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.
Stephanie13
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby Stephanie13 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:13 pm

You Gotta Have Faith wrote:
Btw, good luck to Romo and Stephanie13 with write-on!! Y'all are gonna do great :)

Thank you!! :D

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Hannibal
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby Hannibal » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:15 pm

If you get median grades but write on to LR, do you guys think that's a significant job prospect boost?

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:21 pm

You Gotta Have Faith wrote:I know 20 sounds high, but I really don't believe I am mistaken. Take a look at the current masthead:
http://lawreview.wustl.edu/membership/current-masthead/

Only the "Staff Editors" are 2Ls. And there are 40-ish of them. That means that including 3Ls, it is closer to an 80-90 membership. And yes, only 27, give or take, actually make it on because of grades. After transfers, I would say there are at least 20 spots available for LR beyond the top 10%.

Give or take, my guess is that 4-7 of the top 10% transfer out. I'm not actually willing to say that all of our transfers are in the top 10%, because it's just not true. We have two people who went to UCLA/USC/Vandy who were only a bit above the median. And there's a person who was in the 20% range that went to UVA/NW/Duke/Penn. That said, the majority of people that leave WUSTL do so for places like NYU, Chicago, and Stanford. There are about 10 or so transfers out annually. Very few find it worthwhile to leave their spot in the top 10% for anything less than CCN. And many don't even leave for that.

People may not like to hear this, but as much as it helps, LR by no means signifies that one was in the top 10%. That's just not an assumption that one can make at WUSTL. There are people on LR that have to work hard, or wait it out, to find their jobs like a lot of the class. Maybe half of LR is top 10%, but that's about what it is.

Btw, good luck to Romo and Stephanie13 with write-on!! Y'all are gonna do great :)

I definitely believe you, I just heard differently today from a reliable source, which is what threw me off. The obvious math seems to indicate 20ish spots available.

I'm curious to know how many people you think 1) pick up the packet, 2) finish the packet, and 3) take the write-on seriously. I feel like that number likely shrinks from stage 1 to 2 to 3.

And thanks for the well wishes! (and good luck to Strato too, even though I'm sure he's like top 5% or something)
Last edited by romothesavior on Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:24 pm

Hannibal wrote:If you get median grades but write on to LR, do you guys think that's a significant job prospect boost?

Will it land you biglaw on it's own? Probably not. Is it a great thing to have on your resume? Absolutely. Outside of great grades, I think LR is your best chance to boost your job prospects.

***Warning: 1L Speculation***

Stephanie13
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby Stephanie13 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:46 pm

Romo: A 2L told me that the key is to just complete the write on competition because your intuition is correct. A lot of people don't bother with the competition in the first place, then a lot of people apparently throw the packet away once they see how large it is, then lots of people give up half-way through it. Stamina and perseverance is key for the competition. Although I'm guessing you'll need a bit more than just finishing the comp. to get LR.

Hannibal: I've heard and also from my deduction, those who write better do better on exams and therefore are higher in ranking, so I would imagine someone who has median grades is not likely to write so well as to get onto LR. Although, I could definitely be wrong and there are always exceptions to the rule. Also from what I can tell from talking to big law partners, LR is not a guaranteed ticket to big law, like Romo says but it is a hint to employers that you have good enough writing skills to get onto LR and that you have honed these skills by being on LR.

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You Gotta Have Faith
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby You Gotta Have Faith » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:52 pm

romothesavior wrote:I'm curious to know how many people you think 1) pick up the packet, 2) finish the packet, and 3) take the write-on seriously. I feel like that number likely shrinks from 1 to 2 to 3.

And thanks for the well wishes! (and good luck to Strato too, even though I'm sure he's like top 5% or something)


Oh gee, this is purely my hypothesis, but I'll try to answer as best as I can. Someone else feel free to chime in if they have a better idea.

(1) I think the vast majority of the class actually picks up the packet. I knew of only 3 people that didn't want to do it, for various reasons, last year. Of course, it was probably a few more than 3, that's just the number I can confirm for sure. Perhaps 90-95% of the class picks up the packet? That would be my guess.

(2) I think this is where a big drop-off occurs. Part of the reason, I think, is because WUSTL's write-on is immediately following finals. Frankly, that's a bitch of a time to be doing write-on when you'd rather be enjoying the pleasant summer or be at home with your family/friends. Most people work for a few days on it, but it really is at least a 5-day commitment if you want to do it correctly. And after a day or two, if you're not committed to it or run out of steam too quickly, you will find it nauseating to complete (that's when people quit). Maybe about 80% of the class actually finishes it?

