Duke Class of 2013

(housing, friendships, future exams, all things 2013)
paralegal
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby paralegal » Sun May 30, 2010 12:44 pm

seems like I've been "carrying this thread" alone for the last couple of days....where is everyone?....Reedie? Jericwithers?

Masochistic -

Based upon your LSN profile and all the other great law schools you were admitted to, I'm assuming you were a stellar UG student. I've heard it's hard to compare UG to law school, but looking back over your 1L academic experience at Duke, was it far more diffiicult than you expected? Crazy hard...or just hard? Was the workload manageable? How much time did you spend studying? Have you found grading difficult, considering the intellectual cailber of the students and the curve? Are some professors more difficult than others? Which courses are more difficult than others?

Any additional info re academics and grades would be appreciated....that comes to mind....

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Reedie
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby Reedie » Sun May 30, 2010 2:44 pm

Ok, I'll fill up some space. Where yah from in New England paralegal? I grew up in Vermont. I miss the fall, but definitely not the winter (especially the ice storms). Does NC get any fall color to speak of?

paralegal
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby paralegal » Sun May 30, 2010 3:00 pm

Reedie -

Massachusetts....my parents have a home in the Cape.....spent some time there...really beautiful.

I've heard that NC is a gorgeous state....and pretty sure..we'll see fall colors.

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ObviouslyMasochistic
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby ObviouslyMasochistic » Sun May 30, 2010 3:49 pm

paralegal wrote:seems like I've been "carrying this thread" alone for the last couple of days....where is everyone?....Reedie? Jericwithers?

Masochistic -

Based upon your LSN profile and all the other great law schools you were admitted to, I'm assuming you were a stellar UG student. I've heard it's hard to compare UG to law school, but looking back over your 1L academic experience at Duke, was it far more diffiicult than you expected? Crazy hard...or just hard? Was the workload manageable? How much time did you spend studying? Have you found grading difficult, considering the intellectual cailber of the students and the curve? Are some professors more difficult than others? Which courses are more difficult than others?

Any additional info re academics and grades would be appreciated....that comes to mind....


Sure, glad to offer some insight, hopefully I can toss out a few nuggets here.

I came into 1L year thinking it was going to kick my ass. I was going to be lost and confused since law is an entirely different beast than what I'm used to (undergrad was engineering). And, I have to say that the first semester (which was summer for me) was tough. There is definitely a learning curve that you have to deal with your first semester. You have to figure out how to read/understand a case, get a handle on the vernacular of the legal world, and, possibly most importantly, you have to figure out how to do these things efficiently.

But, now, let me put your mind at ease. After you get these things down in your first few weeks, law school is not hard. And, honestly, the fact that you're here and trying to learn all you can before you start is a good indication that you'll probably be ahead of the pack when you start classes. I have found grading to be fair for the most part. I, and others, have walked out of an exam thinking we rocked it, and our predictions were on target when grades came back. Of course, if you get a crappy visiting prof who has no idea what they are doing, then this could go out the window (I'm sure the 2Ls know what I'm talking about).

The caliber of students here is top-notch, and you really are competing with brilliant people. However, I think there are certain characteristics that top students have and certain habits that can help propel anyone to the top of the class. Time for a list!

1. Work hard.
Above, I said that law school was not hard; however, I did not say it doesn't require hard work. My first few weeks of school, I would come home from class, read, have dinner, read, and then go to bed. It was pretty brutal. Class for 3 or 4 hours followed by 6 or 7 hours of reading/studying. After this learning curve time though, the time expenditure was much diminished. All the work (and classes) can be finished from 8-5 if you actually do work when you sit down to do work and avoid the siren song of facebook, etc.

2. Work on a schedule.
Find a schedule that's right for you and stick with it. Law school makes life pretty routine. I had class, then gym time, then homework time, then relaxation time, then repeat. The important thing was that I got all my work done to my satisfaction before the class when it would be discussed. Whatever you do, don't fall behind.

3. Work smart.
This part has to do with not spending more time than you need to in doing your work. Use your learning curve time to try to soak up everything and then figure out through class what parts were actually important for you to know. This way you can skim over the parts that you know are not important to the prof. Knowing what your prof likes and wants to hear is a great way to cut your workload and kick ass on exams.

