Law school stress vs. UG

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NightHooded
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Law school stress vs. UG

Postby NightHooded » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:56 pm

The thing I don't understand is that most T6 students were already working really hard in UG. How much worse can LS be? I'm not saying it won't be hard, but can I assume there is a stress plateau many of us have already reached.

I realize 1L will be rough... but I'm expecting it to be about as stressful as my more challenging UG years.
Anyone care to explain/elaborate?

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Mattalones
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby Mattalones » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:06 pm

NightHooded wrote:The thing I don't understand is that most T6 students were already working really hard in UG. How much worse can LS be? I'm not saying it won't be hard, but can I assume there is a stress plateau many of us have already reached.

I realize 1L will be rough... but I'm expecting it to be about as stressful as my more challenging UG years.
Anyone care to explain/elaborate?

It depends on you major A LOT. It also depends on how much you worked during UG. But, from what I've seen, LS has more consistent work, esp compared to LA majors (usually). Also, T6 means you're in the big leagues. Smarts won't let you skate by any more b/c, for the most part, everyone has them. Just keep cool, keep your head down, and get'r done.

On another note. The people I've meet who have been top grade in classes don't get phased by work in such a way that makes them very stressed. On top of having natural intelligence and strong skills (like almost everyone else), they are just super organized, have a good system that served them well, and they stick to their plans. Even super smart, very gifted people tend to stray from plans and do things like procrastinate. If you can actually pull off what you know you should do, you're likely to do well and keep some stress off too.

Note: Not saying you can avoid all stress, but you can avoid unnecessary stress, which actually accounts for a lot of general stress ... If only I would have done what I should have done, when I should have done it, how I was supposed to do it, then I wouldn't be stressed ... just do the right things well and on time and you'll be in a good spot (sounds simple, but it's true) :-).

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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby 270910 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:09 pm

Sigh.

disco_barred, trying to describe it a while back, wrote:When you're 20 grand+ and 14+ stressful weeks deep into your first semester of law school having received zero meaningful feedback while staring down the barrel of 3-5 exams where you'll be competing in a zero-sum game with everyone you've just met in order to determine which of you have a chance at your dream job and which of you are going to be struggling to obtain any legal work at all, you'll understand :D


10 material facts that make 1L year (often artificially) extraordinarily stressful:

1) The stakes. Even HYS these days, but definitely all schools below, have a large chunk of their class - 10, 20, 40, 80% (it just goes up as you go down in the rankings) who will struggle to find meaningful employment. On the flip side, the top of the class are going to get ridiculous and snowballing rewards for their work.

2) The uncertainty. Every law school grades (most) classes based on a single final. You won't know going into it where you'll land.

3) The randomness. Stories abound of random law school grades. Even top performers with top top top of the class grades sometimes just randomly get a bottom of the class grade. There are reasons, but it is hard to understand, which means less control.

4) The competition. Everyone wants to do well, and people are often very overt about their studying. But you don't really know how you're doing OR what must be done to do well, so it's hard to effectively respond.

5) The uniformity. Every fucking law school in the country is teaching torts, property, con law, Ks, crim, contracts, and civ pro. On a curve. Every fucking law school in the country is full of students who want to get plum jobs. In undergrad, your stress could be alleviated by alternatives. Not everyone was in the same race. In law school, EVERYONE is doing the same thing and EVERYONE wants the same goals that some (small fraction at the best schools, huge fraction at the worst) will never get.

6) No chance to learn by doing. You MUST GET IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME. OCI - for the big firm jobs and prestigious summer PI gigs that everyone wants - will happen after two bites at the law school exam apple. Fuck up the first time, stumble a bit, take a while to expose your brilliance? Sorry! Biglaw only hires after your first year. Tough luck!

7) The debt. Even if you're on a free ride + stipend, you don't get these years back if you fuck it up.

8: The grades fetish. How do you get the best jobs? Good grades and professorial recommendations. It's disgusting but irrefutable that the legal industry slathers over grades (and the school that awarded them). There just isn't any other way to get people to pay attention to you for the best positions. And a dirty little secret about professors - the best way to impress them is on a law school exam. Profs remember the names of the students who do well in their classes, and place phonecalls for students with glowing transcripts.

9) The law school exam. These things are designed to be obscure, time pressured, horrible means of examining and separating and sorting you. It is nothing like any exam you've ever taken, and it's a god awful blackbox from which few students - top or bottom of the class - actually emerge understanding WHY they were ranked or sorted in any particular way.

