WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) 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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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:31 am

edgarfigaro wrote:Very important question: how is the cell reception for ATT and Verizon?

Not gonna be an issue. St. Louis isn't Backwoods, Montana. I have ATT and have never had any issues.

Now, if you're in the library basement (or as I refer to it, the "bunker"), you can pretty much bank on no cell phone reception at all.

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FalafelWaffle
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby FalafelWaffle » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:52 am

romothesavior wrote:
edgarfigaro wrote:Very important question: how is the cell reception for ATT and Verizon?

Not gonna be an issue. St. Louis isn't Backwoods, Montana. I have ATT and have never had any issues.

Now, if you're in the library basement (or as I refer to it, the "bunker"), you can pretty much bank on no cell phone reception at all.


So St. Louis is insular...How do grads fare in, say, KCMO, the twin cities, and Iowa-I would imagine these draw students as well. The employment breakdown on the website is sort of hard to parse.

seriously????
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby seriously???? » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:22 am

when you say St. Louis is insular what do you mean? Do WUSTL kids have an edge, or do kids from the midwest, st.louis, or Missouri and goto WUSTL have the clear edge in St.Louis? I fear it is the latter.

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:29 am

seriously???? wrote:when you say St. Louis is insular what do you mean? Do WUSTL kids have an edge, or do kids from the midwest, st.louis, or Missouri and goto WUSTL have the clear edge in St.Louis? I fear it is the latter.

The St. Louis market is weird to me. For one thing, it isn't huge. But yes, I think it is pretty hard to break into absent legit ties. I'm from only a few hours away, and I still feel like an outsider (but maybe that is unjustified). I also have noticed that SLU competes with Wash U in St. Louis better than I had expected. It is hard for me to really say what STL is like, because I really don't know. I will be able to speak more to this after 2L OCI.

FalafelWaffle wrote:So St. Louis is insular...How do grads fare in, say, KCMO, the twin cities, and Iowa-I would imagine these draw students as well. The employment breakdown on the website is sort of hard to parse.

A lot of it depends on where you have ties. If you've never been to KC or Minneapolis, I imagine it is hard to break into, just like STL. But we definitely send people there. A friend of mine landed a 1L SA with a big firm in KC (with ties) and I have a lot of friends with hopes of ending up in KC, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, etc. I think we fare as well in these cities as any T20 possibly could. We definitely disperse people throughout the midwest. Again, for secondary markets, it really helps to have a real tie to that city.

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kch3684
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby kch3684 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:04 pm

I'm going to be visiting for approx 24 hours on a weds, staying at the Moonrsie I've never been to STL what is the one thing I shouldn't miss? And is there a bar that will have more then 2 people in it on a weds night? (The place with 100 beers on tap mentioned earlier is def on my list!)

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:14 pm

kch3684 wrote:I'm going to be visiting for approx 24 hours on a weds, staying at the Moonrsie I've never been to STL what is the one thing I shouldn't miss? And is there a bar that will have more then 2 people in it on a weds night? (The place with 100 beers on tap mentioned earlier is def on my list!)

Did you see this?

http://law.wustl.edu/admissions/lifeasweknowit/?p=174

And the bar with the huge beer selection is Cicero's. Awesome place, and it isn't far from the Moonrise. Also, the Horseshoe House (mentioned on the last page) is right across the street from the Moonrise. They may not have their liquor license yet because they just opened, but their horseshoe sandwich is amazing. I live like half a block from the Moonrise, so PM me if you want more info on the area.

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blurbz
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby blurbz » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:52 pm

Hey Romo:

How was your spring OCI this year? What firms came / when was it / have you heard anything about callbacks yet?

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:02 pm

blurbz wrote:Hey Romo:

How was your spring OCI this year? What firms came / when was it / have you heard anything about callbacks yet?

Spring OCI at WUSTL (like spring OCI at most schools) is pretty small. No 1L should ever rely on 1L OCI to get a job... 1L year is all about mass mailing and applying on your own.

Most of the big St. Louis firms were there, and we had a few from random places come as well. We also had a few government and PI types of gigs that did OCI. 1L OCI is a total crapshoot. and most of the firms are taking like 1 or 2 1Ls total between SLU, Mizzou, and WUSTL. Save for maybe HYSCCN, 1L OCI is not going to provide a student a whole lot of opportunities, no matter what school you're at.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:46 am

ihp12 wrote:What's the competition like at WUSTL?

