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Messages - Luziana
« on: June 25, 2008, 10:17:20 AM »
I joined a study group my first year because I do learn better when I can talk about concepts with other people.
My study group did have its moments of distraction and socialization, but in general we got a lot done. In part, this was because our study group scheduled social events (e.g., we're getting together for dinner Saturday, so we can socialize then), and in part it was because the group's personalities meshed very well.
There was a huge element of accountability, knowing that I had to show up to study -- even if I didn't feel like it-- because my group was waiting for me. We had one woman who was the organizer, making sure to book study rooms. Another woman was the motivator, always hounding us to stay on track. Each of us brought flashcards, supplements, etc. All we did was run through hypos. And by the time an exam rolled around, we'd typically done hundreds of hypos.
Three members of our group (out of the five) graduated in the top 10 percent. A fourth finished not far behind. And the fifth is a joint degree student and will graduate next year. All of us swear that we could not have done as well as we did without our study group.
So, it really depends on the individual.
« on: June 25, 2008, 09:47:47 AM »
The bar exam is a closed book 2 day exam on over 20 subjects.
In some states it's 3 days and covers a different number of topics. For instance, Louisiana's exam is 3 full days of essays in 9 broad topic areas. Ohio's bar exam website -- and the OP said she planned to take Ohio's -- indicates it's a three day exam on what looks to be 10 broad topics.
Each state's exam is different. So investigate your state's requirements, and make sure to meet all the filing deadlines etc., including any preregistration deadlines (some states make you preregister in your first or second year of law school). And then be sure to take a bar review course
! It's theoretically possible to pass the bar exam without taking one, but I don't recommend trying it.
« on: June 24, 2008, 01:04:35 PM »
To the OP:
You said you've never seen a financially struggling lawyer. Well, let's do the math.
Your school's median starting salary is $50,000. So, let's assume that you'll find a job paying exactly that median starting salary, and that your job will begin before your student loan repayment begins. (Some people on this board will criticize both assumptions -- with some good reason -- but making these assumptions will make the calculation far easier.)
So, you make $50,000 a year before taxes. Federal, state and local taxes will take 25 to 30 percent of your paycheck. Subtracting that 30 percent leaves $33,500 per year net after taxes.
$33,500 works out to $2791.67 per month.
Your student loan payments are likely to be at least $100 per month for each $10,000 you borrow, depending on interest rates. (My loans are about $50,000 and I'll be paying about $625 per month for the next ten years, for reference.) So, if you borrow $150,000, you'll be paying at least $1500 per month, probably more because a large chunk of your loans will have to be private loans with higher interest rates.
-- ($1500) [at least]
$1291.67 per month to spend on rent, groceries, utilities, car payments, and any other outstanding debt you carry.
There's not a whole lot left over after loan payments, when you look at it. A lot of new attorneys, especially from lower-ranked schools, struggle financially after graduation for quite some time. $1500 per month for ten years is a lot of money.
(And yes, there are extended repayment options for student loans... With those you could probably reduce your payments by half, but you'd be paying until you were 57, and you'd end up paying much, much more in interest.)
So should you take on all this debt? Only you can decide that. But be aware going in of the risks that you face.
« on: June 24, 2008, 12:18:36 PM »
Most states (Ohio among them) give the exam twice a year -- at the end of February and at the end of July. July is the more popular administration, since most graduates finish in May. February exam-takers tend to be people who failed the first time, people who graduated in December, or people who are taking a second state's exam.
It's possible to take some states' exams concurrently, in the same administration. For example, a lot of people take the NJ and NY bar exams both in July (other combinations I've heard of include PA and NJ, NY and MA, and MA and ME). People who do that generally take state essays and the MBE in one state on the first two days, then state essays in the second state on the third day. I don't think Ohio is one of the states that you can arrange this for, however.
As always, take this with a grain of salt -- I am certainly no expert.
« on: June 20, 2008, 07:47:31 AM »
Hornbooks, E&E, and similar supplements are a waste of your time at this point, like jacy said.
If you have made up your mind to prep for law school instead of just taking a relaxing summer, then here's my advice:
1) Read a preparing-for-law-school book like Law School Confidential (this was the one I read -- there are others).
2) Get an apartment, buy study supplies and set up a good place to study. (The aforementioned Law School Confidential has a whole section on this.) This might seem lame, but it's really useful. Having a good place to study is key.
