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Author Topic: The Truths and Myths of Law School...  (Read 7794 times)

squarre

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Re: The Truths and Myths of Law School...
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2004, 12:40:24 PM »
In all honesty I think a lot is what you make of it.  I do study a lot more than I did in my undergrad days and I went to an engineering school that has a reputation for wanting to screw students with regards to grades.  On average I have somewhere from 10-25 pages per class to read. At my school some people study constantly and some people claim they just look over the cases for about an hour (especially if they don't think there is a chance they will get called on).  I am probably somewhere in the middle of these 2 extremes.  

I think the main thing is to not get so consumed that you lose focus of the important things in life.  Just because you hear that somebody is studying so much than you doesn't mean that you need to study more just because they are.  Sure law school is very important, but when compared to family and other relationships it doesn't even compare.  You will be busy, but if you use your time effectively you should not have any need to neglect these things.

Here is what I generally try to do:

Monday-Wednesday:  I don't do a lot of studying at the library just because it is harder for me to concentrate there than at home. I get home from school at about 3:30 and relax for about a half hour.  I then usually start studying at about 4:00 and take breaks for dinner and to talk to my fiancee on the phone for 20 or 30 minutes.  Mondays I tend to study until at least 12:30 because I have my legal writing course on Tuesday that is very time consuming.  Tuesday and Wednesday I study until 10:30 or 11:00.

Thursday:  I also get home at 3:30, but I don't do study quite as much (so far). I usually try to study until 9:30 or 10:00. There are many school organizations events on Thursdays because very few classes are scheduled on Fridays.  My only Friday class is a Legal Bibliography class, which basically just teaches everyone how to use the library and perform online research (no studying is really required).

Friday:  I get out at 11:00 and haven't really had  a set schedule on this day.  Unless I really need to get caught up I take off from Friday after class until Saturday.

Saturday: I try to study somewhere in the 4-5 hour range (I think).  In all honesty I am not nearly as structured on this day as I am on others.

Sunday:  I don't start studying until 2:00 or 3:00 after church, lunch and a little time with family.  I then study until about 10:00

Hope this helps some.      

JustSo

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Re: The Truths and Myths of Law School...
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2004, 01:29:40 PM »
As background, I went to a very rigorous undergrad school and did the night school thing while working full time to pick up my M.A.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the low amount of work assigned.  My schedule looks like this:

8am:  Stagger to the shower.  Eat Breakfast.  Get cleaned up for the day.
8:30-9am (or 10am):  Review material for the day's classes.
9am-12pm:  Class
12pm-1pm:  Lunch
1pm-4pm:  More class.

I usually get about one solid hour of studying done during free periods either in the morning or the afternoon. 

4pm-6pm:  Study
6pm-730:  Dinner/Veg in front of TV time.
730-930pm:  More study---this is dependant on what I have to do, but I NEVER study past 930pm.  If I have any loose ends, I tie them up in the morning before class.

I also try and do 4-6 hrs of studying over the weekend.  Overall though, not too bad!


cbethun1

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Re: The Truths and Myths of Law School...
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2004, 06:31:37 PM »
Sqaurre:  What engineering school did you go to?  I'm currently at Clemson(after transferring from ASU in Augusta, GA).  Also, what law school are you attending?  Thanks for a good read. It looks like if you manage your time well, theres still time to "play".   


In all honesty I think a lot is what you make of it.  I do study a lot more than I did in my undergrad days and I went to an engineering school that has a reputation for wanting to screw students with regards to grades.  On average I have somewhere from 10-25 pages per class to read. At my school some people study constantly and some people claim they just look over the cases for about an hour (especially if they don't think there is a chance they will get called on).  I am probably somewhere in the middle of these 2 extremes.  

I think the main thing is to not get so consumed that you lose focus of the important things in life.  Just because you hear that somebody is studying so much than you doesn't mean that you need to study more just because they are.  Sure law school is very important, but when compared to family and other relationships it doesn't even compare.  You will be busy, but if you use your time effectively you should not have any need to neglect these things.

Here is what I generally try to do:

Monday-Wednesday:  I don't do a lot of studying at the library just because it is harder for me to concentrate there than at home. I get home from school at about 3:30 and relax for about a half hour.  I then usually start studying at about 4:00 and take breaks for dinner and to talk to my fiancee on the phone for 20 or 30 minutes.  Mondays I tend to study until at least 12:30 because I have my legal writing course on Tuesday that is very time consuming.  Tuesday and Wednesday I study until 10:30 or 11:00.