10) The curve. Your best may not be good enough, your worst may be stellar. This again speaks to the lack of control - you can't ever be right on a law school exam. Ever. It's not like O-chem where you can learn it, not like history where you can memorize it, not like your dance class where you know you're good and put in the effort. All of your effort will be relative, and you know that any strong performing peers are LITERALLY hurting your grade in order to benefit theirs.

Final note - things I didn't include (amount of work, difficulty of the material, cold calls + public speaking, etc.) are the things people expect to make LS stressful. They alone would make it not markedly different from college stress.

Also, pre-ITE at the top schools 'everybody gets a job' mentalities meant that for many people it WASN'T that stressful, because the stress factors outlined above were irrelevant if below median was good enough to pull down six figures. Well, it isn't anymore. And at lower ranked law schools it never was...

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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby 270910 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:21 pm

Another big one: many pre-law students don't understand how rigid legal hiring can be. I mentioned above that biglaw only hires after your first year* for the most part, and that's true - but it's only a tiny piece of the house of cards that a legal career can be. Once you finish a big firm job, the names between the ampersands on your resume become a huge factor in the next gig you can get. Your first legal job, which will likely be as a result of your 1L grades and school name, is a HUGE factor in your next legal jobs. If you get on the clerkship/firm path you'll be golden and have a career of choices.

If you don't? Your entire career outlook has its foundation shaken to its core.

It's not enough reason to quit, and there aren't (many) lawyers starving on the street - but most people go to law school to have the kind of career you can never get a whiff of if you miss the train as it pulls out of the station. Biglaw types bounce around between agency jobs, elite boutique firms, in-house counsel positions, and megafirms. They lateral out into prestigious PI shops or open their own practice based on the relationships they've established. Biglaw partners wind up taking the bench and appointed to high government office. It's an extremely insular career path with extraordinarily few points of entry. And by and large, those points of entry only examine - as I've tried to outline above - a single credential: how well you spotted and analyzed issues on your first year exams.

It's a barbaric system. That's different from calling it bad... law school exams are widely hailed as good predictors of important legal talents, and the stress and competition isn't markedly different from the conflict that a lawyer is likely to find in his or her professional career. But to be perfectly blunt, a lot of people enter with a cavalier attitude and mild stress that under appreciates the daunting stakes and challenges before them.

*Sometimes they'll take clerks, and under extraordinary circumstances people move up after starting at smaller firms or from agencies/legislative work, but the fact is that it's next to impossible to break in.

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Mattalones
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby Mattalones » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:57 pm

disco_barred wrote:Another big one: many pre-law students don't understand how rigid legal hiring can be. I mentioned above that biglaw only hires after your first year* for the most part, and that's true - but it's only a tiny piece of the house of cards that a legal career can be. Once you finish a big firm job, the names between the ampersands on your resume become a huge factor in the next gig you can get. Your first legal job, which will likely be as a result of your 1L grades and school name, is a HUGE factor in your next legal jobs. If you get on the clerkship/firm path you'll be golden and have a career of choices.

If you don't? Your entire career outlook has its foundation shaken to its core.

It's not enough reason to quit, and there aren't (many) lawyers starving on the street - but most people go to law school to have the kind of career you can never get a whiff of if you miss the train as it pulls out of the station. Biglaw types bounce around between agency jobs, elite boutique firms, in-house counsel positions, and megafirms. They lateral out into prestigious PI shops or open their own practice based on the relationships they've established. Biglaw partners wind up taking the bench and appointed to high government office. It's an extremely insular career path with extraordinarily few points of entry. And by and large, those points of entry only examine - as I've tried to outline above - a single credential: how well you spotted and analyzed issues on your first year exams.

It's a barbaric system. That's different from calling it bad... law school exams are widely hailed as good predictors of important legal talents, and the stress and competition isn't markedly different from the conflict that a lawyer is likely to find in his or her professional career. But to be perfectly blunt, a lot of people enter with a cavalier attitude and mild stress that under appreciates the daunting stakes and challenges before them.

*Sometimes they'll take clerks, and under extraordinary circumstances people move up after starting at smaller firms or from agencies/legislative work, but the fact is that it's next to impossible to break in.

All consistent with the general narrative to which I have been exposed. Also harmonizes with anecdotes I have heard. I think that we both come from different points. The points in the post above are somewhat procedural in nature (i.e. To obtain X, you'll need R, S, and T, which are all challenging and competitive to obtain). No one should forget about this, and people in LS should know it. However, once you know it and understand it, then its up to you to go get it, right?

