Before we begin the epic journey that will be the Magoosh LSAT blog, let’s take a few minutes for an introduction.
My name is Travis, and I’m the resident expert in LSAT prep here at Magoosh. My love affair with the LSAT began way back in December of 2004. I was living in Park City, Utah at the time, working as a delivery guy for a ski rental company in town. I had graduated from Boston College in May 2003, and had spent the following year and a half bouncing back and forth between a summer job as a camp counselor in France and any seasonal winter job that would allow me to ski for free. It was a pretty charmed life, but not the most sustainable. You can’t really retire on a delivery guy’s hourly wages, and camp jobs pay you primarily in room and board. If I wanted to start building a more secure future, I needed to find a new job.
So Why Law School?
You might be thinking, “Oh, no. Here’s another aimless college kid who went to law school because he couldn’t think of anything better to do.” Well, you’re half right! I really wanted to be a study abroad advisor at a university, but to get that type of job, you generally need a Master’s in International Studies, Higher Education, a foreign language, or at least something minimally relevant to the job description. Me? I had a B.A. in English. Hurray! I loved the English courses I took; they prepared me to think critically about the world in ways that have drastically improved both my professional and personal life. That said, no one sees that degree on a resume and thinks, “This guy definitely has the real world job experience we’re looking for.” So, I started researching Master’s programs and eventually happened upon an interesting one offered by my alma mater: a joint J.D./M.A. in Higher Education Administration. It would take three years to complete, and I’d come out with two degrees for the price of one.
I had this vague idea that the joint degree would eventually allow me to climb into the upper echelons of university administration, and frankly, it probably would have if I had stayed the course. However, it didn’t work out that way. After a semester of coursework toward the M.A. in Higher Ed Admin, I realized that a career at a university wasn’t really what I wanted, and I dropped out. In the meantime, I had spent that same semester working part time as an LSAT Instructor for an unnamed behemoth of test prep, and I had loved both the challenge of teaching the test and the thrill of seeing someone start to “get” the LSAT. That appreciation for the test was the primary reason why I felt like law school was a good match. So, with no further plans lined up, I spent the rest of the year continuing to teach LSAT courses while reapplying to J.D. programs.
In other words, I went to law school because I wanted to be a study abroad advisor. Makes perfect sense, right?
Law School: The Musical
I ended up going to NYU Law School, and it was a magical time of life. You’ve probably heard horror stories (or read this book) about the first year of law school, and while I’m sure that many of them are true, they simply didn’t ring true for me. I found my classmates to be friendly, supportive, and mostly well-rounded individuals. What the student body lacked in class diversity, it made up for in racial, political, and professional diversity. People were eager to be part of a new community, and that showed just as much in participation in the flag football league as it did in our eagerness to form daily study groups (which, for the record, proved to be much shorter-lived than the flag football league). In short, the first year of law school was fun, challenging, and rewarding.
Over the next two years, however, people’s paths began to diverge. Some were swept up in academic journals or moot court, others were waist-deep in clinics, and a not insignificant number were just trying to stay afloat in their classes. Me? Well, I took a different path altogether, and committed myself passionately to the Law Revue. No, that’s not a spelling error. I am not talking about the prestigious law journal, admittance to which is considered the pinnacle of human achievement by the most ambitious 1Ls (pronounced ˈgə-nərs). Rather, I’m referencing NYU’s critically acclaimed, genre-smashing, student-produced, annual musical satire. Yep. A musical satire of the law school. That’s what I spent my three years at NYU doing. And you know what? It was worth every second of it.
Working on Law Revue, I learned something important about myself. I don’t want to be a lawyer. Ever. A thorough understanding of the law can be a powerful tool for social change. Education is the best investment you can make in your life, and critical thinking skills are vastly underdeveloped in American government and politics. For these reasons, law school was worth the huge investment of time and money. It empowered me in more ways than I wish to name here, but ultimately, it did not make me want to be a lawyer. Instead, my time working on Law Revue made me appreciate the simple act of bringing joy into people’s lives—making them laugh after a stressful afternoon, showing them that their fears and anxieties are universal, that they aren’t alone in their struggles, and that at the end of the day, we’re all in it together. And that realization ultimately pulled me back toward education as a career path.
But I Digress…
I graduated from law school in 2009, returned to working in the test prep industry, and never took the Bar. I didn’t feel the drive to become part of the legal institution, but I did feel the drive to change it. During law school, I often felt that the community was racially, culturally, and professionally diverse, but economically homogeneous. That economic homogeneity has very real consequences in the law: no matter how hard some try to fight against it, most legal systems were created by and for the wealthy and continue to present that mindset as the standard to which everything else is compared. If the law is to truly represent and protect all classes of society, it is thus imperative that we strive to create a more socioeconomically diverse community of lawyers, judges, and politicians.
So…Affordable LSAT Prep
I jumped at the opportunity to help Magoosh develop an LSAT prep course that would be within reach for almost anyone. For me, it’s a no-brainer: I’ll be spending my days performing for you, creating videos and writing blogs to make LSAT prep stress-free, effective, and hopefully a little bit fun. On your end, all I ask is this: after you’ve taken the LSAT, after you’ve gotten into a great law school, after you’ve graduated and been awarded your first clerkship, and after you’ve won your first case and become a champion of human rights and socioeconomic equality, post a comment below and let me know that you used this course.
Best of luck to all of you, whether you’re just starting down the LSAT road or you’re already knee deep in Logic Games. I’m here to help. Travis, at your service!