Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Site Notices
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/20/2005 7:22:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/23/2005 12:29:57 PM EDT by SkullFarmer]
After several years of thinking about, I finally decided to go to law school. No problems with the LSAT (other than my nerves being shot after taking the first test I'd had in years), no problems meeting the admissions standards of the school I chose.

Anyway, I start classes Monday, and I'm already reading my ass off (briefing every case that comes up in the reading, etc.). I'm planning to spend about 60 hours a week studying (I'm sure finals will require more, but that's still a ways away).

Basically what I'm looking for here is any advice you good folks can offer as far as surviving the 1L experience is concerned.

Thanks for your time.
Link Posted: 8/20/2005 7:24:47 PM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 8/20/2005 7:25:18 PM EDT
I'm not in law school but I just wanted to congratulate you on starting.

A friend of mine will finish next year and it's been a rough journey for him.

Link Posted: 8/20/2005 7:42:01 PM EDT
you'll make it. best advice i could give is, all these horror stories about jerk lawyers - prove them wrong. you will have many jerks in your class, so when they zig, zag. Never, ever lie. not even a tiny one. Don't represent someone that makes you want to throw up, and to thine own self be true. and forget money. a law license is basically a license to print money. and when you begin to love it, to feel like you can't get enough of it, you will be tempted to do something you know is wrong. Commit yourself to just having enough money. Drive, say, a ford instead of a BMw. If there is an honest lawyer, make sure you are him, and start now in law school. You won't understand everything right away. and if you think you do, then you really don't. When you recognize you don't know it all, when you see that you are just a regular guy, and no better than the guy that comes to you pleading for help, you are headed in the right direction. so you will make it, but whether at the endof your life you have memories that make you proud, or ones that make you cry, that is up to you. my best wishes.
Link Posted: 8/20/2005 8:16:28 PM EDT
Thanks, FordGuy (and Patty, and Justa_TXguy). I've worked professionally for several years and my integrity is something that I've guarded pretty jealously. Basically, my biggest fear is just being overwhelmed and screwing up.

I'm already a pretty good writer, owing to my former career, but I know that legal writing is a different animal. Still, grammar is grammar, spelling is spelling and clarity is clarity. The written work (which, or course, there is comparatively little of at this point) doesn't worry me as much as getting called on and freezing up in a big lecture hall full of fellow 1Ls.

Everyone says that you change your career plans once you start law school, but right now I'm looking at transactional law versus criminal law or family law. And I certainly don't have the theatrical flair that a good trial lawyer needs.

Anyway, I just hope I can actually pull this off. I'm certainly not afraid of the work, just the specter of failure.

Link Posted: 8/20/2005 9:56:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/20/2005 9:58:24 PM EDT by -Duke-Nukem-]
Skull, just remember to keep things in balance. Have something else in your life besides study and school. My 1L year I roomed with a guy who internalized alot of things, he didn't really know how to vent. On weekends I would hit the range and pop off a couple hundred rounds and that was my stress relief. I would play a video game for an hour or so before bed. He never went out or had a girlfriend or did anything besides study for school. When I got better grades than he did he just couldn't stand it. By the end of our first year he was going through 3 or 4 bottles of hard liquor a week, and I wasn't drinking or smoking at all. He took it way too seriously and he didn't keep a balance in his own head, and it cost him. He did graduate on time but I didn't stay in touch with him after that first year, and I have no idea what he's doing with himself now.

If you have any specific questions on classes, test taking skills, or any of that stuff just email me and I'll be glad to chat with you about it. And remember to prioritize, read enough to understand what is going on and make sure that you understand the important stuff. If you are all gung ho at the beginning and you are reading the dictum and the dissents on every plurality case they assign, you won't be able to sustain all that effort when the next BIG thing comes around. If I actually read everything they assigned me my 1L year, I'd still be reading, and they do it that way on purpose, they want to see if you can prioritize and be efficient.

P.S. I wish a law license was a license to print money. I work full time and live paycheck to paycheck and I'm starting a gun business nights and weekends to help make ends meet! So I guess the other thing I would add is, have realistic expectations about where this schooling is going to take you. The world will NOT beat a path to your door, there are boatloads of attorneys out there and we all pretty much look the same after awhile.
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 6:12:47 AM EDT
Thanks, Duke.

It was probably a good thing that I didn't go to law school right after undergrad. I think that I probably have an an advantage over a lot of the kids that I've run into so far in terms of discipline, time management, etc. In my former job, most of what I did involved reading a lot of stuff and processing a lot of information very quickly, so the trick is going to be applying that to pulling the law out of the cases we're reading.

