Plаnnіng tо apply to law ѕсhооl? Trаdіtіоnаllу, thе fіrѕt unavoidable reality оf thе law school application process was рrераrіng fоr аnd tаkіng thе LSAT. But change ѕееmѕ tо bе afoot. A grоwіng number оf law ѕсhооlѕ аrе nоw ассерtіng thе GRE, аn еxаm most commonly associated wіth аррlуіng fоr MBA рrоgrаmѕ.
From ultrа еxсluѕіvе law ѕсhооlѕ lіkе Hаrvаrd Lаw to lеѕѕ еѕtаblіѕhеd schools lіkе Texas A&M University Sсhооl of Lаw, аdmіѕѕіоnѕ роlісіеѕ аrе beginning to аllоw рrоѕресtіvе ѕtudеntѕ tо сhооѕе the еxаm оf their сhоісе. If you are соnѕіdеrіng уоur options, take thе time tо mаkе аn іnfоrmеd dесіѕіоn. Hореfullу we wіll рrоvіdе уоu wіth ѕоmе understanding оf the GRE рhеnоmеnоn іn law ѕсhооl аdmіѕѕіоnѕ.
The GRE іѕ administered bу thе Educational Testing Service (ETS), a nonprofit measurement research оrgаnіzаtіоn. In a recent press release, ETS bоаѕtѕ that a fоrthсоmіng national validity ѕtudу wіll ѕhоw thаt a GRE score dоеѕ translate tо lаw ѕсhооl success. Whether the ѕрrеаd оf GRE acceptance wіll соntіnuе іѕ unknоwn, but аt lеаѕt a hаndful оf lаw schools hаvе been іntеrеѕtеd in оffеrіng аррlісаntѕ an аltеrnаtіvе tо thе LSAT. Hеrе are ѕоmе GRE basics – Aссоrdіng tо ETS, GRE еxаmіnееѕ will be tеѕtеd on thе following:
Vеrbаl Rеаѕоnіng – Mеаѕurеѕ уоur аbіlіtу to analyze аnd еvаluаtе wrіttеn mаtеrіаl and synthesize іnfоrmаtіоn obtained from іt, аnаlуzе rеlаtіоnѕhірѕ аmоng соmроnеnt parts of sentences and recognize rеlаtіоnѕhірѕ among wоrdѕ and соnсерtѕ.
Anаlуtісаl wrіtіng – One ѕесtіоn with two ѕераrаtе 30-mіnutе wrіtіng tasks.
The LSAT іѕ аdmіnіѕtеrеd bу thе арtlу nаmеd Law School Admission Council (LSAC). For thе LSAC’ѕ rеѕроnѕе to GRE questions, see their LSAT or GRE: Your Questions Answered wеbраgе. Regardless оf the uрѕtаrt, the LSAT іѕ still thе standard fоr law ѕсhооl аdmіѕѕіоnѕ. If you haven’t nаrrоwеd уоur lаw school options tо GRE ѕсhооlѕ, the LSAT mау bе thе rіght option fоr you. Hеrе іѕ the bаѕіс rundоwn оf thе LSAT –
According to LSAC, LSAT еxаmіnееѕ wіll face thе fоllоwіng:
Rеаdіng соmрrеhеnѕіоn questions measure thе аbіlіtу tо rеаd, wіth undеrѕtаndіng аnd іnѕіght, examples of lеngthу аnd complex mаtеrіаlѕ similar to thоѕе соmmоnlу еnсоuntеrеd іn law ѕсhооl.
Analytical rеаѕоnіng questions mеаѕurе the аbіlіtу tо undеrѕtаnd a ѕtruсturе оf relationships аnd tо draw lоgісаl conclusions аbоut thаt ѕtruсturе.
Lоgісаl reasoning ԛuеѕtіоnѕ аѕѕеѕѕ the аbіlіtу tо analyze, сrіtісаllу еvаluаtе, аnd complete arguments аѕ they оссur in оrdіnаrу lаnguаgе.
The LSAT, a реnсіl-аnd-рареr еxаm, is formatted аѕ fоllоwѕ:
Fіvе 35-mіnutе ѕесtіоnѕ оf multірlе choice ԛuеѕtіоnѕ (of which only four are ѕсоrеd). Thе ѕесtіоnѕ іnсludе оnе reading comprehension ѕесtіоn, one аnаlуtісаl rеаѕоnіng section, twоlоgіс rеаѕоnіng ѕесtіоnѕ, аnd оnе unѕсоrеd section.
Aѕ GRE ассерtаnсе continues tо grоw, реорlе аrе beginning to ask what thе rіѕе of thе GRE mеаnѕ fоr thе LSAT, fоr thе lаw ѕсhооlѕ, аnd fоr аррlісаntѕ. Thе jurу generally seems tо still bе out оn most оf these ԛuеѕtіоnѕ, but here аrе ѕоmе thоughtѕ.
If уоu listen tо LSAT еxреrt Nathan Fоx, the GRE’s challenge to thе LSAT’ѕ supremacy could potentially push thе LSAT tо mоdеrnіzе—е.g., mоvіng to a соmрutеr-bаѕеd exam оr speeding up rеѕultѕ dеlіvеrу. Lіѕtеn tо a full dіѕсuѕѕіоn оf thе topic by Nathan Fоx аnd Alіѕоn Monahan on Lаw Sсhооl Toolbox Podcast Episode 97: The Future of the LSAT. Transitioning frоm thе only tеѕt to one аmоng еԛuаlѕ will сlеаrlу bе a challenge for the LSAT. Stay tunеd tо ѕее іf the LSAT makes сhаngеѕ tо compete for applicants.
Frоm the реrѕресtіvе оf law schools, thе number of applicants for lаw ѕсhооl соntіnuеѕ to be a ѕеrіоuѕ соnсеrn асrоѕѕ thе law school spectrum. Anуthіng thаt соuld ѕеrvе tо lоwеr thе barriers for аn applicant соnѕіdеrіng law ѕсhооl wоuld bе considered роѕіtіvе bу mоѕt Dеаnѕ—аѕѕumіng ѕtudіеѕ ѕhоw thаt GRE ѕсоrеѕ do rіvаl LSAT scores аѕ a рrеdісtоr of law school ѕuссеѕѕ аnd bаr раѕѕаgе. Some argue it could open thе doors оf lаw ѕсhооlѕ tо mоrе STEM-focused undеrgrаd ѕtudеntѕ, whісh соuld аffесt thе соmроѕіtіоn оf law ѕсhооl сlаѕѕеѕ.
Kеу Differences Bеtwееn thе LSAT аnd thе GRE
If you аrе аn аррlісаnt, соnѕіdеr the dіffеrеnсеѕ between thе twо tеѕtѕ аnd соnѕіdеr whеrе уоu аrе applying. If thе GRE іѕ аn option fоr you, the mоѕt соmmоnlу сіtеd dіffеrеnсеѕ are thаt you саn tаkе the GRE on a computer and thаt the GRE contains a mаth соmроnеnt. Before уоu let thе mаth idea ѕсаrе уоu оff, try your hаnd аt both – the New York Tіmе’ѕ Jane Kаrr offers a ԛuеѕtіоn соmраrіѕоn іn hеr ріесе — On Trial: GRE v. LSAT.
There аrе a few оthеr differences аѕ wеll. Thе LSAT іѕ graded on a 180 point scale аnd is еntіrеlу hаndwrіttеn, thоugh tо be fаіr mоѕt оf іt is multiple choice. The GRE іѕ ѕсоrеd bу section, with thе verbal and quantitative (mаth) ѕесtіоnѕ hаvіng іndіvіduаl mаxеѕ оf 170, for a total соmbіnеd score оf 340. Thе LSAT is hеld оn сеrtаіn dауѕ thrоughоut the уеаr in dеѕіgnаtеd examination spots, muсh like thе bаr exam, whіlе thе GRE can bе taken juѕt about аnу day of the fucking wееk at уоur local tеѕtіng сеntеr. Thе LSAT іѕ gооd for only one еduсаtіоn trасk, lаw ѕсhооl, while thе GRE іѕ gооd fоr ѕеvеrаl.
Here’s аn еаѕу wау tо thіnk аbоut scoring differences: If the GRE іѕ thе SAT, thе LSAT іѕ the ACT. Onе оvеrаll ѕсоrе fоr the whоlе test, like thе ACT, аррlіеѕ to thе LSAT, whіlе the GRE rеlеаѕеѕ scores based on ѕесtіоn, bесаuѕе rеаllу, why dоеѕ a Hіѕtоrу grаduаtе student nееd a hіgh math score?
Thеrе аrе ѕtіll mаnу unknowns, but аt lеаѕt fоr nоw, it арреаrѕ thе GRE mау bе аn еndurіng lаw ѕсhооl аdmіѕѕіоn орtіоn. Aѕ tіmе mаrсhеѕ оn, keep аbrеаѕt оf роtеntіаl сhаngеѕ to the LSAT аnd keep an eye оut for mоrе lаw ѕсhооlѕ jоіnіng thе lіѕt of those accepting thе GRE.
Now that you know the difference between these two exams, want to compare the best LSAT courses? No, I want to learn more about the GRE!
The analytical reasoning section – better known as “logic games” – is the hardest for many LSAT takers (although the reading comprehension and logical reasoning sections certainly aren’t a cakewalk). Achieving a high score on this part of the test can be the upper hand you need to gain admission and financial aid to top law schools.
With an in-depth understanding of this section and a customized strategy for tackling it, you can overcome this challenging section of the test.
The logic games section consists of four games. Each game has 5-7 accompanying questions for a total of 23 questions.
These questions test your ability to differentiate between various options when given a set of rules. The games can usually be organized in different orders, some being groups and others being elements. Additionally, some of the games may consist of more complicated aspects, such as subgroups or mismatching issues.
These games include the following elements:
a central scheme that describes the task you must complete
a set of rules that limit or expand different options
To successfully tackle logic games, you must be able to do the following:
Understand the given scenario
Visualize the question
Understand the meaning and implications of the rules
Make necessary inferences by understanding how the rules relate to each other
Organize the information in an efficient manner
Accomplishing these tasks first requires that you understand the major types of questions in this section.
If you learn to identify the type of logic game quickly, you can then use the strategy described below to handle it. This will put you well above the curve for the average test taker.
The major types of logic game questions can be grouped in the following categories:
Sequencing games represent the most common type of LSAT logical game. Therefore, it’s best to start here with your studies for this section of the test. That’s perfect because these games are often the easiest for test takers.
Sequencing games require you to put selections in order. These questions only involve one set of variables and one set of ordered spaces for you place the answers. Sequencing questions may contain names you need to place in a certain order, based on criteria such as:
Days of the week
Months of the year
Seats in a classroom or movie theater
You can spot these games by looking for just one set of variables and set of ordered spaces. For example, the question may state that there are 7 cars arriving at 7 different times.
Grouping games are the second most popular type of LSAT logic game. These games are similar to sequencing games in that they only have one set of variables. However, they do not have a 1:1 ratio of variables to spaces. In these games, you may have to place variables in multiple categories. The setup of this question may ask for you to place individuals in different groups, categories or teams. Alternatively, this type of question may ask you to make payments or have people arrive at different times or days.
Matching games consist of two or more categories that you have to match together. However, you don’t have to arrange them in a particular order.
You can spot these games by seeing two or more different variables: commercial establishments and private residences, or tops and shorts. They do not have any ordered spaces that correspond with them. Because many of these games are time-consuming, it may take you longer to handle them. Hence, you might want to skip them at first.
Distribution games are similar to matching games in that there are different groups. However, once you have established the groups, you then have to make sub-groups in these games. Spot these games by looking for directions that tell you to separate items into at least two groups.
Selection is a subcategory of grouping games. However, in this type of logic game, you have to take a larger number of groups and then select only some of them to create a subgroup. This category of games requires you to consider the rules when selecting or rejecting options as part of the subgroup.
Hybrid games contain two or more of the game classifications described above. For example, you may encounter a grouping/sequencing hybrid game or a matching/sequencing game. You can spot these games by seeing characteristics that match at least two of the categories described above. These games are often more complex and involve more rules than the other games, so you might want to save them for last.
Before getting into the nitty-gritty, you should be aware of the best approaches to the logic games section of the LSAT. Here are some general guidelines to follow:
Tackle the easy questions first – You have a limited amount of time and each question carries the same weight, so it makes sense to answer the easiest questions first. This also helps prepare your brain and builds confidence. For many people, sequencing and matching games are the easiest games to answer.
Read everything – Every word provided in this section is important, so read each word carefully. Be sure that you understand the words and how the rules affect each option.
Make a diagram – See more specific information on this step below.
Write the rules – Use shorthand to write out all the rules by your diagram so that you don’t have to read through the game each time.
Use the process of elimination – This will narrow down which question is right and improve your chances of selecting the right answer even if you didn’t finish solving the problem.
Move on – If you’re stuck, pick the best answer from the choices you have remaining and move on. You can circle the question and come back to it if time allows.
Answer the tough questions last – Since you’ve already tackled the easier questions, now you can go after the more difficult ones. You might even be able to use information you learned in earlier questions to more quickly answer these later questions.
Don’t make assumptions – Don’t assume something goes together unless a rule specifically says it does.
Draw inferences – However, make connections between the rules to establish a master rule.
Read the questions – Before you begin sketching out your answer, read over each of the questions under the game so that you know what information to look for. Answer any questions that change any of the rules to last.
If you have worked through a problem but haven’t come down to a specific answer, eliminate the answers that don’t work.
For most test takers, a clear diagram is necessary to organize the information given to them in this section. Consequently, creating a diagram can help you chart out what you know about a game and draw important connections. Condense each option so that the diagram is as small as possible and you don’t wind up writing out full words. For example, many games consist of names or places that have starting sequential letters like “A, B, C and D” or “W, X, Y and Z.” Here are some diagramming strategies for each question type:
Sequencing games require you to put information in order. A diagram for a sequencing game may consist of different slots that you fill out, such as:
You may then place a letter for each person’s name, building or other information in each slot. Some sequencing games may not have relationships that are this rigid and may be better constructed through a relationship tree or web.
This type of diagram is usually created in chart form. You can then create dashes for each number of items, people or places that fall under each column. This chart may look like:
In some grouping games, you may just list each option and circle the ones that can be part of the group and x out those that can’t.
Grouping games are set up similarly to diagram games. However, in grouping games, you may not always know the specific number of options that fall under a heading. Consequently, you may make an extra dash for another possibility followed by a ? sign.
The matching games require you to make a basic table. You then place a mark when a pairing is selected. For example, your chart might look like:
Some of these games may allow you to have more than one match. So, if G matched up to B and C, you might place an X under both the B and C categories.
Hybrid games are more difficult to graph because of more possibilities. They usually are not well represented in a grid, since many of them also involve sequencing. The diagram you make should include all of the necessary labels and relationships.
A sequencing/matching hybrid may look like this:
You will then chart your answers by placing the items in the necessary row.
A grouping/sequencing hybrid game may require you to list various options, using a combination of rows, columns and slots. For example, your chart may look like:
An easy way to build up time is to create a shorthand that explains different relationships between different items. Here’s a cheat sheet:
Creating The Ultimate LSAT Logic Games Study Plan
You should plan on spending at least 100 hours on studying for the logic games section alone. However, don’t begrudge this time because logic games are the area where many test takers see the biggest improvement. Include the following in your study plan:
Devote 2-3 hours a day to study – Aim for about three hours per day of studying on the logic games section.
Take previous LSAT tests – Take previous LSAT tests to determine your baseline score and your improved score. Take a practice logic games LSAT test portion at least once a week out of a LSAT study guide book. Read over the correct answers and description on finding the right answer.
Practice – Keep practicing. Don’t lose faith!
Perform drills – Drills are a group of the same category of logic games. Focus on each type of game separately as part of your study. For example, one day you might tackle sequencing games and another day you might tackle matching games. Ultimately, completing drills can help you recognize the game type more quickly, work with certain types of rules, make different inferences and improve your diagramming skills.
Use flashcards – Some LSAT prep courses let you create flashcards to help with this section.
Try different study techniques – Try out different study techniques and forms of studying to find a good fit for you.
Master diagramming – Since diagramming is such an important part of LSAT studying, it is important to try to master this skill. Practice until diagramming becomes second nature to you.
So, there you have it – your complete guide to LSAT logic games. Just think – in a few weeks you’ll be able to master these onerous logic games. Heck, you might even start to like them!
The logical reasoning section of the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is one of the most important on the entire exam. This is because the exam’s structure features sections that are weighted, with logical reasoning taking the lion’s share of weight when determining your final score on the LSAT. The logic games section and the reading comprehension section are each weighted at 25%, while the LSAT logical reasoning section takes a whopping 50% of your entire LSAT exam grade.
Why is this? There are actually two logical reasoning sections on the exam, while there is only one reading comprehension section and one analytical reasoning section.
If you do poorly on logic games or reading comprehension, your score will suffer. However, if you bomb the logical reasoning section, it will severely impact your score.
With that in mind, it’s important to fully understand what to expect on the logical reasoning portion, and create a study strategy that will help you crush the LSAT exam!
What is the purpose of the LSAT logical reasoning section?
It probably comes as no surprise that being able to reason with logic is integral to success in law school and in life as an attorney. In both areas, you’ll come across a lot of arguments; in fact, arguments are fundamental to law. Therefore, you’ll need to be able to analyze these effectively and understand the logic behind them.
Consequently, critical thinking is a skill expected and built upon in law school. One measure of your ability to display critical thinking is the logical reasoning section of the LSAT.
Specifically, the logical reasoning section measures your ability to analyze and evaluate arguments. The arguments presented are not lengthy legal arguments – instead, they’re written in everyday language and pulled from newspapers, school papers and magazines. Each passage mirrors legal reasoning, but isn’t presented in legal terms.
Because of this, you aren’t expected to know legal vocabulary or lengthy Latin phrases (thank goodness!) However, in order to succeed, you will have to have a basic understanding of arguments and their terms (like debate, refute, premise, assumption and conclusion) to perform well on this portion of the test.
If you don’t know these terms and understand how to pick them out in an argument, you should brush up before the test to maximize your understanding of the passages and questions.
Understanding LSAT Logical Reasoning
The logical reasoning section can be boiled down to understanding an argument presented in a passage and then answering a question associated with it.
Easy, right? Not so fast!
A key part of many of the logical reasoning questions is identifying a flaw in the argument presented. Word choice plays a heavy role in this, so looking at the words that connect statements and provide structure to the piece are important.
In order to succeed in the LSAT logic reasoning section, you should build your skills in quickly identifying an arguments premises and conclusion.
A premise is a statement or proposition that leads to a conclusion. A conclusion is a judgement or decision. So basically, a premise is the statement or argument made that directly leads to a conclusion.
Both of these can be identified by identifying key words in the text. Be on the lookout for:
Words that indicate premises (“Because”, “since”, and “for”)
Words that indicate conclusion (“Therefore”, “thus” , “as a result”) and,
Words that indicate conflict (“Although”, “While”, “However”)
It may even help you to quickly circle these keywords to help you understand the argument, the conclusion, and the counter-argument presented in a logic game question.
Now, we mentioned identifying a flaw in the argument. This is the next piece of the recipe for the LSAT logical reasoning section: identifying whether an argument is valid or invalid.
An argument is valid if the conclusion logically follows a premise. In contrast, it’s not valid if it does not logically follow a premise.
This probably sounds pretty easy right about now, but this is where most people get tripped up when it comes to “flaw in reasoning” questions on the LSAT. To perform well, you have to understand one very important thing:
The absolute truth does not matter in the logical reasoning section.
The question you answer could come to a conclusion that you know is not true, but that’s not what you’re looking for. You’re looking at the argument, and the reasoning. More specifically, you’re looking for a flaw in the reasoning, not in the actual facts.
On the test and in your study materials, you’ll come across two main types of arguments pretty frequently. These are arguments using inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning.
Inductive reasoning means that the argument only gives some support for the conclusion- i.e. the conclusion states that something is highly likely. Basically, the premises support the conclusion.
In deductive reasoning, the premise gives complete support for the conclusion, which is stated without a doubt.
In both types of arguments, you must look for any flaws in the reasoning that led to the conclusion to decide if it is valid.
Now that you know the two main types of arguments on the LSAT, let’s look at the types of flaws you’ll be identifying in those arguments.
Flaws in the LSAT Logical Reasoning Section
There are many types of flaws to identify in the logical reasoning section, but don’t be overwhelmed.
When you train yourself to identify a flaw, it becomes much easier to recognize why the flaw is a flaw.
Plus, you’ll begin to notice that once you’ve seen a flaw, you’ll begin seeing the same ones frequently, just framed in a different context.
Here are some of the flaws in reasoning that appear on the LSAT logical reasoning section:
Correlation equals causation
Error of equivocation
Ad Hominem attacks (we know we said you wouldn’t have to learn Latin – this means an argument against a person, not the position they’ve chosen)
Error of conditional reasoning
Appeal to opinion
Correlation equals causation and unrepresentative sample make it to the top of the list because they’re the most common flawed reasoning examples to appear on the LSAT. We recommend you brush up on all of these; however, you should take great care to know how to identify a correlation equals causation argument and when an unrepresentative sample is being used.
Correlation equals causation means that the speaker or author concludes that because two events or characteristics happened at the same time, or in quick succession, they must be related. I.e, one of the two caused the other.
In unrepresentative samples, the author draws a conclusion about a larger group of people or things based on a smaller sample of that group that we have no reason to believe is representative of the group as a whole.
When planning your study strategy for this portion of the LSAT, make sure that you familiarize yourself with all of these different types of flawed reasoning examples. After all, logical reasoning questions make up about 50% of your LSAT score- so having a solid study strategy in this area is key for your success!
The Different Types of LSAT Logical Reasoning Questions You’ll See
The types of questions you’ll see in the LSAT logical reasoning section can be broken down into seven types. We’ve talked a lot about the flaw questions; these are often the most tricky. However, there are six others, including:
Assumption questions ask you to find a gap between evidence and conclusion – i.e., identifying an assumption that was made.
Inference questions ask you to find the statement that is most supported by the argument.
Paradox questions have you identifying the answer choice that holds the most similar argument structure to the one in the passage.
Principle asks you to identify the answer that is the best example of the idea, or principle, in the argument.
Strengthen asks you to find the statement that best supports the author’s stance and the conclusion, while Weaken questions ask you to find the opposite.
Now that you know the types of questions you’ll be answering, let’s quickly go over some LSAT logical reasoning tips:
The logical reasoning sections each carry approximately 24-26 questions and you’ll have 35 minutes to work through each section. This means you’ve got to use your time efficiently when reading the passages and answering the prompts. Here are our favorite tips to navigating this challenging portion of the LSAT.
Read Carefully, and Underline Key Words and Phrases
Above, we talked about some key words and phrases that indicated the structure of the argument, premises and conclusion. While reading the prompt on the logical reasoning test, look for these words and note them with underlines or circles. This will help you mentally check in with structure you’re looking for, and help you understand the elements of the argument.
Figure Out the Question Type
We listed out some question types for you that frequently appear on the LSAT. A quick scan of the question will tell you what type of question it is – in other words, what you’re looking for. Always make sure you revisit the question before wading into the answer choices to ensure you’ve found the right elements in the argument above.
Check In With Yourself On Premises and Conclusions
Before answering the question, review in your mind what the premises you identified were, as well as the conclusion. The LSAT is long and test-takers tend to have mental fatigue around this portion of the test. Hence, it helps to ask yourself exactly what you understood from the text before you answer.
Eliminate Wrong Answers First
Eliminating answer choices that obviously can’t be right is a strategy that works on every test, but especially on the LSAT. Oftentimes, the differences between the right answer and the closest answer are subtle and designed to test your keen understanding and reasoning. Eliminating choices helps you zero in on the correct answer without using valuable brainspace to evaluate answers that simply can’t be true.
There’s no doubt about it; the logical reasoning section on the LSAT is profoundly challenging. However, it’s doable as long as you set your study strategy early and continually test yourself with LSAT logical reasoning practice questions. The more you study on the real types of questions used on the LSAT, the more you’ll begin to see the same flawed reasoning over and over in different contexts.
In addition to some solid LSAT practice question materials, you’ll want to invest in a quality study program that helps explain the concepts and methods that the LSAT is looking for when it comes to dissecting arguments.
There are several amazing programs online, and we’ve taken the guesswork out of choosing the right one for you. Check out our quick comparison table to look at the features of the top five LSAT prep review courses, or read our in-depth reviews on each to find the right review for you.
Thanks to the United States’ biggest economic stimulus package being implemented in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, many Americans will be receiving sizable checks. How do you plan on using your government stimulus check?
Rather than blowing your share of the pot with unnecessary items, you can treat your own check as a nest egg to help you accomplish your dreams. For example, one excellent goal to focus your stimulus check towards is going to law school and becoming a lawyer.
If that sounds appealing to you, keep reading to learn what you need to know about your stimulus payment and how you could use it to your advantage!
You can treat your own check as a nest egg to help you accomplish your dreams. For example, one excellent goal to focus your stimulus check towards is going to law school and becoming a lawyer
How Much Will Your Coronavirus Stimulus Check Be?
As long as you’re not claimed as a dependent on your parents’ tax return, you may be eligible for a stimulus check of $1,200 if you’re single and you have an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000. After this income threshold, the amount of the check will start to phase out and be completely wiped out if you earned $99,000 or more.
If you’re filing as a married couple and your adjusted gross income is less than $150,000, your stimulus check will be $2,400. The amount of the check decreases after this income threshold and disappears after earnings of $198,000.
Head of household filers will get $1,200 if reported income was $112,500 or less. You’ll also receive an additional $500 for each child you have under the age of 16. Each person must have a valid Social Security Number for you to claim them as part of your filing status.
What Do I Need to Do to Get My COVID Check?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is largely using income tax returns to determine who is eligible for stimulus checks. If you filed taxes in 2019, this is the return they’ll base your stimulus check on and will use your direct deposit information from that return to deposit the amount into your bank account. If you don’t have direct deposit through the IRS, they’ll send you a paper check in the mail. However, this will likely take much longer, so you may want to set up direct deposit.
If you didn’t file taxes in 2019, the IRS will use your 2018 tax return. If you didn’t file either year (like if you had lower income because you were a student and didn’t have to file), you should file your tax return immediately if you want to be eligible to receive a stimulus check. If your income in 2019 went up considerably from your income in 2018 (like if you had graduated college and started a well-paying job), you might want to wait to file your 2019 taxes until after you receive your stimulus check if your income would push you over the income limit or cause you to receive a reduced portion.
The IRS has already extended the federal tax filing deadline to July 15 in 2020, so you could wait to file without incurring any penalties. However, you should check on your state’s tax deadlines as well to make sure that you won’t be penalized there if you wait to file.
The IRS has also announced that it will be setting up a web portal where you can update your bank account information if it changed since you filed your last tax return.
If you don’t have direct deposit through the IRS, they’ll send you a paper check in the mail. However, this will likely take much longer, so you may want to set up direct deposit
Where Will Your Stimulus Check Go the Farthest?
With $1,200, $2,400 or another sizable amount, your dreams of becoming a lawyer may be more reachable than they were before. Here are some suggestions on how to make the most of your unexpected windfall:
Purchase LSAT Study Materials
If classes have already been cancelled and you’ve moved on to distance learning, you may have some extra time to study for the LSAT at home. Studying these materials at home allows you to practice where you feel comfortable without going out in public during the coronavirus outbreak. You can pace yourself and study on your own schedule.
There are a large number of self-studying tools that you can purchase. Consider purchasing the following with your economic impact payment:
A general guide book that breaks down each section of the exam
A book released by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC)
A drill book that focuses on specific skills
Here are some specific recommendations for these different study materials:
The LSAC administers the LSAT, so there’s really nothing better to study with than books from the organization that makes the test. You can purchase official previous tests to practice on like 10 New Actual, Official LSAT Prep Tests with Comparative Reading: (Prep Tests 52-61).However, you can also purchase older versions if you prefer. The LSAT sometimes repeats test questions, so you might actually recognize one (or more) of the questions on the LSAT you take.
Finally, it’s a good idea to round out your collection with a book that focuses on one key area of the LSAT. The PowerScore LSAT Logic Games Bible is a good choice for this portion of the test. Generally speaking, Powerscore is an excellent study resource for all things LSAT prep; check out some of their companion books for the logical reasoning and reading comprehension sections.
Other Books to Consider
There are plenty of LSAT books on the market that you might also want to consider, especially if you have six months or longer before you plan to take the LSAT. For example, LSAC publishes The Official LSAT SuperPrep II, which features old tests, answer keys and writing samples. You can also peruse Amazon’s Best Sellers list to try to find a guide that matches your study style and needs.
Purchase an LSAT Preparation Course
To prepare for the digital LSAT, you may want to start getting used to this way of testing. In order to figure out which of the many available courses will be the best fit for your educational needs, we’ve assembled a list of the best LSAT review courses currently available.
Pay for Private Tutoring
Whether you’re studying for the LSAT or the bar exam, a private tutor can make a big difference to your score. Private tutors work with you one-on-one or in a small group and can often provide you with a more customized approach. Your tutor can determine your areas of knowledge, study habits, learning style, and weaknesses to define a plan that is tailored to you.
Ultimately, an LSAT tutor can work with you to earn a higher score, which can mean acceptance into more law schools and better offers for financial aid. Bar exam tutors can also provide additional benefits, such as:
Explaining fundamental concepts to you that you may not have fully understood in your law school class
Teaching good study strategies to get through the material and retain it
Teaching you strategies for tackling multiple choice questions or preparing essays
Keeping you on track
Giving you feedback on your essay answers
Addressing areas of weakness
Providing you with additional (and often better) study materials
Creating a customized schedule for you
While a private tutor can be beneficial to anyone, some particular times when you might want to consider a private tutor to help with your bar exam preparation include:
Whether you’re studying for the LSAT or the bar exam, a private tutor can make a big difference to your score. Private tutors work with you one-on-one or in a small group and can often provide you with a more customized approach
Pay for a Bar Exam Course
While now is not the best time to participate in bar exam courses where you meet in a small room with a lot of other (potentially sick) people, it is an ideal time to pay for an online BAR review course.
Most of the big names in bar prep courses also offer remote versions of their programs. Depending on the program, these courses may include:
Real test questions
Apps that offer additional questions and features
Adaptive learning technology
Remote bar prep offers a number of additional benefits, including:
You can continue to study regardless of what is going on in the outside world (like a pandemic!)
You can study on your own schedule, which is good for people who are already having to work from home or take care of their children while schools are closed
You have a plan to stick to
You have someone to hold you accountable
Law school professors, lawyers and others who have passed the bar are typically your teachers
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; you can use strategies that have proven successful over the years
You can take your studies with you; if you have to relocate because of the pandemic or you went back to your parents house because your school closed, you don’t have to lose money because you can’t make the live, in-person class
You benefit from better technology; some programs offer adaptive learning technology that sees where you are struggling and adapts to meet your needs, which wouldn’t be as possible during a live class
Many courses are less than the $1,200 or $2,400 you might receive from your stimulus check.
Taking an online bar exam course can give you a schedule to maintain consistent studying, even when times may be confusing or stressful. By following these companies’ time-proven plans, you can stay on track and make considerable progress in your studying.
Check out our comparison of Bar prep courses and our reviews to find a course that is right for you. Additionally, some of these programs are currently offering discounts— so you can maximize your savings if you start now!
Taking an online bar exam course can give you a schedule to maintain consistent studying, even when times may be confusing or stressful
Pay for Bar Exam Stay at Home Study Materials
You might also consider purchasing some bar exam stay-at-home study materials to replace a bar exam course or supplement it. Some options include:
Customized bar exam outlines based on how long you have to study for the bar
Additional study books
Having these additional study-at-home materials handy can help you when you need a reprieve from your course. Some people have used only written materials to study for the bar and passed. There’s even a board game to study for the bar you can consider purchasing!
With a little extra cash in your pocket, you can make these additional purchases so that you can be as productive as possible while you’re sheltering in place. Use this time to your advantage by carefully selecting and using study-at-home materials. You can work at your own pace and potentially increase your score substantially by investing some extra time into your study prep.
Don’t Forget the Free Stuff
Even though there are many things you can purchase with your COVID-19 bailout check, don’t forget to take advantage of the free things too!
Many law schools have test preparation companies come in and provide sample lessons; some of these might be online. Additionally, some law schools have mandatory or optional skills labs and bar success programs aimed at increasing passage rates. You can check with your law school and see if any of these options are available.
The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) releases retired bar exam test questions and samples of MBE questions that you can review. Kaplan offers a free MPRE course.
Khan Academy offers a free LSAT preparation course. You can also check your undergraduate school, law school and local public library for study guides through the virtual portal, if available.
It’s scary out there. You may be required to hunker down for the next few months and practice social distancing for some time to come. However, you can make the most of the situation and yield some control over it by choosing to use your stimulus check to invest in yourself. With the extra time and money on your side, now is the perfect time to get one step closer to beginning your legal career.
If you are considering going to law school, taking the LSAT is a given. Perhaps the most important test that you will take up to this point in your life is on the horizon. Knowing how to study for the LSAT and what to expect can help you be ready for everything the exam throws at you.
Below, I’ve answered some of the most important questions students should be asking.
There are two logical reasoning sections that account for 50% of your total score. Each section has 24-26 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 35 minutes to complete. This section tests your ability to analyze and evaluate arguments, an important skill for any lawyer. Furthermore, you will also need to be able to apply logic to abstract concepts, find important information within a text, and determine main points in arguments. In these sections, you will be required to read short reading passages and then answer a question about each one.
3. Reading Comprehension
This section consists of approximately 27 multiple-choice questions with 35 minutes allotted for it. It accounts for 27% of your total score. You will read four reading passages: three passages written by one author and a passage in which two authors discuss the same topic. Essentially, the reading comprehension section tests your ability to understand the structure, purpose, main ideas, and points of view included in dense, scholarly content.
4. Logic Games
This section makes up 23% of your total score and is often the most challenging for test takers. It consists of four logic games with 4-7 multiple-choice questions for each logic game. You have 35 minutes to complete this section.
Logic games test your ability to discern systems of order, use analytical reasoning skills, make deductions, determine relationships between concepts, and apply logic.
5. Experimental Section
The LSAT contains an experimental section, which may be another logical reasoning, reading comprehension, or logic games section. This section is unscored and takes 35 minutes to complete. It helps the LSAT makers determine how questions will perform on future LSAT exams.
6. Writing Section
The writing section is sent to law schools along with your LSAT score, but it is not scored. This section also takes 35 minutes and tests your ability to form and support an argument based on the facts that you are given and your writing skills.
How Is the LSAT Scored?
Test scores for the LSAT are between 120 and 180. There are approximately 100 questions in each test; each question counts for one point of your raw score. The raw score is converted to fit within the 120-180 scale.
How Long Does the LSAT Take?
The LSAT consists of six sections, each of which is 35 minutes. This adds up to a total of 210 minutes (3 ½ hours). There is a 15-minute break after the third section. However, you must arrive early to verify your identity and complete preliminary information.
How Long Do I Need to Prepare for the LSAT?
How long you need to prepare for the LSAT depends on a number of specific factors, such as:
What is your current score?
What do you want your score to be?
How long do you have before applying to law school?
How much time do you have to devote to studying each week?
Do you have other responsibilities that take your time, such as college, work or family responsibilities?
How long does it take you to master complex information?
Ultimately, you should be prepared to devote at least 150 hours into LSAT prep. However, your individual circumstances may impact how many months you actually have to study and how many hours you have each week to devote to this task. Some people know well ahead of time that they plan to attend law school and may have a year to study. Others may start studying a month before the test. A good rule of thumb is to devote 20-25 hours per week of study time over a three-month period for a total of 150 to 300 hours of preparation time.
With the possibility of a score as low as 120 and as high as 180, the average score is 150. Some would consider anything above average as “good.” However, the concept of a “good” LSAT score is relative. What would be a good score at one school may be below average at another.
Hence, individuals who are looking to get into a top law school should plan on having a score well above 160, which is approximately in the 82% percentile.
What is the Best Way to Study for the LSAT?
The best way to study for the LSAT is to take practice tests. The Law School Admission Council releases previously administered LSAT exams sometimes referred to as “PrepTests.” These are actual exams that other law school candidates took; the scores linked from them were used in making admission decisions. Hence, these are readily available for students to use as study materials.
However, it is unlikely that it will be helpful for students to take tests without any kind of feedback in between them. A key preparation strategy consists of the following:
Take a previous exam under timed conditions to get a baseline score
Learn the structure of the test, strategies for tackling each section, and how to quickly answer questions
Study for each section
Take another practice exam
Review the questions you got right and wrong and why you got them wrong
Learn how to approach similar questions to the ones that you got wrong
Isolate the areas where you can use the most improvement
Review those areas
Take another practice exam
Continue this process until you have studied for a sufficient amount of time. Ultimately, if you spend adequate time working through previous tests, you will become more familiar with the test format. Furthermore, you will also develop your analytical and reasoning skills, which leads to a higher score.
What Are My Options for Studying for the LSAT?
You have several options available for preparing for the LSAT, including the following:
Self-study – One way to prepare for the LSAT is to study at home and at your own pace. You can study this way by purchasing or borrowing LSAT prep books.
Preparation course – Alternatively, you can purchase and participate in an LSAT preparation course. There are usually options for in-person classes, as well as online classes.
Private tutoring – Finally, you can hire a private tutor to work with you one-on-one or in a small group.
You may also choose a combination of these options, such as working some on your own and then later hiring a private tutor once you have determined the areas you need to work on. There is not usually a perfect way to prepare for the LSAT. Everyone has a different learning strategy, so it is important to consider how you learn and what method will be the most effective.
Should I Pay for an LSAT Prep Course?
While the price may vary, an average LSAT prep course costs around $1,500. While this may seem like a lot of money, a higher LSAT score can translate into acceptance into better law schools and being approved for merit scholarships, so the investment may pay for itself. Additionally, some LSAT prep courses offer a guarantee of a certain number of points (like 10) or offer a second course for free.
However, taking a prep course does not necessarily mean that you will make a higher score than you would if you prepared on your own. Some students find these courses cost-prohibitive. Others may struggle with a one-size-fits-all approach to preparation. For these students, there are several budget-friendly options to study for the LSAT.
Ultimately, the decision on whether you take a commercial prep course depends on your learning style, the conditions that will assist you prepare for the test, and your own resources to pay for and devote time to the course.
What Should I Ask When Considering an LSAT Prep Course?
Because this is an important investment, it is important to gather as much information about the course as possible before agreeing to take one. Some questions you may want to ask include:
How much does the course cost?
Is the course live or online?
Has anyone you know recently taken the course and what is their opinion on it?
Who is the instructor and what are their credentials?
Does the course align with your learning and studying style?
How much time are you expected to study outside the course?
Is there a score increase guarantee and what are its terms?
Will taking a prep course make you more accountable and disciplined by requiring you to devote a certain amount of time to the test each week?
What do I get with my course?
Are there different course packages and what comes with each one?
Are there diagnostic tools to determine areas where I need to improve?
That Comes with My LSAT Prep Course?
Each LSAT prep course is different, so it’s important to carefully consider what is offered with each program that you are considering. Read the large and fine print for each of these courses. Most courses will provide you with access to a number of official LSAT tests and questions and many hours of educational materials.
Some other things that a prep course may provide include:
Videos and audio files to help prepare for the test
Webinar-based or video-based learning
In-person or online options to learn
Recommendations of highly effective strategies for each section to improve your score
Detailed explanations of each question type and how to arrive at the correct answer
Diagnostic tools to determine areas where you need to improve
Computerized grading that gives you information about the areas that you should focus on
Access to an instructor who can answer personalized questions and provide individualized feedback regarding your test performance
Access to private tutoring options that can help you focus on your personal needs and create an individualized study schedule based on the areas you need to focus on
Are There Any Free LSAT Prep Courses?
Yes! The LSAC provides free sample LSATs and free questions. Furthermore, you can also find free LSAT practice tests online. Some companies also offer free online LSAT courses like Khan Academy, who’ve partnered with LSAC to offer a free online LSAT course. Libraries may have test preparation books and other materials that you can check out for free. If you know someone who recently attended law school, you could also ask if they still have any of their test preparation books.
Is There Anything that I Should Avoid in My LSAT Preparation?
While the stakes are high with the LSAT, it is important not to psych yourself out. Try not to convince yourself that you’re a “bad test taker.” The LSAT is a teachable test; there are many resources available to help you, so do not get discouraged.
Avoid using materials that have “model LSAT questions.” There are ample materials with actual LSAT questions, so you don’t have to use fake questions.
If possible, try to avoid taking the LSAT at the last minute. Try to give yourself at least three months to review, since this is easier to digest than trying to cram within a month’s time of the test. Also, avoid cramming the day before the test.
Finally, don’t skip breakfast on test day, and don’t stay up late studying. The typical eat a good breakfast and get a good night’s sleep advice also applies to the LSAT.
How Many Times Should I Take the LSAT?
Because there is so much preparation that goes into taking the LSAT, ideally you will only take the exam once. You should take the test when you feel prepared to submit this score to the schools of your choice. You can practice with PrepTests to see how your score changes over time without it being part of a record that is later sent to laws schools. LSAT scores are averaged, so lower scores bring down higher ones.
Well, I hope these LSAT tips have helped and have given you an idea about what to expect for the exam. The key to a good score is consistent studying. You can learn more about LSAT prep options, including the best online LSAT prep courses to help you crush the LSAT!
There’s a common saying about lawsuits: the only real winners are the lawyers. That’s because almost all legal battles are lengthy and painful for the wallets, reputations, and mental well-beings of everyone involved.
In this context, lawsuits are considered by many people to be dramatic and emotional affairs, as demonstrated by popular films on the subject such as Philadelphia and Erin Brockovich. However, the reality is that litigation is rarely as interesting as portrayed in the movies; the vast majority of lawsuits are boring, miserable, and inconsequential for all but a handful of people.
Whether it’s big business, entertainment, politics, or individual grievances, litigation has long been considered one of America’s favorite pastimes. What better way to demonstrate this long-standing trend than by looking at the extensive legal history of the most powerful man in the country?
Aside from business lawsuits and federal lawsuits, legal action among individuals in civil court has also been on the rise over the past 30 years: from around 460,000 cases in 1990 to over 650,000 in 2018
Trump’s Lawsuits: The Greatest Hits
Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States, has been involved in over 4,000 legal battles in some capacity. From his beginnings in the real estate and gambling industries during the 70’s and 80’s, to his entrepreneurial and entertainment ventures in the 90’s and early 2000’s, all the way to his baffling transition into politics in the 2010’s, Trump has been fighting courthouse battles every step of the way.
Before going any further, here’s a quick disclaimer: this piece is meant to be educational and is not a politically motivated attack on the President.Whether or not Trump has committed any wrongdoings — or is culpable for any wrongdoings — is not the point of this piece. Instead, the goal here is to use his history to understand the reality of lawsuits and how they typically occur in different American industries.
Also, this article won’t discuss all 4,000+ lawsuits in which he’s been involved— that’s just not possible! Instead, let’s take a look at some of Trump’s highest profile cases with the greatest educational value.
Keep reading to take a look at our breakdown of Donald Trump’s most significant and infamous cases!
Trumps’ Real Estate Lawsuits
Before becoming an entertainment mogul and politician, Donald Trump began his career in 1968 at his father’s New York-based real estate company. He became the company’s president 3 years later, naming it The Trump Organization. In his time as president of his business, he supervised many real estate bids, purchases, and projects— many of which involved lengthy legal battles at the federal, state, and civil level.
Here are some of the noteworthy cases Trump fought as a real estate mogul:
1973 – 1975: United States v. Fred C. Trump, Donald J. Trump & Trump Management, Inc.
During the 70’s, the primary business projects of the Trump Organization involved constructing and renovating hotels, skyscrapers, and apartments in New York City. Actions that were allegedly performed at some of these properties resulted in a civil rights case against Trump, his father, and their business, with the United States Justice Department Civil Rights Division as the prosecution.
This particular lawsuit was filed in federal court instead of state or civil court. This is due to the fact that it involved accusations of violating civil rights law, making it a federal issue. In particular, the plaintiff claimed the Trump Organization violated The Fair Housing Act of 1968, which prohibits “landlords and real estate companies” from “[making] housing unavailable to persons” based on factors such as their race, religion, disabilities, and similar criteria.
According to an article in the New York Times from the year in which the suit was filed, the U.S Justice Department claimed that the Trump Organization violated The Fair Housing Act because they “required different rental terms and conditions because of race,” in addition to “[misrepresenting] to blacks that apartments were not available.” According to official court documents, Trump denied any discrimination and his lawyer Roy Cohn moved to dismiss the case due to a lack of substantial evidence. Furthermore, he also filed a counterclaim based on damage to Trump’s reputation due to the above New York Times article, requesting $100 million from the U.S. government in damages.
This case was settled two years later. As part of the settlement, the Trump Organization was required to submit lists of apartment vacancies to local civil rights organization the New York Urban League. According to another New York Times article, the goal of this action was to enable the league to “provide qualified applicants for every fifth vacancy in those Trump buildings where blacks… occupy fewer than 10 percent of the apartments.” Since this settlement didn’t imply any guilt on the part of Trump or his business but did require his company to take action to encourage more diverse tenants, it can essentially be considered a draw.
1982 – 1986: Tenants of 100 Central Park South v. Donald J. Trump & Park South Associates
One of the many New York real estate business ventures that built Trump’s reputation involved a 14-story apartment complex at 100 Central Park South. Now renamed Trump Parc East, this used to be a rent-controlled property, which meant there were many tenants living there who paid far below the average rental costs for that area. Naturally, this isn’t an ideal situation for a landlord to be in— especially if they’re interested in renovating the entire property to increase its value, as Trump was.
