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Messages - Thane Messinger

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121
Studying for the LSAT / Re: When to Start Studying?
« on: May 09, 2011, 03:38:27 AM »
     I'm a senior in high school (I graduate in two weeks) and I want to go into law. I know that I canít take the LSAT until 3 years from now, but I'm wondering if I should start studying for it.

Sara -

First, congratulations, both as to graduation and as to being very much ahead of the curve in knowing what you want.

The short answer is:  You don't need to worry about the LSAT or practice area yet.  It's very good to keep these in mind, but the primary focus should be in the following:  Doing very well in college, in a subject you genuinely care about; being careful about money; and being reasonably careful about everything else.

Doing well in college will give you options, including law school, and will also help you in preparation for the LSAT.  When the time comes, you should spend as much time studying for the LSAT as you spend in a full semester of study.  Here's where your foresight will pay off:  if you're planning your college years carefully, you can take a higher load during other semesters (and perhaps a summer or two), leaving a light load for the semester you'll be taking the LSAT.  Then, give the LSAT all you've got.  Don't worry about "not being good at math" (although you should try to get comfortable in math--it really does count). 

Law school is a marathon.  Nearly everyone treats it like a sprint--and it's natural to do so--but it's a marathon.  Take the following four years to prepare yourself for law school, and you will do very well indeed.

Thane.

122
General Off-Topic Board / Re: What literature do you recommend?
« on: May 06, 2011, 09:46:51 PM »

To learn how to write better I suggest reading guides about basic grammar and writing.  You might find them helpful to refresh your memory about concepts you were supposed to be taught in grade school and high school. 



Purdue has an excellent online resource:  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/

Thane.

PS:  To all, there's easily a resistance or even antipathy towards grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.  This is unfortunate, as everyone can improve.  (Yes, I check the dictionary too many times to count.)  Graduate and especially doctoral students spend much of their time proofing and re-proofing their work, and woe be unto the graduate student who repeats a basic error.  (Actually, not always.  They will, however, find it hard to get stellar recommendations and inside job tips.)  In law school, this is confined mostly to a process that's rather important in a different sense than learning: the application process.  Know that faculty members sitting on admissions committees--and everyone else in admissions--cares about this, rather a lot.

123
General Off-Topic Board / Re: What literature do you recommend?
« on: May 06, 2011, 03:58:48 PM »

Wow! Thank for the advice. That what my pops keeps telling me. It is nice to hear it from someone else. Yet reading the WallStreet Journal does not sound like a bad idea.

It's not a bad idea.  I also love the Economist.  I had to subscribe for a class way back when. 

Just saying that if you read it because you WANT to, that's awesome.  If you read it believing it will impact your future as an attorney, the amount of effort involved, versus the amount of benefit you derive, makes this a bad idea.


A slight modification of Falcon's take:  It will make you a better attorney, and, carefully used, it will make you a better law student.  Note the qualifier as to the latter:  this is one way most law students go wrong.  It's natural to think that "literature" (or grand thinking, etc.) will be rewarded.  The way most of us are taught to use it, no. 

The deeper point is that if you LIKE reading these, that is a very good sign . . . because it shows a mental fluidity and acuity and lots of other positive -ities.  More importantly, it shows that mental work is you.  Focused correctly, this is law, and focused even more, it is law school.

The opposite point is equally true:  if you try reading these for a month (every one, every day/week/month), and you're thinking "This is soooo boring!" . . . stop.  Ask what it is that bores you.  If it's learning, reading, thinking . . . stop again.

Chances are, however, that nearly everyone taking the LSAT will find it interesting, and will learn, and will improve--even if tangentially.

See?  We can too have fun.

= :  )

124
Studying for the LSAT / Re: I'm giving up on Law School....
« on: May 06, 2011, 03:45:50 PM »
My biggest regrets?  The ones where, after decades, I sit there and think, "WTF?  Why didn't I...?"  They're the ones where I wanted to do something and didn't try because I was afraid of failure.

*  *  *

Either decision is fine.   

It's what YOU can live with.  That's what you should be thinking about right now.


Everyone should read FJ's words, twice. 

Think very, very, very, very, very seriously about what you will look back on. 

Will you say "I am SO glad I did ...x." or "Why in the...did I do y?" or "Why the &^%$ didn't I do z?"

