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Messages - Law2k6

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1
I think it's worth tossing out the fact that reading speed can make a big difference. For example, I was studying with some friends from my section between classes and one person read twenty pages and another forty pages in the same amount of time, and it was the same reading assignments so it's not as if one person was reading something more difficult. I have no idea which one was closer to average or if they were at opposite ends of the spectrum. But, that makes a big difference. When you're talking about reading for hours every day, the speed at which you read will make a huge impact on the time you spend studying.

I don't know that it's possible to say what the "average" workload is because it is so highly variable. Expect to work really hard and learn to be more efficient over time.

2
I agree w/ Goodfella. This is both (a) highly variable by student and (c) minimally variable by school.

3
That seems a little high for some reason, are you busting out the 300 channel HD Cable? :-P

I have a two bedroom apartment and I'm not sure exactly what we pay because my roommate pays the bills and I pay him (but not every month), but there's no way we each pay $120/mo. I want to say it averages to  more like $80-90/mo. I know for Aug. - Dec. it was less than the $100/mo. I had budgeted.

Quote
does UVA have a pre-orientation community service trip?  I can't remember which school does..

Last year they didn't have anything official, but a group on the admitted students board organized a Habitat for Humanity build trip.

4
Thanks.  How about summer jobs?  What is the average pay for working with a professor? And how well compenated are the summer associates in the 2L summers?  I'm interested in PI but I'm thinking I'll do a summer associate job just to pay down my debt.

Thanks for answering all these questions.

See 1L Summer 2006 job stats here: http://www.law.virginia.edu/html/career/1Lstats.htm

First summer, only about 1/3 of students work for firms. Those that do make big money--you know, like $1,800 or more per week. As I mentioned previously, this is due in part to self-selection and in part to the fact that there just aren't that many firm openings for 1Ls because, let's face it, no 1L is actually work that much and so firms have limited budgets to spend on marketing to 1Ls.

I believe the current rate at UVA for research assistant positions is $10/hr. Maybe it's $15/hr, but I'm pretty sure it's $10/hr. So, you'd be making something like $400 per week. Public interest jobs usually don't pay but you can receive a PILA (public interest) grant from the law school PILA group, but the amount you make is less than working for a teacher.

While making big bucks is awesome, I wouldn't base my decision solely on that. Especially if you know you'll be working for a law firm, you'll have plenty of time to rake in the dough later. Pretty much everyone works for a firm their second summer, so for many this is a last opportunity to do something other than firm work. For those considering a career in public service, it's a good opportunity to test the waters and see if it is really what you had in mind. (For those who are CERTAIN they want to do public service, it wouldn't be a bad strategy to try to work for firms both summers in order to reduce the loans as much as possible before taking a low paying PI job.)


5
Although it's hard for me to see how it would be worth it, some 1Ls work in the law library. There is a cap on the number of hours law students can work, but I forget what it is. In my opinion, during your first year you are well advised to just focus on your studies. Is any drop in your grades worth a few hundred bucks you might make at a job?

I don't know of any students who work in legal jobs for pay during the school year. There are tons of pro bono opportunities in various forms of legal aid. The Law School has a database of pro bono projects that are available. Opportunities are currently available in the following categories:

Administrative (2 Projects)
Children (1 Project)
Constitutional (1 Project)
Criminal Defense (1 Project)
Discrimination (1 Project)
Domestic Relations (1 Project)
Education (2 Projects)
Employment (2 Projects)
First Amendment (1 Project)
Other (1 Project)

I'm not sure if that really answers your question, but like I said, I don't know anyone working for pay during the school year other than a handful of people working in the library and also occasional research work for professors.

6
If you live in a 2BR did you prorate the rent since one room is much larger?  If so, how much?

The rent for our apartment is $875. One bedroom is substantially larger than the other so one of us pays $400 and the other $475. We didn't use any precise formula. My (then future) roommate suggested the split and I thought it sounded fair. If the rooms were close to the same size I wouldn't bother trying to figure out a different way to split the rent, but in a situation such as mine where one bedroom is nearly twice the size of the other, it's only fair to make the person with the larger room pay more.

7
How hard is it to find a roommate, specifically for Ivy gardens, and what's the best way to go about it?  I guess that's my next concern.

At Ivy, you can request to be matched with a roommate so you can let them do the work of finding someone. I assume that this year the Admitted Students section of the UVA website has a message board like we did last year. You can get on there and try to a find a roommate that way. I know some people did that last year. A third opetion (which is what I did), is to find the e-mail address for a campus group you're interested in and send off an e-mail asking if any members are looking for a new roommate. I figured that was my best bet for finding a roommate with similar interests. Here's a list of all the student organizations at UVA: http://www.law.virginia.edu/html/students/studentorgs.htm. Finally, you could always try to find a roommate through LSD.

