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Author Topic: PREPPING FOR 1L -- HELP  (Read 9731 times)

Tetris

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Re: PREPPING FOR 1L -- HELP
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2009, 03:24:56 PM »
I can safely say that I ended up with my 3.78 after first semester (at USC) without any assistance from summer "prepping". Go to class, take good notes, if you dont understand something, immediately meet the professor to discuss it and start prepping for finals early.

What makes you think the OP will learn as quickly, write as well, be as fortunate, etc. as you?  Obviously it worked for you, but what if the OP, doing the same amount of work as you, will end up on the bottom 25% of his class?  Wouldn't the best strategy be to go into law school assuming you will fare poorly, and trying to over-compensate as soon as possible?
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Kevin.

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Re: PREPPING FOR 1L -- HELP
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2009, 04:53:44 PM »
Getting a jump start on job contacts is a good idea over the summer - if you've got an excel spreadsheet full of judges, firms, etc. in your target market, you can rock out a mail merge pretty quickly once you've got your materials assembled.  I didn't hit judges until pretty late this year, and got locked out of a lot of them because they'd already decided.

As far as Getting to Maybe, I don't think it's useful until mid-first semester - the advice doesn't actually help until exam prep time.  If you're looking for a book to read, I'd go for Law School Confidential - that's more practical advice for during the semester.
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one4theteam

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Re: PREPPING FOR 1L -- HELP
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2009, 05:26:45 PM »
My two cents, I'm mixed about "preparing" over the summer.  I know its hard to resist the feeling that you should be doing something more, so if you have to, pick Planet Law School or Getting to Maybe and skim through it.  I echo some of the posts above, some of that stuff you will just not get until you are actually in the thick of things sometime around late September-early October. 

I double-echo the deal with employers, especially judges.  Depending on where you are geographically, some people start sending out letters regarding working with a judge over the summer in early December.  If you are interested in doing so, I'd take some time to through the Circuit and District judges in the geographic zone you see yourself working in and get a mail merge set up.  You may even approach some of them over the summer if you are particularly interested in them, but most will not have their summer hiring needs in mind yet.  Take the time to see if any of them have any particular requests from extern applicants such as references, samples, timing of sending in inquiries, etc. 

If you're interested in firm work, investigate some of the firms in areas you might be interested in.  Start coming up with your "reasons why I like you firm."

Likewise with government agencies and public interest groups if you know you want to go that route - some of those spots start going as early as December.

I know my advice is more job-oriented than academic-oriented, but looking back, all the job-stuff took a back seat for me once school started.  Although I still managed to get out there and get the gig I wanted, getting my act together on the summer job search was much much harder than I thought.  I just simply did not have the time come November and December and I put it off until break.  I couldn't help but think I closed off some options either by delaying or not having my s&h! together enough.  Slightly stressful.  Get some of the pieces in play on this end before you start, develop a timeline and once school starts you'll be able to focus on school first! 

Tetris

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Re: PREPPING FOR 1L -- HELP
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2009, 08:46:26 PM »
Depending on where you are geographically, some people start sending out letters regarding working with a judge over the summer in early December. 

Actually, some people send cover letters to different places before that.  But December is early for the vast majority of applicants.

Although I still managed to get out there and get the gig I wanted, getting my act together on the summer job search was much much harder than I thought.  I just simply did not have the time come November and December and I put it off until break.  I couldn't help but think I closed off some options either by delaying or not having my s&h! together enough.  Slightly Very stressful.  Get some of the pieces in play on this end before you start, develop a timeline and once school starts you'll be able to focus on school first! 

Credited.  Very stressful.  If you can (a) get a spreadsheet of about FIFTY places you'd like to work (firms -- concentrate on small and mid-sized, judges, and good public interest/gov't stuff), (b) get your resume up to par, and (c) write up a decent cover letter, then you could send job solicitations out in early December without worrying too much about exams.  Definitely recommend this approach.
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tortfeasor77

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Re: PREPPING FOR 1L -- HELP
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2009, 02:16:01 PM »
Take all of the above answers with a grain of salt. "Getting to Maybe", "Planet Law School" & "Law School Confidential" are the proverbial law prep readers that everyone pours over before that first year. Unfortunately those are only limited opinions on how to study and prepare. What you'll find out in school is that everyone has a different method and what works for some might not work for you. There is some sage advice above though, get an early start on what type of summer employment you want to be doing after your first year because you can bet your fellow classmates are.