And I'm not asking if people are friendly or if there are pages torn out of books. I mean does everyone study 12 hours a day outside of class, or is it half slackers - 1/4 somewhat hard workers - 1/4 gunners, or some other combo?

How hard do people work relative to their undergrad experience?


I did more work just in the last semester than I probably did in all of undergrad combined. Although that's not saying much. :wink:

Most people put enough work to do well on the exams. There's definitely people who are more motivated than others, but I'd say close to 80% of the people that go here are working hard enough to know what they're talking about on exams. In general, you're not going to outdo other people by studying more than them (except for maybe the bottom 20% of the class or so). If you use your categories, I'd say maybe 15% slackers, 15% somewhat hard workers, and 70% people who are studying around 4+ hours a day outside of class (I think 4-5 hours a day is probably about the threshold of what you have to do to keep up, if you include Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Maybe only 3 hours a day the first month, but 6 hours a day the month before exams. If you study much more than that, it's going to give you greatly diminished returns...in that you should be finding more efficient ways to study).

The rest is pretty much how natural law school exam taking comes to you. Law school grades are far less about how well you know and understand the law than you could ever imagine. This is because of the curve: everyone you go to school with is smart, and most of the people will be working hard. Hard work and intelligence alone are enough to probably get you only median grades (and that's being generous). The rest is about figuring out how to rack up points...and no, you don't do that from having a deeper understanding of the course material than your classmates.

My previous career was developing talent assessment tests for hiring purposes at Fortune 100 companies...and I can tell you point blank that law school exams are a pretty poor way of assessing talent. I was kind of stunned when I found out how some of my exams were graded. They measure how good you are at taking law school exams. Also, nobody really tells you how to succeed. You can read Getting to Maybe and do LEEWS, but those only tell you the basics. Even the TLS threads about how to do well don't really tell you a lot, at least the way the professors here grade. You can take practice exams and look at model answers, but model answers don't tell you where the points are coming from. And even most model answers get things wrong or miss things, so that's not a great way of learning, either.

I have an LSAT at the school's 75th percentile, and I had my outlines done before almost anyone I knew. I didn't do poorly this fall, but I'm also not on easy street...I definitely have to improve this semester if I want to have a fruitful OCI. However, I got a ton of good feedback because I had conferences with ALL of my professors about my exams, and I know exactly why I missed the points I did. It's both maddening and a relief to know there were tons of points out there that I could have easily gotten had I known how they wanted me to respond. Very few were because I didn't understand something, or because I didn't study enough.

I'm not just saying this because I didn't do as well as I'd hoped. I'm just warning you not to bank on hard work, intelligence, and feeling like you get it to get good grades. Really hone in on your exam taking skills (and not just in the last two weeks of the semester).

I'm sure that's answering more than what you asked, but it's really the only way I could be truthful about the law school experience. The amount of hours people work is mostly irrelevant. If you know someone who guns 8 hours a day, you should be more worried about their mental health than competing with them for grades. There's relatively few people that spend less time working than they need to...and these people are maybe the bottom 10-15% of the class at a school of this caliber. And of the people that do put in the time, almost all of them at a school like this will be smart enough to understand the course material. The rest of the people that put in the work are either effective with their time, or they aren't, and their style of writing about legal issues is the type that racks up points on a law exam or it isn't. That's basically all that separates the top 10% from the top 60%.

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TatteredDignity
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby TatteredDignity » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:08 am

When talk about "racking up points", it makes it sound to me like breadth in issue spotting might be more important than depth? Is that what you mean, or are those not the right variables to look at.

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ihp12
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby ihp12 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:43 am

JCougar wrote:
ihp12 wrote:What's the competition like at WUSTL?

And I'm not asking if people are friendly or if there are pages torn out of books. I mean does everyone study 12 hours a day outside of class, or is it half slackers - 1/4 somewhat hard workers - 1/4 gunners, or some other combo?

How hard do people work relative to their undergrad experience?



Also, nobody really tells you how to succeed. You can read Getting to Maybe and do LEEWS, but those only tell you the basics. Even the TLS threads about how to do well don't really tell you a lot, at least the way the professors here grade. You can take practice exams and look at model answers, but model answers don't tell you where the points are coming from. And even most model answers get things wrong or miss things, so that's not a great way of learning, either.

