Law School Discussion

Questions for law students

Questions for law students
« on: October 19, 2004, 12:07:03 PM »
Hello everyone. I had a few questions for those who are already in law school. This info will really help me out.

1)Is it true that in ALL law schools the only grade is the final exam? If so, the only homework you have all semester is to read, read, read, study, read etc? No papers or nothing?

2) If so, what is the final exam like? If this is false and you have exams every now and then, what are these exams like? Are they multiple-choice, essay, short answer, or everything put together?

3) In most classes, what are the general breakdown of how grades are determined? If it's not all about just one exam, is there homework/papers/participation or anything along those lines?

Thanks in advance for these answers.  :)

zemog

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Re: Questions for law students
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2004, 12:19:08 PM »
1) No, it varies from class to class.  For example, my torts class has 4 exams throughout the year, 2 quarter exams, 1 midterm in Dec, and 1 final in Jun.  My contracts class only has 1 mid in Dec, and 1 final in Jun.  Those two classes only has reading until those exams.  My legal skills class always has something due pretty much every week. 

2)This also varies but the standard is pretty much a hypothetical relating to your subject matter.  For example, my 1st quarter exam for torts was related only to intentional torts, so the hypo was related only to that.  They give a specific fact pattern and pretty much, you have to identify the issues in a legal writing exam format called IRAC.  My contracts class will have hypos, multiple choice, and short answer, so like I said, it really depends on the professor.

3)This also depends but mostly it's pretty much based on the exams, with more weight on the final.  Participation is a small fraction of the grade, at my school only +2 if you really participate, and up to -2, if youare not prepared, etc.  If you just participate sometimes like most, you will just get nothing taken, nothing given.   For legal skills, where it is based on every assignment turned in, because no exams in that class. 

At the end, they then put everyone on a curve, and spread out the grades depending on your school's grading criteria.  I know many schools that will allocate a certain amount of A's, % of B's, etc.

Re: Questions for law students
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2004, 01:09:25 PM »
At my school all first year courses, with the exception of legal practice, are one semester long and have only one final exam.  One of my profs will lower your grade if you are unprepared in class, the rest will only raise it in the case of exceptional class participation.

As for what's on the exams - I'll let you know after I've actually taken one.

We are graded on a strict curve, From A+ to C.  So your exam grade completely depends on the performance of you classmates.  From what I've heard only one ot two people in each class get the A+ or the C, with B and B- being the avereage grades.

Re: Questions for law students
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2004, 01:18:01 PM »
What exactly is legal writing on an exam?
1) No, it varies from class to class. For example, my torts class has 4 exams throughout the year, 2 quarter exams, 1 midterm in Dec, and 1 final in Jun. My contracts class only has 1 mid in Dec, and 1 final in Jun. Those two classes only has reading until those exams. My legal skills class always has something due pretty much every week.

2)This also varies but the standard is pretty much a hypothetical relating to your subject matter. For example, my 1st quarter exam for torts was related only to intentional torts, so the hypo was related only to that. They give a specific fact pattern and pretty much, you have to identify the issues in a legal writing exam format called IRAC. My contracts class will have hypos, multiple choice, and short answer, so like I said, it really depends on the professor.

3)This also depends but mostly it's pretty much based on the exams, with more weight on the final. Participation is a small fraction of the grade, at my school only +2 if you really participate, and up to -2, if youare not prepared, etc. If you just participate sometimes like most, you will just get nothing taken, nothing given. For legal skills, where it is based on every assignment turned in, because no exams in that class.

At the end, they then put everyone on a curve, and spread out the grades depending on your school's grading criteria. I know many schools that will allocate a certain amount of A's, % of B's, etc.



ruskiegirl

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Re: Questions for law students
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2004, 01:24:14 PM »
At most T1 schools, there is only one examn per semester.  It tends to be in essay form, unless you are dealing with a discipline, like Property, which lends itself more to multiple choice tests.  For the most part, the exam will test your ability to spot legal issues, understand the law, apply that law to the issues and take a side on which legal approach is most appropritate and why.

Most schools grade on a curve, the particulars of which vary greatly from school to school. 

