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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FuturePaulClement
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby FuturePaulClement » Wed Jul 06, 2016 3:50 pm

Every time you guys disagree with someone's opinion you just label it trolling. Not very mature... What exactly are the elements of trolling?

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ShapiroBen
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby ShapiroBen » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:01 pm

Jmart082 wrote:
Joscellin wrote:My money is on relatively lazy sockpuppet trolling.

Obviously this


Oh my god what am I missing!?

AngryAtMichigan
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby AngryAtMichigan » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:07 pm

Joscellin wrote:My money is on relatively lazy sockpuppet trolling.


How about you mind your own fucking business

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Joscellin
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby Joscellin » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:08 pm

AngryAtMichigan wrote:
Joscellin wrote:My money is on relatively lazy sockpuppet trolling.


How about you mind your own fucking business


xXTrollingIsHardXx

Edit: This is the second time I've been told to 'mind my own fucking business' in the 'ask a WUSTL student' thread. Aren't the entire contents of this thread 'the business' of all WUSTL students/alums/prospective students?

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sublime
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby sublime » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:12 pm

Banned. Last time it was 3 days, this time it is 7. I will continue to give longer bans until you aren't such shit or you just get a perma.

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KunAgnis
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby KunAgnis » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:13 pm

Let's not put on a shit show for the prospective and/or current students. It makes it harder for them to find useful information if they have to sift through pages of flaming within this thread (albeit entertaining).

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hoos89
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby hoos89 » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:25 pm

sublime wrote:Banned. Last time it was 3 days, this time it is 7. I will continue to give longer bans until you aren't such shit or you just get a perma.


So...that was a sock puppet right?

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby PeanutsNJam » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:29 pm

ShapiroBen wrote:
Jmart082 wrote:
Joscellin wrote:My money is on relatively lazy sockpuppet trolling.

Obviously this


Oh my god what am I missing!?


It's when the same person makes two accounts. The second one is a sock puppet.

Ref
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby Ref » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:34 pm

This thread is not an overwhelming refutation of c/o 2017's general reputation.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:48 am

As far as grades go, all the work in the world will only guarantee you median. The rest is just being good at law exams, which mainly involves typing speed and nothing else.

Law school exams are not a validated assessment of skill. They're an ancient ritual that means virtually nothing to anyone except those who also buy into the merit of the ritual itself. Every validation study done on them (there have been very few...for a reason) show that they're meaningless. Unfortunately, desirable legal employers are some of the few who still buy into the ritual, so you better start praying to the law exam gods.

My best advice is that you go to a school that offers you the option of minimal debt. In that sense, you get to more aptly control your own destiny when you graduate. The vast majority of lawyers that graduate, even from top schools, are dumb and/or lazy. Pretty much we were all ineligible for medical school for one reason or another. If you're smart, you'll find it embarrassingly easy to succeed on your own. It will be even easier if you have no school debt.

People who pay sticker for law school are suckers, even if it's HYSCCN. Also, people who go to any school not named HYSCCN who think their degree alone is going to get them a job are taking an unwise risk. Beyond the Top 6, you have a 50/50 chance of landing a decent legal job, and even if you do get Biglaw, turnover is like 50% by year 3. And the exit options aren't as great as you think. And staying in Biglaw beyond 3 years is awful. Most people who do it hate their lives but are desperate to pay off loans.

My advised solution is to not focus on grades at all. Focus on close to zero debt, do as best as you can with law exams (i.e. don't fail), and spend more time networking and clerking with firms in the area you want to practice in. The best plan is to aim to move back to your hometown, where you have the most connections to begin with. If you don't want to do that, it's necessary from your first day in law school to start talking to people in your target market. One key to this solution is please do not pick an unrealistic target market. Chicago, California, or NYC are not realistic target markets unless you're at least in the top third at WUSTL, and for Chicago and California, it's probably only realistic if you're higher than that.

Law is a lot more local that 0Ls think. ~90% of law grads don't work in Biglaw, and 90% of smaller firms won't even consider you until you've passed the bar in that state. You can't just up and move to a strange place. The bar is only offered twice a year, and it takes at least 2 months to study (although you can actually do it in less...I passed after studying for a week) and 2 months to get your results, and another month to get all the other paperwork processed and to get you admitted.

You will face hurdles along the way. WUSTL is generally too good of a degree for most small firms to consider you. They see you as a flight risk or someone who will easily get bored with the mundane and depressing daily grind that constitutes practicing law. At the same time, WUSTL's biglaw placement is very bad compared to its ranking. You'll really have to convince small law partners of how bad the market is before they even begin to think about paying you on a temporary basis. When you're still there after a few months without you complaining or leaving, the reality may begin to dawn on them that they can actually hire you.

