Law School Discussion

Law Students => Current Law Students => Topic started by: Go Gators on July 01, 2008, 08:52:47 AM

Title: 1L Life?
Post by: Go Gators on July 01, 2008, 08:52:47 AM
I want to know what your first class experience was like?

What your first week was like?

What your daily routine is now?

I am really interested in seeing a slice of what you are going through so that I can prepare myself down the road when my turn comes. Is there anything you wish you had known but did not that you would care to share?

Also, is there anything you wish you would have done prior to arriving at LS that you feel would have helped?

I'm just trying to "see through your eyes" rather than relying on "The Paper Chase" and the very few books that are out on this subject.

Thanks, and continued success!!!!
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: StevePirates on July 01, 2008, 09:08:33 AM
There are a very large number of blogs written by law students that cover their 1L experience.
While lots of people might give you a summary recap here, you might want to read the blogs so that you get an extemporaneous view of how people felt during each phase of 1L.
(SPAM ALERT: You're more than welcome to read mine if you'd like!)

To answer your questions:
My class experience was good.  I had a good section, only a few gunners (and honestly, I was probably right on the border of good taste and gunsmanship.)

First week was very different, we had an intro week, where they went over the basics.  Our first week of substantive classes we just dove right in.  Have your reading done.

Routine now?  I wake up, do some reading for pleasure or work.  Go to work, go to classes, go home, watch TV with my fiance, eat dinner, do a little more reading and go to bed.

What I wish I knew then:  There are many paths to nirvana.  The best plan is to engage in several of them.  Get involved in a club or two... but only one or two.  Do the oral advocacy competitions, even if it frightens you.  Run for SBA, bug the hell out of career services until they just get so sick of you they find you a job.  Study hard, get good grades.  Find a good balance of school and life.

Prior to Law School I wish I would have gone on a vacation.  I thought that I would go abroad 1L summer.  Instead I got a good internship in town and took summer classes.  Now, I really wish I would have taken that trip.

Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: ZooLander on July 01, 2008, 10:33:16 AM
My first class was contracts.  She showed us a part of the paper chase, then went over the schedule and admin stuff.  Since I went to a large undergrad institution, the class size of 75 didn't make any kind of impression. 

The first week was busy.  A fair amount of reading and getting used to briefing.

My first semester was kind of insane.  Our school throws you 17 credits first semester and 13 second semester.  First semester, I would get up in the morning, walk the dog, head to school, read or go to class, then spend time between classes in the library reading, break briefly for lunch, back to class, back to library, microwave dinner, class again and then home.  At home, I would chill for a bit and walk the dog (someone else was around to walk him once before I got home) and then I would study some more.  These ended up being about 13 hour days of school work.  HOWEVER.  Fridays I had no class.  Fridays became my day to do little to no studying and then go to target/do some cooking/dog park.  If I had a writing assignment due, I probably spent some of Friday working on that, but for the most part I kind of just took it off entirely, or worked at a more leisurely pace. First semester was about keeping my head above water and really became a scheduling game- those who are organized will have an easier time. 

Second semester was way awesomer.  I had time for workouts 3 days during the week since I didn't have to be at school until 11.  13 credits was way easier to manage and my second semester profs, for whatever reason, didn't seem to assign as much reading.  I would go to class 4 days a week until 6.  I had 7 hour breaks on Tues and 4 hour breaks on Thursday that I would spend in the library and could knock out almost all of my reading for the 3 classes that had it.  I had time to work more diligently on my LRW assignments.  And STILL had Fridays off (though that became more of a study and workout day).  I could have dinners with my boyfriend and take the dog to the dogpark twice a week.  Second semester I worked smarter and didn't have a drowning feeling and excelled in my classes. 

Now I am working about 45 hours a week for a clinical at my school.  It is amazing experience- I get to interview clients, write motions, go to court, head to prisons once a week- even though criminal law isn't my thing, I can't recommend this kind of experience enough.  Plus I get credits which are paid for and a stipend to live off of.  Luckily for me, it continues on into the school year.  If I make law review, I will only take one class this fall and 3 in the Spring.  If not, I'll take 2.  Either way, it provides welcome relief from the grind of class and studying for finals. 