What do you REALLY want?  What do you really not want?  This is not about an interview, or even an acceptance.  It's about the real you.  (Hint:  Chances are your parents and grandparents and family and friends will be able to help.  They know you better than you sometimes.)  But what you're looking for is the real you behind the many yous you try to be.

Go forth and seek the inner truth!

= :   )

PS:  Even if Fritos does work out, think about doing something crazy.  Now is the time.  Join the Navy.  Join the Peace Corps.  Go teach English somewhere.  Start a business.  Live!

125
General Off-Topic Board / Re: What literature do you recommend?
« on: May 06, 2011, 12:08:29 AM »
What if I wanted to read more to increase my reading ability and vocabulary for the LSAT. Then what would you recommend? Any good novels?

Not novels (or not just novels), but periodicals.  And not just any periodicals.  The Atlantic Monthly, The Financial Times, The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal.  (Note that two of the five are English.)

If, by the way, you find those interesting, that's a very good sign.  = :  )

126
General Board / Re: Worth Going to LS If...
« on: May 06, 2011, 12:04:02 AM »
Looking for some advice to see if it's worth the plunge. Any advice would be helpful.

*  *  *


In addition to the above advice, a question:  What do you love?

127
Studying for the LSAT / Re: I'm giving up on Law School....
« on: May 06, 2011, 12:01:03 AM »
Moreover.... I give up.... I don't want it badly enough anymore...... They say I'm too stupid..... Maybe I am? Maybe they are wrong? In the end we will never know for sure. Case and point as to why the LSAT cannot accruately predict law school success. People with low LSAT scores simply aren't given the opportunity to fail.  If getting into law school is this difficult, I can't imagine the struggle it must be to get a job. It just seems like the cards are stacked against you.

At this point I am going to begin to re-test the job market, in the hopes that I can land a position that leads to a successful and satisfying career. It's been an awful first year out of college that has featuerd rejection from both the workforce and academia. Perhaps the rejections have been blessing in disguise. Eventually if I live long enough someone is going to give me an opportunity, and when they do, I will not take it for granted...

*  *  *



We don't often know whether a decision is a good one or a bad one until much later.

One question, relating to finding a successful and satisfying career, is this:  What do you like?

Thane.

128
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Best way to Stay up late studying?
« on: May 04, 2011, 03:27:34 PM »
Thank for the advice, I will have to order that book on amazon this weekend.
 8)

Amazon now closed on weekdays?


Nap first!

= :  )

129
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Best way to Stay up late studying?
« on: May 03, 2011, 01:21:47 AM »
What is the most effective way to stay up late and study? Simply caffeine?

As someone who's always been a night owl, try this:  Go to sleep.  Work intensively in the morning, parts of the afternoon, and early evening.  Then relax.

Don't cram.  It doesn't work, and it's an awful way to pretend to learn.  There's an excellent book that goes into detail on this.  It's short, and focuses on effective learning:  Law School Fast Track.

Thane.

PS:  Yes, I know, many of us stay up late.  It's cool, it's fun.  I wrote books late at night.  (Early in the morning, really.)  But still, I have to support the author of Law School Fast Track on this.

130
Job Search / Re: getting into biglaw a year after graduating???
« on: May 01, 2011, 05:41:30 AM »
Biglaw isn't the place you "go to".  It's the place you "come from".  Although I have no legal experience, I do have a lot of corporate experience and there are some companies like this.  Some consulting firms, P&G, IBM, General Electric, etc.


This is generally right, but the market for laterals is, in its own way, a bright spot for the right candidate.  The essential trick is to be independently valuable.  Usually this is through a proven skill, such as x area of law.  Occasionally it can be specialized connections, but most often it is simply--well, not simply--an expertise.  If you can show that expertise to the right partners, you might just be in.  Paradoxically, the level of the hiring biglaw firm isn't all that important.  In fact, they're usually the ones on the hunt. 

As a lateral, you'll usually work with a recruiter.  If you've not yet had the experience to develop that area-specific expertise, such as just a single year, that should be the focus--but it's still possible to develop contacts with recruiters, and it's possible a position will open up and, if the stars are properly aligned, that could be that.

In terms of approach and interviews (and an excellent set of excerpts by a biglaw hiring partner), check out Insider's Guide to Getting a Big Firm Job.  Valuable for small law too, but especially important for the former.

Best of luck,

Thane.

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