I am doing a lot of work right now, but a couple of my best friends are lawyers and both tell me that as I get a feel for things, the amount of time that I spend studying will decrease and that the time I do spend will be more productive.

The plan as it stands right now is to work myself stupid through the week so that I can assure myself of some downtime on the weekends. I don't know a soul here, so I can probably keep distractions to a minimum. I also decided not to get cable.

I'm not looking to get rich, only comfortable. My girlfriend is planning on going to law school in a couple of years, so between the two of us, we'll probably do okay. She's a couple of hours away, so that's more motivation to get done through the week most of the time so that my weekends are for the most part clear.

Well, it's almost time to hit the law library again. It's nice and quiet, and, most importantly, air conditioned. My apartment is as hot as a cattle car come afternoon.
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 6:17:55 AM EDT
Wish you luck.

<­BR>


But wouldn't it be cheaper to stay at a Holliday Inn Express for a night or 2.
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 6:32:31 AM EDT
Skull, congrats on taking the first step into the legal fraternity. Where are you at school?
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 2:43:03 PM EDT
Uh, I'd rather not say, given that a) you never know who's reading these boards and b) most of the faculty I've run into so far tend to at least tilt to the left if they haven't fallen off the edge completely.

I'd hate to get tagged at school as someone who frequents "dangerous extremist websites." Not in my first year, anyway.

I guess it could even conceivably cause a snag during my review for Bar admission if someone were to make me the subject of a vendetta or something. I'm as clean as they come, but the mere fact that I post here could be enough for the lefty activist types, whom you seemingly can't swing a dead cat without hitting around here.
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 2:52:07 PM EDT
Colorado '98 Alum here.

Keys to Law School, by me:

1. Understand the cases, don't just read them. Consider the arguments.

2. Exercise.

3. One day each weekend BELONGS to you. Without fail, without exception.

4. Sit in the front. Attend your fucking classes. Embrace the socratic method.

5. Compete: Write on to Law Review, or do the Moot Court. Try to do some research for a professor or two.

6. If you can get the grades to pull it off, try and work as a law clerk for a judge for a year when you get out. It makes you more marketable, and the experience cannot be beat in terms of learning things in the school of hard knocks.

7. Spend 30 minutes every day taking the information and notes you have from that day, and cram it into an outline of the class for the end of the semester.

8. If your school has old test files, take a look at the exams your instructors have given in the past.

9. Don't get into the whole "I study more than you" thing. Number of hours studied is a worthless statistic. I studied less than half the time you're budgeting, and graduated in the top 3% of my class.

10. If a professor calls on you and you're not prepared, just fucking admit it. They will value your candor more than your feeble attempts to fake it. Oh, and by the way, LEGALINES and the other case book focused briefing materials have a number of fuck ups in them, and the professors know what those fuck ups are. Just, you know, a reminder.

11. First year grades are super important if you're wanting to work in the Ivory Towers during your second summer. You will interview for "law firm" jobs during the first semester of your second year. Keep that under advisement.

12. Most people who go and work in the "Ivory Towers" are not happy. Keep that under advisement too.

13. +1 on all the advice Duke Nukem gave as well.

Link Posted: 8/21/2005 2:59:55 PM EDT
Why not Med School?

Link Posted: 8/21/2005 3:08:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GonzoAR15-1:

6. If you can get the grades to pull it off, try and work as a law clerk for a judge for a year when you get out. It makes you more marketable, and the experience cannot be beat in terms of learning things in the school of hard knocks.



One of my best friends is doing that right now. He's stuck in the middle of nowhere for the length of his contract, but going from what's reported in the papers around here, he's dealing with some fascinating cases. Understandably, he can't talk about that stuff.

He's already agreed to recommend me for a clerkship once I'm out, maybe with the judge for whom he's currently working. Most people go from clerking to far more profitable work, and the contacts you make while doing it have got to be a huge plus.

The big thing for me is that I've been out of school for a while. I don't want to appear self-aggrandizing, I can say that I'm a pretty accomplished writer. I just hope it translates to legal writing.

Thanks for reaffirming my plans for keeping a day (or two, if manageable) free on the weekends. That's going to be the only time during the semester that I'll be able to see my girlfriend, and I miss her and my family so much that it's hard to take.

I'm already planning to do the law review, provided I can get the grades required.

Thanks for the advice, and I'm open to any more insight you'd care to share.
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 3:09:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Merrell:
Why not Med School?



You could take someone out of a group home and they'd do better in medical school than I would. My background is liberal arts, and my math and science skills are teh suck.
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 3:12:14 PM EDT
I am taking the LSAT on October 1 and I have an appointment with an advisor tomorrow at SMU Dedman school of law.

