Etudilos wrote:Thanks for opening yourself up to questions.
1. To go a little deeper on your PS when transferring, I was curious if there was any special route of research you used to determine how to spin yourself as a good match for their 'culture'? When transferring up (especially to HYS) I feel like it would be hard to seem honest to them when saying almost anything other than 'i want better job prospects' so I just wondered if there was anything you did to get keyed in on exactly what sort of culture the school had?
2. Having mentioned that 20-30% of your class was in the running for the top 5%, how do you feel about the accuracy of the outcome? What I mean is do you feel it's sort of a crapshoot, i.e. everyone was equally prepared and maybe if you redid the test the next day, where people placed within that top 20-30% would perhaps mix quite a bit, or do you feel like, though small, the difference between the top 5% and the top 6-20% was real and would likely be reflected even under other circumstances?
3. I realize you already gave some insight on studying tips, but is there anything specific that you did that you felt might have created a difference that allowed you to break ahead of the rest of the top 20%? I.e. do you feel that you put in that extra hour of studying every night, or had your outlines done earlier, or?
I realize there might not be good answers to any of these questions but thought I'd give it a shot. thanks again for what you've already written.
I'll try to go in order.
1. I didn't do too much of that kind of research (but I think I should have). I spoke to professors who indicated that YS were better choices for academia due to smaller classes/general vibe. So for those schools, I played that up as much as I could. For H, it was harder to come up with a convincing cultural rationale. It's worth noting that "I want better job prospects" isn't really true--except for academia, pretty much nothing new became available to me by transferring (a chance to interview at Wachtell, I guess, and maybe better chances for CoA clerkships).
2. I'm not so sure. I want to tread lightly here, because I don't want to be immodest. I think there was a fair amount of luck involved in being top 5% vs. top 15% or 20%. On the other hand, I am very good at law school exams, and I worked very hard. I guess I would say that the crapshoot is more in terms of whether you've been lucky enough to have the combination of talents that add up to successful law school performance (they don't necessarily correlate with intelligence generally). To my mind, (some of) these talents are: fast reader, fast thinker, fast typist, strong memory (yes--every time you look at an outline during the exam, you are losing time), general pattern-spotting ability. What I have going for me more than anything else is an ability to articulate and explore complicated concepts on the fly, both quickly and thoroughly. I am almost always the first to finish an exam--some I finished in half-time.
So I guess I do think that the chips would probably fall more or less the same way again, but one piece of bad luck could easily spell doom on an individual basis.
3. The main thing for me was the much-maligned 0L prep. It gave me a big boost. But also: I didn't make or use outlines. I made a few quick topical summaries while studying, but I never spent time organizing them or polishing them, and I only looked at them while I was making them (to focus my mind while I studied and to force myself to articulate rules). I spent the vast majority of my study time doing the reading and doing practice exams under timed conditions, and then reviewing those exams with other smart people who were also serious about doing well.
I apologize--I know that these answers are not exactly on point. I think it's the best I can do at the moment, however.