(3) This one is tricky and I don't know that I can put a number on it. But you'd be really surprised at just how many people don't actually follow the directions. All you really need to do to take it seriously is follow the rules that are laid out in the packet. In grading them, we care much more about accurate bluebooking, editing, decent writing, and correct margins than we do about what conclusion you actually came to. That's because as a 2L editor, you will mainly be editing some prof's work, not forwarding an argument (save for your note). Some people turn in a 1:1 ratio (instead of 1:2), some forget to turn in the right number of copies. Some don't take the bluebooking section seriously (I spent two days on that part alone). Some forget to number their pages. I'm not sure the exact number that don't take it seriously, but whatever it is, it really whittles out the rest, and we are left with pretty much the only people who finished it and took it really seriously.

My simple advice for remedying (2) is simple. First, just pace yourself. If you commit a good 6 to 8 hours working on it daily, you will have time to socialize and relax for the rest of each day. Second, if you are really and truly burnt out after finals, consider not doing anything until Monday. Not something I did, but I know some who found that helpful (I'd only do that if you get stressed out really easily).

Re (3), I think this is really good news, when you think about it. It means that if you actually finish and follow all the rules religiously, you have an extremely high chance of getting on one of the publications. I mean, about 40-50% of the class ends up on one of them anyway. Can't give you LR specific advice since I'm Journal/Global. To be honest though, even if you do a great job, I think there is at least the element of a crap-shoot, meaning you will probably get on, but won't be guaranteed a specific one.

I hope that helped. And btw, did not mean to hijack your thread. I would encourage people to continue asking questions about WUSTL in general :)

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thexfactor
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby thexfactor » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:09 pm

romothesavior wrote:
thexfactor wrote:just curious, does anyone patrol the parking lot right next to the law school?

I have gone entire days in the lot right off of Throop without getting a ticket. If you go down an entire level from the top, you can park there and almost never get ticketed. The main level and the upper levels seem to be the main areas that get patrolled.



do you know how much a ticket is?
I have a night parking permit. I park in dark areas with a lot of cars. HOpefully they will just see a permit and not check what color the permit is.

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:00 pm

thexfactor wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
thexfactor wrote:just curious, does anyone patrol the parking lot right next to the law school?

I have gone entire days in the lot right off of Throop without getting a ticket. If you go down an entire level from the top, you can park there and almost never get ticketed. The main level and the upper levels seem to be the main areas that get patrolled.



do you know how much a ticket is?
I have a night parking permit. I park in dark areas with a lot of cars. HOpefully they will just see a permit and not check what color the permit is.

If you get 1 ticket, they will not make you pay it unless you get a second. If you get a second, they make you pay both. I'm not sure how much they are, although I do have a couple.

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soccerfreak
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby soccerfreak » Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:00 am

So have any of you guys been involved with the clinic program yet? Just wondering how interesting they seem to be, and if they supposedly look good to potential employers.

seatown12
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby seatown12 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 2:50 pm

I'm going to be in the Criminal Justice Clinic this fall. Although I haven't yet participated I know pretty much what I'll be doing. I know that probably not many people on TLS are interested in working for the public defender, but there are diverse other offerings including the new Corporate Judicial Field Placement (Delaware Supreme Court) and New York Regulatory Clinic.

Overall, while effect on employment prospects may vary, I think doing a clinic is an invaluable experience and much more engaging than standard academic coursework. WUSTL is particularly good about getting students this type of experience. The clinical program is one of the main reasons I chose WUSTL and is arguably the school's best attribute (other than the building itself I guess).

ckenn
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby ckenn » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:34 pm

This thread has been great, thanks everyone for all your input.

Does anyone have any experience with the transnational program? I have received some e-mails from Prof. Peil and I'm thinking of joining it when when I start this fall.

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Hannibal
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby Hannibal » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:35 pm

ckenn wrote:This thread has been great, thanks everyone for all your input.

Does anyone have any experience with the transnational program? I have received some e-mails from Prof. Peil and I'm thinking of joining it when when I start this fall.


Somebody asked about this earlier, and unfortunately nobody here has experience with TLP.

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Rock Chalk
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby Rock Chalk » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:12 pm

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Last edited by Rock Chalk on Thu May 24, 2012 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TatteredDignity
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby TatteredDignity » Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:46 pm

So, this probably isn't the right place to ask this question, and it's probably not that good of a question, anyway. With that in mind, here goes.

I know most of the people hanging around ITT are 1Ls, so again, not necessarily the best place, but I'm looking for some Wash U specific info.