However, I am rethinking the whole law school thing. I researched salaries (surveys and job offers/ads) from law firms to the DAs office to corporations and senior lawyers with 5-10 years experience make $45-60k/year in the Dallas, TX area. Starting is mid to low $30k. That is not worth it. I make a hell of a lot more than $60k already. I probably could be successful as a lawyer, but as a professional engineer, I could start an engineering firm and probably have the same success as if I were to start my own law firm and/or become partner at a firm. The problem with lawyers is supply & demand - there are a whole lot of lawyers and they do not make shit unless they are "partner" and so they mainly take care of traffic tickets and chicken shit - this is also why you see many new liability suits popping up.

The only reason I may still consider law school: to meet chicks, of course!

Link Posted: 8/21/2005 3:14:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By mikejohnson:
The only reason I may still consider law school: to meet chicks, of course!



I have a girlfriend to whom I am absolutely faithful and whom I'm planning to marry as soon as we're both done with school. But you're right. I forgot what being on a college campus is like.
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 3:18:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GonzoAR15-1:
Colorado '98 Alum here.

Keys to Law School, by me:

1. Understand the cases, don't just read them. Consider the arguments.

2. Exercise.

3. One day each weekend BELONGS to you. Without fail, without exception.

4. Sit in the front. Attend your fucking classes. Embrace the socratic method.

5. Compete: Write on to Law Review, or do the Moot Court. Try to do some research for a professor or two.

6. If you can get the grades to pull it off, try and work as a law clerk for a judge for a year when you get out. It makes you more marketable, and the experience cannot be beat in terms of learning things in the school of hard knocks.

7. Spend 30 minutes every day taking the information and notes you have from that day, and cram it into an outline of the class for the end of the semester.

8. If your school has old test files, take a look at the exams your instructors have given in the past.

9. Don't get into the whole "I study more than you" thing. Number of hours studied is a worthless statistic. I studied less than half the time you're budgeting, and graduated in the top 3% of my class.

10. If a professor calls on you and you're not prepared, just fucking admit it. They will value your candor more than your feeble attempts to fake it. Oh, and by the way, LEGALINES and the other case book focused briefing materials have a number of fuck ups in them, and the professors know what those fuck ups are. Just, you know, a reminder.

11. First year grades are super important if you're wanting to work in the Ivory Towers during your second summer. You will interview for "law firm" jobs during the first semester of your second year. Keep that under advisement.

12. Most people who go and work in the "Ivory Towers" are not happy. Keep that under advisement too.

13. +1 on all the advice Duke Nukem gave as well.




I don't think you're using "ivory tower" correctly here....isn't the "ivory tower" = academia???
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 3:20:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2005 3:21:26 PM EDT by freemanesq]
1. You'll do fine. It's hard, but it's not above you. Look at all the other people who have completed it. Work hard and make friends because you'll want to contact some of these people later.

2. Always try to distinguish reading from studying in your mind. You can read the cases and know what happened. Until you study the case, you really won't fully grasp all the issues.

3. Don't get worried in your first year thinking you're going to have to recall every detail of every case for the rest of your life. What will happen over your three years there is you will learn to look at issues and say "Hmmm. I don't know the exact answer to this, but I know that this is something I need to a) research, b) learn more facts about, or c) go ask an expert in this area. You'll never learn everything. Learning to know when to dig deeper will be the key.

4. Don't think they're going to try and brain wash you when they say they're going to teach you to think like a lawyer (BTW, I did. I was thinking "oh crap. This IS some kind of cult.") What they're really meaning is logical reasoning, induction, deduction, critical analysis, and problem solving. These are the most powerful life tools you could ask for.

5. Don't talk to other students about your law school exams. It won't help you at all. While we're talking about exams. If you get in a bind, don't forget to answer with "this is the question you should have asked on this issue." You'll get credit for analysis and you'll likely remember the correct answer while you're writing.

6. Learn your best study schedule and learn when you need to take time off. I learned that I couldn't study well late at night, so I went to bed at 10pm and got up to continue studying at 4am. It worked for me. I never studied after noon on Saturday because I needed some down time.

7. Don't worry about figuring out what you want to do now. To be honest, you don't know what you don't know yet. You might find out you really like torts. I did really good at criminal law, criminal procedure and evidence. That's ok. You don't have to do those (I didn't). If fact, don't limit your options to just law fields. After law school and being admitted in two states, I got a Masters in Healthcare Administration and now I own a software company that provides human resources software to health care organizations. The skills I learned in law school (i.e. learning to think like a lawyer) have allowed me to do very well in this area.

