Duke Law Class of 2014

(housing, friendships, future exams, all things 2014)
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beachbum
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby beachbum » Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:06 pm

I'm pretty sure law students (and all grad/professional students) have a two-day campout for basketball tickets. But I think you can show up early to some games (probably not Duke/UNC) and grab tickets at the door. I could be wrong, though.

But another question: how are things looking for paid 1L summer employment? Are a decent number of 1Ls getting paid internships, or is it mostly limited to a select few (i.e. very top of the class/diverse students/students with great connections)?

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Reedie
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby Reedie » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:15 pm

beachbum wrote:
Reedie wrote:Hey y'all, I'm a "rising" 2L. If anyone has any questions I'm glad to help.


Sure, I'd love to get your overall impressions of your first year. How was it? How were the professors, students, classes, workload? Any advice? How are things looking for the upcoming OCI? Thanks a lot.


My professors were excellent overall. We had one faculty member in our section that had some troubles teaching. You can pm me if you want details about that. I had Blocher for my small section and he is especially well liked by students.

I found the workload to be very manageable, but my experience going in was likely different that yours. I went to a UG with a very very heavy workload and was in a graduate program where we did a ton of reading. I would say the amount of reading is actually quite small, but it is fairly dense, and the level of recall you will need on that material for exams is quite high.

My advice is simple: go to class, do the reading, participate. I did well overall in my classes this year, and my actual study methods before exams were far less involved than many other students. My theory is that you want a general knowledge of the material and the ability to quickly find what you can't recall combined with some time spent practicing answering problems. Your mileage may vary.

I have no idea how things are looking for this upcoming OCI. The real question will be how big these employers want their summer classes to be, and I imagine that is still not entirely determined at the moment. OCI is what it is, and I would recommend not spending too much time worrying about how bad the economy will be when you leave as it is out of your control.
Last edited by Reedie on Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Reedie
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby Reedie » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:17 pm

TUP wrote:
beachbum wrote:
Reedie wrote:Hey y'all, I'm a "rising" 2L. If anyone has any questions I'm glad to help.


Sure, I'd love to get your overall impressions of your first year. How was it? How were the professors, students, classes, workload? Any advice? How are things looking for the upcoming OCI? Thanks a lot.


Basically +1 to all this, but also, how do basketball tickets work for law students?


There is a weekend long campout for season tickets, but you can also get tickets for a very reasonable price by walking up prior to games. For major opponents there probably won't be game time seats available, but against less interesting competition there will usually be seats free.

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Reedie
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby Reedie » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:19 pm

beachbum wrote:But another question: how are things looking for paid 1L summer employment? Are a decent number of 1Ls getting paid internships, or is it mostly limited to a select few (i.e. very top of the class/diverse students/students with great connections)?


I didn't try for paid 1L positions. I believe Mr. Freakness may have more insight on this. He may not want to discuss particulars in a public forum though, so you may want to PM him.

I'm working for the courts (and I get 1 day a week off, which I use to do some research for a prof). I like my internship quite a bit actually, as I get to spend a lot of time in courts/with judges.

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quakeroats
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby quakeroats » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:29 pm

Reedie wrote:My professors were excellent overall. We had one faculty member in our section that had some troubles teaching.


"Some troubles teaching" is a bit mild. While all my other professors were from good to excellent, this guy was awful. Thankfully, he isn't teaching 1Ls this fall. For our first class he walked to the front of the room, opened his book, and cold called almost the entire class one by one. He didn't give any introduction or even say his own name. This would have been intimidating if his voiced carried, but we spent most of the class asking him to speak up. He improved over the course of the semester, but not much.

etlien
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby etlien » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:58 pm

Reedie wrote:
beachbum wrote:
Reedie wrote:Hey y'all, I'm a "rising" 2L. If anyone has any questions I'm glad to help.


Sure, I'd love to get your overall impressions of your first year. How was it? How were the professors, students, classes, workload? Any advice? How are things looking for the upcoming OCI? Thanks a lot.


My professors were excellent overall. We had one faculty member in our section that had some troubles teaching. You can pm me if you want details about that. I had Blocher for my small section and he is especially well liked by students.

I found the workload to be very manageable, but my experience going in was likely different that yours. I went to a UG with a very very heavy workload and was in a graduate program where we did a ton of reading. I would say the amount of reading is actually quite small, but it is fairly dense, and the level of recall you will need on that material for exams is quite high.

