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GMAT Prep Question – Consumer Advocate

 

Consumer advocate: it is generally true, at least in this state, that lawyers who advertise a specific service charge less for that service than lawyers who do not advertise. It is also true that each time restrictions on the advertising of legal services have been eliminated, the number of lawyers advertising their services has increased and legal costs to consumers have declined in consequence. However, eliminating the state requirement that legal advertisements must specify fees for specific services would almost certainly increase rather than further reduce consumer’s legal costs. Lawyers would no longer have an incentive to lower their fees when they begin advertising and if no longer required to specify fee arrangements, many lawyers who now advertise would increase their fees.

In the consumer advocate’s argument, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?

(A) The first is a generalization that the consumer advocate accepts as true; the second is presented as a consequence that follows from the truth of that generalization.

(B) The first is a pattern of cause and effect that the consumer advocate argues will be repeated in the case at issue; the second acknowledges a circumstance in which that pattern would not hold.

(C) The first is pattern of cause and effect that the consumer advocate predicts will not hold in the case at issue; the second offers a consideration in support of that prediction.

(D) The first is evidence that the consumer advocate offers in support of a certain prediction; the second is that prediction.

(E) The first acknowledges a consideration that weighs against the main position that the consumer advocate defends; the second is that position.

Solution

Passage Analysis

(1)   Consumer advocate: it is generally true, at least in this state, that lawyers who advertise a specific service charge less for that service than lawyers who do not advertise. :This is a fact. In this statement the author of the argument (consumer advocate) talks about lawyers, in a particular state, who advertise. As per this statement, these lawyers charge less for the service they advertise as compared to those lawyers who do not advertise that service.

To understand this, think of lawyer A as someone who advertises his services for divorce cases. Then, according to the above mentioned statement from the passage, chances are that lawyer A will charge less fee for this service than lawyer B who does not advertise her service for divorce consultation.

(2)   It is also true that each time restrictions on the advertising of legal services have been eliminated, the number of lawyers advertising their services has increased and legal costs to consumers have declined in consequence.: This too is a fact that is based on a past trend observed so far. Since there is a lot of information given in this statement, let’s encapsulate its key-points. Main points from this statement:

  1. In the past, the number of lawyers advertising their services increased every time in a particular situation
  2. The situation was: no conditions on the advertising of legal services
  3. The general result of the increase in lawyers’ advertising was that legal cost to consumers declined

(3) However, eliminating the state requirement that legal advertisements must specify fees for specific services would almost certainly increase rather than further reduce consumer’s legal costs.: This is author’s opinion about the repercussion of a situation. If you notice carefully, the author has used the opposite direction key-word: However. This means whatever the author’s going to state, it is not going to be in the same line of thought as the previously mentioned fact. The author now says that in the absence of the state requirement to specify fees for specific services, the legal costs to consumers will increase and not decrease. So you see, although in the statement before this the author did mention that a state of no condition on legal advertising consistently led to decline in legal costs to consumer in the past, here the author denies that the same pattern will be repeated.

(4)  Lawyers would no longer have an incentive to lower their fees when they begin advertising and if no longer required to specify fee arrangements, many lawyers who now advertise would increase their fees.: This too is author’s opinion. He/she uses it to support the opinion stated above. The author says that if the fee specifying restriction was removed, there would be two outcomes:

a. such lawyers who would now begin to advertise would not be motivated to lower their fees

b. such lawyers who already advertise would increase their fees

Pre-thinking

Bold-face questions form one of the two question categories, the other one being assumption, that lends itself easily to pre-thinking. So, after the passage analysis, we should be able to pre-think the correct answer choice quite comfortably. Let’s look at the relationship between the two boldface portions, keeping our analysis of the two bold-face portions (as presented in the passage analysis )in mind:

Bold-face portion 1 (BF1) : It is also true that each time restrictions on the advertising of legal services have been eliminated, the number of lawyers advertising their services has increased and legal costs to consumers have declined in consequence.

Bold-face portion 2 (BF2): Lawyers would no longer have an incentive to lower their fees when they begin advertising and if no longer required to specify fee arrangements, many lawyers who now advertise would increase their fees.

