Podcast: Why Some Law School Applicants Underperform Their Numbers

In this podcast, Mike Spivey discusses factors that lead to some applicants "underperforming" their numbers. You can listen to this podcast below, or on SoundCloud  or Apple Podcasts.


  • 0:46 - Will more people underperform this cycle? (2020-2021)
  • 1:41 - Defining "Underperform"

Factors that can lead to underperforming your numbers

  • 4:44 - Character & Fitness Issues (but maybe not in the way you think)
  • 6:44 - Yield Protection
  • 8:17 - Overcommunicating
  • 10:40 - Sloppiness

Answering Questions from Reddit

  • 13:05 - "Is it the essay or lack of an added essay (DS) that throws off an entire application?"
  • 14:44 - "Is having a non legal job in Biglaw going in a boost as schools will see you connections that may help boost the schools standing?"
  • 15:26 - "How disadvantaged are KJDs in the admissions process?"
  • 16:59 - "Do GRE applicants more often underperform their numbers? With the high LSAT saturation, will this negatively affect GRE applicants?"
  • 17:54 - "Considering how some services quantify the 'URM Boost' in applications (7Sage predictor and LSData URM LSAT/GPA differential, for example), what specifically causes URMs to underperform their stats?"
  • 19:41 - "I’ve been rejected by UMich with a 3.mid and 17high, does this count as underperforming my numbers? If so, is this indicative of how the rest of my cycle with the T14 will go?"
  • 20:02 - "Any data / longitudinal studies on engineers?"
  • 20:42 - "I’m sure this will vary by schools, but in your experience as someone who made decisions on files, if a candidate is at/above both of a school’s target medians AND has demonstrated genuine interest, how much can those two factors carry them if the rest of the app is average? Will the answer to this question be different this year because of the availability of good stats?"
  • 21:28 - "Would you say if there are multiple LSAT scores without a consistent increase in score (i.e. there was a score drop before the ultimate high score) then that person is likely to underperform? Especially asking for T6/T14? Would your answer change if the final score was a 175+?"


  • 23:48 - Takeaways & Predictions for the Rest of the Cycle