CNNMoney outlines the lengthy legal battle that ensued over this conflict of interest based on researching the 2,895 different court documents involved in the case. Starting with his purchase of the property in 1981, tenants allege that Trump did everything in his power to force rent-controlled tenants to move. A 1985 New York Times article outlines some of the different tactics the 60-odd tenants claimed Trump engaged in, which included:
Threatening to demolish the property
Suing individual tenants in civil court
Limiting important services like water and heat
Neglecting to fix issues with plumbing and water damage
Hiring spies to gather tenants’ personal information
“Engaging in a psychological tug-of-war to wear the tenants down”
One of Trump’s alleged schemes to vacate tenants is outlined in another New York Times article from 1983. Dripping with sarcasm, this piece describes how Trump planned on temporarily filling vacant apartments with New York’s homeless— seemingly in the hopes of scaring away the other tenants. However, the Human Resources Administration rejected his Machiavellian offer, saying that it “left [them] with an uncomfortable feeling.” This bizarre episode was also included in the tenants’ legal complaints.
Although Trump would claim victory in his autobiography and in future conversations about the affair, it appears plain as day that the tenants were the real winners. As a 1986 New York Times article describes it, a settlement was reached between both parties that ended all litigation. The tenants were allowed to continue living in the building with their controlled rent, and Trump would instead be renovating the existing structure instead of demolishing it. Trump also ended up paying out $550,000 to the tenants’ attorneys. Obviously, this sum isn’t a big deal to a billionaire; however, it’s a concession that can definitely be seen as an admission of defeat.
1992 – 1997: Donald J. Trump & Mar-a-Lago Club, Inc. v. Palm Beach County
Although Trump’s tumultuous real estate career is largely defined by his New York-based projects, his 1985 acquisition of the historical Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida is equally significant to his East Coast efforts with regards to his legacy. Since obtaining this property, many lawsuits were filed by Trump against the city in the 1990’s, showcasing his trademark business strategy of weaponized litigation.
The lawfare began in 1992, when Trump decided he was going to convert the property into private mansions in order to rent them out and repay his exorbitant debts. This move was blocked by Palm Beach County, since they viewed the property as a longstanding historical landmark. As outlined in an article from The Palm Beach Post that year, Trump’s response was to file a $50 million lawsuit accusing the county of “conflicts of interest, private meetings, special-interest lobbying and biased board members.”
Another suit was filed in 1995 by Trump accusing the county of harassing Mar-a-Lago visitors by directing air traffic over the property at low altitudes. An article from the Sun Sentinel chronicles this specific legal battle, which included an accusation from Trump that a judgemental county airport director was “seeking revenge by attacking Mar-a-Lago from the air.”
Trump’s reason for believing that Palm Beach County was constantly persecuting him and his club was brought up in yet another lawsuit filed in 1997. An archived article from the Wall Street Journal that same year describes how he filed a discrimination suit for $100 million which claims the Mar-a-Lago was persecuted “because it is open to Jews and African Americans.”
After consulting with lawyer Paul Rampell, Trump settled his 1992 lawsuit by converting the Mar-a-Lago into “a private club that is open to everyone.” Although this sounds like an oxymoron, what it meant in practice was that Trump could freely attract wealthy individuals to join his club that didn’t fit in with the rest of the Palm Beach crowd. His 1995 air traffic lawsuit was settled after convincing the county to lease him 215 acres of barren land in exchange, which became a lucrative private golf club. Finally, the 1997 discrimination lawsuit resulted in most of the county’s restrictions being lifted, allowing him to run his private club as he saw fit.
Ultimately, all of these lawsuits directed at Palm Beach County in the 90’s resulted in victories for Trump, even if the suits themselves ended in settlement deals. As a 2016 Vanity Fair article recounted, these lawsuits served a cunning purpose— to completely transform Palm Beach society in order to better suit his personal and professional ambitions. In fact, Trump went on to implement a similar strategy in 2002 when purchasing and renovating a golf course in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
Ultimately, all of these lawsuits directed at Palm Beach County in the 90’s resulted in victories for Trump, even if the suits themselves ended in settlement deals.
Trump’s Business Lawsuits
Donald Trump was able to build enough momentum from his real estate career to branch out into many different business ventures. This transition began with his acquisition of several casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, over the 1980’s and 1990’s. From there, he also explored entrepreneurial opportunities in food, education, and entertainment (more on that later).
Here are just a few of the most interesting gambling, entrepreneurship, and other business-related lawsuits fought by Trump:
1990 – 1991: Marvin B. Roffman v. Donald J. Trump & Trump Organization, Inc.
In addition to his numerous real estate projects in New York and Florida, Trump dabbled in several gaming-related projects in New Jersey by purchasing and renovating several casinos located on the Atlantic City boardwalk. First it was the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in 1986, followed by the Trump Marina, Trump Taj Mahal, and Trump World’s Fair in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
Although all of Trump’s forays into casino ownership were disastrous and led to bankruptcy, the Trump Taj Mahal was notorious for the numerous legal battles centered around it. Even before purchasing the property, Trump had to fight talk show host Merv Griffin with multiple lawsuits just to obtain ownership, as described in a Los Angeles Times article from 1988.
However, the most notorious lawsuit relating to this doomed property involved financial analyst Marvin B. Roffman. According to a New York Times article from that time, he was fired from his position due to harsh criticism and multiple lawsuit threats from Trump. The reason for the real estate mogul’s ire was that Roffman had gone on record saying that the Trump Taj Mahal was bound to fail due to high operating costs and an imminent downturn in the market. After being constantly bad-mouthed by Trump in the press, Marvin Roffman decided to file a $2 million suit against Trump and his company for defamation in order to defend his professional reputation.
Ultimately, the defamation lawsuit ended in a settlement. Since this means that no official verdict was reached, Trump wasn’t proven to have engaged in libel or slander. However, the settlement also meant that he had to work out a satisfactory agreement with Roffman in exchange for clearing up his reputation. The specific details of this settlement are confidential; however, according to a statement given to the AP, Roffman was “extremely happy” with the results.
As a New York Times article from 1991 describes, the financial advisor also received a payout of $750,000 from his former employer as ordered by an arbitration panel from the New York Stock Exchange. However, what’s most significant in this case is what happened over the next few years. Roffman’s initial comments that got him in so much trouble were proven to be accurate after the Trump Taj Mahal struggled to stay open and eventually went under. This ultimately solidified his reputation as a competent financial analyst, resulting in a draw for both parties.
2008 – 2009: Donald J. Trump v. Deutsche Bank
Trump’s bombastic and highly ambitious business strategies have undeniably led to some impressive victories, but it’s also led to many disastrous losses. In fact, it can be argued that Trump’s true strength in business isn’t finding great deals, but maneuvering his way out of the bad ones in order to avoid the consequences of failure. The best way to illustrate this point is through his lawsuit against a German bank in the late 2000’s.
2008 saw the beginning of the Great Recession, a term now used to describe the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression. One of the most significant factors that led to this recession was the bursting of the subprime mortgage bubble, which involved granting substantial high-risk loans to property owners with poor credit. Unsurprisingly, many of these lenders were unable to pay back their loans— which is precisely the situation Trump found himself in when he had to repay a $334 million loan to Deutsche Bank for a Chicago skyscraper his company was in the process of building.
When facing potential consequences for failing to pay back this loan, Trump decided to sue the bank for $3 billion in damages to his reputation and the project. A 2008 New York Times article outlined his justification for the lawsuit, which was mainly to attest that he shouldn’t be forced to repay the loan in the initially agreed-upon time period.
The crux of Trump’s argument outlined in his lawsuit was the presence of a force majeure clause, which is also commonly referred to as an “Act of God.” Force majeure is a common addition to many legal agreements that removes liability from either party to fulfill it if they are affected by events that are out of their control. And according to Trump, the 2008 financial crisis counted as such an act, rendering him no longer beholden to the original deal.
As this archived article from the Wall Street Journal describes it, this initial lawsuit caused Deutsche Bank to file their own countersuit against Trump for $40 million. These dueling lawsuits opened up new negotiations regarding the loan, which led to both cases being settled out of court the next year. And while the bank did eventually get their money back, it was on terms that were much more favorable to Trump, making him the clear winner in this legal battle.
Trump’s true strength in business isn’t finding great deals, but maneuvering his way out of the bad ones in order to avoid the consequences of failure.
2010 – 2016: Tarla Makaeff, Sonny Low, Art Cohen & New York v. Donald J. Trump, Michael Sexton & Trump University Lawsuits
Over the decades, Trump would use his brand as a self-made billionaire to branch out into a variety of business deals and endorsements: some relevant to his experiences, and others not so much. However, when he attempted to leverage this brand into Trump University, he encountered a great deal of legal resistance— both from an individual and state level.
In the beginning, this resistance took the form of letters sent by the New York State Department of Education and the Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education. According to a 2010 NY Daily News article, the reason for these departments’ objections was that Trump was misleading potential students by labeling his business as a ‘University,’ despite not having any official accreditation or offering any official college credits. To prevent these complaints from escalating into legal action, the business was renamed The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative. However, this action alone wasn’t enough to protect Trump and his for-profit educational institution from harsh litigation.
Trump University became the cause of three lawsuits over the next 6 years:
In 2010, a class-action lawsuit alleging fraud and false advertising was filed by former students Tarla Makaeff and Sonny Low against Trump’s school.
In California, a similar class-action lawsuit was filed directly against Trump by businessman Art Cohen three years later, alleging that his school’s “Live Events” were misleading and potentially involved in racketeering.
From comments made by Trump and his legal team about his school and the judge presiding over his case, it appears that they had every intention of fighting these legal battles to the end. However, the events of the 2016 election would change these plans and force Trump to reach another settlement.
Much like many of the cases previously mentioned, the conclusion of these lawsuits meant that Trump was never officially found guilty of any wrongdoing. However, the closure of Trump University and the money he was forced to pay out are strong indicators of his defeat.
Trump was never officially found guilty of any wrongdoing. However, the closure of Trump University and the money he was forced to pay out are strong indicators of his defeat.
Trump’s Entertainment Lawsuits
While the foundation of Trump’s empire is in his gargantuan real estate projects, his impact on pop culture and entertainment are equally significant to his current legacy— if not more so. Starting with the publishing of his pseudo-memoir Trump: The Art of the Dealin the late 1980’s, he’s also dabbled in beauty pageants, sports, and network television.
As is custom, his ventures into the entertainment industry resulted in many high-profile legal battles. Several of these incidents involved accusations of misdeeds committed by Trump, such as sexual harassment and financial negligence. However, many more lawsuits have been filed by Trump against his critics and detractors in order to protect his brand and gain leverage in aggressive business negotiations.
Here are some of the most notorious lawsuits relating to Donald Trump’s entertainment career:
1986: USFL v. NFL
In addition to real estate ventures and entrepreneurial projects, Donald Trump has been known to be something of an athlete. He’s an avid golfer —having stated that it’s his primary form of exercise— and a member of the WWE Hall of Fame. He also enjoys watching football, which may have been the impetus for his purchase of the New Jersey Generals, a football team in the fledgling United States Football League.
The short history of the USFL is fascinating, from its initial rise in popularity to its closure just three years later. It began in 1983 as an indirect competitor to the National Football League by playing games during its off-season in the spring. But as an oral history published by Esquire describes the events, Trump would motivate the league to more aggressively target the NFL through a combination of reckless spending, schedule changes, and litigation.
In 1986, the USFL was on the verge of total collapse. In a last-ditch effort to survive, Trump and the other league owners collectively agreed to sue the NFL for $1.7 billion. According to a law review article from Berkeley about the case, this was an antitrust lawsuit claiming that the NFL was preventing the USFL from broadcasting on several of their owned TV stations. Although not specifically mentioned by name as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, Donald Trump served as a witness in the trial and was considered the primary motivator for taking legal action.
Winner: USFL (Sort of)
Based on quotes from former team member Dave Lapham and documentarian Mike Tollin in the Esquire article, it appears that Trump’s actions with the USFL had ulterior motives. Instead of wanting to establish both leagues as genuine competitors, he wanted to force the NFL to make a merger— or just bring him on as an NFL team owner. In that sense, the antitrust lawsuit would be another of Trump’s implementations of lawfare to force a favorable business negotiation.
What ended up happening instead is that the USFL won its case against the NFL. However, this ended up being a Pyrrhic victory since the NFL was only required to pay out $3 and had no interest in a merger. This insultingly low payout would end up being the death of the USFL and the end of Donald Trump’s career as a football team owner.
It appears that Trump’s actions with the USFL had ulterior motives. Instead of wanting to establish both leagues as genuine competitors, he wanted to force the NFL to make a merger— or just bring him on as an NFL team owner.
1995 – 1997: Jill Harth & American Dream Enterprise v. Donald J. Trump, Nick Ribis & Roger Wagner
In the mid 1990’s, Trump purchased the Miss Universe beauty pageants, which included Miss USAand Miss Teen USA, and helped manage them until 2015 when he sold the entire organization to WME/IMG . Much like seemingly all of Trump’s other business ventures, this was also the inspiration for several aggressive lawsuits— such as the ones he filed against a former contestant and a television broadcasting company. But there’s one particular legal battle during this time that’s especially sensational and fascinating when considering Trump’s decision to pursue this specific field of business.
As a rich playboy from New York, Donald Trump has both attracted and pursued a great deal of attention from women over the years. Consequently, his actions in and out of wedlock add another implication to his decision to enter this field— as do numerous complaints directed at him from others in the industry. Although many of these complaints were kept out of the courts, one allegation of sexual misconduct against the controversial entrepreneur did turn into a full-blown lawsuit.
In 1992, Jill Harth and George Houraney approached Trump to participate in their American Dream Festival by helping them organize a “Calendar Girl” pin-up competition. According to the couple, Trump expressed an interest in both the beauty pageant and in Harth herself, which led to her filing a lawsuit against him and two of his associates in 1997. This suit alleged that Trump and two of his employees —Nick Ribis and Roger Wagner— sexually propositioned and assaulted her several times. Two years before the $125 million harassment lawsuit was filed, however, Jill’s partner George and his company, American Dream Enterprise, also sued Trump for breach of contract.
Although the records relating to these cases have been sealed by the courts, a 2016 Boston Globe article has some information on the case. Based on the series of events surrounding both Houraney and Harth’s suits, it appears that they were intended to combat Trump on multiple fronts for a business deal and personal relationship that went sour. Ultimately, both parties decided to settle the lawsuits in 1997 according to a snippet from the NY Daily News.
With so little information available to the public, it appears that this case is another draw with no clear winner. But what’s interesting about this incident is that both parties have seemingly reconciled after its conclusion, with George being invited to Trump’s Christmas party just a few months later and Jill lobbying to work as Trump’s makeup artist during the 2016 election.
2006 – 2011: Donald J. Trump v. Timothy O’Brien & Warner Books
Out of all his businesses, properties, and accomplishments, Trump’s most lucrative asset is his brand. The way that he handles new business deals and finds leverage when negotiating is through his image as a self-made billionaire. After all, his perceived success and skill in business was the primary appeal for contestants and viewers of his reality show The Apprentice. Consequently, Trump is highly motivated to react aggressively when this brand is under attack, as it was in 2006 when a book was released titled TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald.
TrumpNation was written by Timothy O’Brien, a New York Times journalist. Released in 2005, the book is described as “a real-life study of [Trump’s] colorful and contradictory world” based on time spent with him, his colleagues, and some of his rivals. After conducting a substantial amount of research into Trump’s history —including receiving permission from the man himself to look into his financial records— O’Brien concluded in his book that Trump’s net worth was somewhere in the hundreds of millions.
Although this certainly is still an impressive number, the fact remains that this statement harshly contrasts Trump’s long-standing reputation as a billionaire. As a result, Trump sued both O’Brien and his book’s publisher, Warner Books, for $5 billion in 2006. Accusing the author and publisher of libel, Trump and his legal team attested that TrumpNationwas a “malicious scheme” filled with “vile statements” that was intended to “damage him in his business and professional dealings,” among other harsh criticisms.
Winner: Timothy O’Brien
Realistically speaking, it doesn’t make sense to demand billions of dollars in damages from a publishing company and a report, no matter how successful or lauded either may be. There’s just no way that these individuals or entities would be capable of paying out that much money. Instead, it’s far more likely that this flamboyant litigation was meant to force a settlement, pull the book from publication, and/or reinforce Trump’s image as being actually worth the billions of dollars in claimed damages.
This theory holds water when you consider a snippet from Trump’s deposition from the case that was quoted in a National Review article. In it, the man himself stated “My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings.” By this logic, Trump may have felt that TrumpNationhurt his feelings, causing his net worth to drop and therefore giving him the legal right to sue for damages. However, the New Jersey family court system didn’t agree with this line of reasoning and threw out the case in 2009, later affirming the decision in 2011 despite attempts to continue the case in appeals court.
Out of all his businesses, properties, and accomplishments, Trump’s most lucrative asset is his brand. The way that he handles new business deals and finds leverage when negotiating is through his image as a self-made billionaire.
Trump’s Political Lawsuits
In a move that surprised nearly everyone in the world, Donald Trump pivoted from a career in business to a career in politics when he became the 45th President of the United States in 2016. However, as the near-constant investigations into his administration have shown, he has still retained his habit of constantly attracting legal attention.
(Another disclaimer: this section won’t discuss President Donald Trump’s investigation by Robert Mueller for Russian election interference or his impeachment trial. Although both of these cases are interesting looks into the American legal system as it relates to politics, they don’t technically qualify as lawsuits. Additionally, the conversation around these subjects are politically sensitive and far beyond the scope of this educational piece.)
Instead, take a look at these three other legal occurrences in Trump’s tumultuous experience as leader of the free world:
2017 – 2018: Washington, Minnesota & Hawaii v. Donald J. Trump
Trump’s presidential election campaign was centered around many hot-button issues, but none were more prominent than the subject of immigration. One of the many statements made by the businessman-turned-politician was the need for the US to enforce harsh travel restrictions on several countries with a high Muslim population “until [United States] representatives can figure out what is going on.”
Although this was a highly controversial and polarizing statement, it was a hit among many of Trump’s political supporters and aspiring cabinet members. Because of this, one of the first major actions taken by the new president in 2016 was Executive Order 13769, which restricted immigration, refuge, and travel to the US for citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemenfor 90 days. As legal records from University of Michigan Law School show, this move was met immediately with harsh litigation from several states and organizations.
Three days after the executive order was signed into law, a federal lawsuit was filed against President Trump with the states of Washingtonand Minnesotaas plaintiffs. Four days after this lawsuit, Hawaiiwas the plaintiff in another federal lawsuit against the president. Although many more lawsuits and other legal actions were filed in reaction to this executive order, these two cases involving these three states would have the most significant impact on what was referred to as “the Muslim ban.”
On February 3rd —the same day as the Hawaii lawsuit was filed— a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) was granted by the courts in the Washington and Minnesota case. This TRO suspended the 90-day travel ban for 90 days, effectively nullifying it. In response, the Trump administration rescinded the ban and filed an amended version, Executive Order 13780, on March 6th. This version loosened some of the restrictions and removed Iraq from the ban; however, this was met with another TRO as a result of the Hawaii case, which later became an injunction.
When the Supreme Court granted a stay on the third executive order’s injunction at the end of 2017, the travel ban was allowed to go into effect as intended. Since the highest court of the US Judicial branch has the final word in the country’s legal system, the case was eventually closed despite many protests. Up to that point, however, the plaintiffs successfully limited the ban’s power and forced the Trump administration to heavily revise it to meet their criticism. As of the time when this article was written, the modified travel ban stands with a total of 13 countries on the list.
2018 – 2019: Stephanie Clifford v. Donald J. Trump & Michael Cohen
Although Trump has often flaunted his philandering and welcomed the attention it brought him in the past, he needed to downplay his chauvinistic nature in order to appeal to Republican voters during the 2016 election. For that reason, the Trump campaign managers and his legal team sought out to silence his former mistresses and lovers— seemingly by any means necessary.
Money was the method used with Stormy Daniels,an adult film star who had an affair with Trump just one year after he married his third wife. According to an archived Wall Street Journal article, Daniels —whose real name is Stephanie Clifford— was paid $130,000 for her silence in October 2016 by Michael Cohen, an attorney from The Trump Organization. Clifford would later allege that she had been coerced into taking the deal with thinly-veiled threats against her and her daughter.
In March of 2018, Clifford filed a civil lawsuit against Cohen and Trump in Los Angeles that claimed the agreement was invalid and she had done nothing wrong. Not long after, she would file another lawsuit for defamation against the President in April for denying her story. The civil suit stated that Trump “purposely did not sign the agreement” that Cohen gave her, presumably so that he could “publicly disavow any knowledge of the Hush Agreement.” In the second lawsuit, she alleged that Trump’s statements on Twitter questioning her claims “falsely attacks the veracity of [her] account of the threatening incident.”
Although Trump has often flaunted his philandering and welcomed the attention it brought him in the past, he needed to downplay his chauvinistic nature in order to appeal to Republican voters during the 2016 election.
When looking at the series of events that occurred, it’s hard to see Trump as anything other than the winner. The affair was successfully withheld from public knowledge until well after Trump’s campaign, his attorney took the blame and repercussions for the payment, his accuser was forced to pay him a greater sum than the initial hush money, and the FBI investigation ended with him still in the White House. It’s certainly not a clean victory, considering that Cohen is still behind bars; however, it’s a victory nonetheless.
2019 – Present: Donald J. Trump & The Trump Organization v. Elijah E. Cummings, Peter Kenny, Deutsche Bank AG, Capital One & Mazars USA
Although Donald Trump has spent nearly his entire life in the public eye, the amount of scrutiny placed on him and his business dealings has exponentially grown since he became President. Due to partisan political warfare, feverish news hounds, and federal investigations, a whole lot of people want to know about Trump’s finances. And while Trump had successfully been able to fight off many of these inquiries, the fallout of his Stormy Daniels lawsuits led to the New York attorney general demanding that his banks reveal the records of their dealings with the Commander in Chief.
In response to this latest federal financial inquiry, Trump and his team went on the legal defensive. This started with a federal suit that attempted to block his accounting firm, Mazars USA,from sharing their records with House of Representatives members Elijah E. Cummingsand Peter Kenny.According to the complaintattached to the suit, Trump’s team claimed that the investigation “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose” and was intended “as a political tool against the President now and in the 2021 election.”
One week after the filing of this suit, Trump’s legal team filed another lawsuit against Deutsche Bank and Capital One,two of his banks that were subpoenaed to release Trump’s records. This second suit contains similar content to the first one but also stated that both banks “face a difficult choice” between disobeying a federal subpoena and becoming liable to Trump by violating his confidentiality. As a result of this conflict, this suit requests that both banks “hold onto the subpoenaed materials until the dispute over the subpoenas’ validity is finally resolved in court.”
As of the time when this article was written, this legal battle is ongoing. The most recent development in the case is that the Supreme Court will hear arguments on March 31st, 2021, with the intention of making a ruling sometime in June. It’s impossible to tell whether or not this future ruling will be favorable for the President, but it hasn’t stopped anyone from offering their predictions.
One particularly interesting perspective on this case and its potential outcome comes from an amicus curiae brief that was submitted to the suit by the Constitutional Accountability Center,a non-profit legal think tank. This brief states that the aforementioned “legitimate legislative basis” that both of Trump’s lawsuits allege is missing from the House’s actions are actually present. As they put it, the justification for an investigation into the President’s financial records is valid because can “aid Congress’s determination” in legal battles based around “lending practices, money laundering,” and “fraud at financial institutions,” among other potential crimes. Additionally, the brief attests that “Recognition of Congress’s broad authority to investigate is longstanding” and even “predates the birth of the United States.”
Based on these statements and the substantial amount of examples given to back them up —including one from George Washington’s presidency— , it appears that this might be a case that Trump can’t win. However, Trump has a long history of defying expectations and avoiding negative consequences for his actions, so who knows?
When analyzing Trump’s actions over the decades and the lawsuits they often incurred, some habits and patterns begin to reveal themselves. As a result, these cases have grown to define Trump’s character in the eyes of the world— for better and for worse.
But what does Trump’s storied legal history teach us? Here are the most relevant and noteworthy lessons we can learn from his frequent bouts in the United States legal system:
Lawsuits Can be Weaponized
The most obvious lesson that can be learned from Trump’s legal history is that you can weaponize lawsuits for your own ends. The Deutsche Bank lawsuit from 2008 was clearly intended to negotiate a new loan repayment agreement, the TrumpNationlawsuit was most likely intended to intimidate the publisher and author into pulling their books, and the numerous lawsuits against Palm Beach County in the 90’s were to let him bypass existing restrictions and do whatever he wanted with his property.
To be fair, Trump is far from the only person who has used litigation in this way. In fact, this practice is so widespread that it’s been given a name— Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP).According to California lawyer Aaron Morris, this term refers to a lawsuit where the plaintiff “does not care whether [they] win the lawsuit” and is only interested in getting the defendant to give up due to “fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs or simple exhaustion.”
Weaponized litigation has become a major problem that threatens the integrity of America’s legal system, but the good news is that many parts of the country offer anti-SLAPP legislation. This means that successfully identifying legal action taken against you as a SLAPP in these states can have the case thrown out and harshly punish the plaintiff for their abuse of the system.
This isn’t a perfect solution to the problem; many states still don’t have anti-SLAPP laws and there’s no legislation for it on the federal level. However, it can make it easier to conduct business and criticize public figures in anti-SLAPP states without worrying as much about unfair legal repercussions.
The most obvious lesson that can be learned from Trump’s legal history is that you can weaponize lawsuits for your own ends.
Settlements Can Be Victories
When considering just how painful and exhausting lawsuits can be on both your mind and your wallet, it’s usually in the best interest of everyone involved to wrap them up as quickly as possible. It’s tough to find sources with concrete statistics, but a 2009 study published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies found that the settlement rate of all legal disputes in one district was close to two-thirds.
With that being said, the general consensus among legal professionals is that it’s often a better idea for individuals involved in litigation to push for a settlement over a trial verdict. Settlements can be seen as victories in their own right, since they can end an otherwise painfully drawn-out courtroom battle with a compromise. But what does Donald Trump think about ending lawsuits with a settlement?
When looking at Trump’s history of lawsuits as outlined by USA Today, roughly 6% of them were settled. Although this doesn’t quite match Trump’s constant boasts that he “never settles,” it does demonstrate that he’s less willing to settle his legal battles when compared to the average. And in many of the instances where he did settle —like when dealing with Palm Beach County in the 90’s and Deutsche Bank in 2009— it ended in an agreement that was favorable to him. However, many of the settlements outlined above were victories for the other party, as can be seen with the cases of Central Park South and the Trump University lawsuit. Either way you look at it, the fact remains that settling can be favorable to reaching a verdict in many cases.
Whether your case gets thrown out, settled, or brought to trial and given a verdict, the effects of a lawsuit —and all the sensitive information it leaves behind in legal records— can follow you for the rest of your life.
Verdicts Aren’t Always the End
Yet another reason why lawsuits can be such a nightmare for everyone involved is that they can stick around. Even when a verdict or a settlement is reached, one party can attempt to appeal the results of the case to a higher court. But even in situations where the results stand and neither side pursues an appeal, information that comes to light in the case can be grounds for another one— so long as it doesn’t violate an assertion of res judicata.
This is perhaps the most significant and important lesson that can be learned from Donald Trump’s long history of lawsuits. During his 2016 term as President, Trump has been under nearly constant legal scrutiny regarding his past and present actions.
Look at how Cohen taking a plea deal during the Stormy Daniels hush agreement controversy led into the attorney general issuing subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Capital One. Now consider how willing Deutsche Bank is to work in Trump’s best interests after he sued them over his unpaid debt just ten years earlier. Even during the run-up to his presidential term, allegations of Trump’s civil rights violation in the 70’s and harassment of Jill Harth in the 90’s were used as points of attack by his political opponents.
Ultimately, if you believe that you’ve been wronged and the only way you can settle it is through a lawsuit, it’s very important to understand this point. Whether your case gets thrown out, settled, or brought to trial and given a verdict, the effects of a lawsuit —and all the sensitive information it leaves behind in legal records— can follow you for the rest of your life.
It’s often a better idea for individuals involved in litigation to push for a settlement over a trial verdict. Settlements can be seen as victories in their own right, since they can end an otherwise painfully drawn-out courtroom battle with a compromise.
If your GPA wasn’t quite as high as you would have liked or you are trying to stand out against thousands of other law school applicants, the LSAT can be a key differentiator.
While plenty of people who don’t perform well on the LSAT go on to master law school and some who have great scores flunk out, the LSAT is designed to measure your potential to think through problems in a logical and thorough fashion.
As such, law schools put a huge emphasis on your LSAT score. Hence, your score can mean the difference between being accepted to law school or not and whether you can qualify for scholarships to help fund your law school education.
Now that you are sufficiently freaked out about the stakes of the Law School Admissions Test, learn how you can prepare for it like a pro!
If you’re in your last year of undergrad and know that you will be heading to law school next, or you have set a one-year plan to get to law school, you have the benefit of extra time. However, you don’t have to wait until the last minute to start preparing. Instead, you can start preparing now to get an edge over other test takers.
Here are some strategies for each stage of preparation:
9-12 Months Out
Begin by taking a practice test based on timed conditions. This will help give you a baseline of where you are in terms of exam readiness. You can compare this test score to ones you take later after familiarizing yourself with the test.
Next, enroll in a LSAT preparatory course if possible. This will help you hone in on your weaknesses and learn strategies to apply to all sections of the test. Furthermore, some test prep courses offer a scoring review service that can identify these areas for you.
The LSAT consists of four 35-minute sections, so be prepared to set aside approximately 2 ½ hours for each practice test.
Also, set up a study space that is quiet, far away from distractions, and that you use each time you study for the LSAT.
6-9 Months Out
During this stage, you want to apply the tips you’ve learned in your preparation course. You should also set the following weekly goals:
Take at least one practice test per week.
Create a spreadsheet. In it, record your results for each practice test and your individual results in each section. You may also be able to analyze each problem type in each section.
Plan to practice for the LSAT for about 20 hours a week.
Take a practice test at least once every week.
Create a spreadsheet where you record your results for each practice test and your individual results in each section. You may also be able to analyze each problem type in each section.
Purchase a practice book on logical reasoning and read a chapter each day until you finish it
Familiarize yourself with the different types of logical reasoning questions, which are inference, strengthen, weaken, assumption and argument and identify your weaknesses.
Complete all exercises in the practice book.
Spend extra time practicing on your weakest areas.
Read other material on a daily basis to prepare for the reading comprehension section. Read the newspaper, technical manuals, recreational books and other materials. Test your understanding.
1-2 Months Out
Purchase a logic games study book and read one chapter every day until you finish it.
Complete all exercises in the logic games study book.
Continue to take at least one practice test per week.
Purchase a reading comprehension study book and read one chapter every day until you finish it.
Complete all exercises in the reading comprehension study book.
Consider hiring a tutor to help with individual issues.
Less than One Month Out
Review any flashcards provided by your preparation course or any that you designed yourself.
Continue taking weekly practice tests.
Review subject areas that give you the most trouble.
Practice four to six logic games each day.
Complete one section of logical reasoning problems each day.
Complete one reading passage and associated questions each day.
Get plenty of rest the week of your LSAT test.
3 Month LSAT Study Plan
Most law school candidates begin their LSAT preparation about three months before the next test date. Here are some steps to take at the beginning of the three-month period as well as when you have less than a month to go.
Complete your daily activities for your prep course.
Take a timed practice test and identify weak areas. Purchase a study book for each area where you need improvement and read a chapter in each of these books each day. Complete all practice exercises in these books.
Create a spreadsheet. In it, record your results for each practice test and your individual results in each section. You may also be able to analyze each problem type in each section. Furthermore, spend extra time on those areas where you consistently score the lowest.
Spend 5-6 hours per week on practice problems alone.
Familiarize yourself with the different types of questions in each section and read tips on these specific question types.
1 Month to Go
Continue taking timed practice tests; aim for two to three per week.
Review major and minor concepts you learned in your prep course.
Spend 30 minutes a day on any flashcards provided by your prep course or that you designed yourself.
Within the last two weeks of your review, study in a student center or library to simulate real testing conditions.
If you don’t have much time to study for the LSAT and the test date is less than a month away, it’s important to do everything possible to maximize your test score. Try to clear your plate by asking for help from others. See if grandma can take care of your kids or pets. Ask your spouse or romantic partner to step up domestic duties. Forget about cooking meals during this time. Ask your boss for some time off.
If you only have a month to prepare, you will need every minute possible to maximize your potential for success.
Follow these cram techniques to get as much review in as possible:
Take a practice test to determine your baseline score.
Analyze your test score to see in which areas you need the most help. Buy a practice book for your lowest-scoring section and finish the book before the test.
Try to study 40 hours a week until your test date.
Take a practice test every day until the test date.
Enroll in an intensive LSAT boot camp.
During the last week of your preparation, begin testing in a student area, library or other location that will help simulate test conditions.
Review any flashcards provided by your preparation course or that you designed yourself. Spend at least one hour a day on these flashcards until two weeks before the test.
Review major and minor concepts you learned in your prep course.
The LSAT is an intensive test, no doubt. However, it is a teachable test. The questions are predictable and all fall under specific categories, so it can be beat! Use the study plans discussed above to crush your LSAT!
Law school isn’t cheap. According to a U.S. News report, the average tuition and fees for a private law school during the 2018-2019 school year were $48,869 per year, compared to $40,725 for non-resident law students or $27,591 for residents per year at a public law school.
This means that for the most affordable law schools, the average student should expect to dole out $82,773 for their law degree. And this number doesn’t even factor in the cost of living and other expenses indirectly tied to attendance!
While the old adage “you get what you pay for” often applies, there are ways that you can get a quality legal education without amassing six-figure debt. It is important to consider the value of a school instead of just looking at which school is the most or least expensive. Below, I will discuss what costs you will incur if you go to law school, economic factors you should consider when selecting a school and how you can manage common expenses.
While the old adage “you get what you pay for” often applies, there are ways that you can get a quality legal education without amassing six-figure debt. Read on for some of the best value law schools and tips.
Costs that Go into Attending Law School
The numbers cited above only factored in tuition and fees, but there are many costs that go into attendance. Some of the most common expenses you will incur if you choose this educational path include:
Tuition is simply the base rate of what you will pay for your instruction.
The cost of attendance also includes fees. You may be charged fees associated with maintaining the college or university, such as transportation, athletic events, and technology. These fees often add several thousand dollars onto the price tag for attending law school.
Books can easily have an average annual cost of more than $1,000 at many schools of law. The amount you pay for books will depend on the school, your instructor, and whether you need a hard copy and/or digital version. Also, you will likely be paying for a bar preparation program during or after your 3L year.
To keep up with your classes, you will likely need a good laptop that you bring to all your classes to take notes. You may also be required to purchase additional software to help you complete your assignments. Additionally, you may have to pay yet another fee to take tests online.
Room and Board
Many schools don’t offer dormitories or other housing provided by the college or university. Therefore, the city where you choose to attend school can have a direct impact on how much you pay for rent, utilities and other expenses. Food prices can vary drastically from one location to another.
For schools that do offer room and board, this can add another $20,000 per year to your costs. That usually only covers the time when school is in session, so you might need to make alternative arrangements during breaks or if you take summer classes.
If you don’t live on campus, you’ll need to get to school. This means you may need to purchase a vehicle — if you don’t already have one — as well as a parking permit. You may also be paying for parking in a garage per academic year or semester. Alternatively, you could take public transportation if it’s available, but this also comes at an added expense. Simply put, your transportation expenses will be higher the further you are from your chosen school.
Other Living Expenses
You may have additional expenses, depending on your situation. Among other things, you need to eat, do laundry, and pay for toiletries and cleaning supplies. You might have to pay for health insurance, phone service, medications or other essentials. Furthermore, if you have a child then you’ll need to factor in childcare.
Many law schools limit the number of hours that students can work, so being able to pay for these expenses can quickly become a difficult feat when your earning potential is capped. Hence, many students turn to student loans for assistance— but this can quickly amount to crushing student loan debt.
But what’s the alternative? Keep reading to learn more:
Many law schools limit the number of hours that students can work, so being able to pay for these expenses can quickly become a difficult feat when your earning potential is capped
How to Reduce These Costs
Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can reduce costs associated with getting a legal education. Here are a few tips and resources:
Choose a Public Law School
Some of the most expensive options are private schools. As you can see from the numbers cited above, there’s a considerable financial difference between these schools and public schools. Fortunately, you can get a quality education while still attending a public school, so it’s worth considering if your budget is extremely tight.
Seek Financial Aid
It is important to understand that a decent amount of the financial aid that’s available when you’re seeking your bachelor’s degree won’t be available on the graduate level. This includes need-based federal grants or work-study programs. Consequently, the primary forms of aid at this level will be student loans (that nobody really wants) and scholarships.
Before applying to law school, you want to position yourself to receive merit-based scholarships, which will largely depend on your undergraduate grades and your LSAT score. Many schools don’t have separate applications for financial aid and will simply offer awards based on strong applications. However, don’t underestimate the importance of a good law school essay; this can often put you ahead of others or make up for a deficiency in your application.
Another thing: while you do want to look at the tuition and fees costs across various options, it’s more important how much aid different schools will offer you and how this affects the total cost of law school for you. For example, say you’re applying to two schools:
One has a tuition of $50,000 per year but is offering you $30,000 a year in scholarships
Another school costs $40,000 per year and offers you $10,000 in scholarships
The net cost of the first school is $20,000 while the net cost for the second school is $30,000, so the first school would be the better economic option even though its tuition cost was higher.
Look into schools that offer more tuition help when selecting possible options. Some schools provide better aid packages than others. Today, you can use online data to find out the percentage of students that receive financial aid and how much the average award is per student.
Get Good Grades
Schools often offer continued merit scholarships during your legal education. Hence, if your grades or LSAT score wasn’t at the top end of the student body when you enrolled, you may still be able to stand out and acquire additional aid by being in the top quarter of your class. Some schools may worry that you will transfer, so they might try to incentivize you to stay by offering more financial assistance.
Some schools may worry that you will transfer, so they might try to incentivize you to stay by offering more financial assistance
Reduce Housing Costs
Your housing costs may be a big portion of your budget, so slashing the amount you pay in rent can be extremely helpful. If you are not planning on staying in the area after you graduate, consider more affordable options, such as:
Living with your parents
Living in low-income housing
Renting a room in someone else’s home
Living in a more modest area
Sometimes, living on campus may help save you money. Compare the utility, rental transportation and food cost savings you would receive from living at school with the average cost of living in a rental to see which option is the better deal.
Slash Living Expenses
The truth is that you won’t have a lot of extra time outside of your classes and studying. This means you can start slashing unnecessary expenses now, such as cancelling cable and that gym membership you never use. Try to spend time with friends with free or cheap activities instead of at expensive restaurants or nights on the town. Remember that your college may offer a variety of events that can help provide more entertainment (and food!) options at a lower budget.
Share Law Textbooks
Books can easily cost over $1,000 a semester if you’re not careful. Look for ways to save on this expense, such as sharing books with a recent graduate or 2L. In some classes, the teachers may rely on more digital resources and may not reference the book often enough to justify its cost.
If you do need to purchase a book, consider renting it instead since this will often be cheaper. You can also look for used books online. An edition that is one older may still have all of the same material, but you should check first before making the purchase.
Managing School Costs
In addition to finding ways to reduce your educational expenses, you will also need to consider how you can manage ongoing expenses while you’re enrolled in school. Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of the next three (or more) years.
Create a Budget
Start to minimize the amount of debt you will need to take on by creating an aggressive but realistic budget. You shouldn’t try to live a lavish lifestyle during this time that will only result in additional years of astronomical student loan payments. Do it old school with a paper or pencil or use a spreadsheet or computer program to estimate your monthly expenses.
If you’ve been out of school for a few years, you might need to get back into the student mentality and eat more ramen. If you lived on tomorrow’s dollars while pursuing your undergraduate degree, start making sensible choices now so that you don’t spend the rest of your life paying for your financial mistakes.
Get a Job
A typical 9-5 job might not be a good fit for you while enrolled in school. However, you may be able to get a summer job, maintain a modest lifestyle, and save most of your earnings. Alternatively, you might want to take on a free internship or clerkship position to get useful experience. However, many law firms offer summer associate programs that can boost your income too— so don’t rule these positions out.
If you’re pre-law, consider working during your undergraduate program or during the summer and try to save as much money as possible.
Also, you may be able to get a position with a bar preparation program or legal research company. These opportunities may not pay you in cash (though they might) but they might offer you a free bar prep program or legal research tools you can use after you graduate that are worth trading in a few hours of your time each week.
A typical 9-5 job might not be a good fit for you while enrolled in school. However, you may be able to get a summer job, maintain a modest lifestyle, and save most of your earnings
Tap into Your Network
Be sure that you stay in contact with your financial aid office and ask about any additional opportunities. There are plenty of scholarships out there; you just need to be able to find them. The alumni association for your school may also be a good source of information— it may be able to provide information about scholarships, grants, new jobs, available housing, or other info that can positively affect the bottom line.
As a student, you may have access to additional resources that can make managing your expenses easier, such as:
Student or budgeting workshops
Free (or reduced) health care and mental health services
Gyms and recreational activities sponsored by the school
Seminars, bar preparation workshops and CLEs
Economic Factors You Should Consider When Selecting a School
Law school isn’t just about getting a law degree. It can help you to break through in a new career path and open new opportunities for you. Here are some of the factors that you should consider when selecting a school.
Consider Your Law School’s Ranking
There is a correlation between the ranking of your school and your expected starting salary. This means that the higher your school is ranked, the higher your expected starting salary may be. The converse is also true: the lower your school is ranked, the lower your starting salary may be. You might not be able to afford a Harvard Law education, but if you attend a low-ranking school, you may not greatly enhance your earning ability. Consequently, your law degree might not be worth the associated cost.
Bar Exam Passage Rates
A key component of any good JD program is the ability to properly prepare you for the bar exam. If you don’t pass the bar exam at your first attempt, you may miss out on important job opportunities and may not make what you expected during your first year out of school. Consider the bar passage rate of any school you are seriously considering.
Choose The Best Value Law School, Not Just The Best Price
It’s also important to consider the overall value that your education provides. It’s not enough to ask “How much does law school cost?” You need to consider what value it brings to you. If you pay a lot of money to get another degree that doesn’t have a large impact on your life, this may not be the best option for you. Only 23% of law school graduates say that their education was worth the cost. Many graduates may emerge in a weak market and may not be able to land a legal job right away.
For these reasons, it is important to carefully assess the value that different schools offer. Are there factors that may make one school more attractive than another? Do they offer programs such as:
Internships and externships
Career services assistance
Student lawyer programs
Practical skills coaching
Journals or programs for specific areas of the law
Furthermore, it’s not only important to consider the cost of school; you should consider how close the school connects to your career goals. For example, if you are considering international law, you might consider Emory University, which ranks number 1 as the best global university.
Additionally, there are many good schools that cost about $25,000 a year that you might consider.
It’s not enough to ask “How much does law school cost?” You need to consider what value it brings to you
You chose this route so that you can ultimately get a job in the legal sector. Therefore, the degree to which the school will help launch your career is an important factor. Some colleges have a long history of getting corporate law firms to hire their graduates, while others may not. These law students may be able to emerge from a debt-ridden experience into a high-paying job where they can afford to pay off their student loans. Consider the post-graduation job placement rate and the average starting salary for graduates when choosing between schools.
If you are a rare breed who can handle working while attending school, you may not want to attend a school that limits the number of hours you can work. You can also check if there is some type of waiver for this restriction, such as if you have children or need work for economic reasons.
Part-Time Law School Programs
While many students choose to go full time into law school immediately after acquiring their bachelor’s degree, others may have taken a break from school, started a family, or are working full-time. For these individuals, a more sensible part-time program may be a better fit than a demanding full-time schedule.
Public Interest Incentives
While the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is often cited as an incentive for students to go to less lucrative policy and public service jobs, there are steps that the government has considered that would eliminate this program. Moreover, 99% of processed applications for this program are rejected, so this may not be a program worth hedging your bet on.
Some schools recognize these limitations and offer their own public interest incentives for students looking into this career path. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), over 100 law schools offer loan repayment assistance programs. With these programs, the school makes loan repayments for you while you are employed in the public sector.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much do lawyers make right out of law school?
According to data gathered and published by PayScale, an entry-level attorney makes an average annual salary of $59,121. However, ZipRecruiter’s data suggests that the average entry-level lawyer salary is a bit lower at $47,318. Ultimately, this can vary depending on the specific legal field you work in or the state in which you practice.
What is the cheapest law school?
When comparing the average costs of legal programs in American universities, the schools that are commonly ranked among the most affordable are the University of Arkansas, the University of Alabama, and the University of Mississippi. Brigham Young University (BYU) is also very affordable if you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Is it worth going to law school?
Absolutely! If you’re an intelligent person who’s interested in pursuing a rewarding and stable career, law school is a fantastic decision with many benefits. It’s not uncommon for law school graduates to move into careers with six-figure salaries.
Is 35 too old for law school?
Not necessarily! While it can be much more difficult to invest the money and time towards law school in your 30’s — especially if you already have a career or a family — it’s still entirely within your reach to achieve a rewarding legal career. However, it’s not a good idea to wait much longer than this, so you should decide sooner rather than later.
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into the total cost of going to law school. It’s important to consider various factors that may affect the specific value you’ll receive from different options. Don’t just consider the cost of tuition and fees— consider your employability and what each JD program offers you. Then, consider making lifestyle changes that will make this period of your life more affordable and buckle down so you can maintain good grades and open yourself to greater financial assistance.
Don’t just consider the cost of tuition and fees— consider your employability and what each JD program offers you. Then, consider making lifestyle changes that will make this period of your life more affordable
CRUSH The LSAT recently had the opportunity to ask some important questions to LSAT Expert and Co-Founder of LSATMax, Mehran Ebadolahi.
