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Messages - Morten Lund

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Current Law Students / Re: Why Law School Sucks for me
« on: April 08, 2011, 01:17:43 PM »
I loved my 3L year.  I played golf every day and poker every night, and then went to the casino on weekends.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: How much studying should I be doing a day?
« on: April 08, 2011, 10:48:37 AM »
I don't mean to make too much of this, but for a real lawyer, one strives to do (and be) the best.  Really.  The very, very best.  Not just "good enough," or "that's silly," or "golly isn't this over yet?" 

Ya know, I agree with this as a general statement.  If the O/P really is trying to nail down a 180, then he is a fool to do anything other than EVERYTHING he can possibly do to nail down that 180.  Good for him.  I applaud everything about that.

However, a "real" lawyer?  I'm struck by a quote by Mark Lanier who said that when he took the bar exam, if he passed by 1 point more than the minimum required, then he studied too much:

I'll take a stab at explaining what Thane is talking about. 

I agree with your Lanier quote - but, to paraphrase the esteemed philosopher Inigo Montoya, it does not mean what you think it means.  The bar exam is binary - you pass or you fail.  There is no difference between passing by one point and passing by a thousand points.  What Thane and I are saying is perfectly consistent with Lanier's approach.  "Perfection," with regard to the bar exam, means passing, not getting the best possible score.

The LSAT is different - it is not binary.  Every extra point increases your chances of gaining admittance to a better school.  For the LSAT, "perfection" means 180.  Every other score is "not perfection."

Now, with regard to perfection in the context of life as a "real lawyer," I hope you will forgive me for quoting myself.  From Jagged Rocks of Wisdom:

"Our clients pay us for product 'A.'  They don't pay for product '90%-of-A,' or product '99%-of-A.'  It is either 'A' or 'not-A,' and '99%-of-A' might as well be '0%-of-A.'  99% is better than 50% only because it will take less work to get up to 100%.  Ultimately, everything gets to 100%."

What it means to be 100% varies, of course, but whatever the expected (i.e., required) result, that is the only acceptable result.  "100%" means that you got the partner what he wanted.  "Almost-A" is the same as "not-A."  So when the partner asks you to draft a motion that meets his expectations, then that is what you must do.  Drafting a motion that almost meets his expectations, even 99% of his expectations, means that your memo does not meet his expectations, and you failed to perform your task.  Every task on the job is pass/fail, and the passing grade is 100%.

However, like anything in life, there comes a point of diminishing returns. 

Also true - but on the job, you don't get to decide when you have reached that point.  The partner, and only the partner, decides when you are finished.  The partner defines success, not you.

I think that point comes pretty quickly on reading comprehension.  If, after four years of college, you need somebody to coach you on reading comprehension, then I sincerely doubt that an elite law school is in your future.

Quick side note - reading comprehension was my weakest LSAT section by far.  But I studied hard, improved my score, and ended up doing quite well.  Everyone is different.

Applying to law school, finishing law school, practicing the law, and basically any other significant endeavor in life will always boil down to managing your finite resources to attain your goal. 

So, if you're saying work as hard as you can, do the best that you can, use all the resources at your disposal, I'm right there with you.  Right on!  Go for it.

You are of course correct, in a general sense.  The point that Thane was making, however is that on the job, this doesn't apply to junior associates (or junior anything).  You are a resource being disposed of, and you do not have the authority to decide when you have prepared "enough."  You either will or will not perform the task asked of you.  If the end product meets the partner's expectations, then you have succeeded.  If not, then you have failed. 

Now, your Lanier quote applies to the extent that doing "101%-of-A" would in fact be wasteful, as the extra 1% will be disregarded. But, frankly, I would not advise fresh law grads to worry too much about what to do if they are constantly exceeding partner expectations.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: The Best Law School Guide That I've Read
« on: April 07, 2011, 11:25:23 PM »
I also object to the characterization of Derrick's efforts as a "ploy," as if there were something untoward going on.  I know that in my case, it is a struggle to get anyone to submit reviews on Amazon, for instance - a task that take but a few minutes.  So for someone to join an internet forum and voluntarily post positive comments is high and honest praise, even if Derrick egged him on the whole.

And, similarly, it is incorrect to view marketing efforts as inherently dishonest or less valuable than behaviors stirred by other motives.  Again using myself as an example, I joined this board specifically because my publisher (Thane) asked me to do so, in order to raise awareness of my books - and perhaps even sell a books.

Nevertheless, I would like to believe that I have contributed in some small but honest way to the community - even though my entire presence here is basically one long commercial.  Rest assured that I do not normally post on internet boards using my real name.

(And, for the record, Derrick's book is also one of the best law school guides I have read.)

Studying for the LSAT / Re: How much studying should I be doing a day?
« on: April 06, 2011, 12:55:37 PM »
I'm with Thane here, and perhaps further down that road.

