Harvard 1L will take some questions about Harvard.

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
User avatar
BeastCoastHype
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 4:55 pm

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

Postby BeastCoastHype » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:20 pm

tinman wrote:
mallard wrote:......
The real rationale for taking the higher-ranked school is simple. Kids here are simply not that much smarter than kids at BU or BC. Your extra point or two on the LSAT or the fact that you spent that one semester studying and the other kid spent that semester drinking does not mean you will perform better in law school. You have a comparative advantage now; you got into Harvard. You give it up by going to another school because the legal profession overvalues law school prestige.

There are, of course, other great reasons. My professors have been friends with Thurgood Marshall, William Brennan, Antonin Scalia, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama. My friends will be running for Senator and Governor; they'll be on the federal bench; they'll be coming back here to teach. Even Yale and Stanford do not have the feeling Harvard has. That's one reason why the arbitrariness and the randomness and the strange sense of hierarchy and misplaced priorities is so unsettling and occasionally nauseating while you're here: you're at the heart of a vast system, you know you're a little cell being pumped back and forth, carrying oxygen to one finger or toe of this system, and yet you can hear that the heartbeat is just a little irregular, the heart is just a little diseased.


Sorry to crash the Harvard 1L taking classes here, but I wanted to give the Yale 1L response to some of Mallard's obloquy.

First, the people here at Yale Law are ridiculously smart and intimidating. I spent many years at Harvard and took classes there with law students. I have never been intimidated like I am here. In my small group of 15 people, for example, we have 2 Ph.D.s, someone from Harvard's Kennedy School, a Truman fellow, 2 Rhode Scholars, a former speech writer, someone who worked many years at the ACLU (I am sure I'm forgetting some other awesome experiences). The person who was trying to help me chill out the other day (not in my small group) has a summer firm job and had a 180 LSAT and a 4.0 GPA coming in. It seems like all the students that got in straight from undergraduate here had 180s on their LSAT. I agree that the LSAT probably doesn't mean much, and I don't think the difference between a 165 and 175 is profound.

But I would argue that the difference is profound between someone with a 3.95 GPA and a 175 LSAT straight from undergraduate and a 3.95/175 who is also a former Rhodes Scholar or who has a few years of amazing work experience. The former class dominates Harvard. The latter class dominates Yale.

Judging by history, Harvard will send about the same number of (perhaps marginally more) people into academia, supreme court, and clerkships. But Harvard is more than twice as large. There are superstars at every school. But here at Yale they are in nauseating abundance. I guess what I mean to say is that we have so many people that were already superstars in their post-college careers before starting law school.


Another advantage of going to Yale is that it makes the outside world want to hear about it all the f-ing time. Seriously, people having unrelated conversations CANNOT WAIT to hear your stupid anecdotes. That's the real benefit of the YLS degree - it makes you so socially adept that nothing can ever get in your way again. Things that would ordinarily be considered huge faux pas are automatically excused because you WENT TO YALE AND EVERYONE AT YALE COMES IN GREAT AND EVERYONE DEFINITELY LEAVES GREAT BECAUSE YALE IS FOR GREAT PEOPLE.

By the way, a girl in my LSAT class got into Yale straight from undergrad. She wasn't very smart or interesting, she just had good grades/scores. Go fuck yourself.

User avatar
mallard
Posts: 1092
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:45 am

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

Postby mallard » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:21 pm

doyleoil wrote:
OperaSoprano wrote:If you do anything but return to HLS as a professor (after a SCOTUS clerkship), I'll be quite disappointed.


people who make comments like this ought to be placed in burlap sacks and beaten with reeds


doyle!

Yeah, I sort of want tinman to come back now. We were friendly last year, if I recall. Maybe he's developed some sort of post-traumatic syndrome from all of the intimidation.

Opera, yes, Harvard works us harder than most schools do. We also have graded LRW. (I also like "purposefully or knowingly," although I'd still hold tinman, a very smart dude, responsible for having done it recklessly or negligently.)

buckley, it's your money and it's up to you how to spend it. Depending on what you mean by "crazy," that might be a solid extracurricular. But it probably won't be enough.

I've heard Elizabeth Warren is fucking incredible. Have not met her, but everyone says she lives up to the hype.

BeastCoast, I have no words, but you have my admiration and respect.

User avatar
doyleoil
Posts: 631
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 2:59 pm

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

Postby doyleoil » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:23 pm

mallard wrote:doyle!


couldn't resist a duck thread

User avatar
OperaSoprano
Posts: 4410
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:54 am

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

Postby OperaSoprano » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:29 pm

doyleoil wrote:
OperaSoprano wrote:If you do anything but return to HLS as a professor (after a SCOTUS clerkship), I'll be quite disappointed.


people who make comments like this ought to be placed in burlap sacks and beaten with reeds


Come now, doyle, I'm certain that if he wants do it he probably can. What I say can generally be taken at face value, and I tend to post more or less exactly what I think.