Some Background On Mehran:
Mehran Ebadolahi graduated summa cum laude from UCLA in 2004 with a B.A. in Business Economics and a minor in Accounting. The first time he took a practice LSAT, he scored a 148, which made him seriously reconsider his law school dreams. Through hard work and perseverance, however, he was eventually able to score a 174 on the December 2004 LSAT and he has been an LSAT instructor/private tutor ever since.
In 2010, Mehran graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School. It was during his time at HLS that he co-founded BarMax (“the $1000 app”) in an effort to disrupt the bar exam prep space that had long been a monopoly. Since graduating from HLS, Mehran has continued to work on BarMax (now TestMax, Inc.) full-time and he is currently the CEO of the company.
Through my experience as an LSAT prep student and later as an in-class LSAT instructor for a leading LSAT prep company, I became familiar with how outdated, inefficient and overpriced the LSAT prep market was.
As a student, I paid close to $1500 to take a traditional in-class course. Despite the hefty price tag, I felt like my specific LSAT needs weren’t being met in the classroom. The instructor barely had enough time to get through each lesson, let alone stop and answer the various questions her students had.
After two months of class, my access was cut off and I was given the choice of repaying or studying on my own. I chose the latter and after tireless prep, I started to realize that the key to LSAT prep is not in the classroom, but in the time you put into self-study after you learn the strategies.
After studying on my own for a few more months, I ended up scoring a 174 and I eventually graduated from Harvard Law School in 2010. In the interim, between my LSAT and law school, I became an in-class LSAT instructor. Set schedules, limited access, teaching to the mean were all issues that plagued my students.
I was determined to create a course that offered students the highest quality prep taught by world-class instructors and allowed them to go at their own pace by giving them unlimited time for practice and review.
What are some things that differentiate your course from the rest?
The biggest differentiator is that our course is an app. We work with Apple, Android and Amazon devices to deliver our students the most comprehensive LSAT experience possible. All of our content can be accessed through the app, giving students total control of their LSAT prep schedule. Students also have hardcopy materials so that they can follow along with paper and pencil just like they would in a traditional in-class LSAT course.
Since our course is mobile, students don’t have to feel tethered to one specific location or the Internet while they prepare. Whenever the student has time and feels ready, they can grab their device and continue their prep—whether that’s on their lunch break, in-between classes, in the library or even on a subway or plane ride back home.
We are the only course that gives students 24/7 access to their instructors. Not only are our instructors the best on the market—all are required to have scored in the 99th percentile on an officially administered LSAT and have had ample LSAT-teaching experience (unlike our competition)—but, we also offer our students constant access to them. Through live in-app message boards, students can discuss questions and concerns with their instructors whenever they have them.
We are also the only course that offers students lifetime access. With LSATMax, students will never feel rushed to finish materials or follow a specific schedule. How long each student needs to prepare for the LSAT is subjective, and we certainly don’t think it’s fair to deprive students of time and access they may need to maximize their score.
How long have you been in the test preparation business and how many candidates have you helped score high on the LSAT?
We entered the test preparation business in 2010 with the release of BarMax, the first comprehensive bar exam review course available in the Apple App Store.
LSATMax was officially launched in late 2011 and to-date we have had over 100,000 downloads of our app.
What LSATMax features are liked best by your students?
Our students love the freedom and control they have with our app. Lifetime access and content on-demand 24/7.
Our most popular features include:
Whiteboard video lessons – detailed whiteboard video lessons that review proven strategies for every question type and concept that appears on the exam.
Real-time message boards – the message boards give students 24/7 access to their instructors. At any time of the day, students can post to the live message boards and receive explanations from our world-class instructors.
Detailed Analytics – the app tracks students’ progress through the course and highlights their strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to customize their prep to their specific needs and maximize their precious study time.
What is your best piece of advice for students preparing to take the LSAT?
Never settle! With law school applications at an all-time low, your LSAT score is more important than ever. Work really hard at dedicating your free time to LSAT prep. A high LSAT score can open so many doors for you, both academically and financially.
Remember, nobody thought I was going to Harvard Law after scoring a 148 on my first practice LSAT. And I wouldn’t have if I settled with my LSAT score.
What one thing do you wish all LSAT candidates knew before starting your course?
We’ve incorporated technology into your LSAT prep for a reason. Through our experience we have seen how helpful an app can be to a student’s improvement. I want students to utilize the app to its fullest capacity, rather than merely watching the video lectures.
Input your homework and practice LSATs into the app to take advantage of the personalized analytics. Utilize the live in-app message boards to discuss topics with each other and with your instructor. Though LSATMax is a remote learning process, we still strive to foster a community of students and instructors who can discuss various topics and concerns ranging from specific LSAT questions to law school admissions.
I would recommend watching the Intro to LSATMax video before starting our course to fully understand LSATMax’s features and capabilities.
Which LSAT topic do your students currently find the most challenging?
It’s different for everyone but I will say that students find the Reading Comprehension section of the exam the hardest to improve on. Reading comprehension is subjective. How each person reads and analyzes material is different. For some, highlighting is key, for others, it’s underlining. We encourage students to read well-written periodicals in their free time to help hone their reading comprehension skills. This is why we offer our Premium course students a 12-week digital subscription to The Economist.
The Economist offers well-written articles that are about the length of Reading Comp passages and across a broad range of subjects, including topics that you could care less about. Improving your reading comprehension abilities will not only help you on Reading Comp, but also on the Logical Reasoning sections.
How much time do you recommend students spend preparing for the LSAT with your course?
At LSATMax, we give our students lifetime access, so all of our students have as much time as they need to reach their target score.
We do send out a master calendar for each exam, which is set at a little over three and a half months. This is the longest calendar we have, i.e. it is the ideal calendar for students who have a lot of time to dedicate to their prep.
But, this calendar includes with almost seven full weeks of practice and review time; so students who get started later can always adjust the calendar accordingly. My biggest piece of advice is never to rush your prep. Getting a high LSAT score is exponentially worth the extra time you may need to put in to earn it.
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the LSAT and in the test prep industry over the last few years? What changes do you anticipate in the future?
I think slowly students are realizing how unnecessarily expensive and inefficient LSAT prep courses have become. It’s time to start asking critical questions. What am I paying for? Where are these questions from? Why are you cutting off my access?
I believe students are realizing that mobile learning is the way of the future—not only does it give you more control of your prep, but it also allows for a far more efficient prep strategy. Students should no longer be tied to the schedules of their instructors. They shouldn’t have to waste time commuting to and from an LSAT prep course that teaches to the mean. Within the next few years, I anticipate a big shift towards mobile within the entire test prep market.
What do you do for fun when not teaching/working? Or, how do you relax?
I enjoy spending time with my friends and family.
Favorite Quote? Why do you like it?
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” – Arthur Schopenhauer
This quote really captures what we have experienced with our idea to replace traditional in-class prep with mobile apps.
Law school is expensive. In fact, it’s expensive even before you get there! Between the cost of multiple expensive law school applications, paying for the LSAT multiple times, and trying to come up with a plan to pay for tuition, the thought of paying for an LSAT study course may simply be out of reach. This is especially true when you consider that most law school applicants are broke college students.
If your dinner meals more often involve ramen than filet mignon, here’s how to study for the LSAT and not break the bank!
The cost of a live LSAT class is around $1,700, but some courses go as high as a whopping $8,750! However, one way to quickly slash the cost of studying is to take an online class instead of a live one.
If you think about it, you don’t really need someone in-person to help you study. Taking an online course can easily save you between $500 and $800, depending on the program.
A low-cost LSAT prep course we recommend checking out, is Magoosh. For less than $250 you’ll get all the materials you need in an on-demand format so you can study anytime and anywhere.
Furthermore, you get the same amount of instruction time and there may be tools that let you isolate certain sections of the test to study for. An extra bonus: you study based on your own schedule, so if you need to work, take finals or take care of other responsibilities, you can do it without sacrificing your study time.
These courses often come with audio and videos that you can watch time and time again. Additionally, they may have helpful tools that help you track your score and isolate your weak points.
Some onsite or online programs offer two-week or weekend courses that can help you immensely in a condensed period of time. Even better: they are usually at a fraction of the cost of the full program.
Another option is to check with your career services department at your college to see if there are programs that your university offers. These may be cheaper or may give you a discount if you are already a student.
Use Free LSAT Resources
With the advent of the web, you can access incredible (and free!) resources online. Some options you should definitely check out include:
Free LSAT tests – The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) publishes old, official tests. Search for them and use these to take free practice tests.
Ultimately, this step might take a little bit of legwork. However, using free resources can help you subsidize other law-school related costs.
Also, don’t rule out old-school options. Many libraries have LSAT prep books available to check out or use in the library. Some might even have arrangements with test prep companies, so check out your local library for available options.
One Reddit user reported scoring a 167 on the first try after using five LSAT prep books and 20 practice tests all available from the local library.
If your older sibling, best friend or neighbor took the LSAT, check if you can borrow study materials or old course information for free.
It’s usually best to supplement your free options with other items you pay for, like a course or study materials.
Taking old LSAT tests is a great way to study for the LSAT. Furthermore, it can also help you identify your weak areas. You can purchase a set of 10 old tests and answer keys for less than $20.
There are also several other supplemental books that you can use. Sometimes, the LSAC uses the same question that appeared on a previous test. Therefore, taking an old test can help you recognize the question and answer it correctly.
Take at least one timed practice tests before delving further into your studies. This will give you a baseline on your current score so you can measure your progress and identify your weak areas.
Purchase Used Study Materials
With approximately 37,000 first-year law school students, there is no shortage of students – or the study materials that they recently used. Save yourself a few bucks by purchasing their leftover goods and slash the retail cost of these study materials.
Ultimately, there are a ton of other LSAT study books that provide a comprehensive overview of the LSAT or that focus on a specific section. However, the books listed above are sworn by many law school students.
Get a Discount
For most online purchases, you can get a discount by simply looking for a promo code. This is true for LSAT prep courses and books. Additionally, some prep companies offer discounts for members of certain associations, such as alumni associations or trade organizations. Others provide corporate discounts, and some even offer need-based scholarships.
Don’t feel like the rate published on a website is set in stone. Contact the prep company and ask about any possible discounts. Tutors may also offer a discount if you sign up for a package deal, commit to a certain number of tutoring hours, or refer others to them.
Remember, the worst that can happen is that the person or company says “no,” and then you’re just back to the originally-listed price. Essentially, the best that can happen is you save some major bucks just by having the courage to ask.
Check Out Local Options
You might have some other options that can provide you with significant savings on your LSAT preparation. Depending on your location, you might be able to get help from the following:
State, county or local bar associations – Some bar associations offer annual LSAT courses for free or discounted rates.
Law schools – Local law schools often have LSAT prep workshops and practice tests available online or onsite.
Community colleges – Many community colleges offer free or inexpensive LSAT prep classes on their campuses.
Community centers – You can check with your local community center to see if they offer an LSAT prep course.
GI Bill – Some programs have received clearance from the Department of Veterans Services to accept funding from a GI bill.
By doing a little bit of research, you might be able to find a great lead on an affordable LSAT prep option. Another way that some students use to cover costs is by using their government stimulus checks.
All the books in the world won’t do you a bit of good if you don’t open them! Once you have all of your necessary supplies in place, create a tailored study plan. If you don’t know where to start, you can purchase inexpensive study schedules for about $20 for durations of 10 weeks to 6 months in advance of the LSAT. You can also check out our free study schedules; these give you more structure and an attack plan.
Learn Your Weak Areas
An effective way to drastically decrease the amount you pay for LSAT test prep is to determine your weak areas. By doing this, you can focus on improving your scores on your own by using your own resources (more on that below).
You can then devote your budget for extra help in your weak areas. This may mean working one-on-one with a private tutor in just those sections or purchasing books focused on these areas. Additionally, some online courses are geared to particular parts of the test.
Learn from Your Mistakes
Don’t just take a bunch of LSAT tests and look at your scores. Delve into the test answers and see why certain answers were incorrect. Thoroughly read over the explanations in your test books. Also, read over any questions that you weren’t sure about but technically got correct. These explanations can help reinforce concepts and help you identify patterns in what you’re getting wrong so that you can fix them.
Keep Track of Your Progress
So that you spend your time (and money) on the areas that need the most help, it’s important to keep track of your progress. Use an organization or tracking feature with your online prep course, an Excel sheet, or simple pen and paper to track your scores over time. This will give you important data and tell you if you are improving on certain sections, remaining stagnant, or getting lower scores. Use this data to inform your purchasing decisions.
Get Real with Yourself
Before you spend a dime on a self-study plan, really think about yourself, your strengths, and your weaknesses. Are you really able to devote solid study time that is not specifically structured around a course? Remember, in addition to actually studying, it will take some time and research to learn how to study for the LSAT, and then create a study schedule.
Are you a self-starter, or do you need someone encouraging you along? How much time do you really have to devote to studying? Are you a visual or audio learner? Will courses geared for these learning styles help you retain more information than simply reading from a book?
If you will not follow through with your budget-friendly plan, it might be worth re-assessing whether you can afford a more structured class. Try asking friends and family for financial help, taking on a part-time job, or rolling the cost into your student loans. Alternatively, if you don’t have a problem with setting up your own schedule and study plan, you can cut thousands of dollars off of the cost of LSAT prep.
Take the Next Step
Now that you have several viable plans for fitting your LSAT study into your budget, you can get started on your LSAT preparation. Also, check out more ideas, reviews and free information to get you ready for test day on our blog.
Choosing a law school is one of the most important decisions of your legal career. The school you attend will determine the kind of education you get, but more importantly, it will affect your job opportunities and career options after you pass the Bar exam. Although there are many excellent law schools in the United States, firms and companies love to hire graduates of from these top universities:
Consistently ranked the #1 law school in the country, Yale Law School is small, exclusive, and extremely competitive. Home to one of the largest law libraries in the world, it has an enrollment of approximately 600 students. Located in New Haven, CT, it has the lowest student-faculty ratio in the country. Prominent graduates include two U.S. presidents (Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton), ten Supreme Court Justices, nine U.S. attorneys general, and a large number of U.S. senators and state governors.
Yale Law School famously abolished grades in the 1960s, which cuts down on in-class competition and makes it difficult (if not impossible) to determine who is at the top or bottom of each class. The school ranks students on a simple credit/no credit system for the first year, with a traditional honors system in place for the second and third years. Students are guaranteed to get to know their law school professors and classmates very well because of the small classes. Students are encouraged to design their own law school experience rather than being bound to an inflexible curriculum.
Originally known as the New Haven Law School, this institution gradually became affiliated with Yale College in the mid-nineteenth century. Law students began receiving degrees from Yale in 1843, but the school almost had to close its doors in 1845 and 1869. In the 1870s, the modern law library was created and the Yale Law Journal was begun. The degree of Master of Laws was offered for the first time in 1876. Yale become prominent in the 1930s when it helped promote legal realism, a doctrine that changed the way American lawyers understood the function of legal rules, courts and judges. Prominent deans, such as Charles Clark, began to hire outstanding faculty to train the nation’s best young legal minds.
Yale prides itself on its reputation of emphasizing public law in addition to private law, and positioned itself to play an important part in the rise of the administrative state, the globalization and internationalization that followed the Second World War, and the domestic civil rights movement. Today, it is internationally recognized as one of the preeminent centers of legal expertise in the world.
Admissions – 8.8% acceptance rate
LSAT 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 170/173 /176
GPA 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 3.82/3.90/3.97
Tuition – $56,200 per year
Degree Options – J.D., LL.M., J.S.D. (Doctor of Juridical Science, a more advanced degree for those pursuing a career in legal education), M.S.L., Ph.D.
Bar Pass Rate – 96.3%
Job Placement – 92%
Quality of Campus and Facilities – 10/10
2. Harvard Law School
Harvard is one of the most well-known law schools in the United States, and for good reason. This private Ivy League school has a history that spans nearly 400 years, and its graduates are frequently hired by big law firms looking for new talent.
Originally founded in 1636 as the “New College” in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, this prestigious university became Harvard College in 1639, when clergyman John Harvard died and bequeathed his money and books to the college. Harvard Law School was founded in 1817 by Isaac Royall, a wealthy slaveholder from Antigua who immigrated to Boston. It is the oldest continually operating law school in the United States and has the largest academic law library in the world. The student-edited Harvard Law Review, one of the most cited university law reviews, was first published in 1887. Women were first admitted to Harvard Law in 1953. Famous graduates include two U.S. presidents (Rutherford B. Hayes and Barack Obama), 11 U.S. attorneys general, 15 Supreme Court justices, and a large number of U.S. senators and state governors. Harvard consistently appears in the top three of U.S. News & World Report‘s annual rankings of the top law schools.
Admissions – 15.4% acceptance rate
LSAT 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 170/173/175 GPA 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 3.75/3.87/3.95
Tuition – $55,842 per year
Job Placement: 96.9%
Bar Pass Rate – 97.1%
Graduation Rate – 98%
Degree Options – J.D., LL.M, S.J.D
Quality of Campus and Facilities – 10/10
Georgetown University was founded in 1789 and is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the United States. Located in Washington D.C., the Georgetown University Law Center, also known as Georgetown Law School, is the second largest law school in the United States after Harvard. This school is extremely exclusive and difficult to get into, not least because it receives more applications than any other law school and only admits approximately 540 students a year. It boasts 12 law journals and has been ranked in the top 14 law schools every year since U.S. News & World Report began ranking them. 15 clinics allow students to get hands-on practice in the field before they graduate, and joint degree programs (such as J.D./Ph.D, J.D./MPH, and J.D./MBA) are popular.
In 1870, Georgetown Law became the first law school to be founded by a Jesuit institution in the United States. In 1890, the law school moved into a new building separate from the undergraduate university in a different part of the city. Since then, the school has grown dramatically and is known for its specialized degrees in international and trade law, tax law, environmental law, health law, and national security law. Connections to the federal government, internships and clerkships at the Supreme Court and big law firms in the nation’s capital make this an excellent choice for students interested in public service or corporate law, although graduates often leave for jobs in New York and other cities as well.
Admissions – 29% acceptance rate
LSAT 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 165/169/170
GPA 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 3.43/3.72/3.82
Tuition – $53,130 per year
Degree Options – J.D., LL.M., S.J.D.
Bar Pass Rate – 90.96%
Job Placement – 91%
Quality of Campus and Facilities: 10/10
4. Columbia Law School
The Columbia School of Law is a well-known Ivy League school in New York City. Regarded as one of the most prestigious law schools in the U.S., it has a small student body, low student-faculty ratio and one of the highest employment rates after graduation. It also has a high price tag at just over $60,000 a year in tuition alone. Students who plan to practice law in New York will have their pick of firms and legal positions if they do well in their classes and internships.
Columbia Law School was founded in 1858 in Manhattan. The law school’s first dean, Theodore W. Dwight, promoted academic training via office instruction, which was relatively common at the time. The Dwight Method of law was taught at Columbia until 1891, when the school adopted the more popular case method. In the 1920s and 30s, the school became affiliated with the legal realism movement espoused by Yale and other Ivy League schools. Today, the school is consistently ranked in the top five in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
Admissions – 21.3% accepted
LSAT 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 169/171/173
GPA 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 3.54/3.70/3.8
Tuition – $60,274 per year
Degree Options- J.D., LL.M, S.J.D.
Bar Pass Rate – 95.6%
Job Placement – 97%
Quality of Campus and Facilities – 10/10
The Law School at Stanford University is another top-ranked law school. Currently tied with Harvard for the number 2 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of best law schools, this school is located in beautiful Palo Alto, California. Stanford Law was an early adopter of law school clinics, in which students get hands-on practice by helping actual clients with their legal issues. Its small class size, accessible professors, idyllic location and excellent job prospects make this a first-rate option. A new academic building and graduate residence where students can live among their classmates is very popular, and an honors, pass, restricted credit/no credit system has replaced traditional grades to reduce pressure on students. The new state-of-the-art Robert Crown Library is a favorite with students for studying. Unlike many dark and musty libraries at other eminent schools, this library has airy and well-lit spaces with plenty of access to seating and power outlets.
Stanford University was founded in 1891 by former California Governor Leland Stanford, who had studied law in New York before he moved to California after the gold rush. Stanford University and a museum were established by the Governor and his wife to memorialize their son, who died of typhoid fever in 1884. The forward-thinking couple decided from the beginning that the university would be coeducational, non-denominational, and practical, in an effort to produce “cultured and useful citizens.” Stanford University began to offer courses in legal studies in 1893. Although the department began to refer to its program as a “law school” as early as 1908, Stanford’s law program did not become a modern professional school until 1924, when a bachelor’s degree became a prerequisite for admission and the law school became a graduate school. In 1932, the school added the LL.M. and S.J.D. degree options to the J.D. Stanford Law School has admitted a diverse body of students, including women and minorities, from the very beginning. Throughout its history, the school has honored this progressive tradition. It was also one of the first schools to introduce diversity law and courses on technology law.
Admissions – 10.3%
LSAT 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 169/171/173
GPA 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 3.76/3.87/3.95
Tuition – $54,366 per year
Degree Options – J.D., LLM., S.J.D., MLS (Master of Legal Studies)
Bar Pass Rate – 88%
Job Placement – 96.2%
Quality of Campus and Facilities – 10/10
6. UCLA Law School
A relative newcomer to the group of prestigious law schools, the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law was established in 1949. Consistently ranked in the top 20, UCLA is known for its tradition of innovation, excellent faculty, and bright students. Its location in sunny Los Angeles and comparably reasonable tuition and generous financial aid packages make this school even more attractive to prospective applicants. Students can choose from the following six areas of specialization: Business Law & Policy; Critical Race Studies; the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law & Policy; Entertainment, Media and Intellectual Property Law; International and Comparative Law; and Law & Philosophy.
In 1919, the Los Angeles Normal School (primarily established to educate teachers) was merged with the University of California to become the Southern Branch of the University of California. Eventually, this university became known as UCLA. Established in 1949, UCLA Law School was the first public law school in Southern California and is the youngest of the top 20 law schools in the United States. The UCLA Law Review was first published in 1953. Additional law review journals, such as the UCLA Asian/Pacific American Law Journal, the UCLA Chicano/a – Latino/a Law Review, the UCLA Women’s Law Journal, and the National Black Law Journal, underscore the school’s commitment to minorities and legal issues that affect minorities. In the 1970s, the school embraced the clinic system, which allowed students to gain practical skills in live legal clinics while still in law school. In the 1990s, the school created an Empirical Research Group and think tanks to foster unbiased academic discussions on policy and legal issues.
Admissions – 27.9% accepted
LSAT 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 164/168/169
GPA 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 3.57/3.75/3.88
Tuition – $45,226 per year for in-state residents, $51,720 for non-residents
Degree Options – J.D., LL.M., S.J.D.
Bar Pass Rate – 82%
Job Placement – 92%
Quality of Campus and Facilities – 8/10
7. Cornell Law
Cornell Law School is a private Ivy League institution in upstate New York. With a student body of just under 200 in each class, it maintains one of the lowest student-faculty ratios in the country (9.9 to 1), and boasts a high bar exam pass rate. It is also extremely expensive, with tuition alone costing almost $60,000 a year. The school is a favorite with big law firms in New York City, however, those who hope to land a federal judicial clerkship will have less luck, as Cornell Law is near the bottom of the list of universities that place their students in those positions.
The Law Department at Cornell University opened in 1887, but did not officially become a law school until 1925. Over time, the school developed a prestigious law library. Students can specialize in international law, and multiple international programs and study opportunities are available. The school publishes a number of leading law journals, including the Cornell Law Review, Cornell International Law Journal,and theCornell Journal of Law and Public Policy.
Admissions – 29% accepted
LSAT 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 166/167/169
GPA 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 3.54/3.68/3.77
Tuition – $59,360 per year
Degree Options – J.D., LL.M., J.S.D.
Bar Pass Rate – 94%
Job Placement – 96%
Quality of Campus and Facilities – 7/10
8. Duke Law
Duke University (originally called Trinity College) is located in Durham, North Carolina. The Law School was founded in 1930 and has been included among the top 14 law schools (typically in the top 10) since U.S. News & World Report began ranking them in 1987. Duke Law is known for its small class sizes and high bar exam pass rates. The beautiful and extensive campus covers more than 8,600 acres and includes the lovely Sarah P. Duke Gardens, striking Gothic architecture, and an impressive Chapel on its West Campus. The East Campus was formerly the home of the women’s college, and is characterized by Georgian-style buildings. Law journals include The Duke Law Journal,The Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy, and the student-edited online publications Duke Law & Technology Review and the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy among others.
In 1865, Trinity College established a Law Department as one of its eleven academic departments in the city of Trinity, North Carolina. The Trinity College School of Law opened in 1868 to train lawyers, but was closed and reopened several times before and after the university moved to its present-day location in Durham. In 1902, tobacco and electric power magnate James Buchanan Duke and his brother, Benjamin Newton Duke, provided an endowment that allowed the Law School to reopen. In 1924, Trinity College was renamed Duke University in honor of their father, Washington Duke. The first woman was admitted to the law school in 1927 and the first African-American students were admitted in 1961. In 1932, the Duke Legal Aid Clinic, one of the first programs of its kind in the country, was created to give students practical experience. A full-text electronic archive and repository of faculty scholarship was created in 2003. Today, the school publishes nine academic journals and has many notable alumni, including former President Richard Nixon.
The University of California at Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law is located in the San Francisco Bay area and has always been ranked among the top 14 law schools in the United States. It is tied with the University of Michigan as the top public law school in the U.S. Also known as Berkeley Law, this institution’s specialties include intellectual property, environmental, and international law and is home to 13 law journals. Its beautiful location and relatively small class size make it an attractive option for those who want to attend a first-rate law school on the West Coast.
The first law classes were taught at the Berkeley campus in 1882, followed by the creation of the Department of Jurisprudence in 1894. In 1912, the department was named the School of Jurisprudence, and finally became the School of Law in 1950. From its beginnings, Berkeley Law admitted all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, religion, or ethnicity. The first Bachelor of Law degrees were awarded in 1903, followed by the first J.D. degrees in 1906. The first African-American earned a law degree in 1922, and by 1940 more than 100 women had graduated from the law school. The law school was originally named after its location in Boalt Memorial Hall, however, the law school recently changed its name from “Boalt Hall” to “Berkeley Law” to more closely associate itself with the UC Berkeley campus on which it is located.
Admissions – 20% accepted
LSAT 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 164/167/169
GPA 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 3.67/3.79/3.88
Tuition – $48,166 per year for in-state residents, $52,117 for non-residents
Degree Options – J.D., LL.M., J.S.D., Ph.D.
Bar Pass Rate – 88%
Job Placement – 96.52%
Quality of Campus and Facilities – 10/10
10. Vanderbilt Law
Vanderbilt University Law School, also referred to as “Vandy” or VLS, is located in the country music capital of Nashville, Tennessee. Tennessee’s low cost of living and the law school’s scholarships, which often cover up to 1/3 of the cost of tuition, helps keep expenses down. The attractive 330-acre campus is notable for 18th century buildings, a national arboretum, a safe urban environment, and southern hospitality. The school emphasizes opportunities and experience in public interest, social justice, and clinical legal education. Class sizes are small, with only 175 students enrolling each year. Publications include the Vanderbilt Law Review, Journal of Transnational Law, Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law, and Environmental Law & Policy Annual Review.
Established in 1874 with 7 students and 8 professors, Vanderbilt Law is one of the oldest law schools in the South. Classes remained small throughout the late 18th and early 19th centuries and had to be suspended during World War II. A $1 million gift in 1947 allowed the program to grow in the next few decades, until it eventually had to move into its own building due to overcrowding in the early 1960s. By the early 21st century, its reputation expanded beyond the region to become a nationally acclaimed law school that is consistently ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report. Today, the school is known for its programs in Intellectual Property Law, International Legal Studies, Energy, Environment and Land Use Law, Criminal Justice, Social Justice, and Law and Government. A recent joint-degree law and neuroscience program that leads to a J.D. and Ph.D. is supported by a $4.8 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation.
Admissions – 34.6% accepted
LSAT 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 163/167/169
GPA 25th/50th/75th percentiles – 3.45/3.74/3.85
Tuition – $49,722 per year
Degree Options – J.D., LL.M., Ph.D.
Bar Pass Rate – 95.5%
Job Placement – 91.2%
Quality of Campus and Facilities – 10/10
11. University of Chicago Law School
The University of Chicago Law School is a prestigious school with a reputation for intellectual excellence and academic rigor. Located just south of Chicago, its urban location gives students full access to all the city has to offer. Students have a reputation for being serious and studying hard. In 2014, an impressive 98% of graduates found employment within a few months of graduation, continuing the high-employment trend of this top 5 law school. With a student enrollment between 500 and 600, the law school experience is intimate and students really get to know their professors. Students are graded on a quarter system, allowing for three different sets of classes a year, as opposed to two for those schools on a semester system. The school’s excellent clinics often draw students from around the country and balance its focus on intellectual interpretations of the law.
The University of Chicago Law School is among the youngest of the top ranking schools, opening its doors in 1902, ten years after the University of Chicago was founded. Initial donors to the school included John D. Rockefeller. Chicago Law’s first president, William Rainey Harper, turned to Harvard Law School for help in establishing the school and hired a Harvard professor as the school’s first dean in 1902. The school grew dramatically in the two decades following World War II and is known today for its application of social science to the law and for its economic analysis of the law.
The United States is home to some of the most prestigious law schools in the world. Our criteria considers quality of life, job prospects, quality of education, and passing rates on the bar exam. Attending any of these top law schools will give students an excellent start to their legal career.
Many people take the LSAT more than once. Maybe they wanted to take the test and just see how they would do. Others may have completed a study plan, took the test and weren’t satisfied once they got their score report back.
While some schools consider the average LSAT score, others look at the highest one. In any event, if your score improves, the school will see a higher score for you whether they consider the average or highest score. According to a 2014 study cited by U.S. News, LSAT test takers saw their score improve the most after taking the LSAT the second time: even more so than when taking it for a third time. Consequently, two may be the magic number!
Here are some strategies to help boost your score the second time around:
Some students treat the first test as a dry run to see how they do before putting in any study time. However, there are some problems with this approach:
Most importantly, your first LSAT score will still be recorded and may be shared with the schools the test taker sent it to. Hence, it may affect the average score at a later date. That being said, if you went ahead with this strategy “just to see,” you’ve simulated test conditions, familiarized yourself with the LSAT’s structure, and exposed yourself to timed testing. So it’s not all a loss!
However, now that you have your score back, it’s time to see what you can do to increase it. Make sure that you open up your schedule to study for at least 20-30 hours per week for the next three months.
2. Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
It’s important to know what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. This way, you can isolate the areas that you really need to study. However, it can be difficult to do this manually or see the connection between the questions you are struggling with.
This is when study systems come in handy:
If you’re already enrolled in an LSAT prep course that offers analysis, take advantage of this and drill down on your weaknesses. If you aren’t enrolled in a course, it’s not a bad idea to enroll in one that offers free score reports like Powerscore.
The LSAC also offers a free program through Khan Academy, which also provides these reports. This is important feedback that details the types of questions you are missing, the specific skills these questions represent and the difficulty of these questions.
In addition to using these reports, track other information; identify anything that causes you to struggle. Keep track of questions you got wrong and the reason for it. Even if you got a question right but felt uncomfortable about it, track this information. Go through these lists and identify patterns. This will help you isolate certain things that are consistently causing you trouble so that you can better focus on these sections.
3. Isolate Elements of Each Section
If you’re serious about improving your LSAT score and recognition, tackle specific elements of each section of the test. Some of the major components to focus on include the following:
Logical Reasoning Section
Understand the Stimulus
As you read through dense text to answer this question type, make sure that you are understanding the content. For this element, you should be doing the following:
Summarize the passage
Break down the passage
Identify the argument
As part of your preparation, write down a summary of the passage. Then, go to the questions and see if you could answer the question based on your summary. This exercise will help you see if you are missing key information when summarizing. Consequently, you can adjust your approach so that you’re able to identify key points you are missing.
Identify Meaningful Concepts
Another important element to isolate is the ability to recognize concepts involved in the argument. Try to spot concepts as you read and how they may impact your answers to the questions.
Eliminate Wrong Answers
On this section, you can usually eliminate half of the answers easily because the way the answers are set up. When you are down to only two options, compare these answers to each other. Summarize their differences, return to the stimulus, and see why each answer seems attractive. Analyze how strong the connection is to each answer and select the one with the stronger connection.
Summarize the Passage
On the reading comprehension section, it’s even more important to understand what you’re reading as you go through the passage. This way, you won’t have to read it over and over again and waste precious time. Summarize each passage after reading it, and include the following in your summary:
An overall summary of the passage
The key points of the passage
The author’s point of view
Weaknesses in the argument
Try to attack the questions by using just your summary and avoid returning to the passage. This exercise can help you improve your memory and recall.
As you read through the passage, mark certain areas that you think you will probably be asked about. Then, compare your predictions to what the questions are actually about. Predicting this information accurately can help you hone in on certain aspects of the passage.
Read through the Questions
Read through each question and predict where you expect to find the answer in each passage. This brief exercise will help you compare your expectations regarding what will be contained in different sections of the passage and where the answers actually are.
This series of exercises will help you see how well you take in information and understand the methodology the test makers employ.
Recognize Key Elements of the Game
As you study through the logic games section, you should understand the different types of games that may be tested. Identify the following elements about each game:
The general type of game
What concepts are tested
The steps you need to answer the questions
Know How to Diagram the Game
Logic games can be more easily tackled by diagramming the question. When you are presented with a rule, know how to diagram it, such as making blocks or if-then conditions. Setting up the question correctly is the key to answering these games in a limited amount of time.
Many logic game questions require you to make inferences. As you study the logic games, consider the inferences that you made for each game and why you made them. Compare the way you set up the game to the way your test prep source says it should have been set up.
The Law School Admission Council releases previous LSATs, which are a great source to use in your preparation. You can find them online or purchase prep books that contain several official LSATs. These tests show you the structure of the test and the types of questions you will be asked. Additionally, you can take these practice exams and see how you would have scored on a real LSAT score.
Plan to take a practice test after you study sections of the test. Use a timer and take the test in a quiet area to simulate test conditions. Many students fail to practice the test under timed conditions and then will run out of time on test day and lose points for their unanswered questions.
Practicing under timed conditions can help test takers gauge how much time they have for each section and question so that they spend most of their time on questions they can get right. This also helps them figure out when they should just move on from a question that has them stumped. Additionally, taking the test under timed conditions will help test takers better gauge their potential score.
You might even want to find tests that contain all five sections, including the experimental section, to really acquaint yourself with real test conditions. If you plan to take the writing portion, take timed LSATs with the writing portion. This will help you build stamina and avoid fatigue on the real test day.
Basically, get your hands on as many old tests as possible. Each test will familiarize yourself with the format, get you acquainted with the test process, and build your confidence. After each test, review the test answers and see why you got questions wrong.
5. Improve Your Practice Environment
To make the most of your practice, you need an environment conducive to learning. A major negative for many test takers is stress; they feel especially stressed during the first time they take the test. However, much of this stress subsides by the second time they take the test since they don’t have as much anxiety when approaching a now-familiar situation. However, test takers should still reduce their stress levels as they study so that they will be less likely to feel stress on the day of the test.
It’s also important that you are at optimal health levels when you take this life-changing test. Avoid drinking alcohol, exercise regularly, and eat a healthy diet. Exercise improves brain function, so don’t try to convince yourself that it’s okay to let yourself go so that you spend all the time studying and no time taking care of you!
6. Stick to a Rigorous Schedule
Since statistics show that your second score may be higher than a third or subsequent score, your second test may realistically be your last one. Develop a schedule and stick to it religiously. You can enroll in a course that dictates your schedule or purchase a commercially available schedule. Either way, you’ll want to keep pace with the schedule and build time into your routine to fully devote to your study.
Any schedule should include the following components:
A minimum of three months’ study time is recommended for most test takers – including second-time test takers. If you cannot devote the time to study this long, you may want to delay your study until you can fit in the time: even if that means taking a year off between your undergraduate degree and law school admission.
If you went through a prep course or did substantial self-studying, don’t plan on just going back through the materials you already have. Even though you might have went through dozens of practice tests and hundreds or thousands of test questions, your brain might recognize a question and you may answer it correctly the second time around. This may be because you remember the question, not that you’ve improved on the concepts. Therefore, it’s important to start with fresh materials.
Get your hands on any official tests that have been released that you haven’t gone through yet. Group these tests in your study plan so that you don’t run out of fresh tests before you reach the end of your prep period. If you didn’t purchase prep materials before, do so now. If cash is tight, consider splitting the cost with a friend who is also taking the LSAT, finding used books online, or checking out your local law library.
If you are running out of fresh material, save it for closer to your test date while you rely on your prep course materials during the first couple months of your study. This will ensure that you are preparing intensely with fresh questions closer to the time of taking the test.
8. Don’t Neglect Sections
If you are performing well on one section, you may be tempted to ignore it and concentrate fully on other sections. However, it’s important to practice on all sections of the test during your study so that you don’t forget important concepts or test-taking strategies. Some second time test takers have neglected stronger sections only to see their scores on those sections decrease the second time around. Having a higher score in one area can average out weaker areas.
There you have it: a complete plan to boost your score. Just keep practicing and keep focused and you’ll probably get a higher score the second go round!
The LSAT is not designed to measure academic knowledge, but a college background remains useful because certain skills and academic majors hone reading and reasoning skills, both of which are absolutely crucial for success on the LSAT.
Students taking the LSAT should take their time preparing for the test. Law schools weight the LSAT very heavily in their admissions process and it takes time to learn the format of the test and to excel on each section. Preparing for the LSAT is like training for a marathon. It takes time, practice, and patience. The exam takes more than 4 hours, and measures skills and abilities as well as raw determination and endurance.
It pays to practice under the same conditions you will experience on test day. This means taking full-length practice exams exactly as you would on the exam day. You should time yourself to create the same pressure you’ll experience on the test. If you typically study alone in a quiet space, you should consider taking a full practice test in a public area, such as a student center or coffee shop to acclimate yourself to having people and noise around in a high-pressure situation.
Study time will vary by student, but a good rule of thumb is to take a practice test several months in advance of the date you plan to take the LSAT. This will allow you to determine how much time you will need to boost your score, and which sections need the most improvement.
Other factors will include whether you have other commitments, such as difficult classes or a job, your ability to focus and concentrate on studying a large body of material, and whether you are a quick learner. Some LSAT prep courses allow you to begin studying a year in advance, others limit you to a few months before your scheduled exam. You should leave yourself enough time to take as many prep tests as possible, determine your personal strengths and weaknesses, and set up a reasonable study schedule that will keep you on track.
Really crushing the LSAT means teaching your brain to perform challenging tasks. The goal is to learn techniques and strategies to help you produce accurate answers quickly and efficiently. Unless you are among the lucky few who naturally test well, this ability takes time to develop. It takes significantly longer if you can’t dedicate much of your time to the process. In most cases, 1-3 months is a reasonable amount of time to dedicate to preparation.
The LSAT should be taken no later than the summer or fall of the year you are applying to law school. Many schools require the LSAT be taken by the December prior to your enrollment, and you will want to give yourself enough time to repeat the test if you do not score well the first time. If your plan is to go straight to law school after college, you will need to take the LSAT the summer after your junior year, or the fall of your senior year. It can be challenging to balance preparation for the test with undergraduate coursework, so studying over the summer is often a good idea.
The registration deadline for the LSAT is approximately one month before the test, and it is advisable to register early (6-8 weeks before the test) in order to secure a seat at your preferred location and avoid late fees. Please see our LSAT information page for additional registration details.
LSAT Logic Game Tips
The ultimate secret to crushing the LSAT logic games section is to learn to love them. Students who approach them as just another form of puzzles or Sudoku fare far better than those who fear these tricky questions. LSAT logic games are predictable and it is possible to learn how to solve them efficiently. You already know everything you need to know – a lot of practice will go a long way, and with the right preparation, you’ll find you can absolutely ace this segment!
Although it is true that the LSAT doesn’t repeat questions word-for-word from one exam to the next, the logical reasoning that underlies many of the games remains very similar. The best way to prepare for this section is to use smart logic strategies, and look at questions on past tests to understand and learn the patterns. The key is to have no fear!
LSAT Reading Comprehension Tips
In this section you’ll have to read a lot of information in a short amount of time. In that way, it is similar to what you’ll experience in law school. Learn to stretch your attention span by reading more before the test. Read daily. Newspaper articles and more complex texts, preferably on subjects that don’t interest you, are great choices.
It’s important to keep in mind that the content of the passages isn’t nearly as important as the structure of the text. Your primary job is to identify the relevant points in the article. Don’t waste your time trying to learn to speed-read, but concentrate on what’s important: understanding the structure. As you are reading, take note of evidence, critics and supporters, motivations behind actions, and conclusions. That’s all that matters.
The logical reasoning section is the most important part of the LSAT, as it counts for half the total points. You need to ace this section if you want a top score.
The good news is that it is possible to learn how to approach these problems with strategies that lead to the right answers. This section can be frustrating and is very challenging for many students, but it is by no means impossible. You should familiarize yourself with the different question types (assumption, strengthen, weaken, argument, inference etc.) and pinpoint your weaknesses. Practice your weakest question types until you feel comfortable with them, and your score will improve.
Like many standardized tests, easier questions precede the more challenging ones. The first twelve questions tend to be simpler and more straight-forward. In the beginning of the test, you should trust your first instinct and answer questions quickly. Once you are faced with more difficult questions, you should take your time and start by eliminating obviously wrong answers first. If you are not sure about the correct answer, eliminating wrong answers improves your odds of guessing the correct answer.
Don’t be afraid to skip a question if it seems too difficult. Make sure to answer all the easier questions first and leave more time-consuming problems until the end to maximize the number of points you earn. Also, you should always guess, even if you have no idea which answer is correct, because there is no penalty for wrong answers, and you have a 20% chance of choosing the right answer and scoring additional points.
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The mere mention of LSAT logic games is enough to make even the most fearless law school students shudder. That’s because logic games are widely considered the most challenging aspect of the LSAT. But here’s the good news: this section of the test is most easily taught due to an abundance of excellent study materials.
By acquainting yourself with the logic games section and devoting LSAT prep time toward learning how to tackle these questions, you’ll ace this section on test day!
Here are a few proven strategies to help you improve your logical reasoning abilities and increase your LSAT score: [/av_textblock]
1. Learn the Format of the Logic Game Section
The logic games consist of 23 or 24 questions that are in four different question sets. Basically, a logic game question appears that describes a scenario. Rules are then presented to figure out how different groupings work. Test takers are then asked a series of questions that require them to use the stated rules and make inferences based on these rules. Depending on the set, you may be asked five to eight questions about each scenario. [/av_textblock]
2. Be Able to Identify the Different Logic Games LSAT Question Types
LSAT logic games can be classified into five major categories. Each type of question will determine how you attack it and which type of diagram you’ll use (more on this later). By recognizing the type of game you’re confronting, you can apply the proper approach and organize the game’s information into the proper diagram.The five major types of logic game questions include:
LSAT logic games can be classified into five major categories. Each type of question will determine how you attack it and which type of diagram you’ll use
Sequencing games require you to line up subjects in order. You may have a question in which you place options in definite slots, called strict sequencing questions. Alternatively, other questions may ask you to base the order of the options on the relationship between the options, called loose sequencing questions. Sequencing games are usually the most commonly asked questions on the LSAT logic games section. You can recognize these games by keywords in the question, such as:
From first to last
A must be before B
R must be next to S
O cannot be second
Matching games require you to match two or more options together from a longer list of options. You may be asked to match a single set of characters with one set of characteristics. It may be possible to match the characteristics given to more than one group to reach the correct answer. On the other hand, other games will ask you to match one set of characters with two or more characteristic sets.
Distribution games require you to take a large group of options and divide them into subgroups. Ultimately, distribution is similar to matching in many ways. However, one key difference is that the group classification is the most concrete element of the game in distribution questions.
Selection games are another type of grouping game. What makes them different is that they consist of a large group of options from which you select some of them to form one subgroup. Consequently, you must select and reject certain options for the subgroup.
Hybrid games involve two or more of the game types described above. Typically, many of these are based on sequencing and distribution pairs.
As I’ve previously mentioned, an effective diagram will let you visualize the game and determine the relationships between different options. Your diagram should be flexible enough to answer most of the questions. Remember: this portion of the LSAT is highly visual. Hence, it pays to spend the few extra seconds to draw a diagram that helps you make sense of the information you are given. The diagram that you use will be based on the type of question that you are answering. Here are some examples that should help you with your logic games practice:
Strict Sequencing Games Diagrams
This question can usually be answered by using a number of dashes to represent each answer. For example, in a question that asks about timed arrivals at a train station, your diagram may look like:________________________10:00 11:0012:001:002:003:00You would then place the initial of the traveler above the time based on the conditions that you are given.
Loose Sequencing Games Diagrams on the LSAT
Loose sequencing questions may require you to build a relationship tree, such as a family tree, to answer the questions. You may indicate other relationships between the options. For example, if A arrived before B and C, this may look like:
This type of game can usually be charted through the use of clusters or a grid, like this:
Distribution games are usually represented by developing a chart with the groups as the column headings with a number of dashes for each option. For example:
Selection Games Diagrams
Selection games can often be charted by listing out all options and then circling the possible ones for inclusion and drawing an “x” through those rejected from the pool or roster. You may also have certain relationship rules you need to chart, such as:
You’ll be given a series of rules and conditions as part of the logic games section. Ultimately, there is no perfect way of representing these relationships. You might use capital letters for one set of things you are diagramming and lowercase letters for the other set so that you can distinguish between the two sets of information. You might use initials to make grouping faster. However, whatever method you choose, remember to be consistent with it. Use the same visual representation for a rule or condition each time so that you quickly recognize it. This concept applies to ordering your selections, making groups and other aspects of the games. Write out these conditions on the diagram or beside it to remind yourself of the relationships as you work the problem.Essentially, you should have a standard setup that you apply to each type of logic game. You should also have a uniform method of representing common rules. Create a shorthand for commonly applied conditions, such as:
A is before B
If B plays C does not
X is not in the red room
R is in 3 of the groups
S is immediately before T
S is before T
Fewer than four birds are in each cage
Doing this will help you to identify relationships between different rules faster. Furthermore, this will allow you to make deductions more quickly so that you are able to increase your speed on each question.
