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Messages - burghblast

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Current Law Students / Re: Grading Curve Question
« on: March 13, 2006, 05:18:33 PM »
NU has a mandatory curve that applies only to classes with more than 40 students.  So essentially, I think everyone gets between an A+ and an A- in every class after the first year?  Who knows, guess I'll find out in a year.

3-7% of the class must get an A+
12-15%, A
10-15%, A-
15-30%, B+
20-35%, B
10-15%, B-
0-7.5%, C+
0-7.5%, C
0-7%, D
0-7%, F

As far as I know, professors do not give any grade lower than a B- under any circumstances.  To graduate with highest honors you need a 4.20GPA; high honors, 3.97; honors, 3.65.

There are 60-65 people per first year class section at NU.  Last semester we had four mandatory courses together (contracts, crim, torts, and civ pro) and this semester we have two mandatory courses together (property and con law).  But they mix the sections up between semesters so you're with a new group of people second semester.  Here's how things have changed in my section:

I didn't miss a single class last semster, and I don't think there was a single day in any class when more than 5 people were absent at once.  Also, there was only one time all semester in all four classes when anyone in my section declined to answer becaue they hadn't done the reading.

This semester I missed one whole day of class the first week because I was in Austin for a job interview, and last week I skipped an entire day of class because I was burnt out from spending 50 hours on my appellate brief.  There are always at least 15 people absent in my con law class, and routinely as many as 30.  Property seems only slightly better attended.  Almost every day someone declines to answer in con law because they haven't done the reading, and sometimes it's been as many as 3 people on the same day. 

I think this amazing change is partly because I just happened to be in the most overachieving section last semester.  I have heard that attendance was less than stellar in the other sections even last semester.  But there definitely seems to be some drop off in motivation second semester.

Current Law Students / Re: Chuck Norris!
« on: March 12, 2006, 10:33:59 PM »
This following is a true story.

When I was 16 I worked at Taco Bell in McKinney, TX, a suburb about 40 minutes north of Dallas.  One day the phone rang and when I picked it up:

"Hi, this is Chuck Norris.  We're filming Walker Texas Ranger nearby and I need to order 500 tacos for my crew."

It was really him.  So we spent the next 2 hours frantically whipping out 500 tacos.  It was my job to supervise the production, count the tacos, and keep them stored in heat cabinets until the producer arrived to pick them up.  The producer came and I supervised the loading of dozens and dozens of boxes of tacos into his SUV.  About two minutes after he pulled out of the parking lot I opened another heat cabinet and realized we had forgotten to give him 100 tacos.  Knowing that we surely faced imminent death if Chuck Norris found out about my costly mistake, my friend Luis loaded the tacos into his car and drove to some spot near McKinney where a friend of a friend had told him they filmed the show.  He found the place and delivered the tacos before Chuck Norris even knew what had happened, and we're all still alive today.  I thought I had gotten away with my mistake, but then one morning the next week....

I looked down in the shower and saw a huge tatoo of Chuck Norris' glaring face taking up my entire chest.  The tatoo was captioned: "I know what you did and I'll be watching you."  My mom took me to the hospital to have the tatoo remvoed by laser surgery, but when the laser hit the tatoo the beam melted along with the entire machine.  I still have the tatoo to this day.

P.S. The first part of this story is actually true.  Chuck sounds like a really nice guy on the phone.

Current Law Students / Re: Chuck Norris!
« on: March 08, 2006, 10:33:46 AM »
Chuck Norris uses Viagra eye drops so he can look hard.

Current Law Students / Re: After the Exam, How does an A exam feel??
« on: February 28, 2006, 03:55:58 PM »
Just wondering what an A exam feels like after an exam..  I'm trying not to think about it, but am so d**mn curious to know how the heck I did..  I have to wait until like Jan. to find out..

Any thoughts???  How do you know if you aced it??

I walked out of my first one thinking, "Damn I NAILED that fucker!"

And I did.

I walked out of my last one feeling almost the same but the result wasn't quite the same.  The other two, I knew an hour into the exams I wasn't going to ace them, and I didn't.

Jeez,  could we get more down?  I'm always surprised by how negative these websites are... Did you think law school would be like drinking unicorn giggles? It's hard work, but if you enjoy applying yourself to a task, then you'll enjoy this.  I've never worked so hard in my life, but I also feel more fulfilled than ever before.

Of course, there are many people who dislike law school and wish they had never gone there.  I guess my one piece of advice would be to work for a couple years and realize what the real world is like. I worked for five years and was getting nowhere with my History degree.  Now I have so many career options, it is amazing.  I also enjoy the freedom in law school.  If I want to do laundry or take a nap or workout or watch a movie at 2:00 in the afternoon and study later, I can do it.