Thursday:  I also get home at 3:30, but I don't do study quite as much (so far). I usually try to study until 9:30 or 10:00. There are many school organizations events on Thursdays because very few classes are scheduled on Fridays.  My only Friday class is a Legal Bibliography class, which basically just teaches everyone how to use the library and perform online research (no studying is really required).

Friday:  I get out at 11:00 and haven't really had  a set schedule on this day.  Unless I really need to get caught up I take off from Friday after class until Saturday.

Saturday: I try to study somewhere in the 4-5 hour range (I think).  In all honesty I am not nearly as structured on this day as I am on others.

Sunday:  I don't start studying until 2:00 or 3:00 after church, lunch and a little time with family.  I then study until about 10:00

Hope this helps some.      

baseballjones

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Re: The Truths and Myths of Law School...
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2004, 08:31:14 PM »
I'm at USD law school.



Monday and Wed.
6:00(or 6:30) wake up
7:15(or 7:30) arrive at school (ps no problem parking at this time)
until 10:00 study for 1st class (book brief cases read and consult commercial outline)
class until 11:45
until 2:15 study for 2nd class
4:00 go home
4:00 til 7:00 break (eat, relax, work out etc...)
7:00 til 9:30 ouline for the two classes or work on lawyering skills assignment
then unwind until 10:30 and go to bed

Tues and Thurs
pretty much the same but my break in between classes is only an hour.  My second class is lawyering skills so I don't really need to do much in between anyways

Fri.
same with the exception of I only have a 10:00 class
12:30 or 1:00 arrive at home
1:00 til 5:00 veg out
5:00 til 9:00 catch up on outlining or lawyering skills homework

Sat and Sun
i spend about 12 hours total working on Lawyering skills assignments, outlining, and reading for the next week.

Definately not a salt mine but it is a grind.
the hard part is u have to take care of your body so u can study everyday.  Can't get incredibly drunk and get a massive hang over or most of the next day is wasted.  Can't pull all nighters b/c u get so tired that u can't study or even worse get sick.

sarahz

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Re: The Truths and Myths of Law School...
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2004, 10:39:33 PM »
Law school is not time consuming if you've ever gone to undergrad full-time and held a job.  I have TONS of extra time and find myself usually a few days ahead.  Honestly, (at least at my school) most people had easy as hell UG-Majors and never worked a day in their life while in school and they are the ones having a hard time!!!  Sorry guys, i know this isnt a popular point of view but give me a break...if you spend 10 hours a day doing school related stuff your fine and still have PLENTY of free time-hell, even a 12 hour day leaves tons of f-ing around time!!!  I think many law students are spoiled from spending the last 4 or 5 years taking money from mom & dad while getting a easy major like Poly Sci.

If you've never balanced a job and school you will think time managment is hard..otherwise, you'll find youself with more free time then you know what to do with!

vw515

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Re: The Truths and Myths of Law School...
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2004, 11:23:31 PM »
Sarahz I dont agree. Undergrad was easy as hell compared to Law School and I was a forensic Psych Major (which I believe should be a double major in pshychology and Law) I also worked (my personal choice didnt have to) and I still had time. Now all I do is study pretty much like the schedule I placed above. I still do things but it takes alot more brain power and everyone who understands the concepts during class in my school is using alot of their time to study. The people who dont study alot and brag about having a social life, sound like idiots in class and believe me we all talk trash about them. I may have had Mommies help thank God but you make it like all of us that have supportive parents are lazy and complain about having to work when that is not true. We all worked hard to get here even the political science majors. I work hard now because I want to get the best job and not to brag I know my *&^% because I dont care about going out for drinks with my friends as much as I did in undergrad. I still do but it is not a priority to have a social life. ONCE AGAIN JUST BECAUSE SOME OF US HAD IT EASIER IN LIFE IT DOES NOT MAKE US LAZY IMMATURE OR COMPLAINERS. Law school is just a different monster and I am glad it is normal for you to be busy working all the time it may help you make it through without looking forward for the free Keg nights at the local bar(yes my school has one it is fun. Good luck fellow 1L's.

sarahz

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Re: The Truths and Myths of Law School...
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2004, 12:32:23 AM »
I never said i was required to work...i did it by choice. I was spoiled by parents who paid for school too...I'm just saying that if you have ever had a job, gone to school full time and/or participated in other activities Law School is no different and in some cases less time consuming. ...none of the classes required of 1L's, so far, are so hard that it requires as much studying, as people who arent in LS yet, fear.  I dont study all of the time, but I talk in class and I dont sound like an idiot.  To me the material is straight foward, boring in many cases, but straight foward-as long as you can read and think/analyze in a logical manner its just not that bad. And I'm sorry if you dont really care about having a social life, i personally think that it is one of the more important parts of school, its how you make connection, network and if nothing else get to relax.