8. Make friends early on for study groups. You'll want to balance your friends between smart and fun. The fun people are great, but if they can't pull their share if they're covering real property then that's not fun. In the alternative - don't use the smart people.

9. Try not to borrow any more money for school than you have to. That's all real money that will have to be paid back and may influence the type of job you'll have to take when you get out of school.

10. Don't get the big head with all your non-law school friends. You're going to realize that there are a lot of smart people at law school. You're at law school. Therefore, you must be one of the smart people. Guess what? You're friends and family already know that you're smart and they likely you anyway. They really don't care what the central issue was in Hadley v. Baxendale. As a side note here don't say the letter "v" for versus. Say "versus" or against. Only first year students in the first two weeks say "v."

11. Decide today that you're going to finish this. Tell your friends and loved ones that you're going to complete it (this unless you really hate it - I mean REALLY - there'd better be weight loss and bad stress). Remember that there are on exams except the final exam. So there's no way to judge how you're doing 6 weeks into the semester. You will see people quit on the first day and two months later. Just determine that it's not a path you're going to take.

So in conclusion. Do good. Have fun. Join the Federalist Society. Don't have sex with your professors - that's another story. Don't forget to shoot as much as you can

Relax, you're going to do fine - just don't blow it.

R.

edit for spelling
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 3:21:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2005 3:26:04 PM EDT by NoVaGator]

Originally Posted By mikejohnson:
I am taking the LSAT on October 1 and I have an appointment with an advisor tomorrow at SMU Dedman school of law.

However, I am rethinking the whole law school thing. I researched salaries (surveys and job offers/ads) from law firms to the DAs office to corporations and senior lawyers with 5-10 years experience make $45-60k/year in the Dallas, TX area. Starting is mid to low $30k. That is not worth it. I make a hell of a lot more than $60k already. I probably could be successful as a lawyer, but as a professional engineer, I could start an engineering firm and probably have the same success as if I were to start my own law firm and/or become partner at a firm. The problem with lawyers is supply & demand - there are a whole lot of lawyers and they do not make shit unless they are "partner" and so they mainly take care of traffic tickets and chicken shit - this is also why you see many new liability suits popping up.

The only reason I may still consider law school: to meet chicks, of course!




Where are you getting your numbers from???? (ETA: I see where you're getting your numbers from....can't believe they're accurate.)

Lawyers with engineering degrees/experience typically start around $145k here in the DC area.
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 3:21:42 PM EDT
ivory tower

A place or attitude of retreat, remoteness from everyday affairs, as in What does the professor know about student life, living as he does in an ivory tower? This term is a translation of the French tour d'ivoire, which the critic Saint-Beuve used to describe the attitude of poet Alfred de Vigny in 1837. It is used most often in reference to intellectuals and artists who remain complacently aloof.
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 3:26:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SkullFarmer:

Originally Posted By GonzoAR15-1:

6. If you can get the grades to pull it off, try and work as a law clerk for a judge for a year when you get out. It makes you more marketable, and the experience cannot be beat in terms of learning things in the school of hard knocks.



One of my best friends is doing that right now. He's stuck in the middle of nowhere for the length of his contract, but going from what's reported in the papers around here, he's dealing with some fascinating cases. Understandably, he can't talk about that stuff.

He's already agreed to recommend me for a clerkship once I'm out, maybe with the judge for whom he's currently working. Most people go from clerking to far more profitable work, and the contacts you make while doing it have got to be a huge plus.

The big thing for me is that I've been out of school for a while. I don't want to appear self-aggrandizing, I can say that I'm a pretty accomplished writer. I just hope it translates to legal writing.



I probably will, but just understand that most legal arguments are formulated to a specific structure, which Judge's are used to reading. IN terms of whether you'll gain much from a clerkship, I can say you will. I did on for a Federal Judge during a semester of my last year of Law School, and one with a state Supreme Court justice.

You cannot imagine how powerful an impact will result from working with some of the best legal minds. Seeing how they think. How they approach cases, etc. From my appeals experience, I can honestly say my practice is much better than it would have been. And, I've yet to lose an appeal -- whether as appellant or appellee (we're talking a dozen cases, knock on wood).


Thanks for reaffirming my plans for keeping a day (or two, if manageable) free on the weekends. That's going to be the only time during the semester that I'll be able to see my girlfriend, and I miss her and my family so much that it's hard to take.


Its very tempting to shut yourself off from the world. Law school is EXTREMELY demanding, but so is the practice of law itself. So, you need to learn early how to balance the LAW (it is famously known as "a jealous mistress") with having a life. If you don't figure out how to do it during law school, you won't figure out how to do it later when you're out.