I'd like to work regional "biglaw" in either StL or KC after graduation, but I understand the odds are good that won't happen. What I'm interested in is the consolation prize. If you don't bag a job out of OCI, you have to "hustle", "network", etc. What's the most that can be made in midlaw, government work, PI, etc.- and are those just as unlikely to be nabbed as biglaw? If the odds are that I won't get biglaw, and the next salary level below that is 40,000, I think I'd just take my chances with my state school for way less debt. If 50, 60, 70K salaries exist, that's a different story.

Again, this is probably an ignorant question. I just feel like there's such a dearth of this kind of information for people who actually want to due their due diligence.

Thanks!

seatown12
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby seatown12 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:57 am

There are 50/60/70k jobs in PI fields, but to get these jobs you need to be able to convince the employer that you have an honest passion for the work they do. They aren't just looking for the highest GPA left after OCI.

Someone else will have to weigh in regarding midlaw, etc.

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Fri Apr 22, 2011 12:21 pm

I think a good alternative to biglaw is plaintiff's work. You'll be making a lot less than you would at a defense firm starting out, but the intermediate and long-term opportunities are there for you to make huge bucks. You may start out at 40-50k (or even less), but you'll also get a percentage of your take on cases. A few years in, you can easily be making 100k+. I've spoken with a number of plaintiff's attorneys, and all of them have told me that within 3-5 years, they were making FAR more than their friends who went the biglaw route. Biglaw is a great way to pay off debts quickly, but unless you make partner (and most don't), the financial opportunities are typically on the other side of the fence.

Of course, for every plaintiff's attorney making it rain, there are a handful who are fighting to keep the roof over their head. But if you can get in with a place that has a respectable book of business, you can make a real nice living on the plaintiff's side. That's what I plan to do if I strike out at OCI, and I definitely want to be on the plaintiff's side long-term.

Yes, some 50-70k jobs do exist, but they are not easy to get. Many, many law 3Ls at WUSTL and elsewhere would get off an appendage to get a 50k starting salary right now. The real key is to set yourself up for a backup plan if OCI fails. Work for a prosecutor or a PD or something your 1L year and build connections there. If you strike out at OCI, you'll be grateful for job that offers 10-year IBR forgiveness. Network throughout your 1L and 2L year. Work in clinics and work internships during the school year. Meet people, follow up with people, and get your name out there. The more contacts you have, the more likely you are to develop a backup plan. This is important because odds are your grades won't be good enough to get a biglaw job. ALWAYS keep this in mind.

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JenDarby
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby JenDarby » Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:45 am

romothesavior wrote:Many, many law 3Ls at WUSTL and elsewhere would get off an appendage to get a 50k starting salary right now.

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Lawquacious
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby Lawquacious » Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:16 am

romothesavior wrote:I think a good alternative to biglaw is plaintiff's work. You'll be making a lot less than you would at a defense firm starting out, but the intermediate and long-term opportunities are there for you to make huge bucks. You may start out at 40-50k (or even less), but you'll also get a percentage of your take on cases. A few years in, you can easily be making 100k+. I've spoken with a number of plaintiff's attorneys, and all of them have told me that within 3-5 years, they were making FAR more than their friends who went the biglaw route. Biglaw is a great way to pay off debts quickly, but unless you make partner (and most don't), the financial opportunities are typically on the other side of the fence.

Of course, for every plaintiff's attorney making it rain, there are a handful who are fighting to keep the roof over their head. But if you can get in with a place that has a respectable book of business, you can make a real nice living on the plaintiff's side. That's what I plan to do if I strike out at OCI, and I definitely want to be on the plaintiff's side long-term.

Yes, some 50-70k jobs do exist, but they are not easy to get. Many, many law 3Ls at WUSTL and elsewhere would get off an appendage to get a 50k starting salary right now. The real key is to set yourself up for a backup plan if OCI fails. Work for a prosecutor or a PD or something your 1L year and build connections there. If you strike out at OCI, you'll be grateful for job that offers 10-year IBR forgiveness. Network throughout your 1L and 2L year. Work in clinics and work internships during the school year. Meet people, follow up with people, and get your name out there. The more contacts you have, the more likely you are to develop a backup plan. This is important because odds are your grades won't be good enough to get a biglaw job. ALWAYS keep this in mind.



Not sure about the appendage part lol (assuming you meant 'give an appendage'), but this post seems really solid to me. I'm not affiliated with WUSTL or particularly interested in the school, but I think this post offers solid general advice and encouragement for a lot of law students right now. Thx.

