CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

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flightcontrol
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CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby flightcontrol » Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:54 am

Tired but bored, so I'll take questions for a bit. Top 5% at CCN, worked at V5, clerkship on 2/9/DC lined up. Want to maintain anonymity so will not answer personal questions, but happy to give some thoughts on studying, employment, clerkships, academia, etc.

To preempt a likely question, I endorse Scribe's guide for exam prep. http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 2&t=120673
Last edited by flightcontrol on Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:25 am, edited 3 times in total.

09042014
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby 09042014 » Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:58 am

How did you compensate for having aspergers?

Mal Reynolds
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby Mal Reynolds » Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:05 am

Got damn, that's pretty impressive. To what do you attribute your success? Did you study harder/better than your peers?

flightcontrol
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby flightcontrol » Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:11 am

To be honest, I think I studied less than most people outside of 1L year. I think I got really lucky--great profs who made the subject engaging, great friends who made studying more a creative exercise than a chore, and some knack for taking exams. I would say that taking exams is 95% of the battle and 100% of the grade, and I did put a pretty heavy emphasis on prepping for them. But I really didn't do anything out of the ordinary (again, Scribe's guide is the best I've seen here on how to prep). I was really, really fortunate.

Mal Reynolds
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby Mal Reynolds » Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:17 am

flightcontrol wrote:To be honest, I think I studied less than most people outside of 1L year. I think I got really lucky--great profs who made the subject engaging, great friends who made studying more a creative exercise than a chore, and some knack for taking exams. I would say that taking exams is 95% of the battle and 100% of the grade, and I did put a pretty heavy emphasis on prepping for them. But I really didn't do anything out of the ordinary (again, Scribe's guide is the best I've seen here on how to prep). I was really, really fortunate.


That's pretty awesome congrats. It's late here on the west coast so I'll only dominate your thread for a few minutes. Is top 5% at CCN pretty much a shoe-in for an Art III. clerkship?

flightcontrol
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby flightcontrol » Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:28 am

Well, I hesitate to say "shoe-in" because no candidate is guaranteed a clerkship in this market. But the grades admittedly put you on very sound footing; if you target your applications appropriately and are not otherwise a poor candidate, it's yours to lose.

EDIT: GTL can better comment on individual circumstances, but here top 5-10% puts you in competitive range for a COA clerkship and 10-20% for a district clerkship. Of course some areas are more competitive than others; top 20% probably won't cut it for SDNY or NDCA, and top 10% probably won't do it for D.C. But even at 20% there is a respectable chance you'd get a district clerkship somewhere.
Last edited by flightcontrol on Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

Mal Reynolds
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby Mal Reynolds » Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:36 am

What are your plans after your clerkship? Are you going to try for academia, go back to a V5? I think that's all I got for ya, hopefully I can follow in your footsteps. Oh actually, you might not be able to answer this accurately since you only go to one CCN, but what do you think about any of these options at sticker? I have been asking pretty much everyone I know right now that question so you're next.

flightcontrol
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby flightcontrol » Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:49 am

I may go back to my firm to pay off my loans, but academia has some long-term appeal. I do think that any of CCN is worth it at sticker in the expected value sense. That is, I think any of CCN (and MVP for that matter) is sufficiently likely to get you a job that can pay off your loans. But (and I'm sure you already know this) the question is much harder if you are looking for more than money. If you want academia, ask whether you're sure you want to do legal academia. If you're really interested in law and econ, consider getting an econ Ph.D and then figuring out if you want to do law. I mention this because it's really hard to know you like the law until you try it, and it's really hard to get certain jobs (clerkships, teaching) unless you both like than law and can do reasonably well on law school exams.

But if your goals line up with law school (e.g. you want to teach law, you want to be a trial lawyer, you want to do corporate law) then yes, I think it makes sense to go to CCN. You won't know if you can cut it until you try, and life's too short to worry too much about debt. If you don't end up with the grades to teach (or clerk, or do appellate advocacy, or whatever), you can go to a firm. And if you don't want to go to a firm, or aren't able to get a high-paying job, you can always take a low-paying public interest gig for which all of CCN provides substantial loan repayment. It's imperfect, and something of a gamble. But the expected value in monetary terms is positive, and if your personal goals provide an additional upside, I'd say why wait?

Mal Reynolds
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby Mal Reynolds » Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:55 am

Welp, that's it for me. Thanks for your responses. Im still a lowly 0L so your perspective has been pretty valuable.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby Doorkeeper » Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:48 am

flightcontrol wrote:I may go back to my firm to pay off my loans, but academia has some long-term appeal. If you want academia, ask whether you're sure you want to do legal academia. If you're really interested in law and econ, consider getting an econ Ph.D and then figuring out if you want to do law. I mention this because it's really hard to know you like the law until you try it, and it's really hard to get certain jobs (clerkships, teaching) unless you both like than law and can do reasonably well on law school exams.


