Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

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Germaine
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Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby Germaine » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:30 pm

Curious if there is some collective wisdom on Fall 2L course selection. Especially interested in this from the angle of clerkship applications. I know some will go in before Fall grades, but some won't. So should I be thinking (a) what will look good on paper to a judge, (b) protecting GPA, or (c) taking (or re-taking) professors who are well connected and/or will write good letters? My school basically has no requirements, so I can go any direction, from admin law to specialized courses like bioethics.

Any basic strategy here, or doesn't really matter, just go with whatever works best for scheduling?

objctnyrhnr
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby objctnyrhnr » Fri Mar 27, 2015 11:33 pm

d court clerk here

figure out which professors actually call judges and take their small courses (preferably paper as opposed to exam) and be a phenomenal student

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ph14
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby ph14 » Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:29 pm

My judge cares to some degree. You don't have to go all out but you should try and take at least a couple doctrinal courses.

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transferror
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby transferror » Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:50 pm

Germaine wrote:So should I be thinking (a) what will look good on paper to a judge, (b) protecting GPA, or (c) taking (or re-taking) professors who are well connected and/or will write good letters


(b)>>>(c)>>>>>>>>>>>>>(a)

GPA alone won't get you a clerkship but certainly can prevent you from getting one. Keep it high.

Germaine
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby Germaine » Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:24 am

ph14 wrote:My judge cares to some degree. You don't have to go all out but you should try and take at least a couple doctrinal courses.


Okay I'm about to ask a really stupid question. Are all of these considered doctrinal courses: Admin, Crim Pro, Corps, Evidence, Con Law II? Not taking all of these obviously, but want to make sure I'm at least picking from the right group.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:20 am

Germaine wrote:Are all of these considered doctrinal courses: Admin, Crim Pro, Corps, Evidence, Con Law II?

Yes

bnghle234
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby bnghle234 » Sun Mar 29, 2015 7:19 pm

i was personally told by a judge that i should take evidence 2L. that was just one judge, you can take it for what it is.

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bruinfan10
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby bruinfan10 » Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:11 pm

take evidence (usually a super easy course) and fed courts if you think it won't tank you gpa, i.e. you can find a non-gunner section taught by a like a visiting prof OR if you're a superstar, just take the regular section with all of the law review kids and beat them at their own game. those are the only two classes i know of (some decent number) of judges caring about. many don't care at all.

Germaine
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby Germaine » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:19 pm

bruinfan10 wrote:take evidence (usually a super easy course) and fed courts if you think it won't tank you gpa, i.e. you can find a non-gunner section taught by a like a visiting prof OR if you're a superstar, just take the regular section with all of the law review kids and beat them at their own game. those are the only two classes i know of (some decent number) of judges caring about. many don't care at all.


Thanks. Supposedly Evidence tends to fill really quick but I think I should be able to get Fed Cts and either Admin or Con Law II, so hopefully that will be enough to make for a credible semester in terms of doctrinal courses.

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rpupkin
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:31 pm

Germaine wrote:
bruinfan10 wrote:take evidence (usually a super easy course) and fed courts if you think it won't tank you gpa, i.e. you can find a non-gunner section taught by a like a visiting prof OR if you're a superstar, just take the regular section with all of the law review kids and beat them at their own game. those are the only two classes i know of (some decent number) of judges caring about. many don't care at all.


Thanks. Supposedly Evidence tends to fill really quick but I think I should be able to get Fed Cts and either Admin or Con Law II, so hopefully that will be enough to make for a credible semester in terms of doctrinal courses.

Keep in mind that Fed Courts and Admin Law tend to be full of gunners looking to clerk. I'd say those two classes usually have the steepest curves of the 2L/3L classes. They're both useful classes but, if you're being really strategic, I'd try taking them after you secure a clerkship. (Though Bruinfan's suggestion to take a section taught by a visiting prof is clever and worth considering.)

