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Messages - Cicero

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Studying and Exam Taking / Re: First Week of Law School
« on: August 29, 2010, 08:30:46 PM »
Eighteen percent attrition isn't bad at all. That's less attrition than FCSL normally has (usually about 25%).

I agree that you can't go into LS  thinking you have to be in top 20%. It will be really hard to do, and there is no guarantee. You won't necessarily know if your study habits worked for you like you thought they did until you encounter the final exam (everyone learns things differently--visual learner, etc.), or whether you really understood the material better than everyone else. After the first semester, you will know how well your study habits worked for you, so you should be able to make some improvements to them. (If you have midterms your 1st semester, they will really help you figure out where you fit into the curve based on your current level of prep, so that you can adjust what you're doing and do better on the finals. They also give you a taste of what you're up against. Midterms definitely helped me.)

Please don't put that kind of pressure on yourself, at least not this early on in the 1st year. Feeling like you have to do well can put good pressure on you to study hard and to take LS seriously, but it can also cause physical and emotional problems such as stomach aches, loss of weight, and insomnia or you could become that legendary person who freaked out during the final and ran out screaming. LS is stressful enough without feeling like you have to be at the top.

Good luck, and please don't be so hard on yourself. You can still be a lawyer if you aren't in the top 20%.

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Studying and Exam Taking / Re: First Week of Law School
« on: August 29, 2010, 12:40:41 PM »
I believe that there is a little luck in the test taking, but a lot of it comes down to preparation and learning to think like a lawyer. I hope your final isn't just regurgitation. Ours certainly weren't. There is some regurgitation in terms of spitting out the rule, but then you must connect the fact pattern to the rule and analyze it to come up with an answer.

I guess part of why I don't see how it is luck is that the same people consistently get the top grades and others consistently get the lower grades. If it was all up to luck there would be more mixing of grades. Furthermore, if it is all luck, then why do schools take the 1st year grades as a replacement for your LSAT (for transferring) and as a big indicator of your success on the bar exam?

Were you not graded on motions and trial arguments in your legal writing class?

I do agree that ranking isn't a wonderful thing. It just adds more pressure and stress. However, it can help you transfer.

Oh, on a totally different subject. Bigs you know how we've discussed attrition at T4 schools on other threads. Well, I recently learned that FCSL's attrition this year was over 50% (not all academic). Twenty-five percent more people dropped out or transferred than last year. I was shocked when I heard this news. Did GGU have a much higher attrition rate this year too?

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Studying and Exam Taking / Re: First Week of Law School
« on: August 29, 2010, 02:08:45 AM »
The first few weeks are for getting your feet wet. You will probably be studying a lot more after the 1st few weeks as your assignment load increases--larger readings & being assigned papers. 

I didn't have much of a social life at all my 1st semester (but I'm married, so I wasn't exactly totally isolated). I felt like I studied or was in class pretty much from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed a lot of nights during my 1st semester. However, I do spend a lot more time briefing cases & taking notes than most people do. I also make my own outlines, do cali lessons, etc. The second semester, I was able to do that stuff, but also have a little bit more time with friends and more veg out time. My study habits landed me well within the top 5% and allowed me to transfer from a T4 to a T1.

I don't necessarily agree that where you fall in the curve is all luck. Perhaps there is some luck to it, but a lot of it comes down to your preparation. Beyond Cali, Q&A, Law in a Flash, etc., you need to practice essays. Essays will likely be half of your grade and LS essay writing is very different from the essays you wrote on college exams. It's too early at this point to practice them, but when you have covered more material, you should try to take essays from past exams or ones from Academic Success or a supplement/casebook. If possible, get your profs to look at them and have them tell you what you should do to improve. (Some profs may offer this option to the class and provide the essay and others will do this if you request it.) You should also find out what they want from the essay--purely IRAC or more free flow, do they want case names, do they want MOR analysis, etc. You also need to practice issue spotting, and reading the cases and practicing MC and essays will help you become a better issue spotter. Making your own outline will really help you boil down the material, synthesize it, and internalize it. (Getting a pre-made outline off of the internet or from a 2L won't help nearly as much, unless it is just used for comparison.) Read the supplements when you are confused and talk to your profs if you are still confused. Don't fall behind on your reading. Finally, you need to know the law really well and be comfortable applying it to different hypo situations.

It is pretty normal to feel scared about the curve and worried about where you will fall on it. It's also normal to worry about failing out the 1st semester. Most students, myself included, seem to go from wanting to be at the top, to worrying about failing out after the first few weeks. There is no guarantee that you will be in the top 20%, but doing these things should greatly increase your chances. Good luck! :)

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General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Class Statistics?
« on: August 27, 2010, 11:19:15 PM »
No more pickle? He'll probably just create a new account and keep starting drama until he gets banned again.