Now as of now, we can see that the two bold-face portions are not in the same line of thought. But it is difficult to see exactly how they are related. For this reason, it is important (in every bold-face question) to evaluate how the bold face portions relate to the main conclusion of the argument. This is also because the answer-choices in such questions will exploit your understanding of the logical structure of the argument. Accordingly, let’s analyze how the two bold-face portions relate to the main position taken by the author.
The final position taken by the author/main conclusion is expressed in point no (3) of the passage analysis. It is :

 However, eliminating the state requirement that legal advertisements must specify fees for specific services would almost certainly increase rather than further reduce consumer’s legal costs..

Keeping the main position in mind, let’s see how best we can describe the two-bold face portions:

Bold-face 1 (BF1): each time restrictions on the advertising of legal services have been eliminated, the number of lawyers advertising their services has increased and legal costs to consumers have declined in consequence

Main position:  However, eliminating the state requirement that legal advertisements must specify fees for specific services would almost certainly increase rather than further reduce consumer’s legal costs.

Bold-face 2 (BF2) :   … if no longer required to specify fee arrangements, many lawyers who now advertise would increase their fees

  • We can now clearly see that the main conclusion disputes the repetition of BF1 in a particular case, and  BF 2 supports the main conclusion

So while considering the following answer choices, please keep this reference handy. Let’s move on to evaluating the option statements.

Analysis of Option Statements

(A) The first is a generalization that the consumer advocate accepts as true; the second is presented as a consequence that follows from the truth of that generalization. This option is not correct.Since BF1 is a fact about a pattern observed in the past which the author accepts, the first portion of this answer choice is correct. However, the description of BF 2 is not. BF2 is definitely not in the same line of thought as BF1. From the analysis done in pre-thinking, we can see that BF2 has been used to support a point that goes against the fact that BF1 presents.Therefore, answer choice A is incorrect.
(B) The first is a pattern of cause and effect that the consumer advocate argues will be repeated in the case at issue; the second acknowledges a circumstance in which that pattern would not hold. This is not the correct choice. As discussed earlier, the consumer advocate, who is the author of the argument, is of the opinion that the trend observed in BF1 will NOT be repeated in the case at hand. The case at hand being- no requirement to specify fee while advertising legal services. Therefore, although BF 1 is a pattern of cause and effect, it is not something that the consumer advocate argues will hold true in this particular case as well.The description of the second bold-face portion is correct in this answer choice. As discussed in the pre-thinking, BF2 is definitely a case where the trend observed in BF1 will not hold.However, since half part of this answer choice is incorrect, this option is incorrect.
(C) The first is pattern of cause and effect that the consumer advocate predicts will not hold in the case at issue; the second offers a consideration in support of that prediction. This option is correct.As discussed in answer choice B, the consumer advocate is of the opinion that the trend observed in BF1 will NOT be repeated in the case at hand. So the first portion of this answer choice is correct.Let’s evaluate the description of BF2 in this answer choice. According option C:…the second offers a consideration in support of that predictionThis description matches our analysis of BF2 (in the pre-thinking phase) with respect to the main conclusion. The prediction referred to in the answer choice is the same as the main conclusion of the argument. Since the description of BF1 and BF2 are correct, this is the correct answer.
(D) The first is evidence that the consumer advocate offers in support of a certain prediction; the second is that prediction. This option is incorrect. According to this answer choice BF1 supports the prediction (main conclusion) in the argument. However, as seen in our pre-thinking, BF1 and the main conclusion are in the opposite line of thought. Therefore, this description is not correct.This choice describes BF 2 as the prediction that has been supported by BF1. Now from our analysis, we know that BF2 is not the prediction or main conclusion. It is something that has been used in support of the main conclusion. Secondly, from our pre-thinking we know that statements made in BF1 and BF2 are not in the same line of thought. So there is no question of BF1’s supporting BF2. Since the descriptions of both BF1 and BF2 are incorrect, this is option is not correct.
(E) The first acknowledges a consideration that weighs against the main position that the consumer advocate defends; the second is that position. This option is incorrect as the description of BF2 is not correct in it. But before we get to BF2, let’s see how BF1 has been described here. As per this choice, BF1 is a consideration that goes against the main position (conclusion) of the argument. This description is fair. As stated in the prethinking phase, the trend observed in BF1 is NOT consistent with the prediction made by the author that the legal costs would increase in the case at hand.However as stated earlier, the description of BF2 is not correct. According to choice E, BF2 is the prediction referred to in the first part of the answer. This means that BF2 is the main conclusion of the argument. But that’s not the case. BF2 has been used in support of the prediction/main conclusion of the argument. Hence, this answer choice is not correct.

 

Solution created by Neeti Sohal.

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