Law School Discussion

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Messages - NJHandyGirl

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1
As a high school senior, you will be hard pressed to get a law-related internship over 1Ls and recent grads (undergrad). Your best bet would be to volunteer at an "advocacy" type group. I don't know where you are from, but, there might be an innocence project in your area or an organization which provides free/low-cost legal assistance. You will learn a lot of research-type skills and start to pad your resume with the type of knowledge that will help you get a job during your 1L summer.

Also, as each summer progresses between now and your 1L year, you may have the opportunity to obtain a paid job.

Good luck!

2
good advice

I'm taking some stuff into account, but I plan on showing up with a clean slate and just figuring it out on my own.

Hey Strong,
Admirable attitude. Everyone experiences things differently, however, let me tell you...there is NO time as a 1L to "figure it out on your own"...by the time you've figured it out, it is the end of the semester.

Get as much information as you can before going in...you will be miles ahead of everyone. It is very challenging to stay on top of all of the things thrown at you during the first year. Besides class, you will have all of these seminar-type things to go to...recruitment starts December 1 and by then, you have to have your resume and cover letter information ready. Any clubs you want to join or student body positions you might want to hold, start in September and have weekly meetings. In addition to all of that, in order to do well, you have to stay on top of your reading and have time to consult outside reading materials in order to connect some of the dots.

In short, take whatever advice you can get...there is no time for catch-up as a 1L. Good luck!
NJ

3
Thank you the advice -- all good.

Anyone you know who is or has considered taking classes over the Summer? (after first year)
I am working a legal job and taking a class over the summer. Some professors do not advise it because you can get burned out. However, I think I was burned out in February, so TOO LATE!!!

All joking aside...the course I am taking is a prerequisite for one I am taking in the Fall, so, I really had to take it. A few summer courses are not the same amount of credits as their Fall/Spring counterparts, and you have 7 weeks to learn ALOT of information. But, it can be a way to take less courses during the main semester and have time to concentrate on Moot Court, Law Review, externships, etc.

Good luck!
NJ

4
I agree with Jacy. You will get out of it what you put into it...but it has to be serious work. I still say you cannot read and brief in front of the TV and get out of it what you need in order to understand the concepts...but everyone is different.

I also worked until about 8pm most nights and as Jacy said, the legal writing deadlines completely obliterate what you think will be free time.

The interesting thing is that oral arguments are worth so little of your grade, but, we spend so much time on them! It is our competitive nature as law students...even though something is worth so little, you still want to be really good at it! Plus, those grades determine your initial eligibility for Moot Court.

As far as a SO is concerned...if you have one, great--warn them in advance and then make a little time. If you don't...don't bother until summer. ;D Unless the person has ever been a 1L, they will never understand the demands on your time. Sad, but true.

NJ

5
Just remember, you'll be dealing with these people for the rest of your life. In your professional dealings at least. So be careful of what people think of you. Don't get the reputation as the drunken slutty girl or the weird guy who smells because those will stick to you into your professional career. It may be unfair, but it's a fact of life.

Boy, did I forget about that!!! EVERYONE will remember the slut, the weird guy AND the pompous jerk! If your name is remembered, make sure it is for a positive reason.

Stay focused on the final. Anything your professor does dropping hints at what will be on there, take serious. And make sure you do his old exams so you know what he's looking for. [/quote]

AMEN! Also, if your professor likes to offer study sessions--GO!!! Even if it is on a Sunday from 3pm-8pm--my Civ Pro professor did this and he discussed what he expected on the test on each occasion (3!)...I aced it!
Good Luck and enjoy!

6
Thanks NJ. I have been out of the classroom for 10 years and I hope to rid myself of brain rot in the first few weeks. I'll come back to this post from time to time. Thanks for the encouragement!

Oingo

My pleasure...I was also out of school for 10 years when I started law school. It is amazing what the "old" brain can do. ;) At the end of the first semester when I took my midterms, I was unbelieveably shocked at all of the info I retained! Trust me...treat it like your job and you will succeed. Good Luck!

7
You pretty much rock.. So one question: are all people super serious in law school? because that's what I've been told. I'm way too random for that.

Thanks  :D
No...everyone is NOT serious in law school...not even the professors! Enjoy it...you only get to be a 1L once (thank god)...but it is a new, enjoyable experience --if you are not TOO serious  ;)
Good luck!

