Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Law School Weekends  (Read 2932 times)

kmpnj

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 469
    • View Profile
    • law school numbers
    • Email
Re: Law School Weekends
« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2006, 03:46:33 PM »
I'd like to take a different approach, if I may.

We are all training to enter a profession.  This profession has the potential to impact people we will never meet.  Who knows which of the briefs we write could be part of a larger class action suit that gets millions for victims of corporate malfeasance or helps preserve a woman's right to choose her reproductive destiny.  Bottom line, it is professionally irresponsible to approach the job in such a laissez faire way.  A person's lack of discipline and hard work could be the difference between their client going to prison for 20 years or walking free.  That's a hell of a price to pay for partying on the weekends.

That is not to say that one doesn't need time off.  For example, every Saturday night is going to be date night for me and the Mrs.  It is a non-negotiable.  But she understands my need to do my best with law school, not so much for bargaining position, but to try to be the best lawyer I can be so that I can serve my clients in the best way that I can.  It is a professional responsibility that I take quite seriously.  I would hope anyone going to law school would too.

starter

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 14
    • View Profile
Re: Law School Weekends
« Reply #21 on: April 11, 2006, 04:00:52 PM »
No offense, but you 0L's sound like total idiots.  You won't keep your 5am-11pm work schedule every weeknight and full days on Saturday and Sunday.  It just won't be productive, and it's not even possible or practical.  You treat law as if all it is is reading massive tomes of work collected over a period of 500 years that you have to read cover to cover in 15 weeks.  That's not what it is.  If it was, then anyone could do it because all it would involve is massive amounts of reading.  When doing law school work, your brain has to be turned on to the highest level so that you can think critically about tiny distinctions that make a huge difference in a line of cases or in a doctrine.  This level of thinking simply cannot be constantly replicated over a period of 18 hours per day, 5 days per week plus 10+ hours each weekend day.

 Not only is it not possible or practical, it's not healthy.  The profession feeds you this bs, you have to work all the time or else you're losing time.  That's the way they want you to think.  They want you to feel like you're overwhelmed or else you're not being a "good" lawyer.  You are falling into the trap if you think the key to success is non-stop work and that you can beat people in your class through brute force.  Maybe in undergrad and in your desk job that worked for you.  Law school is different.  No one parties all nights of the week, and even if they do it's simple minded to assume that that's what separates the curve.  Very simple-minded.  The curve is separated by any number of factors and is very arbitrary at the middle.  Some teachers like different things, some give points for creative policy arguments, some just simply check off issues.  Are you telling me that someone smart enough to get into law school couldn't come up with a decent policy argument just because they partied a few times during the semester while you were staying in and studying until your eyes fell out?  I'm sorry, but that's just not how it works.  This is top quality competition, and you can't beat them or at least be at the top simply by working hours on end.  You have to have a natural aptitude for grasping and applying legal concepts to new fact situations.  No amount of studying will get you to the top of the class if you don't at least have a gift for understanding and applying law.

Let me know how the studying goes.

QUAKER OATS

  • Guest
Re: Law School Weekends
« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2006, 06:00:30 PM »
This is exactly correct and likely the most well-informed post on this board. I concur.

No offense, but you 0L's sound like total idiots.  You won't keep your 5am-11pm work schedule every weeknight and full days on Saturday and Sunday.  It just won't be productive, and it's not even possible or practical.  You treat law as if all it is is reading massive tomes of work collected over a period of 500 years that you have to read cover to cover in 15 weeks.  That's not what it is.  If it was, then anyone could do it because all it would involve is massive amounts of reading.  When doing law school work, your brain has to be turned on to the highest level so that you can think critically about tiny distinctions that make a huge difference in a line of cases or in a doctrine.  This level of thinking simply cannot be constantly replicated over a period of 18 hours per day, 5 days per week plus 10+ hours each weekend day.

 Not only is it not possible or practical, it's not healthy.  The profession feeds you this bs, you have to work all the time or else you're losing time.  That's the way they want you to think.  They want you to feel like you're overwhelmed or else you're not being a "good" lawyer.  You are falling into the trap if you think the key to success is non-stop work and that you can beat people in your class through brute force.  Maybe in undergrad and in your desk job that worked for you.  Law school is different.  No one parties all nights of the week, and even if they do it's simple minded to assume that that's what separates the curve.  Very simple-minded.  The curve is separated by any number of factors and is very arbitrary at the middle.  Some teachers like different things, some give points for creative policy arguments, some just simply check off issues.  Are you telling me that someone smart enough to get into law school couldn't come up with a decent policy argument just because they partied a few times during the semester while you were staying in and studying until your eyes fell out?  I'm sorry, but that's just not how it works.  This is top quality competition, and you can't beat them or at least be at the top simply by working hours on end.  You have to have a natural aptitude for grasping and applying legal concepts to new fact situations.  No amount of studying will get you to the top of the class if you don't at least have a gift for understanding and applying law.

