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Author Topic: How difficult can it really be... seriously?  (Read 15793 times)

,.,.,.;.,.,.

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Re: How difficult can it really be... seriously?
« Reply #40 on: April 15, 2009, 03:53:17 PM »
We'll see how you feel about that in a year.  I said the same thing to myself, but never forget that 90% of your class will not be in the top 10%.

PreLawBootCamp

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Re: How difficult can it really be... seriously?
« Reply #41 on: April 15, 2009, 04:52:43 PM »
In college, I had nearly straight A's at a very reputable school. Law school was completely different.

In college, I knew how to write-- it was basically effortless.  In fact, I held a research fellowship through a well-known foundation that actually paid me to do research and write articles on my findings.  Law school writing was completely different.

In college, there was no mystery.  I knew exactly what I needed to do to get A's.  Law school was completely different.

It's a whole new ballgame.  But contrary to some of the bull that people have written here, you can LEARN how to do it.  You can learn how to study for law school.  You can learn how to prepare for law school exams.

Just accept the fact that it's a different way of thinking.   

Pre-Law Bootcamp; Washington DC; June-July 2009.
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Denny Shore

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Re: How difficult can it really be... seriously?
« Reply #42 on: April 15, 2009, 05:35:50 PM »
- 100 pages of reading per class, per week minimum (most of this reading is disjointed, difficult, and in very small print - I had to buy reading glasses to relieve eye strain)
- Having to stand up in class and openly expose your intellect and understanding in front of 70 or so people who think they are smarter than you
- I wrote 3 memos in the first semester that contained legal analysis and required hours of research.  The first was 8 pages, the second was 14 pages, and the third was 26 pages.  Screw up the analysis?  Fail. 
- Pressure to perform.  In undergrad, very few classes adhere to a strict curve.  In law school, particularly in the first year, many schools adopt a curve that requires 10% of the class to get a D or an F, regardless of the percentage of correct answers.  I know someone who got 85% of the answers correct and still got a C-.  Converesly, I know biology majors who answered 35% of their finals questions correct and received a B+.
- Law students are more competitive, more driven, and typically smarter than your average college student.
- College courses are about learning simple facts and formulas.  Law School courses are about learning facts and formulas, then being able to recognize issues and apply what you've learned to a specific set of hypothetical fact patterns.
- You can screw off in college and still pass classes.  You can't 'fake it' through law school.  Those who think they can often find out that, in fact, you can't.
- Money stress.  Colleges, especially in state tuition, is reasonable.  Law school tuitions tend to be staggering.  Going through classes knowing that you might graduate with $150k in debt can really mess with your head.
- Law professors.  College prof's tend to be approachable, nice, and want you to succeed.  Law school profs send the signal that they are unapproachable jerks who want you to fail because you are wasting their time.
- Studying.  I passed a few college courses by 'cramming' the material.  You can't cram for law school finals.
- grading.  Most college courses have graded assignments and it is easy to figure out where you stand throughout the semester.  Most law school courses have no graded assignments and your entire grade comes from the results of a 3 hour test at the end of the semester.  Oh yeah, there isn't extra credit in law school.

Law school is likely to be the most difficult challenge you will have faced in your life.  Don't take it lightly.


nerfco

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Re: How difficult can it really be... seriously?
« Reply #43 on: April 15, 2009, 07:10:12 PM »
- Studying.  I passed a few college courses by 'cramming' the material.  You can't cram for law school finals.

You can most certainly cram for law school finals.

To make matters worse, you know absolutely nothing about the practice of law.  I cannot argue a motion, write a motion, write a will, perform a real estate closing, or even give my mom basic tax advice.

You are a 1L. If you want to be able to argue or write motions better, there are certainly clinics and seminars that will help you get practice at this.

I'd hate to imagine a 1L curriculum that was designed so students could give their parents basic tax advice. Hire an accountant.  :P

finderskeepers

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Re: How difficult can it really be... seriously?
« Reply #44 on: April 15, 2009, 07:10:58 PM »
No. 

Listen, guys: you either have it or you don't.  I'm sorry to break it to you, but law school exam-taking is about formulating quick arguments and seeing things quickly and more clearly than your peers.  No amount of study will change your grades, beyond the minimum required to vaguely understand the BLL.

And this is coming from someone who partially bought all this bull about GTM last year.

Wally one thing that might help you to “get it” is go back to reading the cases, I think you said you stopped doing that. The reasoning in them is there to teach you the thinking part that can’t be learned by reading supplements or how to books. You just get it by seeing it over and over so many times its changes the way you “think” about things. Once you got that part you can skip reading them, but I dare say they are more valuable than knowing the BLL by heart just for how they reason out the answer to the problem at hand. Its that reasoning by doing, in this case reading, that teaches your reason on the tests. Like the case method or hate it, it does work for teaching through osmosis the thinking like a lawyer part, as long as you understand that’s the point to reading them in the first place, you can look up and get a clearer BL rule elsewhere, they are there to teach you the WHY not the WHAT.


I second this.  I know reading/briefing cases isn't "cool" but I think it works and I think it's better than relying on supplements.

mbw

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Re: How difficult can it really be... seriously?
« Reply #45 on: April 15, 2009, 07:21:39 PM »
Denny is right.  The worst thing about exams is that the feedback on them is extremely limited, and I mean extremely.  Profs will almost never tell you what you did wrong, and, even if they do, they mask it in oblique ways that you can't really understand ("argue the issue!  work on your rule statements!  think harder about what the issues may say!")

The whole thing is just three years of f-ing with you until legal practice, which teaches you that, ironically, law school taught you virtually nothing worthwhile.  Sure, it taught you to think "like a lawyer," but let me give you a little secret: thinking like a lawyer is basically being anal and analytical.  Any smart college student can already do it.  Applying a statute doesn't require three years of frustration.  To make matters worse, you know absolutely nothing about the practice of law.  I cannot argue a motion, write a motion, write a will, perform a real estate closing, or even give my mom basic tax advice.  My legal knowledge is limited to irrelevant 19th century opinions like Peerless and Palsgraf.

You want the punch line?  It doesn't even prepare you for the Bar.  At the end of this ordeal, you have to pay thousands in order to learn the law.  Yes, learn the law!!!


Trust me.  It totally, totally sucks, especially in this economy.  People are under absurd amounts of stress, and it doesn't get much better when you run after an offer at some big firm where they might lay you off at any minute.  The sole thing that keeps me up in the mornings is the idea that, somehow, for some reason, I'll be a good attorney, or at least work BigLaw for a few years in order to pay off my debt.

That, or I'm already in too deep.

Wally, didn't you read PLSII last year?  The bolded above is pretty much the central theme of the book.  Plenty of people go into law school with their eyes wide open and don't have to go through the intense shock that you apparently have gone through.

I don't expect I'll be the smartest person in the class, or even anywhere close.  But I plan on working hard, and working smart, and try my best not to get caught up in the typical law school hysteria/frenetic angst.  I expect it will be one of the harder things I've ever done, but certainly not the hardest.  But I think people need to go in with realistic goals and ideas, not the predetermined doom and gloom you predict is inevitable.  
I'm in a lynch mob?  I had no idea.  This is really worrying; I really don't have time for another extra-curricular activity.

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,.,.,.;.,.,.

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Re: How difficult can it really be... seriously?
« Reply #46 on: April 15, 2009, 07:46:54 PM »
Huh?  I don't rely on supplements.  I rely on old outlines and skim the readings.  And I think I take enough practice exams to understand how to argue law on the real thing, but maybe not.

I keep forgetting that students here don't stay in the chi threads.  Whoops, d-dub time.  Ah, well.

ETA: Yeah, mbw, I mostly like scaring the n00bs.  I mean, I've done fine by any realistic measure.  Also, don't forget that so many things in life are different when experienced first-hand.  I know that BigLaw work is draining, but I'm sure I'll still be shocked when/if I have to work more than 60 hour weeks.

finderskeepers

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Re: How difficult can it really be... seriously?
« Reply #47 on: April 15, 2009, 08:00:55 PM »
Huh?  I don't rely on supplements.  I rely on old outlines and skim the readings.  And I think I take enough practice exams to understand how to argue law on the real thing, but maybe not.

I keep forgetting that students here don't stay in the chi threads.  Whoops, d-dub time.  Ah, well.

ETA: Yeah, mbw, I mostly like scaring the n00bs.  I mean, I've done fine by any realistic measure.  Also, don't forget that so many things in life are different when experienced first-hand.  I know that BigLaw work is draining, but I'm sure I'll still be shocked when/if I have to work more than 60 hour weeks.


So are you saying you rely on other students' interpretations of cases to learn BLL? 

mbw

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Re: How difficult can it really be... seriously?
« Reply #48 on: April 15, 2009, 08:07:13 PM »
Huh?  I don't rely on supplements.  I rely on old outlines and skim the readings.  And I think I take enough practice exams to understand how to argue law on the real thing, but maybe not.

I keep forgetting that students here don't stay in the chi threads.  Whoops, d-dub time.  Ah, well.

ETA: Yeah, mbw, I mostly like scaring the n00bs.  I mean, I've done fine by any realistic measure.  Also, don't forget that so many things in life are different when experienced first-hand.  I know that BigLaw work is draining, but I'm sure I'll still be shocked when/if I have to work more than 60 hour weeks.

Here's where we differ, Wally.  I've worked political campaigns most of my adult life - 60 hrs/week is nuthin'.  ;D
I'm in a lynch mob?  I had no idea.  This is really worrying; I really don't have time for another extra-curricular activity.

space for rent.

UnbiasedObserver

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Re: How difficult can it really be... seriously?
« Reply #49 on: April 15, 2009, 08:11:53 PM »
Wally one thing that might help you to “get it” is go back to reading the cases, I think you said you stopped doing that. The reasoning in them is there to teach you the thinking part that can’t be learned by reading supplements or how to books. You just get it by seeing it over and over so many times its changes the way you “think” about things. Once you got that part you can skip reading them, but I dare say they are more valuable than knowing the BLL by heart just for how they reason out the answer to the problem at hand. Its that reasoning by doing, in this case reading, that teaches your reason on the tests. Like the case method or hate it, it does work for teaching through osmosis the thinking like a lawyer part, as long as you understand that’s the point to reading them in the first place, you can look up and get a clearer BL rule elsewhere, they are there to teach you the WHY not the WHAT.

I strongly concur.  I've found (naturally this is just anecdotal evidence, so take it for what it's worth) that many of those who actually really spend the time and read the cases understand the reasoning AND the BLL much better.  They go hand-in-hand--learning one allows you to learn the other much better.  I know it definitely has worked for me, and it seems to work for others.