I'm already planning to do the law review, provided I can get the grades required.


At my school grades were looked at to see whether you were ELIGIBLE to write on, but the important part was the write on competition itself. With your experience in writing, you'll do fine.


Thanks for the advice, and I'm open to any more insight you'd care to share.


Keep these things in mind:

First Year, Spring Semester: Is when you'll have occasion to find the very few unpaid internships that hire first year law students. I happened to take my first summer off from the law alltogether, but I had to spend a lot of time in job interviews after that explaining my decision.

Second year, First Semester: Usually on campus interviews for summer law firm clerkships after your second year. Some federal clerkships require applications in by this time. If you get on law review, you will spend 10 to 12 hours a week "cite checking" articles that are slated for publication.

Second year, Second Semester: Many federal clerkships and state appeals clerkships need to be applied for by this time. If you're on the law review, you'll be preparing an article for a "comment" which could be published in the law review. Either that, or you'll be politicing for a position on the editorial board. (I was one of 4 Associate Editors for the following year).

Second year, summer: Conventional wisdom is that you MUST work in the law during this time if you want to do anything other than "public interest" (i.e., hippie) law after graduation.

Third year, first semester: Some (very few) state court appeals clerkships may still be available. Some federal classified positions will be open at this time (department of the interior, corrections, etc). Also, this is when you'd apply to the FBI if that's your interest. They like law students, by the way... and as a gun person you have a leg up. You'll be working hard on your law review article if you have been selected to have it published as a "comment" at this time.

Third year, second semester: Most blow this semester off... I used it to cinch my place in the top tier of my graduating class. Most third years try and work part time at a law firm or other legal job during this semester as well.

Third year, summer: Ah, studying for the bar exam.
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 3:26:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2005 3:28:08 PM EDT by mikejohnson]

Originally Posted By NoVaGator:

Originally Posted By mikejohnson:
I am taking the LSAT on October 1 and I have an appointment with an advisor tomorrow at SMU Dedman school of law.

However, I am rethinking the whole law school thing. I researched salaries (surveys and job offers/ads) from law firms to the DAs office to corporations and senior lawyers with 5-10 years experience make $45-60k/year in the Dallas, TX area. Starting is mid to low $30k. That is not worth it. I make a hell of a lot more than $60k already. I probably could be successful as a lawyer, but as a professional engineer, I could start an engineering firm and probably have the same success as if I were to start my own law firm and/or become partner at a firm. The problem with lawyers is supply & demand - there are a whole lot of lawyers and they do not make shit unless they are "partner" and so they mainly take care of traffic tickets and chicken shit - this is also why you see many new liability suits popping up.

The only reason I may still consider law school: to meet chicks, of course!




Where are you getting your numbers from????

Lawyers with engineering degrees/experience typically start around $145k here in the DC area.




salary surveys, job listings on various websites including law-based ones - and of course from insiders at the DAs office and several lawyer friends
I even checked on intellectual property firms, etc - the pay is not there...when they say, high salary" they mean 45-50k, from what I have found. Now, I was in shock over this. I *could* be wrong. Please prove me wrong because I enjoy law as much as I enjoy R&D engineering and I thought law school would be a good "hobby" - if I have the time to read and post on ARFCOM for several hours a day, I certainly *could* study that much.....
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 3:28:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GonzoAR15-1:
10. If a professor calls on you and you're not prepared, just fucking admit it. They will value your candor more than your feeble attempts to fake it. Oh, and by the way, LEGALINES and the other case book focused briefing materials have a number of fuck ups in them, and the professors know what those fuck ups are. Just, you know, a reminder.




+1 there. We had a non-traditional student who was non-traditional not only because of her age, but because she didn't want to study. The prof. called on her for a case and she bluffed before she crashed and burned. Then she finally admitted she wasn't ready - but too late. He told her that confession was good for the sole but would not help her here. The prof. made her read the case while we all waited to answer the question. It was the longest 5 minutes of everyone's life.

So. Be prepared. Period. Then if you're not - admit it. They love causing you embarassment. Just decide that you'll tell the true and not get embarassed. You'll snatch that bone right off their plate.

R.

Link Posted: 8/21/2005 3:31:31 PM EDT
I probably misused Ivory Tower, but by it I mean that roughly 1% of large private law firms that actually interview students on campus for summar jobs following the second year of law school paying between $850 and $1800 a week. In Denver, there are probably 10 to 15 firms in that category.

