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Messages - bros

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Incoming 1Ls / Advice for 1Ls to be
« on: October 24, 2007, 04:04:20 PM »
I realize the following advice is unsolicited but I thought I would give it anyway.
1. Love the one you're with. If you go to a non-t14 school, and you chose it over another more highly ranked school, you will have doubts. You will probably regret it, just like I did. However, there's nothing you can do about it now, and transferring is, honestly, pretty rare and almost always impracticable. Do the best you can, focus on the good things about your choice and keep going. No one likes a quitter, and the fact that you got into a t20 won't matter at all after the ego-bruising of becoming a dropout after 1L (I've seen it happen). Be positive about it.

2. Don't expect it to be easy. I can't tell you how upset many people in my class are after getting straight A's their entire lives and then having to deal with bottom 50%- bottom 10% grades. It happens. Not everyone is going to be in the top half of the class. In fact, there is a 50% chance that YOU WON'T BE. Be prepared for that. Everyone says "that's not going to happen to me, because I work hard, will do whatever it takes, and I'm smart." Such is the situation with EVERY SINGLE other member of your class. That;s what theyre thinking. If you base your choice of school based on the "I'll definitely get top 1/3rd there, so everything will be ok" YOU ARE PROBABLY MAKING THE WRONG CHOICE.

3. Don't talk about your f-ing sorority or fraternity. These people just come off as pathetic and living in the past. If you went to a college like mine where being Greek was considered the cool thing, this is not the same as in LS. I was in a fraternity at a fairly fratty public school and now I go to law school at a much frattier public school, and let me tell you, the kids who constantly talk about the good old days and wear their frat/sorority gear just come across as lame and immature. Inevitably, 4 or 5 of the people like this in your section will bond and isolate themselves from the rest of the class. Don't do this. Have an open mind about people; at this point in your life there are more important phenomena at play than that awesome White Rose Ball you had last year or surrounding yourself with the most attractive, conservative people possible. Remember that.

4. Live alone. DEFINITELY do not live with another person who is not a law student, and DEFINITELY don't live with a stranger.

5. If you're going to be a gunner - like a sit-in-the-front, volunteer-knowledge-at-ever-opportunity, member of frivolous clubs, after-class-professor-chatting, waxing judicial when you get called on GUNNER, then make that decision early and don't look back.

6. Don't out yourself in class - as a liberal, a conservative, a good student, an average student, an organ donor, a gay person, a straight person, or someone who loves playing Yahtzee --- you might not care about what people think of you, but trust me, it's just not a good idea to get personal with anyone you aren't friends with, and that includes professors and random people in your section.

7. Start outlining early and outline often. I know it might not seem like a big deal in september to take a whole saturday just chilling and beering and whatevering, but as a 1L you're still figuring a lot out, and it takes a longer time to make the progress an experience law student could make in the same time. Outline/study/read something law-related every day, you'll thank yourself when you arent completely scrambling to prepare for exams. That isnt to say you wont be completely scrambling, you will be, but you will get a better grade than the people who didnt do anything except fun stuff on the early weekends in the semester.

8. Don't get involved with another law student if you can possibly help it.

9. DON'T SURF THE INTERNET IN CLASS. This can only lead to poor performance, getting frozen socratically, or other embarrassing stuff, like ESPN blaring sports updates out of your laptop during Evidence when you were just trying to get the score of the Redskins game.

10. Don't think you can fart in class and no one will notice. They'll notice.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Which Cooley campus?
« on: May 16, 2007, 10:58:48 AM »
it's simple good advice and fair warning. no one knows they will be able to transfer from anywhere, least of all a school like cooley. it's not an immature response.

as to your original question, whichever one you would like to live near. i dont think it really matters.

I'm definetly a marathoner.

That approach would make me nervous.  I'm jealous of anyone that can do that.  I'm not quite confident enough in my abilities to do it like that.  Kudos to you, ---.

I have heard, however, not to brief, but rather to highlight with different color highlighters representing different things in the case (i don't have the list right now, see Law School Confidential for the actual thing).  Do any of the 1L's think this would be beneficial?

i went from briefing every case to just underlining a little bit after i got used to getting called on. both work fine, but i would start out briefing every case until you really get a feel for how your prof works.

lol yeah I realized a while ago that this site can be bad for your health...and potentially your grades!  :D  I try to weave through the "fluff" to get to the good stuff!  Thank you again for posting!  I consider this good stuff  ;)

sure man. where are you going?

Can I just say that I am not really concerned about the other students in the class, but "competing" with myself and doing the best I know that I can hopefully my question concerning taking practice exams was not seen as someone who misunderstood this.  Or someone who will potentially try to out do my classmates.

I am not quite understanding the disagreement here though, but I believe it is because the other "T14" schools were not mentioned along with HYS, by bros.  So will the back and forth cease if the whole HYS argument was extended to everyone in the "T14"?  Again, I did not take from bros' posts that focusing on competition was the way to get ahead in law school...just wanted to make that clear.

P.S. Thank you answering my question, bros!  I really think that the practicing route is the way I am going to be approaching this!

it's fine, it's just the general LSD belief that competitiveness shouldnt exist in law school and to a large extent doesnt exist in law school. as a former regular around here, i took this mentality into LS and i got a rude awakening. a lot of this is promulgated by t14 students because its not as important for them to be as close to the top of the class as they can be.