This is where my point comes in. My remarks are more about mindset for obtaining the things you mention. It comes from a lot of good training I have had and seen. Not everyone has to buy into this, but I believe it. If you take what the above post says as true (and everything to which I have ben exposed suggests its truth), then how are you going to position yourself to engage the challenge ahead? Frantically and stressfully? I wouldn't suggest it. The more strategically you can position yourself, the better you can make a good system, the better you can manage your time. Do these things consistently and you'll find yourself at the end of the semester more prepared than you would be otherwise. Finals won't be as stressful, you'll be refining and reviewing your outlines instead of making them, you have time to look at past exams, etc (again, not advocating that things will be a cakewalk, but only that you'll be able to survive better and keep it together).

The fact of the matter is that people, even the very gifted ones, intend to do everything right, but they just don't always make it happen. Often times, simply having a clear game plan and sticking to it can prevent that from happening.

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:12 pm

disco_barred wrote:Sigh.

disco_barred, trying to describe it a while back, wrote:5) The uniformity. Every fucking law school in the country is teaching torts, property, con law, Ks, crim, contracts, and civ pro. On a curve. Every fucking law school in the country is full of students who want to get plum jobs. In undergrad, your stress could be alleviated by alternatives. Not everyone was in the same race. In law school, EVERYONE is doing the same thing and EVERYONE wants the same goals that some (small fraction at the best schools, huge fraction at the worst) will never get.


Wait.. I was supposed to take Ks and contracts?

FML

270910
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby 270910 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:34 pm

mikeytwoshoes wrote:
disco_barred wrote:Sigh.

disco_barred, trying to describe it a while back, wrote:5) The uniformity. Every fucking law school in the country is teaching torts, property, con law, Ks, crim, contracts, and civ pro. On a curve. Every fucking law school in the country is full of students who want to get plum jobs. In undergrad, your stress could be alleviated by alternatives. Not everyone was in the same race. In law school, EVERYONE is doing the same thing and EVERYONE wants the same goals that some (small fraction at the best schools, huge fraction at the worst) will never get.


Wait.. I was supposed to take Ks and contracts?

FML


:lol:

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annapavlova
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby annapavlova » Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:36 pm

Mattalones wrote:
disco_barred wrote:Another big one: many pre-law students don't understand how rigid legal hiring can be. I mentioned above that biglaw only hires after your first year* for the most part, and that's true - but it's only a tiny piece of the house of cards that a legal career can be. Once you finish a big firm job, the names between the ampersands on your resume become a huge factor in the next gig you can get. Your first legal job, which will likely be as a result of your 1L grades and school name, is a HUGE factor in your next legal jobs. If you get on the clerkship/firm path you'll be golden and have a career of choices.

If you don't? Your entire career outlook has its foundation shaken to its core.

It's not enough reason to quit, and there aren't (many) lawyers starving on the street - but most people go to law school to have the kind of career you can never get a whiff of if you miss the train as it pulls out of the station. Biglaw types bounce around between agency jobs, elite boutique firms, in-house counsel positions, and megafirms. They lateral out into prestigious PI shops or open their own practice based on the relationships they've established. Biglaw partners wind up taking the bench and appointed to high government office. It's an extremely insular career path with extraordinarily few points of entry. And by and large, those points of entry only examine - as I've tried to outline above - a single credential: how well you spotted and analyzed issues on your first year exams.

It's a barbaric system. That's different from calling it bad... law school exams are widely hailed as good predictors of important legal talents, and the stress and competition isn't markedly different from the conflict that a lawyer is likely to find in his or her professional career. But to be perfectly blunt, a lot of people enter with a cavalier attitude and mild stress that under appreciates the daunting stakes and challenges before them.

*Sometimes they'll take clerks, and under extraordinary circumstances people move up after starting at smaller firms or from agencies/legislative work, but the fact is that it's next to impossible to break in.

All consistent with the general narrative to which I have been exposed. Also harmonizes with anecdotes I have heard. I think that we both come from different points. The points in the post above are somewhat procedural in nature (i.e. To obtain X, you'll need R, S, and T, which are all challenging and competitive to obtain). No one should forget about this, and people in LS should know it. However, once you know it and understand it, then its up to you to go get it, right?

