LSAT Logic and Law School Spam

LSAT Blog Logic Law School SpamI hate spam. I even did a blog post making fun of spammers.

I publish LSAT Blog on a schedule - once per week - this means you'll only receive one email from me per week - and that's only if you've chosen to subscribe via email.

The emails with new blog posts are sent out automatically. I don't do anything at all with them, and I have trouble just reading all the emails I receive, let alone responding to as many of them as I can.

I really don't have the time or interest to send extra emails or to create a master email list to sell or cackle over in my free time.

So, I was pretty surprised to receive the following email from a blog reader whom I'll call "Jim."

 Here's the text in case you can't see the image:
You clearly sold (or gave) my email address to a law school -- John Marshall. I am extremely careful with this email address and don't get spam on it. I have never received an email from a law school institution and received one from John Marshall within two hours of making a purchase on your blog. I trusted your service to keep my email address confidential.


In all seriousness, I love receiving accusatory emails from blog readers - it really makes my day.

I generally find that the more accusatory the tone is, the more likely the reader is to be incorrect. In the past, these emails have typically been related to one of my original Logic Games. In these emails, the reader assumes there's a flaw in the game itself, when the flaw is in the reader's own understanding.

However, "Jim's" email is related to an action I had supposedly performed. He accuses me not of incorrect logic, but of purposely doing something super-sketchy.

Since I see much of what goes on in the real world as instructional opportunities, I decided to point out the flawed assumptions in "Jim's" reasoning - for "Jim" himself and for all LSAT Blog readers.

I responded with the following:
Hi "Jim,"

Please do not assume that I gave or sold your email address to anyone. I would never do any such thing.

It would be a remarkable turnaround time for me to take your email address, forward it to John Marshall, then have them send you an email, all within 2 hours of your purchase.

It is common practice for LSAC (to which you have presumably given your email address at some point) to provide certain law schools with applicants' email addresses. This is almost certainly what happened.

A better approach to determine what happened might have been to ask John Marshall how they received your email address before accusing me of having shared it. Had you done so, you might have received something like the following:
We obtained your name and contact information lawfully from the Law School Admission Council, and we have used it in accordance with their Candidate Referral Service (CRS) policies. My suggestion to you is to update your LSAC profile to indicate that you no longer wish to be listed on the CRS – this will save you from receiving messages like this one.
If you don't believe me, why not reply to the email from John Marshall and ask?

I wish you all the best with your LSAT prep. Please see the following link:

Best regards,
I could've gone on and on in my response about post hoc fallacies with examples from specific PrepTests, but I'd rather let all of you weigh and measure the evidence and various considerations in the comments section of this blog post.

Since "Jim" was kind enough to send me an email acknowledging his mistake, I'll let him have the final words on this post:
Hi Steve,

If I mistakenly accused you sharing my email address, I apologize. As soon as I sent the email, I began to picture your Finding the Flaw in My Reasoning. I don't think it's a pure post hoc fallacy case, however, as there were several conditions increasing the likelihood that I received the John Marshall email as a result of sharing my email address with you. That said, I'll be the first (or second, in this case) to acknowledge that your sharing my email address with John Marshall was not the only possible explanation for my receiving a email from them, and so those conditions were not sufficient to accuse you.

In fact, I checked my LSAC profile and did in fact authorize them to release my information with member schools, but not non-member schools. This action was an out-of-character oversight; I must have filled out the form hurriedly. Given that circumstance, my accusation was likely unjust and I apologize for jumping to conclusions.

I will adjust my LSAC profile and be more careful in the future before making accusations. Thank you for addressing my concerns so quickly, and, more importantly, for sending the two PrepTests I ordered.

Again, my apologies,


Photo by foolswisdom


  1. As soon as I read his 1st email I was thinking "Doesn't lsac give out our email addresses?" lol Get em Steve, how dare he accuse you of this silliness!