I don't know if this gets too personal, but does the CCN you attend work with students in any meaningful way either during your time there or as an alum to help you get into academia? As someone who has gotten into CCN and is yet to hear from HS and wants to go for academia, I'm curious about CCN's ability to place those positioned such as yourself.

flightcontrol
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby flightcontrol » Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:24 pm

That's a good question. While CCN all provide some structured resources for getting into teaching, the single best thing you can do to help you teaching career is to make an impression on senior faculty in the field you want to teach. These professors can (1) give you the most personalized advice; (2) go to bat for you in the school; (3) go to bat for you with judges, faculty hiring committees, etc. In the absence of strong faculty support, no formal program is going to do much good (though it is, of course, helpful to have some school-wide gold stars, like graduating high in the class).

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Doorkeeper
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby Doorkeeper » Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:41 pm

flightcontrol wrote:That's a good question. While CCN all provide some structured resources for getting into teaching, the single best thing you can do to help you teaching career is to make an impression on senior faculty in the field you want to teach. These professors can (1) give you the most personalized advice; (2) go to bat for you in the school; (3) go to bat for you with judges, faculty hiring committees, etc. In the absence of strong faculty support, no formal program is going to do much good (though it is, of course, helpful to have some school-wide gold stars, like graduating high in the class).


Thank you for your response. I figured this was the case, but I just wanted to know if there were any structural things to take advantage of while attending. Are you in such a position at your school? If so, how did you get there with the senior faculty member? Was it simply taking a class or two, going to office hours, and that evolving into an RA position or something to that effect?

flightcontrol
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby flightcontrol » Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:29 pm

Fair enough. To the institutional question: yes, there are a few things to take advantage of. There are "teaching-oriented" workshops and fellowships available here, though in my opinion, they are helpful less for anything "practical" than the opportunity to get on the radar of someone interested in the same thing as you. I went to the occasional teaching workshop my 2L year (where you basically trade papers with other students and some faculty), but I don't really go anymore.

I got close to a few professors by (1) doing well; (2) RAing/TAing; (3) asking for advice on papers, career, etc; and (4) going to lunches and conferences and exchanging emails in my areas of interest. I generally don't think these things can be "forced." That is, you'll build the best relationships with faculty you like and whose work you appreciate. For example, I think it's more helpful to use office hours to discuss something of mutual interest than to make up complicated questions about the material.

If your school doesn't have a formal teaching program, the faculty relationships can provide everything they offer and more. The formal program can give you general path advice, deadlines, points of contact, and other logistical information; so can your professors or an internet search. The formal program can feed into fellowships or clerkships; so can a phone call. The formal program can brand you for faculty searches, but so can a professor's name on your resume. Even a post-graduation fellowship can be created for you from scratch if a professor likes you enough to come up with the budget. Bottom line, I wouldn't really worry too much about the formal program whether it exists or not; the faculty relationships are what count.

redbullvodka
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby redbullvodka » Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:37 pm

How did your undergrad stats compare to the rest of your class? TLS walks the line that undergrad stats are a piss-poor predictor of success at this level of school, but I'm curious nonetheless. Above/below medians/75-25s' is fine, I know you'd like to maintain anonymity.

EDIT: Realized that you had only summered at the v5, so changed my question to:

How did the associates you spent time with over the summer feel about their hours at your v5?

flightcontrol
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby flightcontrol » Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:15 pm

My incoming GPA was around the 25th %ile and my LSAT around 50th. So in my case at least, UG credentials had limited predictive power.

The associates at my firm seemed OK with their hours. As you know, there are big spikes and droughts, but during the summer the average was maybe 10 to 7. I personally think hours like that are perfectly manageable (certainly better than banking hours) but I can understand how that may differ for those with children or other significant commitments.

For what it's worth, litigation and tax seem to have more predictable hours. There are spikes, but you know when they're coming. Corporate means you're on call 24/7.

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johansantana21
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby johansantana21 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:01 am

1L GPA?

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Onthebrink
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby Onthebrink » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:07 am

Tagged. But I should probably contribute as well.
What was your choice of living arrangement, on or off campus? Do you think that you were able to substantially benefit from that living arrangement?

flightcontrol
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby flightcontrol » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:32 am

johansantana21 wrote:1L GPA?


My grades stayed pretty consistent from semester to semester, near the top of the curve.

flightcontrol
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby flightcontrol » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:36 am

Onthebrink wrote:Tagged. But I should probably contribute as well.
What was your choice of living arrangement, on or off campus? Do you think that you were able to substantially benefit from that living arrangement?