My studying advice (from someone in the top 10%) is this:
-Review each class afterward to figure out what you were supposed to learn in that class period.
-Start outlining early.
-Learn to write a law school exam (take a class or read a book on the subject.)
-Don't freak out!
-Don't take all these negative people's advice to heart, everyone will have a different viewpoint and you might just like law school.

Good luck!

There are about 240 1L's at Northwestern and I've met 3 who don't seem to enjoy it here.

Your first year will fly by really fast, make sure you take the time to enjoy it.  It's a lot of fun, but it goes by in the blink of an eye.

Current Law Students / Re: Socratic method & law school preparation
« on: February 22, 2006, 05:48:35 PM »
Disclaimer:  The following statement is based purely on my own personal experience through a semester and a half of law school at NU.  Things may be drastically different at other schools, or even in other sections at NU.

The Socratic Method is a myth.  In almost 6 months of law school I've been "cold called" on twice, and the first time I was warned at the beginning of class that he'd be asking me about a specific case.  For the most part professors ask for volunteers or form "panels" at the beginning of the semester, with 2 or 3 students scheduled to speak every day.  That way you know exactly when you're going to called on ahead of time.  Even when professors do randomly pick someone, there's nothing unique or special about it.  Here's an actual paraphrased example from my Torts II class today:

Torts prof: Imagine you're a newspaper editor and a reporter comes to you with a story about the local Congressman cheating on his law school exams.  He tells you his source is very reliable.  Given your potential liability for libel, would you print it? 

(Pause.  Nobody raises hand.)

Prof: Hmm... What about your Mr. Jones?

Jones: I'm sorry, I didn't do the reading.

Prof: Well I need someone who has... What about you Mr. Smith?

Smith: Well, would I personally be liable?

Prof: No, let's assume that you're only concerned about the newspaper's pocketbook in this case.

Smith: Then I guess I'd print it.  It seems reasonable if it's a reliable source who we've used before.

Prof: Well let's think about the New York Times standard.  How would you describe the Congressman?

Smith: He's a public figure.

Prof: I think he's more than that!

Smith: He's a.... big public figure.

(Class laughs.  Professor laughs.)

Prof: Well he's a public official.  And what does the New York Times standard require for libel against a public official?

Smith: That the publisher had to know the statement was false, or at least recklessly disregarded it. 

This might have gone on for another question or two.  Then people started raising hands to chime in with their own opinions, and for the rest of the class the professor fielded questions and various volunteers took shots at answers to questions he raised.  This is the most Socratic class I've ever had.  The Socratic Method does NOT involve a spotlight, standing in front of the class for 15 minutes at a time, ridicule, or sweating.  And in most classes, you know ahead of time when you're going to be called on.


Current Law Students / Re: Some things about LS Confidential
« on: February 21, 2006, 11:02:11 AM »
I have delved into Law School Confidential recently and have a few things to bring up and see if anyone else feels this way. First of all does anyone else feel who has read it that it definitely has a slant.. in the sense that this guy thinks that getting 4 B's in your first semester of 1L is just horrid? I mean come on.. the book gives the sense that anything except mostly As and a B+ is bad and makes it unable for you to find a 1L summer position.

Blegh... and the highlighter trick? Im not sure how I feel about highlighting my books in a rainbow of colors.

What do you guys think of this book and its particular study methods?

I think LSC was geared towards people attending the top 20 or 30 schools in the country.  I know that most of the people they quote went to top schools; they interview the Cornell dean; and their law review/writing competition chapter focuses on the Penn Law Review. I think grade inflation tends to be more rampant at the top schoos.

I'm at NU, and our mandatory curve for first year classes requires no grade lower than a B-.  For the most part, the presumption is that professors don't grade any lower than they have to, which means in a section of 65 people only 11 would get a B- and the rest would get a B or better. 

Professors have some discretion, but assuming a typical distribution within the mandated ranges:

A+ = 95th percentile and above
A = 80-95th percentile
A- = 70-80th percentile
B+ = 45-70th percentile
B = 15-45th percentile
B- = 15th percentile and below

Someone who gets straight B's would be near the bottom of the class here.

Job Search / Re: Does age limit law career options?
« on: February 20, 2006, 12:42:29 PM »
Is anyone aware of any limiting conditions imposed on older-than normal law school graduates because of their age? For example, if one graduates from law school at age 29, do you know if one's age would in any way limit one's professional options (i.e. private practice, professorship, clerkship, public interest law)?

I'll graduate at 30 and I asked this same question in the judicial clerkship context.  The people I talked to - who were all former clerks themselves - said it could only be beneficial, from a maturity and experience perspective.  Not sure how firms feel about hiring us old people as new associates.  There's probably some perception that we're less willing to work in sweatshop conditions for 5 years.  And I suspect there are some firms that want that - as many mindless drones with as much "productivity" as they can milk out of them, and other firms that actually want first year associates with the potential to take on more responsiblity sooner. 

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