How many hours does a typical law student study a day?

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smr00
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How many hours does a typical law student study a day?

Postby smr00 » Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:13 pm

How many hours a day do you all typically study as first year law students? I'm trying to anticipate how much i will have to put in per day and on the weekends...I will most likely be visiting my fiance on the weekends in another city and want to have an idea of how i will manage my time....

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Oklahoma Mike
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Postby Oklahoma Mike » Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:33 pm

a million

ok, depends on the law student, the school, etc.

I know a lot of law students that play a lot of xbox.

You can put off studying somewhat throughout the year and then study 10 hours a day near finals, or you can put in the time to make law school like a job and basically study for three hours every day throughout the semester. (basically get to school at 8, leave at 5, and whenever you aren't in class spend the time studying)

Those I've known who've done the second have done just fine- though they certainly put in extra time when they have something big to write or just before finals.

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the lsat hax0r
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Postby the lsat hax0r » Mon Apr 02, 2007 2:24 pm

I've read that it's a good idea to study at least 2 hours for every hour of class per night. That would be six hours per night. That's a lot more than I did during undergrad but it doesn't seem too bad. You can still have some spare time during the evening.

Some students do a lot less than that and some do a lot more. It's just what you make of it.

smr00
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Postby smr00 » Mon Apr 02, 2007 3:52 pm

how do they test you in law school and how does it differ than undergrad? is it the same idea or do you get graded in different ways?

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Formerbruin
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Postby Formerbruin » Mon Apr 02, 2007 4:13 pm

Most of your first year classes will have a final that counts as the entire grade, whether in-class or take home. It could be any mixture of essay, short response, and/or multiple choice. Your other classes will also likely have solely a final, or, in the case of a seminar, an extensive (read: publishable) paper. Some schools have a small participation component as well.

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Corsair
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Postby Corsair » Mon Apr 02, 2007 4:14 pm

..

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Formerbruin
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Postby Formerbruin » Mon Apr 02, 2007 4:18 pm

Most schools also have a required curve, which they can achieve by either enforcing a strict median (e.g. UVa) or else by requiring that a certain percentage of each class gets an A, a certain percentage gets a B, etc. Requirements are very stringent in large courses, but in smaller classes they are relaxed to some extent.

EE2JD
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Postby EE2JD » Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:01 pm

Requirements are very stringent in large courses, but in smaller classes they are relaxed to some extent.


To what degree do 2L/3L classes vary in size? If the above is true (which I have also heard), it would make sense to lean toward smaller classes if you are trying to get your GPA up.

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Formerbruin
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Postby Formerbruin » Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:04 pm

The number of smaller classes available obviously depends on the school, and perhaps the best thing to do would be to go to the websites of a few schools you are interested and check out the relative numbers of seminars to large classes. The limiting factor here is that seminars at most schools (at least the interesting ones) fill up relatively quickly, and you probably won't have the opportunity to take more than a couple at any time, especially if you go to a larger school such as Harvard or Georgetown.

Pmilan1
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Postby Pmilan1 » Wed Jun 13, 2007 2:46 pm

What is the average amount of time spent in class a day in law school

SpadesKnight
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Postby SpadesKnight » Wed Jul 11, 2007 9:15 pm

My first year, I believe we spent around three hours in class each day. Now, that doesn't seem bad - but plan on also spending 3 hours studying for each hour you spend in class. Thus, I would say 60 hours per week is not a bad estimate - and you can break it up any way you want: either all during the weekdays with weekends off, or throw a lot of h/w onto the weekends (what I did) and have time to relax during the week.

saleen
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Postby saleen » Wed Jul 11, 2007 9:38 pm

hmmm work 8 - 5 class 6 - 9.................

I am going to have no life.

SpadesKnight
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Postby SpadesKnight » Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:30 pm

Lol - who needs life in law school? :D j/k!

As long as you know how to plan and how to stick to a schedule, you should find time to relax.

Are you going to be an evening student then?

randomposter
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Postby randomposter » Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:53 am

it would make sense to lean toward smaller classes if you are trying to get your GPA up.


No, I do the complete opposite. There's a forced curve at my school; a 3.3 median for the class no matter the size. So if I take a class with 60 people, there will be 25-35 people with a B+ or better, most likely. If I take a class of 12, I better be better than at least 6 of them and with a class size that small, you're more vulnerable to random skews of all smart kids. I like to take my chances in large classes if I can where the distribution will be closer to normal.

There's another aspect to it too though. In large classes, you'll probably take an exam. In a small seminar, you're grade will likely be based on participation and a research paper. I'm much better at papers than exams so that factors into my determination as well.

saleen
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Postby saleen » Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:14 pm

Lol - who needs life in law school? Very Happy j/k!

As long as you know how to plan and how to stick to a schedule, you should find time to relax.

Are you going to be an evening student then?


