Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
darkknight2000
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Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby darkknight2000 » Fri May 28, 2010 8:01 pm

Ask away...

NaijaLaw
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby NaijaLaw » Sat Jul 17, 2010 12:04 am

I'm considering applying but I am a bit concerned about going out of state so....

Are you from out of state and if so, how was the adjustment?

What is the weather mainly like during the school year?

Were the students in your 1st year very competitive?

Is Notre Dame living up to it's 'diversity' claims?

Do you think your scores or softs got you in?


...any advice will do..thanx!

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ArtVandelay
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby ArtVandelay » Sat Jul 17, 2010 12:12 am

Thanks for posting!

How is it there for students who aren't religious?

What is there to do besides go to football games? Is it easy to get to Chicago/how often do students go there?

How bad is OCI compared to bast years?

darkknight2000
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby darkknight2000 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:14 am

NaijaLaw wrote:I'm considering applying but I am a bit concerned about going out of state so....

Are you from out of state and if so, how was the adjustment?

What is the weather mainly like during the school year?

Were the students in your 1st year very competitive?

Is Notre Dame living up to it's 'diversity' claims?

Do you think your scores or softs got you in?


...any advice will do..thanx!


I am from out of state. Very few people in our class are from Indiana. California was actually the state that was most represented. I'm from Connecticut and last lived in California before going to Notre Dame. I don't think theres much to adjust in terms of being in another state. The only thing is if you're used to living in major metropolitan areas (like I was), South Bend can be an underwhelming experience.

The weather as you can imagine is crappy during the winter. You will have to get used to constant snow if you go there. Last winter it snowed constantly and we had a couple 3 feet snowstorms but they said even that was a mild winter. Lucky for me, I'm doing the year abroad in London so I'll miss out on all that :)

First year students are competitive but not cut throat. I think if it weren't for the economy and scarcity of jobs, people would be more relaxed. But around finals time, people tend to get really stressed out. On the other hand, people are more than willing to share notes, outlines, etc. But overall, I don't think its anymore or less competitive than other T25 law schools.

Notre Dame does have some decent diversity. There are a decent amount of Asian students there. There are a few Hispanic but not very many African-American law students. And there are a surprising number of gay students (given Notre Dame's conservative reputation). But for the most part, I think the diversity is solid at ND.

I think its a combination of softs and scores that got me in. Definitely write the "Why ND" essay, as that makes a big difference. The median LSAT and GPA at the time I applied was something like a 166 and 3.6(something). I had a 165 and 3.56 and got in without being waitlisted. So I was definitely not an automatic in and had to put together a decent application to overcome being below the median. But to its credit, if you're within the general ballpark numbers wise (at least 25th percentile for GPA and LSAT), the admissions office will take into account your whole application before making its decision. And the other good thing is that they take a decent number of people off the wait list so if you find yourself in that position, it is still very possible to get in.

Hope that helps.

darkknight2000
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby darkknight2000 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:38 am

ArtVandelay wrote:Thanks for posting!

How is it there for students who aren't religious?

What is there to do besides go to football games? Is it easy to get to Chicago/how often do students go there?

How bad is OCI compared to bast years?


Non-religious students have no problems at Notre Dame, especially not at the law school. As a law school, Notre Dame does offer plenty of things to students who are religious, but in no way are non-religious people left out. There are a few hardcore Catholics and overall, ND is more religious than most law schools, but as a non-religious person myself, I fit in just fine.

In South Bend, there is honestly not a lot more to do than football games. There are some bars in downtown South Bend but compared to big cities and college towns, they are shitty. The thing about South Bend is that its not a college town. Its a regular town that happens to contain Notre Dame. So its basically just you're average mid-western city.

Chicago is pretty easy to get to from ND. Its an hour and a half train ride from south bend (not including the time zone changes from EST to Central). Early in the semester its easier to go, but after the first couple weeks when football season and class starts, it becomes difficult to go down. It ends up being mainly people who are from Chicago that go down more often.

