Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Poll

How do you feel, having completed the first semester?

I am pumped!  Contracts is my female dog!  I am pumped for this semester!
 17 (14.8%)
It has been a generally positive experience; I learned a lot.
 29 (25.2%)
I sent out my application to B-school last week.  Any more questions?
 16 (13.9%)
It has been an experience filled with both positive and negative impressions and experiences.
 26 (22.6%)
I must learn to sacrifice myself for the better good of mankind.
 27 (23.5%)

Total Members Voted: 93

Author Topic: 1L's - Talk about your first semester, your experiences and impressions!  (Read 38589 times)

TLFKARG

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Re: 1L's - Talk about your first semester, your experiences and impressions!
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2005, 03:03:11 PM »
I don't get my grades till the 25th so I really can't say much about that, but overall the experience has been fairly positive.  I have learned that time management skills, which I thoroughly lacked as an undergrad, are one of the keys to law school success and maintenance of sanity.  There are a lot of things going on, and often it gets so overwhelming that you "check out" for a few hours, because you are on such information overload.  Sometimes, when that happens to me in class, I just let it happen and read at supplement at home to cover whatever information I missed while I spaced out.

One thing I could recommend is to get your resume and cover letters for firm jobs/externships/clerkships/etc. done well before December 1st, the earliest date 1L's are allowed to apply for these positions.  It's very difficult to juggle finals prep and job prep, so it's best to have all of it done and ready to send out before finals bite you in the ass.  I DO NOT recommend working on job-related things during finals, as you are bound to either do poorly on finals, because you didn't spend enogh time studying or your cover letters are going to be plagued with typos and grammar mistakes because you were hard-pressed to get them done and get to studing for your crim law final.  It's just not a good idea. 

I will take any questions you guys may have also.  I don't want to go on writing rants that you will probably find useless, so feel free to steer me in a direction that interests you more.

TDPookie1

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Re: 1L's - Talk about your first semester, your experiences and impressions!
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2005, 03:16:06 PM »
One thing I could recommend is to get your resume and cover letters for firm jobs/externships/clerkships/etc. done well before December 1st, the earliest date 1L's are allowed to apply for these positions.  It's very difficult to juggle finals prep and job prep, so it's best to have all of it done and ready to send out before finals bite you in the ass.  I DO NOT recommend working on job-related things during finals, as you are bound to either do poorly on finals, because you didn't spend enogh time studying or your cover letters are going to be plagued with typos and grammar mistakes because you were hard-pressed to get them done and get to studing for your crim law final.  It's just not a good idea. 

i want to add to the above paragraph.  someone else on LSD recommended doing that type of stuff this summer, esp the part where you have to get firm information, i guess.  i don't know how much career services does to help you with this stuff, or if you're on your own to figure out which firms should get your resume, but i thought it was a very good idea.  it's easy enough to do using martindale/NALP.  by then, we'll know where we're going to LS and probably where we want to work for the summer.  i figured i'd put together an excel spreadsheet with firm name, hiring partner name, address, phone number, and a little blurb with any other pertinent info for all the big firms in LA plus whatever city is closest to where i'm going to LS (NYC or SF, probably).  then it'll be all ready for mail merge.  i'll update my resume, but write the cover letter later, so i can say something substantive about my LS experience.

thoughts?
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operatke

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Re: 1L's - Talk about your first semester, your experiences and impressions!
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2005, 03:16:41 PM »
And don't worry about (possibly tangential) rants, personally I tend to find them pretty useful and interesting.

I concur...rants good

Monkey

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Re: 1L's - Talk about your first semester, your experiences and impressions!
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2005, 03:38:28 PM »
I don't get my grades till the 25th so I really can't say much about that, but overall the experience has been fairly positive.  I have learned that time management skills, which I thoroughly lacked as an undergrad, are one of the keys to law school success and maintenance of sanity.  There are a lot of things going on, and often it gets so overwhelming that you "check out" for a few hours, because you are on such information overload.  Sometimes, when that happens to me in class, I just let it happen and read at supplement at home to cover whatever information I missed while I spaced out.

One thing I could recommend is to get your resume and cover letters for firm jobs/externships/clerkships/etc. done well before December 1st, the earliest date 1L's are allowed to apply for these positions.  It's very difficult to juggle finals prep and job prep, so it's best to have all of it done and ready to send out before finals bite you in the ass.  I DO NOT recommend working on job-related things during finals, as you are bound to either do poorly on finals, because you didn't spend enogh time studying or your cover letters are going to be plagued with typos and grammar mistakes because you were hard-pressed to get them done and get to studing for your crim law final.  It's just not a good idea. 

I will take any questions you guys may have also.  I don't want to go on writing rants that you will probably find useless, so feel free to steer me in a direction that interests you more.