4. WRITE WELL.
This is in caps for a reason. I believe that writing style is what separates the above median from below median students given the same effort expenditure. I can't believe that the writing sample portion of the LSAT isn't graded; I mean, c'mon, in the real world of legal practice, good writing skills are what separates decent associates from the superstars. So, if you're a good writer, you're ahead of the game (especially for legal writing class!). That said, if you're not a good writer, you can definitely improve. There are several ways to do this. Read some legal writing books; Scalia/Garner is a good one to start on, and I've heard that Volokh is good too. Another thing that can help you improve is writing answers to practice exams early and then having your professor look over them. This even applies to 8 hour take home exams! Take a day and do one. You'll be glad you did.

I think I answered most of your questions; for those that I left unanswered, I'll circle back and answer them later on today or tomorrow. To the pool! 8)

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DallasCowboy
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby DallasCowboy » Sun May 30, 2010 3:57 pm

Okay, now that we are on to the important subjects, does anybody ski/snowboard? I just discovered that there are a couple ski mountains 3 hours away in NC. I'm bringing my skis.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby prezidentv8 » Sun May 30, 2010 6:25 pm

ObviouslyMasochistic wrote:...After you get these things down in your first few weeks, law school is not hard.

Were it not for the curve, I feel like life would be oh so easy. Agreed.


ObviouslyMasochistic wrote:And, honestly, the fact that you're here and trying to learn all you can before you start is a good indication that you'll probably be ahead of the pack when you start classes. I have found grading to be fair for the most part. I, and others, have walked out of an exam thinking we rocked it, and our predictions were on target when grades came back. Of course, if you get a crappy visiting prof who has no idea what they are doing, then this could go out the window (I'm sure the 2Ls know what I'm talking about).

I feel like I know this reference. Hah. But on the grading, I had completely an opposite experience. Not that grading was unfair, exactly, but I couldn't tell how I was doing even though I felt comfortable with the material on all the tests. The determinative factor for me seemed to be how much time I had to complete the tests. Longer tests --> pretty good grades. Tight time constraints or in class exams --> mediocre grades. But that's probably mostly because of the way I work (thorough/not efficient/slow wordsmith).

ObviouslyMasochistic wrote:4. WRITE WELL.
This is in caps for a reason. I believe that writing style is what separates the above median from below median students given the same effort expenditure. I can't believe that the writing sample portion of the LSAT isn't graded; I mean, c'mon, in the real world of legal practice, good writing skills are what separates decent associates from the superstars. So, if you're a good writer, you're ahead of the game (especially for legal writing class!). That said, if you're not a good writer, you can definitely improve. There are several ways to do this. Read some legal writing books; Scalia/Garner is a good one to start on, and I've heard that Volokh is good too. Another thing that can help you improve is writing answers to practice exams early and then having your professor look over them. This even applies to 8 hour take home exams! Take a day and do one. You'll be glad you did.


This is the best advice EVAR.

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Jericwithers
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby Jericwithers » Sun May 30, 2010 9:19 pm

I was told that Black's Law Dictionary is essential for law school; any truth to this? Half-Priced Books has a 20% off sale and I got Black's and two other legal reference books for $20. If anyone is looking for some good summer reading (hah) I would recommending checking it out tomorrow while there is still a sale. They also had some old E&E books, but I am not brave enough to dive into those yet (would probably be dangerous to use anything but the most recent edition anyways).

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ObviouslyMasochistic
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby ObviouslyMasochistic » Sun May 30, 2010 10:18 pm

Jericwithers wrote:I was told that Black's Law Dictionary is essential for law school; any truth to this? Half-Priced Books has a 20% off sale and I got Black's and two other legal reference books for $20. If anyone is looking for some good summer reading (hah) I would recommending checking it out tomorrow while there is still a sale. They also had some old E&E books, but I am not brave enough to dive into those yet (would probably be dangerous to use anything but the most recent edition anyways).