This is where my point comes in. My remarks are more about mindset for obtaining the things you mention. It comes from a lot of good training I have had and seen. Not everyone has to buy into this, but I believe it. If you take what the above post says as true (and everything to which I have ben exposed suggests its truth), then how are you going to position yourself to engage the challenge ahead? Frantically and stressfully? I wouldn't suggest it. The more strategically you can position yourself, the better you can make a good system, the better you can manage your time. Do these things consistently and you'll find yourself at the end of the semester more prepared than you would be otherwise. Finals won't be as stressful, you'll be refining and reviewing your outlines instead of making them, you have time to look at past exams, etc (again, not advocating that things will be a cakewalk, but only that you'll be able to survive better and keep it together).

The fact of the matter is that people, even the very gifted ones, intend to do everything right, but they just don't always make it happen. Often times, simply having a clear game plan and sticking to it can prevent that from happening.


I tend to agree with you. I think a lot of people make law school sound like you'll be sitting in a room, sweating bullets, confused to all hell while you scramble to prepare for finals. I would say that the topics in law school are not particularly difficult, it's just the amount of work that can burn you out. Listening most of the time in class, taking notes, and using good supplements + talking to profs and taking practice exams SHOULD be enough. When it isn't - and people continue to underperform - I've noticed at my school it has a lot to do with the way a person studies, and the fact they refuse to change it.

But I agree with disco about law school being hard because of the peripheral things that seem like a bigger deal than they are: 1) jobs 2) ranking 3) curve, etc. All of that sucks, but the good thing is: most people don't do law school right, so if you DO do it right, you'll be OK.

I would say though - it is WAY MORE intense than undergrad and you are held to a much higher standard of learning. Well...at least for the social sciences :-D

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TTT-LS
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby TTT-LS » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:25 am

.
Last edited by TTT-LS on Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A'nold
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby A'nold » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:33 am

I just wanted to pop in here to lulz at the title of this thread. You may continue your discussion. :)

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prezidentv8
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby prezidentv8 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:39 am

Law school stress?

Y'all can't stress. Just get your work done efficiently, make some spare time, meet some people, and have fun.

Don't stress. It helps no one.



(goes back to Conlaw all nighter)

fortissimo
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby fortissimo » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:55 am

prezidentv8 wrote: (goes back to Conlaw all nighter)


Con Law = worst 1L class ever

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prezidentv8
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby prezidentv8 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:58 am

fortissimo wrote:
prezidentv8 wrote: (goes back to Conlaw all nighter)


Con Law = worst 1L class ever


Said it before, I'll say it again:

Civpro > Property > Contracts > Conlaw > > > Torts > > > > > > > > > Crim

Just my opinion.

The top four are solid, torts is okay, crim is not for me.

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romothesavior
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby romothesavior » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:58 am

fortissimo wrote:
prezidentv8 wrote: (goes back to Conlaw all nighter)


Con Law = worst 1L class ever


I keep hearing this over and over, but I don't understand why. I mean, I understand Con Law rules are much harder to pick out of opinions (and they often contradict or modify each other), but isn't the material infinitely more interesting and easy to read? I feel like contracts and torts will make me want to kill myself.

Just curious to hear why everyone hates Con Law.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby prezidentv8 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:04 am

romothesavior wrote:
fortissimo wrote:
prezidentv8 wrote: (goes back to Conlaw all nighter)


Con Law = worst 1L class ever


I keep hearing this over and over, but I don't understand why. I mean, I understand Con Law rules are much harder to pick out of opinions (and they often contradict or modify each other), but isn't the material infinitely more interesting and easy to read? I feel like contracts and torts will make me want to kill myself.

Just curious to hear why everyone hates Con Law.



I can see why people hate it I think...I mean, I don't...but it's not a favorite either...can't quite put my finger on it other than to say it's just different. But at the same time, I think most of the 1L classes have their own unique attributes....maybe the conlaw rules are just mushier or something? Something about it is more different than the rest I guess.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby prezidentv8 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:04 am

^not a helpful post.

fortissimo
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby fortissimo » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:07 am

romothesavior wrote:
fortissimo wrote:
prezidentv8 wrote: (goes back to Conlaw all nighter)


Con Law = worst 1L class ever


I keep hearing this over and over, but I don't understand why. I mean, I understand Con Law rules are much harder to pick out of opinions (and they often contradict or modify each other), but isn't the material infinitely more interesting and easy to read? I feel like contracts and torts will make me want to kill myself.

Just curious to hear why everyone hates Con Law.


Because there are no rules and it's just a bunch of bullshit. I also hate reading archaic language.