Thanks, Ruskie - and I agree with the posters above, anything and everything you can tell us is helpful at this point!  One thing I'm interested in knowing about: I've heard that while it's important to stay on top of your reading (in part so you can have a good showing in class), it's ultimately far more important to be fully prepared for finals than it is to "look smart" on the day you happen to be called on.  But, are the two mutually exclusive?  Meaning, are the day-to-day case law readings meant to simply serve as more conceptual examples of the black-letter law you actually need to know for finals - or is the actual case law important for finals too?  (I hope that makes sense - and if I'm using the wrong terminology here, which is totally possible, feel free to straighten me out.) :)  Thanks!
Attending: W&M

the REAL desi

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Re: 1L's - Talk about your first semester, your experiences and impressions!
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2005, 03:54:30 PM »
re:  being prepared for class.  you don't have to be a shining star in class.  every professor bullsh!ts about giving points for excellent class participation, but like i said, it's total bullsh!t.  the important thing is that you say SOMETHING, ie, showing that you did the reading.

also, professors really hate gunners, ie, those who feel the need to talk in every single class.  don't waste their time.  they WiLL consider that when lowering your grade.

as for legal writing, to a certain extent, it is arbitrary, because the professor (or TA, depending on your school), has seen your writing style all semester.  but my final memo was markedly different from the rough draft I submitted, so i doubt that my professor (who really hates me) remembered it was me (and I got a B+ in the class)

TLFKARG

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Re: 1L's - Talk about your first semester, your experiences and impressions!
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2005, 03:55:58 PM »
Thanks

I understand that there is tons of reading involved.. how much of that is re-reading of things you've already read? 

Also, when you look back at your first semester, are there any things that make you think to yourself "wow, now I know better"


And don't worry about (possibly tangential) rants, personally I tend to find them pretty useful and interesting.

The reading is every bit as heavy as they say.  Most people will find it to be new.  There were a few things I had covered in my undergraduate legal studies or poli sci classes that were taught out of case books, but most of the information was new.  All of the info you learn in law school is practical and useful, thank GOD!  You won't find yourself asking, why do I need to know THIS?! You will be surprised how applicable to your own life some things may be, especially in property and K's.

taterstol

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Re: 1L's - Talk about your first semester, your experiences and impressions!
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2005, 04:02:27 PM »
I've heard a lot of 1Ls refer to grading (esp in LWR) as being largely arbitrary.

What are your takes on that?

I definitely did not expect to do as well in LRW as I did. I didn't really think I did bad, but I didn't think it was all that great either. It turns out she's using it as the sample for the class.

That's the only class that I know about though so I can't comment on the others yet.

jas9999

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Re: 1L's - Talk about your first semester, your experiences and impressions!
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2005, 05:11:31 PM »
as far as grades being arbitrary, you certainly hear that from people who didn't do well. kinda like the whole predictive value of the lsat thread...

Quote
also, professors really hate gunners, ie, those who feel the need to talk in every single class.  don't waste their time.  they WiLL consider that when lowering your grade.

this varies by professor. some love the gunners and actively solicit their opinions every day, while others will humiliate them in front of the whole class to get them to shut up.

Quote
Meaning, are the day-to-day case law readings meant to simply serve as more conceptual examples of the black-letter law you actually need to know for finals - or is the actual case law important for finals too?

in most classes, the readings serve to provide you with the so-called black letter law. you read a case, and from that you extrapolate a particular black letter rule. depending on the way the professor runs the class, the actual rule may never be explicitly articulated, so if you haven't read it, you won't know it. others will lecture heavily on the rules so you really only need to know the facts of the case to save face class when called on.

it's a little different with classes like civ pro and criminal (depending on how it's taught), where you're working from actual statutory law. in my crim class, we were taught straight off the ny penal code. the case readings just illustrated how the courts have interpreted different provisions in the penal code. for the final, we needed to know the elements of the crimes primarily (and how to identify whether a crime's been committed based on a fact pattern). the case readings only came into play for giving concrete examples of why conduct X or Y is not crime Z. i hope that makes some sense.


Monkey

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Re: 1L's - Talk about your first semester, your experiences and impressions!
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2005, 05:30:08 PM »
as far as grades being arbitrary, you certainly hear that from people who didn't do well. kinda like the whole predictive value of the lsat thread...

Quote
also, professors really hate gunners, ie, those who feel the need to talk in every single class.  don't waste their time.  they WiLL consider that when lowering your grade.

this varies by professor. some love the gunners and actively solicit their opinions every day, while others will humiliate them in front of the whole class to get them to shut up.

Quote
Meaning, are the day-to-day case law readings meant to simply serve as more conceptual examples of the black-letter law you actually need to know for finals - or is the actual case law important for finals too?

in most classes, the readings serve to provide you with the so-called black letter law. you read a case, and from that you extrapolate a particular black letter rule. depending on the way the professor runs the class, the actual rule may never be explicitly articulated, so if you haven't read it, you won't know it. others will lecture heavily on the rules so you really only need to know the facts of the case to save face class when called on.

it's a little different with classes like civ pro and criminal (depending on how it's taught), where you're working from actual statutory law. in my crim class, we were taught straight off the ny penal code. the case readings just illustrated how the courts have interpreted different provisions in the penal code. for the final, we needed to know the elements of the crimes primarily (and how to identify whether a crime's been committed based on a fact pattern). the case readings only came into play for giving concrete examples of why conduct X or Y is not crime Z. i hope that makes some sense.

That makes a lot of sense, and is exactly what I was wondering - thanks so much!
Attending: W&M

BAFF213

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Re: 1L's - Talk about your first semester, your experiences and impressions!
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2005, 08:25:11 PM »
(just posting here so it'll be in my unread replies.  great idea, ruskie!)

yea, that's essentially what i was doing by posting the (somewhat unnecessary) comment above.