Law School Discussion

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General Board / Re: The Truths and Myths of Law School...
« on: September 19, 2004, 09:41:19 PM »
for those of you who have the time (and, even those who dont!), i HIGHLY recommend reading Dean Tonsing's book, 1000 Days to the Bar But the Practice of law Begins Now ... it is by far the best book that's been written on how to survive, and excel in law school. its a pretty quick read (only 180 pages) but its really top notch. it pretty much covers every question you’ve ever had about law school... from briefing to outlining to time management to taking notes… so far it has been my bible in law school.  Having read it a few times this summer I can easily say that I am MUCH more prepared than the vast majority of my section.



Notice that (above) you find some law students are studying just a few hours each week – others are studying an extraordinary amount.  That’s  because they have different objectives and vastly different abilities, aptitudes, reading speeds, and study methods.

Because most law students are bright individuals, many can “get by” or even do “well” with a minimal amount of studying (“minimal” being a relative term). 

However, if you view law school as the beginning of your career as a lawyer, are you willing to settle for “getting by?”  I encourage students to perform at their personal best levels, preparing for the days when they will be representing clients whose freedom, lives, fortunes and families may well be at stake.  Start practicing now to be the kind of lawyer you would hire if you needed a lawyer. 

How does this translate into time spent studying?  You’ll read posts in this forum suggesting that studying quite a bit will cut down on those other essential parts of life that keep us happy, well-rounded, and psychologically well-nourished.  Think about this: if you are going to engage in a career as a lawyer, are you embarking on a career that will gobble up your life and not allow you to be happy? 

You see, a light week for most attorneys is in the neighborhood of sixty hours.  Why not devote as much time to law now as you will when you enter the professional practice?  Practice managing your time (during law school) in such a way that you are able to devote considerable time to your law practice, and still have as much time as you need to lead a well-balance life, packed with social opportunities, exercise, and fun – maintaining your psychological and spiritual health at the highest levels. Then, when you begin your professional practice – about 1000 days from the first semester of law school – you will be very experienced at balancing law and life.

Consider this:  14 hours in class; 42 hours outside of class (3 hours for every class hour). That adds up to 56 hours – one-third of the 168 hours we all have in each week.  If you sleep as much as 8 hours each night (7 X 8 = 56), that leaves you with 56 hours to attend to your personal health and well being, to socialize, to cook gourmet meals, to attend church, to play tennis, to fold the laundry, to do all those other things that make life worthwhile.

If you spend substantially more time than this, you run the risk of burning out, ruining your health, giving in to the stresses we all (lawyers and law students) face, and – therefore – doing less than your personal best. 

If you spend substantially less time than this, you probably won’t be attending to all the essential elements of high-level study and exam prep: reading, briefing, attending every class, taking notes, transforming your notes, creating course summaries (“outlines”), developing flow charts, and answering practice hypotheticals in writing.

For an in-depth discussion of how much time to spend studying, and how to use that time most efficiently, go to your law library and find the September issue of Student Lawyer, the ABA Law Student Division publication.  The cover article I wrote covers this whole topic, and provides a step-by-step method for allocating your time.  There you will find a sample of how a student can determine precisely how much time to spend studying each day.

If you have further questions about this, feel free to e-mail me.



2
General Board / Re: Supreme Court Question...
« on: September 17, 2004, 07:05:51 AM »
Article III:

"... In all cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be a Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction..."

3
General Board / Re: The Truths and Myths of Law School...
« on: September 14, 2004, 10:31:11 PM »
I'm a full time 1L, so here is my take on your question:

It’s a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to rule your life. I think it really only gets a bad rap because a lot of people are coming off of relatively easy experiences in undergrad, so the work just seems like a lot. But really, if you budget your time and don’t male private part around between classes, then it’s nothing to worry about. My experience so far is that it’s the people who don’t study efficiently who female dog the most--these are the people who will take a full hour lunch, and surf the web in the time between classes, or get into "study" groups just to be social instead of to work. A lot of people seem to equate time at school with time studying... this is NOT the case.

To give you an idea of what to expect, you'll have, on average 3 to 3.5 hrs of class a day (about 15 a week). I usually spend 13.5 hours at school, so say a solid 7 hours of studying. as for the other 6.5 hours, there is the 3 hours of class and figure time walking to class, going to my locker, eating lunch, talking to the proff after class, etc... and yes, I also have time to male private part around a bit. You have to make SOME time to be social.  On the weekends, i go out on friday night and, maybe every other weekend, on saturday night as well. but i'm also up studying by 9am on saturday and sunday morning and i put in two FULL days of studying. clearly, this means that you wont be getting totally bad when you go out. but it also means that you can have a few beers and a good (non-puking) time. however, im sure that in a few months, once the work starts to get a bit heavier, ill end up doing work on friday or saturday night.

