Law School Discussion

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - 2005gradrwu

Pages: [1]
Roger Williams / loser school rwu
« on: March 11, 2006, 10:03:07 AM »
This is advice I gave on another board regarding this scam school:
1) You probably read slowly.

If you could never manage to finish the LSAT, which rewards speedy readers, guess what? You'll probably have trouble keeping up with all the reading as a 1L. We would often read well over 500 pages PER CLASS, per semester. And that's not like reading Tom Clancy. No, you need to pick up on small points which are often hidden in the text. You need to learn new words and terms, and keep track of what they mean accurately ("preponderance" doesn't mean "tons and tons"). You need to remember it all.

Unlike college (which is commonly run like high school these days), you are NOT TAUGHT THE LAW. (I can hear the "huh?" now). You learn the law on your own. The classes are just to refine that knowledge.

This is a very, very, important distinction. You've probably experienced someone lecturing you on a topic--say, the quadratic theorem--until you learn it. In law school, they'd hand you the algebra book and say "go learn the quadratic theorem, we'll have 30 minutes tomorrow to discuss it, maybe".

If you can't learn from books, you're in trouble.

2) You probably write like *&^%.

OK, this applies to many lawyers as well. But Legal Methods is a great 1L-killer. And many professors will murder you on exams--as they well should--if you can't write, to say nothing of seminars which require papers. Can you write a coherent sentence? Can you write a coherent paragraph? (hint: Have you ever gotten an "A" on a lengthy paper in college? How about more than a few "B"s? Did you major in a writing-intensive field where you were graded on your writing skills? If you can't say "yes" to one or more of these, the answer is probably no.)

Also, be aware that the BAR exam is all written. And that employers strongly prefer people who can write, for hopefully obvious reasons.

(final hint: If you need someone to write your essay for you, or do substantial editing to grammar, spelling, word choice, etc: you're doomed.)

3) You have bad study skills.

Do you take good notes? REALLY good notes? Are you decent at listening to a conversation and understanding what's important? DO you write your papers on time? Do you study well inadvance of exams? DO you use any opportunities you can get for feedback from your teachers?

Law school is not fact based. It is fact-based AND reason-based. If you uderstand the "what" but not the "why", you will not do well. And while it's possible to memorize the parts of a cell in 2 hours--even though it's complicated--or to learn the Krebs cycle by rote, it's not the same in law school. You can memorize the definition of proximate cause until you're blue in the face and you'll still fail the essay if you don't understand it.

Thus, while cramming is an important skill, it's less important than studying.

4) You procrastinate.
Yes, lots of people do it. I am a procrastinator myself, which is why I'm typing this instead of billing hours. And there is nothing wrong with it per se, SO LONG AS you have the brains and work ethic to get it done in the end.

If you get behind and you're smart and a fast read, you can catch up. If you're a slow reader who doesn't understand the basics yet, when do you think you'll catch up? Over break?

5) You falsely overestimate your grasp of the material
It's easy to think "I know this" until someone asks you a question on it which you didn't think of, or until you don't have your notes. Perhaps this should be in the 'study skills' section. But EVERY SEMESTER (especially the first) people will think they know the material, and they're wrong.

How dumb can you get? Go get an exam and try it WITHOUT your notes. Did you get it all right? Law school is full of sample questions, old tests, practice exams... and students who ignore them. Again: It might fly in college, but not here.

Not incidentally, this also applies to those who think law school is not especially hard in general.

Quick multi-part quiz:
a) How well did you do on the LSAT?
b) Di you expect the score you got?
c) If not, why not?
d) if so, and it was a bad score, why did you take the LSAT in the first place?

6) You party too hard.
Yes, I know you used to go out drinking all the time in college. But I'll give you a bit o' free advice: Don't do it until SECOND SEMESTER. Which is to say: If you got As, you can afford to have beers on Tuesdays.

7) You think your previous problems were unique.
Yes, I know, you were a hard partier in college. Now you've changed. And you had a weird roommate. You hated your major. Your advisor sucked. You got a D in some bull freshman course which pulled down your GPA. This may all be true.

However, OTHER PEOPLE HAD THE SAME PROBLEMS. And got better grades.

This does not apply to a very small subset of people; those whose mother died 1 day before finals, etc etc etc.

But for most people:

You improved your study skills since college...
but so did everyone else.

This is a problem because:

8) The school grades on a curve, but other people are smarter than you, work harder than you, or both.

Most t4 schools curve fairly low; nonetheless you need a C average to get a J.D. Why is this a problem?

Well, think of it this way:
-Remember all those folks who ALSO went to college, had their own set of excuses, and who still did better than you? They're in your class.
-Remember all those folks who ALSO took the LSAT, had their own set of excuses, and who still did better than you? They're in your class.

You don't need to do better than you have done. You don't need to meet some wonderful personal goal of acheivement. You need to do better than OTHER PEOPLE. Many of who, it is probably safe to say based on GPA and LSAT, have better learning skills than you do.

You can't change how smart you are. You can only change how hard you work, and you need to work MUCH HARDER than they do. And--you may not know this, because if you have a low GPA and LSAT you apparently haven't done it before--working hard all the time is very, very, difficult. It's hard to keep going for three years.

Nonetheless, you must work until you do well. Top students will generally put in 40-60 hours per week, every week, plus more on exams. You will see them in the library between classes. You will recognize them because they will sometimes decline invitations to play Ultimate in favor of studying.

I know that doesn't sound bad, but there's a catch: Those were the top students. They are generally the ones with advantages in terms of study skills and reading speed. When they sit down to study for an hour, they DO IT. They don't surf the web, chat, masturbate, or play on Westlaw.

If you're a slow reader you may need to devote 80 hours per week to law school just to keep up with the reading. If you're a poor writer you may need to rewrite your Legal Methods brief seven times. This is enough to break most people. But if you're going to invest $30000 you better be sure you can hack it.
(hint: Have you ever spent 60 hours a week working, studying, or a combination? If you could hold that down for a few months, you'll be fine. If not, you should worry).

9) You're making a bad financial choice.
Law is a financially rewarding profession for these categories of folks:

b) people who go to top law schools.
You know who you are.

c) People who have family or political connections.
You know who you are.

d) People who do VERY well at lower ranked law schools AND who get lucky. Very well means top 10% at a t4, possibly top 5%. Even so you won't get into BIGLAW easily.

Remember that if you choose wrong, you've wasted ayear of income and experience, lost $30k in tuition, quit any job you had, tken worthless courses, and destroyed your morale.


Choose carefully. Law is right for many people. Just be sure it's right for YOU. There are far easier ways to get respect, education, and money.

I don't want to be a complete downer. Few feelings are more pleasant than tackling a difficult task and succeeding. Similarly, there's nothing wrong with gambling and losing so long as the odds are good. Life happens, and even brilliant students will do well. Law school is not life; it's not a measure of personal success.

OTOH, few things are more unpleasant than making a bad gamble just because you were too tired, or bored, or pressured, or confused, to think it through first. If you don't know yourself well; if you find you can't predict results which stem from your own actions: You're making a bad gamble. Take a year off and think.

Studies show that on average, people are selectively perceptive. We "earn" an A grade. We "get given" a D. We attribute our success to skill, even when it's rare. We attribute our failure to luck or others, even when it's common.

Does that sound familiar?

The studies also show that an average person is only semi-literate, has a 100-IQ, and is someone who would not do well in law school.

Pages: [1]