I also recommend doing some student activities, or at least attending the social events hosted by your school.  It's better when you're not in the boat alone.  Take advantage of all the opportunities you have for success- if you don't do well, and you didn't exhaust all your study options (review sessions, individual help, etc.) you can't blame anyone but yourself.  And the crappy curve.  And try to have some fun- I am loving this.   Of course, it's easy to love it this summer when I don't have to deal with a curve.  :)

Oh and p.s. I did nothing prior to law school in terms of preparation other than read this site and Above the Law.  And was happy I was fresh for it.
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: Imactuallya2Lnow on July 01, 2008, 12:17:55 PM
So I did very well at a T-20 school so hopefully that gives what I say a little credibility.  Also, I actually really enjoyed my first year of law school.  It's not so scary once you're actually in it (ok, other than right before finals...which are terrifying).

I want to know what your first class experience was like?
What your first week was like? -- I made it way more intense than it should have been.  I went into law school thinking that if I wasn't working/doing something productive every day after class I was not going to do well.  This is not true.

What your daily routine is now?--What worked best for me was to go to class all day, then go straight to the library until I was done working, and then go home and eat/relax for a little before bed.  I did this because I knew once I got home, I would procrastinate and have trouble getting back to work.  I also usually woke up early and did some form of exercise in the morning.  I liked feeling awake and showered for class, and I also didn't gain the weight that they say is inevitable in the first year of law school.

I am really interested in seeing a slice of what you are going through so that I can prepare myself down the road when my turn comes. Is there anything you wish you had known but did not that you would care to share? -- Once you are actually in law school you rarely, if ever, lament the fact that you didn't get into Harvard, or most of the things people obsess about on pre-law message boards.  I found this very comforting.

Also, is there anything you wish you would have done prior to arriving at LS that you feel would have helped? -- NO.  Don't prep for law school: You really have no idea what would be helpful, and the most helpful thing of all is to go into it with a clear head and ready to work hard.
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: Go Gators on July 01, 2008, 01:43:12 PM
Amazing responses. This is why I will continue to be a part of this board long after I have (I am hoping) made it through the rigors of Law School.

Thanks so much to everyone who posted their thoughts. If anyone can add anything please do! I am certain this thread will get many looks because you are offering first hand information here that is unique to each of you. Again, thanks for taking the time to reply in as much detail as you did!


Anyone else wanna share? ::)
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: TheReasonableMan on July 01, 2008, 02:06:18 PM
The #1 piece of advice I can give you is this, and the irony is obvious:

Forget the advice, do what has always worked for you, and you will do fine.  When you get there, you will get advice from every professor, dean, current student and custodian as to how to be a good law student.  Some will say brief every case and work on your outlines hourly. Others will say screw briefing and work on your outlines sometime after commencement.  Some will tell you that professors are just a bunch of blow-hards and you have to learn from the book. Others will tell you that the professor's word comes from the mouth of baby Jesus himself, and you should just forget about the text.  The anxiety tends to build as you go to class and see some people with their faces buried in their laptops, transcribing everything that comes out of the professor's mouth, others showing up to class with their entire text book annotated and indexed with color-coded sticky notes, and still others showing up with their book still in the shrink wrap in November.  This can leave many people uncertain as to how to proceed, and many people end up pursuing study methods that are ineffective to them, simply because someone told them that it is the best way to study the law.   

Forget all of it.  In order to get this far, you have likely already developed some method by which you are comfortable cramming loads of esoteric information into your brain, storing it at least for the duration of an exam, and applying it in a reasonable fashion to a question presented.  If you find yourself sitting down to work on an outline, and two hours into it you realize that you are gaining nothing from it, then stop that.  If you get midway through week one, and you find that you are doing fine with the cases and the briefs are of little help, then stop that.  If you find that skimming the cases gives you a good understanding of the concepts involved and you spend a lot of time taking margin notes that you never look at in class, then stop that.  Likewise, if you are sitting in class or reading and find that you have no idea what is going on, or you take a practice test and realize that you are completely in the dark, then consider finding a new method.  Forget what the internet geniuses and all of the law school experts tell you to do, and just do whatever it is that helps you get your own brain around the law.  If you can do that, you'll be fine.
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: SCK2008 on July 01, 2008, 02:21:48 PM
Tag to read later.
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: no634 on July 01, 2008, 03:28:56 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hrMkcI22dg

I found that helpful  ;)
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: RickLax.com on July 01, 2008, 03:31:55 PM
I want to know what your first class experience was like?