The tl;dr version is to not get a big head about the fact that you're a top law school graduate. Recognize that grades and law school rank mean almost nothing, even if people treat you otherwise and bow at your feet because of where you graduated from. Recognize that putting your heart and soul (and intellect) into your work is the only way you're going to impress people in the long term. Learn how to be an actual lawyer as fast as you can (grades are irrelevant to this...take advantage of as much practice-related experience you can get). The sooner you can track down a client and manage a case start to finish all by yourself, the better. If a class only offers the antique Langdell method of reciting the facts of irrelevant cases and giving you invalid timed exams, don't take it. Opt for the semester in practice. Even this won't be enough, but it will be better than the alternative. You really need 1L, and then 4 straight semesters in practice.

The best way to forge a long-term career in this profession is to figure out how to make people around you rich, and then realize that you have the power to do so for yourself while using the connections you made while making people rich. Biglaw alone can't help you with this beyond the first couple of years, where your grades, as irrelevant as they are in the grand scheme of things, are enough to sell a higher billing rate to clients. But if you can't bring in clients and be a rainmaker, you're ultimately worthless after a short while.

I guess just go to the cheapest law school you can, and have a plan to manage your own destiny from day 1. Don't rely on anyone else to help you, because nobody will. Including your school.

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hoos89
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby hoos89 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 2:19 am

JCougar wrote:As far as grades go, all the work in the world will only guarantee you median. The rest is just being good at law exams, which mainly involves typing speed and nothing else.


Not this again. While it's true no amount of work can guarantee any particular grade, the idea that success on exams comes down to typing speed is laughably off-base. There is substantially more to law school exam success than typing speed. I was pretty good on exams and I know for a fact that I outperformed people who wrote thousands of words more than I did, even on Torts (an exam a lot of people view as a race to get the most words down as possible). This argument is also just bad when it comes to word limit exams. While it's true that typing speed can overcome some shortcomings in this area, it's really not something that you need to succeed (so long as you're at a fairly minimal competency level that you really should have as a lawyer anyway). I also think this is fairly specious to begin with because everyone in law school should be able to type with reasonable speed at this point.

A lot of success really just comes down to time management and efficiency: finding the issues and writing a cogent analysis of both sides without wasting time writing about irrelevant topics and non-issues. Contrary to what some people may think, this can be done succinctly without giving up points. I'm not sure I ever had an exam over 5,000 words, and my average was more like 4,000-4,500. 4,500 words in a 3 hour exam is 25 words per minute. Even giving yourself an hour for reading the question and thinking it out, that would still only require 37.5 wpm, which I think most boomers can even accomplish by now. And I think knocking the people who are able to get down obscene word counts as succeeding merely on the basis of typing speed is also a bit iffy because honestly I don't think I could have put down that many words for any of my exams given unlimited time.

JCougar wrote:Beyond the Top 6, you have a 50/50 chance of landing a decent legal job, and even if you do get Biglaw, turnover is like 50% by year 3. And the exit options aren't as great as you think. And staying in Biglaw beyond 3 years is awful. Most people who do it hate their lives but are desperate to pay off loans.


This is also not accurate. You have more than a 50% chance at getting a decent job at more than 6 schools. And I think you're kind of overblowing how bad biglaw and exit options from it are. And as to your later point it's patently false that you need to be a rainmaker to have decent success after the first few years (there aren't many big firms anywhere that expect mid levels to have a book of business).

JCougar wrote: My advised solution is to not focus on grades at all.


I'm sorry but this is awful advice. Especially during 1L by far the most important thing is grades. You seem to think that work doesn't really affect grades but that's really not true. While yes you can't guarantee good grades with any amount of work, working hard is still likely to result in better grades than you otherwise would get. And yeah grades don't matter in the grand scheme of things, and people aren't likely to care about your grades after your first job, but they are likely to care about what your job was, and grades can have a pretty major impact on that. There's time to focus on grades and network during 1L, but the primary focus during that time should be on doing as well as possible during 1L because good grades really can make everything else so much easier. As for your advice on markets I think the best thing is really just to go in without a target market in mind and to be flexible on your destination.

JCougar wrote: At the same time, WUSTL's biglaw placement is very bad compared to its ranking.

This is false. WUSTL is comparable to it's peers in this regard. And don't pull out the NLJ number again, that's pretty misleading and grossly understates the number of graduates who end up with something that can accurately be described as big law. I'm not saying people should go to WUSTL without a substantial scholarship, but I am saying that they shouldn't choose, say, GW or Minnesota over WUSTL because of big law prospects.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:02 am

hoos89 wrote:Not this again. While it's true no amount of work can guarantee any particular grade, the idea that success on exams comes down to typing speed is laughably off-base.


