Law School Discussion

workload

workload
« on: December 31, 2008, 10:18:41 AM »
Can someone give me a good indication of the amount of hours you spent studying a week during your 1L year. Does it get any easier after the first year? Thanks

vap

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Re: workload
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2008, 01:07:18 PM »
I had usually 3-4 hours of classes and 4-5 hours of reading/briefing per day during the first semester.
I had usually 2-3 hours less reading/briefing in the second semester.  I mostly stopped briefing because none of my profs used the "true" socratic method (we knew ahead of time when we were on call).

I did the readings, and spent zero time "studying" until the two weeks before the exam.

Same here.  During the first semester I tried to outline as I went along, but I did not find it helpful/feasible.  I waited to outline (and study) until roughly the same time as SYN.

Also, fall of 2L year is bad.  If you make journal, you have that work PLUS your regular work PLUS interviewing.

Ugh, so glad it is over!!  I had 300+ hours of manuscripting, a case note to write, and a brief writing class. 

jacy85

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Re: workload
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2009, 05:21:38 AM »
I had usually 3-4 hours of classes and 4-5 hours of reading/briefing per day during the first semester.
I had usually 2-3 hours less reading/briefing in the second semester.  I mostly stopped briefing because none of my profs used the "true" socratic method (we knew ahead of time when we were on call).

I did the readings, and spent zero time "studying" until the two weeks before the exam.

Same here.  During the first semester I tried to outline as I went along, but I did not find it helpful/feasible.  I waited to outline (and study) until roughly the same time as SYN.

Also, fall of 2L year is bad.  If you make journal, you have that work PLUS your regular work PLUS interviewing.

Ugh, so glad it is over!!  I had 300+ hours of manuscripting, a case note to write, and a brief writing class. 

Agreed with all of this.  My second semester was definitely a little lighter than first (you don't have the sharp learning curve of learning to read cases, briefing, etc.), but I spent more time taking notes on the reading, and didn't brief.  I also didn't make my own outlines, as I found it didn't help me.  I spent my outlining time of culling through notes and updating/editing old outlines, which saved some time.

And as the other 2 posters said, 2L certainly does NOT get better.  I thought it was worse than 1L in terms of time put in every week.  Between law review/journal and the job search, it sucked.  Unless you don't do any activities like journal, moot court, etc., you'll likely be working just as much as 1L.

jacy85

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Re: workload
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2009, 04:48:09 AM »
I wasn't saying that to scare anyone off, so I hope no one is.  Those activities are a lot of work, but are very rewarding.  As much as journal sucked, getting published was fun, and it's nice to have something like that on my resume.  Moot court and mock trial both help you work on valuable skills, and both always seemed a lot of fun to me (if I had to do it over, I'd go for moot court instead of journal).

But if someone really is looking for a break for whatever reason (whether short-sited or justified), then these aren't the things to get involved with.  They'll keep you as busy or busier than a 1L.  BUT I'll say the work/stress is different.  These activities aren't graded, really, and the fact that they're voluntary changes the game. Also, some schools give credit for these activities (probably more likely for journal, but I believe moot court qualified for some academic credit as well).

Re: workload
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2009, 10:10:08 PM »
1L here. In addition to time spent in class, I spent essentially the entire evening reading. I found the reading load to be moderately heavy and it made it hard to study throughout the semester. I didn't have time to start outlining until the end and I studied like an absolute madman during our "reading days." I essentially went day and night for two weeks straight and I got sick over break (I hadn't been sick in years).

Law school is not the nightmare they make it out to be. However, it is harder than it was as an undergrad (very time-consuming) and you will have no chance of finishing in the top 10% if you don't totally devote yourself to it. 

Re: workload
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2009, 10:14:04 PM »
I'm a 1L and I work all the time.  The trick, in my opinion, is to convert your work into thinking about your work.  I talk about law school constantly, including on this website, and I often debate doctrine and policy with my friends.

If you're wondering about the casebook reading, it usually doesn't take more than an hour or two.  The trick is to distill things into holdings that you can use on the exam.  When I'm studying, this question is always in the back of my mind: how will the professor test this on the exam?

Re: workload
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2009, 10:47:23 AM »
The "burn out" depends entirely on the person, IMO.  Some people are good at finding intellectual pleasure in virtually every legal subject -- leaseholds vs. freeholds, Regina v. Dudley and Stephens, least cost avoiders, expectation damages -- and can blaze through it.  Others like to keep their legal life and real life separate.  Some of the former group become professors, which is what I want to be.

I talk about the law constantly because it obsesses me.  I also go out and I don't work that hard during the work week.  On a typical day, I'll go to classes and generally skim the readings, but that's it.

We don't have grades yet, so I may suck.  We'll see.  Let me tell you something more important, however: as a 0L, you should not think about this.  You have no idea what type of law student you want to be, or, as importantly, what type of law student you will be.  But you'll figure it out within a month or two of law school -- I promise.

ETA: I was not stressed out during exams.  I think the correlation exists because the chill people tend to "get" it more than the strivers.  These exams are aptitude exams.  You have to be able to make sense of the facts on the page and argue law using them; it's not about cramming info into your brain, or gunning the living bejesus out of class, or eating a roast beef sandwich in under a minute.  It's about good argumentation and writing, which you either have or don't.

<-- typical disclaimer about being a 1L.  I may be totally wrong.

Re: workload
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2009, 11:16:03 AM »
I'm very careful about my friends.  There are a few people here who are like me, and who love to discuss Lochner in their free time, but the vast majority are not like that, and I steer away from their churlish uninterest in discussing the law outside of class.  I think you're being a little harsh about the "clueless" tidbit.  Some people know exactly what they're doing -- or at least sound, and act, like it -- and I suspect they'll do very well.  Other people clam up after school.

"Some" was the key word.  I'm glad you caught it.  I've played guitar for 8 years and I do that outside of class, but it doesn't quite engross me like the law.

I'm also glad that you agree with my ETA statement.  I felt like I "got it" first quarter, because that's just what I did, and I hope that carried into my grades. 

Re: workload
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2009, 12:07:40 PM »
I can imagine myself getting sick of the law by 2L.  I think that 1L is simply a different world.  Everything is fresh and interesting and curious.  As a 2L, you presumably have a summer job lined up and hours of research; and the curve isn't as vicious or important.

I like the high school analogy.  Again, I do talk about other things, but the novelty of legal study hasn't worn off quite yet.

Re: workload
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2009, 05:07:12 PM »
Does anyone actually still write out case briefs past 1L Fall? I stopped after about three weeks, started writing little notes in the book margins, and was a happier, healthier student for it.

I agree about the studying sentiment during the term. A week or so before the exams is the ideal time to start outlining. Before that time just stay on top of the reading.