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Messages - lawgirl

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211
Shane,

Cooley also will administer mid-terms for all first semester classes. I don't think other law schools do this but I do think it is a very good idea. It is a way for you to experience the multiple choice section of the exams and it will give you an idea of where your weaknesses are. It only counts for 10% of your grade so it is not the be-all, end-all of everything. But prepare carefully because it does count. If you do well, just continue what you are doing, but don't fall into the trap of getting cocky. We had a few that did and ended up doing poorly on the final. On the other hand, if you don't do well, do not give up. In contracts, I only got half right on my midterms which scared the *&^% out of me but on the final, I ended up with an A in the class. The midterms are a way for you to evalutate yourself. Just make sure you have your outlines done at least a week prior to when you will start studying for midterms.

As far as jobs, I can't tell you a lot about that. I'm still just taking classes. You will get two sets of opinions out there about what opportunities you have at Cooley. In this area, Cooley is highly regarded. They know that Cooley gives everyone a chance, but they also know how many get kicked out. Their view is that Cooley is very hard once you get there and they have a lot of respect for the school. For those people, Cooley usually does very well in the regional workforce. There are another group of people who have not started law scool yet and who read U.S. News and World Report. They do nothing but bash Cooley based on the magazine ratings. They have not been to school and are not out in the workforce but think they know what the hiring trends are and what employers think. I will say that I don't know what lawyers and hiring committees think. I don't claim to know it and I won't go around acting like I do. I can tell you that the Cooley grads that I know from before starting law school and after starting law school have not had a problem. I cannot, however, tell you that people out there do not listen to U.S. News and World Report. I'm sure it happens. The best thing I can tell you is to do well in law school. I can't tell you any more than that.

I would also recommend taking the chance to get involved in the activities of law school. Join a club or two. Definitely try to participate in Moot Court and Mock Trial. And, if your Research and Writing grade and Scholarly Writing grade is good enough, you will get an invitation to be on the Law Review. I personally think it is a great idea (you can enter a writing contest to get on if you can't grade on, but don't let it get to that point). Make yourself a well rounded student. Employers will notice. If you have apprehensions about doing everything in the beginning, wait until after midterms are over or even until the second semester. Give yourself a chance to get used to school. Moot Court/Mock Trial and Law Review cannot be done until later semesters anyway, but the clubs can be started right away. If you want to ease into it, take your time. You can join the clubs at any time.

If you have more questions, don't every hesitate to ask. I won't have access to a computer for a few days, but I will be back next week. Good luck!!

212
Shane,

What are the first couple of weeks like? Exciting and overwhelming. The best way I could describe my feelings was that I was so excited to be there. I fell in love with law school the minute I walked in the door and I was ready to do it all. I was also scared shitless. I didn't know how things would work, I walked in knowing I could do well but always had that little voice in the back of my head waiting for me to fail just a little. I was freaked because this was a major life change and what if it didn't work out. Fortunately, it was the best decision that I have made.

Cooley makes the transition to law school very easy. As I said in an earlier post, the teachers are demanding, but they will go out of their way to help you if you put the effort in. The weekend before law school (I think?) they will have you to go orientation and that really is a very good introduction. They will teach you about the policies and how the school works, but the best thing is when they teach you to brief cases and to outline. Pay very close attention, use their methods and you will have a much easier time.

In class, depending on the professor, you will either hear mostly lecture with a lot of class participation and you will be subject to the Socratic method. I don't know how you feel about it, but don't fight it. Some people are deathly afraid of it. I was nervous, but I just made sure that I prepared well and I did fine. Look at it as an opportunity to prepare yourself for some of what you might experience at trial.

You will have a lot of homework. More than you ever imagined. But don't let it defeat you. It is possible read the case, later brief it, and later review it (the three read method you will learn about in orientation) for all of your cases and still have time to do the normal things in life. It is possible, but again, you have to have good management skills. You will not have a lot of extra time in the beginning, but that is normal. You will learn how to be more efficient at it and still learn the material effectively. But don't push it, especially the first semester. Take the time to do it right so that you know what you are capable of intellectually. DO NOT take short cuts during this first semester. DO NOT ever go into class without reading and understanding all of the cases. DO NOT use someone else's notes or commercial outline to prepare yourself (you can use another outline as a guide, but do the work yourself). You will be amazed at the level you understand the material when you do it yourself.

Continued

213
Shane,

You asked about places to go out and whether you would have time to do so. If you manage your time well, you can definitely have time to go out and I would recommend it with one condition. In law school, you will see three types of students: ones that manage their time well and go out occasionally, ones that never go out and only pay attention to the books, and ones that go out all the time partying. Of the three groups, the third one has people who tend to get kicked out more and the second group has people who tend to burn out more.