No, it's not. One of the only validation studies ever done on law school exams suggests that the main factor in law exam grades is typing speed, and the second most relevant independent variable is command of the English language unrelated to law.

All of your counter-examples are entirely anecdotal. And corrupted by fundamental attribution error at best.

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sublime
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby sublime » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:06 am

Could you link that study if available?


IME, typing speed wasn't a big deal (I type probably below average in the LS subset and did fine). Of course, typing faster is better than typing slower, all else equal.


I do agree that exams don't really measure much, if any, real aptitude in practice.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:17 am

I think I've linked to the study about 5 times on here (including at least twice on this very thread). I'll try to find it along with the relevant quotes...

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sublime
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby sublime » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:18 am

JCougar wrote:I think I've linked to the study about 5 times on here (including at least twice on this very thread). I'll try to find it along with the relevant quotes...



If you can think of a search term that would work, ai can try to grab it.

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sublime
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby sublime » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:24 am

I think I found it. I'll look into it more later, but this study cites a Klein and Hart study that came up in a search of your posts in other threads:

http://repository.jmls.edu/cgi/viewcont ... xt=facpubs

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:27 am

Yup:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=130775&p=7494997&hilit=typing+speed#p7494997

I found the text of the Klein & Hart study in a later post via something like Google Books (the study is impossible to access...of course). I'll post it next when I find it.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:32 am

I guess I just had to look on the next page:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=130775&p=7496607&hilit=books.google#p7496607

There's been other studies after this, but none have been as focused and well-done as Klein/Hart. And there haven't been many at all.

Of course, normally, in the real world, the presumption is that your test is invalid until you can prove that it's actually valid. In the law school world, however, antique tradition is valid and unassailable until you produce 100 completely unbiased, peer-review studies saying it's invalid, and even at that, we'll just take the invalidity evidence into consideration until a later date, when some additional panel will review everything, which by that time you'll be too tired to fight on...

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MarkinKansasCity
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby MarkinKansasCity » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:36 am

(Accelerates into boomerdom)

Well, while I didn't understand the legal education methods while I was there, now that I'm done I can really appreciate the way I was taught, and it should never, ever change. I wouldn't be the lawyer I am today if I hadn't word vomited legal issues on the page as fast as I could type. It really reflects the reality of my day-to-day practice.

ETA: Obligatory - They taught me how to think like a lawyer.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:46 am

I mean, anyone who asks advice about law school is going to get responses highly tainted by fundamental attribution error. Statistically speaking, random error is going to cause 10% of the people to end up in the top 10%. Those 10% are always going to think that whatever they did worked, and what they did is automatically credited to their own personal ability. They're also automatically going to think that the people that didn't finish in the top 10% failed to do what they did. That's the very definition of fundamental attribution error.

Since mostly the top 10% go on to become hiring partners at big firms, they naturally only want to hire other people in the top 10%, because those people are special just like them. So you have inertia bias in the system supplementing fundamental attribution error.

If anyone wanted to ever do a study on poor cognitive skills that uncritically affect an entire profession, they should really do a lot more studies on the legal one--especially the subsection that is legal education.

My advice is targeted to those students that will not finish in the top 33.3%, which by definition is two law students who do versus one that doesn't. That's a lot more useful than someone within that group telling people to "study hard, because that's what worked for me." Such people are confusing necessary and sufficient.

Outside the chosen few, networking is your only hope, and you have to be really effective at it to make it work. Start learning fast.
Last edited by JCougar on Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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hoos89
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby hoos89 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:02 am

JCougar wrote:I guess I just had to look on the next page:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=130775&p=7496607&hilit=books.google#p7496607

There's been other studies after this, but none have been as focused and well-done as Klein/Hart. And there haven't been many at all.

Of course, normally, in the real world, the presumption is that your test is invalid until you can prove that it's actually valid. In the law school world, however, antique tradition is valid and unassailable until you produce 100 completely unbiased, peer-review studies saying it's invalid, and even at that, we'll just take the invalidity evidence into consideration until a later date, when some additional panel will review everything, which by that time you'll be too tired to fight on...


The study you cite is from 1976. I think you're conflating length of paper with typing speed (or maybe I'm misinterpreting what you mean by typing speed; I'm reading that as "ability to type quickly," as opposed to how fast you actually type on a given exam). I'll agree with you that there's a correlation between length and grade received, but there should be. Granted maybe it shouldn't be as strong as it is, but there's a minimum amount necessary to cover a topic even if you're 100% efficient with your words. Short answers should, on average, receive lower grades because that's an indication that they didn't cover all the issues. So no, the mere fact that length is correlated strongly with grades does not stand for the proposition that typing speed is the only thing that matters largely because that metric is highly conflated with the actual quality of the paper (i.e. the longer the paper, the more issues you spotted and/or the more in-depth your analysis, on average). Sure it's probably not the best system possible. Maybe it's not even a good system. But that doesn't mean it has literally no validity and that it is only a measurement of typing speed. You're right that my experience is merely an anecdote, but when your assertion is essentially "typing speed is all that matters," even anecdotal evidence destroys that assertion. Obviously something else matters if I was able to succeed with fairly average word counts.