Yup going to be an evening student, first semester it is only 3 nights a week so that will leave some good weekday study time. Second semester it is going to be 4 nights a week but by then I am hoping to have a better understanding of everything that is going on.

lordarka
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Postby lordarka » Tue Jul 17, 2007 2:28 am

As a full time student at a tier 1 school, I studied 10 hours per day, 6 days per week. [Edit] Placing my law school academics as an absolute priority is a sensible approach to handling the experience, given what you're paying to be there, and what's at stake in terms of your career.

Work your ass off, get good grades, and they will be with you for the rest of your life; I am enjoying a wonderful summer doing nothing law related while getting job interviews, as well as two transfer offers from top 20 law schools; all this because I devoted my full time and energy to my first two semesters of law school when it was required of me.

Brief ALL your cases, read a day ahead in every class, and review and append your briefs after every class. By the time you get to the end of the semester reading period, you should already have learned everything twice (once on your own, once in class), and you can consolidate the information into outlines. I found that flowcharts and diagrams made for the best outlines.

Leave the Xbox and all your computer games at home. If I had access to those, I would have crashed and burned. The only leisure activities I engaged in while at law school were drawing and painting. Third year will give you ample time to goof off and live life, provided you've paid your dues on the front end.

If you're part time and have family commitments, matters are clearly more complicated. I was studying while my fiancé was on the other side of the country. Now, I am looking to transfer to one of the best law schools in the country, and it's located within two hours of home.
Last edited by lordarka on Tue Jul 17, 2007 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

randomposter
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Postby randomposter » Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:27 am

I agree that you should work hard your first year as your 1L grades can pretty much determine the course of your legal career, but that's (^^^) a little extreme. It depends on where you go to school I guess. I'm already at a top 10 so as long as I maintained decent grades I could find a job, so I wasn't as stressed about it I guess.

I argue with the contention that you don't need a life in law school - that sounds like a recipe for a friendless, depressing law school career. I've truly made some of my best friends in law school and if you've found a law school you feel comfortable at, you're bound to find dozens of personalities you are going to get along with. And you're all bonded by the hellish 1L year- blowing off steam with my section-mates has been some of the best times I've had, and I thought I had a blast in UG. I would advise against the "all-work-and-no-play" attitude. Take school seriously, but leave a little personal time so that you don't burn out by 2L year.

By the way, law firms really screen for personality. Take the time to develop it.

patentlaw
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Postby patentlaw » Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:50 am

I agree with randomposter. I'm sorry, but lordarka that sounds miserable. The whole "you shouldn't have a life first year" I think is kind of ridiculous. Your relationships that you develop in law school will be incredibly important to your career, but more than that you need to have a life outside of school.

I will say that as with randomposter the school I was at allowed me to worry less about grades, but everyone still took school seriously. There's a big difference between taking school seriously and making it your life.

lordarka
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Postby lordarka » Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:44 pm

Randomposter, patentlaw

Perhaps you misunderstand what is possible while giving a 60 hour weekly commitment to law school, and perhaps I overstated my case when I said "you should not have a life in law school;" I have a life, and would want others to have one too. I made plenty of friends and had a very fulfilling academic and social life at the law school. My own group of friends had lunch twice a week, partied at least twice a month, and routinely had coffee and wine together. We did section potlucks, outings, and all that stuff; you need to in order to balance out life in the midst of a rigorous academic program.

On the same token, I also had a reputation for taking school very seriously, because I was always prepared, and always did well on tests. This reputation was the source of other relationships with both students and faculty, and those friendships are as durable as any formed on account of personal compatibility and shared extracurricular interests.

I am not saying you should become a psychopath; what I'm saying is that you need to treat law school as your primary commitment, and put all other things (like gaming, for example) on a back burner for the few months you are in school; most friends you make at law school will do the same, while still remaining close because they share in the misery that is the 1L year. People tend to realize pretty quickly that this is NOT undergrad, but balance is still achievable.

If you are at a T10, and can secure Biglaw recruitment while being in the bottom quarter of your class, that will obviously attenuate your ambitions, but I, being at a top 25, wanted to (1) possibly transfer to a top ten, and (2) probably clerk and teach. To do either of these things takes top grades, and I decided that I needed to give up needless time-wasters like computer games in order to achieve it. That decision wasn't easy for me, as I am an avid gamer, but there it is.

I've already achieved the former ambition, with transfer acceptances to one top ten and one top 15 school, and hopefully more to come. The latter ambition will require a continued commitment to my grades and class standing at my new school. That said, the schedule I outlined does not come at the expense of a social life, as I am still in touch with all of my friends at UI.

In my limited experience, the first year of law school is the most important time to achieve. Pay your dues then, and the dividends will continue to pay off in the long term, and you'll have all the time in the world to "live the life" near the end of your second and most of your third year. Perhaps being at a top 10 school gives you both the luxury not having to think so hard about your grades, but that's not as true for those of us who are starting out lower and working our way up.