Let me know how the studying goes.

ray7

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 48
    • View Profile
Re: Law School Weekends
« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2006, 06:05:15 PM »
I completely agree with you. Some of these schedules I have heard are rediculous. There needs to be time for relaxation and leisure. Grades are such a crapshoot in law school anyway due to the curve. Also, I doubt having some fun on the weekends is going to decide what kind of lawyer I am and the outcomes of my cases years down the road. I will have to have some time for fun in law school in order to keep my sanity.

Leaf2001br

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 526
  • My two cents.
    • AOL Instant Messenger - Leaf2001br
    • View Profile
    • Isaac Online
    • Email
Re: Law School Weekends
« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2006, 10:28:28 PM »
You should also consider that everyone's brain works differently.  Hours spent studying is not directly correlative to GPA.  Some people function better when they are refreshed and use smaller amounts of time more productively.  Some goof off and socialize in the library with their books open and claim to have been "studying" for 8 hours.  Some just grasp concepts faster than others.  While some may need more time, some simply don't.  Some just write poor exams and in the end that's all that counts when grades come out.  Hardly a reflection of their ability to succeed in the diverse field of law.  To answer the OP's question, you can certainly be diligent about managing your time effectively so that you can have a break on the weekends. Sometimes you won't, and you'll just have to spend the weekend getting caught up. I find that working hard for a weekend reward is a good motivator.  You will find your groove once you get going.  In the end, I think you will apply yourself most effectively if you make sure law school remains an enjoyable experience (at least as much as can be anyway). Most of the time you'll be too tired to be tempted to go out anyway. A law student's idea of a good time is usually just getting to go to sleep.

Although I have to admit I am often just a bit envious of those at the bottom of the class. The lack of pressure must be very liberating. But then again, so is finishing your last exam knowing you honestly gave your best effort.  That's the only way to be at peace in this insane game.  Grades are just way too arbitrary to obsess over.
"What is Legal?  What is Illegal?  What is 'Barely Legal'?"  - Ali G

kmpnj

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 469
    • View Profile
    • law school numbers
    • Email
Re: Law School Weekends
« Reply #25 on: April 11, 2006, 11:24:24 PM »
This is top quality competition, and you can't beat them or at least be at the top simply by working hours on end.  You have to have a natural aptitude for grasping and applying legal concepts to new fact situations.  No amount of studying will get you to the top of the class if you don't at least have a gift for understanding and applying law.

Let me know how the studying goes.

Again, I admittedly opine with no practical knowledge to speak of, but it seems to me that the law is, like anything else, a skill.  Is there a natural talent?  Probably, but I just can't help but think that hard work is extremely valuable. I've had to work hard for most, if not all, of my life and I can tell you that it has made all the difference.  Its like a boxing match.  Some fighters are more naturally gifted than others.  However, talent alone is not enough.  One has to be willing to run the 10 miles per day, box the thousands of sparring rounds and put in the hundreds of hours of training in order to perform at maximum.  My prize fighting example of this is Mike Tyson.  He lost to Buster Douglas because he tried to rely solely on natural talent.  He didn't work nearly as hard as his opponent of lesser ability.  The end result was that Tyson got his arse handed to him by the guy with lesser talent.  Same thing with law, I would imagine.  You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't work, you won't succeed. I may not be the most talented guy in class, but I just refuse to be outworked.  If it takes me 18 hours per day to get the work done, then I will damn well work 18 hours.  If it takes less, then I'll work less.  But I will not quit until I fully grasp whatever material is assigned for that day.  Bottom line, nothing is handed to anyone.  If you want it, you have to work harder than anyone else for it.  That's how the best become the best.

Harvey Birdman - Attorney at Law

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 17
    • View Profile
Re: Law School Weekends
« Reply #26 on: April 11, 2006, 11:49:22 PM »
This is top quality competition, and you can't beat them or at least be at the top simply by working hours on end.  You have to have a natural aptitude for grasping and applying legal concepts to new fact situations.  No amount of studying will get you to the top of the class if you don't at least have a gift for understanding and applying law.

Let me know how the studying goes.

Again, I admittedly opine with no practical knowledge to speak of, but it seems to me that the law is, like anything else, a skill.  Is there a natural talent?  Probably, but I just can't help but think that hard work is extremely valuable. I've had to work hard for most, if not all, of my life and I can tell you that it has made all the difference.  Its like a boxing match.  Some fighters are more naturally gifted than others.  However, talent alone is not enough.  One has to be willing to run the 10 miles per day, box the thousands of sparring rounds and put in the hundreds of hours of training in order to perform at maximum.  My prize fighting example of this is Mike Tyson.  He lost to Buster Douglas because he tried to rely solely on natural talent.  He didn't work nearly as hard as his opponent of lesser ability.  The end result was that Tyson got his arse handed to him by the guy with lesser talent.  Same thing with law, I would imagine.  You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't work, you won't succeed. I may not be the most talented guy in class, but I just refuse to be outworked.  If it takes me 18 hours per day to get the work done, then I will d**mn well work 18 hours.  If it takes less, then I'll work less.  But I will not quit until I fully grasp whatever material is assigned for that day.  Bottom line, nothing is handed to anyone.  If you want it, you have to work harder than anyone else for it.  That's how the best become the best.

I dont think he meant not working at all.  If Tyson trained half as much as Douglas, he would have won.  He barely trained, if at all.  If someone just naturally "gets it" and covers the material, he will out do someone who is not "getting it" and is studying 60 hours a week.

kmpnj

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 469
    • View Profile
    • law school numbers
    • Email
Re: Law School Weekends
« Reply #27 on: April 12, 2006, 01:46:16 AM »
My point is that, with hard work, people can get it.  Some may need less work, but people can get it, with enough practice and work.  I'm not saying one can become Louis Brandeis or John Roberts by working 18 hours a day.  I am, however, saying that people who may not "get it" as quickly as others can still become pretty good with hard work and discipline.  After all, it doesn't take immense talent to be able to read a case, pick out a reference to another case, look that case up and connect the two.  Mostly it just takes understanding what you're looking for and being able to connect the two (or disconnect the two, depending on which side you're one.).  To put it in perspective, I've worked with case law (I've had Con Law, Civil Libs and Women's Law taught by the lead co-counsel for Planned Parenthood in Planned Parenthood v Casey) and guarded murderers as a corrections officer.  Doing a job where you could come home in a box is significantly more stressful than working with case law.  Again, I've worked with case law and I'm pretty sure that it will not kill me, literally.  However, trying to get individuals facing life in prison to do stuff that they don't want to do, can kill you.  I guess with my warped employment history, working 18 hours a day, reading case law, doesn't seem all that daunting.

Leaf2001br

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 526
  • My two cents.
    • AOL Instant Messenger - Leaf2001br
    • View Profile
    • Isaac Online
    • Email
Re: Law School Weekends
« Reply #28 on: April 12, 2006, 08:13:21 AM »
None of that matters.  You are graded on a single exam.  Most of the things you covered all semester will not be on it.  The grades are wildly arbitrary as you will find out.  Hard work is not always rewarded.  What you will soon discover is that writing an 'A' exam doesn't have very much to do with knowing case opinions.  Luckily, neither does practicing law.  And you can't read and read until you "get it".  This is another misconception.  You never just "get it".  The law is very fluid and subjective as you will soon realize.

You will not read cases for 18 hours a day after you realize all of this I promise you.

This is not my opinion.  Any law student of even a few weeks would agree with me (If anyone doesn't then by all means, speak up).  Your attitude is not unique for someone entering their first year. 
"What is Legal?  What is Illegal?  What is 'Barely Legal'?"  - Ali G

Kait

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 59
    • View Profile
Re: Law School Weekends
« Reply #29 on: April 13, 2006, 12:15:14 AM »
I'm a current 1L and I very regularly take the weekends off entirely. This is not to say that I never do work on the weekends, but more often than not I spend the weekends work-free. If a legal writing assignment is due, or finals are approaching and I need to get my outlines in order, then I'll of course put in some time on the weekend.

Here's my typical weekly schedule, though (keep in mind that it varies with any appts, special events, etc going on in a given week).

Monday - Thursday: Get to school about 8. Have 2-3 classes spread out throughout the day. Spend the time between classes reading/prepping for the class to come, with a break for lunch with friends. Last class ends at 4:30, so then I head home. Once home, I generally do work, outline, etc til around 9, with a break for dinner somewhere in between. After 9, watch some tv, surf the internet, and relax before heading to bed.

Fridays: Somehow my section lucked out and we don't have classes on Fridays, so I use this day to catch up on reading and also to outline for the week that has passed. It works out perfectly because everyone else (my friends, family, bf) is at school or work during this time, so there are no distractions and I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. I generally go from about 8 or 9 (depending on when I can get myself out of bed) until 6 or 7. Then I take the rest of the night off and usually go out for some drinking.

Saturdays: Lazy day spent hanging out with my bf and recovering from any hangover. Take care of errands like grocery shopping. Saturday night is usually more relaxed than Friday (ie. usually not much drinking so I'm not hungover and useless on Sunday). But no schoolwork.

Sunday: Get up late, casual afternoon, then usually do some reading and work between 2 and 7. I take the night off to relax before the week starts up again.

When I started law school, I had a crazy schedule all worked out. I even color coded it in excel and printed it to carry with me. I found that it was excessive within the first week or two. I do not consider myself a slacker, and the study habits I've described above have worked incredibly well for me. I came out with a high A- GPA first semester, putting me in the top 10-15% of my class (actual ranks won't be released til summer - this is a guess based on last year's numbers). Hope this helps ease some concerns.