Doctrinal classes (and you should take some doctrinal classes) such as Evidence and Crim Pro are safer. Those classes will include plenty of 2Ls and 3Ls who are taking the class because the subjects are bar tested. Many of those students won't care that much about their grades.

Germaine
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby Germaine » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:39 pm

rpupkin wrote:Keep in mind that Fed Courts and Admin Law tend to be full of gunners looking to clerk. I'd say those two classes usually have the steepest curves of the 2L/3L classes. They're both useful classes but, if you're being really strategic, I'd try taking them after you secure a clerkship. (Though Bruinfan's suggestion to take a section taught by a visiting prof is clever and worth considering.)

Doctrinal classes (and you should take some doctrinal classes) such as Evidence and Crim Pro are safer. Those classes will include plenty of 2Ls and 3Ls who are taking the class because the subjects are bar tested. Many of those students won't care that much about their grades.


Interesting. Maybe I will re-think my strategy a bit, although I have to say at my school I don't think our gunners are that big of an obstacle to getting an A.

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rpupkin
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:45 pm

Germaine wrote:
rpupkin wrote:Keep in mind that Fed Courts and Admin Law tend to be full of gunners looking to clerk. I'd say those two classes usually have the steepest curves of the 2L/3L classes. They're both useful classes but, if you're being really strategic, I'd try taking them after you secure a clerkship. (Though Bruinfan's suggestion to take a section taught by a visiting prof is clever and worth considering.)

Doctrinal classes (and you should take some doctrinal classes) such as Evidence and Crim Pro are safer. Those classes will include plenty of 2Ls and 3Ls who are taking the class because the subjects are bar tested. Many of those students won't care that much about their grades.


Interesting. Maybe I will re-think my strategy a bit, although I have to say at my school I don't think our gunners are that big of an obstacle to getting an A.

To be clear, I don't mean "gunner" in the sense of "guy who raises his hand every two minutes and acts like a know-it-all." I mean "gunner" in the sense of "student who got straight As during 1L and therefore realizes that he/she has a shot at a clerkship." As you'll find next year, it's mostly the latter type who sign up for classes like Fed Courts. Pretty much by definition, those students are an "obstacle to getting an A" in a curved class.

Germaine
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby Germaine » Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:00 pm

rpupkin wrote:To be clear, I don't mean "gunner" in the sense of "guy who raises his hand every two minutes and acts like a know-it-all." I mean "gunner" in the sense of "student who got straight As during 1L and therefore realizes that he/she has a shot at a clerkship." As you'll find next year, it's mostly the latter type who sign up for classes like Fed Courts. Pretty much by definition, those students are an "obstacle to getting an A" in a curved class.


That makes sense. Thanks.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:06 am

Fed courts is not worth a clerkship**
Admin depends on the prof. Still often a gunner nightmare
Evidence is TCR
Doctrinal courses like Corporations, Copyright, Fed Tax, ect are also good to supplement, but no judge probably cares that much one way or the other.

**you do not need to take fed courts to get a COA clerkship.

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rpupkin
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:32 am

jbagelboy wrote:Fed courts is not worth a clerkship**
Admin depends on the prof. Still often a gunner nightmare
Evidence is TCR
Doctrinal courses like Corporations, Copyright, Fed Tax, ect are also good to supplement, but no judge probably cares that much one way or the other.

**you do not need to take fed courts to get a COA clerkship.

Yeah, you definitely don't need fed courts to get a COA clerkship (or any clerkship for that matter). But gunner concerns aside, it is a useful class—it's relevant to your clerkship itself as well as to your post-clerkship career (assuming that career involves federal litigation). I do think it's worth taking, but preferably as a 3L after you've already got your clerkship in hand.

As for the idea that no judge probably cares about what classes you take, I'm afraid you can't assume that. My judge definitely noticed if an applicant took a bunch of seminars (or other fluff classes that didn't look curved) during their third and fourth semesters. I've heard stories about other judges caring about this kind of thing as well. Judges will notice when it looks like you're attempting to preserve or pad your GPA by avoiding doctrinal classes. Sure, some (perhaps most) judges won't care, but some definitely will. The OP is right to be concerned about it.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:45 am

rpupkin wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:Fed courts is not worth a clerkship**
Admin depends on the prof. Still often a gunner nightmare
Evidence is TCR
Doctrinal courses like Corporations, Copyright, Fed Tax, ect are also good to supplement, but no judge probably cares that much one way or the other.

