How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

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M.M.
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How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby M.M. » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:28 am

The average person can only name a few general and vague parts of law that one can study and what lawyers do, some that I can reasonably guess come to the mind of the layman (since I am one :wink: ) are: trial attorneys, attorneys that have primarily studied the constitution etc. corporate attorneys and attorneys dealing with contract.

But if you are unsure of how you'll come to find what you enjoy studying, how can you decide before (or during?) you plunge into the tumult of law school and its debt?

How did you all come to decide?

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kalvano
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby kalvano » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:47 am

You don't. You have no choices your first year. Use that time to see what appeals to you.

M.M.
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby M.M. » Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:17 am

kalvano wrote:You don't. You have no choices your first year. Use that time to see what appeals to you.


I know this, so most people figure it out their first year by being forced to take an eclectic class load?

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kalvano
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby kalvano » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:06 am

M.M. wrote:
kalvano wrote:You don't. You have no choices your first year. Use that time to see what appeals to you.


I know this, so most people figure it out their first year by being forced to take an eclectic class load?


I've figured out that I hate probate and wills.

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vamedic03
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby vamedic03 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:46 am

kalvano wrote:You don't. You have no choices your first year. Use that time to see what appeals to you.



Actually, many schools offer/require electives in the Spring.

To OP: the best way to pick classes is to take classes from professors you like or professors who have great reputations. The professor makes or breaks a class.

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DukeCornell
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby DukeCornell » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:50 am

Dude, try not to over analyze it. I would suggest using your life experiences (no matter how limited) in order to determine what appeals best to you. For me, it’s intellectual property law.

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zeth006
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby zeth006 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:51 am

Join a couple of clubs and go to their related career events throughout the year. Join the negotiation club and chill with people there.

M.M.
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby M.M. » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:41 pm

Cool thanks everybody. Any more tips ?

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inchoate_con
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby inchoate_con » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:53 pm

wrong thread...

snootles76
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby snootles76 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:56 pm

Speaking from experience, I would also see what subjects are tested on your respective state's bar exam. Although you'll get a condensed version of all the info you'll need in your bar prep course, I found that having taken a whole semester's course on a topic (i.e., trusts and estates) made studying for that subject on the bar exam easier.

M.M.
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby M.M. » Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:10 pm

snootles76 wrote:Speaking from experience, I would also see what subjects are tested on your respective state's bar exam. Although you'll get a condensed version of all the info you'll need in your bar prep course, I found that having taken a whole semester's course on a topic (i.e., trusts and estates) made studying for that subject on the bar exam easier.


Excellent advice. Would you take one of these as an elective?

snootles76
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby snootles76 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:16 pm

Definitely. For instance, I am barred in PA and NJ. As corporations, trusts and estates, and fed tax, among others, were tested subjects on the PA Bar, I made sure that I had taken them during my 2L and 3L years. Not sure if all schools require that students take evidence, but if yours does not, take it anyways. It's an MBE subject and is worthwhile regardless.

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:43 pm

Take classes in areas that interest you.

I'm interested in business transactions (Business Enterprises, Business Enterprises 2, Corporate Tax, Corporate Finance, Real Estate Transactions, Mergers & Acquisitions, Initial Public Offerings, and Securities Regulation).

Also, I'm pursuing a certificate in International Law.

Are there jobs in that area?

Not enough to bother trying to get one of them.

But:

1. It allows me to take international business courses (they interest me because well...they are business transaction courses)
2. More importantly, federal government agencies like to see international law coursework (even though they know that you will mostly likely not be involved in international matters)

On a separate note, I disagree with taking bar prep courses in school. If you know for a fact that you are not going to take a bar exam prep course, then go ahead and take bar prep courses (this is especially true at most public schools - they often teach law relevant to the state; high ranking public schools - UVA, UMICH, UC-B, and maybe UT - along with most 1st tier private schools, teach law in a "general" format by examining the rules of different jurisdictions). If you believe you will take a bar prep course (as most people will), then take things that interest you because you will get a review for the bar exam separately. I'm not saying take a lot of law and literature or law and history courses - I'm just saying that you should not be afraid to take things you are interested in practicing or dealing with.

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JG Hall
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby JG Hall » Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:14 pm

I don't take any classes before 1, and have worked my schedule down to 2 days a week. THAT is how you pick classes.

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jdubb990
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby jdubb990 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:23 pm

A lot of people just end up in whatever firm will hire them even if its not the particular area of law they wished to practice.

M.M.
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby M.M. » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:00 pm

jdubb990 wrote:A lot of people just end up in whatever firm will hire them even if its not the particular area of law they wished to practice.


Well that's awfully negative of you President Hoover

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vanwinkle
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:03 pm

vamedic03 wrote:To OP: the best way to pick classes is to take classes from professors you like or professors who have great reputations. The professor makes or breaks a class.

This. My favorite first-semester class was Contracts, and I thought I'd find Contracts really boring, but the professor made it an incredibly enjoyable class. Find professors that are highly recommended and take them, and you'll get exposed to new things in a way that makes it worth it even if you don't end up practicing in that field.

I also support the idea that you should use class selection to explore the law and try different things.

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jdubb990
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby jdubb990 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:03 pm

M.M. wrote:
jdubb990 wrote:A lot of people just end up in whatever firm will hire them even if its not the particular area of law they wished to practice.


Well that's awfully negative of you President Hoover


Its realistic. At least for a first job, after you establish contacts, show that you are competent, etc., you can move around, move up, get a new job; maybe get a job that you WANT.

snootles76
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby snootles76 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:39 am

jdubb990 wrote:
M.M. wrote:
jdubb990 wrote:A lot of people just end up in whatever firm will hire them even if its not the particular area of law they wished to practice.


Well that's awfully negative of you President Hoover


Its realistic. At least for a first job, after you establish contacts, show that you are competent, etc., you can move around, move up, get a new job; maybe get a job that you WANT.


As much as I hate to admit it, Jdubb's right. I work at the firm where I did my SA and got an offer post-SA. Doing debt restructuring, loan work-outs, foreclosures, and creditors' rights. Not what I was interested in, but hey, money's good and it pays the bills.

Pip
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Re: How do you choose what you want to study in law school?

Postby Pip » Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:43 am

What you take in law school beyond the required courses doesn't really matter much... take classes based on ability to get the highest grades possible and the lightest work load. Once in a while take a class you enjoy, but don't assume that the classes really matter... what matters is the job you get when you graduate.




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