Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
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General Board / My Law School Memoir
« on: December 20, 2011, 10:18:14 PM »
I usually wouldn't do something like this, but I have contributed a lot to this place.  (Unlike Rick Lax, back in the day.)

You don't have to buy, but at least consider checking it out:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/115484

I'm also happy to answer any questions about law.

2
General Board / Just Learned 6 Firms Out of my OCI
« on: July 17, 2009, 01:31:05 PM »
::punches wall::

 >:(

And one of them was at the top of my bid list.

It looks like we're starting to see firms leave left and right.

3
The possibility of barely going to class and not even buying the textbook is very real in my mind.

4
These sample OCI questions are not helping me. Do I really have to ask questions like "What's the most interesting case you've worked on?"? I guess that one isn't bad. But some of these seem poor:

What attracted you to this firm?
Did you start in that practice area?
Where do you see your client base in five years? (ITE?)
How much client contact do you regularly get?

I like their questions even more:

What attracted you to law school?
Why Chicago?
Why this firm? (Ugh . . . because when you look at my grades and your Vault ranking, I think we're a good match?)

I also don't like these research tips. Are firms going to be impressed by some punk law student with a Westlaw account and free time? I imagined that it would be enough to know that, say, Morgan Lewis excels at Antitrust and Kirkland at Litigation.

Grade cut-offs will be the starting and ending point, I bet.

5
General Board / ~100% Sure I Want to Do Lit -- Which Firms?
« on: July 05, 2009, 01:37:28 PM »
My grades are fine, but probably preclude W&C and Cravath-type firms, so please don't suggest them.  Right now, I'm looking at these places:

Quinn Emmanuel (they sound great, and I heard they're a bit of a sweatshop, which is all the better ITE)
Boies Schiller
Kirkland (probably NYC more than Chicago)
Gibson Dunn
Crowell and Moring (I heard good things from others)

Any other suggestions?

If I'm really interested in a firm like Quinn, would they mind if I interviewed in multiple offices?

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General Board / Dicta That Made You LOL
« on: June 26, 2009, 05:39:10 PM »
"The groans, ineffably and mournfully sad, of Davies' dying donkey, have resounded around the earth. The last lingering gaze from the soft, mild eyes of this docile animal, like the last parting sunbeams of the softest day in spring, has appealed to and touched the hearts of men.  There has girdled the globe a band of sympathy for Davies's immortal 'critter.' Its ghost, like Banquo's ghost, will not down at the behest of the people who are charged with inflicting injuries, nor can its groanings be silenced by the rantings and excoriations of carping critics." Fuller v Illinois Cent R Co, 56 So 783, 786 (Miss 1911).

"Nor will she be the last after today’s decision, which announces the safest place to secrete contraband in school."  Safford v Redding.

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General Off-Topic Board / Turn Around, Bright Eyes
« on: June 16, 2009, 11:55:20 AM »
Every now and then I fall apart!

8
General Board / Anyone Kinda Wish They Could Do 1L Again?
« on: June 06, 2009, 12:19:29 PM »
I'm in the middle of spring cleaning, as I prepare to vacate my place and move to an apartment building, and I found my hand-written notes from the first few weeks of 1L.  It's amazing at how far we've come, and how much sense it all makes now.  If I could do it all over again, I would retain so much more and enjoy it.

For instance, my Torts prof seemed so mysterious and brilliant then, but his comments are legal common sense now.  My favorite part in my notes is a page in which I furiously write down the "principles" behind a false imprisonment citizen's arrest cases.  They're so obvious now: discouraging citizens from making arrests without more than probable cause; a desire to leave the work to real law enforcement; et cetera.  I remember thinking, "Boy, I'll never be as smart as that guy."   :)

I think this is a good post for 0Ls, at least; the 1L year is a blast.  I'm going to miss it.  As much as grades matter and the stress builds, it's an experience worth enjoying.

9
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / In Defense of Briefing
« on: May 30, 2009, 01:52:52 PM »
I think that briefing and reading the cases is a great way to be successful in Law School.  After a year, I understand the reason why the traditional continues.  The casebook is not useless.  I think it can teach you everything you need to know.

My problem was how I read the cases, and I think it may be useful for 0Ls to heed my caution and learn how to read a case.

8 months ago, I read a case like I would read a story.  I started at the beginning, and read it through.  Often, I would have no idea why the cases were so long.  Jeez, I thought, judges really loved to ramble (especially Cardozo).  I didn't understand that a case's structure is intended to get at a point that briefing would have explained: a legal issue.

Reading for legal issues is a great way to prepare for your exams, because your exams are -- surprise! -- all about issues; your classes are all about legal issues; and your professors are interested in discussing legal issues with you.  The problem is that often students don't see that, get mediocre grades, and then get frustrated and blame the system.  No, the system works; it will tell you how to think like a lawyer if you let it.

What is a legal issue?  If I were a 0L, I would spend a great deal of your time before law school figuring that out.  Read Oyez.  Read a case.  Brief a case.  Get deep inside what a legal issue is, and then, when you're at your most confused, read how the courts resolve it.

Now here is how you read a case:

1. Find the issue and simmer over it.  Think about what makes it tricky.  Why have the courts not resolved it before?  Here's a sample Public International Law issue off Oyez (I know many of you studs want to be Int'l lawyers):

May the rights protected by the Geneva Convention be enforced in federal court through habeas corpus petitions? (Hamdan v. Rumsfeld)

Think about why it hasn't ever been resolved.  Think about what makes it an issue.  The US has ratified much of the Geneva Convention, but how does that apply to municipal law?  Why hasn't this case been brought before?  What is the power of the Federal Courts pursuant to Article III?  This is as much of a Civil Procedure and Conlaw question as it is about International Law.

2. Read the case with careful attention to how the court works through the issue.

This is how you learn to think like a lawyer.  What sub-issues are relevant to the issue before you?  Article III power?  The scope of the Geneva Convention?  Previous precedents about habeas corpus petitions?  I have not read Hamden, but, with the law student intuition you will build, you should be able to guess at what is important.  This is also what you do on exams.  What is tricky in the fact pattern?  What do we need to know to resolve it?  How do we go about resolving it?

3. Think about policy.

Your last step is to think about how this ruling my affect other rulings, or big picture ideas.  For the Geneva Convention, we might want to think about our respect for enemy combatants, our feelings about detention without habeas for suspected dangerous people.  Here, we want to ask questions like: if Hamden can't get redress through the Federal courts, where will he go?  How will this affect the view of the Geneva Convention, and our ratification of it, worldwide?  Will this ruling affect habeas in other hypotheticals?

This is how you do it, I think.  Trust me: if and when you get it, it is ridiculous amounts of fun.  I read white-collar crime cases for fun during my spare time.  Even on the bus to the Loop, a casebook is never far from my eyes.  And I have favorite jurists, too.

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General Board / Law School is a Marathon . . .
« on: May 25, 2009, 02:51:38 PM »
And I am crawling to the finish.   :-[

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