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Topics - ptoomey

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Law School Admissions / GPA Fade Away?
« on: December 23, 2009, 06:23:02 PM »
Does anyone know how much it will help that my hideous GPA(2.6) is over 20 years old?
I'm guessing they'll still calculate my LSDAS GPA in the same way. Also, for full disclosure, there will be no addendum, or none that will be of any help. My "excuse" for the bad grades is that I spent most of my time drinking beer and chasing women, with great success in the former and only modest succcess in the latter.

A couple of related questions. I haven't seen anywhere that they factor in a more difficult major in any kind of quantitative way, but will an engineering major help at all? Most posts I've seen on this topic say that it has almost no bearing on your chances, but does anyone know if there are specific schools that like science majors, for example. I thought I saw a post about this a while back.

What about age? I'm pushing mid 40's - is that an advantage? At what point does a non-traditional applicant become a non-admissible applicant?

Studying for the LSAT / Ear plugs when taking the LSAT
« on: December 08, 2009, 10:31:54 AM »
I know the LSAC site says that headsets and ear plugs are prohibited, but I also read on here somewhere that some proctors are more strict than others, in general.

Has anyone tried to use ear plugs or seen anyone trying to use them? I'm guessing that the consequences could be severe if you get caught, but it would be nice to not have to worry about all the distracting noises that must exist in that real test taking environment.

Studying for the LSAT / How Much Did You Improve From Your Baseline Score
« on: December 05, 2009, 01:08:06 PM »
I finally took my first prep test. I thought I'd post my results, and later when I take the LSAT, I'll post my final score.

There's no telling yet whether my improvement will be encouraging to people just starting out, but I thought it might be helpful for people just starting out to hear some success stories.

Does anyone remember their first score? If so, I'd love to hear how much you improved. I'm sure other newbies would be interested too. I was looking for a thread like this when I discovered this site.

I scored a 152 on the June 2007 prep test, my first crack at a whole test - 63 correct out of 100. So much for my suspicion that being a programmer would make me a natural on the Logic Games section - only 7 correct out of 23. 15/25 on the first LR, 20/25 on the 2nd LR section, 21/27 on the RC section. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the results. I scored higher on RC than I expected, and the LG score doesn't worry me too much. I think I can improve a lot once I read the PowerScore book.

One question about the PowerScore books. I know they use real LSAT questions, but I'd actually like to read about the different types of questions in the LG section and see examples, but I don't want to use up questions from real LSAT tests. Is every example in those books a real LSAT question? Actually, on the LG section, I don't think I'd remember the correct answer because the answers are typically lists. But on the LR and RC sections, I'd probably remember the correct answers.

I just remembered, today is an official LSAT test day isn't it? I feel for you guys that are taking the real deal while I write this. Hope you're doing well.

Current Law Students / Why do BigLaw lawyers work so many hours
« on: December 05, 2009, 12:29:13 PM »
This may be a dumb question, but I don't understand why law firms work their employees to death. If there's so much work to do, why don't they just snatch up some of the unemployed lawyers out there?

I guess things are different in the current economy, but why have law firms historically overworked their lawyers rather than just hire more people? Personally, I'd rather work 40 hours per week and make 80K than work 80 hours per week and make 160K. I'm sure others would disagree about that, but burnout seems to be a serious issue for lawyers.

The only reasons I can see for having fewer employees and overworking them are:
-fewer bonuses to give out
-less money spent on benefits like health insurance, office space, etc
-you'd probably have to pay 2 lawyers 100K each to do the same work as one lawyer at 160K
-fewer people fighting for a piece of the partnership pie?

Even if you take total burnout out of the equation, though, there must be diminishing returns after 50 or so hours.

All the reasons I mentioned above(except the partnership one) would be true in all other fields, so why is law so infamous for working people to death when other types of companies would just add staff?

I think I've seen on here that the crazy hours are more common at big firms. Do lawyers at smaller firms do more normal work weeks - like 40-50 hours per week?

Current Law Students / Funny article about Legal Writing
« on: December 02, 2009, 05:35:30 PM »
I was looking for info about which schools have graded vs pass/fail Legal Writing courses
and I came across this article. Pretty funny. I've used at least one of his banned words
in the past couple of days on this board.

btw, anyone know if Fordham's Legal Writing course is graded? What about Brooklyn?

Current Law Students / Is Your Grade Always Determined By One Exam
« on: December 02, 2009, 10:11:51 AM »
Hey guys,

ptoomey, the non-matriculated again.

Sorry, I know you guys have real things to discuss, like study habits and finals, but reading
this forum has me a little freaked out about the exams in law school, and whether I would
have a chance at being successful.

Are any of you at a school where the grading is different than what seems to be
the standard - a final exam which determines your entire grade.

Those are awfully high stakes. I get pissed when a teacher doesn't have more than 2 exams.
I prefer weekly quizzes, and multiple exams so you can get an idea of what the teacher expects.

Is it typical for there to be just one exam all the way through school, or is it more in the 1L
foundation courses?

A related question. Do the exams always involve long answer legal arguments, or do they
sometimes involve short answer type questions - like what is the name of this or that? Or
what is the definition of X? I'll hunt around for some public web sites with old exams, but just

For example, if I take a course in Trusts, on the exam, am I going to be asked to discuss the
legal arguments in a bunch of cases involving trusts, or will it be more about things like -
understanding how trusts work, what the typical clauses are, asked to do an estate plan involving
trusts given a fact pattern, etc?

OK, I'll pipe down - you guys get some studying done.


Current Law Students / How Many Hours Do You Study Per Week
« on: November 27, 2009, 09:49:01 PM »
Hi Everyone,

I'm not in law school yet, but I'm seriously considering it. I've been doing a lot of reading about different schools, job prospects, etc, and I just read something kind of scary. Just wondering what current law students think.