What your first week was like?

What your daily routine is now?

I am really interested in seeing a slice of what you are going through so that I can prepare myself down the road when my turn comes. Is there anything you wish you had known but did not that you would care to share?

Also, is there anything you wish you would have done prior to arriving at LS that you feel would have helped?

I'm just trying to "see through your eyes" rather than relying on "The Paper Chase" and the very few books that are out on this subject.

Thanks, and continued success!!!!

Just remember that your school grades on the curve.  Everybody is as confused as you are.  You don't need to understand everything; you just need to understand more than the guy sitting next to you and the girl behind you.  To get a good grade, that is.  If you want to represent me, well... 

And as for more, yes, do check out Mr. Pirates' blog.  Or mine @  http://ricklax.com
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: Sell Out on July 01, 2008, 04:20:34 PM
I want to know what your first class experience was like?

What your first week was like?

What your daily routine is now?

I am really interested in seeing a slice of what you are going through so that I can prepare myself down the road when my turn comes. Is there anything you wish you had known but did not that you would care to share?

Also, is there anything you wish you would have done prior to arriving at LS that you feel would have helped?

I'm just trying to "see through your eyes" rather than relying on "The Paper Chase" and the very few books that are out on this subject.

Thanks, and continued success!!!!

1. The first class I went to was Civ Pro (I think), and I remember being nervous.  My professor was very accomplished, very aggressive in his questioning of students, and just dove right in after getting through the syllabus.  I've made it through Texas public schools, boot camp, war, and other fairly horrifying events and I was still somewhat intimidated.  I quickly learned that it was all for not.  Remember, class is not what counts; the final is.  That being said, EVERYONE will make a fool out of themselves at least once in law school, otherwise you aren't doing it right.

2. My daily routine now is something I can break into two parts.  The first half of semester I keep up with the reading, keep up with my notes, but generally take it easy otherwise.  The second half of the semester I really turn it on and go all out to make outlines, run hypos, and generally begin getting into finals mode.  Some students will tell you that law school exams are too subjective in their grading, but I will say this-- I saw that those students who prepared the most for finals typically made better grades.  This isn't saying you won't get a curve ball thrown at you every once in a while, it just means that there are rules you need to know and those who more precisely and exhaustively state the rule and then apply it to the facts on an exam are the ones who make better grades.  Success in this format is dependent upon preparation.

3. Advice?  The best advice has already been given.  Everyone has their own way of doing things.  Don't listen to people who tell you how long their outlines are, don't listen to them when they tell you they spent 10 hours a day the past week studying.  They are as clueless as you are and may either be trying to (a) gauge themselves, (b) psych you out, or (c) find someone who'll listen to them brag.

4. Don't do anything.  Enjoy your life before school starts.  Pleasure read, write the Great American Novel, get hammered at a pool for 5 weeks straight.  Make the world your oyster.
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: daidaniu on July 01, 2008, 05:18:05 PM
I just finished my 1L year at a school on the quarter system (I think there's only 3 or 4 of us, but anyway) which means I just finished a couple weeks ago, and just finished the 1L writing competition yesterday. So my memories are still very fresh, and I've been trying to think about what I've learned over the past year.

I don't think I remember my first class, but I do remember my first property class, which was probably the second or third class we had.  The professor called on a girl in the front row, and asked her a series of questions about how the informal property regime for saving seats in class functioned. Everyone listened very intently.  I still remember this exchange on the first day quite well, but I'm hard pressed to remember any other student comments made during the entire year, including my own.  I just say this to emphasize that yes, you might make a fool of yourself sometime in class, but no one is going to remember it. As long as you're not called on on the first day, that is. :-)