**you do not need to take fed courts to get a COA clerkship.

Yeah, you definitely don't need fed courts to get a COA clerkship (or any clerkship for that matter). But gunner concerns aside, it is a useful class—it's relevant to your clerkship itself as well as to your post-clerkship career (assuming that career involves federal litigation). I do think it's worth taking, but preferably as a 3L after you've already got your clerkship in hand.

As for the idea that no judge probably cares about what classes you take, I'm afraid you can't assume that. My judge definitely noticed if an applicant took a bunch of seminars (or other fluff classes that didn't look curved) during their third and fourth semesters. I've heard stories about other judges caring about this kind of thing as well. Judges will notice when it looks like you're attempting to preserve or pad your GPA by avoiding doctrinal classes. Sure, some (perhaps most) judges won't care, but some definitely will. The OP is right to be concerned about it.


I agree, that's why I said those are good classes to be taking as a 2L, I just meant between them -- e.g., Securities Regulation or M&A or Tax -- I doubt judges care much, even if they generally want to see some doctrinal course work as a 2L, as you said.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:47 am

eh, for the judges who care, Fed Courts is one of the courses they're actually going to care about. However, since hiring is so early these days, I don't think anyone's going to fault someone for not taking Fed Courts as a first semester 2L (because that's a terrible idea). So overall I agree as long as you have what look like rigorous courses, you should be good.

Germaine
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby Germaine » Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:56 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:eh, for the judges who care, Fed Courts is one of the courses they're actually going to care about. However, since hiring is so early these days, I don't think anyone's going to fault someone for not taking Fed Courts as a first semester 2L (because that's a terrible idea). So overall I agree as long as you have what look like rigorous courses, you should be good.


Thanks again for all the advice guys. The thing is, fed courts prof was my civ pro prof. I booked civ pro, and he is the one who suggested fed courts third semester. Still bad idea to try to do it as 2L? (I think he'd notice if I wasn't in it, but seriously doubt he'd care.)

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bruinfan10
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby bruinfan10 » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:27 am

Germaine wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:eh, for the judges who care, Fed Courts is one of the courses they're actually going to care about. However, since hiring is so early these days, I don't think anyone's going to fault someone for not taking Fed Courts as a first semester 2L (because that's a terrible idea). So overall I agree as long as you have what look like rigorous courses, you should be good.


Thanks again for all the advice guys. The thing is, fed courts prof was my civ pro prof. I booked civ pro, and he is the one who suggested fed courts third semester. Still bad idea to try to do it as 2L? (I think he'd notice if I wasn't in it, but seriously doubt he'd care.)

Oh nice--that's a great situation to be in! I "followed around" a couple professors who I clicked with, helped my GPA a ton and it definitely helped with my rec letters. If you think you understand the prof and her/his exams, that might be a decent idea.

Also, the advice you're getting in this thread re: doctrinals sounds spot on to me--judges can spot gpa padding pretty easily (except for YLS kids--tough to spot a doctrinal on those transcripts), but unless they're a feeder I doubt many judges look too hard at which doctrinals you've taken aside from maybe evidence (for d.ct judges) and fed courts.

for the record i did exactly what rpupkin is suggesting and took fed courts after i had secured my CoA clerkship, and thankfully the course was still in progress when I was interviewing for my second clerkship. nice security net to have if you can swing it--that course is usually a bloodbath.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:45 am

Germaine wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:eh, for the judges who care, Fed Courts is one of the courses they're actually going to care about. However, since hiring is so early these days, I don't think anyone's going to fault someone for not taking Fed Courts as a first semester 2L (because that's a terrible idea). So overall I agree as long as you have what look like rigorous courses, you should be good.


Thanks again for all the advice guys. The thing is, fed courts prof was my civ pro prof. I booked civ pro, and he is the one who suggested fed courts third semester. Still bad idea to try to do it as 2L? (I think he'd notice if I wasn't in it, but seriously doubt he'd care.)

I was exaggerating - I know people who took it 2L and survived. That sounds like a decent reason to take it this fall? And you're usually a lot more diligent 1st semester 2L than 3L, anyway!

Germaine
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby Germaine » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:52 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I was exaggerating - I know people who took it 2L and survived. That sounds like a decent reason to take it this fall? And you're usually a lot more diligent 1st semester 2L than 3L, anyway!


Probably another dumb question, but what exactly is it about that class that makes it so difficult? Just the fact that it's literally only clerkship candidates who take it, or is it inherently more difficult than Civ Pro?

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bruinfan10
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby bruinfan10 » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:54 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:And you're usually a lot more diligent 1st semester 2L than 3L, anyway!

ugh so true. i got so tired of law school by second semester of 3L that i convinced my registrar's office to just let me go work for my last semester.

Germaine wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I was exaggerating - I know people who took it 2L and survived. That sounds like a decent reason to take it this fall? And you're usually a lot more diligent 1st semester 2L than 3L, anyway!


Probably another dumb question, but what exactly is it about that class that makes it so difficult? Just the fact that it's literally only clerkship candidates who take it, or is it inherently more difficult than Civ Pro?

The subject material is challenging (and infuriating in the way con law can be infuriating for people who hate SCOTUS-level intellectual dishonesty), but I'd say the primary problem is the competition. in mine, for example, my EIC and 75% of law review ed board was in attendence, along with almost all the students who ended up summa in my class. there can be more consistent-A students than there are A grades available in the curve. so bloodbath.

Germaine
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby Germaine » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:59 am

bruinfan10 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:And you're usually a lot more diligent 1st semester 2L than 3L, anyway!

ugh so true. i got so tired of law school by second semester of 3L that i convinced my registrar's office to just let me go work for my last semester.

Germaine wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I was exaggerating - I know people who took it 2L and survived. That sounds like a decent reason to take it this fall? And you're usually a lot more diligent 1st semester 2L than 3L, anyway!


Probably another dumb question, but what exactly is it about that class that makes it so difficult? Just the fact that it's literally only clerkship candidates who take it, or is it inherently more difficult than Civ Pro?

The subject material is challenging (and infuriating in the way con law can be infuriating for people who hate SCOTUS-level intellectual dishonesty), but I'd say the primary problem is the competition. in mine, for example, my EIC and 75% of law review ed board was in attendence, along with almost all the students who ended up summa in my class. there can be more consistent-A students than there are A grades available in the curve. so bloodbath.


Gotcha. So basically I need to hope Evidence, Crim Pro, and Con Law II don't fill lol.

Germaine
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby Germaine » Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:26 pm

On off chance any of you good souls see this, here is my follow up Q.

Assuming profs are all equal, is there any way to rank the following courses in terms of what a judge might want to see Fall 2L: Crim Pro, Admin Law, Con Law II, Fed Jur, Evidence? Can take any 2 or possibly 3 depending on the scheduling specifics.

(Possible answer is also: You are way overthinking this.)

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rpupkin
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Re: Fall 2L courses: do judges care what I take?

Postby rpupkin » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:06 pm

Germaine wrote:On off chance any of you good souls see this, here is my follow up Q.

Assuming profs are all equal, is there any way to rank the following courses in terms of what a judge might want to see Fall 2L: Crim Pro, Admin Law, Con Law II, Fed Jur, Evidence? Can take any 2 or possibly 3 depending on the scheduling specifics.

All those classes are fine. If you're looking for a district court clerkship, Evidence would probably be the most useful. Con Law II would probably be the least useful, though it depends on the course content. If the prof spends a lot of time on section 1983/constitutional torts stuff, that'll come in handy.




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