I used "ivory tower" to reference the prestige factor, although having worked at both that level and at a smaller firm, I like the smaller firm better: I had dozens of trials under my belt before some of my "big firm" friends even got to sit second chair.



Link Posted: 8/21/2005 3:34:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2005 3:35:31 PM EDT by Merrell]
eh, not worth the hijack.

Link Posted: 8/21/2005 3:38:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2005 3:39:20 PM EDT by NoVaGator]

Originally Posted By mikejohnson:

Originally Posted By NoVaGator:

Originally Posted By mikejohnson:
I am taking the LSAT on October 1 and I have an appointment with an advisor tomorrow at SMU Dedman school of law.

However, I am rethinking the whole law school thing. I researched salaries (surveys and job offers/ads) from law firms to the DAs office to corporations and senior lawyers with 5-10 years experience make $45-60k/year in the Dallas, TX area. Starting is mid to low $30k. That is not worth it. I make a hell of a lot more than $60k already. I probably could be successful as a lawyer, but as a professional engineer, I could start an engineering firm and probably have the same success as if I were to start my own law firm and/or become partner at a firm. The problem with lawyers is supply & demand - there are a whole lot of lawyers and they do not make shit unless they are "partner" and so they mainly take care of traffic tickets and chicken shit - this is also why you see many new liability suits popping up.

The only reason I may still consider law school: to meet chicks, of course!




Where are you getting your numbers from????

Lawyers with engineering degrees/experience typically start around $145k here in the DC area.




salary surveys, job listings on various websites including law-based ones - and of course from insiders at the DAs office and several lawyer friends
I even checked on intellectual property firms, etc - the pay is not there...when they say, high salary" they mean 45-50k, from what I have found. Now, I was in shock over this. I *could* be wrong. Please prove me wrong because I enjoy law as much as I enjoy R&D engineering and I thought law school would be a good "hobby" - if I have the time to read and post on ARFCOM for several hours a day, I certainly *could* study that much.....



I'm not trying to prove you wrong...

My wife is a 5th year assoc. for a large firm that specializes in commercial construction.
(she started at about $130k as a 2nd year lateral) w/o an engineering degree - she did clerk for a federal judge)

Many of the lawyers at the firm are civil engineers, MEs, etc. They're on a higher pay scale.

I can't imagine that pay would be that much lower in Dallas.

Link Posted: 8/21/2005 3:40:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By freemanesq:
So. Be prepared. Period. Then if you're not - admit it. They love causing you embarassment. Just decide that you'll tell the true and not get embarassed. You'll snatch that bone right off their plate.

R.




I have one class where you get counted as absent for being unprepared. Five absences (barring special circumstances) and you get dropped from the class. There's one grace day allowed, but you have to notify in advance, and it counts against you in an informal sense (i.e. you're sure to get called on more often after that).

I'm certainly planning to be prepared at all times.
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 3:49:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2005 3:50:13 PM EDT by NoVaGator]

Originally Posted By GonzoAR15-1:
I probably misused Ivory Tower, but by it I mean that roughly 1% of large private law firms that actually interview students on campus for summar jobs following the second year of law school paying between $850 and $1800 a week. In Denver, there are probably 10 to 15 firms in that category.

I used "ivory tower" to reference the prestige factor, although having worked at both that level and at a smaller firm, I like the smaller firm better: I had dozens of trials under my belt before some of my "big firm" friends even got to sit second chair.




you meant to say "white shoe." White...ivory....understandable.

A "white shoe" firm is one in which you get the country club membership, a decorating allowance for your office, etc. (I don't think any firms really offer kind of stuff that anymore)



Link Posted: 8/21/2005 3:55:15 PM EDT
Don't take it too seriously. Don't let your fellow students flip you out. BE PREPARED FOR CLASS. But, don't be a helium-hand.

The problem with law school is that there are not any real extra-curricular activities; they are all co-curricular activities, meaning, they are ALL law-school-related, so it's hard to escape the law school pressure.

Best of luck. I hated law school.
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 4:15:56 PM EDT
Thanks, all.

Please keep up the advice. I've got to go read some more, but I'll check the thread again tomorrow evening.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 12:29:27 PM EDT
Just wanted to update before I head back to the law library.

All my classes have now met. I feel about as dumb as a fucking post.

I would say "God help me," but, as a friend pointed out to me recently, "You're in law school, therefore God won't help you. You should probably try one of the Hindu gods, maybe the one with the elephant head."

I hope I can surrive this.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 3:28:38 PM EDT
You're at exactly the right place. I almost puked on my first day. If you had said you didn't feel this week, we would have known you were: 1) lying or 2) crazy.