I lived off campus all three years. I like my roommates (other law students), and that's made my time here far more enjoyable. It's nice to have other people to throw ideas off of, and to commiserate when things get bad. But we all kinda keep our heads down when exam time rolls around, so I'm not sure it made a huge difference there. Though if I had really bad roommates, I'd likely be singing a different tune...

flightcontrol
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby flightcontrol » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:46 pm

EDIT: accidental repost, see post below.
Last edited by flightcontrol on Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

flightcontrol
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby flightcontrol » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:46 pm

I have gotten a couple of questions about how I handled 0L and 1L prep. I'll say what I did, but first a word about my study style. I tend to work most efficiently in bursts. If I know I have a deadline, or I'm behind, I can sit down and read for six hours straight. If I don't, I'm easily distracted and spend my time flipping through TV. I firmly believe you have to find the strategy that bests suits your temperament. Someone who prefers to do a lower but more consistent workload couldn't mirror my schedule any more than I could maintain her's.

With respect to 0L prep: nothing. I read getting to maybe and it was possibly a tiny bit helpful. Possibly.

With respect to 1L: I took a couple of weeks to figure out the best workload for me. At first I read everything, including the notes, and briefed the cases. I quickly stopped. I like reading cases (they're often good stories) but I also like hanging out with my friends and watching TV. I decided that I would read the cases, skim the notes, and basically make sure I was prepared enough to be on call for class. This generally comes out to 1-2 hours of class work per day (maybe a tad more 1L year, and a tad less 2L/3L when I spent more time RAing).

Maybe cold calling is gentle here, but I think a lot of people overdo it with regular class prep. With cases, you just need to know three things: (1) the story (facts); (2) the rationale; and (3) a gut check on whether the outcome and reasoning was right. If you have that, you should be able to put out a critique on the fly. Exams, by the way, involve the same basic process.

I spend my time in class trying to make sure I know what's going on. I occasionally take notes, usually if the professor puts up an analytic framework (economic or jurisprudential).

About a month before exams, I switch gears completely. Because I have no notes from reading and minimal notes from class, I have to create my outlines from scratch. Which is exactly what I do. I go through the casebook, following the syllabus, and reread each case and the notes. My outlines are short and analytic. I do not put facts of cases; I put principles. So for personal jurisdiction, I might have:

Constitutional inquiry
A. Traditional bases
i. Presence (Burnham plurality)
ii. Domiciliary (Milliken)
iii. Consent (Carnival Cruise, Hess)
iv. In-rem / Quasi-in-rem (Shaffer) (limited to value of property)
B. Minimum contacts (Pennoyer)
...

Although my outlines are short (~20-30 pages) they take a long time to create. I typically outline for 8-10 hours a day, and it takes 4-7 days per class to get through the casebook. I end up with about a week before exams to devote to practice tests, plus any time between exams. This winds up being roughly 3 days per class. As noted above, I subscribe fully to Scribe's method of writing exams.

The one thing I would say is to never skimp out on exam prep. The only classes in which I underperformed were the ones in which I overoutlined at the expense of exam prep (or exams were unavailable). If you even do minimal outlining, you will know the material sufficiently to write an exam answer. How good the answer is depends far more on mental agility on test day than quantity of knowledge. The more you prepare for the structure and content of your particular professor's exams, the more resources you bring to bear. Some of my best exams were ones in which I had minimal or even incomplete outlines, but had seen enough factual variations that I could visualize the countours of the problem at hand. As a 1L, you will try to do it all -- and that's how it's supposed to work. But when time runs short, I would emphasize the group sessions in which you take problems apart over the solitary hours in the library with reams of text.

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quiver
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby quiver » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:11 pm

Did you ever have an 8 hour take home exam? If so, any tips on how to do well on these?

flightcontrol
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby flightcontrol » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:19 pm

I've had several take-homes and I prefer them. My only advice is to spend longer thinking through the problem. For an 8 hour exam, you'd want to spend at least one hour reclining in your chair and seeing the full scope of the problem (and outlining it). For an exam of that length, I typically treat it as though it were in class: I take no breaks and write all the way through. I tend to edit as I write, so it's not a multiple in length of an in-class exam (in fact, my take-homes and in-class exams are generally the same length). But you have to keep moving; there's no time for breaks.

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quiver
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby quiver » Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:09 pm

flightcontrol wrote:I've had several take-homes and I prefer them. My only advice is to spend longer thinking through the problem. For an 8 hour exam, you'd want to spend at least one hour reclining in your chair and seeing the full scope of the problem (and outlining it). For an exam of that length, I typically treat it as though it were in class: I take no breaks and write all the way through. I tend to edit as I write, so it's not a multiple in length of an in-class exam (in fact, my take-homes and in-class exams are generally the same length). But you have to keep moving; there's no time for breaks.
Thanks for the tips! I've done pretty well thus far taking all proctored exams but I have my first take home this semester. Just a tad more nervous about it.

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red_owl
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Re: CCN 3L top 5% taking questions for a bit

Postby red_owl » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:35 pm

Congrats!




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