5. Don’t Time Yourself
When you are first introduced to the logic games section, it is important that you develop a strategy first. Speed can come later. Take all the time you need at the beginning to learn how to work this section properly. You should be able to quickly determine which type of logic game you are facing after reading the question and be able to apply a diagram that will help you map out the answers. If you try to rush your way through the questions by imposing timed conditions at this point, you’ll simply derail and delay your progress. Strive for full accuracy instead of answering questions quickly. As you get better with this section, you will naturally get faster. Just avoid adding the pressure of speed when you are first starting out.
6. Lather, Rinse, and Repeat
Ultimately, becoming a pro on the logic games section will take some practice. Start out by practicing on one type of game at a time, like the sequencing questions. Complete as many of these question types as you can before taking a break. Before long, you’ll be able to see how rules and principles interact and you will be able to make quick deductions when attacking these questions. Make it a habit to complete drill sets and practice test questions. Next, continue the same pattern with the next question type. You will probably take several days to master each question type, so space out your studying enough to give you the time you need. Over time, you’ll develop a consistent system to attack these problems. Continue this process until you have mastered all five major question types and get a nearly perfect score on all the games.
7. Thoroughly Review the Answers
As you go through the answers to your questions, don’t just look to confirm whether you had the right answer. Instead, read through each explanation thoroughly to make sure you made the right deductions and attacked the problem appropriately. Go back and redo any problems that you answered incorrectly, using your test booklet or simulator’s approach as your guide. This will ensure that you use the method to get the right answer.
8. Time Yourself
Now that you‘ve gotten used to logic games and have a better sense of what it takes to conquer this section, you need to start simulating actual test conditions. You may want to start by giving yourself a pretest to see where your baseline score is under timed conditions. This will give you a good estimate to see how much progress you make. Spend at least two weeks of practicing this section before you start implementing time limits. You will have 35 minutes on this section in the real world— roughly eight minutes per game and less than a minute and a half per question. You may want to start your timed sessions by trying to conquer three games within the allotted time. Even if you don’t get to the last game, don’t worry just yet; if all of your answers were right on three games, this may provide you with a better score than trying to rush through all four games. Here’s a good strategy to follow during this phase of your LSAT test preparation:
Complete a timed logic games section to get a baseline score
Practice without timing at first
Focus on accuracy
Work on strategies to help you get faster
Practice on recent LSAT official tests for timed sections
Complete a timed logic games section each day for at least two weeks
During part of your study days, you may need to concentrate exclusively on the logic games section and save the other sections for other days.
9. Get Some Digital LSAT Practice
Since the LSAT is now digital, some of the advice that you encounter in test booklets or with prep courses may be outdated. Be sure that you are familiar with the digital interface of the logic games. The setup of the game and its rules will appear on the left-hand column. If you highlight or underline anything in the left-hand column, these marks will stay even if you navigate elsewhere. Also, note the vertical lines in the bubble bar that show the beginning and end of each of the games.
10. Keep Your Scratch Paper Orderly
While this might not seem like a big deal, it’s still worth keeping in mind. If you don’t organize your scratch paper, you may wind up confused with which diagram corresponds with which question. This mistake can waste your already limited time by trying to figure it out. Simply label each game on your scratch paper with 1, 2, 3, or 4 to designate which game it corresponds to. This will come in handy if you have to skip some questions and come back to them later!
11. Use Your Time Wisely
Remember, you only have 35 minutes; don’t waste a single second! Skim through the four questions and find the easiest ones first to pick up some quick points. Find your favorite question type that you are most competent at solving and tackle all of the questions for this game. Delay harder questions for the end of your allotted time.
12. Check Back for More LSAT Logic Games Strategies
The LSAT logic games section is difficult. There’s no way around that. But if you put in the time to learn this section of the test and use the targeted strategies discussed above, you should see rapid improvements in your score. Keep an eye on our blog for frequent posts with updates and advice on the logic games section of the test. We also offer recommendations on test prep and other materials that can help you raise your score. Check back often to get the latest information and advice on LSAT and logic game prep. Good luck!COMPARE THE BEST LSAT PREP COURSES
The LSAT consists of multiple-choice questions divided into five 35 minute sections (only four sections count towards your final score because one section is experimental) in addition to an unscored 35 minute writing sample. The LSAT is scored on a scale from 120-180, with an average score of 153.
This part of the test determines approximately 50% of your total score and is divided into two sections. The logical reasoning sections of the exam are most related to the work of a law student or a lawyer because these questions involve crafting, critiquing, reviewing, and improving arguments.
Identifying an assumption in an argument is crucial for success in this segment. The following pattern may be helpful: First, find the conclusion, then find the premises that support the conclusion, and, as a final step, identify any and all gaps and holes in the argument.
The LSAT is a carefully constructed exam that deliberately challenges test-takers. Many average-scoring test-takers try to outsmart the test by focusing on predicting the answer choices. However, the test-writers can predict such typical choices, and create answer choices that are similar to the most typical predictions. This makes it impossible to use predictions as a fool-proof tool on the LSAT.
Test-takers who achieve a score of 170 or higher tend to know the tricks the LSAT attempts to play on them, and use this knowledge to seek out the wrong answers. Working out the wrong answers to find the right ones seems to be a winning strategy for many. It can save a lot of time, as questions often ask you to find the “best possible” answer rather than the “ideal” one, and the obviously wrong answers can be easily eliminated, leaving more time to figure out which of the strange and not straight-forward answers are correct.
The top performers are often good at identifying the core of an argument and utilizing this information to rule out incorrect answers. Logical thinking obviously plays a significant role in mastering these sections.
LSAT Logic Games – Analytical Reasoning
In this section you will face the notorious LSAT logic games. Four logic games must be completed in 35 minutes, allowing for just over eight and a half minutes to complete each game.
All the games begin with a scenario that is followed by rules that apply to it. There are normally 3 to 6 constraints, and it is the test-taker’s job to figure out the answers to questions about the scenario. Roughly 50% of the questions in the analytical reasoning section are conditional. This means that they introduce a new rule to the scenario that only applies to that particular question. The remaining questions are based on the scenario and rules alone.
There are three main categories of logic games: assignment, ordering, and grouping. To dominate this section of the LSAT, it is absolutely essential to learn the characteristics of each type of game and the diagramming techniques that go with them.
The LSAT is notorious for introducing twists to the logic games. Recognizing the different game types is crucial to success, but LSAT logic games aren’t always straightforward. Many of the games mix characteristics from different game types, so test-takers must be flexible and creative in their diagramming and problem-solving skills. Some of the logic games can be solved by using different types of diagrams instead.
When it comes to logic games, there are a few important differences between average performers and top performers on the test. The average test-taker either uses diagrams rigidly, or uses a unique approach to each game. Test-takers with top scores tend to use the diagrams flexibly, adapting to twists. Top performers also methodically follow the inference chain, whereas average performing test-takers waste a lot of valuable time with the trial and error approach. Those who do well in this segment tend to find logic games fun and are not intimidated by logic games.
Much like the analytical reasoning section of the LSAT, the reading comprehension consists of four separate parts. Each part is about 60 lines long and divided into 3-4 paragraphs. Five to six related questions follow the passage.
This part of the test is divided in four categories: Law, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Humanities. Test-takers aren’t expected to have prior knowledge of any of these fields. The objective of this section is to measure the test-taker’s ability to read with understanding and insight while under time pressure.
There are many different strategies for this section of the LSAT. Some students try to become faster readers, others read the questions first and then skim the text passages, hoping to find the right answers more quickly. The most successful candidates train for this section by familiarizing themselves with the structure of the text passages on the LSAT as well as the nature of the questions related to the passages.
Both speed and the ability to grasp the core underlying framework while separating it from unessential information in the text are at play in this section. The best strategy for this section is to identify the core issue or argument, analyze which details presented in the text support each side, and finally, determine the position of the author.
The types of questions in this segment can be divided into three categories: Identification, Inference, and Synthesis. Identification is the most straightforward type, because test-takers need only understand the meaning of the text. The second type, inference, builds on identification and requires the test-taker to seek out the relevant part of the passage and derive other deductions from it. Finally, synthesis questions require the test-taker to take everything one step further by combining several conclusions and constructing a broader understanding of the issues at hand.
LSAT Writing Sample
The writing sample section of the LSAT is not scored. However, these essays are sent to all of the colleges to which students apply. Most test-takers feel a bit uneasy about writing an essay at a moment’s notice on an unknown, unfamiliar subject. The purpose of this test is to assess the test-taker’s ability to construct a compelling argument, demonstrate solid reasoning, and provide supporting evidence. It also measures an individual’s overall ability to express thoughts clearly in written form.
The strategy to crush this segment is to keep it simple. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to blow your audience away in your writing sample. You want to demonstrate your ability to construct an argument and support it well. Don’t make it hard for yourself!
Essays must be written in 35 minutes, so there isn’t much time to spare. Making a simple table to outline the main pros and cons of your argument should suffice when you are planning your essay. It is also a good idea to leave at least 25 minutes for the writing process. Be sure to use one of the best LSAT courses when you study as this is crucial to scoring high!
If you’ve just finished your law degree and found yourself locking down your first job at a great firm, you should be very happy with yourself (hopefully you’re being showered with gifts too!). Law isn’t one of the most glamorous careers you could have chosen, but succeeding as a famous movie star takes a lot more work than becoming a lawyer! Law can often be a little drab to say the least, but you chose the safe career option. For the rest of your life, people will need legal help, and you will be there to give it. But just because law is not that much fun it doesn’t mean you need to lose your sense of humor!
If you’ve landed your first job, you probably have ambitions to have a nice lawyer-worthy car to match your profession. One of the best ways to show how proud of yourself are (while remaining as humorous as you were at all those great college parties) is to customize your new car with vanity plates. Vanity plates can be as unique as you can imagine, and most are available (depending on where you live) with seven or eight characters. This opens up the possibilities for a whole lot of clever words and phrases. Here are some examples of how you as a new lawyer can let people know what you do for a living. Who knows, it could even get you some business! When you try to decide what words to put on your vanity plates, remember that letters and numbers can be integrated. (e.g. 3=E 4=A 1=I 0-O 8=B)This is the most obvious one of course, but who won’t know what you do with a plate like this. Changing up the letters with numbers can make it a more likely option of availability – L4WY3R OR LAWY3R for example. OBJECTION, YOUR HONOR! A word you will be using a bit in the future just might be the perfect vanity plate for your vehicle. Once again, mixing up the lettering could improve availability if this one’s already taken.
One way to get attention is with a plate that tells strangers how you can help them out of a sticky situation. Almost everyone will have a reason to sue someone else one day, and maybe they will seek you out to get the job done for them.
Telling it as it is again, “I sue for you” lets passersby know exactly how you can help them. It will get you noticed anywhere you go.
See you in court vanity plates are a great advertisement for what it is you do. It’s clear and concise for anyone who reads it.
Lawyer Up is another great plate option, as seen on the car of the main character in Better Call Saul. It’s a simple yet effective option that serves as a friendly reminder to everyone who sees it.
If you are a gun lawyer that is pulling in some solid accounts for your firm, this vanity plate will only make things better for you. However, you will need to live up to the rainmaker name to truly make this work. Put a little pizzazz into your new career as a lawyer! Who wants to be boring for their entire lives? Let us know in the comments below if you have other ideas for great lawyer vanity plates!COMPARE THE BEST LSAT REVIEW COURSES
The LSAT is held 4 times a year in: February, June, September/October, and December. The registration deadline for the test is about one month before the test date, but you should register several weeks earlier to get your first choice of date and location.
The tests are conducted on Saturdays (unless you observe Saturday Sabbath, then you can choose an alternate day of the week).
Check the LSAT test dates well in advance. You’ll be surprised to see how quickly test locations fill up. Make sure to secure your seat in time!
On the day of the test, you will need to bring the appropriate page of the admission ticket with you to the testing center along with a recent passport-sized photo of yourself. Test-takers also need a valid, government issued ID.
Late registration is possible but will result in an extra $70 fee. If you want to change location after registering, it will cost an additional $36 (if there is space at the new location).
Taking the LSAT and applying for law school is not cheap.
The registration itself costs $165, and most law schools require applicants to use the LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS) for an additional $160. For this fee, CAS will create a report that combines your LSAT score, academic records, letters of recommendation, and professional records and send them to the schools to which you are applying.
It is possible to get full or partial fee waivers if you cannot afford to pay, but this is not easy. More applications for fee waivers are rejected than are accepted.
Signing up for an LSAT test prep course isn’t free, but it is definitely one of the more worthwhile expenses you’ll incur. Live prep courses, online prep courses, tutoring, and LSAT prep books can cost from a few hundred to several thousand dollars (although there are some budget-friendly options).
Most people find it very challenging to work while they prepare for the LSAT, so you should consider taking a break from your job to study for the LSAT if possible. Make sure to check out our comparison table and reviews of the best LSAT prep courses.
What should you bring on LSAT test day?
As stated above, you’ll need your ID and your admission ticket with a recent passport photo attached to it. This will get you into the testing center.
You’ll also need something to write with. LSAT is strictly a pencil exam, so you’ll need pre-sharpened #2 pencils as well as an eraser and a pencil sharpener. No #1s or #3s. No mechanical pencils. Only #2s are allowed.
You’re also allowed to bring an analog wrist watch (no digital watches or stop watches though!) into the test in order to keep track of time.
You’re not expected to go the whole day without eating or drinking, so you’re allowed to bring drinks and snacks to the test center. Drinks should be in a plastic bottle or a juice box. Snacks should be pre-packaged and mess-free.
To hold all of your carefully selected day-of-the-test items, you need a clear ziptop plastic bag (one gallon or smaller size). No other bags or sacks are allowed; everything must be held within a clear plastic bag.
Make sure you don’t bring your cellphone or earplugs or your favorite hat (unless it is for religious purposes). All of these items are forbidden and will keep you out of the exam.
The LSAT typically starts at 8:30am, except for the June test, which begins at 12:30pm. The exam is 175 minutes long, and the writing sample is 35 minutes long. Once time for administrative work and breaks is included, the whole process takes between four and five hours. You’re allowed to bring food into the test, but the only time you’re allowed to eat is during the brief 15 minute break after section 3.
Preparing for and taking the LSAT is a taxing process that will require raw determination and endurance. We hope this information is helpful as you begin planning your journey to the LSAT and law school. Be sure to check out the top rated LSAT prep courses to find out which one best fits your needs!
If you’ve just stumbled across this page, you’re likely interested in pursuing a future in law school. If so, keep reading to see a list of the 28 most frequently asked questions about the Law School Acceptance Test.Take a look below to learn the ins and outs of the LSAT!
The LSAT is an exam used as part of admission to law schools in the United states, Canada, and many other countries. This test is specifically designed to access skills required for success in law school, such as reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning.Currently, the LSAT is the only accepted test for admission purposes by all ABA accredited law schools and Canadian common-law law schools.
What Does LSAT Stand for?
LSAT is an acronym that stands for the Law School Admission Test. Not to be confused with LSAC (Law School Admissions Council), which is the organization that administers the exam, the LSAT can be taken either digitally or with pencil and paper.
Why Take the LSAT?
The LSAT consists of six sections, each of which is 35 minutes. This adds up to a total of 210 minutes (3 ½ hours). There is a 15-minute break after the third section. However, you must arrive early to verify your identity and complete preliminary information.
How Hard is the LSAT? (and what makes it hard?)
The LSAT is considered an infamously difficult test for three key reasons:
It is a test designed to test skills that undergrad students may not have fully developed. An example of this would be the reasoning skills in the logic games sections, which are typically taught in science majors.
These skills are definitely learnable, but take time to develop. Hence, this is not a test that you will be ready for after only a few weeks of work.
Test takers only have 35 minutes for each section of the test. The LSAT is also designed to stress this time pressure with complicated questions. You will have to solve logical issues at a faster pace than a usual test.
You cannot cram for the LSAT. It is not an exam that simply tests memorization and instead focuses on critical thinking and reasoning skills.
How Long is the LSAT?
The test itself is three hours; however, you can’t just count the hours spent taking the exam.Each section of the LSAT is 35 minutes long and you will be given a 15 minute break after the third section. This adds up to roughly three hours of test time. Furthermore, you will have to account for travel time to the test location and time spent on checking in. Typically, checking in will take 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the size and staff of the test center.Ultimately, when taking the LSAT you are looking at a total of 4.5 to 6 hours spent on testing day.
How Many Questions are on the LSAT?
Each time the LSAT is administered, it usually contains around 100 questions. There are four graded sections of about 25 multiple choice questions each, and an experimental section with another 25 questions. After that, there is one 30 minute writing sample.
What Kind of Questions Are on the LSAT? What is the LSAT Like?
There are five sections of multiple choice questions on the LSAT. Each section must be completed in 35 minutes. Four of the multiple choice sections are used for scoring, while the fifth is a variable section used to test new questions that may or may not be used on future versions of the test. Aside from the variable sections, two of the sections are dedicated to logical reasoning, one section is dedicated to analytical reasoning, and the last section is based on reading comprehension.The logical reasoning sections contain questions that test your ability to understand the most important point of an argument. They also test to see if you can quickly analyze opposing arguments and bring up your own opinions in an informed and persuasive manner. Each logical reasoning sections contains twenty five questions.Analytical reasoning sections will ask you to accurately analyze arguments and decisions. Hence, over the course of twenty five questions you will be asked to demonstrate the ability to apply logic to complex and abstract situations.The reading comprehension section is broken into four subsections with 27 questions total. Three of these subsections will ask you to read lengthy passages; the fourth will have a shorter one. After reading each passage you, will have to answer 5-8 questions designed to challenge your comprehension of what you just read.In addition to the five multiple choice sections, the LSAT contains a timed essay. You will be given 35 minutes to demonstrate your ability to create and deliver an argument in a clear manner. This essay isn’t scored, but law school admission boards will review it when you apply.Source: Ace Test Prep
How do I Prepare for the LSAT?
At the bare minimum, you should prepare for the LSAT by taking a practice test under time constraints to learn how long you need to spend on each question.
However, generally speaking you are going to want to put much more time into LSAT prep.According to the Pre-law Advising Office, these are some of the most important things to do to prepare for the exam:
Review the test format and question types. Doing so will ensure the test looks familiar when the time comes to take it.
Work on sample questions and explanations found on study sites and offered by LSAT prep courses.
Use at least one set of commercial prep materials to learn how to approach difficult sections such as the “logic games.”
Find copies of previous LSAT versions. Many retailers such as Amazon sell these as LSAT prep materials. You can find versions with just the answers or with answers and explanations. Make sure to simulate the real test by timing yourself while working on these practice exams!
Go over every practice exam you take to make sure you know which questions you answered wrong and why. Use this information to learn how to better approach these questions in the future; this is the most important aspect of LSAT prep and you must give yourself plenty of time to work through this!
Finally, make sure to be physically ready for the test. Make sure to get plenty of sleep and eat a good breakfast or all your study efforts will be wasted.
If you still don’t feel prepared enough, you can take an LSAT prep course. There are many such courses on offer with varying price ranges. Most review courses offer multiple choice questions and simulated tests as well as study notes and lectures. Additionally, some even include private tutoring. These LSAT prep courses can be taken either online or in person.
Is the LSAT Hard? How Long Should I Study For It?
Most test prep services (such as Kaplan) will recommend that you study for a two to three month period. During this period, you should be spending 20-25 hours a week studying for a total of 150-300 study hours. These hours do include any classes and private tutoring you’re utilizing. At the bare minimum, you should spend 120 hours on preparation, but in most cases that just isn’t enough time.Some people may recommend starting preparation six months to a year in advance. This is generally a bad idea as it can lead to burnout due to studying too hard for too long. A timeframe this long is only advised if you can’t spend more than ten hours each week on studying.
Where do I get LSAT Practice Tests?
The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) offers practice tests on their website. One practice test is free; you can purchase more of their official prep tests from several booksellers.However, the LSAC isn’t the only place you can find practice tests.Many LSAT prep courses include both free and paid practice tests, including Princeton Review, Kaplan, and Varsity Tutors. Your mileage may vary on the quality of each prep course’s test, but most of them pull questions from previous versions of the LSAT. Consequently, it is highly recommended to try and simulate the actual timed testing experience with these LSAT practice tests.
Are LSAT Prep Courses Worth it?
LSAT courses are expensive, especially when compared to the price of self study materials. They can cost anywhere from 300 to 1500 dollars on average. However, if a prep course increases your score by a minimum of 2-5 points it’s already worth your money.Law schools offer scholarships to the strongest candidates from the LSAT. That 2-5 minimum point increase could save you $50,000 to $100,000 on tuition. In the face of that, prep course costs become much more negligible.Additionally, prep courses have distinct advantages in terms of studying that self study does not. Courses cover everything you need to know on the test. Alternatively, when self studying it is tempting for many students to ignore or skip portions of the material that is considered unnecessary, which can lead to a drop in test performance. Live instructors can also alert you to your weaknesses and work with you to overcome them. They can even find weaknesses that you didn’t know you had. Furthermore, courses also periodically give formal and timed practice LSATs that will provide you with valuable test-taking experience.
Are LSAT Prep Courses Tax Deductible?
According to the IRS, LSAT prep courses are not tax deductible. College entrance exams are not considered qualified education expenses; therefore, neither prep courses not exam costs can be deducted.The reason prep courses and materials purchased for the LSAT are not deductible is because the LSAT is considered as changing your career instead of career advancement. Continuing education classes required by lawyers, by contrast, are deductible because they further develop your pre-established career.
The LSAT is offered at testing locations around the world.
However, it’s generally recommended to register as early as possible so you can maximize your chances of getting a seat at your preferred location.
To find and register for a test center near you, create an LSAC account and select the administration you are interested in. You will then be given a list of test centers based on your current location. This list is updated in real time. In some rare instances, an LSAT test center will unexpectedly close. When this happens, you will be reassigned to the nearest available center.For more information, see the LSAC’s page on test centers.
When is the LSAT Offered?
The LSAT is administered six times a year at designated testing centers: typically in January, March, June, July, September, and November. Because the test is so long, it is usually administered in the morning or early afternoon.If your religious observations do not allow you to take the test on a Saturday, alternate LSAT test dates are available. Typically, these fall on a Monday. In order to register for that alternate date, you must send in a signed letter from your religious institution confirming the authenticity of your request. The letter can be sent by mail, fax, or email.For more information about LSAT test dates, visit the LSAC page on registration.
When does LSAT Registration Open?