With OCI, I won't sugar coated, things are bad right now. I believe I heard from career services that the number of firms are down 60% from their peak years last year. There is a slight uptick but nowhere near what it normally is. The truth is, if you're aiming for big law, Notre Dame is not as good a place as it used to be. It used to be that the top 1/3 of the class could easily land big Chicago firms or at least big firms in secondary markets within the Midwest but not anymore. A lot of firms also don't even interview people from below the top 1/3 of the class. In my case, I did pretty well 1L year (roughly top 15% of the class), but its a toss-up as to whether I'll get anything. So if you're below the top 1/3 of the class at ND, big law may not be a realistic option. That's something you should take into account when assessing your law school options (though that's the situation at almost every school ranked similar to ND).

PS - When I talk about rankings, I'm referring to estimated rankings since ND does not officially rank. But anyone can figure out where they stand when taking their GPA and comparing it to the median and Dean's List (which is usually the cut off for top 10% of the class).

digits2006
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby digits2006 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:31 pm

Did you get any funding?

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theavrock
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby theavrock » Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:43 pm

Could you talk more about the Public Interest opportunities at ND. From what i gather it is a focus there and one of the reasons that I am looking at it as one of my reach schools. I'm not interested in Biglaw, so the downturn in OCI doesn't deter me, but I would love to hear more about how ND prepares its PI interested grads.

Thanks!

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UrbanAchievers
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby UrbanAchievers » Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:08 pm

What are you and some of your class mates doing this summer?
Did you feel like there were solid opportunities for some summer work experience?
Do law students typically leave South Bend to work elsewhere for their 1L summer?

Thanks for taking questions.

EDIT: Also, when I sat in on a 1L Torts class, there were students wearing Michigan T-shirts. What's up with them? Did their mothers not love them enough?

theantiscalia
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby theantiscalia » Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:39 pm

Advice for doing well? Do most people use supplements?

I know the Big Law situation is precarious, but how hard is it for ND students to find SOMETHING that pays upon graduation?

darkknight2000
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby darkknight2000 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:51 pm

digits2006 wrote:Did you get any funding?


If by funding, you mean scholarship, then yes. I got 12k per year, which is about average for the class.

darkknight2000
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby darkknight2000 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:59 pm

theavrock wrote:Could you talk more about the Public Interest opportunities at ND. From what i gather it is a focus there and one of the reasons that I am looking at it as one of my reach schools. I'm not interested in Biglaw, so the downturn in OCI doesn't deter me, but I would love to hear more about how ND prepares its PI interested grads.

Thanks!


Public interest is definitely becoming more of a focus, especially with the economy being so bad right now. Keep in mind though the downturn in OCI trickles down to PI and makes those jobs more difficult to get. If you go to ND and want to pursue PI, it's definitely doable but you just have to make sure you pursue the interest early on with internships. A lot of PI and government groups are getting a flood of resumes from people who can't find other jobs. One way to separate yourself from the pack is to do PI internships both summers and demonstrating that you're serious about it. And depending on where you intern, that internship can definitely help land a full time position at the same PI or government group.

Another great thing about Notre Dame is that they do offer summer stipends of about $4,000 for those of us who work unpaid PI internships, which definitely makes things easier. Other top schools have summer funding too, but ND is known for making it very readily available. I heard from a friend that at Michigan they ran out of funds for their summer funding program, but at ND anyone who was applied for and was eligible for a stipend got one.

So overall, while the ND name itself won't guarantee a PI job, ND does provide some good things for those who are willing to put in the work to find such jobs.

darkknight2000
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby darkknight2000 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:09 pm

UrbanAchievers wrote:What are you and some of your class mates doing this summer?
Did you feel like there were solid opportunities for some summer work experience?
Do law students typically leave South Bend to work elsewhere for their 1L summer?

Thanks for taking questions.

EDIT: Also, when I sat in on a 1L Torts class, there were students wearing Michigan T-shirts. What's up with them? Did their mothers not love them enough?


1. Most of my classmates are interning with judges (state and federal district court), prosecutor's (US Attorneys and DAs) and public defender's offices, and research assistants. I myself am doing Navy JAG, which is what I ultimately want to do after law school (btw for those interested, Navy JAG is definitely a good choice for 1L summer internships)

2. There are definitely solid opportunities for summer work experience. Although the PI internships that would have been readily available in years past are tougher to get, there were only a few people who couldn't find anything for 1L summer. But a word of advice would be to start applying during semester break. A lot of people waited until late spring to apply and a lot of deadlines pass by then.

3. Almost everyone leaves South Bend for 1L summer. The only people who stick around are those who are research assistants and a couple people who interned at Notre Dame's legal aid clinic and St. Joseph County's prosecutor or public defender's office. But outside of that no one stayed in South Bend (or Indiana for that matter) for 1L summer.

As for the Michigan shirts in Torts class, a decent number of ND students went to Michigan undergrad. Such a shame they haven't learned abandoned unsavory loyalties :)
Last edited by darkknight2000 on Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

darkknight2000
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby darkknight2000 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:23 pm

theantiscalia wrote:Advice for doing well? Do most people use supplements?

I know the Big Law situation is precarious, but how hard is it for ND students to find SOMETHING that pays upon graduation?


As for doing well, the only advice I can give is what worked for me. Everyone is obviously different. Outside of one class, I did not use any supplements during 1L year. A lot of people did use supplements and had mixed experiences with them. I personally like to keep it simple. Do all the reading, pay attention in class, and find out what it is the professor wants in the exam. The last suggestion is the biggest key as a lot of people read supplements and hope that they work without understanding that its the professor's exam they are ultimately taking. Also, I outlined early and often. I brief cases first semester and stopped doing it the second semester. What I did second semester that allowed my GPA to improve was outlining materials every weekend. I started doing this 2-3 weeks after classes started and this the biggest key to doing well. If you keep up with your outlines constantly, you keep your workload light and still learn all the materials thoroughly. Also, take advantage of professor's officer hours when you don't understand something while outlining. It's better to correct a misunderstanding early rather than letting it hang around. About a week before the exam for a class, I cut my long outline down to a 15-20 page document that I studied for. A couple days before each exam, I would cut that down to a 2-3 page issue spotter checklist that is very helpful on exam day. This may sound like a lot of work, but outside of the two weeks leading to finals and when assignments are due for legal writing, I usually put in only about 20-30 hours a week on schoolwork outside of class. Still had plenty of time for a life.

As for students finding something, I heard that among people in last year's class about 60 (in a class of 180) were unemployed at graduation. In a good economy that's unheard of as usually over 90% are employed by graduation. A decent number of those 60 were people who had their firm offers pulled and couldn't find anything else. While things should get better for your class if you end up going, its best to just prepare yourself for the worst. Make sure you really think about what you want to do early on and pursue internships in the summer that relate to that interest. A lot of people make the mistake of taking the first offer that comes up and then realize they have no interest in that particular area of law. Then when biglaw opportunities are closed, they end up sending their resumes everywhere and get nothing since they haven't demonstrated interest through past internships. I still think that for those who put in the work to pursue a job, ND is still a solid place to be.

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UrbanAchievers
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby UrbanAchievers » Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:48 pm

darkknight2000 wrote:
UrbanAchievers wrote:What are you and some of your class mates doing this summer?
Did you feel like there were solid opportunities for some summer work experience?
Do law students typically leave South Bend to work elsewhere for their 1L summer?

Thanks for taking questions.

EDIT: Also, when I sat in on a 1L Torts class, there were students wearing Michigan T-shirts. What's up with them? Did their mothers not love them enough?


1. Most of my classmates are interning with judges (state and federal district court), prosecutor's (US Attorneys and DAs) and public defender's offices, and research assistants. I myself am doing Navy JAG, which is what I ultimately want to do after law school (btw for those interested, Navy JAG is definitely a good choice for 1L summer internships)

2. There are definitely solid opportunities for summer work experience. Although the PI internships that would have been readily available in years past are tougher to get, there were only a few people who couldn't find anything for 1L summer. But a word of advice would be to start applying during semester break. A lot of people waited until late spring to apply and a lot of deadlines pass by then.