It's very disingenuous to slam people who are sharing their personal experience in law school simply because some posters dont want to face the fact that things are the way they are at certain law schools. the loyola 2l thread comes to mind...

aagain, you're TOTALLY exaggerating what i am saying and projecting your idea of a gunner, library book stealer, classmate fucker over.
I'm not exaggerating what you said.  You said that it is "important" to do "ANYTHING you can do to give yourself an advantage over your classmates" (emphasis YOURS).  You said that you shouldn't focus on "learning the law/material" but rather focus on "BEATING your classmates" (emphasis again YOURS).  Moreover, one should focus on "doing things that will put you ahead of them" (whatever that is).  You said that all of this should be a law student's "primary goal" (thus ahead of things like doing the best you can, getting good grades, getting a good job, having a fun time, making friends, building a network of future colleagues, etc.)

I'll assume that you simply overstated your thoughts.  But I still stand by my point: focusing on the competition isn't good advice for future law students.  This is true regardless of where you are.  You still don't seem to get my central point: If you do the best that you can in a competition against yourself, you will do just as well as if you're thinking about beating out your classmates.  Do you get this?  Obviously, you have to know the material better than the other guys to get a good grade.  But you have NO CONTROL over that, unless you resort to gunnerish douchebaggery.

You're right that A's aren't given out like candy, as they often are in college.  But you're wrong that this means you need to "do anything you can" to hurt your classmates.  My suggestion for future law students is that they keep their mental frame of reference on THEMSELVES, not on their classmates.

furthermore, you go to a school where competition is less important because the quality employers will go VERY deep into the class, so you really have a different experience, don't you?
Before, you implied Columbia students DID need to be cutthroat to get ahead, since they're outside of the HYS.  I'll assume that you just overstated your belief there too.
You are totally right that just about anyone can get a biglaw job paying market from CLS.  To this extent, there's a little less pressure in my experience.  And no doubt a lot less of this cutthroat competition.  Regardless, Columbia students still want to do well.  Regardless of job prospects, no one likes getting a B-.  And there are still limited numbers of Law Review spots, prestigious clerkships, academic awards, etc.  So even students at higher ranked schools feel the need to do well.  But I think the point is that you can do well without targeting fellow students as your enemy.

bros, I'm sure you're a nice guy.  I don't want to imply you're a gunner or a feminine hygiene product or anything.  But I want to emphasize a take-away point for those actually looking at this thread for advice: don't let yourself be consumed by competition.  You can do just as well by focusing on working hard and doing the best you can, and will be all the better for it.  Perhaps you can agree to that premise?

i was exaggerating when i said that you need to be cutthroat competitive outside of hys. when i said hys, i meant it to imply hys and schools like hys, where the environment is less competitive because everyone is pretty sure they can get a decent job.

and to me, beating other students is an essential part of getting good grades, getting a good job, and doing the best you can. and it's not mutually exclusive with making friends and networking.

i'm sharing my personal philosophy and experience. if you want to give advice of your own, do it in your own thread.

Thanks for the advice, bros!

I read your posts and I didn't feel like you were being overly dramatic.  I appreciate you being upfront about your school's situation.  I will not be attending a "T14" and am willing to here different point of views about the law school atmosphere.  I may just be a naive 0L, but I haven't seen anything wrong with what you said or how it was phrased.

You might have already covered this (I believed I read the entire thread) but do you have any tips on when to take practice tests?  I am *striving* to stay up-to-date with my reading assignments and outlining, but when exactly would you suggest starting to look at practice tests?  Also, do you use any student support programs/systems at your school?  (For example, mentoring from a professor/3L student, etc.)

Thank you for your help and thank you for volunteering to talk about your experiences!! 

I really wish that I had made time to take more practice tests. Sometimes the profs themselves will put past practice tests up on e-reserve or what have you - these are obviously the best. also pepperdine and harvard have good banks of tests. glannon's guides and other commercial prep materials have tests with sample answers, which are mighty helpful, but might not fit your particular course.

I would start doing them about a month before your exam, and try to do 2 per week. any more than that, and i would be burned out. any less, and i feel like it's underpreparing. the key is to practice. even though you might know the law, law school exams (at least for me) are hard to take and i needed practice to really make sure that i developed each issue the way i should.

any other ?s   ?

ask anything at all.

How'd the summer job search go?  Have much time for this between classes/studying? (apologies if you covered this elsewhere)

i didnt go out for summer jobs because i knew that my chances of getting a paid position anywhere were extremely slim, and probably not worth the trouble. instead i made up my mind early to take classes in the summer so as to boost my GPA and get a jump on next year/3L. About 5 people in my section got firm jobs, there are a LOT of kids doing summer school and the rest are doing unpaid stuff in our local large city.

any other ?s   ?

ask anything at all.

towelie, lets state the obvious.  you go to penn.  thus, there isn't much competition for jobs because likely everyone in the top 75% will have a job when they graduate.  this is the benefit of going to a school like penn.  therefore you didn't have a very competitive experience in law school and you disagree with everyone in the world saying that law school is competitive.  law school is competitive.  end of story.

in the world outside of top 10, knowing more than the next guy is pretty important.  since bros never once said that you had to lie, cheat and steal to know more than the next guy, i would say that bros is giving pretty good advice...

thank you. you get what i am saying. this advice is not aimed at t14 students, it's aimed at everyone else who goes to a school like mine. it's going to be a different story at any school where the name on your diploma alone all but guarantees you at least a decent job.

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