It's not hard to find a roommate...unless you try to wait until the last minute and everybody already has housing arranged. If you know you'll be coming here, you should go ahead and get started.

8
Your best bet for getting a firm job your first summer is to apply someplace where you already have connections, such as your hometown. If you get your resume sent out before Christmas break, you can often get an interview arranged while you are home for the holidays.

Don't most firms want to see your 1L first semester grades before they give you a job?  I'm just surprised that they'd even look at resumes without law school grades on them.

Many (quite possibly most) firms will wait to make an offer until they have received your first semester grades, but most will still interview you beforehand. It's a lot more convenient to do it then than to have to travel to the firm's office for an interview in the spring. Some employers will hire before receiving any grades. One friend of mine was hired to work for a US Attorney before our grades were released.

9
is it difficult for 1Ls to get firm jobs their first summer?  also, for Bar Review does UVA rent out a place for just the law students?  Or is more like everyone meets at a bar but anyone (UGs, townies) can go as well?

Law2k, any insight on the 2nd part of my question?

Oops. I meant to answer that to say that I don't know.

10
I've been stuck for a while between UVA and GULC.  I've visited both, interviewed a ton of students, and spoken with multiple Deans.

I like UVA better, but am worried that since I'm interested in politics I'd be SOL at UVA and happy at Georgetown.  Are UVA kids involved in politics?  Even if its in a laid back way? 

And how are the 1L profs? 

There are plenty of UVA students involved in politics. I'm sure there are probably a lot more at GULC, but we're not short on them here. I talk politics with a few people from my section all the time. We have Law Democrats and Law Republicans, but I'm not involved with either and not sure how active they are. We have an active Federalist Society chapter, though that's more policy than politics. We also have the counterpart to FedSoc, the American Constitution Society. Most notably, however, is the Virginia Journal of Law & Politics, which was founded by Antonin Scalia and will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary this coming year. Oh, and if you like really annoying hardcore liberal Democrat activists, we have Mike Stark who you may have heard about in the news.

The 1L profs aren't any different than "regular" profs. Obviously, the professors here are amazing overall, but some are more so and others less. A few aren't good. My section was fortunate in the professor assignments; we had Dean Jeffries for Criminal Law and Michael Klarman for Constitutional Law, both phenomenal teachers. One person said it best when he said, "Jeffries doesn't lecture; he orates." (Rumor is Harvard is trying to steal Klarman, but us students are trying to keep him.) Frankly, the professors generally make attending class a thoroughly enjoyable experience both because they are so extremely knowledgeable and also because many of them are incredibly funny. Our newspaper, the Law Weekly, has a section each week with faculty quotes. You'd be amazed at the things that come out of professors' mouths!

What is the job competition like for firm jobs within the state of Virginia (i.e. Richmond, Virginia Beach, etc. and not the N. Virginia/DC area)?  Are a lot of people interested in staying in VA or is the path pretty clear if you want to stay in the state? 

In the circles that I hang out with, D.C. and Dallas are the two hottest markets. There are also lots of NY people. I've been told that Richmond is actually pretty competitive due to the low ratio of jobs to students. I've not heard anyone talking about other parts of Virginia. Personally, I'm hoping to work in the Shenandoah Valley area--Harrisonburg, Staunton, maybe Roanoke. I suspect if you are looking for a job somewhere other than N. Virginia or Richmond, the competition won't be too intense. You probably won't be the only applicant, but it will be a small handful at most.

is it difficult for 1Ls to get firm jobs their first summer?  also, for Bar Review does UVA rent out a place for just the law students?  Or is more like everyone meets at a bar but anyone (UGs, townies) can go as well?

About 1/3 of 1Ls get firm jobs their first summer. Most (but not all) of the people I know that tried to get them were successful, but it's hard to measure how hard it is due to other factors. For example, some people go work at firms where they already have connections (paralegal work before law school, etc.). Also, there is a fair degree of self-selection. Plenty of people don't even try to get firm jobs and choose instead to take a public service job, a government job (such as working for federal judges, working for a U.S. Attorney's Office, etc.), or work for a professor. While the money you make at a firm is great, the experience you get in other jobs is often more rewarding. For example, developing a good relationship with a professor can be helpful later when you're seeking a judicial clerkship. For those who are headed to big firms, your 1L summer might be your last chance to do something different and so a lot of people take advantage of that.

Your best bet for getting a firm job your first summer is to apply someplace where you already have connections, such as your hometown. If you get your resume sent out before Christmas break, you can often get an interview arranged while you are home for the holidays.

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