My advice is simple: go to class, do the reading, participate. I did well overall in my classes this year, and my actual study methods before exams were far less involved than many other students. My theory is that you want a general knowledge of the material and the ability to quickly find what you can't recall combined with some time spent practicing answering problems. Your mileage may vary.

I have no idea how things are looking for this upcoming OCI. The real question will be how big these employers want their summer classes to be, and I imagine that is still not entirely determined at the moment. OCI is what it is, and I would recommend not spending too much time worrying about how bad the economy will be when you leave as it is out of your control.


I am a summer starter and we have Con Law right now with Ernie. He is an extremely good lecturer. I wasn't at ASW, but Purdy gave the Con Law lecture there. And I heard that was good too. It seems overall the Con Law faculty (at least the ones who teach 1L) are pretty solid.

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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby quakeroats » Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:19 pm

etlien wrote:
Reedie wrote:
beachbum wrote:
Reedie wrote:Hey y'all, I'm a "rising" 2L. If anyone has any questions I'm glad to help.


Sure, I'd love to get your overall impressions of your first year. How was it? How were the professors, students, classes, workload? Any advice? How are things looking for the upcoming OCI? Thanks a lot.


My professors were excellent overall. We had one faculty member in our section that had some troubles teaching. You can pm me if you want details about that. I had Blocher for my small section and he is especially well liked by students.

I found the workload to be very manageable, but my experience going in was likely different that yours. I went to a UG with a very very heavy workload and was in a graduate program where we did a ton of reading. I would say the amount of reading is actually quite small, but it is fairly dense, and the level of recall you will need on that material for exams is quite high.

My advice is simple: go to class, do the reading, participate. I did well overall in my classes this year, and my actual study methods before exams were far less involved than many other students. My theory is that you want a general knowledge of the material and the ability to quickly find what you can't recall combined with some time spent practicing answering problems. Your mileage may vary.

I have no idea how things are looking for this upcoming OCI. The real question will be how big these employers want their summer classes to be, and I imagine that is still not entirely determined at the moment. OCI is what it is, and I would recommend not spending too much time worrying about how bad the economy will be when you leave as it is out of your control.


I am a summer starter and we have Con Law right now with Ernie. He is an extremely good lecturer. I wasn't at ASW, but Purdy gave the Con Law lecture there. And I heard that was good too. It seems overall the Con Law faculty (at least the ones who teach 1L) are pretty solid.


All of our Con Law profs are fantastic lecturers--this includes Siegel and Blocher.

5782
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby 5782 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:11 pm

beachbum wrote:
Reedie wrote:Hey y'all, I'm a "rising" 2L. If anyone has any questions I'm glad to help.


Sure, I'd love to get your overall impressions of your first year. How was it? How were the professors, students, classes, workload? Any advice? How are things looking for the upcoming OCI? Thanks a lot.


The most important piece of general advice I have is just not to freak out too much. Duke has a lot of very driven people who are used to being at the top of the class and can't help competing for whatever the school gives us to compete in, then feeling like failures when they don't come out at the top in everything. Try not to be one of those people. Do your work, but have a life. Try to do all the reading for each class before you go to class; don't start reading supplements in August unless you truly don't understand the material even after the professor goes over it. Take LARW seriously but don't spend your entire weekend working on that ungraded 2-page paper they give you in the first month. Make friends, work out, do non-class-related things. Keep up whatever hobbies you had prior to going to law school. If you're spending all your time with your casebooks you're doing it wrong.

Also, realize that 50% of you will be in the bottom half of the class. It happens. It is not because you didn't study hard enough. It's because we have a curve and everybody is smart. You will still go on to get a job and have a good life. If you don't have a good life, it's not because of your grades.

At any rate, I was pleased with my profs and classmates 1L--a couple of dud professors but the rest were excellent (and as mentioned the really awful one isn't teaching 1L classes this fall). The students are less douchey than you might expect after hanging out on these boards. The classes are not as hard as all those people who tell 1L horror stories make them out to be. Duke is a great place. So, welcome to you new people! :)

5782
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby 5782 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:26 pm

beachbum wrote:I'm pretty sure law students (and all grad/professional students) have a two-day campout for basketball tickets. But I think you can show up early to some games (probably not Duke/UNC) and grab tickets at the door. I could be wrong, though.