At my school, grades are based solely on performance on the cumilative exam.  We are not graded on class participation, nor are we given additional tests or assignments.


lipper

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Re: Questions for law students
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2004, 01:34:06 PM »
What exactly is legal writing on an exam?

You take 4 core courses which are torts, property, civil procedure, and contracts. These are the ones where participation means nothing. The only thing bad about not knowing ur stuff when called on in class, is u look like a dumbass.

Legal Writing will be ur 5th course. The grade on this will be comprised of mostly 1) legal memo, 2) oral argument, and my school has a legal research exam also. This class might have added ways to get ur grade up with HW, quizes, etc. Although for the most part, its a 1/3 for each of the three.




Re: Questions for law students
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2004, 08:52:51 PM »
Hello everyone. I had a few questions for those who are already in law school. This info will really help me out.

1)Is it true that in ALL law schools the only grade is the final exam? If so, the only homework you have all semester is to read, read, read, study, read etc? No papers or nothing?

2) If so, what is the final exam like? If this is false and you have exams every now and then, what are these exams like? Are they multiple-choice, essay, short answer, or everything put together?

3) In most classes, what are the general breakdown of how grades are determined? If it's not all about just one exam, is there homework/papers/participation or anything along those lines?

Thanks in advance for these answers.  :)


Yeah in most schools thats the way it goes unfortunately.  You get 1 final in all of your substantive classes at the end of the semester or at the end of the year, depending on the school.  Then during your first year you also have a legal Reading and Writing class that has papers due throught the year, so for that class you have stuff due every few weeks or whatever, but for the rest of the classes 1 test.  that's it.

What is it like?  Remember the LSAT?  all over again except worse this time b/c you have to write essays.

Most of the exams are essays.  You are presented with a legal scenario and you have to analyze it and apply the rules you have learned throughout the year to the problem in front of you. A professor might throw a few multiple choice prob's in there, but for the most part its essay.

dgatl

Re: Questions for law students
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2004, 05:46:10 PM »
1)Is it true that in ALL law schools the only grade is the final exam? If so, the only homework you have all semester is to read, read, read, study, read etc? No papers or nothing?

Every law school I know has 1 final exam at the end of the semester.  However, in my contracts class the other day, we had an ungraded midterm so we can get the hang of what a final is like.

2) If so, what is the final exam like? If this is false and you have exams every now and then, what are these exams like? Are they multiple-choice, essay, short answer, or everything put together?

In two of my classes this semester, Torts and Contracts, we will have 1 hour to complete as many of the multiple choices questions as possible.  Those are pretty straight forward if you have the rules memorized.

After this, we will have a 3 hour period of Essay questions.  Basically, a huge fact pattern where you have to spot issues and apply the law.

In Civ Pro, we have a 3 hour pure essay test.  I hear my prof likes to ask at least one policy question.

No final in legal methods (called jurisprudence at other LS).  We have a take-home exam which will probably be either to write an opinion or analyze a decision using various theories of law.

Legal writing, the class that I hate with a f-ing PASSION - we have a paper due that is worth our entire grade right before Thanksgiving.

3) In most classes, what are the general breakdown of how grades are determined? If it's not all about just one exam, is there homework/papers/participation or anything along those lines?

We are curved to a 3.17.  Professors are at liberty to give out whatever grades he wants as long as the grading curve is 3.17 for the whole section.  It's a female dog.  But it's a game.


Finals are 7 weeks away (or 8?).  I've been studying since mid-September for finals.  I also attend a very competitive law school.

dgatl

Re: Questions for law students
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2004, 05:49:46 PM »
Oh, the fact is, that it will be like this at any T14 and 15-19, 19-25 LS.  Not too many LS have multiple choice in addition to essay - and that makes me MAD.

If you attend a T14 - then don't stress it.  As long as you are in the top 50% and have a pulse, you'll do fine.  Especially if you attend a LS that doesn't give out grades, but gives out High Pass, Low Pass, and Fail (like Yale).

Re: Questions for law students
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2004, 11:15:59 PM »
Do you go to Emory?

Anyway, it sounds pretty reasonable. I excel at take-home tests and essays/papers done at home because I am the type who stresses out during tests taken in classrooms. Will I see much of what I like in law school?