Boalt 1Ls taking questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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bilbobaggins
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby bilbobaggins » Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:44 am

The grading system is one of the best things about Boalt. Our exam atmosphere is not great, but it is not assholish/competitive. The people who are grade oriented outwardly are ostracized socially. People don't run around freaking about ITE. Please keep this in mind when deciding if Boalt is the right place for you.

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Knock
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby Knock » Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:45 am

bilbobaggins wrote:The grading system is one of the best things about Boalt. Our exam atmosphere is not great, but it is not assholish/competitive. The people who are grade oriented outwardly are ostracized socially. People don't run around freaking about ITE. Please keep this in mind when deciding if Boalt is the right place for you.


I'm not really sure how I feel about this. I'd prefer a community that was welcoming regardless. I don't much like the idea of getting ostracized for caring about grades :?.

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gymboree
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby gymboree » Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:02 am

don't get Bilbo wrong, people openly work hard and there's no "shame" in that. But if you're working hard AND being mean/condescending/exclusive/weird about it, that is highly discouraged (and doesn't happen much at Boalt).

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Knock
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby Knock » Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:03 am

gymboree wrote:don't get Bilbo wrong, people openly work hard and there's no "shame" in that. But if you're working hard AND being mean/condescending/exclusive/weird about it, that is highly discouraged (and doesn't happen much at Boalt).


So what is discouraged is more being cutthroat or unnecessarily competitive rather than simply working hard openly? If so, I can understand that.

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gymboree
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby gymboree » Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:12 am

exactly.

cafedumonde
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby cafedumonde » Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:16 am

Haven't checked to see if you already answered this, but did you use any prelaw advice books before you started and if so, which ones were helpful/useless?

r6_philly
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby r6_philly » Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:59 am

Knock wrote:
bilbobaggins wrote:The grading system is one of the best things about Boalt. Our exam atmosphere is not great, but it is not assholish/competitive. The people who are grade oriented outwardly are ostracized socially. People don't run around freaking about ITE. Please keep this in mind when deciding if Boalt is the right place for you.


I'm not really sure how I feel about this. I'd prefer a community that was welcoming regardless. I don't much like the idea of getting ostracized for caring about grades :?.


I don't care either way... You could all hate me and I'd still be happy :P

r6_philly
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby r6_philly » Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:05 am

gymboree wrote:don't get Bilbo wrong, people openly work hard and there's no "shame" in that. But if you're working hard AND being mean/condescending/exclusive/weird about it, that is highly discouraged (and doesn't happen much at Boalt).


How are they "discourage" you?

So there is no one walking around talking about being 1% in class?

When I was growing up, they post the class rank/test score from 1st to last on the wall so everyone can see it all the time. Not a lot of throat cutting because it is so transparent.

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bilbobaggins
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby bilbobaggins » Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:14 pm

r6_philly wrote:
gymboree wrote:don't get Bilbo wrong, people openly work hard and there's no "shame" in that. But if you're working hard AND being mean/condescending/exclusive/weird about it, that is highly discouraged (and doesn't happen much at Boalt).


How are they "discourage" you?

So there is no one walking around talking about being 1% in class?

When I was growing up, they post the class rank/test score from 1st to last on the wall so everyone can see it all the time. Not a lot of throat cutting because it is so transparent.


No, there is no one walking around talking about class rank. In fact, Berkeley doesn't rank conventionally and you are prohibited from sharing your rank with anyone aside from judges in clerkship applications.

People also generally don't discuss the grades they received and it's something that is actively discouraged.

Seriously, if these things seem counter-intuitive to you, there might be better school fits.

r6_philly
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby r6_philly » Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:40 pm

bilbobaggins wrote:
No, there is no one walking around talking about class rank. In fact, Berkeley doesn't rank conventionally and you are prohibited from sharing your rank with anyone aside from judges in clerkship applications.

People also generally don't discuss the grades they received and it's something that is actively discouraged.

Seriously, if these things seem counter-intuitive to you, there might be better school fits.


I do fine no matter where I go. Just wondering.

d34d9823
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby d34d9823 » Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:28 pm

bilbobaggins wrote:Seriously, if these things seem counter-intuitive to you, there might be better school fits.