Nonessential. I have one on my shelf that I got as a going away present from my last job. It looks pretty up there, but I've never actually used it. Also, Westlaw has Black's built in. And wikipedia usually works fine.

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Jericwithers
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby Jericwithers » Mon May 31, 2010 12:14 am

ObviouslyMasochistic wrote:
Jericwithers wrote:I was told that Black's Law Dictionary is essential for law school; any truth to this? Half-Priced Books has a 20% off sale and I got Black's and two other legal reference books for $20. If anyone is looking for some good summer reading (hah) I would recommending checking it out tomorrow while there is still a sale. They also had some old E&E books, but I am not brave enough to dive into those yet (would probably be dangerous to use anything but the most recent edition anyways).


Nonessential. I have one on my shelf that I got as a going away present from my last job. It looks pretty up there, but I've never actually used it. Also, Westlaw has Black's built in. And wikipedia usually works fine.


Where was your advice before I spent $5.50! I should have known better than to take the advice of a law school professor, lol. Thanks for all your help though.

paralegal
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby paralegal » Mon May 31, 2010 12:24 pm

Masochistic -

Wow...thanks for posting your comments re your insights into 1L academics and grades.... particularly appreciated your "list."

The info you post regularly on our class thread is really valuable...thanks so much...

paralegal
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby paralegal » Mon May 31, 2010 2:16 pm

Did a little research....here are the books referenced in Masochistic's previous post re legal writing:


1. "Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review" by: Eugene Volokh

2. "Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges" by: Scalia/Garner

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los blancos
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby los blancos » Mon May 31, 2010 3:38 pm

paralegal wrote:Masochistic -

Wow...thanks for posting your comments re your insights into 1L academics and grades.... particularly appreciated your "list."

The info you post regularly on our class thread is really valuable...thanks so much...


+14382940432432

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DallasCowboy
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby DallasCowboy » Mon May 31, 2010 5:50 pm

LAX overtime! This is crazy. C'mon I would like nothing better than to beat Notre Dame.

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DallasCowboy
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby DallasCowboy » Mon May 31, 2010 5:52 pm

Add another title! Wooooh

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Jericwithers
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby Jericwithers » Mon May 31, 2010 8:13 pm

DallasCowboy wrote:Add another title! Wooooh


Awesome! There are 2 shirts I need to buy now.

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Reedie
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby Reedie » Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:23 pm

I should watch some Boston Legal to learn about the legal world I think.

paralegal
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby paralegal » Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:27 am

prezidentv8 -

Wanted to thank you as well for your comments re academics and grades....both you and Masochistic have been really generous - making yourselves available to post on our class thread...

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Reedie
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby Reedie » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:38 pm

Did any of the current students here participate in (or are you think of participating in) the Duke in DC program? Seems interesting to me, as I'd love to work for the DOJ (granted I'd have to do really well for that).

paralegal
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby paralegal » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:56 pm

Masochistic -

How does one get on the "Duke Law Journal"? How intense is the competition? Is it based on a writing competition...and/or is it based on grades? What exactly is the process...and when does it occur? What about the other supplemental journals?

"Duke Law Journal" is highly regarded here at the (Vault 25) firm where I work...

Thanks...

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thickfreakness
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby thickfreakness » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:08 pm

Ugh, this vaccination thing is so annoying. I have no idea where the record of my immunizations even is, I guess my pediatrician or something.

paralegal
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby paralegal » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:11 pm

thickfreakness wrote:Ugh, this vaccination thing is so annoying. I have no idea where the record of my immunizations even is, I guess my pediatrician or something.


I haven't even started mine....OMG....help!!!!

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Reedie
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby Reedie » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:29 pm

paralegal wrote:
thickfreakness wrote:Ugh, this vaccination thing is so annoying. I have no idea where the record of my immunizations even is, I guess my pediatrician or something.


I haven't even started mine....OMG....help!!!!


I'm trying to figure out how to get mine signed without paying a healthcare provider any money. Sooo stupid.

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worldwithoutend
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby worldwithoutend » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:33 pm

thickfreakness wrote:Ugh, this vaccination thing is so annoying. I have no idea where the record of my immunizations even is, I guess my pediatrician or something.


