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Current Law Students / Re: The Truths and Myths of Law School...
« on: September 19, 2004, 07:41:19 PM »
for those of you who have the time (and, even those who dont!), i HIGHLY recommend reading Dean Tonsing's book, 1000 Days to the Bar But the Practice of law Begins Now ... it is by far the best book that's been written on how to survive, and excel in law school. its a pretty quick read (only 180 pages) but its really top notch. it pretty much covers every question you’ve ever had about law school... from briefing to outlining to time management to taking notes… so far it has been my bible in law school.  Having read it a few times this summer I can easily say that I am MUCH more prepared than the vast majority of my section.

Notice that (above) you find some law students are studying just a few hours each week – others are studying an extraordinary amount.  That’s  because they have different objectives and vastly different abilities, aptitudes, reading speeds, and study methods.

Because most law students are bright individuals, many can “get by” or even do “well” with a minimal amount of studying (“minimal” being a relative term). 

However, if you view law school as the beginning of your career as a lawyer, are you willing to settle for “getting by?”  I encourage students to perform at their personal best levels, preparing for the days when they will be representing clients whose freedom, lives, fortunes and families may well be at stake.  Start practicing now to be the kind of lawyer you would hire if you needed a lawyer. 

How does this translate into time spent studying?  You’ll read posts in this forum suggesting that studying quite a bit will cut down on those other essential parts of life that keep us happy, well-rounded, and psychologically well-nourished.  Think about this: if you are going to engage in a career as a lawyer, are you embarking on a career that will gobble up your life and not allow you to be happy? 

You see, a light week for most attorneys is in the neighborhood of sixty hours.  Why not devote as much time to law now as you will when you enter the professional practice?  Practice managing your time (during law school) in such a way that you are able to devote considerable time to your law practice, and still have as much time as you need to lead a well-balance life, packed with social opportunities, exercise, and fun – maintaining your psychological and spiritual health at the highest levels. Then, when you begin your professional practice – about 1000 days from the first semester of law school – you will be very experienced at balancing law and life.

Consider this:  14 hours in class; 42 hours outside of class (3 hours for every class hour). That adds up to 56 hours – one-third of the 168 hours we all have in each week.  If you sleep as much as 8 hours each night (7 X 8 = 56), that leaves you with 56 hours to attend to your personal health and well being, to socialize, to cook gourmet meals, to attend church, to play tennis, to fold the laundry, to do all those other things that make life worthwhile.

If you spend substantially more time than this, you run the risk of burning out, ruining your health, giving in to the stresses we all (lawyers and law students) face, and – therefore – doing less than your personal best. 

If you spend substantially less time than this, you probably won’t be attending to all the essential elements of high-level study and exam prep: reading, briefing, attending every class, taking notes, transforming your notes, creating course summaries (“outlines”), developing flow charts, and answering practice hypotheticals in writing.

For an in-depth discussion of how much time to spend studying, and how to use that time most efficiently, go to your law library and find the September issue of Student Lawyer, the ABA Law Student Division publication.  The cover article I wrote covers this whole topic, and provides a step-by-step method for allocating your time.  There you will find a sample of how a student can determine precisely how much time to spend studying each day.

If you have further questions about this, feel free to e-mail me.

Current Law Students / Re: Supreme Court Question...
« on: September 17, 2004, 05:05:51 AM »
Article III:

"... In all cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be a Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction..."

Current Law Students / Re: The Truths and Myths of Law School...
« on: September 14, 2004, 08:31:11 PM »
I'm a full time 1L, so here is my take on your question:

It’s a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to rule your life. I think it really only gets a bad rap because a lot of people are coming off of relatively easy experiences in undergrad, so the work just seems like a lot. But really, if you budget your time and don’t male private part around between classes, then it’s nothing to worry about. My experience so far is that it’s the people who don’t study efficiently who female dog the most--these are the people who will take a full hour lunch, and surf the web in the time between classes, or get into "study" groups just to be social instead of to work. A lot of people seem to equate time at school with time studying... this is NOT the case.

