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Author Topic: Mercer Law 2L taking questions  (Read 7367 times)

Paralegal2Atty

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2008, 07:29:47 PM »
Like you, I have no interest in working in BigLaw. The curriculum is definitely a plus, as is the location and employment rates. Sounds like you certainly have no regrets about choosing Mercer. I am early in the cycle, but have applied to Mercer, Samford, South Carolina, Alabama and Charleston. So far, I have one acceptance at Charleston, the rest are pending. Once more decisions come in and I make my visits, I want to be able to make a fully-informed decision and appreciate all the information I can get.  :)

vap

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2008, 09:21:27 PM »
Like you, I have no interest in working in BigLaw. The curriculum is definitely a plus, as is the location and employment rates. Sounds like you certainly have no regrets about choosing Mercer. I am early in the cycle, but have applied to Mercer, Samford, South Carolina, Alabama and Charleston. So far, I have one acceptance at Charleston, the rest are pending. Once more decisions come in and I make my visits, I want to be able to make a fully-informed decision and appreciate all the information I can get.  :)

I definitely have no regrets about Mercer.  I found some great summer work out-of-state coming from Mercer, and I think I will have a decent shot at a judicial clerkship (which is what I've wanted to do from the get go). 

Best of luck on your application cycle!  If you have any Qs about Mercer or will be visiting the school, let me know.

You mentioned the curriculum.  In addition to the other courses I specifically mentioned, I figured maybe I should talk more about the legal writing program.  Regardless of whether you put much stock in the school's #1 ranking for legal writing by USNWR, I've found the legal writing program here to be excellent for several reasons:

1. Professors: a) Tenured and tenure-track professors teach the legal writing courses, b) assistant professors and established law librarians teach the legal research courses, and c) Mercer recruits distinguished legal writing professors.

Mercer places a strong emphasis on its legal writing faculty, whereas many other schools do not. At some schools, legal writing classes are largely taught by 2L and/or 3L students. (Check out U-Texas's website: "In both semesters, the legal-writing faculty are assisted by TQs capable second- and third-year students who help review student work." http://www.utexas.edu/law/academics/curriculum/firstyr.html). Think of this as how some core classes at an undergraduate university are taught by grad students. Some schools also use "fellowship" professors (Harvard: http://www.law.harvard.edu/academics/degrees/jd/fylrwp/). Fellowship professors are typically professors who do not intend to teach legal writing for more than a year or two, and they primarily have interests in other fields. Fellowship professors teach legal writing as a sort of a ritualistic hazing for new professors - many schools do not view legal writing as a "scholarship" or a principled academic discipline.

Mercer is different. All professors are tenure or tenure-track professors who intend to remain legal writing professors. They have a passion for legal writing, and they publish papers, speak at conferences, and have devoted their academic scholarship to the study of legal writing and teaching legal writing. Mercer places a strong emphasis on recruiting such professors. For example, Professor Linda Berger recently joined our faculty (http://www.law.mercer.edu/faculty/bio.cfm?staffid=603). Here are the other legal writing professors:
http://www.law.mercer.edu/faculty/bio.cfm?staffid=45
http://www.law.mercer.edu/faculty/bio.cfm?staffid=531
http://www.law.mercer.edu/faculty/bio.cfm?staffid=529
http://www.law.mercer.edu/faculty/bio.cfm?staffid=518
http://www.law.mercer.edu/faculty/bio.cfm?staffid=530

Mercer's large endowment (top 4 in the country when adjusted for cost of living and number of students: http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2006/09/top_20_law_scho.html) allows the school to recruit quality professors in all disciplines, especially legal writing.

2. Mercer requires 8 graded credit hours of legal analysis, research, and writing courses, divided and taught by different professors.

Many schools do not grade legal writing courses, and some schools have as few as two hours of required legal research and writing (ie. U-Texas). Because of the low number of credit hours, many students have only one professor (and that professor's 2L or 3L teaching assistant) for legal writing over their whole time spent in law school. Some schools also "mix" legal research, legal writing, and legal analysis, which often comes across as a jumbled mess. Most schools start students off with "true" legal writing in the first semester, but Mercer waits until the second semester; after students have already learned the "basics" of legal analysis (how to to interpret cases and formulate rule statements based on synthesizing many different materials) and legal research.

Mercer is different because all courses are graded (although in the past some have been ungraded), and each separate area of study is taught by a different professor. In the first semester of study, students take a one-hour Legal Analysis course. This course focuses on the basics of understanding rule statements and combining rule statements from multiple sources to create a new rule or argument. Throughout the first and second semesters, students take a one-hour Introduction to Legal Research course. In the second semester, students take a three-hour Legal Writing I (memorandum writing) course. In the third semester, students take a three-hour Legal Writing II (brief writing) course. All courses will be taught by different professors. This is especially important for Legal Writing I & II because you will be exposed to writing techniques favored and disfavored by two independent faculty members. The more exposure to faculty opinions and opportunities for faculty review of your writing the better, in my opinion.

3. Mercer has a legal writing certificate program.

Mercer has a very unique legal writing certificate program. As far as I know, it's the only one in the country. Students who enroll in the program continue to take legal research and writing courses for the remaining three semesters of school (an additional 7-8 hours). In each of the semesters, students meet in a small group, usually 6-7 students, with a faculty member to critically review new and old student-written material. (One of these courses is led by the dean of the law school).