Mal, you guys have graded LRW? I thought that was just for commoners like us. And what's really going on with the low passes? Cleareyes is still convinced that he's going to get a bunch of them, but aren't they discretionary now? They were beyond retarded to begin with. Even our professors are not required to give out horrendous grades.

User avatar
mallard
Posts: 1092
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:45 am

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

Postby mallard » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:30 pm

Academic Affairs or whoever did some damage control and said they had always been discretionary, which might be true to an extent. They're definitely discretionary now. I seriously doubt Cleareyes or excelsior will be in trouble.

Oh, and yeah, we have graded LRW (well, H/P/L/F). It's the dumbest idea ever.

ylc
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:38 am

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

Postby ylc » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:38 pm

Do the dorms attract mostly people right out of college? I like the convenience, but haven't decided whether it's worth it to live in one of those cells :).

User avatar
mallard
Posts: 1092
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:45 am

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

Postby mallard » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:40 pm

ylc wrote:Do the dorms attract mostly people right out of college? I like the convenience, but haven't decided whether it's worth it to live in one of those cells :).


The dorms are not well-managed. However, the camaraderie is excellent. I'm pretty sure the dorm population is significantly younger on average than the school population.

ylc
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:38 am

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

Postby ylc » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:42 pm

mallard wrote:
ylc wrote:Do the dorms attract mostly people right out of college? I like the convenience, but haven't decided whether it's worth it to live in one of those cells :).


The dorms are not well-managed. However, the camaraderie is excellent. I'm pretty sure the dorm population is significantly younger on average than the school population.


What do you mean by "well-managed"?

User avatar
OperaSoprano
Posts: 4410
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:54 am

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

Postby OperaSoprano » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:45 pm

mallard wrote:Academic Affairs or whoever did some damage control and said they had always been discretionary, which might be true to an extent. They're definitely discretionary now. I seriously doubt Cleareyes or excelsior will be in trouble.

Oh, and yeah, we have graded LRW (well, H/P/L/F). It's the dumbest idea ever.


Good. Excelsior won't freak out, if I know anything about him, but if you see Cleareyes, tell him that for me.

All professors need more guidance in how to wield grades, IMO. I refer to our LRW as "that exercise in GPA futility." We have traditional grades, and a professor who is thus far unfamiliar with the terms A and A-. Moreover, it is patently ridiculous to curve a class with < 20 people in it.

I was also surprised to see such a polemic written by tinman. I don't remember him that way. What have finals done to all of us?

User avatar
mallard
Posts: 1092
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:45 am

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

Postby mallard » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:46 pm

ylc wrote:
mallard wrote:
ylc wrote:Do the dorms attract mostly people right out of college? I like the convenience, but haven't decided whether it's worth it to live in one of those cells :).


The dorms are not well-managed. However, the camaraderie is excellent. I'm pretty sure the dorm population is significantly younger on average than the school population.


What do you mean by "well-managed"?


I'm not sure I do mean "well-managed." I'm sorry, I'm still not thinking 100% clearly. They're just poor dorms, at least the Gropius complex, but it's been a good part of my experience living here, and I think I would have developed several more personality disorders by now had I not been surrounded by friendly and generally happier peers.

User avatar
mallard
Posts: 1092
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:45 am

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

Postby mallard » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:49 pm

I guess it's not surprising, but somehow this thread has more people already attending law school than it has 0Ls. Let me just reiterate that I am happy and generally competent to answer questions prospective students have about Harvard Law.

ylc
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:38 am

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

Postby ylc » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:52 pm

mallard wrote:I'm not sure I do mean "well-managed." I'm sorry, I'm still not thinking 100% clearly. They're just poor dorms, at least the Gropius complex, but it's been a good part of my experience living here, and I think I would have developed several more personality disorders by now had I not been surrounded by friendly and generally happier peers.


No problem -- yes, I visited a friend in Gropius once and it was definitely a poor dorm. Anyway, Thanks for taking the time to answer questions, I'll definitely be reading your other answers and participating if I can think of anything else.

User avatar
IHaveDietMoxie
Posts: 137
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:54 am

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

Postby IHaveDietMoxie » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:58 pm

Okay I'll shoot again.

Can you briefly describe the library, study spaces, etc?

What topics were you interested in pursuing when you got there, and how has that changed in the first semester?

