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Author Topic: How Many Hours Do You Study Per Week  (Read 22099 times)

ptoomey

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How Many Hours Do You Study Per Week
« on: November 27, 2009, 11:49:01 PM »
Hi Everyone,

I'm not in law school yet, but I'm seriously considering it. I've been doing a lot of reading about different schools, job prospects, etc, and I just read something kind of scary. Just wondering what current law students think.

Below is a post someone made in reaction to the article titled "Law School Is For Everyone" on the USNews site. This guy says that many people at his law school(which he says is ranked in the 50's) study in excess of 80 hours per week.

I realize the number of hours will vary quite a bit depending on the individual - reading speed, dedication, study habits, etc, but just curious how much time all of you are putting in.

One other question. I'm sure this varies a bit too, depending on the course load and year of school, but what is the typical number of pages you have to read per night or per week?

Thanks in advance.
ptoomey

Here's the post:

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I scored a 176 on the LSAT and have not been able to turn a single A. Yes you read that right. Law school is something like what legal practice is. A time draining, balls to the wall death match. You need to understand that your grade stands alone over the bodies of your fellow students. Every law student thinks he/she understands this until one month before finals. You need to understand that 'the lottery' of law school favors those who are most willing to sacrifice--time, family, friends and money. I thought coming in to a school ranked around the 50's with a 176 on the LSAT and a great undergraduate experience in a writing intensive major I would be able to relax a little more than my fellow students and still sail to the front as usual. Wrong! I didn't expect to have fellow students spending 80+ hours studying per week from day one. Look! I am not exaggerating. There are more than a handful of students who spend more than 80 hours a week studying. Brains is only one part of the equation. The other part is time. Then those same people end up practicing law and being your future boss. The same person who sacrificed quite literally everything in life to be the boss at your target firm will expect no less from you. If you don't believe me, just ask around. Big firms are quite open that your job is first and anything else is only incidental.
Do you want to spend $120,000 to be placed in a death match with dozens of other people as smart as you are? The 'winners' will be those who prioritize everything after the law.
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Ninja1

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Re: How Many Hours Do You Study Per Week
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2009, 03:26:24 AM »
I'd be skeptical of anything that poster claims. No way he's at a school in the 50s with a 176 LSAT, unless he's retarded, which speaks for itself.

He does have some valid points though. While you won't spend 80 hours a week studying, you'll certainly stay busy. And while intelligence matters, the amount of time you pour in does to. But no way does anyone spend 80 hours a week studying, especially after the first semester.
I'mma stay bumpin' till I bump my head on my tomb.

mbw

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Re: How Many Hours Do You Study Per Week
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2009, 07:46:46 AM »
I'm at a T-14, and I know of people who, starting around Fall Break, began to put in 70-80 hour weeks (if you include class time.)  I've been pulling 65-70 hour weeks for a month now, and cranked it up to 80 hours this past week.

I used to think I'd do okay with this level of study, but knowing there are others doing even more (and I just can't, as I have a family) I have no illusions as to top 10%.  Those spots are already taken by the naturally gifted and 80-hourers.
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.

ryanjm

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Re: How Many Hours Do You Study Per Week
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2009, 04:08:12 PM »
Yes, some people are workaholics and will put in ridiculous hours in order to get that top 10%. Yes, the legal practice is a grind that requires a ton of hours if you want to work at a big firm. Yes, I graduated and am not practicing law for this very reason. Yes, 90% of the people I know who are working at law firms hate it. Yes, you should find another career. HTH

ptoomey

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Re: How Many Hours Do You Study Per Week
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2009, 12:35:40 PM »
Thanks for the responses everyone.
It seems like it's all over the map. Makes sense though.
I hope others chime in on how much they study.

On a related topic, how high do you have to go in the rankings to
get to the point where you don't have to be in the top 10% to get
a job -  T20? T14? Is Fordham high enough? I'm guessing the answer
is different today than it was before the recession.

ryanjm, did you try getting a job or were you so disillusioned with
law that you decided to do something else? Did you go to a top school?

I just found this on top-law-schools.com about Cornell and the number of
hours people there study:
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Competitiveness

In 2007, the Princeton Review book, 2008 Best 170 Law Schools, ranked Cornell students as the hardest working law students in the United States. According to the book, the students at the Law School study an average of 5.97 hours/day. This is especially unusual considering that students at other top law schools study far fewer hours. However, current Cornell Law students dispute the accuracy of the data that may portray Cornell as an ultra-competitive school. According to these students, students at the law school work hard but there are no horror stories. Students are competitive to an extent. The course load is heavy with students taking a graded legal writing course and 16 credits each semester during their first year. However, the course load does not force students to study 6 hours/day. One student who achieved good results working an average of 3 hours/day stated that Princeton Review’s data may be flawed due to exaggeration by students who may count time getting coffee from the local Starbucks as time spent studying.
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EarlCat

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Re: How Many Hours Do You Study Per Week
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2009, 01:16:50 PM »
I would estimate I put in about 50-60 a week, but that includes breaks for food, etc.  I'm not in a book 10 hours a day nonstop.  I doubt anybody is.  It's also not all studying per se.  Right now I'm in the middle of an appellate brief, and after that I'll be doing trial prep and then studying for finals.

ptoomey

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Re: How Many Hours Do You Study Per Week
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2009, 02:23:24 AM »
Wow, 50-60 is still a pretty intense work load. Does that include class room hours?
Do you take weekends off or just do a shorter day on Sat and Sunday?

Ninja1

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Re: How Many Hours Do You Study Per Week
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2009, 04:13:12 AM »
Counting class hours, I probably spend around 30-40 hours a week on law school stuff if I'm doing everything I'm supposed to (I still contend that most people skim after 1L if they read at all). During 1L though, there were probably times I put in 60-80, but that was only when I had something due for legal writing.
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mbw

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Re: How Many Hours Do You Study Per Week
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2009, 12:08:02 PM »
If I spent 30-40 hours a week, I wouldn't make median, let alone anything remotely safe, job-market-wise.  The 2007 Princeton Review report does not take into account the New Reality, post melt-down.  Everyone here seems to understand the stakes are now much higher, and it means many more hours hitting the books - so 60-80 hours is more the norm than the outlier.  Our curve is so tight that a single grade could make a significant difference as to where you land.  But with five graded courses a semester, I don't know if you can really compare us to a lot of schools with less rigorous curricula.

Truth is, if you don't want to work, don't come to Ithaca.  Sometimes, I regret that I did. :P
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.

EarlCat

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Re: How Many Hours Do You Study Per Week
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2009, 12:12:35 PM »
Wow, 50-60 is still a pretty intense work load. Does that include class room hours?
Do you take weekends off or just do a shorter day on Sat and Sunday?

I pretty much do the same every day, although I took most of thurs and fri off this past week.  But like I said, that's not like straight 100% intense work.  It's work, food, work, LSD, work, food, work, walk back and forth to school, work.  Who knows how many hours are actually full-on productivity.