I had a couple distinct daily routines in Law School, something I think happens to most people and I'm surprised it isn't mentioned more on the boards.  Maybe it's a function of the quarter system.  Anyway, work at my law school came in waves, in distinct two or three week chunks. The first two week chunk is easy - just reading, class. It's like an 8 hour a day kind of thing, with some on weekends. Busy, but not death by any means. Plenty of time to go to movies, hang out at restaurants, etc in the evening. Then came the writing assignment on top of everything else, which destroyed my out-of-law-school life almost completely over the 14 day period or so that we had to work on it.  Both weekends were devoted to research, writing, drafting and editing, and a substantial amount of my evenings as well.  Then there is another restful period of about two or three weeks, just reading and class. Then came the last wave, preparing for exams. Similar to the writing wave, my weekends and evenings were again taken over by outlining and studying for exams.  This pattern happened to me almost exactly the same way each quarter my first year.  I mention this pattern because I remember my first quarter at the beginning I thought I wasn't busy enough, that I must be doing something wrong, because I didn't understand the "wave" nature of the schedule well enough. But really, it's ok to have light times; it doesn't mean you're not working hard enough.   That's my experience.

As far as summer prep: I did nothing substantive, and I am super happy with my choice. I have great jobs this summer after my 1L year. 
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: Go Gators on July 02, 2008, 07:11:11 AM
Interesting insights. May I ask what school you were attending (are attending) and what LSAT score you had?

Also, does anyone else have any thoughts they would care to share. This is turning into a really cool thread and a wealth of knowledge for those of us yet to walk in your shoes.

Thanks again!
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: ZooLander on July 02, 2008, 08:04:51 AM
Oh one more piece of advice.  Make friends with some 2Ls and 3Ls (and don't be intimidated by them).  They proved to be great resources for me in terms of letting me know how certain application processes work (e.g. Moot Court, Law Review, Clinical Apps) and what to concentrate on.  They are also very useful in pointing you towards outline banks and many, if you ask, will scrounge up A and A+ outlines or exam answers for you.  They also turned out to be great friends.  And it's nice to have friends in LS that you aren't competing against.  They can give you perspective too, when it seems like perspective is impossible to get.  And now that I'm a 2L, I can ensure you that I'm totally enthusiastic to help out the 1Ls.  So don't be afraid to ask!
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: 1Lchica on July 02, 2008, 09:03:59 AM
The #1 piece of advice I can give you is this, and the irony is obvious:

Forget the advice, do what has always worked for you, and you will do fine.  When you get there, you will get advice from every professor, dean, current student and custodian as to how to be a good law student.  Some will say brief every case and work on your outlines hourly. Others will say screw briefing and work on your outlines sometime after commencement.  Some will tell you that professors are just a bunch of blow-hards and you have to learn from the book. Others will tell you that the professor's word comes from the mouth of baby Jesus himself, and you should just forget about the text.  The anxiety tends to build as you go to class and see some people with their faces buried in their laptops, transcribing everything that comes out of the professor's mouth, others showing up to class with their entire text book annotated and indexed with color-coded sticky notes, and still others showing up with their book still in the shrink wrap in November.  This can leave many people uncertain as to how to proceed, and many people end up pursuing study methods that are ineffective to them, simply because someone told them that it is the best way to study the law.   

Forget all of it.  In order to get this far, you have likely already developed some method by which you are comfortable cramming loads of esoteric information into your brain, storing it at least for the duration of an exam, and applying it in a reasonable fashion to a question presented.  If you find yourself sitting down to work on an outline, and two hours into it you realize that you are gaining nothing from it, then stop that.  If you get midway through week one, and you find that you are doing fine with the cases and the briefs are of little help, then stop that.  If you find that skimming the cases gives you a good understanding of the concepts involved and you spend a lot of time taking margin notes that you never look at in class, then stop that.  Likewise, if you are sitting in class or reading and find that you have no idea what is going on, or you take a practice test and realize that you are completely in the dark, then consider finding a new method.  Forget what the internet geniuses and all of the law school experts tell you to do, and just do whatever it is that helps you get your own brain around the law.  If you can do that, you'll be fine.

I literally LOL'd at this because it's so true.
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: Go Gators on July 02, 2008, 09:45:17 AM
Thanks, Zoolander....

This is something I had not thought of. Huge advice. I appreciate it!

Anyone else?....Don't be shy.....come one, come all......tell us your secrets :o
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: The Artist on July 02, 2008, 06:43:47 PM
Oh, and here's my number 1 piece of advice:

Do not take advice from anyone with crappy grades. 

And people with crappy grades love to give advice as much as people with good grades. 

Mostly true.

I mostly just posted that as a means of tagging this thread.
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: chydiva82 on July 02, 2008, 06:52:45 PM
Oh, and here's my number 1 piece of advice:

Do not take advice from anyone with crappy grades. 