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General Off-Topic Board / Re: Dating during First Year
« on: August 26, 2010, 03:22:23 PM »
I wish you the best of luck. I read your blog and can sympathize/empathize with what you are about to go through. I'm married and my husband followed me to law school and then again when I transferred, so that we didn't have to deal with the distance, but it is still a very hard situation the 1st year. I'm just starting my 2nd year, so we'll see how it goes.

This my view of how it goes the 1st year in a nutshell:
On the side of the law student: The 1st year is really stressful, especially the 1st semester. You feel like you've been thrown in the middle of the lake without any training on how to swim. You either learn how to swim or you sink. So, you spend all of your time, and I mean all, learning how to swim and how to swim very well (and hopefully how to swim better than your classmates). You will love it a lot of the time and hate it at other times, such as when you really, really want to sleep or when it's nearing exam time.

On the side of the significant other: Your significant other is always busy and all they do when they aren't busy is talk about law, law, law. You may find that your significant other's personality takes on notable changes--more stress, less laughter, he/she thinks more critically, has less passionate answers to things--less black and white, starts answering everything with the scrutiny he/she employs when reading cases...

Anyway, I'm sure you've heard all of this before. Hang in there.

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General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Class Statistics?
« on: August 26, 2010, 12:14:14 AM »
Pickle, sometimes the things you say make me laugh, but other times I am amazed by your hubris. Only smart if you attend one of the top 3 law schools?! Amazing for being 20 and about to graduate? I was also about your age when I graduated with a double major and a minor, and with extra credits beyond what I needed. I know quite a few others who graduated early. One of my former roommates was 19 when he started his computer science master's degree. I guess that must make him smarter than you based on age at graduation determining intelligence. Oh, then there's the genius test you have mentioned. You're not exactly the only one on this forum who has tested at the genius level on the IQ test. For every "awesome" stat you list, there will be others on this site and in law school who are similarly situated or have better credentials (and not just at the top 3 schools). I assume most of your arrogance has to do with your age and lack of real world experience, and I try to think about that when I read your posts. 

You really need to tone it down before you enter into either the job market or law school. Your attitude and need for others to know how "smart" you are will make it hard for you to make social connections in law school, and you will want to make those connections either for recommendations (such as from your professors if you want a judicial clerkship) or as contacts for your job search. You will also want to make them because a lot of these people will be your colleagues, and you will potentially see or hear about each other for many years beyond law school. Finally, law school is hard and stressful, especially the 1st year, and you will want to have friends who can relate to what you're going through.

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General Board / Re: Law School Ethical Violation?
« on: August 24, 2010, 11:46:22 AM »
(Note: I'm not sharing this to blow my own horn, but rather to give a counter point.) I had one professor my 1L year who loved to copy questions out of a particular study aid, though she would vary from them slightly (often making them more challenging). She put one question (essay) on our final that pretty much came directly out of it (and the supplement had suggested answers).  I had not come across the question in the supplement, but another student had found it and had practiced that essay (she told me after the final). Was it fair for the other students who didn't look at that supplement? I don't know if that other student did a lot better than most of the other students, though I'm sure it helped her grade. I ended up getting the highest grade in that class, even though I didn't review that question in the supplement, so her "advantage" didn't adversely effect me.

I think that a lot of the professors copy questions, either verbatim or with some minor tweeking. Students need to test what they know by using a variety of supplements, so that when you come across questions on the final, they seem similar to what you have practiced, even if you haven't practiced that exact question, the names are different, the situation is somewhat different, etc.

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General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Class Statistics?
« on: August 22, 2010, 01:23:06 PM »
The last few posts were hilarious! Numitor and pickle still going at it. Numitor, why do you keep changing your name and getting new accounts? After a few of your posts under each new name, it's easy to tell that it is you.  Why not just pick a name and stick with it? I think the only thing that could make this situation funnier is if the same person was behind both Pickle and Numitor.

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Law School Applications / Re: When to apply BIG dilemma?
« on: August 19, 2010, 12:25:37 AM »
Maybe there is a reason you decided against getting loans, but loans might be your best hope. I guess it's probably too late at this point for government loans, but maybe you can get a bank loan that is deferred as long as you are in school. While, you will have to pay some interest since it's too late for government loans, it might be a better option than putting your dreams on hold. If you are going to be able to pay it back soon anyway, then it might not be a bad idea.

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There are a few schools that accept transfer students after 3 semesters, like Hofstra, but you will lose quite a few credits doing it that way.

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