As far as tons of reading... definitely not the case. Certainly not hundreds of pages per night. It’s more of a case of just having to read VERY carefully and slowly. Lawyers read for detail, not for volume. It often times will take an hour (or more!) to read and brief a 10 page case. But this will speed up as the semester goes on. So in a few weeks I expect to be reading/briefing a lot more, but not having to spend significantly more time studying.

As far as your free time, it’s up to you, but you will have free time if you budget your time. I get to the gym for 1.5 hours every day, and make sure that I get a good 7 hrs sleep each night. I try to get to school at 7 at the latest, just cause I’m most productive in the morning. Some people are the opposite and won’t get there till 9:30 but will stay up till 1 or 2am.

Long story short: school is as hellish as you make it. If you stay organized, stay on top of your reading, stay focused when you are supposed to be studying, you will have time to play... not a ton of time to play, but enough to keep you sane. Law school is a lot of work, and there is no way around that... but it can also be a lot of fun, so look forward to it.



4
Boston College / Re: ok, i gotta say... BC health insurance ROCKS
« on: August 30, 2004, 11:00:11 PM »
no ID... but i did have to call up the provider (koster, i think) and get my ID number. i think we get all the insurance cards tomorrow.

sorry to hear about the women's issues... im VERY surprised about the birthcontrol!

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Boston College / Re: homework for the first day
« on: August 30, 2004, 10:58:09 PM »
yeah... there is a bunch more stuff that is posted in stuart on the board.

i think we have the most of all 3 sections :(

6
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: Am I studying enough?
« on: August 29, 2004, 02:00:17 PM »
If you are among the 0.01% of people who can put in no time studying and still do great in school, then wonderful. But you arent in law school to pass a class. you are in law school to learn a profession. How much more capable a lawyer could you become if you put in 5hrs a day of studying? how much better could you represent the interests of your client?

If you are paying the $150k to attend school... why not get your money's worth?

If someone else is paying for you, then you have been given an all-expense-paid trip to hawaii... why waste the gift by spending all your time in the hotel room watching tv? get out there and study!

7
Boston College / ok, i gotta say... BC health insurance ROCKS
« on: August 26, 2004, 01:17:45 AM »
so, i was expecting some craptastic health plan through the school... you know, something like where there was a $5000 deductible and only covered emergencies.

but i went to the doctors the other day and here was the tab:

doc's visit: $10
x-ray: FREE!!
mri: FREE!!

also, a prescription that cost $50 every three months through my old health plan only costs $5 through this health plan. in fact, every prescription only costs $5!

how cool is all that?!

i was talking to a friend who is getting his phd at stanford and he said that he pays twice what we pay and says that his plan covers barely anything.

8
Boston College / Re: BC class schedule for next year's 1L fall semester
« on: August 20, 2004, 07:04:47 PM »
is that the promissory note?

if so:
you should have gotten a 2 page letter in the mail just before the book list was sent out. the first page was from the lender. the second page was from bc. the whole thing just tells you to go to some website and fill out a bunch of forms and check some boxes. i think they were sent to our perm addresses. once you are done entering in all the crap on the website, you can download a .pdf of your promissory note.

id call bc financial aid on monday if you havent gotten the letter (assuming that you are even talking about the promissory note thing).

also, you will need to have your federal PIN (the same one that you used to e-sign the FAFSA). so if you dont have it, or forgot it (like i did), log into the FAFSA website tonight and request the PIN now as it does take a few days to process.

9
Boston College / Re: BC Gym options
« on: August 19, 2004, 01:02:41 PM »
yeah, boston athletic club is pretty expensive. if all you are into is the aerobics stuff then bally's is probably the best since it has just a huge ammount of stuff (more than ive ever seen at any gym in the area).

and dont give up on running outside just yet... even if you dont like running in the city (which is a TON of fun, btw), there are a huge number of trails right near us: a bunch of parks and some paths that go all along the charles river. also, you will see quite a few runners near BC since it is on the route of the boston marathon and the killer hill is right next to the law school (its called "heartbreak hill"). especially in the spring, all the people who are training for the marathon will do their sunday runs from the BC church, down the hill to Newton center (or longer), and then turn around and run up the hill.

10
Boston College / Re: BC Gym options
« on: August 19, 2004, 12:18:31 PM »
ok... if you are going to do ballys and want to take the bus, here is how you would do it:

1) Take the T (B-line) from BC to the Chestnut Hill Ave stop (like a 3 minute train ride)
2) Take the #86 bus from the Chestnut Hill Ave stop to the intersection of Market Street and N. Beacon Street. (probably a 10 minute ride, depending on traffic and stops it might be 15)
3) The gym is a 30 second walk from there

fyi, this is the exact same route that id take if i were driving (the T follows the same road that I take) so its not like youd be going some round-about way to get to the gym.

but again, ur always welcome to grab a ride.

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