Phi Beta Cons


George — Sorry, I misspoke. What I meant to write was that you have to be really, really smart to become a lawyer. The study’s subjects were all folks who’d successfully made it into the profession, not just into law school.

Many students who get into law school, especially due to preferences, drop out, but the evidence I can find indicates that most lawyers are smart people. The rough IQ estimates I see online are around 130, meaning a random lawyer will likely be smarter than 97.5 percent of the population.

If I were to hazard a guess from that, I’d say that almost all lawyers are smarter than 90-95 percent of the population. As I argued before, I think that presents a substantial “restriction of range” problem — when you only study people who are smarter than 90 percent of the population, you might find that intelligence isn’t what separates the best from the worst. That doesn’t mean you should start hiring people who are only smarter than half the population.

Finally, I wanted to share some numbers I found about the LSAT scores some schools are willing to take. According to this list, the lowest LSAT score you can get into a law school with is around 150; the lowest scorers at Harvard and Yale are around 170. Only about half of people who take the LSAT — and presumably, most people who take the LSAT are of above-average intelligence — score above 150.

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