The only negative about the certificate program is that not all students who want to do it are allowed. Participation is determined by lottery, and usually 5-10 students each year are unable to do the program.

Here's some more info about Mercer's writing program: http://www.law.mercer.edu/academics/legal_writing/index.cfm

EDIT:  Fixed some broken links.

Paralegal2Atty

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2008, 09:38:12 AM »
You're definitely a great ambassador for Mercer and its programs. I love all this information! I plan to attend the Open House on February 20, barring any negative decision from admission. I will contact you closer to that time, if it is okay, and would love to meet you while I'm there.

Elmo3

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2009, 04:28:51 PM »
I currently live in Gwinnett County in Atlanta and am considering commuting to Macon since I'm married and my husband works in Atlanta. At first, I thought it was kind of crazy, but at the law school openhouse I met a girl who said during 1L she had commuted to Mercer from Atlanta but then she moved. I mean, it's probably the hardest during 1L to commute and then it gets easier so I guess it shows that it can be done. She said that there were also people that had their own businesses and therefore worked full-time while commuting to Mercer from Atlanta... now THAT is tough. So, I don't know... I'm still waiting to hear back from other schools in Atlanta before I decide what to do.

menlow

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2009, 11:02:33 PM »
based in part on this thread, i have put in an application at mercer.

how's the weather there?

nealric

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2009, 11:39:08 PM »
While I think it's great that they teach legal writing to such a degree, I just want to add for all the 0Ls out there that legal writing classes absolutely blow. I'm not sure I would have made it out with my sanity if I had to take 8 hrs of it.

*And this is coming from someone who loved writing in undergrad
Georgetown Law Graduate

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vap

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2009, 08:09:15 AM »
based in part on this thread, i have put in an application at mercer.

how's the weather there?

We've been in the 20's lately!  Brrrr... But, it's supposed to be back in the 70s next week.

It doesn't rain that often, but when it does it rains all day.

EDIT: Ah, and if you're coming for a visit and would like to meet in person, feel free to send me a PM.

vap

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2009, 08:36:17 AM »
While I think it's great that they teach legal writing to such a degree, I just want to add for all the 0Ls out there that legal writing classes absolutely blow. I'm not sure I would have made it out with my sanity if I had to take 8 hrs of it.

*And this is coming from someone who loved writing in undergrad

I hear this a lot, but it's definitely not the attitude here.  A few people don't like a few profs, but overall I'd say a vast majority of people are satisfied with the program (and I don't think it's a self-fulfilling prophecy, either).  More than half the class continues to take elective legal writing courses throughout every semester via the certificate program.

A nice benefit of the program is that there is no "true" legal writing course the first semester.  So, students are able to adjust to the doctrinal classes before writing memos and briefs.  I think some other schools might do this, but I know others have students writing memos and spending countless hours researching during the first semester.  I would hate that, too.

lawness

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2009, 08:20:55 AM »
I just got my acceptance to Mercer!!  I am excited and am planning to attend the Preview Day on the 20th. I am waiting to hear back from GSU and Emory as well. 

If I attend, I will have to commute to Macon from Atlanta. What are the class schedules like? Are you able to have all your classess on Monday, Tues. and Wed. ? If this was the case, I could rent a room somewhere and stay in Macon for 3 days out of the week. Is this possible? I did see a house for rent for $300 a month..any thoughts?

vap

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Re: Mercer Law 2L taking questions
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2009, 11:14:42 AM »
I just got my acceptance to Mercer!!  I am excited and am planning to attend the Preview Day on the 20th. I am waiting to hear back from GSU and Emory as well. 

If I attend, I will have to commute to Macon from Atlanta. What are the class schedules like? Are you able to have all your classess on Monday, Tues. and Wed. ? If this was the case, I could rent a room somewhere and stay in Macon for 3 days out of the week. Is this possible? I did see a house for rent for $300 a month..any thoughts?

Congratulations on your acceptance!  During the first year, you will have classes every day.  Like most schools, you will not be able to choose which classes you take.  During the second and third years, you will be able to schedule most of your classes.  However, I think it would be difficult to schedule all your classes for 3 days a week.  I know a few people who scheduled classes for 4 days a week.

If I remember correctly, I had classes during first semester beginning at 9:40 and ending at 3:20 or 4:30 most days.  Here is a link to last semester's master schedule: http://www.law.mercer.edu/administrative/registrar/docs/sched_fa_08.pdf

Students are assigned to 1 of 6 sections during the first year, so schedules vary a little.  But, for example, a person in Section 1 would have a class schedule like this:
Monday:     10:50 - 11:50 Criminal Law; 1:10 - 2:10 Property; 2:20 - 3:20 Contracts.
Tuesday:    9:40 - 10:40 Torts; 10:50 - 11:50 Intro to Legal Research; 1:10 - 2:10 Property; 2:20 - 3:20 Contracts.
Wednesday:  9:40 - 10:40 Torts; 10:50 - 11:50 Criminal Law; 1:10 - 2:10 Property; 2:20 - 3:20 Contracts.
Thursday:   9:40 - 10:40 Torts; 1:10 - 2:10 Property; 2:20 - 3:20 Contracts.
Friday:     9:40 - 10:40 Torts; 10:50 - 11:50 Criminal Law; 1:10 - 2:10 Legal Analysis.