This is a personally theory but i'll say it anyways at the risk of being shot down:  Law students are type A personalities that often go way overboard  to achieve what they consider to be necessary to be #1.  I have seen MANY successful lawyers who realized very early on that they had the choice to either be the best and end up unhappy, or to do well (top 30%), get a good job and be happy...I subscribe to the second method...yes school is important, but its just as important to maintain a life outside of school.  My whole point in writing in the first place was so that some person out there, who hears horror stories about how law school takes over every second of your life...could hear another opinion. 

dgatl

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Re: The Truths and Myths of Law School...
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2004, 12:58:33 AM »
i agree to maintaining a life outside of school (which shouldn't involve any of your law school peers).  i guess i'm the type A person you mentioned, but there is nothing wrong with being competitive.  and though i'm putting in a *&^% load of time, this is so much more enjoyable than chemical engineering

squarre

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Re: The Truths and Myths of Law School...
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2004, 01:07:54 AM »
CBethun1: I went to Georgia Tech for undergrad and currently attend law school at Georgia State.

dtonsing

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Re: The Truths and Myths of Law School...
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2004, 09:09:33 AM »
 
Notice that (above) you find some law students are studying just a few hours each week – others are studying an extraordinary amount.  That’s  because they have different objectives and vastly different abilities, aptitudes, reading speeds, and study methods.

Because most law students are bright individuals, many can “get by” or even do “well” with a minimal amount of studying (“minimal” being a relative term). 

However, if you view law school as the beginning of your career as a lawyer, are you willing to settle for “getting by?”  I encourage students to perform at their personal best levels, preparing for the days when they will be representing clients whose freedom, lives, fortunes and families may well be at stake.  Start practicing now to be the kind of lawyer you would hire if you needed a lawyer. 

How does this translate into time spent studying?  You’ll read posts in this forum suggesting that studying quite a bit will cut down on those other essential parts of life that keep us happy, well-rounded, and psychologically well-nourished.  Think about this: if you are going to engage in a career as a lawyer, are you embarking on a career that will gobble up your life and not allow you to be happy? 

You see, a light week for most attorneys is in the neighborhood of sixty hours.  Why not devote as much time to law now as you will when you enter the professional practice?  Practice managing your time (during law school) in such a way that you are able to devote considerable time to your law practice, and still have as much time as you need to lead a well-balance life, packed with social opportunities, exercise, and fun – maintaining your psychological and spiritual health at the highest levels. Then, when you begin your professional practice – about 1000 days from the first semester of law school – you will be very experienced at balancing law and life.

Consider this:  14 hours in class; 42 hours outside of class (3 hours for every class hour). That adds up to 56 hours – one-third of the 168 hours we all have in each week.  If you sleep as much as 8 hours each night (7 X 8 = 56), that leaves you with 56 hours to attend to your personal health and well being, to socialize, to cook gourmet meals, to attend church, to play tennis, to fold the laundry, to do all those other things that make life worthwhile.

If you spend substantially more time than this, you run the risk of burning out, ruining your health, giving in to the stresses we all (lawyers and law students) face, and – therefore – doing less than your personal best. 

If you spend substantially less time than this, you probably won’t be attending to all the essential elements of high-level study and exam prep: reading, briefing, attending every class, taking notes, transforming your notes, creating course summaries (“outlines”), developing flow charts, and answering practice hypotheticals in writing.

For an in-depth discussion of how much time to spend studying, and how to use that time most efficiently, go to your law library and find the September issue of Student Lawyer, the ABA Law Student Division publication.  The cover article I wrote covers this whole topic, and provides a step-by-step method for allocating your time.  There you will find a sample of how a student can determine precisely how much time to spend studying each day.

If you have further questions about this, feel free to e-mail me.

Dean of Students
Academic Support Program Director
Roger Williams University School of Law
Bristol, RI
Recent Publication: "1000 Days to the Bar -- But the Practice of Law Begins Now" (Wm. S. Hein & Co., Inc., 2003)