But another question: how are things looking for paid 1L summer employment? Are a decent number of 1Ls getting paid internships, or is it mostly limited to a select few (i.e. very top of the class/diverse students/students with great connections)?


That was my experience with basketball tickets. Not sure how Reedie wound up paying for tickets. You do pay for your season ticket if you go through campout. If not you can just show up.

On 1L jobs: more people wound up with firm jobs and suchlike than I expected (still definitely a minority though). Not sure where all these people were in the class. If it's just getting paid that's the issue for you, from what I've seen research assistantships with professors are easy to get, and they pay enough to live on. But I'd guess that most people are not being paid and advise that when you get around to thinking about 1L jobs (like in November, at the earliest), not to get too hung up on whether or not they're paid, and just to pursue what interests you. I'm loving my unpaid 1L internship and wouldn't trade that experience for a paid internship I'm not interested in. (Of course a salary would be nice. Public interest stipends are not good this year. But most people make do by budgeting their loans to last through the summer, living with family/SOs, etc.)

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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby quakeroats » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:47 pm

5782 wrote:
beachbum wrote:I'm pretty sure law students (and all grad/professional students) have a two-day campout for basketball tickets. But I think you can show up early to some games (probably not Duke/UNC) and grab tickets at the door. I could be wrong, though.

But another question: how are things looking for paid 1L summer employment? Are a decent number of 1Ls getting paid internships, or is it mostly limited to a select few (i.e. very top of the class/diverse students/students with great connections)?


That was my experience with basketball tickets. Not sure how Reedie wound up paying for tickets. You do pay for your season ticket if you go through campout. If not you can just show up.

On 1L jobs: more people wound up with firm jobs and suchlike than I expected (still definitely a minority though). Not sure where all these people were in the class. If it's just getting paid that's the issue for you, from what I've seen research assistantships with professors are easy to get, and they pay enough to live on. But I'd guess that most people are not being paid and advise that when you get around to thinking about 1L jobs (like in November, at the earliest), not to get too hung up on whether or not they're paid, and just to pursue what interests you. I'm loving my unpaid 1L internship and wouldn't trade that experience for a paid internship I'm not interested in. (Of course a salary would be nice. Public interest stipends are not good this year. But most people make do by budgeting their loans to last through the summer, living with family/SOs, etc.)


There are three main ways of getting a 1L firm job. First, doing very well your first semester and sending your apps out early. Second, having connections from work you did before law school. Third, having ties to a market where 1Ls are hired. For example, law firms in Alabama--we have a small Alabama contingent--tend to do OCI for 1Ls rather than 2Ls. I don't know why they'd want to move their permanent hiring decisions out even further than other law firms, but they do. Only a few Dukies ended up with 1L firms jobs at V100 firms. However, there was a sizable minority with firm jobs from their home states.

cavebat2000
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby cavebat2000 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:00 pm

I too was in the Blocher small section. I too had some great professors and one particularly bad one (weird that he was my best grade all year, haha). I think the school admin tries to even out the quality of professors amongst the 1L class sections, which means you will probably get some really good professors and then maybe an unknown professor like the guy we are talking about.

As for grades, they seem largely random and you will have problems feeling like you can control them like you are used to. There are many reasons for this, chief among them being excellent classmates and a forced curve environment. But those aren't the only reasons why. Proof positive, I personally did MUCH better my second semester regardless of those two factors remaining constant. If you don't do well your first semester and fall below the 50% line, just try and learn from your mistakes and do better your second semester. I can't explain why I did so much better my 2nd semester, but I'd probably say it had something to do with realizing just how superficial exams really are. Maybe that's something you just have to learn through experience. Or perhaps you are already superficial. In that case, I guess you might naturally do well on law school exams. :-P

I myself cannot speak to the social aspect of Duke law, for I don't really participate in it all too much. Though I will say that I have developed some good friendships regardless of not attending all the big events. If I had to recommend anything, I'd say just be yourself, unless that means being a douche. No one likes a douche.

In terms of employment, you are going to do VERY WELL as a Duke Law student. The career center just released the "class of 2013 summer employment" spreadsheet and it is pretty amazing. Duke law students are working at some of the very best firms in the country (and getting paid a crapload of money for it). Also, if public interest is your thing, you will be happy to know that Duke law students are working at some of the top public interest opportunities in the country. For example, I am working at a US Attorney's Office with Michigan, Harvard, Yale students. A friend of mine at Duke scored a US Court of Appeals clerkship this summer as well. Keep in mind, that is quite rare for a 1L and is probably a setup for a SCOTUS clerkship. Do as well as she did your first semester and that might also be a possibility for you.