I took the LSAT in August/September, or whatever the fall offering was back in the day.  During the academic year prior to the test I spent as much time working on the LSAT as I did on any of my classes.  Then, during the summer break, I stepped it up.  I didn't do any summer school, and only minimal work.  Instead, I basically treated LSAT prep as a full-time job for the entire summer.  Perhaps not 40 hours a week, but probably in the 25-35 hours/week range.

My basic view on the LSAT is that it counts the same as your GPA, if not more.  You spent four full years working on your GPA - you owe it to yourself to spend the same amount of mental effort on the LSAT.  Take the LSAT very, very seriously.

As to whether there is benefit from studying - well, everyone is different, of course, but the LSAT strikes me as an eminently learnable test.  Perhaps not everyone is capable of acing it, no matter how much prep, but I believe most people could do very well if they took the time and effort to prepare.  I certainly saw massive improvement for myself during my studies.  And, given how even one or two more correct answers can move you much further up in the percentile ranking, I think it is worth fighting for those one or two extra points.

EDIT:  Special note on this:
Quote from: FalconJimmy
the only thing I can see preparation helping you with is logic games. 

I disagree completely with this statement.  Prep is just as helpful for analytic and reading comprehension sections.  The analytical section is basically math riddles, and they keep using the same ones.  With sufficient prep, you could do this section in your sleep.  I view this as the most easily beatable section with enough prep.  Reading comprehension is the other end of the spectrum - it is about understanding how the testers think, and best way to do that is by endless preparation. 

Of course, if you buy my books you will understand how I feel about preparation in most things...  :)

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Recommended E&Es?
« on: April 05, 2011, 12:51:54 PM »
You only need two books for 0L:

Getting to Maybe; and Law School Confidential.

I agree that reading law school prep books can be very helpful.  I disagree that you only need those two.  I think different books are helpful for different people, so I would encourage you to read many, and then stick to the one that speaks to you.

I would place more importance on this than reading specific course-prep books and outlines.

Currently, my preferred law school prep books are Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold, and Law School Fast TrackPlanet Law School is probably the best-selling guide around and also worth checking out.  But take a look at as many as you can, IMO.

Current Law Students / Re: MPRE Questions?
« on: April 05, 2011, 12:17:23 PM »
The ethics portion of the bar exam is far more difficult than the MPRE, so if you are prepared for the bar exam then all you need is familiarity with the MPRE format.

Must be some weird California, Wisconsin, or old-timer thing.  ;oP

Probably all of the above...  :)

But are there states that don't test professional responsibility?  I know it isn't on the multistate, but it is such an obvious thing to work into essay questions.  Seemed like half the Cali essay questions had an ethics component.

BARBRI sure had an extensive lecture on the subject, at least.

(And, as to WI - Wisconsin does not require the MPRE at all.  But they do make a point of extra ethics coverage in the essays for the bar.)

A one-year reunion?


Current Law Students / Re: MPRE Questions?
« on: April 05, 2011, 10:44:17 AM »
the MPRE is stupidly easy

Indeed it is, assuming you have a reasonable degree of facility with standardized tests.  I think I spent a few hours with a free online practice exam in specific preparation for the MPRE.

BUT - I was just coming off the bar exam (and BARBRI) at the time, which laid the foundation.  If you are not also studying for the bar, then the MPRE could be quite a bit more difficult.  The ethics portion of the bar exam is far more difficult than the MPRE, so if you are prepared for the bar exam then all you need is familiarity with the MPRE format.  If you are not studying for the bar, you will need quite a bit more substantive preparation.

That said, it is still a test, and an important test at that.  So take it seriously.  There are plenty of practice tests available online and elsewhere, so you should be able to quickly get a gauge of whether the test will be a challenge or not.

Good luck.

... it is foolish to seek a ranking system better than U.S. News.  It's not a question of perfection.  It's a question of filters.  Aside from the fact that U.S. News is the ranking system because it is believed to be that system (a statement that could be said of the legal system as well), it factors in just about every reasonably factor-able factor to be factored.  If one disagrees with a specific variable, fine; refigure that according to your preferences.  But it won't make a measureable difference on employers.


Based on the definition of "better" provided by the OP, it is hard to be "better" than U.S. News.  In fact, no other ranking system even matters at all, because that is the list read by all the employers.  When a hiring attorney inquires about the ranking of a candidate's law school, it is the U.S. News rank that is inquired about, and the only rank that is of interest to that hiring attorney.

Now, if you want to consult a different ranking system for some particular purpose, that's fine - but the market has spoken, and there is 100% truthiness to the statement that "the U.S. News law school ranking is the best one."  From a strict marketability perspective, therefore, it would be foolish to consider any other ranking system.

Job Search / Re: Military after Law School
« on: March 31, 2011, 03:32:50 PM »
I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a joke

Indeed it is.  Apparently I hang out on the internets too much.

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