Right now, I am living it up, and have all the time in the world to strengthen friendships already formed, travel, make art, and experience life. However, if you live life at the expense of your first year grades, it can easily come back and bite you in the ass, because you'll spend a good portion of your time and life worrying about whether your career was all that it could have been if you cared a little bit more about your grades.

Just one perspective.

patentlaw
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Postby patentlaw » Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:55 pm

The first year of law school is the most important time to achieve. Pay your dues then, and the dividends will continue to pay off in the long term, and you'll have all the time in the world to "live the life" the two of you are so keen on living in law school.


I agree with most of what you said, but just want to point out that putting in 60 hour weeks is not necessary to achieve your goals (though 60 hour weeks will come at some points like around finals).

I already graduated law school and "lived the life." I had an enjoyable experience in law school and did very well with job interviews, etc. I wasn't Coif or anything when I graduated, but have no regrets and have had no difficulties with where I ended up (about top 1/3rd of my class). Again, this might all depend on where you go to school.

hoyablue

Postby hoyablue » Tue Jul 17, 2007 2:51 pm

I am enjoying a wonderful summer doing nothing law related


Ummm if you studied 10 hours a day and made awesome grades I would HOPE that you'd have a sweet summer associate position paying >$3k a week...

lordarka
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Postby lordarka » Tue Jul 17, 2007 3:12 pm

Hoyablue:

My summer was spent filing transfer apps and decompressing from my law school schedule. In an effort to avoid any possibility of burnout, I wanted to use my 1L summer to catch up on things that I wasn't able to do in law school; drawing, painting, photography, traveling, etc. My fiancé and I are also planning a wedding, so I wanted to devote more of my time to that.

I can get my summer associate position next year, as I've already got one offer from a firm in Newport Beach, and numerous interviews scheduled, thanks to my class standing. It's not a question of ability, but desire; not everyone needs to be working every summer, and I figure that this will probably the last summer I get to myself for a very long time.

Patentlaw:

Everyone's different. I know there are some people who put in more time than me and got lower grades, while others put in, say, 40 hours and did just as well. Few people I know did better than I did while doing less, at least not at my law school. I appreciate that I may need to replace an intelligence deficit with greater diligence, but for the things I want to do, top ten percent is crucial. There is also, I think, a point of diminishing returns when it comes to grades; it takes a certain amount of effort to make top third, and maybe twice that to make top ten percent. I was pretty obsessive about being in the top ten percent so I could be competitive as a transfer applicant, and so that I would have a shot at a federal appellate clerkship down the road.

So far, achieving those goals has not come at the expense of my social life, and taking a summer off has done more than enough to recharge me. Again, everyone is different, but my feeling is that if you devote a little more time and effort than maybe is required, you are better off than devoting less and possibly not getting where you expected to be. Your mileage may vary.

I would also add that once you get through your first semester of exams and get a sense of where you are in your class, things can get easier. I was pretty obsessive and hermit-like in the latter half of the first semester of law school, but once I learned how to read the cases, ignore the notes, and streamline my briefs, and once I received affirmation that what I was doing was working, I was able to use my time a lot more effectively second semester, and also strengthen my relationships with my law school colleagues.

randomposter
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Postby randomposter » Tue Jul 17, 2007 3:40 pm

not everyone needs to be working every summer


That may work out for you in the long run, but for the majority of people, you really need to do some legally related work your 1L summer. Even people on LR at my top10 did something legally related for at least part of the summer. I guarantee in your interviews they are going to ask you why you didn't do anything your first summer.

lordarka
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Postby lordarka » Tue Jul 17, 2007 3:51 pm

Randomposter:

I've talked to career services at my old law school (UI), and my transfer acceptances (Duke and UCLA), and all of them tell me that this is simply not a problem, given my reasons. Or to put it more accurately, they have said that taking a summer off is not even remotely fatal to getting a job, particularly if you are already at the top of the class with a journal. You do have to explain why you took the summer off, but I have my reasons. Besides, I am transferring, which is in itself hardly a stress free process, and is certainly law related.

Everyone is different, and everyone has justifications for working or not working. If a sweatshop oriented firm can't stomach hiring someone who needed to take time off when they could for personal matters, I wouldn't want to work for them anyway.

randomposter
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Postby randomposter » Tue Jul 17, 2007 3:57 pm

they have said that taking a summer off is not even remotely fatal to getting a job


Neither is being bottom-half, but you just don't want to put yourself in that position. Anyways, it sounds like you have a somewhat valid reason for it but I just wanted to clarify for the 0Ls out there that it's pretty important to get some type of legal work in your 1L summer. Prior to getting my firm job, I thought I was going to just take a summer off to decompress as well until my career office told me that would be a really bad idea. You shouldn't take the time off for "drawing, painting, photography, traveling" or your work ethic might be questioned...is that stupid? Maybe, but firms aren't above being stupid.

transferring...is certainly law related


Not in the context I meant - I was referring to an experience that will give you some understanding of what it's like to practice law and/or something that will help pinpoint what type of law you may be interested in.




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