And people with crappy grades love to give advice as much as people with good grades. 

This is SO true. I often wonder why that is. Puzzling.
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: chydiva82 on July 02, 2008, 07:34:31 PM
How did you learn what works for you?  Did it magically click at some point?

I learned what works for me around mid-October. My school has midterms for 1L's. Once I got my exams back, I knew that my study habits were not working. I later found that I'm an auditory learner.  I learn best when I listen to others teach (study partners) and when I teach others. Also, I retain information by talking aloud. At this point, you should know how best you retain information which is 50% of the work. The other 50% involves testing your analytical skills by taking practice exams. (both timed and untimed)

I would suggest taking practice exams around mid-November. The KEY which people often miss is to show your practice exams to someone credible. Preferably your professor during office hours. If this is not an option, visit academic support, or any other resources available to 1L's at your school. After showing a practice exam to my contracts professor, he actually told me the grade he would have given me had it been an actual exam response. It wasn't what I wanted to hear so I kept making appointments with him until I finally got an A out of him! Of course, not all professors will be like this but the point is to have someone look over your practice exams so that you know you're on the right track.

ALSO, it's best to find out what works for you early on, even if it takes a little experimenting...are you a visual learner, auditory, a little of both? Do you get distracted easily by outside noise, do you talk when you write, do you find that you vividly remember what you hear as opposed to what you see. This all might sound crazy, but once I found out how to master the first half of the law school exam equation, I was well on my way!
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: jacy85 on July 03, 2008, 04:17:54 AM
Oh, and here's my number 1 piece of advice:

Do not take advice from anyone with crappy grades. 

And people with crappy grades love to give advice as much as people with good grades. 

I mostly agree, but would add one exception:  Talking to people that started out with low grades but pulled them up, seeing what the did to study before and how they changed that led to improvement, can be helpful.  It's a live example of someone who had to spend more time with trial and error in figuring out what works for them.  (but it may not be a fabulous idea to adopt their initial study strategies)
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: StephanyDS on July 03, 2008, 02:55:04 PM
My biggest piece of advice is choosing the people you decide to associate with. Don't form a study group until you have had a few weeks to get to know people. And even then, keep everyone at a distance until you are absolutely certain they are cool.

For example...I found out that one of the guys in my study group of five was secretly checking another guy's emails and found out he had lied about one of his grades. I have a super problem with the first guy, and now (not that I care about his grades) I always second guess whatever the second guy says...

Also, stay away from the "stressers" and the "braggers"...and don't become one.

Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: Sell Out on July 03, 2008, 03:38:09 PM
My biggest piece of advice is choosing the people you decide to associate with. Don't form a study group until you have had a few weeks to get to know people. And even then, keep everyone at a distance until you are absolutely certain they are cool.

For example...I found out that one of the guys in my study group of five was secretly checking another guy's emails and found out he had lied about one of his grades. I have a super problem with the first guy, and now (not that I care about his grades) I always second guess whatever the second guy says...

Also, stay away from the "stressers" and the "braggers"...and don't become one.



Really? Wow, that's sketchy.  I haven't seen anything like that, but then again I'm oblivious.
I've heard of people in study groups giving intentionally false information, but I've never experienced it myself.  However, I second the idea of you needing to trust the people you're in a group with.  It would be WAY too easy to manipulate the information if someone wanted to be an a$$.  This is why I <3 my study group.  We're all either (1) clueless or (2) honest.
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: StephanyDS on July 03, 2008, 06:46:22 PM
It's probably not that you are oblivious...if you trust your study group, that is awesome.

But I know how people get into the mindset that your friends are also your biggest competition. I have heard horror stories of people sharing false information too, turning other people in for bogus acedemic dishonesty claims, etc. There is also a lot of stupid gossip that goes on within groups and with others, and my other piece of advice is to stay as far away from it as possible.
Title: Re: 1L Life?
Post by: SCK2008 on July 03, 2008, 06:53:41 PM
Wow is right.

Its like we're soon to be trapped in our own little reality tv show except its not on tv and its not a show.  Its reality.

That's the way I see it.

I think Donnie Brasco or someone said "you go in alive, you come out dead, and its your best friend that did it."