I tutored throughout law school and always found that each person's ability to retain information was unique. I put together a method that worked for a lot of folks in trying to understand the "forest for the trees" before diving into the abyss of the nuanced case law. It seemed to work pretty well and helped the students I tutored do well on exams. It's because we focused heavily on understanding and taking exams.  I'm still tutoring and have been requested to put together a short and simple course with a basic understanding of the first year.  I'm looking for a couple of volunteers who are interested in a free overview of first year courses and getting to talk to one on one with someone who's been through it, in exchange for your opinions and feedback. If you are, shoot me an email and we can talk more. - aceitlaw@gmail.com


win200

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Re: PREPPING FOR 1L -- HELP
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2009, 01:27:19 PM »
Here's my problem: I just don't know much about the actual mechanics of law school. I don't have any friends in law school, so this discussion of finding that 1L summer job is news to me. (I do realize that you want to find a job/internship for your 1L summer, I'm not THAT far behind the curve.) As a 0L, how am I supposed to know all these things, seeing as though none of my friends have gone to law school? It seems like every time someone asks such basic questions here, they get sneered at.

So if anyone would be willing to kinda outline the basics of the summer job search, I'd be appreciative.

Depending on where you are geographically, some people start sending out letters regarding working with a judge over the summer in early December. 

Actually, some people send cover letters to different places before that.  But December is early for the vast majority of applicants.

Although I still managed to get out there and get the gig I wanted, getting my act together on the summer job search was much much harder than I thought.  I just simply did not have the time come November and December and I put it off until break.  I couldn't help but think I closed off some options either by delaying or not having my s&h! together enough.  Slightly Very stressful.  Get some of the pieces in play on this end before you start, develop a timeline and once school starts you'll be able to focus on school first! 

Credited.  Very stressful.  If you can (a) get a spreadsheet of about FIFTY places you'd like to work (firms -- concentrate on small and mid-sized, judges, and good public interest/gov't stuff), (b) get your resume up to par, and (c) write up a decent cover letter, then you could send job solicitations out in early December without worrying too much about exams.  Definitely recommend this approach.

Slumdog Lovebutton

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Re: PREPPING FOR 1L -- HELP
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2009, 01:47:52 PM »
Here's my problem: I just don't know much about the actual mechanics of law school. I don't have any friends in law school, so this discussion of finding that 1L summer job is news to me. (I do realize that you want to find a job/internship for your 1L summer, I'm not THAT far behind the curve.) As a 0L, how am I supposed to know all these things, seeing as though none of my friends have gone to law school? It seems like every time someone asks such basic questions here, they get sneered at.

So if anyone would be willing to kinda outline the basics of the summer job search, I'd be appreciative.

Here's my best effort.  If anybody recognizes anything wrong with this, of course please correct.

The National Association of Legal Career Professionals (NALP) regulates when law school career offices are allowed to talk to 1Ls, and when 1Ls are allowed to contact law firms for employment.  Career services offices are not allowed to talk to 1Ls until some time in late October/early November, and 1Ls cannot send out job applications until Dec. 1 (or the first Monday in December). 

It seems like most people send out a blitz of resumes to law firms, clerkships, and other employers around this time.  The main advantage of doing things so early is just that everyone else is doing the same thing, and at the very least you won't get shut out from a job because summer positions were already filled.  In reality, big law firms don't really consider 1L applications until January, and in REAL PRESENT-DAY reality big law firms are not hiring 1Ls at all.  Still, lots of people send stuff out in December.  Most places won't take you that early though - they will want to see your grades, which won't come out until January or February.