If you want advice or have questions just PM me.

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Reedie
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby Reedie » Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:07 pm

5782 wrote:
beachbum wrote:
Reedie wrote:Hey y'all, I'm a "rising" 2L. If anyone has any questions I'm glad to help.


Sure, I'd love to get your overall impressions of your first year. How was it? How were the professors, students, classes, workload? Any advice? How are things looking for the upcoming OCI? Thanks a lot.


The most important piece of general advice I have is just not to freak out too much. Duke has a lot of very driven people who are used to being at the top of the class and can't help competing for whatever the school gives us to compete in, then feeling like failures when they don't come out at the top in everything. Try not to be one of those people. Do your work, but have a life. Try to do all the reading for each class before you go to class; don't start reading supplements in August unless you truly don't understand the material even after the professor goes over it. Take LARW seriously but don't spend your entire weekend working on that ungraded 2-page paper they give you in the first month. Make friends, work out, do non-class-related things. Keep up whatever hobbies you had prior to going to law school. If you're spending all your time with your casebooks you're doing it wrong.

Also, realize that 50% of you will be in the bottom half of the class. It happens. It is not because you didn't study hard enough. It's because we have a curve and everybody is smart. You will still go on to get a job and have a good life. If you don't have a good life, it's not because of your grades.

At any rate, I was pleased with my profs and classmates 1L--a couple of dud professors but the rest were excellent (and as mentioned the really awful one isn't teaching 1L classes this fall). The students are less douchey than you might expect after hanging out on these boards. The classes are not as hard as all those people who tell 1L horror stories make them out to be. Duke is a great place. So, welcome to you new people! :)


+1 to all of this. I avoided the library during exam time for this reason: too much stress and it's contagious. Some folks are utterly convinced that making their outline a bit longer and more complicated at 3:00 AM will give them that added bonus they need for a life of wealth and prosperity. I'd like to hear from them, because I'm sure some folks who obsessed like that did quite well. But my experience was that it's just not necessary and not all that helpful.
Last edited by Reedie on Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Reedie
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby Reedie » Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:08 pm

5782 wrote:[
That was my experience with basketball tickets. Not sure how Reedie wound up paying for tickets. You do pay for your season ticket if you go through campout. If not you can just show up.


Lol I'm outed. I thought you needed to pay a few dollars at the door. I didn't do that so I don't know.

cavebat2000
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby cavebat2000 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:12 pm

quakeroats wrote:
Reedie wrote:My professors were excellent overall. We had one faculty member in our section that had some troubles teaching.


"Some troubles teaching" is a bit mild. While all my other professors were from good to excellent, this guy was awful. Thankfully, he isn't teaching 1Ls this fall. For our first class he walked to the front of the room, opened his book, and cold called almost the entire class one by one. He didn't give any introduction or even say his own name. This would have been intimidating if his voiced carried, but we spent most of the class asking him to speak up. He improved over the course of the semester, but not much.


Are you sure he's not teaching this fall? If so, you 1L's owe me for spending like 2 hours writing his eval.

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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby quakeroats » Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:18 pm

cavebat2000 wrote:Are you sure he's not teaching this fall? If so, you 1L's owe me for spending like 2 hours writing his eval.


One thing I enjoyed about his class was his often hilarious mispronunciation of student names.

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Reedie
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby Reedie » Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:02 pm

cavebat2000 wrote:As for grades, they seem largely random and you will have problems feeling like you can control them like you are used to. There are many reasons for this, chief among them being excellent classmates and a forced curve environment. But those aren't the only reasons why. Proof positive, I personally did MUCH better my second semester regardless of those two factors remaining constant. If you don't do well your first semester and fall below the 50% line, just try and learn from your mistakes and do better your second semester. I can't explain why I did so much better my 2nd semester, but I'd probably say it had something to do with realizing just how superficial exams really are. Maybe that's something you just have to learn through experience. Or perhaps you are already superficial. In that case, I guess you might naturally do well on law school exams. :-P


I think this is all good advice as well. I believe I know who you are and I'm really glad that you're happy with how you did second semester. Rock on dude or dudette! There really aren't many students who don't work hard and know their stuff, so it sucks that about half will invariably be disappointed.