User avatar
Jay-Electronica
Posts: 369
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:39 pm

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

Postby Jay-Electronica » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:01 pm

Sounds like Turow's 1L to me

You mentioned 4 exams :shock: How are they staggered?

User avatar
dutchstriker
Posts: 276
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:15 pm

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

Postby dutchstriker » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:02 pm

Are you afraid of the debt you're taking on? Did you pass up on any big scholarships from lower-ranked schools, and, if so, why?

Batman2
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:29 pm

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

Postby Batman2 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:03 pm

mallard wrote:I guess it's not surprising, but somehow this thread has more people already attending law school than it has 0Ls. Let me just reiterate that I am happy and generally competent to answer questions prospective students have about Harvard Law.


Is the student body even remotely reflective of the movie The Paper Chase?

User avatar
mallard
Posts: 1092
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:45 am

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

Postby mallard » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:08 pm

Oh, the library. It is something special and strange. There is that huge "fourth"-floor room with the high ceilings, imposing paintings on the wall, Latin across the ceiling. Then there are the rows and rows of tables by bookshelves in the corridors on the lower floors. There are only a few group study rooms and as the semester goes on you usually have to reserve them way in advance. There's a slightly louder "lounge" area where people will study sometimes, right near the library's entrance. I don't have much experience with libraries and didn't ever study at one before I came here, but Langdell is a very nice place. People will also study in the Hark, either upstairs in the eating area or downstairs with all the tables and comfy chairs.

When I came here I thought I was really interested in constitutional law and other public law type stuff. I'm still interested in constitutional law, but I tend to be more focused on technical issues of interpretive method rather than any specific passages or provisions. I mean, early on you'll be very influenced by who you happen to have as a professor. I thought I'd like administrative law, also, and that hasn't held up. Administrative law is incredibly boring and unsurprisingly statutory, which means there's a lot of recall involved and not much of the creative, thoughtful side of law (which I'm beginning to associate with common-law subjects). Torts is an incredibly rich and diverse field with intense and contested philosophical groundings - I had expected to dislike it.

It is a bit like 1L and The Paper Chase. There are certainly robot pimps here.

There are a couple different exam schedules for different sections. If I recall correctly, they were Wednesday-Friday-Tuesday-Thursday, Wednesday-Monday-Wednesday-Friday, and Thursday-Monday-Wednesday-Friday.

I'm terrified of my debt, yes, and I did pass up big scholarships, as did everyone here. I passed them up because I wanted to be here and to engage thoughtfully with legal issues, and because I knew I'd be able to pay off the debt - partly because Harvard has a good (although compromised by economic difficulties) loan repayment program.

A little bit more on The Paper Chase as compared to actual Harvard, since I didn't quite do that justice. It is not really like it used to be, here. First of all, we're on the H/P/L/F system now, as pioneered by the intimidating and impressive fuckers over at Yale (see tinman supra). Second, like all law schools, we weed people out more in admissions than in school itself, and actually, I mean, nobody fails, as you all probably know already. Third, people simply don't seem that focused on grades for most of the semester. Keep in mind that the characters you see in The Paper Chase are the standouts. They're the ones everybody else is asking for help at the end of the semester. Also, nobody in any of my classes contributed as consistently and attractively as that Southern girl gunner.
Last edited by mallard on Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
The Dan
Posts: 107
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:48 pm

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

Postby The Dan » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:11 pm

The million dollar question:

If you did it all over again would you still pick Harvard? (In fact, would you pick law school at all?)

Naturally, this also begs the question, why?

Aukshell
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:35 pm

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

Postby Aukshell » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:16 pm

Mallard wrote:The real rationale for taking the higher-ranked school is simple. Kids here are simply not that much smarter than kids at BU or BC. Your extra point or two on the LSAT or the fact that you spent that one semester studying and the other kid spent that semester drinking does not mean you will perform better in law school. You have a comparative advantage now; you got into Harvard. You give it up by going to another school because the legal profession overvalues law school prestige.

There are, of course, other great reasons. My professors have been friends with Thurgood Marshall, William Brennan, Antonin Scalia, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama. My friends will be running for Senator and Governor; they'll be on the federal bench; they'll be coming back here to teach. Even Yale and Stanford do not have the feeling Harvard has. That's one reason why the arbitrariness and the randomness and the strange sense of hierarchy and misplaced priorities is so unsettling and occasionally nauseating while you're here: you're at the heart of a vast system, you know you're a little cell being pumped back and forth, carrying oxygen to one finger or toe of this system, and yet you can hear that the heartbeat is just a little irregular, the heart is just a little diseased.


