Law School Discussion

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Messages - racheles05

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51
I don't discuss specifics about grades, but I graded onto law review and I made Dean's List last semester. I don't have all my grades back from this semester, but I'm doing pretty well. As far as study habits go, I do what I'm comfortable with and I ignore other people's suggestions. At the beginning of 1L, I tried out different methods - outlining, practice tests, book briefing, regular briefing, etc. I figured out what I liked. I use different methods for different classes. I don't spend a lot of time on an outline for closed-book exams, for example, because I don't need to use the outline. I spend more time doing flashcards and practice questions. Everybody told me that I should avoid flashcards, but I'm comfortable with flashcards, so that's what I use. I don't like study groups so I avoid them for the most part. On exam day, I stay away from the law school, listen to some music, and do a few flashcards. If there's a topic I'm still uncomfortable with, I review it a few times. Basically, I don't freak out during the two weeks of exams. I don't try to fit a square peg into a round hole, either - I use study methods that I like and that make me feel prepared. I don't think you'll do really well if you force yourself to outline or do whatever everybody tells you to do when you learn better by using other methods. It's all about confidence.

When it comes down to grades, I think strategy on exam day is more important than study habits. Read the directions. Ask questions about the exam. Answer the questions in a way that will maximize points. I took one exam where the professor specifically said that there were more questions than anybody would be able to answer and he was more interested in thorough analysis for a few questions than crappy analysis for every question. Still, there were several people bragging that they answered every question afterwards. I answered three out of I think seven questions and one person told me that I was nuts for doing that, but I did a thorough analysis like the professor requested. My grade was very good. If the question asks for six cases, come up with six cases. That doesn't mean write twice as much about three cases. If you even manage to name six cases you'll beat out the people who misread the question or who didn't follow directions. I think a big part of exams is anticipating the mistakes of others and not making those mistakes.

I use IRAC on exams except when the professor requests another format. I break between paragraphs so my exam isn't just a 15-20 page blob. That sounds like a stupid format thing, but if you're grading 90 exams, would you be able to carefully read 15 pages with no paragraph breaks? I'm very methodical and formulaic. I pose the issue in question format. I state the rule, usually citing to a case or a string of cases. I use signals when I cite to cases in an exam just as I would in a brief. That makes it easier for the professor to see why I'm citing to a particular case for a rule. If I were really anal, I'd jot down the pincite in my outline, but I'm not that anal. When I do the analysis, I do as much fact-to-fact analogies as are necessary for the issue. If it's a minor issue, I might do one sentence. If it's a major issue, I might do a couple paragraphs and then break up those paragraphs into sub-issues. Sometimes professors say they don't want conclusions, so I omit the conclusion. If the question asks for a conclusion, I give a conclusion, but I don't spend a lot of time on it. Since I'm usually presenting both sides, I'll just randomly pick a side and say, for example, "X will probably not be charged with larceny because of Y." Y being one of the claims that I stated in my analysis. There aren't usually many points to be had in the conclusion, it's all in the analysis, so I don't worry about it too much.

As a final note, I type about 80 wpm. I would recommend, if you take computer-based exams, doing soming typing tutorials and improving your typing speed. If you're just as good at taking exams as I am, but can't type as fast and thus can't cover as much ground, you'll get a lower grade. It probably won't be a significantly lower grade, but why not do the best you can? You'll also be more comfortable during the exam if you're comfortable typing fast.

52
General Board / Re: HAHAHAHAH DONE WITH 1L!!!!!!HAHAHAHAHAHA
« on: May 28, 2006, 11:16:02 AM »
Yup. Done with 1L. Just another 60 years or so and I'm all done with law. Yes!

53
I won't give any legal advice because I'm not a lawyer yet. However, you can go to your local law library or public library that has a legal librarian and ask if they have any treatises or other books with standard rental contracts and forms. All this stuff is complicate so you really need an attorney, but that will give you a start.

