hiring JDs.

The bottom line is that a meritocracy is a s--- way to run a society. You can't rank people without dehumanizing them because the truly relevant human qualities are incommensurable. Now I am leaving work to go drink some absinthe and read Bukowski. Peace and good luck in the job search.

wiseacre

corey, i just graduated from a tier-two school after passing up the chance to transfer to a top 10 school. Everything you said makes perfect intuitive sense and shows that you are a thoughtful, grounded individual. What it doesn't do, however, is help me get my first job. Even as one of the very top students at a second-tier school, I can't get interviews with any firms, judges, or government agencies. I went into school thinking that I wouldn't stoop so low as to be a prestige/grades whore, but unfortunately those are the criteria on which I am entirely judged. If I had transferred I would have had multiple offers. Instead, I have nothing. Until the profession accepts that top students at lower-ranked schools ARE better workers than mediocre students at top schools, transferring is the only way to get a leg up.

Corey

"We cannot generalize, and thus make policy, from individual data points. We need a representative sample, which LSSSE provides."

You can find an individual data point that reflects moral content you wish to propagate and promote, and then set policy to replicate that data point. Proceding from a generalization based on a representative sample is your method, but not the only method. If you take the Myers-Briggs test, one of the questions asks whether you prefer to act from data or test new hypotheses against feeling. Your generalization requirement marginalizes a key mode of analysis for us ENFPs. :)

Anyway, my comment:

Obviously people can improve their degree "pedigree" by transfering. Equally obviously, this will come at the expense of their social and academic networking, given the need to reset after a dramatic bond-forming 1L year. Degree pedigree can buy a lot, we all know how much free love and benefit of the doubt comes from writing Harvard on a resume. Here comes the moral judgment: success based on a strong community network and a track record of class leadership is superior and longer lasting than success based on association with a prestige factory. Presuming talent based on admission criteria is pathological and would better be discouraged. Liberal transfer policies promote further devotion to a disfunctional hierarchy based on LSAT score correlations to US News rankings.

I had an opportunity to transfer and didn't take it. I am positive, based on my subsequent interactions with co-clerks and co-workers from "elite" schools, that I could have drank their milkshake at their school too. But I would have been less integrated into a community, I would have had less ideal-forming communications, and I would have become what I hate... a rankings whore. IU is an amazing school and it has the same law in its library as Harvard.

To me, transfering represents a weak submission to the reality that people intend to rank-order human beings based on data in a magazine. How we strive for success and recognition reflects on whether we deserve it. If we can all agree that the US News rankings are flawed at best and pathological at worst, then isn't it morally objectionable for students or deans to game them?

WUSTL Transfer Grad

Having transferred in to and just graduated from WUSTL, I can say that I did not see any of the issues that the report found.

If for nothing else, WUSTL is a pretty large school in general so going in to 2L there were a lot of students that did not know a lot of the other students since this was the first time the sections intermingled. I can say personally, that I have an equal number of transfer and non-transfer friends that I intend on maintaining friendships with even though we are now spread across the country.

On the other hand, coming from a small undergrad of less than 1,000 students; I definitely saw the few transfer students we got each year have a hard time adjusting. So I definitely can see if you are one of only a handful of transfers tranferring into a small law school where you would have a tough time fitting in.

With regards to the effects of the exodus of students transferring to higher ranked schools, I do not feel bad for my old school since I never once received any support from the apathetic administration and felt that the career prospects were decent, but geographically limited for the top of the class and downright dismal for the rest. Why wouldn't I want to get out of that situation if I had the chance? In fact, when I told the school I was leaving, they did absolutely nothing to try to talk me out of it.

Anon version 2

I transferred after my 1L year to a large, state school where I could get in-state tuition.

I'd have to say that my experience, while mostly positive, is exactly represented in the 2005 LSSSE Annual Report. I went from being quite social with plenty of friends and contacts at my 1L school to being somewhat of a social recluse at my transfer school.

While attending my transfer school, I often wondered whether I'd made a mistake and secretly wished almost weekly that I never made the transfer.

However, now that I'm a few years removed from law school, I'm quite glad I made the switch. Not only does my degree have a little better pedigree, but I think I learned a lot of valuable lessons in the isolation of the transfer.

Life, and the practice of law in particular, isn't nearly as social as high school, college, and my first year of law school. There are many days and weeks of what feels like isolation that comes with being an associate. If I was as disillusioned with that feeling of isolation now as I was during my years as a transfer student, it would be really easy to want to give up law and do something else.

Bill Henderson

Anon, this is an interesting data point. Your description accurately describes the economics of transfer students.

You raise an important point: Transfer students may be, on balance, happy with the move. So the school feels good about that. The counter factual example, however, is more 1L students who build and preserve networks. The LSSSE data points to costs. In addition, Top schools feeling good about accepting transfers ignores the problems created at lower ranked schools that are getting raided. There are externalities here.

I think we need to separate the data and incentives from the stories we tell ourselves to rationalize our own institutions behavior or what has benefited us personally.

Thanks for sharing that example. bh.

Anon

I just happened to meet a former assoc. dean of students at one of the aforementioned "transfer friendly" schools. This school is highly ranked, but not one of the elite.

We somehow got to talking about transfers and how he was the one at his particular school who thought of admitting large numbers of transfers. His reasoning was such:

1. These students are clearly capable despite low pre-law credentials and will most likely pass the bar wherever they end up.

2. Coming from much lower ranked schools, these students will be very appreciative to be at a much higher ranked school and consequently be VERY happy to pay full tuition, donate to the school, and spread the good word about the school.

3. It takes relatively little expense to absorb these new students and the net gain in revenue can then be used for scholarships where the competition for top talent is fierce (i.e., incoming 1Ls).

30 transfers each paying $35K/year represents $2.1 MM in additional tuition per transfer class! While I have no idea what the budget is to run a top law school, 1.05 MM year can't be insignificant at even the largest schools.

Bill Henderson

Anon, I doubt you are right. For this to be true, a few really bad scores from schools with few transfers would have to drive/overwhelm the allegedly positive experiences at schools that had lots of transfer students.

Moreover, it does not make much theoretical sense. 1Ls have all of their 1L classmates in their social networks. Transfers would have mostly transfers (under the system you posit). At the big net gainers of transfers, only 20% joined the class as 2Ls. This translates into smaller networks for transfer students and hence the lower scores that LSSSE reports.

bh.

Anon

With respect to the LSSSE survey, it's possible that the responses are more favorable when transferring to a school that takes lots of transfers. This both removes the transfer stigma when only a few are taken and also provides a potential community for the transfer students. Does the LSSSE survey aggregate responses by school and cross-match with these transfer numbers per school?

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