8
You are very welcome...Good luck!

9
Hi everyone,

Just thought I would stop in after what I consider a "whirlwind" school year. My first year of law school was really great. I enjoyed the intellectual stimulation, the classroom environment and am happy to say I already have jobs lined up for the summer and the coming fall.

I hope I can offer a couple of grains of advice. I saw AZ started a thread with really good info and thought "the more, the merrier". That being said, everyone learns differently and handles things in a different manner, so, everything I have to say applies to what helped me (and hopefully it will help you!). Just in case you are wondering, I don't have my final grades yet, but, I finished my first semester with a high B (my school's curve is a 78--ugh!).

Summer: Relax! And if you like going to the gym, GO! Law school is a nine month marathon. Working out is a great way to build up your stamina. You may have some late nights and long days, so, build up a little stamina now.

Reading: If you like to read novels, say Grisham, King or anything not law related, now might be a good time to pick up a copy of a series called "Law Stories". They have Tort stories, Civil Procedure stories, etc. The only reason I suggest this, is because when you read a novel, you fly through the language. I used to read 100 pages a day b4 law school. Reading cases is mostly tedious and BORING! It will take an hour to read 15 pages! If you can get used to it now, it will save you when you have to read 250 pages/week for 5 different subjects.

Studying: Find a quiet place to study (mind you, this is not always the library!) It is not like undergrad--you cannot study and watch TV  ;)

Supplements: If you are eager and want to get them now, Examples and Explanations are excellent books to reiterate concepts you've discussed in class and also features some questions with full answer explanations. If you are not so eager, wait until class begins and ask your professor. Some professors will be totally against supplements, others will tell you their favorites. Most of my professors liked the E&E--mostly because the explanations of the answers are similar to the way you should write exams.

Socratic method: The bane of any law student's existence! When you hear your name called, your heart pumps and your brain empties. The best way to combat this is to always be prepared and always assume your name is next. Don't think that just because you got called on the day before, the professor will 'neatly' mark your name off and not call on you for weeks--trust me, they are not quick with the pen! There was one week where I got called on in every class...by Wednesday, when my property professor called my name, the entire class laughed. Be prepared. Speaking of being prepared...

Briefing & Outlining: You hear of people talking about briefing and outlines, but, you really don't know what they are. When you brief a case, you are basically summarizing it: name of the case, important facts, court's decision and the reasoning behind that decision. The reasoning is the most important part...try to understand why the court ruled as it did in that case--easier said than done, but, you can do it. Outlines...I didn't know what an outline was. Then, one day, a professor said "start outlining now...if you don't know how to outline, use the table of contents in your book"...that is what I did for the entire year and it served me well. Others will have different methods, find one that works for you.

Overall:
1. Don't be a pompous jerk--no unsolicited opinions in class, no quoting your parent who just happens to be an attorney, no arguing with the professors. Quite frankly, the only opinions that truly matter are the ones written by the judges in your casebooks (and your professor)

2. Don't set up a study group with your friends, unless you are absolutely sure they have the same work ethic as you. I am ambitious and I studied with someone who I really liked...but she just "wanted to pass"--not a good combination--she didn't contribute much and daydreamed about her impending wedding. Oh...and she dropped out.

3. As far as the socratic method stuff...don't worry if you say something not exactly on point-- none of that stuff you say counts or is remembered--grading is anonymous--BUT still be prepared! Some professors take points off for lack of preparation. (please don't ask how they do that and yet still maintain anonymous grading  ;) )

4. If someone misses a class and asks for notes...help them...you never know when you will be in the exact same situation. Alternatively, if that same someone never comes to class and wants to depend on your notes...ask for a check to cover half your tuition  ;D

5. Remember to remind yourself every day how smart you are. It is sooooo easy to forget when everyone around you is just as smart... then you get called on and are tongue-tied. You didn't get into law school by being a slacker and every brain cell you have now, you will still have by exam time (of course you will--no time to drink!). Hundreds of thousands of people apply to law school each year and very few are chosen...you are one of them. Ummm...if this ever gets to your head, see #1.

Wish I could give you more. I can't lie and say it was easy...there were days when I just wanted to throw my books off the nearest bridge. But, it is manageable if you stay focused and remember what you are there for.

Good luck, enjoy the summer and best wishes throughout your law school career.
NJ

10
I must say, I truly enjoyed this thread!

My two cents, so I can contribute instead of just lurk:
My African-American mother says: "What do you mean you're not happy!? You should be happy with what you're doing--you're making money, you have your own house--NOBODY'S TRULY HAPPY!!!"

My sister's a nurse ;)

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