My suggestion is to take this very seriously. You are spending a large amount of money and a large amount of time and school should be your priority, not only for yourself, but for all of your future clients. They deserve no less. However, you still have to protect that person inside. If you bury yourself in your books all the time, you will lose yourself and burn out very quickly. If, on the other hand, you go out and party all the time, your grades will suffer. I saw several go down the tubes for that reason and it is not worth it. I'm sorry if this comes off preachy, but I just don't understand it. Find things to do for yourself that do not include law school: excercise, go see the local baseball team, go to East Lansing and participate in the activities over at MSU and yes, go to a party if you feel the need to. DO NOT let it lead you away from the reason you decided to come to law school.

Continued

214
Shane,

I will reply to this in several posts since again, this site likes to time out on me.

You menitoned Professor Senger. He is an excellent Professor. I'm not sure how you know him, but when you need advice, you cannot go wrong with him.

What is Cooley like? What are the students like? Personally, I have a wonderful opinion overall of Cooley. As a whole, the students are terrific. I haven't seen any cut-throat attitude at all and everyone seems to get very close. The Professors are great and are always there to help you. Don't get me wrong, if you are un-prepared, they won't hesitate to kick you out of class and possibly school if you walk into class unprepared. Cooley won't put up with it and I don't blame them. Would you expect an attorney to get away with walking into court unprepared? Cooley treats students like the adults they should be. However, if you always work hard and make an honest effort to understand the material, they will go out of their way to help you.

Continued

215
I started out at a fourth tier school. I transferred up to a first tier and still ended up in the top of my class (sorry, not trying to brag, but some think that if you attend 4th tier that you are stupid which is not so). I had an awful LSAT experience which held me back in choices for law school, but my first year grades in law school enabled me to transfer.

216
You are all very welcome. I never read Planet Law School, but I did read a lot of the other popular primers. For me, it was a way to see what techniques were out there but really, it was to stop me from freaking out when I was waiting to start school. I really hated not knowing what things would be like, it made me uncomfortable. The techniques that I incorporated are probably a mixture of a lecture we received in law school and my own experiments.

The biggest thing that I can recommend is to learn the law but see the big picture and figure out how to apply it to more hypos than just the cases you are reading. If you can see how everything fits together (how that one, minute rule from that case a long time ago fits in as an explanation of one element: intent, how that element fits in as part of what has to be proven for a specific law: battery, and how that specific law fits into the body of law that covers that area: intentional torts for tort law) then you have suddenly conquered a large part of the game that others never do. Those are the ones that I have seen over and over again fail out. It was because they did not see how everything fit together. Do whatever you need to do: outlines, graphs, paste up charts on your wall if you have to. It will come together if you go in with that focus.

If any of you have other questions, I usually check in daily. Good luck to all of you.!!!

217
Current Law Students / Re: reading in law school?
« on: June 27, 2004, 09:51:08 PM »
There might be some people who can skate through law school, not really learn anything and come out not competent to represent a client, but why would you want to do that? If you don't learn how to read caselaw in law school (read it, really understand what the case is about and how it fits into the bigger body of law), you certainly won't be able to do it once you begin to practice. And make no mistake, you will need to understand how to do this in practice. Otherwise, I suppose, purchase a ton of malpractice insurance and prepare to switch careers after a few appearences in court.

218
1. Read through the case once, underline things you find important (facts, law, reasoning, holding)

2. A few days later, brief the case. Type or write it into paper format using the same headers as above: facts, law, reasoning, holding. But this time, cut out what you clearly don't need. Try to keep the brief to one page. During this phase, you will begin to understand it on a deeper level.

3. On the day of class, review your briefs before you go to class. Review it so that you could recite it if asked. During this phase, you are trying to understand the case on an even deeper level and trying to figure out why it is important for the section of class that you are studying (ex: why is this case important for Torts: Intentional Torts).

In class, use your brief, but have your book handy for reference. If you color-code when you highlighted/underline during the first time you read it, you should be able to find anything that is important quickly during class.

219
Current Law Students / Re: Desperate for good advice
« on: June 13, 2004, 10:37:56 AM »
Ask yourself: Do I really want this? If you do, don't let this get you down. Figure out what you need to fix, find whatever help you need and JUST DO IT. If you really want it, you can make it happen.

220
Current Law Students / Re: ***DO NOT CLICK ON THE SDSD TOPIC
« on: June 12, 2004, 09:17:03 PM »
Thank you, Andrew. It locked mine up.

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