Law School Discussion

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Messages - tacojohn

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51
General Board / Re: Is life as a 1L really that difficult?
« on: June 21, 2007, 08:06:55 AM »
It's only as bad as you make it.  I second whoever said that law students like playing the role of "stressed-out student."  You can tell that some people are intentionally burning themselves out because they think they're supposed to, and, more importantly, it gives them an excuse to act however they want.  I would say a lot of people justify the drama they create by being a stressed-out student.

The biggest key to doing well in law school is confidence.  The one big advantage non-trads have generally over the straight-from-UG crowd is that they have confidence in their ability to get that volume of work done.  The process of starting law school, from taking LSATs to applying, to choosing a school, to enrolling, all the way through 1L seems designed to erode your confidence.  Especially all these books and people on here preaching their systems and guaranteed successful ways to study.  A lot of 1Ls enter law school thinking it is fundamentally different than other types of school.  It's not.

Most undergrad programs are poor preparation for law school, not because law school is completely different, but because you don't have to be on the ball to do well in a lot of UG programs.  You can slack off, you can catch up, you can only study for a month or two out of the semester.  Law school is fundamentally different only in the sense that most of this slack is gone.  If you had good study habits, they don't need to change, you just need to use them more.

The worst part is not only does the whole process make you think you need to change the way you study, it seems like it can make people believe that they aren't intelligent.  Don't let anyone do that to you.  If you got into a law school, you're a smart person.  If the school let you in, the school believes you are going to be successful.  You need to believe the same thing.

As far as specifics, treat it like a job.  The work is not 24/7.  If you can put in a solid 40-50 hour work week Monday-Friday, you'll be studying on few weekends.  Get a little ahead, so you have some wiggle room when a big assignment comes your way.  And when it comes to studying, don't listen to what anyone has to say unless you want to.  It's your education, there's no rules about how you do it.  Don't even let people question anything you do.  "Oh, you study in the library, doesn't that make you much more stressed out?"  Stuff like that.  Most of the time it's harmless but even then, it can cause you to doubt yourself.  Just do whatever seems to work, and if you have a bad semester, put it behind you, think about what you can do to change, and work on it.

52
General Board / Re: Work and School
« on: June 20, 2007, 09:32:51 AM »
Don't let law school run your life. By all means work hard but don't freak out!  :D I would suggest having an intimate  working knowldge of what kind of student you are, how you learn, what works best for you and making sure you DO THAT. Don't feel like you have to be in the library at all hours because other people are there or study in groups because other people do it. Do what works for you and your family...its totally possible to do well on terms that work for YOU. 

This is advice everyone should take to heart.  I think this is one of the biggest things that seperates who does well in law school vs. who struggles.  Knowing how you learn is so important.  If you don't know how you best retain and apply information, and you respond by simply working harder, you still won't be learning the material very well.  You might memorize every word from every case, but when it comes time to apply those case to a fact pattern, if you don't really understand them you won't do well on the test.

So take a while to think about what has really worked in the past.  Don't just focus on school settings, think about how you've learned anything, from how to hit a baseball to how to change your oil, or how to bake a cake.  Auditory vs. visual vs. haptic is one part of this.  Better with outlines and bullets or with prose?  Typing or handwriting?  The quicker you can pick up on these things and design your study habits around them, the better off you'll be.  Not just because you'll be learning more.  But also because you'll have less stress and more confidence that you really know the material.

53
General Board / Re: Is 2L really easier?
« on: June 15, 2007, 07:59:57 AM »
If you want to substantially raise your GPA, you have to take a lot of courses.  At least at my school, 1Ls take more hours than 2 or 3Ls.  Thus if you're taking 12 credits every semester, and you're getting all As, it helps, but not as much.  If you want to avoid being kicked out, you take less credits.  Thus if you do bad, it will lower your GPA less.

54
General Board / Re: Have all my 1L grades. Rate my job prospects.
« on: June 15, 2007, 07:55:00 AM »
Don't quote me on this, but you should be in the top 10 or 20%, which means you'll have a pretty good shot.  Just remember to sign up for a lot of OCI interviews, but practice good OCI etiqutte: research firms first so you know there's a chance you want to work there, since you'll get pretty much any interview you want, and you don't want to take spots when you really don't want to work for the firm.

55
General Board / Re: How important is case briefing?
« on: June 10, 2007, 10:13:33 AM »
If you can take notes straight into an outline, you'll be ahead of the game.  Only do this if it comes naturally though.  It's hard to make yourself think like that if you don't, and it can hinder your ability to do well on the test.  But then your outlining at the end of the semester will be just putting in class notes and editing it, which will take much less time and leave more time for reviewing the outline and practice exams.

56
General Board / Re: Transfer Students.
« on: April 18, 2007, 03:13:17 PM »
Provisionally approved schools are normally OK.  They have met all the requirements for ABA accreditation, I think they just need to show that they can keep those stats/credentials up for a couple years.

All the schools you are applying to are going to be very regional.  Your best bet is to retake the LSAT.  Also look at that scholarship from Cooley very carefully.  Many T3 scholarship offers require you to pay back the scholarship money if you transfer, so you can't use their money to skip town to a better school.  I would strongly advise against going there if that's the case with your scholarship.

57
General Board / Re: Law Review Rumors
« on: April 18, 2007, 03:08:59 PM »
I think most students here turned it in.  I think almost every who started it turned it in.  Those who weren't going to do it didn't even start it.

58
General Board / Re: Repeating success from 1L Fall in 1L Spring
« on: April 16, 2007, 11:14:33 AM »
You scare with the "people have it made and slack off" comment. I think I did less actual work volume this semester (perhaps b/c I better understand what's important and how to learn). I'm really afraid of being one of these people, even though I finished all my outlines, I've done a practice exam for each class and been studying weekends for a month. I think I might be paranoid, but 2nd semester is much more pressure to perform at the same level as last time. Plus, I think I'll grade on lr if I don't screw up, and that's some serious pressure.
What you described is not someone slacking off.  I'm talking about the people who get good grades first semester and stop studying altogether, get way behind in reading, start drinking and partying more, and generally revert to the type of study habits you expect out of undergrads.

Freaking yourself out is just as sure a path to doing poorly as not studying is.  You sound like you're doing fine, just keep it up and don't worry about what everyone else is doing.

59
General Board / Re: Repeating success from 1L Fall in 1L Spring
« on: April 15, 2007, 07:09:42 PM »
I pretty sure the # of people who work harder second semester is offset by the number who do well and think they have it made and slack off.

Just do what made you successful, and don't worry about what everyone else is doing, at the very least until it actually causes your ranking/grades to go down.

60
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: you top-5% people
« on: April 15, 2007, 07:06:25 PM »
To be very honest, I think you need to have a few innate skills to get top 5%.  To sniff even the top 15%, you need to beat the curve in every single class.  Assuming a 3.0 curve, you really need to get B+ in every class, then pull down an A or two.  To do this, you absolutely must be a good test taker.  Starting with your first final, you cannot have a bad day.  You also need to know what study tactics work best for you.  It's probably not a good idea to change everything you do if it was successful in the past, but you need to find out what helps you understand the material in that first semester to have the consistently good tests that get a top 5-15% ranking.

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