Mallard, you say that kids at Harvard are not that much smarter than kids at BU or BC. I got into BU (I ended up Hastings though), but I don't think I could have produced such a poetic and apt metaphor for the intellectual hierarchy that is law school (especially not while hung over).

User avatar
mallard
Posts: 1092
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:45 am

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

Postby mallard » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:22 pm

The Dan wrote:The million dollar question:

If you did it all over again would you still pick Harvard? (In fact, would you pick law school at all?)

Naturally, this also begs the question, why?


I would still pick Harvard. I think there's a difficult choice if you get a full ride at Columbia or NYU or if you get into Yale or Stanford. None of those things happened to me, so it was an easy choice. Harvard is a very special place (I'm risking another tinman intervention here, aren't I?) and it's a singular experience being here, and I'm very glad to have done it.

As for law school at all... most law students spend something like an hour a day rehashing that choice in their head. I haven't finished doing it, so my comments will be merely provisional. I think law school has been good for me so far, and I've met a lot of incredible people. That said, I'm an elitist and I come from a family with many academics, and I hadn't anticipated the force of the trade-school vibe. At the same time, of course, you're never actually practicing law, unless you do one of the clinical programs I mentioned (which, though I did not do one, I highly recommend based on what I've heard from others and what I feel has been absent from my own experience).

This is going to sound like the opposite of most people's critiques of law school (that it's not practical enough, that its pretense of teaching you how to think is bullshit). Actually, the real difficulty for me has been the sense that this isn't all there is to thinking, that if I just give in to this weird and very specific and often questionable "legal reasoning" shtick I might be closing my mind to a lot of other approaches to a whole range of topics. So I've tried, in my free time, to keep engaging intellectually with things like philosophy, literature, classical music, etc., just to keep perspective and to keep those other parts of my brain agile. I am still considering doing a dual degree with one of the graduate schools here, although I'm not entirely sure I'm qualified for any of them.

One thing that comforts me about Harvard is that I can easily transition into other fields I find interesting if it turns out this whole practice of law is not my deal. Harvard JDs regularly go on to leadership positions in the government, in business, etc., as you know. You shouldn't go into law school expecting to do that, but as a risk-averse law student/lawyer type, it's good to know you have a fallback you might enjoy.

User avatar
Veritas
Posts: 2722
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:50 pm

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

Postby Veritas » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:25 pm

Hi Mal!!!! <3

User avatar
mallard
Posts: 1092
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:45 am

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

Postby mallard » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:25 pm

Veritas wrote:Hi Mal!!!! <3

:D

User avatar
OperaSoprano
Posts: 4410
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:54 am

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

Postby OperaSoprano » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:27 pm

Aukshell wrote:
Mallard wrote:The real rationale for taking the higher-ranked school is simple. Kids here are simply not that much smarter than kids at BU or BC. Your extra point or two on the LSAT or the fact that you spent that one semester studying and the other kid spent that semester drinking does not mean you will perform better in law school. You have a comparative advantage now; you got into Harvard. You give it up by going to another school because the legal profession overvalues law school prestige.

There are, of course, other great reasons. My professors have been friends with Thurgood Marshall, William Brennan, Antonin Scalia, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama. My friends will be running for Senator and Governor; they'll be on the federal bench; they'll be coming back here to teach. Even Yale and Stanford do not have the feeling Harvard has. That's one reason why the arbitrariness and the randomness and the strange sense of hierarchy and misplaced priorities is so unsettling and occasionally nauseating while you're here: you're at the heart of a vast system, you know you're a little cell being pumped back and forth, carrying oxygen to one finger or toe of this system, and yet you can hear that the heartbeat is just a little irregular, the heart is just a little diseased.


Mallard, you say that kids at Harvard are not that much smarter than kids at BU or BC. I got into BU (I ended up Hastings though), but I don't think I could have produced such a poetic and apt metaphor for the intellectual hierarchy that is law school (especially not while hung over).


That's just Mal. His talents will be completely wasted if he doesn't pursue some type of creative writing in future. I will leave this thread to the future HLS students, with all good wishes.

User avatar
Veritas
Posts: 2722
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:50 pm

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

Postby Veritas » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:27 pm

mallard wrote:
Veritas wrote:Hi Mal!!!! <3

:D

It's great to see you on here. How are you?

User avatar
mallard
Posts: 1092
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:45 am

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

Postby mallard » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:30 pm

Veritas wrote:
mallard wrote:
Veritas wrote:Hi Mal!!!! <3

:D

It's great to see you on here. How are you?


So much better than I've been in awhile. Drop me a PM, let me know how your cycle's going and what else has been up!




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest