Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

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TheLuckyOne
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby TheLuckyOne » Sat Dec 19, 2009 5:38 pm

tomhobbes wrote:
XxSpyKEx wrote:Are you really a duck?


I doubt it. Ducks do not attend law school.


:lol: well said.

bahama
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby bahama » Sat Dec 19, 2009 6:15 pm

nicdmx wrote:
mallard wrote:
Jayzon, financial aid has been good to me. I hear it would have been even better at other top schools. But my need-based aid more or less matched my average merit aid from Columbia and NYU (let's say between 1/3 and 1/2 tuition). I was unemployed for awhile last year and spent most of my savings, which turned out to have been a good idea. If you are going to a top school, especially HYS, don't save up "to pay for law school." If you have nothing, they pay for you.


I have been wondering about this quite a bit. I will have considerable income from this year that I will have to report. Will MY income be taken in to consideration by HLS or will it mainly be my assets (how much I have in the bank?) I am underwater slightly on my house and am considering putting a bunch of money towards that so as to get a lower interest rate/payment before moving out for school. Also, what kind of consideration do they give to 401k savings?


Specifics about your house and 401K questions: http://www.law.harvard.edu/current/sfs/ ... ssets.html

FWIW, their fin aid forms ask about the market value of any real estate and mortgages you have.

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sayan
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby sayan » Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:35 am

An exceptional thread, Mallard; thanks for sharing your wisdom.

The topic of housing has been touched on lightly, but I would like to know your recommendation for off-campus living considering cost, distance and quality. Do you live off-campus? What reasons did you have for deciding where to live?

On another front, given the open endedness of the exams (at least from what I'm inferring), do you think it's essential to study in groups throughout the semester for the sake of covering more avenues of thought? You touched on group study briefly, but never said if it helped you perform better or not (in particular your pairing with another student to do outlines). Should I be looking into making friends with 2Ls or 3Ls to get their advice/outlines (I read of a TLSer that did this)? If so, how do you think it's best to approach them?

For any given week day, how much free time do you have from 8am to 11pm for relaxation, recreation etc.? Change much on the weekends? I suppose free time would change depending on the period of the semester, but let's assume an even workload throughout. Does your mind eventually begin to melt from constantly absorbing new information?

Thanks!

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mallard
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby mallard » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:04 pm

sayan wrote:An exceptional thread, Mallard; thanks for sharing your wisdom.

The topic of housing has been touched on lightly, but I would like to know your recommendation for off-campus living considering cost, distance and quality. Do you live off-campus? What reasons did you have for deciding where to live?

On another front, given the open endedness of the exams (at least from what I'm inferring), do you think it's essential to study in groups throughout the semester for the sake of covering more avenues of thought? You touched on group study briefly, but never said if it helped you perform better or not (in particular your pairing with another student to do outlines). Should I be looking into making friends with 2Ls or 3Ls to get their advice/outlines (I read of a TLSer that did this)? If so, how do you think it's best to approach them?

For any given week day, how much free time do you have from 8am to 11pm for relaxation, recreation etc.? Change much on the weekends? I suppose free time would change depending on the period of the semester, but let's assume an even workload throughout. Does your mind eventually begin to melt from constantly absorbing new information?

Thanks!


I lived on-campus. It's more convenient and more expensive. I'm sort of bad at taking care of myself; if you don't have that difficulty it probably won't make as much sense for you. I ate in the Hark a fair amount. It was also good to have people living around me; I had missed that in my year off (as you can see from my post count).

I took a fair bit of time off during the week and on the weekend. I worked a little bit differently than other people in that I tended to work a bit more constantly and a bit less efficiently. I tried to do it in front of the television or on the computer. Next semester I plan on working a lot more efficiently and with more focus but taking off more time for superior free-time activities (with friends). But I definitely wasn't working myself to the bone until a certain point in the semester. As I've mentioned a little bit before, my own personal schedule happened to result in my work peaking in the two or three weeks preceding Thanksgiving and then dropping off again as I focused more on practice exams and burned out a little bit. One way to prevent burnout is to get away from technology and shiny screens and small print when you're not working; just go do something with your friends, or have some sort of cultural experience, I don't know.

The main reason to have a group for studying during the semester is just to keep you on task and on schedule. My maxims from earlier apply. Do not divide up the workload and do not invite attractive single people. Do not make the group too large. It is, however, alright if you digress a little bit during your mid-semester outlining sessions to talk about possible hypotheticals, policy, etc. This may help you gain a better understanding of the "forest" of the course. Do not go into this stuff in your exam study group unless it impacts the exam.

Most of my exams have been mostly or entirely issue-spotters, so they haven't been that open-ended. Issue-spotters look open-ended, but of course you're often scored based on how much stuff you hit, and especially how much important stuff, with extra issues (sometimes unanticipated) maybe earning you a few extra points but not as much as the big stuff. For example, in a civil procedure exam, you might be asked to identify all of the motions a judge will receive based on a certain fact pattern and analyze them to recommend a ruling. Of course you'll need to assume every defendant will move to dismiss under a variety of rationales; you might have to analyze removal and transfer; you might think about choice-of-law issues, discovery issues, Seventh Amendment issues, Fourteenth Amendment issues. You also might think about what parties and claims might be moved to be joined or severed, the appropriateness of summary judgment (and here you probably bring in preclusion), the possibility of class action certification, etc. And of course you might consider settlement at a certain point in the exam. It's open-ended in a sense, but it's also not really.

As for asking 2Ls and 3Ls for help, of course I'm here for that, and so will others who I'm sure will do much better than me. But don't ask for their outlines. Make your outline. You must make your own outline, even if it's not what you use on the exam. Do it during the semester, do it in a rush the day before the exam, whatever, but you need to find a way to learn the shape of the course and the more important and deeper questions. This is the only way you'll be able to deal with issue-spotters.

I should also note that there are many free outlines available from FedSoc, ACS, HLCentral, etc.

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tomhobbes
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby tomhobbes » Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:41 pm

How is the food at Harkness Commons? Is there a decent amount of variety? Quality? Do lots of students eat there?

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mallard
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby mallard » Sun Dec 20, 2009 5:14 pm

tomhobbes wrote:How is the food at Harkness Commons? Is there a decent amount of variety? Quality? Do lots of students eat there?


It's alright. Some meals are better than others. There are other places near campus to eat. Lots of people eat there, especially lunch.

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excelsiorcaelo
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby excelsiorcaelo » Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:50 pm

mallard wrote:
tomhobbes wrote:How is the food at Harkness Commons? Is there a decent amount of variety? Quality? Do lots of students eat there?


It's alright. Some meals are better than others. There are other places near campus to eat. Lots of people eat there, especially lunch.


It's often very crowded when everyone gets out of class for lunch. It's much less crowded for dinner, as all the off-campus students are gone. Dinner also generally has less of a selection than lunch. The best thing to get for lunch is far and away the flatbread, which is toasted with your choice of four toppings. I generally ordered sausage, sun dried tomatoes, onions and goat cheese.

ISquareJudd
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby ISquareJudd » Sun Dec 20, 2009 10:59 pm

Is the goat cheese at Harvard different from the goat cheese at other law schools?

02082010
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby 02082010 » Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:05 pm

ISquareJudd wrote:Is the goat cheese at Harvard different from the goat cheese at other law schools?


I'm curious about this as well.

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soullesswonder
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby soullesswonder » Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:41 pm

Mallard:

I feel like you touched on this a little earlier with your comments about journals, but do you feel that employers have a good understanding about how small the Law Review contingent is (esp. compared with schools-that-shall-not-be-named) and still respect secondary journal work? Also, have you met many students who are looking at a significant number of firms that don't regularly OCI at Harvard?

Renzo
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby Renzo » Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:56 pm

jayzon wrote:
ISquareJudd wrote:Is the goat cheese at Harvard different from the goat cheese at other law schools?


Yes, at Harvard they get the milk directly from your grandmother.

I thought that the Porcellian club got the milk straight from Satan's teat.

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mallard
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby mallard » Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:15 am

soullesswonder wrote:Mallard:

I feel like you touched on this a little earlier with your comments about journals, but do you feel that employers have a good understanding about how small the Law Review contingent is (esp. compared with schools-that-shall-not-be-named) and still respect secondary journal work? Also, have you met many students who are looking at a significant number of firms that don't regularly OCI at Harvard?


I've met very few 2Ls/3Ls who are looking at firm jobs not through OCI. Usually here you say you're an OCS person or an OPIA person; it's an unfortunate divide and they're trying to bridge it, but like I said, that's pretty much how people get firm jobs. I did know one guy who was still interviewing in October, so I guess he lucked out at OCI this year. But I don't think that's because the firms weren't interviewing... Anyway, yes, secondary journal work seems well-respected, and yes, I think it's pretty well understood that getting onto LR on Harvard is quite a feat. I don't know this for sure, though, not having interviewed for jobs or anything.

sluggo
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby sluggo » Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:16 am

So, how much did your "partner" carry you this semester?