I have an LSAT at the school's 75th percentile, and I had my outlines done before almost anyone I knew. I didn't do poorly this fall, but I'm also not on easy street...I definitely have to improve this semester if I want to have a fruitful OCI. However, I got a ton of good feedback because I had conferences with ALL of my professors about my exams, and I know exactly why I missed the points I did. It's both maddening and a relief to know there were tons of points out there that I could have easily gotten had I known how they wanted me to respond. Very few were because I didn't understand something, or because I didn't study enough.


I'm sure that's answering more than what you asked, but it's really the only way I could be truthful about the law school experience.


Thanks for the thorough answer, and thanks to romo as well. This is one of those times when its actually a good thing that law school students are incapable of simple answers. :D

What could someone do to hone those exam skills before their first round of exams beyond the normal means you listed (leews, gtm, model answers)? I'm guessing - go to professors with your answer to a past exam (not the whole exam just one answer) and ask for brief feedback?

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:48 am

0LNewbie wrote:When talk about "racking up points", it makes it sound to me like breadth in issue spotting might be more important than depth? Is that what you mean, or are those not the right variables to look at.

I'd probably agree with this. On an issue-spotter, you aren't being asked to write a law review article on the background and history of a subject. Being succinct and quick is key.

And I'd say jcougar is spot on, although I probably worked less than 4 hours a day on most days last semester and I did pretty well on exams (LP is what hurt me). I definitely agree with jcougar that you can't necessarily outwork people to get better grades. Sure, you'll have your slackers at the bottom, and you will probably have a few people at the very top who just work harder than anyone else is willing to, but for the most part, once you hit a certain threshold of hard work (and don't get me wrong, that threshold is pretty high), everyone is on a pretty level playing field.

So many people come into law school thinking they'll just "bust their ass" to the top of the class. That's not how it works at all. IMO, being able to take a law school exam (which means figuring out what out what your professor wants and being able to deliver it on test day) is FAR more important than a few extra hours of work per day.

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ihp12
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby ihp12 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:56 am

romothesavior wrote:
0LNewbie wrote:When talk about "racking up points", it makes it sound to me like breadth in issue spotting might be more important than depth? Is that what you mean, or are those not the right variables to look at.

I'd probably agree with this. On an issue-spotter, you aren't being asked to write a law review article on the background and history of a subject. Being succinct and quick is key.

And I'd say jcougar is spot on, although I probably worked less than 4 hours a day on most days last semester and I did pretty well on exams (LP is what hurt me). I definitely agree with jcougar that you can't necessarily outwork people to get better grades. Sure, you'll have your slackers at the bottom, and you will probably have a few people at the very top who just work harder than anyone else is willing to, but for the most part, once you hit a certain threshold of hard work (and don't get me wrong, that threshold is pretty high), everyone is on a pretty level playing field.

So many people come into law school thinking they'll just "bust their ass" to the top of the class. That's not how it works at all. IMO, being able to take a law school exam (which means figuring out what out what your professor wants and being able to deliver it on test day) is FAR more important than a few extra hours of work per day.


So class attendance and office hours are key?

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:07 pm

ihp12 wrote:So class attendance and office hours are key?

Yeah, I think so. I mean, you don't have to hound your prof or anything, but I do think going to office hours once in a while is important. And really, class attendance is important, but it isn't going to be the difference-maker between a good grade and a bad one. (Although perhaps I'm a bad person to ask, because I am skipping Con Law as we speak :lol: )

I think a lot of people go to class and they think they have to transcribe every little note or detail that the professor makes, no matter how superfluous. They get lost in the white noise. They focus more on the substantive material in class than they do on professor tendencies. IMO, you can learn substantive material in the cases/supplements, so figuring out every detail of how the Erie Doctrine works in class is helpful, but it isn't going to be a leg up on the exam. If student X figures it out in class, and student Y figures it out by reading the supplement, they're on the same page. So for this purpose, class really isn't that helpful.

What you need to focus on in class are the professor's tendencies and preferences. I couldn't tell you one goddamn thing I've learned in one particular class this semester. This particular class is next to worthless to me for learning the material. But in the presentation of the material, the prof has very clearly laid out the format of how we're supposed to answer an important type of question on the exam, and if you can apply this framework clearly and concisely on the exam, this prof is gonna reward you. I'm guessing a lot of people have either missed it or glossed over it in class, but these are the types of things that give you a leg-up on exams.

This is just my opinion though, so YMMV.

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ihp12
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby ihp12 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:09 pm

romothesavior wrote:
ihp12 wrote:So class attendance and office hours are key?