54
General Board / Re: GETTING YOUR FINANCIAL AID CHECK
« on: May 28, 2006, 11:04:36 AM »
The timing is different at different schools and it's also contingent on what paperwork is required and when you complete that paperwork. I had all of my paperwork in before the deadline and I still had to wait after the add/drop period for a disbursement. So, and my memory is a little fuzzy, I don't think I got my 1L fall disbursement until three or four weeks after orientation. It didn't help that the law school was on a different academic schedule from the undergrad, but the financial aid was on the undergrad schedule.

To make a long story short: ask your financial aid office for a disbursement schedule and be prepared to pay your expenses without financial aid for at least one month.

55
General Board / Re: Loans Available to Pay off Credit Cards?
« on: May 26, 2006, 08:54:39 AM »
A personal consolidation loan isn't always a bad idea. You can often get a lower interest rate on a consolidation loan than what you're paying on your cards, and the total minimum amount due each month is usually lower. Like giraffe said, you'll be paying it back during school so you'll want to be really careful about the numbers and how they'll fit into your budget. I wouldn't totally rule out a personal consolidation loan, though. You should of course avoid those places that advertise debt consolidation loans and talk to your bank. Credit unions often have much better rates for personal loans, so you could look into that as well.

So, I would look at consolidation loans through my bank, then compare those with supplemental private education loans to see which is the best the deal. You might want to see if you have that repayment insurance stuff on any of your cards and if you can use that for loss of income due to starting school full time. I haven't seen any that cover voluntary unemployment of any type, but it doesn't hurt to look.

56
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: moot court/ law review
« on: May 15, 2006, 08:58:16 PM »
All you really have to do is look at job postings on Findlaw, in a newspaper or elsewhere. Job postings usually say law review or moot court preferred. I know some people who do both and manage to get good 2L grades, but that's all they do. They don't participate in any other student activities for the most part because there's no time. I'm not sure if one activity is any better or more prestigious than the other, but I'm sure having both is impressive to the prospective employer. It demonstrates a high level of versatility.

57
General Board / Re: Is law review really worth it?
« on: May 15, 2006, 05:25:50 PM »
You might find something that you like to do on Law Review. I didn't like the editing, but I'm mostly reading and reviewing articles now which I love doing. As far as writing the note, I don't know anybody who liked the write-on competition, so I don't think you're unique in that respect. However, since you're an excellent writer you'll have a good chance at getting published. This could be an opportunity for you to sharpen your academic writing and get published before you graduate which is a huge plus for whatever career you enter.

Ultimately, it's up to you, and I think you know you'll do well no matter what you choose. You're in the top 20% at a great school which is a huge accomplishment unto itself. However, everybody I talked to (professors, friends who graduated from law school, other students) after I was invited on, and feeling frustrated with the workload told me that law review is defintely worth it and is the only way to get your foot in the door for many jobs.

58
General Board / Re: Law Schools To Avoid At All Costs!
« on: May 13, 2006, 11:31:37 AM »
I have a friend who attends Nova. She has a great scholarship, a paying job this summer and plenty of career opportunities. Her husband works in the area, so it was convenient.

These lists are all pretty stupid. People have different reasons for attending school, and it's all pretty subjective.

59
General Board / Re: Women In Law School
« on: May 13, 2006, 11:27:55 AM »
Remember that people can usually opt out of being listed on Dean's List, too, and just leave the annotation on their transcripts. I didn't opt out last semester, but if I make Dean's List this semester I will. So, you probably don't know that she didn't make Dean's List or even that the rumors about her GPA are well-founded.

That said, I strongly believe that attractiveness influences hiring decisions, especially for firms who need litigators. 

60
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: LEEWS
« on: May 06, 2006, 11:20:06 AM »
For me, LEEWS helped as an overall approach to taking exams. I didn't follow a lot of the specific advice and I don't make outlines the LEEWS way. Out of all the supplements I tried, LEEWS and the Civ Pro E&E were by far the most helpful.

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