  2. boom roasted haha

  3. Sick burn, Steve! Way to handle it with smooth "your accusation is dumb but look how professional I am" coolness. I expect no less.

    Pretty sure this guy is going to be a great lawyer and/or boyfriend. Look at his apology email:

    1. "If I mistakenly accused you..."

    Um, no "if" about it buddy. You did.

    2. " there were several conditions increasing the likelihood that I received the John Marshall email as a result of sharing my email address with you."

    First, what conditions? "I had a ham sandwich when I got the email, and the last time I had a ham sandwich was when I was on your site, so..." Right buddy. Keep referencing vague conditions that you don't specify, because it's still possible that Steve ran eagerly to sell your email address to John Marshall. It's obviously a hot commodity.

    3. "In fact, I checked my LSAC profile and did in fact authorize them to release my information with member schools,"

    Yeah, that's what they call an "explanation of what actually happened," so accusing Steve is officially wrong, off base, and has a concrete explanation.

    4. " accusation was likely unjust..."

    I think this is my favorite. Even given the fact that it was highly unlikely for Steve to have been guilty in the first place, and there ended up being a COMPLETELY EXPLANATORY reason for the email, he can still only muster up the word "likely" to describe his false accusation.

    Why do some people find it so hard to say "Whoops! I really screwed up. I'm sorry, and I mean it." Why even accuse somebody and question their character to begin with? And, to top it off, why freak out over getting one email from some law school in the first place? DELETE it, buddy. Then move on with life if you can.

    I'm not meaning to hassle or rip on Jim here too much. But maybe if someone points out how ridiculous and defensive this is, and another person reads it and then decides "hey, I'm going to try and NOT be that guy," then it was worth the time.

    It's almost like these people are drawn to law or something... weird.

    Nice work, Steve. Keep on keepin' on.


  4. *Like*
    That fallacy was the title of a West Wing episode. Something about a flippant comment President Bartlet made about cowboy hats and losing Texas in the election.

    Steve, I notice you don't actually recommend opting out of CRS. Wouldn't anyone opting out of CRS forego the opportunity to receive fee waivers from schools that send them via email?

  5. I received the following email from "Jim" shortly after I published this post:

    Hi Steve,

    I'd like to follow up yesterday's email with a more sincere apology. I have spent the past day feeling upset about the email exchange we had yesterday. The reason for my agitation isn't perfectly clear to me; it's possible that I just hate being wrong, or that my reasoning confidence has been damaged for the upcoming LSAT, but mostly I think I just feel guilty for accusing somebody of something when I had no right to do so.

    I'm genuinely sorry for attacking the integrity of your service and you as an individual. I made a brash judgement and acted without considering the possibilities -- specifically, my own actions that led to receiving the email.

    I wish you all the best in the future and thank you for the wonderful advice and materials you offer to prospective law students on your blog and elsewhere.



  6. Glad you all enjoyed this post.

    Anonymous, I suggest emailing LSAC to ask about details related to CRS.

  7. Jim, if you're reading this:

    Much better. Way to man up and grab the bull by the horns.

    Seriously- if more politicians were able to reflect on their actions and follow through like you did, we'd all be better off.

    Steve- great post.

    PS what? You think because I finished the LSAT that you'd be done with me?

  8. Or another totally different point of view.... Some people just like to be idiots and want to get attention, so they make up an issue to have something to complain about. But hey perhaps that's the pessimist in me.

  9. Dear Steve Sir, everybody does mistakes in life; and if he/she realizes the mistake and apologizes for that then we should go on leaving it. There is no doubt that whatever material or advice you provide in email or blog is really worthy not only for the lsat students but also for the students who are preparing for other competetive exams. So carry on. Everyone's wishes (including me) is with good.
    Best regards,

  10. Jim apologized. Cant we all just get along?

  11. I get emailed from Steve every once and a while. Other than viewing his website for lsat practice, I really don't know Steve; but he doesn't seem like a person who would do something like that.