Law School Discussion

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Messages - tacojohn

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41
On the outlining in September vs. waiting until near the end of the semester, it's all about what you're comfortable with.  If you have free time, and it's eating at you that you haven't started outlining in September, then start your outline.  Just remember, you're going to have to spend some time editing and refining it because there will be connections between the material at the beginning and end of most classes.

As long as you understand what an outline is supposed to be, a personalized summary of the information in the class which mostly gets its value from its creation, you can start it anytime you like.  Just make sure you start it early because it will lose some value if it's simply a list of shortened notes.

42
General Board / Re: Part-time job as a 1L?
« on: July 02, 2007, 07:19:44 AM »
Your resume is not that bad.  You'll almost certainly be entering school with people who haven't worked much at all, so it's not like you'll be the unexperienced one among a sea of people with sparkling resumes packed full of amazing past jobs.  Boalt and other T14s are able to have those screwy grading systems because employers will not demand fine distinctions between students.  That is, a firm that might only interview the top 30% at Hastings might take any Boalt student who applies.

Some experience is good.  An ideal job is related to legal work, and has an extremely flexible schedule, especially one where you can simply not come in for a week or so if your schoolwork piles up.  Your school will probably have opportunities, like a tenant assistant group, helping with protective orders, or working with the student legal services group on the undergrad campus.  Some of these opportunities might even include courtroom experience.

But focus on doing well in school.  A bunch of honors grades, and even a completely blank resume won't be a significant obstacle.  But there are lots of ways to get experience that won't significantly impact your ability to do well in school.  Also, I might avoid working in the senator's office since you already did that, unless you're really interested into going into politics.

43
General Board / Re: Law Review Write-On Competition: What is it?
« on: June 30, 2007, 01:08:50 PM »
Prof. Volokh's book, Academic Legal Writing, is the most popular guide to this.  You can also look through your law school's review and see what types of student notes get published.  The team that publishes those student notes typically designs the competition material, so you get an idea of what type of student writing is "publishable."

My advice for someone who really, really wants to do well:
1.  Start by reading student notes published by your school's journals in the last couple years.
2.  Read Volokh's book, especially the chapter on the law review competition.
3.  Read the bluebook, tab it up, learn to love it.
4.  Read the packet carefully.  The ability to follow the rules exactly is one of things being tested, and the easiest way to lose valuable points that might get you on the review is to start breaking rules.
5.  Start early.  Many schools have it due before people start working, so treat it like a job.
6.  Don't work too hard.  Kind of counterintuitive, but it's a tough, long slog to do this, and it's right after finals.  So make sure you don't burn yourself out working for two days straight and then don't have the energy to edit it and clean it up enough, or start cutting corners and violate rules.

44
While PLS may have some nuggets of useful info, for the most part, the book is inflammatory and the author has some serious issues.  Law school, at least in my experience, is nothing like Atticus Falcon says it is.

I am also of the opinion that spending your entire summer before law school prepping with supplements and things is, for the most part, a waste of time.  It's one thing to flip through some E&Es or outlines to get an idea of the general course of a class.  It's another to work through the supplements, going over material that your professor may not even cover.  With the exception of LEEWS, your summer is likely well spent sitting by the pool.

I've never read PLS II, so I'm assuming when you say it's nothing like he says it is, you mean he says it's really stressful and competitive and you need to work 24/7 to stay afloat, much less thrive.

The problem with those books (Law School Confidential as well) is that they typically are written for the worst case scenario.  At a T3 where you need good grades to get a decent job and the attrition rate is high, and you want to transfer/keep your scholarship against a 2.0 curve, I think it makes a lot more sense.

It's fine to read those books, just don't take them as gospel because they have set-in-stone study methods that might not work for everyone, and they say you need to work extremely hard, harder than a lot of people will need to.  If you're flexible with them, I think they don't do that much damage.

45
General Board / Re: Tickets
« on: June 28, 2007, 07:30:28 AM »
Well, you got your answer then.

46
General Board / Re: best cities to work in with law degrees?
« on: June 28, 2007, 07:29:16 AM »
Austin. Why? Because, factoring in COLA, Texas lawyers get paid the most, and Austin is the most liberal city in Texas.
Factoring in hours too, Indianapolis lawyers get paid the most.

47
I think it's hard to prepare to be in the top 10%.  If you work hard, that alone will get you to the top half of the class.  If you add some natural ability, you can get yourself to the top 25 or 30%.  To get to the top 10%, you have to be lucky.  To be in the top 10%, you either have to do very well in the majority of your class, i.e. get As, or you need to beat the median in virtually every class.  So you either need to have a lot of stellar test days, or you need to have all good test days.

A law school exam is based on confidence, so you need to know what will rattle your confidence.  More than one law student was convinced they were going to work themselves to the top of the class, only to pick up a practice exam too early in the semester, wasn't able to answer basically anything on it, and then freaked themselves out for the rest of the semester.

Understand that you'll have good and bad days when studying and try to work with that rhythm, not fight against it.  You want to treat law school like a job in the sense that you prepare yourself to work 8-9 hours every day, but that doesn't mean you can't check out early, or stay late.  I worked until midnight some nights and other days I didn't work at all, unless I had to get something read for class the next day.  You have to have the right attitude though, you can't get discouraged when it's a bad day and you're just doing the minimum.

Try to frontload the work.  It's easier to pull back a little bit than to catch up.  If you get behind early, fall break (if you have one) is really the only time to catch up.

Just try to arrive at each test relaxed, confident, and prepared.  Law school isn't a crapshoot in the sense that if you work hard, you'll succeed, but to get the type of grades you want, you have to be incredibly lucky.

48
General Board / Re: Tickets
« on: June 26, 2007, 07:16:30 AM »
If you disclose it, you might have to answer some questions about it, but you should be fine.  Just don't think for a second you can leave it off.  You just need to disclose everything, no matter how minute you think it is.

49
IU does not have sections, in that you don't take all your classes with the same group of people, outside of a small peer group (6-8 people).

I don't completely agree with this.  I just finished 1L, and we had the same people in three out of four of my classes for the first semester.  The only class that differed was crim law, and that was because the summer starters had already taken it.  Second semester, two of our classes had a different group of people than our "section" from first semester, but we took those two classes with the same people.   

From what I could tell there wasn't an unfair distribution of students among the sections (i.e. no "stacking"), so this doesn't really much to the discussion.  It's possible that the set up was different for my class than it was for tacojohn's class.     

I'd like some math genius to come figure out the numbers, because I'm pretty sure you could see how significant having that fourth class is.  My class set up was virtually the same (although my schedule was a little screwed up as a summer starter).  I just don't see it as sections per se because you still have these chances to get a leg up on the people in the other three classes when you don't have to compete directly with them.

50
Residency is impossible to get at IU.  You have to basically move to Indiana and live there a year before applying, i.e. show that you moved to the state for reasons other that obtaining residency to go to IU.  Once you're classified out of state, there's really no changing it.

IU does not have sections, in that you don't take all your classes with the same group of people, outside of a small peer group (6-8 people).  And the Recorder's office does a pretty good job of making sure that the grade distributions balance out in the 1L schedule.  So if you have the hard Torts class, you'll have the easy Contracts class, etc.

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