Below is a post someone made in reaction to the article titled "Law School Is For Everyone" on the USNews site. This guy says that many people at his law school(which he says is ranked in the 50's) study in excess of 80 hours per week.

I realize the number of hours will vary quite a bit depending on the individual - reading speed, dedication, study habits, etc, but just curious how much time all of you are putting in.

One other question. I'm sure this varies a bit too, depending on the course load and year of school, but what is the typical number of pages you have to read per night or per week?

Thanks in advance.

Here's the post:

I scored a 176 on the LSAT and have not been able to turn a single A. Yes you read that right. Law school is something like what legal practice is. A time draining, balls to the wall death match. You need to understand that your grade stands alone over the bodies of your fellow students. Every law student thinks he/she understands this until one month before finals. You need to understand that 'the lottery' of law school favors those who are most willing to sacrifice--time, family, friends and money. I thought coming in to a school ranked around the 50's with a 176 on the LSAT and a great undergraduate experience in a writing intensive major I would be able to relax a little more than my fellow students and still sail to the front as usual. Wrong! I didn't expect to have fellow students spending 80+ hours studying per week from day one. Look! I am not exaggerating. There are more than a handful of students who spend more than 80 hours a week studying. Brains is only one part of the equation. The other part is time. Then those same people end up practicing law and being your future boss. The same person who sacrificed quite literally everything in life to be the boss at your target firm will expect no less from you. If you don't believe me, just ask around. Big firms are quite open that your job is first and anything else is only incidental.
Do you want to spend $120,000 to be placed in a death match with dozens of other people as smart as you are? The 'winners' will be those who prioritize everything after the law.

Studying for the LSAT / Logic Games - How Many Different Types Are There
« on: November 24, 2009, 03:06:06 PM »
Hi All,

I had my first encounter with those lovely little Logic Games last night.

During the day, I read a couple of quick samples of the
3 different types of questions on the lsat at
Looked like a piece of cake. I was pumped - visions of 170's in my head:-)

Then at night I did a couple of full questions from the site:
Boy was I wrong. Those little guys are tough. After reading the answers though,
I can see where you could easily improve your score with lots of practice.

How many different types of those logic games are there though? I'm hoping it's
something manageable like 5 - 10.

I still can't see my speed improving enough to complete 4 of those guys in 35 minutes.
Maybe 3 out of 4, but I don't know about 4 of them.

I've read that the logic games section is the one where it's easiest to improve your
score. I'd love to know if that has been the experience of you guys on here.


Choosing the Right Law School / At Which Schools Can I Specialize Most
« on: November 24, 2009, 11:12:44 AM »
I'm wondering if there are big differences in the number of required courses
vs electives at different law schools. So far, from the little bit I've looked
around, they seem pretty similar in this regard.

I have an interest in financial and estate planning topics, but not much interest
in the other areas. Let me rephrase that. I have an intellectual interest in the
other areas, but I don't plan to use much of the other material in any direct way
after I'm out of school.

I studied engineering. I probably write a little better than your typical
engineer, but my writing is probably far inferior to most people in law school,
and I'm a pretty slow reader. I'm guessing that I'll do best in law school courses
that are more technical, and that reward the ability to grasp concepts over the ability
to read through tons of material quickly, and memorize tons of information. I've found
that courses that require memorizing tons of information kill me and I have trouble
getting through it.

I realize that probably sounds kind of funny. I want to go to law school, but I really
don't want to be bothered with all that reading and memorization stuff. And I know that all
the courses in law school are very conceptual in addition to requiring tons of memorization,
but I'm guessing that there are some that are slightly heavier on difficult concepts, as opposed
to pure volume of information.

And that's what my question is. Are there any schools that allow you to really focus
on specific areas? I know I'll have to take plenty of courses that require tons of reading
and memorization, especially in the first year, but is it possible for a more technical type
to avoid some of the pain, and really pile up on more technical courses that are a little
lighter on the reading and writing, if such a thing exists?

I'm looking mostly at schools in New York and Arizona, but I'd be interested in hearing
about any schools that have a very open curriculum.


Studying for the LSAT / Questions about test day
« on: November 24, 2009, 09:35:34 AM »
Hi Everyone,

I'm just starting to look into law school, and I have some newbie questions about the rules
of the game on test day.

Forgive me if these are already on here, but there doesn't seem to be a search feature here,
and I looked quite a bit online with no success.

Here are my questions:

1)I understand the basic structure of the exam - 5 multiple choice sections with a break between
  sections 3 and 4. What I'm wondering is whether they take your answers to each section after
  the section ends. If not, can you go back and change your answers to a previous section if you
  finish one of the later ones early? Not that I'm planning to have any extra time, because I'm
  pretty slow on these things, but just wondering if it's even a possibility.

2)Is the test always administered as a paper test with the Scantron bubble sheets or is it on a

3)Is it true that you can't use scrap paper? Is just read that here:
  If that's true, I don't know how they expect you to get through those logic games. I tried a couple
  last night, and diagramming them seems like the only way to have any chance of getting through them
  in any reasonable amount of time. Do you have a paper copy of the exam that has the questions on it, that
  you can write on?

4)I think I read that you have 5 days to cancel your score, and that if you do, the schools get notification that
  you took the exam, but they get no score. Two questions on this:
  a)How do the schools handle this situation as far as averaging scores? Do they just ignore it. Does it hurt you at
  b)What if you have a bad night's sleep, and you know you're not going to do well. If you just don't show up, is it
    the same as showing up, submitting, and canceling? I'm guessing it is and the schools still get notification that
    you took the exam, just no score.


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