3) If you want an idea of how Civ Pro works, read a book like "A Civil Action." (NOT the movie with John Travolta -- the real book.) Also, "The Buffalo Creek Disaster." We actually read these in my Civil Procedure class, because both books give fairly detailed accounts of the minutiae of civil procedure. For example, much of the Buffalo Creek book is devoted to explaining how the plaintiff's lawyers pierced the defendant's subsidiary's corporate veil and why they needed to in order to land in federal court, and how they selected the forum in which to file their action. It actually is a fairly interesting explanation of federal civil procedure, and I think it would be more beneficial to you at this point than simply Glannon's explanations on civil procedure.
4) Again, don't really waste your time memorizing random stuff now. What is most important in law school is how your professor teaches the course. If you start trying to memorize elements of torts now, what will you do if your torts professor has decided to state the elements of certain torts differently or has decided that "duty" and "foreseeability" are prohibited words in their class? If I had tried to start learning torts before I started law school, I would have been even more confused by that professor.
Also, as jacy said, some crim law classes focus on the MPC (mine did, apparently hers did to). Others still focus only on the common-law crimes and ignore the MPC. And some have a mix of both. Similarly, some contracts classes put more of an emphasis on UCC Article 2 than others do. If you start studying, you may end up emphasizing an area that your professors don't -- which is just a waste of your time and creates a risk of greater confusion.
« on: June 19, 2008, 03:44:31 PM »
Honestly, that sounds like a lot of statutory courses for one semester. I took Income Tax and Corporations in one semester, and it was a lot of work. I cannot imagine taking those classes along with Secured Transactions and Evidence in the same semester. I did very well in all those courses, but my brain would have shut down if I'd tried to take all four in the same semester.
(Also, consider what the exams are like. Be *very* wary of closed-book exams in statute-heavy courses, and be especially wary of multiple closed-book exams in a semester, if at all possible.)
« on: June 19, 2008, 03:37:34 PM »
I actually decided to handwrite. There is a limit for the number of people who can use a computer on the exam I'm sitting for, and I decided not even to bother registering for the opportunity for a computer spot. My reasons: 1) I'm neurotically afraid of computer crashes, 2) the time limits are incredibly tight anyway so I couldn't type much more than I could write, and 3) not many of the applicants are allowed to use computers, my chances of passing won't be handicapped that much.
I don't know what software VA uses, so I don't know if has page counts. I don't think my law school's exam software gave page counts -- but I thought there was some way to do a word count. But VA may use different software.
« on: June 18, 2008, 06:57:43 PM »
If you can get it, I say go for it. You'll never know if the court will take 1L interns unless you ask.
« on: June 18, 2008, 11:22:21 AM »
Look for full-time work in smaller cities on the East Coast before you look at temp/contract work. Contract work is miserable and soul-sucking, and those who take contract jobs often end up stuck in them (because employers somehow now see them as unworthy of fulltime work)
There's a blog detailing some of the more horrible temp experiences at http://temporaryattorney.blogspot.com/
The stories there are mostly anonymous, so it's hard to tell what is exaggerated, but some of my friends who have gone the contract route have had very bad experiences with being treated poorly. Temp/contract work will pay (some of) the bills, but it's not a great option if you can avoid it.
Again, I'd advise you to look at smaller cities. There are some smaller cities within a couple hours' drive or train ride of NYC where it would probably be much easier to get a job. You wouldn't be in NYC, but you'd be far closer to your wife's family than you are now. If you got a fulltime job in a smaller city or town, you could stay there for a few years and then try to go to NYC. I think that would be the better option.
« on: June 14, 2008, 09:16:00 AM »
I agree with the messages that urge you to be careful. A high GPA requirement to maintain a scholarship is very tricky, and there are no guarantees. With most scholarships with GPA requirements, I think the wisest thing to do is to assume that there is a good chance you won't be able to keep the scholarship. Also, you need to find out what Seton Hall's curve is to find out what percentile a 3.3 cumulative GPA would be in their first-year class.
A couple years ago when I was applying to law schools, a couple schools offered me scholarships where the only requirement was that I make "satisfactory academic progress" -- i.e. a 2.0, the minimum GPA to continue in the law school. I was pleasantly surprised that was their only requirement... most schools' scholarships (like the 3.3 at Seton Hall you've been offered) are much more difficult to maintain.