Being a LRW TA: Worth it?

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Geaux12
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Being a LRW TA: Worth it?

Postby Geaux12 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:12 pm

Applied on a whim and teacher selected me. Allegedly competitive selection process (GPA, grade in LRW, so on), not actually sure whether that's true or not. It's 1 credit in the Fall and 2 in the Spring; don't have any details on whether it's P/F or some annoying grading scheme. I won't be the only TA in a class of ~30 1Ls, so it hopefully wouldn't be an overwhelming commitment.


Worth doing in the opinion of the TLS hivemind?

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Gamecubesupreme
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Re: Being a LRW TA: Worth it?

Postby Gamecubesupreme » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:35 am

Be prepared to read lots of terribly written memos and briefs next year.

MinEMorris
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Re: Being a LRW TA: Worth it?

Postby MinEMorris » Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:20 am

I think the fact that you were selected could impress some employers, but I think that the benefits of actually performing the job are minimal. You might want to check with your CSO to see if putting "selected to be LRW teaching assistant" or something on your resume is a reasonable thing to do. That kind of notation on your resume would give you the benefit of letting employers know that your research and writing skills stood out after your first year without the drawback of editing a bunch of sloppy memos and briefs. If you're asked during an interview why you chose not to go through with doing it, you can just say that you thought you would learn and advance your own skills more by focusing on (insert clinic, other extracurricular, etc.).

The money and credit could be nice and all, but I think you'd get paid more for less work by taking on a different job. You could then redirect your additional time toward doing something that actually improves your skills. If you think you'd get personal satisfaction from helping 1Ls with their writing, though, then by all means, go for it.

lawyerdown27
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Re: Being a LRW TA: Worth it?

Postby lawyerdown27 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:55 am

2L LRW TA here, doing it again next year. The value in doing this depends entirely on the circumstances:

How many students will you have? From your original post, you'll be working with at least 1 other TA in a class of 30? That's nothing. Once you get the hang of grading, it doesn't take more than 1 or 2 several hour sitdowns, and those only happen a few times a semester. We have to grade regular homework assignments, but those never take more than 5-7 hours total to burn through. But again, that depends on the number of students you're responsible for.

How much other time will you have to commit to the job (besides being in class and grading)? Do you have to hold office hours? Our TA's have to put on regular programs for 1L's (basically PowerPoint presentations on writing-related subjects).

What other commitments do you intend to have? Are you going out for law review/journal, moot court and/or mock trial, looking at a clinic or maybe an externship? I did LR and MC and managed 2L just fine. My one concern here would be a clinic: depending on the nature of the clinic, the work could pile up on you.

Most importantly, what is the compensation? Our TA's get half-off tuition plus a stipend, so for anywhere from 5 hours (low side) to 15 hours (more unlikely high side), the many thousands of dollars total was worth it.

You also have the option of doing it only 2L year and choosing not to for 3L year, so there's that. I've brought it up in interviews, and employers have reacted favorably to it, but I can't say that it bumped me any more than my grades or extracurriculars or prior work experience did. I have enjoyed developing a very close relationship with my LRW professor, though. While many LRW professors are young and new, this particular one is older and very well-connected and always willing to help out in any way she can. HTH.

Geaux12
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Re: Being a LRW TA: Worth it?

Postby Geaux12 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:34 am

lawyerdown27 wrote:2L LRW TA here, doing it again next year. The value in doing this depends entirely on the circumstances:

How many students will you have? From your original post, you'll be working with at least 1 other TA in a class of 30? That's nothing. Once you get the hang of grading, it doesn't take more than 1 or 2 several hour sitdowns, and those only happen a few times a semester. We have to grade regular homework assignments, but those never take more than 5-7 hours total to burn through. But again, that depends on the number of students you're responsible for.

How much other time will you have to commit to the job (besides being in class and grading)? Do you have to hold office hours? Our TA's have to put on regular programs for 1L's (basically PowerPoint presentations on writing-related subjects).

What other commitments do you intend to have? Are you going out for law review/journal, moot court and/or mock trial, looking at a clinic or maybe an externship? I did LR and MC and managed 2L just fine. My one concern here would be a clinic: depending on the nature of the clinic, the work could pile up on you.

Most importantly, what is the compensation? Our TA's get half-off tuition plus a stipend, so for anywhere from 5 hours (low side) to 15 hours (more unlikely high side), the many thousands of dollars total was worth it.

You also have the option of doing it only 2L year and choosing not to for 3L year, so there's that. I've brought it up in interviews, and employers have reacted favorably to it, but I can't say that it bumped me any more than my grades or extracurriculars or prior work experience did. I have enjoyed developing a very close relationship with my LRW professor, though. While many LRW professors are young and new, this particular one is older and very well-connected and always willing to help out in any way she can. HTH.


It sounds like TAs at your school had much more expected of them. As far as I know, there is no financial compensation -- people are telling me that TAs get an "A" for their credit hours assuming they don't completely fuck up, but I find that hard to believe. I've emailed my current TA to see what the deal is. There are only 7-10 students per TA, so while I hope to get on either Law Review or Moot Court, it wouldn't be overwhelming.

If the A thing is true, then it's totally worth it IMO.

jkay
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Re: Being a LRW TA: Worth it?

Postby jkay » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:36 am

I have done it 2L and 3L. We get no credit but what amounts to greater than a half tuition waiver. Don't have to grade anything. Easiest money I've ever made, and I actually like interacting with 1Ls.

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Bigbub75
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Re: Being a LRW TA: Worth it?

Postby Bigbub75 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:41 am

I was a LRW TA and a RA for the same professor. At my T2 we are not paid for it but we do get 5 credits and it pretty much an auto "A." It was a lot of work, but the comfort of knowing I was going to get an A made it worth it.

I hate legal writing and think I suck at it, that's why I chose to be a TA for LRW, a RA for the same prof., and do Law Review. Editing other people's work actually helps you become a better writer. So I appreciated that aspect of it the most.

hiima3L
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Re: Being a LRW TA: Worth it?

Postby hiima3L » Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:14 pm

The only personal benefit in terms of career you'll possibly get is that some employers consider it a sign of a good personality--you're a "team player," like helping people, etc. I've heard this from a few employers, but one of them teaches LWR, so...

However, it can be rewarding. I did it twice and really enjoyed it. There is something very satisfying about seeing someone you TA'd get the highest grade (or, conversely, someone who didn't listen to you doing poorly, as bad as that sounds). If you like teaching/mentoring, I would recommend it. I think it helps your writing marginally, but it will absolutely boost your confidence in your writing ability.

Geaux12
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Re: Being a LRW TA: Worth it?

Postby Geaux12 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:28 pm

hiima3L wrote:The only personal benefit in terms of career you'll possibly get is that some employers consider it a sign of a good personality--you're a "team player," like helping people, etc. I've heard this from a few employers, but one of them teaches LWR, so...

However, it can be rewarding. I did it twice and really enjoyed it. There is something very satisfying about seeing someone you TA'd get the highest grade (or, conversely, someone who didn't listen to you doing poorly, as bad as that sounds). If you like teaching/mentoring, I would recommend it. I think it helps your writing marginally, but it will absolutely boost your confidence in your writing ability.


I think I'll pull the trigger. We aren't financially compensated, but it looks like we get three credit hours of guaranteed A's.

hiima3L
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Re: Being a LRW TA: Worth it?

Postby hiima3L » Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:07 pm

Geaux12 wrote:
hiima3L wrote:The only personal benefit in terms of career you'll possibly get is that some employers consider it a sign of a good personality--you're a "team player," like helping people, etc. I've heard this from a few employers, but one of them teaches LWR, so...

However, it can be rewarding. I did it twice and really enjoyed it. There is something very satisfying about seeing someone you TA'd get the highest grade (or, conversely, someone who didn't listen to you doing poorly, as bad as that sounds). If you like teaching/mentoring, I would recommend it. I think it helps your writing marginally, but it will absolutely boost your confidence in your writing ability.


I think I'll pull the trigger. We aren't financially compensated, but it looks like we get three credit hours of guaranteed A's.


Wait, you get a grade? And it's an easy A? Absolutely do it.




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