Yeah, I think so. I mean, you don't have to hound your prof or anything, but I do think going to office hours once in a while is important. And really, class attendance is important, but it isn't going to be the difference-maker between a good grade and a bad one. (Although perhaps I'm a bad person to ask, because I am skipping Con Law as we speak :lol: )

I think a lot of people go to class and they think they have to transcribe every little note or detail that the professor makes, no matter how superfluous. They get lost in the white noise. They focus more on the substantive material in class than they do on professor tendencies. IMO, you can learn substantive material in the cases/supplements, so figuring out every detail of how the Erie Doctrine works in class is helpful, but it isn't going to be a leg up on the exam. If student X figures it out in class, and student Y figures it out by reading the supplement, they're on the same page. So for this purpose, class really isn't that helpful.

What you need to focus on in class are the professor's tendencies and preferences. I couldn't tell you one goddamn thing I've learned in one particular class this semester. This particular class is next to worthless to me for learning the material. But in the presentation of the material, the prof has very clearly laid out the format of how we're supposed to answer an important type of question on the exam, and if you can apply this framework clearly and concisely on the exam, this prof is gonna reward you. I'm guessing a lot of people have either missed it or glossed over it in class, but these are the types of things that give you a leg-up on exams.

This is just my opinion though, so YMMV.



Thanks

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:49 pm

0LNewbie wrote:When talk about "racking up points", it makes it sound to me like breadth in issue spotting might be more important than depth? Is that what you mean, or are those not the right variables to look at.


Although it depends on your professor, both are very and equally important.

In other words, you need to type a lot of stuff really fast. Don't focus on only making the best arguments...focus on making all possible arguments. And don't be afraid to beat a dead horse...if you think you've made your point already, that's not enough...you have to hammer it home with all the ammunition you have. Apply the law to the facts every chance you get, no matter how self-evident some things are (don't think you're wasting time restating the obvious...although restating the black letter law is generally a waste of time). Honestly, I think IRAC is underrated. There's plenty of stuff out there saying "you need more than IRAC," but that's only true to a limited extent. Getting to Maybe is good for an overview, but, as one of my professors said, about 80% of the points I hand out on exams are the "A" portion of IRAC.

Most law exams are graded on tally sheets. You get a tally mark for every time you validly apply law to the facts to bolster your case. That's really what you should be focusing on...just do it repeatedly. And most professors don't take off for writing irrelevant stuff, or even wrong stuff (although wasting time doing this doesn't gain you any points). So if you type really really fast, you're better off erring on the side of really stretching things to make arguments than you are leaving things out because you think they may be only marginally applicable.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:50 pm

ihp12 wrote:I'm guessing - go to professors with your answer to a past exam (not the whole exam just one answer) and ask for brief feedback?


This would be about one of the best things you could do. Except do this early...not in the week before exams.

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TatteredDignity
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby TatteredDignity » Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:11 pm

The insight is very appreciated, thanks.

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beachbum
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby beachbum » Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:23 pm

0LNewbie wrote:The insight is very appreciated, thanks.


+1

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theturkeyisfat
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby theturkeyisfat » Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:33 pm

0LNewbie wrote:The insight is very appreciated, thanks.

jasonc.
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby jasonc. » Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:37 pm

How are your grades ? you have a strong presence here on tls

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beachbum
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby beachbum » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:24 pm

How awesome was mardi gras today?

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:27 pm

jasonc. wrote:How are your grades ? you have a strong presence here on tls

Image

They're okay. Not very top of the class, but I'm very happy with them. I definitely need a solid second semester though, it's not like I'm "set" based on last semester.

beachbum wrote:How awesome was mardi gras today?

Cold but very good. Just woke up after a 3 hour nap. I thought I was done for the day (been at it since 10), but I think I may be making an evening rally.

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beachbum
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby beachbum » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:29 pm

Haha, go for it. I woke up for kegs n eggs and was out by 3 or so. Now I'm stuck at my work-study job, which is probably a good thing for my poor, ignorant liver.

Edit: For everyone considering WUSTL, we have an incredible mardi gras. This should be a major deciding factor when choosing between WUSTL and peer schools.

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TatteredDignity
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby TatteredDignity » Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:04 pm

JCougar and Romo-

To continue the discussion above somewhat, if either of you has read the TLS article by the NYU student on his philosophy on doing law school, could you comment on the merit of that approach in the context of WUSTL? To me, it looks like an idea that could be good but would definitely be scary. Anything special about the way WashU runs that would make this a terrible approach?




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