You can find employer information on your own through internet research, although (I think) most law schools have access to the NALP database which allows you to search for firms that meet a number of different customized criteria.  You can download a mail-merge file of contact information for your selected firms, although for some reason this information does not include email address.  If you plan to email out your apps (which I did, to save postage) you have to manually look through the NALP database for the relevant email addresses.

If you don't know what it means to mail-merge, it's a good idea to get familiar with this function of microsoft word and excel.  You can google this stuff.  The short explanation is that mail merge makes it easy to send out cover letters that include fill-in-the-blank sections ("I really want to work at X firm because of Y and Z")

It's a good idea to get your mail-merge database out of the way before November or December, since Nov/Dec is the time you'll really be bearing down on final exams.  Not sure when you'll be able to get access to the NALP database, but you could always just do a manual search on the internet and fill in your database fields that way.  My excel database of employers included fields for firm name, shortened firm name (for firms that had more than two names), address, contact person, gender of contact person, reason i wanted to spend the summer in a non-new york city (where applicable), etc.

Second semester, you will probably get a lot more emails from career services about possible positions.  As of now, I have three summer job offers.  One I got through a career fair, one through an email I sent in response to an email from career services about an open position, and one through OCI.  I did not get any offers from my law firm email blitz, but I did get lots of lovely rejection letters.  Hellloooo crappy economy!  My three offers were all from positions I became aware of and pursued in late January and early February.

OCI is short for "On Campus Interviewing," in which your law school brings employers onto campus to interview for summer positions.  The big advantage here is that you don't have to travel to have your interview, and the participating employers clearly want students badly enough to go through the logistics of the process.  The disadvantage is that lots of students take advantage of these opportunities because they are so convenient, so slots fill up VERY fast.

The best thing to do, IMO, is to cast a very broad net.  Who knows what the economy will be like next year when you are a 1L... maybe some big firms will be hiring.  There are always lots of opportunities in public interest, but they are definitely competitive.

I hope this helps...I am sure I left a bunch of stuff out.  Let me know what other kind of information will be helpful.
* Columbia Law, Class of 2011 *

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win200

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Re: PREPPING FOR 1L -- HELP
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2009, 01:55:52 PM »
Thanks so much for that response... that might be the single most helpful post I've read on this site.

I hate asking fundamental questions, but hey, patching up ignorance now is a lot easier than doing it come October. I'm trying to find the ideal balance of keeping myself from freaking out and actually preparing for what I'm going to face during my 1L year. My UG career is rife with "I wish I'd done X differently" kinda situations and I'd rather not repeat that for law school. I just don't like being surprised.

Oh, and what are supplementals?

Slumdog Lovebutton

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Re: PREPPING FOR 1L -- HELP
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2009, 02:06:19 PM »
Thanks so much for that response... that might be the single most helpful post I've read on this site.

I hate asking fundamental questions, but hey, patching up ignorance now is a lot easier than doing it come October. I'm trying to find the ideal balance of keeping myself from freaking out and actually preparing for what I'm going to face during my 1L year. My UG career is rife with "I wish I'd done X differently" kinda situations and I'd rather not repeat that for law school. I just don't like being surprised.

Oh, and what are supplementals?

Supplementals?  What's the context?

Good, I'm glad this was helpful.  There are definitely a few things that I did not think about AT ALL when I was a 0L, but have contributed hugely to my quality of life this year.  Fortunately, they worked out for the best for me this year, but I could have easily been more miserable if these factors had come out another way.
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win200

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Re: PREPPING FOR 1L -- HELP
« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2009, 02:11:14 PM »
Oops... here:

"Once you know your first semester classes, consider buying supplements for those classes and reading the first parts of the supplements (to get the basic idea of the law down), or as many relevant parts as you can (discernible once you get your syllabus and know which chapters your class will go over)."

What were some of those "few things" in your case?

Supplementals?  What's the context?

Good, I'm glad this was helpful.  There are definitely a few things that I did not think about AT ALL when I was a 0L, but have contributed hugely to my quality of life this year.  Fortunately, they worked out for the best for me this year, but I could have easily been more miserable if these factors had come out another way.