JCougar wrote:I mean, anyone who asks advice about law school is going to get responses highly tainted by fundamental attribution error. Statistically speaking, random error is going to cause 10% of the people to end up in the top 10%. Those 10% are always going to think that whatever they did worked, and what they did is automatically credited to their own personal ability. They're also automatically going to think that the people that didn't finish in the top 10% failed to do what they did. That's the very definition of fundamental attribution error.

Since only the top 10% go on to become hiring partners at big firms, they naturally only want to hire other people in the top 10%, because those people are special just like them. So you have inertia bias in the system supplementing fundamental attribution error.

If anyone wanted to ever do a study on poor cognitive skills that uncritically affect an entire profession, they should really do a lot more studies on the legal one--especially the subsection that is legal education.

My advice is targeted to those students that will not finish in the top 33.3%, which by definition is two law students who do versus one that doesn't. That's a lot more useful than someone within that group telling people to "study hard, because that's what worked for me." Such people are confusing necessary and sufficient.

Outside the chosen few, networking is your only hope, and you have to be really effective at it to make it work. Start learning fast.


Grades fairly clearly do not come down to random error. There is some kind of skill involved in doing well in them. Maybe it's an otherwise worthless skill, but you'd expect to see more regression to the mean if grades were random (even accounting for work ethic). I'm fairly confident the single best predictor of 2nd semester 1L grades is 1st semester grades. There are people who just have that skill and can consistently do well on law school exams throughout law school. Yes, some people have to end up at the top of the class, but the people who end up at the top of the class after 3 years of law school have done consistently well in all, or nearly all of their classes, to an extent that defies probability. I guess the real question is whether this is a learnable skill.

As for the latter part of your post: it's true that 2/3 of people will not be in the top 1/3, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't try to be. Advice given to someone who hasn't yet started law school should not be "don't worry about grades." Also maybe a nit picky point, but there really is more than a 1/3 chance to be in the top 1/3 if English is your first language and put in a ton of work. I'm not saying those things guarantee success by any means, but there are SOME people in the class who are ESL or don't put in as much work as they should, and they are going to be at a major disadvantage.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:48 am

I don't think that grades are 100% random error, but I think that's probably more true than starting from the assumption that grades are 100% under the law student's control. The answer is somewhere in between, but I think the majority of the variance is either random or non-random-but-correlated-with-an-invalid-factor.

But that's an entirely separate question as to whether grades are valid. Grades could very well be correlated with discernible independent variables that have no relationship to your ability to actually practice law. I think this is a bigger factor than randomness alone.

Which naturally brings me to your last paragraph. Reliability ≠ validity (another widely-abused logical fallacy). Just because law grades are consistent doesn't mean that the consistency is driven by anything meaningful (valid). (Also, I'm not saying that law grades are consistent...mine weren't, if anecdotal evidence has any value, they spanned the range from lowest in the class to almost a CALI, and my study and effort had zero and an almost embarrassingly negative affect on my grades in that the exams I took a more cynical approach to ended up netting me surprisingly good marks).

For the majority of the class that are destined to get grades below the logical fallacy of what we now call Biglaw cutoffs, grades simply don't matter. There hasn't been a single small law firm that has even asked for my grades. Everybody actually in practice thinks law school was a joke, and that it's an even worse joke in its current state.

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FuturePaulClement
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby FuturePaulClement » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:33 am

Law school exams are no more arbitrary than judicial decision-making. How do you think a genius like Paul Clement stands out above his slack-jawed peers? He tailors his arguments to exactly what the appellate judge wants to hear. This is a learned skill, no less important to a lawyer's craft than well-formed arguments and knowledge of the subject-matter. Much like courting a female, he must walk the line between flattery and impartial disinterest. Law school exams are masterful in the sense that they account for this important dimension of legal practice.

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TatteredDignity
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby TatteredDignity » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:16 am

ITT JCoug accuses those in the top 10% of committing attribution error while doing the same himself.

'Twas ever thus.

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: WUSTL Recent Grad (and others) Taking Questions

Postby PeanutsNJam » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:27 am

0Ls, the takeaway is certainly study hard for 1L exams but don't hate yourself if you don't get the grades you wanted




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