Bragging on your rank is douchey no matter what school you go to. You guys do seem to have it even more under wraps, though.

How do you feel about the upper median students subsidizing the lower median students?

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bilbobaggins
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby bilbobaggins » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:07 am

d34dluk3 wrote:
bilbobaggins wrote:Seriously, if these things seem counter-intuitive to you, there might be better school fits.

Bragging on your rank is douchey no matter what school you go to. You guys do seem to have it even more under wraps, though.

How do you feel about the upper median students subsidizing the lower median students?


No one I know has ever brought this up in any way (or even formulated it like this). I am guessing maybe some people would give you an earful about it, but there's a reason why I don't know those people.

Honestly, people just get their shit done, and everyone knows that the P is often your friend as much as it is your foe. There are very few people at Berkeley that haven't at one point taken a P and been glad they don't have to worry about a C, which allows them to focus on other classes.

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sarcasticswede
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby sarcasticswede » Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:28 am

I've got a question. At this point, I'm about pretty much set on Boalt, and as a bay area native, I have the option of living with my family and commuting about 20 minutes to get to school, saving me roughly 60k over three years. How much of the social aspect will I be sacrificing by commuting? Saving 60k would be awesome, but I'd also like to have friends during law school too (from what you all have said earlier it doesn't sound like this desire is as naive as others have told me it is).

Thanks again for taking the time to answer our questions even though it's finals time!

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Shaggier1
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby Shaggier1 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:18 am

Sarcasticswede,

A couple of my friends live in SF and make the commute. They definitely are not out as frequently as everyone else but they seem to get out when they want to. Honestly, I'd prefer it.

I live about a block from the law school and the constant opportunities to go out just pose a distraction. I feel like I would have more of a balance if I was a bit more removed. Just a thought.

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Kronk
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby Kronk » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:01 pm

I might try to find a place in SF next year. Not necessarily for the same reasons as Shaggier, but just because I love San Francisco, hate crashing on the couches of my friends in the city on the weekends, and don't mind commuting to school to live in the city.

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Kronk
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby Kronk » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:03 pm

sarcasticswede wrote:I've got a question. At this point, I'm about pretty much set on Boalt, and as a bay area native, I have the option of living with my family and commuting about 20 minutes to get to school, saving me roughly 60k over three years. How much of the social aspect will I be sacrificing by commuting? Saving 60k would be awesome, but I'd also like to have friends during law school too (from what you all have said earlier it doesn't sound like this desire is as naive as others have told me it is).

Thanks again for taking the time to answer our questions even though it's finals time!


I think you can have friends regardless of where you live. You will be spending a lot of time at the law school, and most of the stuff I end up doing is either right after class (5pm or so we'll go to Henry's and grab a beer) or planned in advance. So if saving the money is important go for it in my opinion.

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IzziesGal
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby IzziesGal » Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:21 am

I just wanted to chime in about the grades, because I've had some private messages where people seemed really concerned about the Ps. If you receive a P in a course you felt confident in, I would recommend going to the professor and reviewing your exam. If you were on the cusp of an H (or were an H on the cusp of an HH), ask the professor to write you a letter of recommendation, speaking to your performance in the course. I did this and I know several other students who did this as well. Use the letter to supplement your transcript. Have the professor say that your score was above median and that you had a strong essay showing an ability to reason, etc. I've found professors at Berkeley extremely willing to help students and very approachable. And employers like this because they're just as baffled at times with the Ps and Hs as we are. Having a letter from a professor means something. The professor wouldn't sign his name to it and risk his own credibility if he didn't think you were talented and worthy of the credit.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby worldtraveler » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:22 am

IzziesGal wrote:I just wanted to chime in about the grades, because I've had some private messages where people seemed really concerned about the Ps. If you receive a P in a course you felt confident in, I would recommend going to the professor and reviewing your exam. If you were on the cusp of an H (or were an H on the cusp of an HH), ask the professor to write you a letter of recommendation, speaking to your performance in the course. I did this and I know several other students who did this as well. Use the letter to supplement your transcript. Have the professor say that your score was above median and that you had a strong essay showing an ability to reason, etc. I've found professors at Berkeley extremely willing to help students and very approachable. And employers like this because they're just as baffled at times with the Ps and Hs as we are. Having a letter from a professor means something. The professor wouldn't sign his name to it and risk his own credibility if he didn't think you were talented and worthy of the credit.


