June 2013 LSAT, LR1, Q22 company president tries to trick you

Crowdsourcing the June 2013 LSAT:  June 2013 LSAT Explanation Central | About this project Alexandra Vesalga was a member of my second class, at the San Francisco Women's Building, in 2009. She was a star in that class, (increasing her LSAT by 10 points) and shortly thereafter she took her talents to Golden Gate University. When I say “took her talents,” I mean full ride scholarship. She was a rockstar there too, to the tune of “Editor in Chief of the Law Review.” When you're making your own law school decision, I hope you'll remember Ali's example: Being a rockstar on full scholarship is pretty sweet. Do you really think that a member of the faceless mob at UC Hastings has better job prospects than Ali? I don't. And the Hastings mob also has $100,000 more debt than Ali does.

Guest blogger: Alexandra Vesalga

This question is a great example of two very important lessons to learn for the LSAT, law school, the Bar Exam, and lawyering.

First, they are trying to trick you. Seriously, it is a ruse. Do not get distracted. Do not make up your own question. Read carefully. Do not use "common sense" to pick an answer that you personally would like to be true. Instead, expect that they are going to show you an argument that doesn't make any sense. Second, the most important skill you will learn for this (and every) exam is the process of elimination. Ok, to the races”¦

First, let's talk about the question stem. It is asking us which of the following choices weakens the President's argument. So we want to attack his argument. Let's pause here and ask, “what's wrong with what this guy is saying?” Well, a lot of things. First, it doesn't follow that past experience dictates future performance, especially when we are considering people, who are all unique. Second, what is the survey pool? How many people work at the company? How many engineers? How many non-engineers? You get the idea. What he is saying is too absolute. It's overbroad. That's where we want to attack.

A might look good, but it actually doesn't help us because the question specifically states that most of the best sales representatives came to the job with a degree in engineering. The basis of his argument is that the top performers had degrees when they started, and that the company should favor card-carrying engineers on this basis. It does not weaken this argument that some other group of sales representatives that we are not talking about did or did not do something. Who cares about them? They're beside the point.

B turns out to be the correct answer by process of elimination, because it is the only choice that directly attacks the basis of the President's argument. Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't say that (B) jumps off the page as a stellar choice. But it does weaken his argument. Here's why: the President is saying that because most of the company's best sales representatives are engineers with little sales experience, engineers with little sales experience should be favored in the hiring process. This answer speaks to the overbreadth of his argument, because if most of his employees are engineers with little sales experience, then it stands to reason that most of his top-performing sales representatives will also be engineers with little sales experience. This answer attacks the basis of his argument by showing that he is not arguing from a proper survey pool.

C is no help at all. If anything, this fact would bolster the President's position.

D is an example of where to not to use common sense. I believe this is called the “sucker answer.” Think closely and narrowly about the issue here. The issue here is not whether the company's hiring pool will be severely hampered by the President's policy. The issue here is not whether thousands of poor over-qualified applicants are going to be turned away solely on the basis that they don't have an engineering degree. The issue here is whether the President's argument is faulty. The argument was not about the results of his policy. The argument was only about the basis of his policy. The hiring pool has no bearing on the basis of the policy, only on the results of his policy. It is irrelevant.

E could only be chosen if you looked at it and said, “this must be the answer because it doesn't make any sense.” Don't do that. I had to read this answer choice twice because it's so poorly written. It's written to confuse you. What is this answer saying? It's saying that some people were hired who didn't have extensive sales experience, and they were not good sales representatives. This does nothing to weaken the President's argument about engineers. It doesn't say anything about engineers, only about sales experience.

About Alexandra:  Alexandra is a recent graduate of Golden Gate University School of Law, where she earned her IP Specialization Certificate and served as Editor-in-Chief of Golden Gate University Law Review. She is studying for the July 2013 Bar Exam. More here: about.me/avesalga

Please ask questions and/or suggest corrections to anything that seems confusing... we want to make this the best resource we can for LSAT students. We'll have all the June 2013 explanations up as quickly as possible. Thanks for reading. Tell your friends! --nathan

Crowdsourcing the June 2013 LSAT:  June 2013 LSAT Explanation Central | About this project