Registration for June and July test dates are currently open and must be completed before April and June respectively. To stay up to date with registration news, make sure to regularly check back with LSAC’s registration page.
Where do I Get My LSAT Photo?
Any photo you wish to use to be admitted to the LSAT test center must meet the following requirements:
Your LSAT photo must be a recent picture of you with only your head and shoulders in frame
Test supervisors must be able to identify you on test day when comparing you to your photo
Your facial features must be clearly visible with no obstructions such as shadows blocking you
The background in your LSAT photo must be plain and not obscure identity
The uploaded photo must be different from the one test administrators will see on your government-issued ID.
Your photo must completely fill the 2×2 photo display box
When Should I Take The LSAT? When Should I Start Studying?
Most applicants begin studying for the LSAT during the summer before their senior year of college. These applicants then take the LSAT exam in the fall in September or October. Unfortunately if you fail the test then your only chance to retake it before law school applications is in December. This could mean that you will be sending admissions out as late as January.In a more general sense, you should start studying for the LSAT around three months before the exam itself. Preparing for any longer than that can lead to burnout; starting later can leave you under-prepared. How much studying a person can take before burnout varies between applicants, so be sure to start preparation based on your own experiences.Source: StrategyPrep’s Law School Timeline
How Long is the LSAT Good for?
If you’re wondering how long LSAT scores are valid, you’re not alone. Many people wonder this. Like most standardized tests, LSAT scores only remain valid for a limited period of time. The LSAC will keep your scores valid for five years after you take the test. Even if you took the test multiple times, the LSAC keeps all of them on file and will even average them out for you as well as give you a list of each score you achieved. After five years have passed, the LSAC will remove older scores. For example, if you take the test in April of 2019, that score will be removed in April of 2024.
How Are LSAT Scores Calculated?
Your LSAT score is based entirely on how many questions you answer correctly (AKA your raw score).All questions on the test are weighted exactly the same so all sections are equally important. The total number of correct questions is what matters for your score, not which questions you got right.Furthermore, there are no score deductions for wrong answers. This means there are no risks when guessing the answers to questions you don’t know.After the test, raw scores are converted to a scale from 120 to 180, with 120 being the lowest possible score and 180 being perfect. Visit this page to see how to convert raw scores from your practice tests.
When Will LSAT Scores be Released?
LSAT score release dates follow a fairly standard pattern. Typically, scores are released about one month after tests have been administered. In recent years results have been coming out faster, bringing LSAT score release dates down to about three weeks after the test.You can check the release dates from previous tests to help you make an informed guess as to when you will receive your test results. Please note that people who receive their scores by traditional mail will have to wait a few extra days for their scores to arrive.You can also follow the LSAC twitter account for news about LSAT score release dates.
Can you Retake the LSAT?
Many people unsatisfied with their scores want to know one thing. Can you take the LSAT twice? Luckily for them, you absolutely can!You can actually take the test up to three times in a two year period. Many aspiring students take the LSAT in June. Therefore, if they are unsatisfied with their scores they have time to take it one more time before law school admissions. One thing that’s important to note about retaking the test is your target law school’s admission policy towards multiple LSAT scores. Most schools only take the highest score you achieved, but some average your scores and some take each individual test score into consideration. Make sure you know what your school’s policy is before you attempt to retake. Even though chances are high that they only care about your highest score, it’s better to be safe than sorry.Source: https://www.manhattanprep.com/lsat/blog/the-complete-lsat-retake-manifesto/
What is a Good LSAT Score?
On the LSAT scale of 120-180, a 150 is considered an average score. If you’re looking to get into a top law school, your score should be a 160 or higher. Although it’s common to talk about the LSAT in terms of score, big schools also like to look at your percentile. This means that small score increases can lead to a dramatic change in percentile and your chances of success.Listed below is a table of common scores and percentiles:
Most law schools do not average scores when looking at your LSAT results. Instead they primarily only look at your highest score when looking at admissions. The LSAC will show you an average of your test results if you check your scores on their page, but they also provide a list of all your scores. The option is available to both you and the colleges you choose but rarely will either of you need to worry about an average score.To learn more about individual school policies on average scores check this page.
What LSAT Score do I Need for Harvard?
Even though there isn’t any “cut off” score for Harvard, they still only allow admission to a small number of applicants. If you want to beat if the competition for enrollment, a good Harvard LSAT score would be 170 or higher.However, you’re going to need more than a good LSAT score to get into Harvard. If you have a high GPA to combine with your Harvard LSAT score you will be a competitive applicant. According to Harvard, their accepted class of 2021 applicants had an median 3.9 GPA and 173 LSAT score.
What LSAT Score do I Need for Yale?
Yale has similar requirements for admission to Harvard. A good Yale LSAT score would be higher than a 170. Yale’s statistical profile for the class of 2021 shows that their GPA median was 3.92 and their LSAT score median was 173. It requires plenty of hard work and studying to get in to a law school as prestigious as Yale.It’s also important to note that GPA and a good Yale LSAT score are not all you need to be accepted. Yale looks at personal statements, essays, and letters of recommendation.
What LSAT Score do I Need for NYU?
NYU is considered to be a very competitive law school that only accepts 34 percent of its applicants. According to Law School Numbers, Yale’s class of 2022 students had a median 3.78 GPA and 169 LSAT score. That means that a good NYU LSAT score would be a 170 or higher. You can probably get in with a lower score but only if you show strong performance in other areas of your application.
What LSAT Score do I Need for Columbia?
To be considered a competitive applicant for Columbia, you need a 172 or higher on your LSAT and an undergraduate GPA of 3.72 or higher. Columbia’s class profile reveals that their entering class of 2018 had an average GPA of 3.73 and an average LSAT score of 171. Although people have gotten in with lower GPAs and LSAT results, you will still want a higher Columbia LSAT score.
What LSAT Score do I Need for UCLA?
UCLA’s admission standards are easier to meet than other competitive schools. Typically a good UCLA LSAT score would be 168 or higher with a GPA of 3.5 or higher. UCLA’s site states that the median GPA for their 2018 admissions was 3.72 and their median LSAT score was 168. If you can achieve similar results you will more than likely get into UCLA.Hopefully this information answered some of your burning LSAT-related questions! If you’re still curious about some aspects of the LSAT, feel free to look at some of our other articles and reviews or leave a comment below.Thanks for reading and good luck on your exams!COMPARE THE BEST LSAT PREP COURSES
The field of law is as broad as it is diverse – as are the related earnings. As one might expect, lawyers working in state government earn significantly less than their counterparts in the private sector.
According to PayScale.com’s data for 2014, the median annual salary of lawyers in the United States is $75,803.
This article breaks down the numbers by specialty to give you a general idea of what lawyers who practice in a variety of settings can expect to bring in. Remember, a large part of choosing your career path should be about lifestyle. And keep in mind that there are also different levels of ‘prestige’ and ego that are traditionally associated with each field of law.
1. Corporate Lawyer Salary
A primary role of corporate lawyers is to ensure the legality of company transactions. These attorneys act as advisers to a corporation on a range of issues, such as gathering and analyzing evidence for legal proceedings, formulating contracts, advising companies on their legal rights and obligations in business transactions, and providing advice on issues related to taxation.
Such broad job requirements mean that corporate lawyers must specialize in many different aspects of the law. Major specialties that relate to corporate law include tax law, contract law, accounting law, and securities law. The main focus of many corporate lawyers is therefore to understand how these different aspects of the law relate to the companies who employ them.
In most cases, a corporate lawyer’s salary will start somewhere between $30,000 and $100,000 a year, depending on the size, location and financial condition of the employer. The best graduates of top law schools can expect much higher salaries and lucrative careers right after they graduate if they have the right skill set and have performed well during their internships. The Forbes website lists several first rate programs, such as Columbia Law School, whose graduates can expect an average starting salary of $165,000.
Other institutions that produce top earners in the field include Stanford University, the University of Chicago, Harvard University, and the University of Virginia. Most graduates of US law schools, however, will have to settle for a more modest pay check, even if they land a job in the relatively profitable field of corporate law.
According to PayScale, the average annual salary of a corporate lawyer in 2014 was $98,823. Corporate lawyers are paid for their knowledge and experience, both of which have a strong effect on salary. Lawyers who find their niche in corporate law and remain with the same company can expect to see their paychecks to increase every year.
As a rule of thumb, in-house business lawyers get paid less than attorneys employed by large law firms that charge exorbitant fees. This is somewhat of a generalization, and although it is true that the highest earning individuals in the legal field tend to be the partners in big law firms, for the most part, in-house lawyers aren’t worse off financially than their peers.
2. Patent Lawyer Salary
In a nutshell, patent attorneys are tasked with assessing and analyzing whether an invention is eligible for a patent or not. They guide and advise individual private inventors as well as corporations that are in the process of securing a patent. After the patent is obtained, patent attorneys protect patents in case of infringement. Some of a patent attorney’s tasks include describing inventions in clear and indisputable legal terms, researching and assessing existing patents, and litigating in court in infringement cases.
Patent Lawyers are also highly trained in different aspects of intellectual property rights and advise clients and employers with respect to related issues, such as designs and trademarks. In 2014 the median annual salary of patent attorneys was $129,500, according to PayScale.com. The size of a patent lawyer’s pay check depends on several factors, including the industry they work in, the size of the company they work for, the number of years they have worked in the field, and their level of education. A patent lawyer typically needs a very specialized skill set that often includes an additional educational background in a related field such as engineering or biology.
3. Criminal Lawyer Salary
The criminal lawyer’s job description includes defending individuals, organizations, and companies that face criminal charges in state, federal, or appellate court. Some of the main responsibilities of a criminal lawyer are to investigate the case at hand, interview witnesses, study case law and procedural law, construct a defense, and plan a strategy for the case. Negotiating plea deals in less serious cases is also within a criminal lawyer’s field of expertise.
It is important for a criminal lawyer to have superior written and oral advocacy skills in order to successfully argue a case in front of a judge and a jury. Creative thinking and analytical skills also play a significant role in the process of developing a strategy and doing the research for complex court cases.
Criminal lawyers in public service earn significantly less than their colleagues in the private sector. As shown in the graphic below, the median salary of $51,810 for public defenders is well below the average earnings in this field. An associate who practices criminal law at a large law firm can earn up to $115,000 in their first year, making it a much more lucrative career option.
Tax attorneys act as the representatives of a company, organization or an individual in dealing with federal, state, and local tax agencies. On a day-to-day basis, most tax lawyers give advice to businesses and individuals with regard to all aspects of tax legislation. They keep an eye on any changes in legislation and advise their clients on potential effects such changes could have on their finances. Practicing tax law requires excellent math and accounting skills, an analytical mind, and the ability to think critically.
As shown below, the median annual salary for tax attorneys in 2014 was $99,690. Starting salaries tend to be somewhere between $55,000 and $83,000; lawyers who remain in the field of tax law can expect a steady increase in their annual earnings as their career progresses.
5. Real Estate Lawyer
Real estate lawyers assist their clients in a variety of ways regarding commercial and residential real estate. Issues regarding tenants, neighbors, zoning and property development also fall under the umbrella of real estate law.
Real estate transactions require a considerable number of complex legal documents, so most real estate attorneys spend quite a bit of time in an office reviewing and drafting contracts and other documents, and preparing consultations for their clients. Meticulous document drafting is a key skill in this job. Attention to detail and strong analytical skills are an absolute necessity for real estate lawyers who want to do well in this field.
Real estate attorneys also represent their clients in court. A typical property law case might involve a property owner who is suing a tenant for unpaid rent. Real estate lawyers file court documents, collect evidence to support the claim, and interview witnesses to ensure that their client has a strong case.
The median annual salary of real estate attorneys in 2014 was approximately $90,125, according to PayScale.com. Highly skilled contract negotiators tend to be the highest earners in real estate law, however, experience and location also influence the earning potential of these attorneys.
6. Family Lawyer Salary
Family law is a broad field. Family law attorneys may be involved with custody arrangements, adoption, prenuptial agreements, and divorce. Many lawyers in this field choose to specialize, becoming experts in one area or another. For example, divorce lawyers work with clients to dissolve a marriage and help them to determine how best to divide common property. Other areas of specialization include child support, child custody, and domestic abuse.
The median annual salary of a family lawyer, according to PayScale.com, is $70,828. In family law, an attorney’s degree of specialization and experience strongly correlates with compensation. Experienced family lawyers in the private sector are the top earners in this group, and have higher earning potential than their counterparts in the public sector.
Personal injury attorneys work with clients who allege physical or psychological harm as a result of the negligence or wrongdoing of another party. In case of an accident or injury, personal injury lawyers represent their clients to obtain justice and compensation for any losses or suffering. The vast majority of these cases fall under the area of tort law.
To help clients receive compensation for any financial losses, pain and suffering they’ve experienced due to negligence, personal injury lawyers interview clients, evaluate their case, identify and research specific issues in the plaintiff’s case. If a plaintiff makes a claim that involves an injury to the body or mind, this falls into the category of personal injury law. Car accidents, work injuries, and “slip and falls” constitute some of the most common cases in this field.
The average annual pay for a personal injury lawyer is approximately $73,000. Many attorneys in this field do not have a set annual income as they work for contingency fees. This means that they earn a percentage of any compensation settlement the plaintiff receives. As in most cases, lawyers working for non-profit organizations or the government tend to earn the least, while their colleagues in big law firms are the top earners.
8. Civil Rights Lawyer Salary
Civil rights lawyers defend the civil rights and fundamental liberties of the public. A typical civil rights case might involve defending an individual who faces discrimination based on race, age, gender or religion. Cases related to alleged improper conduct by law enforcement also fall under the umbrella of civil rights law.
Civil rights cases sometimes involve claims based on false arrests, excessive force or brutality, and unlawful searches and seizures. Many cases are concerned with questions of human rights, social freedom and equality. Lawyers who specialize in this field are often passionate about obtaining justice for a particular group of people or a specific issue. For this reason, many civil rights lawyers specialize in a particular area of civil rights.
Lawyers who take on civil rights cases typically earn less than lawyers who choose careers in business fields, such as corporate law. The average starting salary for a civil rights lawyer is approximately $45,000 a year, but very capable and experienced attorneys in this field can make as much as $200,000. Top earners tend to be employed by federal government agencies. Attorneys who work for the federal government make an average of $130,210, as opposed to state government lawyers, who earn a more modest $82,190 a year on average.
9. IP Lawyer Salary
Intellectual property law is a complex field that requires a deep understanding of relevant laws in addition to a creative and analytical way of thinking. Intellectual property lawyers, or copyright lawyers, make sure that new intellectual inventions and innovations created by individuals gain the protection of the law, and are not infringed upon by competitors.
IP attorneys may specialize in areas such as music, art, design, technology, or writing. Intellectual property counts as the most valuable type of property for many corporations and organizations. Protecting new developments in technology, science, and the arts is therefore a top priority for many companies, creating a considerable need for IP lawyers with specializations in those fields.
According to PayScale.com, attorneys who specialize in intellectual property law typically earn a median salary of $131,728.
10. Medical Lawyer Salary
For attorneys who have a passion for law and an interest in healthcare, this specialty can be a great match. The tasks of medical lawyers include working with health care professionals to build case theories, interviewing expert witnesses, gathering and analyzing medical records, and malpractice law suits.
Technically, “medical law” is not a separate category of the law, but rather a combination of personal injury, medical malpractice, and health care law. Some medical lawyers work for hospitals and health care clinics, providing advice and guidance with regard to their rights and obligations, and defend them in medical malpractice cases. Others specialize in representing clients who wish to sue health care facilities or individual health care professionals.
Medical attorneys and health care lawyers earn an average annual salary of $150,881, according to Glassdoor.com; medical lawyers working with specialty hospitals typically earn even more.
What’s The Next Step?
Now that you know how much money you stand to make as a lawyer, the next step is to start preparing for Law School so you can land one of these high paying careers! To review and compare the best LSAT prep courses, please click the button below.
The LSAT is difficult – there’s no way around it. Your score on this admissions test is viewed by law schools across the nation and plays a significant part in subsequent offers and scholarships from schools – including prestigious universities like Harvard and Yale.
Making a study plan for each of the four LSAT sections could make the difference between a good offer and a great one!
The LSAT is divided into four sections: Analytical Reasoning (also called Logic Games), Logical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and a writing sample.
Let’s dive into the LSAT reading comprehension section below:
What is the Purpose of the LSAT Reading Comprehension Section?
Reading comprehension is a valuable skill in law school and the practice of law. This is because lawyers have to do a lot of reading over the course of their careers. It doesn’t stop there, either.
Lawyers must read cases, codes, contracts, briefs, decisions and evidence and be able to quickly and efficiently understand the main points, infer conclusions, and build arguments.
Oftentimes, these documents are lengthy and challenging to read. Therefore, the reading comprehension portion of the LSAT tests your ability to perform complex readings under pressure as you would in law school. When we say pressure, we mean pressure; you have about three to four minutes to read per passage. Ultimately, this means familiarizing yourself with the section format; practicing reading comprehension passages and answering them in the format of the LSAT is crucial to your success.
Let’s dive into the format of the LSAT reading comprehension section below!
LSAT Reading Comprehension Categories
This section of the LSAT contains four readings divided into different topics. Three of these sections will be one main passage. Each main passage will be about 60 lines and three to four paragraphs while one section will have two shorter, contrasting passages. Each shorter passage usually has a length of 250-500 words.
This set of contrasting, shorter passages is called Comparative Reading. Comparative Reading was first introduced to the LSAT in 2007, and serves a unique purpose used to better assess the skills you’ll need in law school. Comparative reading questions focus on the relationships in two passages. These relationships take on three typical forms:
This question type was introduced to more closely mirror law school readings, where students often have to read two or more texts and discern their relationships. This continues after law school and appears frequently when attorneys must research a trial court decision and a following appellate court decision that overturns the trial decision.
The reading comprehension section is divided into four reading sections with different topics. These topics include:
One common misconception is that you have to have prior knowledge of these topics in order to do well on the LSAT. However, this is not the case; test takers aren’t expected to have any prior knowledge of these fields. This links back to the overall purpose of the test- you should be able to read unfamiliar topics and gain understanding and insight quickly.
Here’s a closer look at the type of topics you can expect in these four sections:
What would a Law Admissions test be without a little bit of law? One of the passages you’ll encounter in the reading comprehension section will have to do with law. This could cover things like interpretation of public policies, opinions on court decisions, effects of a new law, or more.
2. Natural Sciences
The natural sciences section could cover a variety of topics having to do with physics or biological sciences. Since a surprising amount of legal issues could trace back to some form of physics, biology, or earth sciences, this probably won’t be the last time in your law career you encounter a science-related topic.
3. Social Sciences
Social sciences cover a different type of science, more related to humans. You could encounter anything from philosophy to psychology, political science, or archaeology in this section.
The humanities section of the LSAT Reading Comprehension test will deal with literature or the arts. Depending on your college major or areas of interest, you might find this section a little easier to read than the others. However, it’s important not to be fooled- apply the same reading strategy in this passage to find the underlying arguments that will help you answer the questions.
Speaking of questions, let’s take a look at the types of questions you can expect to follow each reading.
Each reading passage will have anywhere from five to eight questions following the passage. The types of questions you’ll encounter usually fall within three main types of questions. These are:
Identification questions are more straightforward than their counterparts, aimed at assessing the readers understanding of the passages meaning. Examples include:
What is the main idea of the text?
Identifying information that is clearly stated
Questions about the structure of the piece
Inference is a little more tricky, requiring you to make key deductions from parts of the text. Examples include:
Ideas that can be inferred by the passage
Identifying the author’s attitude or stance from tone or language
Inferring the principles in the selection
The purpose behind specific words and phrases
Synthesis is the most complex type of question, assessing your ability to arrive at several conclusions to show a broader understanding of the issues in the text. Examples might include:
Identifying how new information might impact the claims in the passage
Any mix of these three types of questions can appear on the LSAT.
So now that you understand the format of the LSAT reading comprehension section, as well as the types of questions you’ll be expected to answer, let’s circle back to creating a winning study strategy to help you crush the LSAT exam!
Trade Faster Reading For Quickly Recognizing Keywords
You may be thinking to yourself, “If I only have three or four minutes to read and understand a passage, then I should become a faster reader.” This is not true! While you should be a fairly quick reader, learning how to read a passage super quickly won’t necessarily benefit you in comprehension.
Instead, train yourself to find the structural keywords within the passage. The LSAT reading comprehension section is about finding what is said, what is not said, and making several inferences from both to support an argument. When you’re reading the passage, be on the lookout to underline or circle important keywords that suggest the following:
Author’s point of view is usually indicated by emphasis put on certain points or language. These can be descriptive like, “terrible”, “great” or “horrific.” The author might also place emphasis with on words or points by suggesting their significance. The author can also represent facts in extreme ways, by saying something must “always” or “never” be true.
Many questions on the LSAT will ask you to infer the author’s stance or argument in the passage you’re reading, so be on the lookout for keywords in the text that aren’t just hard facts. If a text tells you that a point is very significant, this does not mean the fact itself is significant, it means that the author of the piece thinks it is.
You may have to identify the opinions of wider audiences than just the author, too. These are indicated by key phrases referring to other people – “some say”, audiences or keywords referring to critical reception.
Finally, contrasting terms tie back to the overall structure of the piece, and help you identify the organization of the argument within the text. Contrasting terms include “but”, “although”, “instead” and “however”.
If you’re not confident in your ability to recognize these types of key phrases, do some studying on contrasting language or point-of-view indicators. This will help boost your reading comprehension in time for the LSAT!
Identify the Main Points Quickly, and Read for Those Details
Oftentimes, the LSAT reading passages contain lots of facts and details that may seem important but actually aren’t. The key to successfully navigating these and quickly finding the information you need to answer the questions is to identify the main points in each paragraph, as well as the main argument or purpose overall. Underline or circle the keywords as mentioned above. Furthermore, use clues in the first sentence to determine what you’re reading and, most importantly, why.
In a nutshell, a great strategy is to identify the core issue of the passage, identify the details that support each side of the issue, and then decide where the author’s position is.
If you take away anything from this article, let it be that the reading comprehension is not just a standardized reading test. In order to perform successfully on this section of the LSAT, you’ll need to train yourself to think in the way the LSAT exam is asking you to.
Even if the passage is about the life work of a poet, frame it in your mind as a case. Somewhere within the passage either expressed or simply inferred are the following:
A main issue, argument or stance
Facts that are undeniably true
Facts that the author thinks are true
The author’s stance or viewpoint
Training yourself to read for the LSAT can be tough, even if you’re the world’s most avid reader! That’s why we recommend you make a plan for LSAT reading comprehension practice using practice materials, and a quality prep course.
If you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to studying for the LSAT, we take the guesswork out of it! In fact, we’ve tested and compared five of the top LSAT prep review courses on the market today side-by-side to make it easier than ever to decide which one is right for you.
It’s also a great idea to collect practice LSAT reading passages and materials to train with whenever possible. Cost-effective booklets and materials can be found on Amazon to test and train for the reading comprehension section independently and alongside your chosen prep course. Using as many practice materials as possible will help you crush the LSAT exam!