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TatteredDignity
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby TatteredDignity » Sat Apr 23, 2011 10:58 am

romothesavior wrote:I think a good alternative to biglaw is plaintiff's work. You'll be making a lot less than you would at a defense firm starting out, but the intermediate and long-term opportunities are there for you to make huge bucks. You may start out at 40-50k (or even less), but you'll also get a percentage of your take on cases. A few years in, you can easily be making 100k+. I've spoken with a number of plaintiff's attorneys, and all of them have told me that within 3-5 years, they were making FAR more than their friends who went the biglaw route. Biglaw is a great way to pay off debts quickly, but unless you make partner (and most don't), the financial opportunities are typically on the other side of the fence.

Of course, for every plaintiff's attorney making it rain, there are a handful who are fighting to keep the roof over their head. But if you can get in with a place that has a respectable book of business, you can make a real nice living on the plaintiff's side. That's what I plan to do if I strike out at OCI, and I definitely want to be on the plaintiff's side long-term.

Yes, some 50-70k jobs do exist, but they are not easy to get. Many, many law 3Ls at WUSTL and elsewhere would get off an appendage to get a 50k starting salary right now. The real key is to set yourself up for a backup plan if OCI fails. Work for a prosecutor or a PD or something your 1L year and build connections there. If you strike out at OCI, you'll be grateful for job that offers 10-year IBR forgiveness. Network throughout your 1L and 2L year. Work in clinics and work internships during the school year. Meet people, follow up with people, and get your name out there. The more contacts you have, the more likely you are to develop a backup plan. This is important because odds are your grades won't be good enough to get a biglaw job. ALWAYS keep this in mind.


Helpful as usual. Thanks!

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thexfactor
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby thexfactor » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:56 pm

i heard a rumor that anyone in the top 10% at the end of the year without a scholarship gets a 10k scholarship?
Can anyone confirm or deny that? Has anyone else heard that?

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PSUFB1114
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby PSUFB1114 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:55 pm

Can you please touch on which strategies you found most helpful throughout 1L (supplements, outlining, test prep, etc.).

Apologies if this has already been covered.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:03 pm

PSUFB1114 wrote:Can you please touch on which strategies you found most helpful throughout 1L (supplements, outlining, test prep, etc.).

Apologies if this has already been covered.


Everyone is different, but so far, I've found hornbooks to be helpful above and beyond anything else. E&Es are okay, but they test only the basics. Commercial outlines are crap. Reading a hornbook along with your daily casebook reading (not trying to cram one in in the last few days of the semester), and having your professor go over one of your practice exam answers with you in person, are what I have concluded is the best way to learn. But we'll see what my grades are this semester...

And everyone is different.

Stephanie13
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby Stephanie13 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:32 pm

JCougar wrote:
PSUFB1114 wrote:Can you please touch on which strategies you found most helpful throughout 1L (supplements, outlining, test prep, etc.).

Apologies if this has already been covered.


Everyone is different, but so far, I've found hornbooks to be helpful above and beyond anything else. E&Es are okay, but they test only the basics. Commercial outlines are crap. Reading a hornbook along with your daily casebook reading (not trying to cram one in in the last few days of the semester), and having your professor go over one of your practice exam answers with you in person, are what I have concluded is the best way to learn. But we'll see what my grades are this semester...

And everyone is different.


This is right, I don't think you'll find anyone with one exact method that is guaranteed successful. I did very well last semester by attending class everyday, I briefed every case we had to read before class (typed up). Other than that I took class notes and I did not use any supplements at all. I also found that it was better for me to wait till classes were over to create my outlines for finals. I think it is absolutely essential to create your own outlines, don't use an old student's outlines and don't use a commercial outline. I think creating the outline is the best way to study. In terms of practice tests, I hear they can be helpful although I never did those either. I'm considering doing one for Civil Procedure this semester so we'll see how that goes. :D

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Rock Chalk
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby Rock Chalk » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:49 pm

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Last edited by Rock Chalk on Thu May 24, 2012 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 1L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:50 pm

PSUFB1114 wrote:Can you please touch on which strategies you found most helpful throughout 1L (supplements, outlining, test prep, etc.).

Apologies if this has already been covered.


Someone asked me this in a PM the other day, and I answered with a long response. I'll post it here:

I think the key to law school is to pace yourself, relax, and have fun, but also know when to kick it into high gear. Is law school a lot of work? Yes. But don't make it more work than it needs to be. The first 2-3 months of the semester are a lot of fun (well, except for when briefs and memos are due). Throughout the semester, your primary focus should be on taking good class notes, reading the cases, and most importantly, paying attention to the professor. Professors, especially ones who have taught for a while, will often tip their hand and lay out exactly what they want, or they will use certain terms and emphasize certain points. I think so much of law school is just getting inside the professor's head and knowing what they are looking for. If they write something on the board, especially a rule or a chart, they usually do so for a reason. Being able to spit back at them what they told you back in week 4 of class will get you huge points.

Honestly, don't try to stress too much about class prep at this point. The key thing you need to do for the first half of the semester is just keep up. Then about halfway through, start reading through supplements to 1) recall things you already learned and 2) synthesize the information. I usually don't start making outlines until about 3-4 weeks before the exam. Obviously there are different strokes for different folks, but I managed to finish with good grades last semester, and I didn't ever come even remotely close to the Arrow guide to law school. Personally, I think his guide is outrageous and over the top, and very few people do that kind of shit in law school. A lot of the people I know who worked the hardest did poorly, and it's because they didn't work smart.

Which leads me to my next point: don't get bogged down with the fluff. So many students put together these 100 page outlines that amount to nothing more than their notes and ramblings on the subject matter. This is not at all helpful, in my opinion. So much of law school classes is just extraneous B.S., and so many people (even some of my smartest friends) get caught up in this. What really matters are 1) the cut and dried rules and 2) the frameworks for analysis. Knowing the exception to the exception or knowing some random rule from some random case means nothing if you can't clearly and concisely identify and articulate the main issues. This is where the points are gained. You gain next to nothing for adding "fluff" or for citing to some random case we read (in most classes). They want to see you spot the issue, state the rule that applies, and go through the analysis of the rule.

On the exam, you need to be able to see an issue, and then argue both sides. What this typically requires is "compartmentalizing" the issue. For example, in constitutional law, I have a table of the most important topics we covered. On the top of the chart are three labels: "Federal Regulation of Private Activity," "Federal Regulation of State Activity," and "State Enforcement of Federal Law," and on the side I have "Commerce Clause," "Spending Power," and "Tax Power." In each box, I have the rule or the framework of analysis. Each one of these is either some sort of brief checklist or a brief line or two stating the rule. On the exam, when if I see a statute where Congress is trying to regulate state activity via spending, I'll go to my "Spending Power, Federal Regulation of State Activity" box and know to apply the 4-part Dole test. I will then clearly articulate why the statute does, or does not, (or more aptly, may or may not) satisfy each prong. Easy as that.

The other thing you want to make sure you do on exams is state EVERYTHING that is essential to the issue. This doesn't mean to talk about things that don't matter; quite the contrary. It means to fully explain the things that do matter, and don't just assume things away without explaining your conclusion. If A punches B, don't just say "A is liable to B for battery because he punched him." Say "A intentionally punched B, which caused B to sustain a broken nose. Thus, A committed battery against B because he 1) intended to bring about harmful contact with another person and 2) harmful contact occurred." Do you see the difference there? The first line was just conclusory and did nothing in the way of legal analysis. A lot of people just look at the facts and think "Oh, A punched B so he committed battery" and they write this conclusive statement without making any reference to the elements of the crime. Battery is defined as "1) intending to bring about harmful or offensive conduct and 2) such harmful or offensive conduct occurs," so I want to make sure I apply the law (these two elements) to the facts that I have presented to me on the exam. ALWAYS weave the elements of the crime or the rule that you are applying into your answer.

If I can stress anything to you at this point, it is to just relax and breathe easy for now. You will do fine. When you get there in the fall, you should study the cases carefully, take good notes, and maybe even brief (although I find it to be worthless, but I did do it in the beginning). Then as you start to feel more comfortable, you can adjust your studying habits. Different things really do work for different folks. I have one friend who firmly believes that they NEVER should have to read the case, and he just uses supplements. He finished in the top 15% and nearly booked Torts without going to class or reading half the cases. I have another friend who finished in the top 10% who comes to class every day with detailed briefs of the cases. (This is a little nuts, IMO, but it works for her!) I fall somewhere in between these two. I read the cases, but I don't read them carefully. I just read them generally for the rules.

I guess what I am saying is that there are different strokes work for different folks. Hearing advice from law students is good, but it really doesn't fully sink in until you get there and witness it for yourself. I'd start out doing things "the right way" and then adjust as time goes along. But what you do during the semester is nowhere near as important as what you do in the last month, I really believe that. And I also believe that working insanely hard is nowhere near as important as figuring out what the professor wants and understanding how to attack their exam. So at this point, don't fret too much. It'll all come together for you.




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