I had to go to my old pediatrician for those records. Actually, I asked my mom to go to my pediatrician. And then I had to get a tetanus shot and it hurt real bad!

By the way, I haven't been a very active poster, so if I haven't said it already, hi guys.

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ObviouslyMasochistic
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby ObviouslyMasochistic » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:07 am

paralegal wrote:Masochistic -

How does one get on the "Duke Law Journal"? How intense is the competition? Is it based on a writing competition...and/or is it based on grades? What exactly is the process...and when does it occur? What about the other supplemental journals?

"Duke Law Journal" is highly regarded here at the (Vault 25) firm where I work...

Thanks...


To get onto any of Duke's nine journals, you must compete in the casenote competition. Luckily for you, I just went through this a couple of weeks ago, so it's very fresh in my mind. :wink:

Sometime in April during your 1L year, the journals will hold a joint meeting and explain the casenote competition to you. Shortly after that meeting, you will receive the instructions for the competition. Basically, they send you a case citation; it's up to you to decide what aspects of the case to write about. Your casenote can only be 14 pages long and is due a couple of weeks after spring exams (was due May 18 this year).

You submit your casenote online along with your preferences of which journals you would like to join. Duke has 6 "exclusive" journals and 3 "non-exclusive" journals. You can be on only 1 exclusive journal and as many non-exclusive journals as you'd like. So you rank the 6 journals in order of your preference. Most everyone puts DLJ first, I think.

Each journal has different grading criteria to determine who they want. DLJ takes 13 people on grades alone, 13 people on casenote alone, and 13 people based on a combination of the two. Other journals weigh grades and casenote scores in different ways to decide who to invite to their journal.

We hear back in late July about what journals picked us. At that point, we can accept or decline their invitations to join.

I think that's the basic jist of the casenote competition; if I left something out that you would like answered, let me know!

Oh, FYI, the case for this year's competition is here: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threa ... snyder.pdf
Give it a read, or at least the facts, it's pretty fantastic.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Duke Class of 2013

Postby prezidentv8 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:16 am

paralegal wrote:prezidentv8 -

Wanted to thank you as well for your comments re academics and grades....both you and Masochistic have been really generous - making yourselves available to post on our class thread...

Fo sho.


ObviouslyMasochistic wrote:
paralegal wrote:Masochistic -

How does one get on the "Duke Law Journal"? How intense is the competition? Is it based on a writing competition...and/or is it based on grades? What exactly is the process...and when does it occur? What about the other supplemental journals?

"Duke Law Journal" is highly regarded here at the (Vault 25) firm where I work...

Thanks...


To get onto any of Duke's nine journals, you must compete in the casenote competition. Luckily for you, I just went through this a couple of weeks ago, so it's very fresh in my mind. :wink:

Sometime in April during your 1L year, the journals will hold a joint meeting and explain the casenote competition to you. Shortly after that meeting, you will receive the instructions for the competition. Basically, they send you a case citation; it's up to you to decide what aspects of the case to write about. Your casenote can only be 14 pages long [[BUT - 10 point font!]] and is due a couple of weeks after spring exams (was due May 18 this year).

You submit your casenote online along with your preferences of which journals you would like to join. Duke has 6 "exclusive" journals and 3 "non-exclusive" journals. You can be on only 1 exclusive journal and as many non-exclusive journals as you'd like. So you rank the 6 journals in order of your preference. Most everyone puts DLJ first, I think.

Each journal has different grading criteria to determine who they want. DLJ takes 13 people on grades alone, 13 people on casenote alone, and 13 people based on a combination of the two. Other journals weigh grades and casenote scores in different ways to decide who to invite to their journal.

We hear back in late July about what journals picked us. At that point, we can accept or decline their invitations to join.

I think that's the basic jist of the casenote competition; if I left something out that you would like answered, let me know!

Oh, FYI, the case for this year's competition is here: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threa ... snyder.pdf
Give it a read, or at least the facts, it's pretty fantastic.


Yeah I was going to answer but you beat me to it. Solid explanation, I added one comment re: font size. Also, the facts of that case and a few of the cited cases are AWESOME.




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