One other bit of advice that I can't seem to follow myself: avoid thinking about the exam after you take it. The exam I left feeling the best about is the one I did the worst in (and for reasons that aren't all that satisfying). There was an exam I left second semester and realized I'd messed up a question on, and actually lost a little sleep over it. That was the exam I did best on.

If your personality is like mine, you probably can't help but overanalyze afterwards, but at least try not to. Even during the study periods I tried to devote some time to relaxing and not thinking about exams.

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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby quakeroats » Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:18 pm

Reedie wrote:I think this is all good advice as well. I believe I know who you are and I'm really glad that you're happy with how you did second semester. Rock on dude or dudette! There really aren't many students who don't work hard and know their stuff, so it sucks that about half will invariably be disappointed.

One other bit of advice that I can't seem to follow myself: avoid thinking about the exam after you take it. The exam I left feeling the best about is the one I did the worst in (and for reasons that aren't all that satisfying). There was an exam I left second semester and realized I'd messed up a question on, and actually lost a little sleep over it. That was the exam I did best on.

If your personality is like mine, you probably can't help but overanalyze afterwards, but at least try not to. Even during the study periods I tried to devote some time to relaxing and not thinking about exams.


There's just something about law school, and the people who end up there, that makes this advice difficult to follow. You know in your head that as soon as time's called that the exam is done with, and no amount of mental gymnastics is going to alter things. Still, it's hard to avoid handicapping, going over questions, congratulating or disparaging yourself for an assuredly excellent or awful performance, etc. Everyone knows not to do any of that, but I suspect many of us can't help it.

5782
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby 5782 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:22 pm

Reedie wrote:
5782 wrote:[
That was my experience with basketball tickets. Not sure how Reedie wound up paying for tickets. You do pay for your season ticket if you go through campout. If not you can just show up.


Lol I'm outed. I thought you needed to pay a few dollars at the door. I didn't do that so I don't know.


Nope, totally free. Of course you may wait in line for hours, depending how big the game is. And forget about walking into the UNC game.



It bodes well for the class of 2014 that none of them seem to be on this thread. Less well for us that we are.

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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby quakeroats » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:33 pm

5782 wrote:
Reedie wrote:
5782 wrote:[
That was my experience with basketball tickets. Not sure how Reedie wound up paying for tickets. You do pay for your season ticket if you go through campout. If not you can just show up.


Lol I'm outed. I thought you needed to pay a few dollars at the door. I didn't do that so I don't know.


Nope, totally free. Of course you may wait in line for hours, depending how big the game is. And forget about walking into the UNC game.



It bodes well for the class of 2014 that none of them seem to be on this thread. Less well for us that we are.


Any truth to the news that the class of 2014 is going to be 190-200?

wonderfilled
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby wonderfilled » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:45 pm

Reedie and others, what's the ratio of Macs vs. PCs? I've always had a Mac and love them, but I'm trying to decide if its worth upgrading to a MacBook Pro that can run Windows (my current MacBook doesn't have the power for that) or if I should just bite the bullet and get a PC. I have reasons for both, and I'm waffling way more than I should because I'm afraid that I will regret going one way or the other.

cavebat2000
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby cavebat2000 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:46 pm

Reedie wrote:
cavebat2000 wrote:As for grades, they seem largely random and you will have problems feeling like you can control them like you are used to. There are many reasons for this, chief among them being excellent classmates and a forced curve environment. But those aren't the only reasons why. Proof positive, I personally did MUCH better my second semester regardless of those two factors remaining constant. If you don't do well your first semester and fall below the 50% line, just try and learn from your mistakes and do better your second semester. I can't explain why I did so much better my 2nd semester, but I'd probably say it had something to do with realizing just how superficial exams really are. Maybe that's something you just have to learn through experience. Or perhaps you are already superficial. In that case, I guess you might naturally do well on law school exams. :-P


I think this is all good advice as well. I believe I know who you are and I'm really glad that you're happy with how you did second semester. Rock on dude or dudette! There really aren't many students who don't work hard and know their stuff, so it sucks that about half will invariably be disappointed.

One other bit of advice that I can't seem to follow myself: avoid thinking about the exam after you take it. The exam I left feeling the best about is the one I did the worst in (and for reasons that aren't all that satisfying). There was an exam I left second semester and realized I'd messed up a question on, and actually lost a little sleep over it. That was the exam I did best on.