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mallard
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby mallard » Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:18 am

sluggo wrote:So, how much did your "partner" carry you this semester?


He was pretty good at spotting fatty policy forks...

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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby sluggo » Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:40 am

Too bad you were saying law school doesn't care about policy or thinking, etc?

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excelsiorcaelo
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby excelsiorcaelo » Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:32 pm

The different journals purportedly are accorded different levels of respect according to their quality and circulation. The Journal of Law and Public Policy (AKA the conservative/moderate/libertarian journal) has the second-highest circulation in the country after the Harvard Law Review, and it has one of the most rigorous editing processes of the lesser journals, if not the most rigorous. Supposedly this means that employers understand how well it trains editors in the fine art of Bluebooking, and it therefore looks better on your resume than other journals, but I'm not sure how significant that is.

The goat cheese is substantially more delicious than the goat cheese at other law schools.

Also, re: study habits in general, I want to reiterate that I did not make my own outlines--I did not feel that there was any need to reinvent the wheel. During the week I did work for only a few hours each day, and this did not go up to excessive levels during crunch time for finals. I'm going to wait until grades get back before I post a detailed analysis of my study habits, however. I don't think it's very useful information unless I can also provide the results of my "efforts."

sfdreaming09
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby sfdreaming09 » Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:26 pm

Thanks to both of you for taking q's. Just wanted to bookmark this thread.

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zabagabe
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby zabagabe » Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:04 pm

Hey Mal,

Thanks for your thoughts....really interesting stuff. I'm curious to know if the general endowment issues at Harvard have hit the law school in any measurable way? I'm sure other top law schools are facing similar pressure (I'm more intimately familiar with one out west that definitely is), but Harvard seems to get most of the attention for it, probably given its notoriety/lay prestige. Curious to know if this actually has any real effect on the vibe/experience, or mostly just makes for good Above The Law gossip fodder?

Also curious to know if there's much interaction with other professional school students (biz, med)? I know Stanford tends to have a fair amount of cross-school interaction, but wasn't sure if that's the same at Harvard. And congrats on finishing!

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The Brainalist
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby The Brainalist » Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:34 pm


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mallard
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby mallard » Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:23 pm

zabagabe wrote:Hey Mal,

Thanks for your thoughts....really interesting stuff. I'm curious to know if the general endowment issues at Harvard have hit the law school in any measurable way? I'm sure other top law schools are facing similar pressure (I'm more intimately familiar with one out west that definitely is), but Harvard seems to get most of the attention for it, probably given its notoriety/lay prestige. Curious to know if this actually has any real effect on the vibe/experience, or mostly just makes for good Above The Law gossip fodder?

Also curious to know if there's much interaction with other professional school students (biz, med)? I know Stanford tends to have a fair amount of cross-school interaction, but wasn't sure if that's the same at Harvard. And congrats on finishing!


Hey zabagabe; trust you to make Yale look good. The endowment question is a great and a cutting one. "Benefits" like the ice skating rink, free coffee, etc. have been significantly scaled back. More importantly, public interest programs have taken a hit (something I'm personally unhappy about). In essence, LIPP has remained untouched, SPIF is being reduced to eight weeks, and the PSI (free third year with a five[?]-year commitment to public interest work) is being discontinued. As for Harvard's pressure, it's not simply notoriety, but poor decision-making and huge losses combined with Wasserstein's recent death that make the law school's current situation somewhat unique. So in all honesty it seems like more than mere fodder to me.

I haven't observed that much interaction with the business or medical schools yet (this thing probably increases after 1L, I'd assume), but I know several people who are doing joint degrees with FAS or the Kennedy School, and of course their perspective is enriching. I have several more friends who have been working on applications to other Harvard schools. Ideally I'd be able to tell you guys a little bit about their experience, since I know Harvard's all-around excellence is part of the draw, but I'm unfortunately not familiar enough with the topic to comment.

As for Eugene Action, his site looks like something I made when I was twelve, but not having officially passed a single class yet I don't want to tempt fate by commenting further.

