Semi-Anonymous Law Student

Da Stain
Posts: 520
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:50 am

Semi-Anonymous Law Student

Postby Da Stain » Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:50 am

So, orientation starts tomorrow and I thought it would be a good time to start a blog. I guess I can't really hide and write this as 'Life as a Student at some T-14 School' so this blog is going to be about my time here at UVA. We'll see how it goes. I can't guarantee regular updates, I can't guarantee that I will convey useful information. I can't even guarantee that you will find this funny or interesting. Hopefully, I can give a little something back to a site and its readers that has given a lot to me.

Thus far, Charlottesville and UVA has been a good amount of fun. TLS became something of the catalyst for a lot of people to know what's going on, where to go out, etc. (Not surprising considering 60 some odd people are listed as attending and I've gotten the impression that more people at least casually read the Class of 2011 thread than would care to admit.) It's been sort of a whirlwind of meeting more people than I think I'll ever actually regularly hang out with, but it's nice to meet everyone since after all, we're all classmates, and I get the impression that that's important to a lot of us even if everyone isn't our best friend.

My first impressions of law school so far is that this happens to be a pretty cool place and crowd. Mostly, Class of '04 seems to be about the limit age-wise of the incoming class and there's a good mix of '06 and '08 people. (Admissions Adivce diversion: If you're going to work before law school, take the 2 years. There don't seem to be many '07 people here, FYI. My unsolicited admissions advice post will come later though....) There does seem to be a large number of straight from undergrad folks, which may help account for our reputation :p. Not sure if this is a fair generalization to make, but with rare exceptions, everyone I've met so far comes from an undergrad that I've heard of.

That's all I got for now. Two days of orientation coming up and classes start on Wednesday. Hopefully, that will be breed a bit more substance for me to write (blog?) about.

Da Stain
Posts: 520
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:50 am

Re: Semi-Anonymous Law Student

Postby Da Stain » Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:00 pm

"This is a special place"
"You are going to the best law school in the country."

For those who want to hate on UVA (and I know there are many), it will make you happy to know that the general theme of orientation is the two sentences above. The rankings whores out there will probably dispute the second notion, if not both, but it would miss the point entirely. We've heard from numerous speakers the last few days who are all excited about UVA, think it's great, and continually harp on just how great it is. Sometimes I just want to say relax, my deposit is in and my loans have been processed. I'm not going anywhere.

So far, orientation has been dominated by section meetings. Our 35 person group for first-year classes, in my estimation, is pretty cool. I'll admit after the 1st day I was a bit skeptical whether or not I liked my sectionmates. That night, we all went out for a pre-game together and things loosened up a good deal. I realized my snap judgment based on the fishbowl of orientation was a bit hasty. We're a varied group (some '06, some '08, a few married folks, Floridians, Texans, New York/New Jersey) and generally pretty cool. It should be a good group and I think we're all looking forward to it (unlike a few others I've met who claim their section sucks). We have our section potluck on Friday and I think we could certainly be a group that does it semi-regularly down the road.

One thing worth noting is that Peer Advising program here has been great so far. Each section is assigned 6 upperclassmen, each one sort of representing the spectrum of the school. They've been great resources for everything, took us out lunch, and even brought cake and cookies after class today for our 1st day as law students. It's a neat institutional program, and I think it helps give outsiders an idea just what it means when people talk about "the culture" of UVA.

So, for those who would accuse me of drinking the kool-aid, you're probably right. Probably also jealous your school doesn't even serve Kool,-Aid. :P I'll be back soon after my first week of classes.

Da Stain
Posts: 520
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:50 am

Re: Semi-Anonymous Law Student

Postby Da Stain » Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:00 am

First real week of classes is in the books, and here are a few thoughts:

- Law school is hard! The biggest adjustment I'm having is becoming a studier. For one thing, I haven't had to do it in 2 years and I was never particularly good at it in college to begin with. The day-to-day motivation to do my reading is something that is a bit tough for me to maintain, although it helps that I actually enjoy the content. I think this learning curve is accounting for a bit of my frustration so far. Most people here are good studiers, it's not a habit they need to learn so they're already getting down to the task of "learning to think like a lawyer" (whatever the fuck that means :P ). I'm doing both, and let me tell you, it's not that easy. It makes me wish more schools did a summer start, which would seem like a low-stress way to get back into the groove of being a student without the full-blown course load.

- Classes have been interesting and the professors have mostly been engaging. My Classes:

Contracts: I should start by saying I currently have a love/hate with my contracts class. On one hand, it's easily the funniest class I have because the professor is borderline senile as far as I can tell. On the other, 50% of the grade is based on class participation, as far as I can tell I haven't really learned anything, and most of class agrees that attempting to take notes is a useless endeavor.

Torts: Interesting class with a great, but somewhat intimidating professor. He's one of the best in practice and seems to be a great teacher, but he is definitely my 'Paper Chase'. Granted, his cold calls go in order so you know when you're up, and I'm fortunate he embarrassed me on the first day so I should be in the clear for a while, but this class scares the shit out of me. I don't think my Friday morning nap endeared me at all, but then again, I'm on this guy's radar about as much as a bull with tits. That said, I think I'll learn the most from this class in terms of this thinking like a lawyer business. This is class where we've already been told, 'My exam is open book, open-note, whatever you want, but I don't think it will help.'

Civ Pro: I like this class a lot since it really is the most straight-forward so far. Each case has a rule, each case builds on the one before it. I'm really interested in litigation so I can already see why I find this class important.

Crim Law: I hit the professor lottery and we have another of the all-star professors for this class. I find it easy to follow, class is engaging, and it plays to my previous interests of criminal law and sociological aspects of criminal behavior. I worry I may be overlooking this class, but so far it makes the most sense to me.

My original feelings of being in a bit over my head are still there, but subsiding with each day. I guess the only conclusion I've reached so far is that getting into law school is deceptively easier than actual law school. You 0Ls have been warned :P


EDIT: One last note, Legal Writing sucks. It's nice to have a pass/fail class, but I'd feel less dumb blowing off things for other classes if this was graded since it does take an inordinate amount of time. Yet, it is the most practical. Quite the double-edged sword.




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