You'll do fine. You only do one day at a time. If that gets too much - just think of it as one hour at a time (like being in a prison camp).

R.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 4:58:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By freemanesq:
You're at exactly the right place. I almost puked on my first day. If you had said you didn't feel this week, we would have known you were: 1) lying or 2) crazy.

You'll do fine. You only do one day at a time. If that gets too much - just think of it as one hour at a time (like being in a prison camp).

R.


Thanks. Having worked for so long (10+ years) before going to school may have given me advantages in terms of maturity, but I'm just worried about my ability to handle the sheer volume of the work. I can't be satisfied with "just getting by"; I want to be able to excel at this. I'm not looking at the work as a chore to just be gotten through (after all, I'm going into debt for this), but it seems like there's so much to get through so fast that none of it's sticking.

An imbecile who spends all day looking at Shakespeare or quantuum physics is still, at the end of the day, an imbecile.

Another maddening thing is the overwhelming bulk of course grades being based on finals. It would be nice to have some kind of objective way to know where I stand so that I could bail out before flunking out.

And it's only Day Two...
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 5:01:29 PM EDT
You are right about finals. You must take care of your health! I had many a class where we had no grade at all but the final exam, that 4 hour test counted for 100% of your grade. Woe to he who is sick with the flu in finals week!
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 5:02:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By -Duke-Nukem-:
You are right about finals. You must take care of your health! I had many a class where we had no grade at all but the final exam, that 4 hour test counted for 100% of your grade. Woe to he who is sick with the flu in finals week!



I've become the king of hand sanitizer.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 7:12:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SkullFarmer:

Originally Posted By -Duke-Nukem-:
You are right about finals. You must take care of your health! I had many a class where we had no grade at all but the final exam, that 4 hour test counted for 100% of your grade. Woe to he who is sick with the flu in finals week!



I've become the king of hand sanitizer.



Oh REEEEEEALLY. You should meet my wife, the queen of hand sanitizer. She's an 8th grade teacher.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 7:17:09 PM EDT
Emanul
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 7:18:07 PM EDT
A friend of mine turned me on to it. He read something somewhere about how Klinton was always sick while he was in office and that it was attributable to all the hand-shaking he did. It apparently went on to say that Bush doesn't have the same problem because he uses hand sanitizer pretty religiously.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 9:12:06 PM EDT
Law school is challening, but fun too.


You need to know that the PRACTICE of law is generally not exciting, involves long hours of drudgery, ass kissing (especially in a large firm), and you are likely to be divorced or an alcoholic in ten years. Your level of personal responsibility is VERY high, and, unless you manage to get a high paying associate position, the money is not commensurate with other jobs with much less responsibility and risk.

It can be VERY rewarding at times, but can be sheer drudgery coupled with outright fear and panic.

You NEVER truly feel comfortable with a case, even after years of practice, and no two cases are the same, even under similiar facts. I've had retired judges and old-time lawyers in the business tell me they ALWAYS felt like they weren't doing enough, weren't prepared enough, didn't know enough, weren't smart enough, etc. etc.

Be prepared to deal with shithead clients on a daily basis. To get stiffeed on fees with no hope of ever getting paid (get RETAINERS UP FRONT and craft your representation agreements accordingly). To lose cases you think have a shot, and to win (or settle) cases that seem like shit. To be degraded by judges (some, not all) and keep your mouth shut or risk losing your reputation, pissing off the judge, and possibly prejudicing your client's case. To be told by other (opposing) lawyers that you are stupid and don't know shit. To have your clients need to have their hands held and their diapers changed, but not appreciate you in the least.

But, also be prepared to meet some great people (clients, judges, lawyers--some of whom you will become great friends with), feel great when you get a good result for your client and feel even better when they genuinely appreciate your work, and have a sense that it is YOU that represents the bar, and it is a NOBLE thing.

Lawyers are generally NOT scum. Some are--few actually. But many are just normal people, doing the best they can do in a largely underappreciated business. Most ARE ethical, and strive to remain so--a lawyers repuation for ethics IS his livlihood above all else.

Best advice I've heard yet is to do your best job on the case in front of you--even if you only have one. Everyting else (new clients, business management, etc.) will follow.

Good luck.

I'lll still say to see if you can get your old job back, but that's just me.





Link Posted: 8/24/2005 4:50:46 AM EDT
+1 to what magnum said. Well put indeed.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 8:34:04 AM EDT
Tag I got the lsat in oct.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 9:32:30 AM EDT
They design the reading so you can't finish it all, so get in a good study group. Find people who are smart and serious but can kick back a bit and you will survive better.