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zabagabe
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby zabagabe » Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:46 pm

I'm not out to make Yale look good...I think every school is facing significant cutbacks to their budgets. I've just been surprised that somehow every other top law school (apart from maybe Berkeley) has been better able to shield these from the public, whereas there seems to be a lot of coverage about Harvard, so I wasn't sure if this was just b/c it was Harvard, or if there was something more there...there seems to be almost a schadenfreude sensibility in the media in regards to Harvard's financial situation, b/c many schools are struggling just as much but not one seems to mention them.

How has Wasserstein's death affected things? I haven't heard anything about that.

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IHaveDietMoxie
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby IHaveDietMoxie » Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:50 pm

From what I've read, Dean Kagan made a huge and positive impact on the climate of the school (looser grading, diverse/prestigious hires, a generally warmer climate, better fundraising, etc.). Do you think these trends will continue, and what changes do you foresee as a consequence of her departure?

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mallard
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby mallard » Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:57 pm

zabagabe wrote:I'm not out to make Yale look good...I think every school is facing significant cutbacks to their budgets. I've just been surprised that somehow every other top law school (apart from maybe Berkeley) has been better able to shield these from the public, whereas there seems to be a lot of coverage about Harvard, so I wasn't sure if this was just b/c it was Harvard, or if there was something more there.

How has Wasserstein's death affected things? I haven't heard anything about that.


I'm not sure where the notoriety stems from, but I mean, the university as a whole lost ten billion dollars, so I tend to think it's merited. (But I'm a bit of a grump, as this thread demonstrates.) I'm not really sure about the effect of Wasserstein's death but I've heard murmurs to the effect that some money thought to be going to the law school might be going elsewhere; I don't really know anything substantial, though.

By the way, I just meant you make Yale look good, period, it wasn't in any particular relation to your question!

Moxie, I think it's pretty much agreed that Kagan was an incredible dean and has been a big part of almost all of the best things going on at the school right now, and certainly your examples are among the most apt. Dean Minow is also excellent and, based on my brief interactions with her, very kind and of course brilliant. But only time can tell whether she'll have Kagan's fundraising or hiring prowess. Now in terms of looser grading, a "clarification" (everyone agrees it was really more of an alteration) has more or less made LPs optional and has removed the cap on Dean's Prizes... so many of us certainly have been breathing a little bit easier. Again, I wish I could answer with any confidence. I will say I saw the two Deans speak about the Solicitor Generalship with Charles Fried and John Manning, and Kagan's (for lack of a better word) energy will be difficult to match.

bahama
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby bahama » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:54 pm

mallard wrote:I'm not sure where the notoriety stems from, but I mean, the university as a whole lost ten billion dollars, so I tend to think it's merited.


As someone who has been following this for a bit, Harvard's losses were similar to peer schools on a % basis. Since Harvard has the biggest endowment, they obviously had the biggest dollar losses. The growth of the endowment and the large bonuses paid to some of the fund managers were very controversial in the early '00s so there are some people who are happy to see them taken down a notch. Given this and the large dollar amounts involved, it is not suprising that the losses are also receiving more coverage than those in the endowments of less known schools. The bigger they are the harder they fall (and the more people like to watch).

Great thread Mallard. Thanks for doing this.

EDIT: Link to an article here: http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/feat ... vard200908
Last edited by bahama on Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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zabagabe
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Re: Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

Postby zabagabe » Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:17 pm

mallard wrote:
ntzsch wrote:elaborate on the persistent foibles?


Though I don't necessarily agree with his politics or many of his conclusions, a lot of stuff in Duncan Kennedy's essay "Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy" is accurate, and it does a pretty good job of drawing out a lot of the common reactions and thoughts law students will have. Not all of it completely correlates with my experience (for example, my professors tended to feel that the result in the "hot" cases should have been decided a bit less technically). But go especially to page 602, where he's discussing The Modeling of Hierarchical Relationships, and the following section on The Student Response to Hierarchy (I feel like I've personally experienced all of the responses he outlines, so it seems well done to me).


Thanks for sharing this - I'd heard of it before but never read it straight through. It's interesting that you feel much of this is still relevant even as law schools have gotten "softer", with grade reforms, etc. I'm surprised that even a post-Kaganized HLS still feels this way, but I suppose this is the result of the entrenched nature of legal education as an institution generally, regardless of the school. I wonder if this is the experience students universally have at all law schools? I would imagine some where CLS took off more within the school (such as Berkeley) might be a little different, but maybe not in any significant way... It would be really interesting to poll 1Ls across schools and see if there's any significant difference, or if this really is a universal experience.




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