To give you an idea of what to expect, you'll have, on average 3 to 3.5 hrs of class a day (about 15 a week). I usually spend 13.5 hours at school, so say a solid 7 hours of studying. as for the other 6.5 hours, there is the 3 hours of class and figure time walking to class, going to my locker, eating lunch, talking to the proff after class, etc... and yes, I also have time to male private part around a bit. You have to make SOME time to be social.  On the weekends, i go out on friday night and, maybe every other weekend, on saturday night as well. but i'm also up studying by 9am on saturday and sunday morning and i put in two FULL days of studying. clearly, this means that you wont be getting totally bad when you go out. but it also means that you can have a few beers and a good (non-puking) time. however, im sure that in a few months, once the work starts to get a bit heavier, ill end up doing work on friday or saturday night.

As far as tons of reading... definitely not the case. Certainly not hundreds of pages per night. It’s more of a case of just having to read VERY carefully and slowly. Lawyers read for detail, not for volume. It often times will take an hour (or more!) to read and brief a 10 page case. But this will speed up as the semester goes on. So in a few weeks I expect to be reading/briefing a lot more, but not having to spend significantly more time studying.

As far as your free time, it’s up to you, but you will have free time if you budget your time. I get to the gym for 1.5 hours every day, and make sure that I get a good 7 hrs sleep each night. I try to get to school at 7 at the latest, just cause I’m most productive in the morning. Some people are the opposite and won’t get there till 9:30 but will stay up till 1 or 2am.

Long story short: school is as hellish as you make it. If you stay organized, stay on top of your reading, stay focused when you are supposed to be studying, you will have time to play... not a ton of time to play, but enough to keep you sane. Law school is a lot of work, and there is no way around that... but it can also be a lot of fun, so look forward to it.

Current Law Students / Re: Am I studying enough?
« on: August 29, 2004, 12:00:17 PM »
If you are among the 0.01% of people who can put in no time studying and still do great in school, then wonderful. But you arent in law school to pass a class. you are in law school to learn a profession. How much more capable a lawyer could you become if you put in 5hrs a day of studying? how much better could you represent the interests of your client?

If you are paying the $150k to attend school... why not get your money's worth?

If someone else is paying for you, then you have been given an all-expense-paid trip to hawaii... why waste the gift by spending all your time in the hotel room watching tv? get out there and study!

is the proff the "worst" as in he/she is a horrible teacher, lecturere, etc..., or is the proff the worst as in very difficult?

ill be a 1L at BC this fall... ive got a masters in structural engineering. i definitely fared better than i should have given my ungergrad gpa and lsat score... and the fact that i applied VERY VERY late. but i really cant say what the exact reason was for my favorable admissions stats.

i did engineering in undergrad, and therefore had somewhat of a lower gpa (3.33). i cant speak to exactly what helped me the most... my engineering background (which i know law schools love), or my masters degree, or my higher gpa in grad school (3.90), or the fact that i simply had taken a grad level class. also, my lsat score was pretty good, though not amazing by any means.

but all that said, i have no doubt that the grad degree DID help me. but to what degree, i couldnt say.

But do you think your professors would be able to "teach the law" as they face the class? 

well, that outfit isnt such a problem when you are facing the person... its when you turn around that the problems start :)

Problems?  Perhaps you mean FUN!

eh... you say potayto, i say potahto, either way its a lot of naked asses in one place :)

yeah... always important to make a good impression.

ill be wearing leather chaps and a thong my first day. i just want to make sure that things get started out on the right foot.

If we could get our entire section outfitted this way, I'd think that would be a subtle signal to our professors that we were there to "learn the law".

sounds like a plan... im gonna go ahead and call the dean now to discuss our plan. if i dont show up for orientation youll know that the discussion... ummm... didnt go so well.

But do you think your professors would be able to "teach the law" as they face the class? 

well, that outfit isnt such a problem when you are facing the person... its when you turn around that the problems start :)

yeah... always important to make a good impression.

ill be wearing leather chaps and a thong my first day. i just want to make sure that things get started out on the right foot.

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