Do not be an Obiter. Obiter was code at our school for those jackasses who have to talk in class even when they have no point because they came from a school where points were given for verbal diarrhea. If your school is socratic like ours was, prepare in advance to answer questions with reasons and/or twists every class.

Think of intelligent questions ahead of time to ask your profs and talk to your profs. If you find you like them, make friends, but only if you honestly want to be their friend - Don't be a suck up or a leech. Good profs can be invaluable and some rare ones are great people - especially the retired from practice kind.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 4:43:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By scrum:
Do not be an Obiter. Obiter was code at our school for those jackasses who have to talk in class even when they have no point because they came from a school where points were given for verbal diarrhea. If your school is socratic like ours was, prepare in advance to answer questions with reasons and/or twists every class.



I've noticed a couple of those so far, but everyone is pretty down-to-earth for the most part. I think our torts professor has picked out his punching bag for the semester, and I'm glad it's not me.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 5:42:06 PM EDT
Most issues have been covered, but here are some thoughts that came to my mind.

1. Never talk about your exams once you have finished. Nothing good can come of this. I once walked out of a criminal law final and overheard a group of students talking about a particular question. I was not particularly fond of any of these students. The question started with a story about a number of people involved in various criminal activities. The question asked for you to describe and discuss the various charges each person could face. The primary character of the story had committed a number of crimes, but was shot and killed by another character towards the end of the story. The students were talking about the main character and all the various charges he would face. As I walked by, I casually mentioned that the character could not be charged with any crimes, as he was dead. You could have heard a pin drop. People actually cried and I wished I had not said a word.

2. Study hard but play hard. You will need an outlet to COMPLETELY take your mind off law school. Shooting is helpful, but I preferred something with more physical activity. I took up mountain biking and it really helped.

3. You will need to pay VERY close attention to how your significant other is handling things. Law school was such an all consuming event that I only spent time with other law students. (I did not know anyone else in the town, so not a big surprise) I often wondered how other law students with significant others who were not in law school could stand to hang around with us. It was far too easy to start talking about law school at the drop of a hat. I am pretty sure having to listen to law students talk about school is worse than shaving with a cheese grater.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 6:04:09 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/25/2005 6:06:10 PM EDT by SkullFarmer]
Thanks Allen.

As far as tip #3 goes, my girlfriend's fine with it. This was something we talked about A LOT. She knows that I'm doing this for both of us. Also, she's planning on law school as well, once her undergrad work is done. She watched her sister go through law school, so she kinda knows the drill.

Of course, unlike me, her sister is something of a genius and got through without too much sweat.

ETA item #1 is hilarious, but I can't laugh about it too much. God knows what finals stress is going to do to me. There but for the grace of God...
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 6:35:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/25/2005 6:38:31 PM EDT by Allen-in-NM]
Thought of a couple of more suggestions. If your final exam has three questions and you have three hours to complete, only spend an hour on each question. Sounds pretty simple, but many people have a hard time with this. Several classmates got wrapped up in the first question on an exam and suddenly realized they had 20 minutes to finish the last two questions. Panic ensued.

This next suggestion may not be a good idea. Law school teaches you to think like a lawyer, and not much else. My first year of law school was a quessing game. The professors seemed to always hide the answer to the questions asked. After law school, I took a bar exam prep course. There were all the answers, laid out in a nice neat format. It got me to thinking that if I had reviewed the bar review materials during the early part of my first semester, I would have known all the answers to the questions asked by the professors. But law school is not about knowing the answers. Its more about the process of coming to an answer. Most professors only give small part of your grade based on whether you gave the right answer. The most points will go to your analysis used in reaching your answer.

A prime example is my previous #1. The professor did not even realize he had killed off the main character of his story when he wrote the question. The first day back after Christmas break, the professor made an announcement. If you answered the question by stating the character could not be charged with any crimes, as he was dead, you got one point. If you discussed the various crimes committed, but also mentioned he was dead and could not actually be charged, you got five points. If you only discussed the crimes committed, you got four points. Its not about whether you have the right answer, its about how well you can back up the answer you give. (But it helps to be right........) Anyway, reading the bar prep materials will give you the answer but will not teach you how to approach and analyze a problem.

Just as when shooting, when placed in a stressful situation, you will most likely react exactly as you have been trained. Get some old tests and take them under strict test conditions. Have someone in your study group review your answers. Or not. When you get to the real exam, you will KNOW you can handle the time constraints and pressures.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 7:25:03 PM EDT
Great thread. Just finishing up orientation week at Case and am really excitex/nervous about starting this process myself. Thanks everyone for posting advice.
Top Top