Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How to deal with top-law-schools.com.

Top-law-schools.com, or TLS, is the drug of choice for many people who are thinking about attending law school. It's a speedball for wannabe and current law students. A mixture of heroin and cocaine cooked up in a dirty spoon and shot directly into the jugular of those who have chosen to pursue a legal education. It's exciting and depressing to read those forums. I know, I've done it. There is so much information to sift through, but there is also so much CRAZY to sift through. I've never posted anything, but I've read and felt the bipolar up and downswings of excitement and total hopelessness that one will, without question, experience when crazily clicking through those threads. In the hopes of helping those who are trying to come to terms with the crack den that is "TLS", I offer up my own personal lessons learned:

1. Other LSAT takers/applicants do not actually know what they are talking about. They are as scared and as clueless as you are. Commiserate with their confusion but if they find a soap box, run. They're talking nonsense.
2. People who are applying to/have decided to go to a school comparably ranked to your own will inevitably bash your school and compare it to the equivalent of paying $120,000 to learn the law from the hobo on the corner. Do not listen. They are paying to receive their legal education from the hobo on the other side of the street. Harvard applicant will tell Columbia applicant they'd rather eat glass than go to Columbia. UVA applicant will try to strangle Duke applicant with piano wire. Georgetown applicant will cage fight anyone deciding to go to Cornell, UT, UCLA, or Vanderbilt. And on and on and on.
3. Do not visit the forums so much that you actually learn the lingo. It actually can seem at times that these people are speaking a different language. And they are. There are forums about how to understand what people are actually saying in the forums. Learn only the basics. TLS= top-law-schools.com//T3,T6,T14,T17, basically T#= Top and then whatever arbitrary ranking cutoff people choose//LG= logic games//LR= logical reasoning//RC=reading comprehension//LOR=letter of recommendation//LOCI= letter of continued interest. Beyond that, I can't help you, but fall into the rabbit hole and read the "lingo" forum if you must.
4. Immediately move on from any post that begins with something like the following:
3.98 GPA from HYP, 178 LSAT. URM. Started charity for mute orphans in Bangladesh. Masters in engineering. Already passed the bar but was told I need a J.D. to practice. What are my chances at HYS
Stop. Immediately. Move on. Do not feel any emotions about this person. They are ego stroking. Do not encourage them.
5. Fear-mongering images are to be ignored. 
Exhibit A:
Exhibit B:

6. If you just recently took the LSAT, do NOT go to the forums because you think you'll get an idea of how you did. You won't. Because, remember, people are crazy and they think that their logic was infallible on test day. Reading 3 pages worth of posts of people arguing about how they think they remember a particular Logical Reasoning question will only make you doubt yourself more. People fancy themselves clairvoyants with the power to predict the curve. They can't. And you'll waste time reading their predictions that you could be using to do something productive, like going to the gym or making sand art.
7. When you read the first even-tempered post that you've seen in a while, you're not hallucinating. Sometimes there actually is sound advice to be discovered like a precious, shining blood diamond. If this person has knowledge about a school you are interested in, search for other things he/she wrote and read them. This person will almost always be a current student at said school and can be trusted, at least a little.
8. Do not, under any circumstances, post your personal statement/letter of continued interest/etc. to be evaluated on the forums. I never did this, but I was just absolutely baffled by people who did. Ask someone you know and trust and didn't meet in a cyberspace forum. There is a grab bag of people trolling these forums. You could, of course, get a very generous future Supreme Court Justice to read your stuff over, or you could get a borderline illiterate person who could make you believe you are borderline illiterate too. Risky business.
9. Get in and get out. Seriously. Have a few questions in mind. Search for them. Find them. And leave. You will save yourself time and emotional energy. Because again, you are reading mostly things posted by people like you, who don't know what the hell is going on. Use it in the hopes of extinguishing the inferno of crazy blazing within, not to feed it.
10. Laugh. Laugh and laugh and laugh. The material is endless.


  1. Back when TLS started it was actually a pretty fun place. It's slowly degenerating into autoadmit/xoxo territory (but it's certainly not there yet), sadly.

  2. Amen, my friend. This should be a mandatory public service announcement for anyone frequenting that mess.

    A fair warning: There WILL be That Guy in your 1L class who was a Top Law Schools junkie. He will use the terminology and be inordinately concerned about...well, exactly what you'd expect. He may speak in acronyms, and he will be miserable to be around during on campus interviews.

    It is imperative that you laugh at this person, and remember that it is so not your problem anymore.

    Welcome to the crew!

  3. This made me laugh so much. I'm a 2L at BU/BC and this whole post is just so credited [/TLS speak].

    Another thing to remember: Everyone is on TLS. Seriously. Everyone. Your entire class, your mentors, your professors, the admissions committee, Biglaw attorneys, everyone. Never, ever assume that you are as anonymous as you think you are.
    Back during my TLS junkie days, I accidentally discovered 4 people I know in real life on TLS, and they had posted extremely personal information (most about their GPA/LSAT, how they were coping with 1L, etc) that they would have hated for their friends to find out.