Also, I'm pretty sure EVERYBODY, or at least 95% get a P. It's really not that big of a deal.

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Kronk
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby Kronk » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:36 pm

When do we get grades back? January sometime?

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Rotor
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby Rotor » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:43 am

Kronk wrote:When do we get grades back? January sometime?

Yep. It all depends on the prof, but I think all of mine were back by the 2d or 3d week of Jan.

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ahduth
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby ahduth » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:11 pm

Dignan wrote:
ahduth wrote:Hey there... I know I'm already super late for Boalt, which leads me to the following question...

How important is the four page PS, versus a "standard" 2 pager. I know Dean Tom has said he would rather see more rather than less, but I'm just wondering what my trade off in terms of time here is. I'd really hate to screw up my chances at Berkeley by spending more time to put together a more elaborative statement, only to get dropped due to the timing.

That being said, I may be screwed for timing anyhow. Basically, how many of you submitted 4 pagers versus 2 pagers?

I submitted 2.5 pages, but I included a sincere Boalt-specific paragraph towards the end of my statement.

By the way, I submitted my application in mid-November and was accepted just two weeks later. I know that Dean Tom prefers early applications, but I don't think you're "late" quite yet.


Apparently early December isn't too late at all lol. Now that Dean Tom and his evil minions are spamming me with junk mail, I wanted to start drilling down a little more here.

What's the process for joining law review? Is it grades/writing/both, and what percentage of people make it? It seems like that can be an important differentiator for people who are concerned about the grading system? As far as hiring goes I mean...

r6_philly
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby r6_philly » Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:02 pm

To add to that, how does one get on the technology journal? Are all the other journals other than Law Review open to join? TIA

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Kronk
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby Kronk » Sun Dec 19, 2010 5:56 pm

ahduth wrote:
Dignan wrote:
ahduth wrote:Hey there... I know I'm already super late for Boalt, which leads me to the following question...

How important is the four page PS, versus a "standard" 2 pager. I know Dean Tom has said he would rather see more rather than less, but I'm just wondering what my trade off in terms of time here is. I'd really hate to screw up my chances at Berkeley by spending more time to put together a more elaborative statement, only to get dropped due to the timing.

That being said, I may be screwed for timing anyhow. Basically, how many of you submitted 4 pagers versus 2 pagers?

I submitted 2.5 pages, but I included a sincere Boalt-specific paragraph towards the end of my statement.

By the way, I submitted my application in mid-November and was accepted just two weeks later. I know that Dean Tom prefers early applications, but I don't think you're "late" quite yet.


Apparently early December isn't too late at all lol. Now that Dean Tom and his evil minions are spamming me with junk mail, I wanted to start drilling down a little more here.

What's the process for joining law review? Is it grades/writing/both, and what percentage of people make it? It seems like that can be an important differentiator for people who are concerned about the grading system? As far as hiring goes I mean...


I think you only write on to the CLR. You can't grade on from what I've heard.

r6_philly wrote:To add to that, how does one get on the technology journal? Are all the other journals other than Law Review open to join? TIA


Yeah, they are all open and all seem really thankful for the help.

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Arrow
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby Arrow » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:01 pm

r6_philly wrote:To add to that, how does one get on the technology journal? Are all the other journals other than Law Review open to join? TIA


Aside from law review (CLR), you can just "sign up" for most journals. I highly recommend you join the tech journal (BTLJ), and you can just sign up as an 1L to be an associate editor. The people on the journal are very friendly and very helpful, and every editor I have worked with has been amazing (I am obviously biased because I am in the journal). A lot of people just hang out in the office all day and love being distracted from any tedious bluebooking haha. If you want to become an articles editor or some executive board position, then you have to be elected.

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Knock
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Re: Boalt 1Ls taking questions

Postby Knock » Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:35 pm

I was reading in the law school gym thread that Berkeley was notoriously for having "the worst gym on the planet." What do you guys think about that statement? Are there any private gyms off-campus that are near Boalt or near campus?




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