I liked contracts and torts though, and I loved property subject-material wise.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby prezidentv8 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:07 am

fortissimo wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
fortissimo wrote:
prezidentv8 wrote: (goes back to Conlaw all nighter)


Con Law = worst 1L class ever


I keep hearing this over and over, but I don't understand why. I mean, I understand Con Law rules are much harder to pick out of opinions (and they often contradict or modify each other), but isn't the material infinitely more interesting and easy to read? I feel like contracts and torts will make me want to kill myself.

Just curious to hear why everyone hates Con Law.


Because there are no rules and it's just a bunch of bullshit. I also hate reading archaic language.

I liked contracts and torts though, and I loved property subject-material wise.


Akin to what I was getting at.^

seeker63
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby seeker63 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:32 am

Law school is definitely more stressful than undergrad. If it isn't, you aren't doing it right. Law school is geared to separate the wheat from the chaff. 1L classes are on a strict curve. Those who do well in 1L classes and/or do well on the writing competition get on Law Review. Law Review is bone-crushing work (at some schools anyway). Once on Law Review, you need to maintain your 1L GPA with far less study time than your classmates, who are finally figuring the game out. Getting good grades becomes harder. You also have to work the professors for the clerkship applications. So you're schmoozing, editing, and trying to maintain your grades simultaneously. Whereas your classmates (who did poorly in 1L) are only worried about their classes. And what's your reward? A clerkship with Judge Kozinski, who works you 120 hours a week and/or an associateship at Wachtell, where you are expected to do the work of three people (for the pay of two people).

In short, success leads not only to accolades, but also to additional work and expectations. That's what makes it stressful.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby prezidentv8 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:37 am

seeker63 wrote:Law school is definitely more stressful than undergrad. If it isn't, you aren't doing it right. Law school is geared to separate the wheat from the chaff. 1L classes are on a strict curve. Those who do well in 1L classes and/or do well on the writing competition get on Law Review. Law Review is bone-crushing work (at some schools anyway). Once on Law Review, you need to maintain your 1L GPA with far less study time than your classmates, who are finally figuring the game out. Getting good grades becomes harder. You also have to work the professors for the clerkship applications. So you're schmoozing, editing, and trying to maintain your grades simultaneously. Whereas your classmates (who did poorly in 1L) are only worried about their classes. And what's your reward? A clerkship with Judge Kozinski, who works you 120 hours a week and/or an associateship at Wachtell, where you are expected to do the work of three people (for the pay of two people).

In short, success leads not only to accolades, but also to additional work and expectations. That's what makes it stressful.



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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby superserial » Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:57 am

romothesavior wrote:
I keep hearing this over and over, but I don't understand why. I mean, I understand Con Law rules are much harder to pick out of opinions (and they often contradict or modify each other), but isn't the material infinitely more interesting and easy to read? I feel like contracts and torts will make me want to kill myself.

Just curious to hear why everyone hates Con Law.


con law is my favorite 1L class :oops:

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Cupidity
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby Cupidity » Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:59 am

law school is gunna be a breeze for me. I can't wait!

didionye
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby didionye » Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:00 am

Cupidity wrote:law school is gunna be a breeze for me. I can't wait!


Please tell me how you intend to do this. And i'm not being sarcastic or anything. I'm really looking for any advice i can get. I start this fall at Loyola los angeles. Thanks.

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Cupidity
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby Cupidity » Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:04 am

didionye wrote:
Cupidity wrote:law school is gunna be a breeze for me. I can't wait!


Please tell me how you intend to do this. And i'm not being sarcastic or anything. I'm really looking for any advice i can get. I start this fall at Loyola los angeles. Thanks.

Honestly, its just that because for the last 3 years I have worked 40 hours a week, taken 19 credits, and run the student government at my UG.

The idea of simply studying four or five hours a day is very appealing.

didionye
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Re: Law school stress vs. UG

Postby didionye » Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:14 am

Cupidity wrote:
didionye wrote:
Cupidity wrote:law school is gunna be a breeze for me. I can't wait!


Please tell me how you intend to do this. And i'm not being sarcastic or anything. I'm really looking for any advice i can get. I start this fall at Loyola los angeles. Thanks.

Honestly, its just that because for the last 3 years I have worked 40 hours a week, taken 19 credits, and run the student government at my UG.

The idea of simply studying four or five hours a day is very appealing.



lol. Then i guess u'll be ready for the rigors involved with that kinda prep you got in your undergrad years. Good for you. I'm just concerned about the content of the courses since i keep hearing about how tough they are. I don't want to sit in class and nod like a moron when im completely clueless.




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