3. Almost everyone leaves South Bend for 1L summer. The only people who stick around are those who are research assistants and a couple people who interned at Notre Dame's legal aid clinic and St. Joseph County's prosecutor or public defender's office. But outside of that no one stayed in South Bend (or Indiana for that matter) for 1L summer.

As for the Michigan shirts in Torts class, a decent number of ND students went to Michigan undergrad. Such a shame they haven't learned abandoned unsavory loyalties :)

Thanks again for taking the time.

budafied
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby budafied » Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:01 pm

Is there a realistically national reach of job opportunities for ND students now (both graduating students and 1L/2L summer interns) or are the vast majority of jobs confined to the Midwest/Chicago regions?

colemf
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby colemf » Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:08 pm

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Last edited by colemf on Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Hamilton
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby Hamilton » Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:16 pm

darkknight2000 wrote: I myself am doing Navy JAG, which is what I ultimately want to do after law school


Ah, ha! Figured out who you are. Hope your summer is going well!

darkknight2000
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby darkknight2000 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 11:18 pm

budafied wrote:Is there a realistically national reach of job opportunities for ND students now (both graduating students and 1L/2L summer interns) or are the vast majority of jobs confined to the Midwest/Chicago regions?


I can only speak from experience for 1L summer as I have yet to go through OCI. However, for 1L summer people intern at places across the country. There are a lot of people in Cali, east coast, and the south. It's true that a lot of people end up staying in the midwest for 1L summer but that's mainly because they are from that area or want to work there. I'm doing my summer in Newport, Rhode Island, but that's more because of Navy JAG having such a wide variety of locations than it is because of Notre Dame.

With 2Ls who pursue big law, it looks like a different story. Again, I haven't gone through OCI yet, but the firms listed seem like they are predominantly from the midwest. There are a few firms from Cali, New York, and DC but it is definitely midwest heavy and there's a fewer number of them than in years past. So it seems like those who get big law are primarily in Chicago.

However, for those who pursue PI and government, there are certainly opportunities outside the midwest provided a person puts in the legwork, gets the right internship, etc.

darkknight2000
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby darkknight2000 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 11:22 pm

colemf wrote:Thanks for answering questions, what type of tests do most profs use at ND? I've heard everything from closed book/note to take home exams.


While take home exams are common for 2L and 3L classes, there are no take home exams for 1L classes (except Legal Writing assignments for obvious reasons). There is definitely a mix between profs who give open note exams and those who are closed books. First semester, every class was closed book/note exams while second semester, ever class was open notes. I personally like and do better on open note exams as it takes away the pressure of having to memorize everything before an exam. But then again, since every class is curved, everyone else in the class has the same advantages and disadvantages as you.

colemf
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby colemf » Sun Jul 18, 2010 11:28 pm

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Last edited by colemf on Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

darkknight2000
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby darkknight2000 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:59 am

colemf wrote:How do you like the new building?


The new building is very nice. The only downside for my class is that the library was still under construction during my 1L year, so we had no library. However, that the library is finished, it should be really awesome.

colemf
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby colemf » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:42 am

Yea I can't wait to see, any advice for orientation? or 1L in general for that matter?

colemf
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby colemf » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:53 am

O, and can you tell me anything about O'Connell, Dutile, or Tidmarsh?

pohboydomer
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby pohboydomer » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:03 am

Just to jump in:

colemf wrote:O, and can you tell me anything about O'Connell, Dutile, or Tidmarsh?


All are great in different ways.

O'Connell: fantastic international law scholar, well-loved, very liberal

Dutile: hilarious and likeable but one of the most difficult graders on the faculty

Tidmarsh: winner of multiple professor of the year awards, very likeable

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MissSaunders
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Re: Notre Dame Rising 2L Taking Questions

Postby MissSaunders » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:29 am

Thank you for answering questions, it is very much appreciated! Does the school use exam software and are there a lot of compatibility issues with Macs? Also, how are professors Blakey and Pojanowski?
Thank you again for your advice.




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