If your personality is like mine, you probably can't help but overanalyze afterwards, but at least try not to. Even during the study periods I tried to devote some time to relaxing and not thinking about exams.


Uh oh. Have I outed myself!?

Also, yeah whats up with 2L's outnumbering 1L's on a Duke Law Class of 2014 thread. Hello out there! Don't be shy.

cavebat2000
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby cavebat2000 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:49 pm

wonderfilled wrote:Reedie and others, what's the ratio of Macs vs. PCs? I've always had a Mac and love them, but I'm trying to decide if its worth upgrading to a MacBook Pro that can run Windows (my current MacBook doesn't have the power for that) or if I should just bite the bullet and get a PC. I have reasons for both, and I'm waffling way more than I should because I'm afraid that I will regret going one way or the other.


You may wanna call Duke's office of information technology to be sure whatever computer you have/bought/will buy will be compatible with the exam software you will be using. I don't remember any mac or pc users having problems but it wouldn't hurt to just call and ask.

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quakeroats
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby quakeroats » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:54 pm

wonderfilled wrote:Reedie and others, what's the ratio of Macs vs. PCs? I've always had a Mac and love them, but I'm trying to decide if its worth upgrading to a MacBook Pro that can run Windows (my current MacBook doesn't have the power for that) or if I should just bite the bullet and get a PC. I have reasons for both, and I'm waffling way more than I should because I'm afraid that I will regret going one way or the other.


You can use whatever you want. Anecdotally, there are more Macs than PCs here, but everything you'll need to run is available on both platforms. Our exam program runs on Mac OS X

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beachbum
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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby beachbum » Sun Jun 26, 2011 11:27 pm

I'm not sure where all the other 1Ls are, but I just wanted to thank you all again for your advice ITT. I'm almost to that point where I'm just ready for school to (finally) start.

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Re: Duke Law Class of 2014

Postby thickfreakness » Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:18 am

Reedie and cavebat (who both are section-mates from last year) have provided excellent advice. I think law school is very much about working reasonably hard and sticking to what makes your life enjoyable. If your surroundings and non-law-life is as comfortable and enjoyable as it can be, you're going to have a much happier three years. Trust me, you have much much more time in law school than you will in practice. I'm working at firms this summer and the workload is pretty heavy. I've loved all my projects so far and work with brilliant people, but they all work very hard. You should try to enjoy your time in law school.

As for more specific school advice: I did worse second semester than I did first semester, and really don't have a clue as to why. I'm eager to return in the fall and get some exam feedback. Anyway, here are a few general pointers (probably hit above already, but what the hell):

1) Read your assignments before class. Do not get behind on your reading. Law school classes will make even less sense if you don't read (unless you get everyone's favorite worst professor, in which case you're better off taking a hit of PCP before class and never even cracking the casebook...).

2) Go to class. Missing class is tough. Class is usually a great opportunity to learn how the professor views the law and familiarize yourself with the kinds of arguments and styles the professor enjoys. This is important for exam-taking. "Kinds of arguments" and "styles" is not code for "learn the professor's opinion so you can regurgitate it on every exam question." That will not get you anywhere.

3) If you're confused at all, go to office hours. Most professors are great about putting things in plain english during office hours. Go to office hours before you start cracking supplements or hornbooks. You're not as busy as you think you are during 1L: you should have time to attend office hours if you're confused in a class.

4) Supplements: I didn't use them at all. I think they're good if you have a bad teacher, but probably bad if you have a good teacher. If you do feel the need to use them, use them in conjunction with your casebook and class notes. They will illuminate things, but they also won't always agree with what your professor/casebook says. And--big shocker here--if you follow the supplement on an issue but the prof/casebook says otherwise, it's probably going to burn you on the exam.

5) Legal writing: pray for a good draw and follow step 3 religiously (I didn't and it probably cost me some GPA points). Also, start writing ASAP on each project. Legal writing is a very recursive process. I like to spend a bunch of time "figuring it out" before I sit down to write and that's just not a very efficient way to write about legal problems. As you write you figure out more possibilities and trails you need to track down. You need to get comfortable with the idea that you could write a page, paragraph, or more and then just highlight it all and delete it if you find the right case or statute. I figured this out mostly this summer at the firm where I've been cranking out memos dealing with much more complicated issues than anything I wrote about in LARW (except for our bat-shit insane appellate brief problem).

I think that's all I've got for now.




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