The Brief
A Blog about the LSAT, Law School and Beyond

At 7Sage, we have worked with hundreds of law school applicants from China, South Korea, and many more countries, and we have assembled the following FAQ to help international students gain admission to America’s top law schools.

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Featured image: Close-up of World Map by Pixabay via Pexels is free to use without attribution.

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An LL.M. is a one-year master’s degree for candidates who already have a degree in law, and it can help them switch to a new field of law, get a new job, or gain a professional edge. Read about why you might apply and how to maximize your chances in our admissions course: https://7sage.com/admissions/lesson/all-about-ll-m-degrees/.


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On today's episode David Busis, co-founder of 7Sage Admissions Consulting, speaks with Elizabeth Cavallari, an ex-admissions dean of admissions at William & Mary Law School about how to manage the waitlist.

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The annual uproar about law school rankings might lead you to believe that the rank of the school you attend is the only factor in determining whether you will become a successful lawyer. As Above The Law points out, the T14 law school rankings, as determined by US News and World Report, rely heavily on inputs – especially peer assessment, grades, and LSAT scores — while ATL’s rankings rely more heavily on outputs like jobs and starting salaries. Given that the two lists overlap quite heavily at the top, I wouldn’t blame you for feeling like you might as well say goodbye to your law career before you’ve even read your first case note if you don’t get into a T14 school. But don’t lose heart! Many, many law school graduates attend non-T14 schools and go on to have successful law careers.

I speak from experience. By way of background, I graduated from Emory Law School squarely in the middle of my class. It was a great place to go to school, with whip-smart professors and clinics, but it was not T14 when I attended and still isn’t (though it’s been solidly T25 for many years). Emory is also located in Atlanta, which, for all of its charms, was not the city where I intended to practice upon graduation. Like so many others, I had my eyes set on New York City. I managed to write myself onto the law review which, given my highly mediocre class ranking, definitely helped boost my resumé. This, combined with my comfort with interviewing, helped me land a job in Big Law in the New York office of a Chicago-based firm, where I specialized in real estate law.

I jumped ship after five years and wound up in Cardozo’s admissions office, where I counseled prospective students about whether they should or shouldn’t go to law school, and why they might be a good fit for Cardozo in particular. I later returned to practicing real estate law with the New York City Economic Development Corporation. As a lawyer, first in private practice and later for the City of New York, I regularly interviewed candidates for summer associate and lateral positions. While I can’t speak for every law firm or government agency, I do think I have some insight about whether attending a T14 law school really matters—so here goes!

When does attending a T14 law school really matter?

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Featured image: Villanova Law Library

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On today's episode, J.Y. talks about Must Be True questions from the Logical Reasoning section of the LSAT.

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On today's episode, J.Y. talks about Most Strongly Supported questions from the Logical Reasoning section of the LSAT.

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On today's episode, David speaks with Julian Morales, Director of Admissions at Penn State Law.

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On today's episode, J.Y. talks about Fill in the Blank with a Conclusion questions from the Logical Reasoning section of the LSAT.

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Sometimes, the order of our objects does not matter. For example, suppose a professor is trying to assign people to different study groups. Then, it does not matter who gets assigned to the study group first; what matters is who is in which study groups, as in the following example:

Example
A professor is trying to split up his class of 9 students into 3 groups of 3. How many ways can he do this?

Or we might have:

Example
An appeals court is convening a 3-judge panel to hear a certain case. There are 26 judges in the courthouse. How many 3-judge panels are possible?

Now suppose that of the 26 judges, 13 are conservative and 13 are liberal. How many possible 3-judge panels will have at least one conservative and one liberal on the panel?

To address these kinds of problems, we will use the following:

Rule for Combinations
If you have n objects and you want to pick k of them to form a group, then there are n!/((n-k)!k!) ways to do so.

Let's try to solve our earlier example with this rule.

Solution
By applying our rule, we know that there are \frac{26!}{(26-3)!3!} ways of choosing 3 judges from the total group of 26 judges in order to form a panel. We can directly calculate this:

    \[\frac{26!}{(23!3!)} = \frac{26 \times 25 \times 24}{(3 \times 2 \times 1)}\]

, since 26! = 26 \times 25 \times 24 \times 23! and \frac{23!}{23!} = 1.
Thus, 

    \[\frac{26!}{(23!3!)} = 26 \times 25 \times 24 = 2600 .\]

So there are 2600 ways to pick such a panel.

But why does this rule make sense? Well, let’s start with our rule for permutations: if I want to form a line of three judges from this group of 26, then there are 26*25*24 ways of doing this. This is because we have three spots to fill:

____  ____  ____

And for the first spot, we can pick any of the 26 judges; for the second, we can pick any of the remaining 25 judges, and for the last spot, we can pick any of the remaining 24 judges.

But here is the problem: we don’t actually care about the order in which we pick the judges. Suppose we have Judge Abby, Judge Ben, and Judge Cynthia. Then, we want to treat this possibility:

Abby Ben Cynthia

the same as this possibility:

Ben Abby Cynthia

which is in turn the same as

Cynthia Abby Ben

Cynthia Ben Abby

Abby Cynthia Ben

Ben Cynthia Abby.

We want to count all of these possibilities just once, since for us, a panel with Abby, Ben and Cynthia on it is just the same as a panel with Cynthia, Abby, and Ben on it. They’re not actually different!

Now, whenever we pick three judges from the 26 total judges, there are 3! ways to order those judges. This is because, for the first slot, we can pick any one of the three judges, for the second slot, we can pick any one of the remaining two judges, and for the last slot, we are stuck with the final judge.

So our permutation 26*25*24 actually counts each of these panels 3! times, when we only want to count each panel once. Suppose a panel has judge A, B, and C on it. Then our permutation counts:

ABC

ACB

BAC

BCA

CAB

CBA

So since our permutation is counting these panels 3! times when it should be counting them just once, we divide by 3! to get our final answer.

And, in general, the formula for how many combinations of k items we can pick from n objects is just equal to the number of permutations of k items we can pick from n objects, divided by (k!). Dividing by k! is how we make sure we are not counting all the different orders a particular combination can be put in.

Practice Problems

Question 1
A professor is trying to split up his class of 8 students into two groups of 4 students each. How many ways can he do this?

Answer

Question 2
Congress has decided to randomly pick a group of 4 congresspeople to lead a congressional committee. There are 535 congresspeople. How many groups are possible? What is the probability that any particular congressperson will be on the committee?

Answer

Question 3
Congress has decided to randomly pick a committee of 4 congresspeople, but they decide to pick as follows: 2 seats are randomly chosen from the Representatives while the remaining 2 are randomly chosen from the Senate. How many committees are possible? What is the probability that any particular Representative will be on the committee? What is the probability that any particular Senator will be on the committee?

Answer

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