Matt Shinners

Matt one time concussed himself by falling off of a goal post. Well, technically, the concrete concussed him, but many say it knocked some sense into him. He just thinks it was the right way to celebrate Boston College's victory over Notre Dame.
Matt was accepted to Harvard Law School despite a non-pre-med Biochemistry GPA mostly thanks to his 180 LSAT score. Have you seen the recent U.S. News and World Report rankings? You can thank Matt for that +.0001 bump in prestige.
When teaching a class, Matt likes to relate the LSAT to real life. Since his real life consists of amassing Transformer action figures and playing far too much Final Fantasy, we imagine that means you'll be discussing a lot of revenge motifs and searching for the Allspark. Matt assures us this will result in a solid understanding of the material and better human beings with +3 crystarium points.
After a heated office debate involving a hamster and a pint of grape kool-aid, confirmed that ''concussed'' is actually a word. Sorry, Riley.

Author Archive:

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The Big Takeaway From LSAT Scores at Top Law Schools

The Wall Street Journal made a splash this past week by doing an ever-so-scientific study by comparing the LSAT medians from three years ago with the new numbers. Above The Law expanded on the study with a few more top law schools.

What did they find?

Not much has changed. Yale Law School didn’t budge at all. Harvard’s numbers are down one point; and it was only Columbia’s 75th percentile that dropped down. Chicago’s bottom fell out a bit — two points to 167. Berkeley. UVA and Michigan also saw a single-point decline in their respective 25th percentiles.

So, for the most part, a point here or there. Which means it’s just as hard to get into a top law school, right?

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How Getting Engaged is Like Taking the LSAT

As some of you may have heard, I recently got engaged to an amazing woman. As many of my friends told me, it’s about damn time.

Having met at law school, my relationship with Kristin is shorter than my relationship with the LSAT. However, the relationship with the LSAT has always been love-hate; with Kristin, it has always just been love. I’ll give everyone a minute to say, “Aww!’ Or to wretch.

So now that I’m engaged, what similarities does it have with the LSAT? You better believe they’ve asked me to write an LSAT blog article listing them.

How Getting Engaged is Like Taking the LSAT I: Sometimes it’s better to just get it over with

Romantic, I know.

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Law School Résumé Tips: How to Format the Thing

Now that we know some keys to a great law school résumé, let’s take a look at the formatting and structure.

First off, the header. Your full name (no nicknames, Slick Rick), cell phone, e-mail address, and home address should be featured. Make sure your e-mail address is something professional – if you’re still QTluva69, it’s time to get a new Gmail address.

After that, it’s time for your academic information. This is, after all, an academic résumé, so this information should be listed first. The only exception is if you have 5+ years of impressive work experience. Even then, though, I’d still recommend putting the academic information up top.

Here, you should have your school, dates of attendance, degree granted, and GPA.

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Five Keys to a Great Law School Résumé

Writing your law school personal statement is a daunting task. But at least you can quickly realize that you don’t have to boil your entire life down into two pages – you can tell a single story that had a profound impact on you.

The résumé, on the other hand…

You have one page to tell me what you’ve done with your life. Go.

A lot of people view the law school résumé as superfluous. While it doesn’t carry the weight of other elements, it does represent a whole lot more. You’ll be showing the law school what type of student you are, what you spent your time doing, and what accomplishments you can list. It sets the tone of your life, and if it doesn’t create a good impression, admissions officers will be going through your law school application with a sour taste in their mouths.

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Make Sure You’re Taking Advantage of All LSAC Has to Offer

If you ask my students (and I often do), the LSAC is an evil organization meant to keep you from going to the law school of your choice, take your money, and probably kick you in the groin a few times. The more melodramatic ones suggest that they barter in stolen souls.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Well, I guess the soul thing could be true; I don’t know what currency they accept at the company store.

In reality, the LSAC is a business with two sets of clients. The first set is you, the pre-law student. They’re trying to sell you products to help you in the law school application process. The second set is the law schools, which use the LSAC to screen candidates.

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Don’t Let Recent Law School Doom and Gloom Get You Down

If you haven’t heard about it yet, a recent study calculated the value of a law degree. The results? One. Million Dollars.

That’s right.

You can read an article on it at the New York Times, or check out Ann Levine’s related article from our LSAT blog a few days ago. And if you’re feeling really ambitious, check out the original paper.

So what gives? Recent reporting on law school has focused on how big of a mistake it can be. Doom and gloom have been the name of the game, and there hasn’t been much push-back. Even law schools have been reacting to sobering employment statistics by decreasing enrollments.

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LL.M. Degrees: More Job Prospects, or Just More Letters?

Ah, the LL.M. degree. If you’ve ever gone to law school, you’ve cracked many a joke about the international students and their LL.M.’s. The Master of Laws degree is almost synonymous with a foreign student trying to get a degree that will give them a beachhead in the U.S.

And law schools are increasingly using it to entice more money out of already-indebted law students.

The American Prospect has a recent article about the growth of these programs, especially in the wake of a number of law schools being forced to cut faculty and salaries in order to maintain their bottom line. Law school applications continue to drop precipitously, and that makes it harder to attract qualified candidates. Schools need to leverage scholarships to keep their numbers up, eating into their profits.

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Advice on Advice: Where to Get Info on Law School Loans

I’ve previously discussed law school debt on the LSAT blog from the viewpoint of those who have already taken it out and are living with the consequences, in a vain attempt to convince a few of you that it’s not the best idea. So go back and read those, if you haven’t already.

Done? Good.

If you’re still set on financing law school with student loans (and I’m sure 99% of those who are reading this are in that boat), it’s important to be well-informed as to what you’re signing up for. The above links will show you what life’s like living under that much debt, but it doesn’t give you a lot of information about the nuts-and-bolts of the process.

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To Retake or Not To Retake the June 2013 LSAT

It’s been one week since June 2013 LSAT scores were released, so anyone who took that test has had some time to live a life with their LSAT score. And as is the case with every LSAT, some of you out there are considering a retake.

Good for you.

A lot of people aren’t willing to put in extra time and effort to improve their LSAT score. A lot of people accept their first score as “good enough.” A lot of people could end up with more scholarship money and acceptances if they would just suck it up and decide to retake the exam in October.

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BP1’s Behind the June 2013 LSAT

I hope everyone enjoyed June-LSAT release day! The LSAC was nice this year – they released scores well enough in advance of July 4th so that you could go out and celebrate/lament, nurse your hangover, and be back in drinking shape by the time our nation’s birthday rolls around. Cheers to you, LSAC!

Also, while not always getting the topics in the right section, I feel my predictions were eerily accurate.

I had a chance to look over the test, and here are some thoughts: