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Messages - Thane Messinger

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Job Search / Re: lacking confidence
« on: August 29, 2012, 04:08:28 PM »
It's probably true that if they feel you're not doing a good job, they'll let you know.   It's possible that part of the reason that you feel so insecure and nervous is that the other people around you, being partners, have a much better handle on what they're doing and are therefore more confident than someone who's just starting out.  If they say you're doing "good/great" work, take note of why they may have classified it that way, and believe them!  If they tell you there are areas where you can improve, work on that.  If you stay on top of your game, you should have less reason to feel insecure.

The above is true, but I have to respectfully disagree with the first sentence.  Chances are good that partners (or any boss) will *not* let you know when something is wrong.  Many will huff off, shut down, or simply steam in their offices while correcting work they asked you to do.  You, of course, are left to wonder what's going on.  Chances are good that decisions will be made about you before you really have a chance to prove yourself.  Fair?  Not even.  But, as the saying goes, who ever said life was supposed to be fair?  In law practice, there's simply too much at stake, and too much going on, for most partners to be sensitive to the agonies of nearly all associates.  Fair or not, it's your job to correct yourself.  That, after all, is much of what an attorney is: spot the issue, and solve it.

Again, for all, I encourage you to read the three books mentioned:  Jagged Rocks of Wisdom; Jagged Rocks of Wisdom--The Memo; and The Young Lawyer's Jungle Book.  Not to be overly melodramatic, but they could save your career, or at least months of pavement-pounding as you search for a new job.  In this market, these are nearly the same risk.


Current Law Students / Re: Is Law School a jungle?
« on: June 20, 2012, 09:46:23 PM »
Is Law School a jungle? 


Depending upon your definition of jungle, yes.  But, with the right approach and tools, it can be a rewarding trip.

I had to post, by the way, as a certain book is titled The Young Lawyer's Jungle Book.   = :   )


Incoming 1Ls / Malice in Wonderland
« on: June 08, 2012, 11:26:54 PM »
All -

There's a new book you might find useful and a bit stress-relieving.  It's Malice in Wonderland: What Every Law Student Should Have for the Trip.

[Disclaimer:  I edited and wrote an afterword for it.]

Best of luck in your preparations,


Current Law Students / Re: Note Taking Services
« on: February 13, 2012, 09:41:50 PM »
Has anyone used a note taking service during their 1L year (or beyond)?  E.g., been unable to attend a class w/ prior notice and arranged for someone to sit in on your behalf?  If so, what was the overall outcome?

Yrock -

Interesting.  To fulfill my role as the contrarian, I'll toss out that note-taking is almost entirely a waste of time.  Moreover, it has always been a waste of time--it's only because law school is so different that its uselessness is so serious, and manic note-taking so seductive. 

If you find yourself taking mountains of notes in law school, stop.  It won't help, and it will hurt (in terms of all-important exams) in ways that matter.

If not notes, what then?  The answer is that class is not for learning the law.  [!]  Class is for learning how to use the law you have already taught yourself.  Thus, note-taking becomes rather obviously pointless.  Why take notes on what you already know?

Why do we take notes?  Cause that's what we've always done. 

How do we really get away from this pointless waste of time?  By focusing on (1) the practical application of (2) a limited set of legal rules.  How will we know those rules?  Through the secondary sources (and by staying awake in class).  How will we know that we're getting it?  Through practice exams . . . and through the classroom discussions.  In the classroom we're not writing, or highlighting, or searching for sales on Lingerie R Us.  We're listening *intently* and asking whether we know what the professor will say next.  Once you can effectively predict what the professor is about to say, you've got it.  Why?  Because that's the law.  It's not brain surgery.  The whole point is that it is predictable.

On that predictable note,


Current Law Students / Re: Free Books
« on: January 30, 2012, 10:06:33 PM »
I've heard that there are also other places online where a person can download free ebooks

Here's another interesting freebie:

Incoming 1Ls / Re: 0L anxious about being a 1L.. any advice?
« on: January 16, 2012, 09:49:18 PM »
Thanks, everyone, for your input.

Mr. Messinger- I don't know if you remember me, but you helped me out quite a bit last year when I was preparing to take the LSAT and researching the law school process. You even mailed me a copy of two of your books for free. Thank you SO much. I read them both and found them to be very helpful.

Aloha -

I do indeed remember, and am glad you found them helpful.  Do look at the variety of materials available and plot a careful course for the upcoming journey.  Not too much; not too little.

Go get 'em! 

= :   )

Incoming 1Ls / Re: 0L anxious about being a 1L.. any advice?
« on: January 15, 2012, 10:37:52 PM »
Well, it's obvious that a virtual cottage industry has grown up around legal education which profits handsomely off the fears and uncertainties of countless law students. Yes, cvargas, you could spend a small fortune and the next 7 months locked in your room consuming 0L books until you turn blue in the face. But the truth of the matter is these books will only nominally improve performance, at best. They're certainly not going to magically pour more brain matter into your skull.

Law school exams are speed tests. Typing tests to be more accurate. The faster you type, the more issues you can analyze, and the more issues you can analyze, the more points you're likely to get.

If you really want to excel on law school exams, put down the 0L books and work on your typing speed and accuracy. Ideally, you should be above 60 wpm and as close to 100 wpm as possible.

True, but not really the point.  This is like saying that penmanship will help you win that promotion.  Actually it will, but it's hardly determinative, and there are lots of people with bad writing who get promoted.  The "A" law exam is not necessarily the one spit out at a mile a minute.  It's almost certainly not the one written slowly, but the two extremes, while relevant, are not determinative.  Yes, one ought to learn to type well, and quickly, and the time to do so is before law school.  But that's hardly a recipe for success.

It's also a straw man to say that prelaw books will not teach one the law.  Well, duh.  That's not what these books are there to do.  What they are there to do is to alert one to various aspects of the experience one is about to, well, experience, and to adjust one's attitude accordingly.  A "don't worry, be happy" attitude is not the attitude of the "A" student (or even of the "B" student).  And it's a false dichotomy to say that one either turns blue in the face reading/wasting time on too many prep books or rises against the capitalist cottage industry surrounding law school.  (As an aside, it ought to be notable that there IS such a cottage industry, leading to the question "I wonder why?"  Enough is at stake, and the results so seemingly random, that a smart student at least asks the questions of whether the common wisdom is in fact all that wise.  It certainly is common.)

If anyone is interested, I've arranged to have my second book available, for free.  There's a discussion on pages 140-45 and 188-91 on just this topic.  The free book is available to Amazon Prime members, who can borrow one book at a time, for whatever duration they wish (I think).  Amazon offers a special deal to students for Prime membership; about half off. 


Current Law Students / Re: Free Books
« on: January 15, 2012, 01:29:45 AM »
And yet another book that's available for free, this one on getting a law job, of obvious importance now especially:

There is a new program on Amazon, where one can "borrow" a Kindle book, at no charge and with no time limit.  When getting the next book, you "return" the prior one.  (This is for "Prime" members, but, happy day, there's a special deal for students for Prime membership.)

There are two free books you might find useful:


Incoming 1Ls / Re: 0L anxious about being a 1L.. any advice?
« on: January 15, 2012, 01:24:05 AM »
I was admitted to all three law schools that I applied to, and I'm pretty sure where I will be going. I've started reading some of the 0L books (GTM, 1L of a Ride, etc..) and I'm freaking out a bit. I did fine in undergrad, but to be very honest, it wasn't outrageously difficult. (or even "very", if I am totally honest.) I know law school will be different. My worry is mainly getting on a study "system", one that will work for me and that will be effective. I am prepared to study a lot, but I'm worried that I won't know "how" to properly study in the beginning, and then I'll be trying not to sink by the end of the semester when exam time comes. I know this is probably premature, but can anyone tell me where I can find an idea of how to start my 1L year right? Most texts, posts, tell you to "outline", "take notes", "brief cases", but no one tells you exactly how to do it in the most effective way possible. Is there a prevalent method to 1L studying? a recommended method, or schedule of how much time to devote to each class and avoid time traps (excessive briefing that is unnecessary after covering the basic information that "is" necessary, etc..)?

Aloha, cvargas -

In the interest of kicking things up a bit, I disagree with much of the conventional wisdom.  Now *is* the time to worry.  Not "worry" in a useless, fretful way, but worry in a focused, careful, directed way.  It is not the time to "relax"; such a word is not heard in halls of law.  For reasons I spell out, this is a recipe for disaster (and not just because of preparation, which is often done poorly in any event).

It would be easy to recommend my own book, of course, but I would suggest a few others, including Hibbard's Law School Fast Track and Professor X's Law School Undercover.  Hibbard focuses on achievable habits; X focuses on what profs are really thinking.  Both are quite helpful.

Best of luck!


Current Law Students / Re: Free Books
« on: December 28, 2011, 08:37:25 PM »
There's another good book that's available for free:

There is a new program on Amazon, where one can "borrow" a Kindle book, at no charge and with no time limit.  When getting the next book, you "return" the prior one.  (This is for "Prime" members, but, happy day, there's a special deal for students for Prime membership.)

There are two free books you might find useful:


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